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Monday, October 31, 2011
October 31, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:17 PM :: 10960 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Sneak Attack: Inouye hides Akaka Bill in Policy Rider -- just after “Grazing Permits”

Waipahu soldier and 11 others overcome Afghanistan ambush, receive awards

Hawaii Ranks 12th in Energy Efficiency

Akaka Bill Sneak Attack Starts to Make National News

Brian Darling, Heritage Foundation: The Senate Appropriations Committee released a draft of its appropriations bill for the Interior Department​ earlier this month. Section 420 contains a provision allowing the secretary of the Interior Department to recognize "Native Hawaiians" as a federally recognized Indian tribe. This is a version of the “Akaka Bill,” and an effort to create a race-based government for individuals classified as native Hawaiians.
This is a radical measure that would force even more separation on the American people into different ethnic groups.

This is also a measure that many native Hawaiians oppose, because they feel that the people claiming to represent their interests are enriching themselves at the expense of the true interests of those of Hawaiian heritage….

read … Akaka Bill

Star-Advertiser: Will Recktenwald Continue Supremes Tradition of Making it up as they Go Along?

While Recktenwald is reluctant to talk about the court's jurisprudence, many in the legal community say it's too early to detect any trends since he started his 10-year term as chief justice on Sept. 14, 2010.

They also point out that he has only one vote on the five-member high court, and Recktenwald is not known as the type who aggressively tries to impose his views on colleagues.

The underlying theme, some legal observers believe, is that Recktenwald brought continuity rather than change to the state's third branch of government.

Recktenwald, 56, was an associate justice on the high court when former Gov. Linda Lingle appointed him chief justice after her initial choice of Appeals Judge Katherine Leonard was rejected by the state Senate.

Although he comes from a Republican background, Recktenwald's appointment sailed through the Democratic-controlled Senate amid praise for his administrative and leadership abilities….

"I think it's too early to tell," said Maui lawyer Ben Lowenthal, who tracks appellate court decisions for his blog, Hawaii Legal News. "He hasn't been a chief justice long enough to really recognize any patterns."

Jack Tonaki, state public defender, agreed but noted that two opinions by Recktenwald suggest he might be favoring law enforcement….

Loren Thomas, chief of the Honolulu prosecutor's Appeals Division, said high court rulings under Recktenwald have gone both for and against prosecutors. She doesn't see any lean toward law enforcement….

In civil cases, Recktenwald issued what might turn out to be the court's most significant opinion when he wrote that non-Hawaiians do not have standing to seek the same property tax exemptions given to lessees in the Hawaiian Home Lands program.

The plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to set aside the decision. If the justices decide to review the case, it could give them a chance to review not only the exemptions, but also other Native Hawaiian entitlements.

A pending case could also touch upon the high court's long-standing recognition of the rights of Native Hawaiians to practice religious and cultural activities on land owned by others. (A big money-spinner for cultural shake-down operators.)

It involves a Kauai man convicted of residing in a restricted area of the state park in Kauai's Kalalau Valley. Lloyd Pratt's appeal raises the issue of whether his activities as a Native Hawaiian caring for the area and for ancient Hawaiian burial sites negates the petty misdemeanor prosecution.

The high court has not indicated when it will rule.

read … A shot across his bow

Lowest salaries in the country limit interest in judicial appointments, not public disclosure

ILind: Attorneys representing Governor Abercrombie have asked a state court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Star-Advertiser seeking to force public disclosure of the list of judicial nominees.

The governor’s attorneys now argue that there were only a limited number of nominees for the various judicial openings during Linda Lingle’s two terms as governor. They further assert, although without evidence, that this reflected a similarly limited number of applicants. They then make a bigger leap and argue that the small number of applicants was the result of Lingle’s policy of making the list of nominees public and soliciting public comment on the finalists.

Links to documents filed in this case, including the latest motions, have been gathered by attorney Robert Thomas’ Inverse Condemnation blog.

The problem with the governor’s theory is that there is a huge elephant in the room he fails to mention, and which likely has been responsible for any drop in applications–the country’s lowest judicial salaries and the courts’ limited budget.

read … Abercrombie is wrong

Council will revisit proposed ban on items in public areas

Amid criticism that it targets the homeless, a measure that would ban personal property such as furniture, clothing or household goods from being stored in public spaces, including sidewalks and parks, is up for consideration again at the City Council.

Bill 54 is among the proposals on the agenda when the Council meets Wednesday at Kapolei Hale.

Council members expect to gain more information from the city on exactly the types of complaints that have been filed.

At the most recent public hearing on the measure, city officials said more than 100 complaints had been registered since the start of the year regarding public areas being blocked or obstructed by personal property. Not all were related to homeless individuals….

In written testimony to the Council, state Rep. Scott Saiki described areas of his district, Moiliili-McCully, that have been overrun with personal possessions and encampments.

"Such use has impeded pedestrian access and created public health and sanitation issues," Saiki stated. "It has also affected economic activity to the extent that storage occurs near businesses and restaurants."

