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Tuesday, November 15, 2011
November 15, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:32 AM :: 9362 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

New GOP Chair Pledges to Focus on Grassroots

GAO: Improvements Needed to Assess and Address Growing CoFA Migration

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted November 14

Proposed Lanai Wind Farm Site named among State’s Most Endangered Historic Places

Hawaii Green Energy Scammers Do Deals with China

Mesa Announces Sale of Mokulele Turboprop Operation

 

Senator Upset after GAO Report Slaps down Bid for more CoFA Money

PNC: Senator Frank Blas Jr. who has been critical of the federal government for not properly reimbursing Guam for compact impacts says that the interior has already helped Guam develop a methodology for calculating compact costs. "There was a technical assistance grant that the interior had provided to Guam to be able to come up with a methodology to be used to quantify the amounts that Guam spends to provide the services under the compacts of free association. It's been done this was the same methodology that we used for the reports that we've been submitting on a timely basis as mandated by law,” said Blas.

In fact the senator says it's the Department of the Interior who has failed to turn in all of these reports. "What the GAO report shows is that since the implementation of that law back in 2004 the interior and the administration has only turned in one report,” said Blas.

The GAO also states that Guam has failed to include revenue received by FAS migrants. Senator Blas says that if revenues are factored in then the cost to pay out earned income tax credits to FAS citizens should also be factored in. The senator also points out that there are federal programs like section 8 that have not seen any increase in funding even though there has been an increase in usage of these programs by FAS citizens who migrate to Guam.

"There hasn't been any increase to these programs since the FAS citizens have become eligible for these things and those programs where the FAS citizens are not eligible such as Medicaid and Medicare. Guam's medically indigent program has had to pick up the slack in being able to provide for medical services for a number of these individuals,” said Blas.

PNC: GAO Report Concludes "Improvements" Are Needed to Address Growing FSM Migration

SA: Aim grants to Pacific islands at improvements, report urges

read … VIDEO

Usual Assortment of Crooks, Cronies at Obama KoOlina Fundraiser

HNN: With yesterday's APEC events behind them, some Ko Olina residents and visitors are trying to take it all in stride even as President Barack Obama threw a $1,000 a plate brunch fundraiser this morning at the Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa.

Some 300 contributors (that’s all?) in Aloha attire attended the function in the Kaiona ballroom. Aulani Chef Patrick Callarec got some help today with famed chefs, Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi.

According to the fundraiser's invitation, it was organized by Governor Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Governor Brian Schatz and Hawaii's Congressional delegation. Co-Chairs were listed as Ko Olina developer, Jeff Stone, Leighton Mau and Pam Hamamoto. Co-Hosts are Stanford Carr, Wendy Crabb, Janie and Mark Davis, Walter Dods, Jr., John Farias Jr., John Komeji, Colbert Matsumoto, Catherine Park, George Paris and Hank Wuh.

read … President Obama, "will be back shortly for Christmas vacation"

Report: DoE Funding Formula Incentive to Keep Kids in Special Education Classes

The report found:

  • >> Current funding and staff allocation formulas promote "strong disincentives" to move special education students to general education; (Your kid is on the short bus so DoE can rake in the bucks)
  • >> Organizational structures and roles are confusing, and the statewide DOE system makes it difficult to find "clear lines of responsibility and accountability" for special education services;
  • >> There are big variations, school complex-to-complex, in the amount and type of staffing and consistency of special education services;
  • >> Though only a small number of special education students are placed in private schools to meet their needs, those costs represent a "disproportionately high percentage of the state's special education expenditures."
  • >> An analysis of special education costs is difficult, because of multiple funding codes;
  • >> Special education students continue to perform far below adequate yearly progress targets and have not seen overall improvements, as general education students have;
  • >> Parents have difficulty navigating the process, and "desire assistance to understand and participate" in ensuring their children are getting adequate special education services.

Full Text: Special Education Report

CB: Changes Ahead For Hawaii Special Ed

read … SpEd

Governor must disclose judicial candidate list, judge rules

Deputy Attorney General Charleen Aina said she can’t say whether the state will appeal until she consults with Attorney General David Louie.

Louie issued a statement saying: "Obviously, we are disappointed with Circuit Court's oral ruling today. Once we receive the court's written order and have the opportunity to thoroughly review it and consider other relevant factors, we will decide how to respond."

Of Sakamoto’s ruling, Aina said, “He definitely gave great thought to it.

“It was very detailed, and while it’s not what we believed the conclusion should have been, it’s clear he looked at all of the exceptions the governor relied upon to withhold the list (of names).”

Diane Hastert, the Star-Advertiser’s lawyer, said, “We are extremely pleased.”

read … Secrecy Busted

Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiian Homelands Eyeing Maili Development without Jeff Stone

Originally the Ka Pua project included a multimillion dollar learning and technology center to be built by Kamehameha schools.

It was to be developed in Makaha Valley further up the Leeward Coast on land Jeff Stone offered to give the state but the deal never got off the ground.

The Maili parcel is much smaller than what was initially envisioned to be developed in Makaha, but DHHL said there are other pluses.

It is already in state hands, is more centralized, and because the land is flatter could be easier to develop.

