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Saturday, October 15, 2011
October 15, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:02 PM :: 6046 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Rail Transit on Oahu: Real Estate Investment Opportunity or Urban Blight?

Lingle takes Senate Campaign to Big Island

Homosexuals Demand Hawaii Churches be Forced to Host Gay Union Ceremonies

The couple plan to schedule their civil union ceremony and reception during the summer of 2013, but their party planning was tarnished when their first choice wouldn't honor their request for a reservation.

The two who both live in Windward Oahu and work in the medical field received a disheartening email from the Event Services Manager of the venue, who wrote, "Just to clarify, is this a civil/partnership marriage? If so, I'm sorry, but the church (who owns us), does not recognize such ceremonies and therefore, do not allow these types of ceremonies to occur."

"Its discouraging. We get a response like that from a venue that in our hometown, that we love and that's where we wanted to commit ourselves too," said Aipolani. The pair say they have also reached out to several other special event facilities who have not returned their calls or emails. "We just want the same rights as other people," said Clute.

According to the Executive Director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission under state law, "If a religious institution offers the use of facilities to general public for a fee or controls a commercial enterprise that rents out accommodations it cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation." ….

Hawaii law does say clergy and judges are allowed to refuse to perform civil unions for any reason.

read … Next Step

Thief Demands Marijuana During Probation

State Public Defender Stephanie Sato filed a motion to modify terms and conditions of probation for Mahlon S. Callison, 47, of Waimea. The request was to extend the date to complete Callison’s community service hours — in addition to requesting that the court allow him to use medical marijuana under permit without violating probation.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Wendel Crutchfield objected on behalf of the state.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Tuesday approved the motion in part, allowing the extension of community service hours. She denied the medical marijuana request, however, citing a lack of medical evidence in support to show need in light of other alternatives.

When determining appropriate use in cases of first impression —setting precedence in law with decisions involving judicial discretion — Watanabe said the single letter of support from an attending supervisor within the Department of Public Safety was not sufficient support for this medically related issue….

Read … And he's still out on Probation

Solar Industry Calls DoTAX Bluff

A day after the state Department of Taxation said it will be auditing homeowners who may have cheated the state by claiming too many tax credits for photovoltaic systems, the solar industry defended its practices and tried to calm consumer fears.

"I think the thing they'll find if they were to audit anybody is that these systems were installed in a way that is consistent with their own guidance," said Mark Duda, President of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association….

Duda showed us a document from the Department of Taxation dated May 21, 2010. It clearly lists reasons homeowners can install multiple systems and claim multiple credits.

"It is a relatively long list. It includes things like maximum power point tracking, multiple roof planes, shading, future system expansion, increased inverter efficiency, utility interaction requirements, and maximizing the production of renewable energy," Duda said while reading the document word for word….

Duda said despite the threat of possible audits, it is his opinion people who have claimed multiple credits need not worry about getting in trouble with tax officials as long as their systems were installed in accordance with the state's own guidelines, guidelines he says solar energy association members honor.

Related: Homeowners face audits for Following DoTAX Regs on Solar Tax Credits, Why Stop at $500K? DoTAX Quietly Multiplies Hawaii Solar Tax Credit

read … Audits?

Candidates start disclosing war chests for latest quarter

HNN VIDEO: The Senate race is the big enchilada. Republican John Carroll – who only declared about a week before the quarter closed - has about 500 dollars cash-on-hand.

Democrat Ed Case has $272,000 cash in his warchest. He says his campaign definitely has enough resources to last through election day.

Democrat Mazie Hirono announced she has about $722,500 cash-on-hand and says nearly 15,000 people have joined or given to her campaign.

And since she just announced her candidacy this week, Republican Linda Lingle did not have to file a finance report since she wasn't allowed to officially fundraise until she declared. Now, she hopes to raise between eight and 10 million dollars…. (Lingle reportedly raised $400,000 on her first day of campaigning.)

In the U.S. House district two race between four democrats, Tulsi Gabbard's campaign says it has more than $130,000 cash-on-hand.

Mufi Hannemann announced he has raised more than $306,000 total in the month of September alone but did not disclose his cash-on-hand yet.

OHA attorney Esther Kiaaina say her campaign is still crunching the numbers, and Big Island attorney Bob Marx says he had about $8,600 cash-on-hand.

read … Fundrace

Shapiro: Lazy Mazie not Worth $5

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democratic Senate candidate, responded to the Republican's entry by asking supporters to send her $5. She's differentiating her campaign from Lingle's by pricing herself at what her accomplishments are worth.