Many senior citizens in the area who have lived there for many years, he added, "are afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods due to the accumulation of storage on public sidewalks."

The bill, so far, has advanced in the Council with only Councilman Nestor Garcia voting in opposition. But Councilman Romy Cachola also has raised reservations, saying he believes the bill could be used to target the homeless.

Opponents include the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, which described the bill as another in a line of "piecemeal" attempts by City Council to deal with homelessness, rather than taking a more comprehensive approach. (Pay off the homelessness industry or we’ll sue!)

read … Homeless

State sees high-rises jutting from skyline

When Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced plans last week for soliciting a developer to build Hawaii’s tallest building — a 650-foot residential tower that would be 50 percent higher than the current record holder in Honolulu — he was talking about just one building.

But the state agency promoting the project is proposing to raise the existing 400-foot height limit throughout a much broader area in urban Honolulu.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority, which governs development in Kakaako, is working to draft new development rules with the 650-foot limit for land around two planned rail stations in Kakaako and possibly a third station site near Aloha Tower on the edge of downtown Hono­lulu.

If approved, potentially many buildings could soar to 650 feet and dramatically redraw Honolulu’s skyline.

The notion is a concern for some environmental-protection groups (who are hell-bent on keeping housing costs sky high)

read … High-rises

100 Trust Fund Babies Protest Wall Street Greed on Kauai

Know your enemy: “Economic Growth=Suicide” – Sign held by Juan Wilson, anti-Superferry blogger

“These are the end of your days. (The end is near!) The people will no longer stand up for a privately owned monetary system in the United States. (huh?) They want to know what we want, what are we asking for -- we want this government out completely. We want to start fresh.” (Duh, fresh what?) — Sharon Boll, “independent artist” (Check out her manicure as she holds a “Slaves Unite” sign.)

Reality: 'Occupy’ Protest loses permit due to public masturbation…and More

read … Occupy Kauai coverage for a website run by the richest guy in Hawaii

WCC Student Paper Profiles Homeless Advocate

According to Cannell, it’s hard for his wife to live in a shelter because of the strict rules. “She likes her freedom,” he says, although she is constantly in and out of jail, mental institutions and struggles with alcohol.

Cannell says that it wasn’t until they became homeless that his wife started drinking. “I’ve seen many people where their life was perfect, and when they became homeless, they started to stress out, so then alcohol becomes the way to drown their pain,” he explains.

For 26 years, Cannell worked as a supervisor at Continental Paper Hawaii. Through his job, he was able to support his family and pay $800 monthly rent for their Kailua home. However, due to the downturn in the economy, Cannell lost his job.

After Cannell’s landlord remodeled his triplex property, Cannell says that he and his family weren’t invited back by his landlord to continue renting even though Cannell continued to pay his rent for the year he wasn’t working.

“It was a total shock to find the eviction notice,” says Cannell. He and his wife applied at 40 other rentals and were ready to pay up to $1,000 out of their $1,800 monthly income, but only faced rejection.

Although Cannell hopes to one day own his own home so that he and his family can live together again, he knows the reality of life. In Hawai‘i, he says, 10,000 people are on the waiting list for low-income housing, and only about 600 units become available each year.

(And why are $800/mo rents no longer available in the private rental market? In large part it is because of anti-development protesters like the ones at the Kauai “Occupy” protest.)

read … Homeless and motivated to help improve lives

Taken for a Ride: Hawaii's Runaway School Bus Costs

In 2009, Hawaii taxpayers paid Roberts Hawaii $200 a day to operate a bus route serving Kohala Elementary and High schools on the Big Island.

Roberts had held the contract for a few years, after it won the bid by undercutting two other bus companies.

But when that contract expired, no other bus company stepped up to compete, and the Hawaii Department of Education agreed to pay Roberts' new asking price. This time it was $584 — a 190 percent increase — to do the same job.

That's just one of the many egregious examples of huge increases in school bus payments by the education department …

As a result, Hawaii is spending $1,850 per student on school bus transportation this year — more than twice the national average of $900 in 2008, the most recent year reported. In 2008, Hawaii averaged about $1,200 per student….

… there may be one more force at work to try to get costs back in line — a criminal investigation. The sudden drying up of competition in what had been a highly competitive business raises questions.

At least one bus contractor, Dudoit, says she received a visit earlier this year from investigators looking into possible price gouging among contractors.

The Attorney General's office said it will not confirm or deny any ongoing investigations. When Civil Beat asked if there is a completed investigation of school bus contractors, Deputy Attorney General Rod Kimura, head of the anti-trust division, said, "No."

read … Taken for a Ride: Hawaii's Runaway School Bus Costs

Hannemann Radio Show Doesn't Cross Legal Line

CB: The campaign of Mufi Hannemann, a candidate for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, officially began just two months ago.

But the voice and thoughts of the former Honolulu mayor have been broadcast live for two hours every Saturday since New Year's Day. "Mufi's Jukebox Jamboree" broadcasts from noon to 2 p.m. on KKOL "Kool Gold" 107.9 FM.

Hannemann is not paid for his work. In fact, he pays KKOL for the privilege to spin tunes from the Beatles, Elvis, the Rascals and contemporary Hawaiian artists, and to talk story with callers.

(Hannemann declined to tell Civil Beat how much he pays for the show.)

Until Hannemann officially files with the state Office of Elections to run in the Aug. 11 primary (anytime between Feb. 1 and June 5), he is not in violation of Federal Communications Commission rules on candidates hosting radio shows.

read … Hannemann

Akaka Bill: Hawaii News Media Reporting Falsehoods as Though They are Commonly Accepted Facts

Sometimes newspapers publish falsehoods by accident. They might use press releases from trusted sources without checking the facts; or they might repeat commonly believed myths.

But sometimes a newspaper knowingly expresses an editorial viewpoint inside what appears to be a neutral news report. One very effective way to do this is to tell a falsehood as though it is a commonly accepted fact, and to mention it merely in passing, in the context of reporting about a related but different topic.

Two recently published news reports are examined below….

read … Akaka Bill

HECO Rigs Lanai, Molokai Bidding to Favor C&C Windfarm

HECO’s response to the PUC order was released on October 14th, and it is a masterpiece of corporate chicanery….it gives potential bidders ONLY UNTIL NOVEMBER 4TH to submit notice of intent to bid. This means they are required to file notice well before the PUC reviews, revises, and accepts a final RFP for release. If they do not comply by the end of the week, they will not be permitted to submit a bid later in the process. Period. And this is for projects that HECO indicates are not anticipated to achieve commercial operations until 2018.

read … Chicanery

Lahaina man, 19, racks up 5 felonies in 2 months—gets 18 months

After being convicted of five felony offenses within a two-month period, a Lahaina man was sentenced earlier this month to an 18-month jail term as part of five years' probation.

"You really put a lot of effort into your criminal history here," 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen told 19-year-old Jonathan Blackburn.

read … Soft on Crime Maui

Kill a Doctor, Get Six years?

A man who was acquitted of murder charges six years ago by reason of insanity has been granted an examination to determine his eligibility to apply for conditional release from the custody of the Hawai‘i State Hospital.

Raymond Earl Ard appeared via video conference Tuesday before 5th Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe. The State Hospital initiated a request for the motion to appoint a three-panel board of examiners.

Watanabe, who presided over Ard’s 2005 trial, denied two previous requests for unescorted off-grounds privileges in November 2008 and December 2009.

Ard, 46, stabbed to death his friend and retired physician, Dr. Jon Kerms, of Waimea on Feb. 27, 2005, and attempted to kill his step-son, Richard Iwate.

He was convicted without a jury of first-degree attempted murder and then acquitted by reason of insanity. The second-degree murder of Kerms and second-degree attempted murder of Iwate were not tried under double-jeopardy with the attempted murder conviction.

read … Soft on Crime Kauai

Styrofoam: Environmentalists Brainwash Children to use Ti Leaves instead of Plates

One of the best ways to convince adults to nix single-use plastics, says Noelani Elementary school teacher Lianne Morita, is to get their kids to start asking them about it.

Morita had her first grade students write letters and make a podcast urging parents to do away with disposable plastic.

“Please use less plastic utensils,” one letter read. "None would be better."

In keeping with that theme, Punahou served dinner without plates or utensils. Instead, the 100 guests carried food back from the buffet table on ti leaves.

read … More War Strategy

Hawaiian papaya to test GMO acceptance in Japan

Has biotechnology in agriculture "arrived"? One would think so based on the millions of acres of biotech corn and soybeans in the U.S. Yet it is interesting that we are hearing more buzz about labeling of GMO foods in the U.S. in recent months at the same time acceptance of biotech ag in other markets is continuing to make slow if steady progress.

A recent USDA FAS report on agricultural biotechnology in Japan can be found here

Important to Hawaii papaya exporters, another USDA FAS report revealed that Japanese imports of biotech Rainbow papayas will begin late this year.

read … GMOs

Punchbowl cemetery upgrades worthwhile

In fact, even as the nation's WWII veterans are dying at a rate of 1,900 a day, the cemetery is already at casket capacity, with 33,500 burials, said Gene Castagnetti, director of the cemetery. That's spurring the good decision for a $24 million upgrade to create space for 9,000 more columbarium niches, urn space for veterans for the next 20 years, by moving administrative offices out….

There are now more than 10,000 columbarium urn spaces at Punchbowl, thanks to an expansion completed about 18 months ago. But the 2,552 still-open spaces are expected to be filled in less than five years, during which time exponentially growing numbers of burials from WWII and Korean War veterans are expected….

An environmental impact statement likely would be required for the Punchbowl renovation. Meanwhile, a public meeting to discuss the proposal will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Stevenson Middle School.

read … Punchbowl


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