Ed Case, the other Democrat in the race, hired consultants to help him with strategy and marketing. While Hirono claims the left side of the political spectrum and Lingle leans to the right side, Case is testing how many votes there are on Dan Inouye's bad side.

read … U.S. Senate candidates kick off race for donations

Rafu Shimpo: Lingle Announces Run for Akaka’s Senate Seat

Among her key policy achievements as governor, Lingle was able to gain wide support for programs and initiatives like the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education expansion for students statewide, improved mental health services, environmental protection initiatives, a big reduction in the number of children in foster care and a drastic reduction in child re-abuse rates, business and economic development and affordable housing construction, especially for the Native Hawaiian community.

Lingle will crisscross the state over the next 13 months to meet with residents, citizen groups, businesses and county leaders, as well as Hawaii’s military and veterans, to discuss the issues that are of the highest priority to them at a national level.

“There is so much that needs to be done in Washington for our residents, and I want my fellow citizens to know their voice will be carried to the nation’s Capitol and their issues will be discussed at the highest level,” said Lingle. “The people deserve to have the best representation possible in Washington and I am honored that so many of our residents have encouraged me to be their voice.”

read … Rafu Shimpo

Bombardier files new appeal of Honolulu rail contract

Bombardier Transportation (Holdings) USA filed an appeal Friday with the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals over a lower court’s order upholding its disqualification for the Honolulu rail contract.

Bombardier is asking the appeals court to determine whether the state Circuit Court erred when it affirmed a hearings officer’s decision that the company’s proposal submitted for the rail project was properly rejected.

read … Bombardier

Tax Free Bonds Finance Sewer Upgrades

A record low interest rate achieved by the City and County of Honolulu on $169 million of waste water revenue bonds sold this week will save ratepayers millions of dollars in financing costs, officials said.

The bonds, sold Wednesday and due to mature in 2042 will carry an interest rate of 4.29 percent. The lowest previous interest rate secured by the city and county was 4.55 percent in 2005.

"The attractive interest rate is attributed to the wastewater system's strong financial position and affirmed credit ratings, saving ratepayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds," according to a news release from the city and county.

read … City borrows $169M at 4.29%

Occupy Honolulu heads for Waikiki

It’s a warm-up exercise for APEC. These clowns don’t amount to much more than a national joke. Even after relentless national media hype they have no followers.

read … This is a squib

PTA plan would impact land

Proposed construction at Pohakuloa Training Area will create a significant disturbance to threatened or endangered species and archaeological sites, an environmental impact statement found.

The U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii is holding a round of public meetings in November to solicit comments for the improvement of facilities at PTA and the construction of a 200-acre Infantry Platoon Battle Area.

The Army released the 510-page EIS, and a 329-page appendix, online Friday for public comment. It's part of a broad effort to modernize training ranges, roads and utilities and other support facilities at the 206-square mile military installation located in the saddle area between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa….

The public meetings on the EIS will be held Nov. 8 at Aunty Sally Kaleohano's Luau Hale in Hilo and Nov. 9 at the Waimea Elementary School Cafeteria. Both start at 6:30 p.m. and run to 9:30 p.m.

(Are you going to let the anti-Americans be the only voice heard?)

read … Pohakuloa

Abercrombie goes to China and China Eastern cancels Shanghai-Honolulu flights

While media reports said the flights were canceled because of low demand, HTA officials said the struggle to get visas processed timely is the real problem.

HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney, who is traveling to China this weekend with Gov. Neil Abercrombie, said in a statement that all China Eastern flights from Oct. 28 onward remain scheduled as planned, operating twice a week at approximately 75 percent full.

“Demand from China to visit the Hawaiian Islands remains high,” McCartney said in the statement. “However, obtaining visas to travel to the U.S. continues to be an obstacle….

China still was being looked at as Hawaii’s next golden ticket. Is that still the case now?

Review: Lingle goes to China and flights are launched. Abercrombie goes to China and flights are cancelled. Any questions?

read … Great Work, Neil

Will China Eastern Flights Resume?

China Eastern Airlines is currently planning to relaunch the flight in November and will upgrade the flight from a charter to a regular scheduled flight. It would provide more seats for direct sales within their global network for regular sales. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority 90 percent of all seats were being blocked by a tour operator. However, the tour operators were unable to fill all the seats they blocked, citing slow USA visa processing as the reason.

When asked, China Eastern said it may open up their inventory to additional tour operators and include this flight within their regular global reservation system. Currently, the Honolulu-Shanghai flight was not listed in any of China Eastern Airlines’ flight plans, and the call center was unable to book this flight. Travel agents were also unable to find this flight on their regular reservation systems, such as Sabre.

The Hawaii-based private Hawaii Tourism Association (HiTA) President Juergen Thomas Steinmetz warned early on about relying on this flight and criticized the resources used to lobby for it.

Steinmetz said: “China Eastern Airlines is known for poor service and low reliability. Banking on this airline to save the lucrative Chinese business is a high risk. We saw what happened with Hainan Airlines, which played everyone….”

read … Played?

SA: Energy Must be taken out of Hands of Market

At this point the state remains prey to market conditions, especially where imports of crude oil are concerned. Consumers here feel the pinch when they pay their electric bills. According to a release by Hawaiian Electric Co. this week, the typical bill for a family using 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity rose to $207.04 in October. That's a record, and a $2.20 increase from the average total the previous month.

Much of the toll is due to market speculation driving up prices, experts say. Adding fuel to the fire, the calamity last spring in Japan, with tsunami damage hobbling its atomic-and coal-fired power network, drove that country to buy more oil, too. The overall result is that Hawaii has not seen the same relief at the gas pump — or in utility bills that hinge on oil prices — seen in many mainland markets.

The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative is an aggressive push to diversify the state's energy portfolio….(and put it into the hands of political cronies)

read … Crony Capitalism Favored

Sovereignty Scammers Claim Geothermal Available on Oahu

But Cabral and co-worker (race hustler) Mililani Trask are confident a mother lode of geothermal energy is going untapped. Their opinion is based on research that pinpoints multiple hot spots on the Big Island and other islands.

"There's other hot spots such as on the island of Maui, in the area of Ulupalakua, Kula, and Kahikinui. Also on the island of Oahu, believe it or not," Cabral said.

She said temperature studies show Waianae and Waimanalo have geothermal potential, with Waimanalo being more viable. (Clue: What to Waianae and Waimanalo have in common? DHHL land, that’s what. There must be money for the scammers in drilling dry wells.) IDG is encouraged that lawmakers are now looking seriously at geothermal.

"They now realize that they can work with the Hawaiian people to develop protections which can be turned into qualifications to ensure that geothermal is developed in a sustainable, clean way," Trask said.

IDG has told Hawaiian Electric it wants to explore three areas on the Big Island, if it's granted a bid to pursue geothermal with the utility.

read … Why Geothermal is Doomed

 

HECO with new 200mw “renewable” Proposal

 

Hawaiian Electric Co. today launched a renewed effort to add at least 200 megawatts of renewable energy generation for Oahu.

HECO submitted a draft proposal to the Public Utilities Commission that will set the guidelines for developers that want to participate in the program.

The energy can be produced on Oahu or on a neighboring island from where the energy can “reasonably” be transmitted to Oahu via an undersea cable, according to HECO.

The utility said its goal is to have the renewable energy delivered to the HECO grid no later than Dec. 31, 2018.

PBN: Sopogy adding 50 employees as it introduces 'SopoHelios'

read … Guard your wallet

Another Democrat sues demanding State Discriminate Against Military Personnel

In 2002, Matsukawa sued the Hawaii County Reapportionment Commission on behalf of the Kona-based Citizens for Equitable and Responsible Government, alleging that commission had violated the state constitution and county charter when drawing county council districts. In that case, the commission also had counted non-permanent residents in the population base.

Associate Justice Simeon Acoba Jr. wrote that while the court held that "the phrase 'equal resident populations' excludes nonresident college students and nonresident military personnel and their dependents from the population base for purposes of reapportioning county council districts," that the resulting plan did not exceed the allowed deviation and was ultimately constitutional.

"We won in part, lost in part," said Matsukawa, a former Hawaii County corporation counsel in the 1990s. "We were successful in arguing that it's legitimate to distinguish between permanent and non-permanent residents, but we lost when the court said that while the method was wrong, the results were not unfair."

Here's Matsukawa's petition and memorandum filed Thursday: Mike Matsukawa petition

read … Lawsuit #2

After DoJ Lets Aloun Farms off the Hook, Global Horizons Human trafficking case to get new prosecutors

The federal prosecutors who handled the aborted forced labor prosecution of Alec and Mike Sou of Aloun Farms won't be involved in the human trafficking case against Global Horizons Manpower.

Robert Moossy Jr., principal deputy chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, notified the federal court this week that he is entering the Global Horizons case to represent the prosecution.

Without elaborating, he said civil rights trial attorneys Susan French and Kevonne Small of the Justice Department and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Cushman are "no longer representing the United States in this matter."

U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni also notified the court that she is entering the case.

Reality: Human Trafficking: Did the US DoJ Purposefully lose the Aloun Farms Case?

read … Human Trafficking

New protections for victims of domestic, sexual violence

In 2011, the Legislature passed SB 229, which was signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and enacted as Act 206.

When the new law takes effect on Jan. 1 it will be illegal for an employer to refuse to hire or employ; bar or discharge from employment; or to discriminate against any individual because of domestic or sexual violence victim status.

Read … Protections

State Hospital employee accused of sexually assaulting patient

The 64-year-old Kailua man was taken into custody on suspicion of first degree sex assault.

The state health department confirmed the suspect works at the state hospital, but does not have direct contact with patients on a regular basis.

read … First Degree Rape

SA: Old People are Just Too Expensive for Medicare

As many as 1 in 3 Medicare patients undergo surgery during the last year of life, according to a Harvard research study recently published in the Lancet. What does this mean about our cultural attitudes and practices around death and dying? Have we forgotten or chosen to ignore that death is as natural as the changing of the seasons? Has the process of passing away been hijacked and now reduced to a lucrative market niche within the health care industry? Has the prospect of reimbursement for procedures taken precedence over medical ethics?

There are already tremendous financial pressures on Medicare together with other government entitlement programs. The budget deficit and our mounting national debt coupled with the daunting challenge of creating jobs for Americans is burden enough. In addition we are still in the midst of implementing healthcare reform intended to provide expanded access to care for the underserved. Surgery is a powerful lifesaving tool that can extend both how long and how well we live, but all concerned must ensure that it is used appropriately for each of us individually and for all of us collectively.

The study also revealed that, at 12 percent, Hawaii ranks lowest in the nation for Medicare patients who received surgery during the last year of life. I have spoken with a number of thought leaders in health care across the state, and the reason for this is unclear. (Suggested reason: See next article.) We would like to think that our island community has a greater respect and deeper understanding of the needs of our people as death draws near. This column recently covered the importance of advance directives, palliative care and hospice, which offer patients the opportunity to clearly communicate their wishes, live out their days with an optimal quality of life and to die with grace, free from suffering to the extent possible. (Or maybe it is that people take better care of themselves.)

But free lawyers are a human right: Self Help Center gives the needy a legal leg up

read … Medicare patients get costly surgery at end of their lives

Hawaii has lowest rate of heart disease in nation

"To a large extent, the overall rates for the state do mask trends within certain communities," said Rajan.

For example, more than 7% of Native Hawaiian adults had heart disease in 2009, compared to only 3% of Japanese adults.

"So what is important programmatically for us is to be aware of these differences in racial groups and not just assume the overall state is doing excellently in terms of health," said Rajan.

And when you break it down based on counties, Hawaii County had the largest percentage at 5.3%, compared to Honolulu County at 3.6%.

Coincidentally, Hawaii County had the lowest median household income, and Honolulu county had the highest.

"Populations with lower income and lower educational status tend to experience higher rates of heart disease and other types of diseases. This is associated with access to health care and other health behaviors," said Rajan.

read … Heart

Eco-Fraud: Polar Bear Researcher To Be Re-Interviewed By Feds

Federal officials continue to probe allegations of misconduct related to a famous report on dead polar bears that raised concerns about climate change. Later this month, officials plan to re-interview one of the two government scientists who wrote that report.

The new development suggests that scientific integrity remains a focus of the investigation, which recently detoured into allegations that the other researcher under scrutiny broke rules related to federal funding of research. Both scientists work for agencies of the Department of the Interior….

The ongoing investigation into the polar bear report began after March 2010, when the OIG received allegations from an Interior Department employee that "acts of scientific misconduct may have been committed," according to a letter that Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall….

read … Fake Study


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