Related: Ka Pua Makaha: Multi-million dollar giveaway of DHHL assets disguised as “gift”

read … KSBE, DHHL, no Jeff Stone

Bumbling Abercrombie Could Have Closed, Iolani, Allowed APEC Delegates’ Tours

On Monday, after the group was arrested, Governor Neil Abercrombie announced that the Iolani Palace would be closed during the APEC summit, as a security precaution, and would reopen on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The decision was made without consulting the Iolani Palace managers. Many are not pleased.

Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of Iolani Palace, said the palace "had to issue apologies to the delegations of China, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan and the U.S. Department of Commerce, all of whom had planned special visits to the historical site for high-ranking officials."

As Lorenz Gonschor, Ph.D. student in Department of Political Science at UHM, focusing on Hawaiian history, put it, "precisely the closure of the palace would have provided the ideal security conditions for a tour by high-ranking delegates. The palace is one of the most important sites documenting the history and annexation of Hawai'i."

read … Ham Handed Abercrombie

Democratic Party Kupuna Caucus to Consider Suicide Nov 16—Former Insurance Co Exec Encourages Them

Barbara Coombs Lee, President of Compassion & Choices. Lee is the person who championed and became Chief Petitioner for the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. (She began her campaign while an insurance company executive, hint, hint….) Lee will speak at a forum entitled "Hawaii Physicians Can Already Provide Aid in Dying"

The forum is sponsored by Compassion & Choices Hawaii and co-sponsored by the Kupuna Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i….

Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD, practiced as a nurse and physician’s assistant for 25 years before beginning a career in law and health policy. She has since devoted her professional life to individual choice and empowerment in health care. As a private attorney, counsel to the Oregon State Senate, a managed care executive, and finally as a Chief Petitioner for the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, she has championed initiatives that enable individuals to consider a complete range of choices and be full participants in their health care decisions which save insurance companies serious bucks!

read … Die Already!

Hirono Doubles Down on Obamacare

“People across Hawaii have told me how the Affordable Care Act has helped them – from the mother in Kailua who can now add her 21 and 24 year old children to her health insurance plan to the senior in Waimea who said her $250 Medicare donut hole rebate was a blessing,” Hirono said. “Like the Obama Administration, I believe the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. It is my hope that the Supreme Court will reaffirm this law so we can move ahead in helping families across our country who struggle with health care costs.”

read … Hirono

President Obama Golfing With Pal Nabbed in Prostitution Sting

President Obama is golfing at Mamala Bay Golf Course at Hickam Air Force Base in a group that includes White House travel director Marvin Nicholson and Hawaiian pal Robert “Bobby” Titcomb, who was arrested in April on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute.

In April, Titcomb was one of four men arrested in an undercover prostitution sting operation, according to Honolulu police.

read … ABC News

Waikiki residents bid "good riddance" to APEC

"Come on, I mean, to be trapped .. trapped in your own area because you don't want to leave because you don't want to get caught in traffic coming home. Saturday night it took me three hours from McCully 7-11 (to Waikiki). Three hours," Taniguchi said.

"It was horrible," said Waikiki resident Heather Carollo. "The restricted access. The streets being blocked off. I couldn't get a cab to take me home at all," said Waikiki resident Heather Carollo.

"Just to get across the road it takes 30 minutes. And if I take a trolley, yea, doesn't move," added Mizuho Yoshinaga while walking near her Waikiki apartment.

While every single resident we talked to had a horror story about the APEC impact, some say it was bearable … but for just one week.

HNN: TRAFFIC ALERT: H-1 to close Tuesday morning

SA: Small businesses and cabdrivers suffer because of the traffic and safety measures

CB: Not a single Prostitution Arrest

read … Good Riddance

Obama Gives Hawaii to Asia in Trade Deal

President Obama held a presser at Ko Olina on the island of his birth in which he subtly ceded Hawaii to the continent of Asia.

When I meet with world leaders, what's striking -- whether it's in Europe or here in Asia -- the kinds of fundamental reforms and changes both on the revenue side and the public pension side that other countries are having to make are so much more significant than what we need to do in order to get our books in order….

read … Forget 57! We're down to 49 States.

Up In The Air: Will Molokai's Resistance Save It From Big Wind?

CB: Gabbard, two other state lawmakers and a few political aides have come to Molokai to hear what residents have to say about Big Wind, a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm that has sparked emotional protest on the island that is home to about 7,400 people.

read … Molokai

EW Center Cuts Pacific Islands Report regional news service, more cuts to come

A popular news portal published by the University of Hawaii’s East-West Centre is the first victim of US Congress budget cuts to the centre.

The Pacific Islands Report’s comprehensive media round-up published in print and online will almost certainly be scaled back as the result of the recent retrenchment of its editor Peter Wagner….

“I got laid off and that triggered a chain of events that might affect the quality of the report in the future.”

Scott Kroeker is the current webmaster for the report and Wagner says his job will now pass over to Kroeker.

Wagner says with budget deadlines at the end of this month, there will possibly be deeper cuts for the East-West Center than the initial figure.

“The highest possible figure that the East-West Centre would get is at least 20 percent below what it is now.”

read … E-W Center

Trustee wins Ruling in Maui Industrial Ponzi Scheme Case

In this adversary proceeding, the chapter 7 trustee of a company that operated a Ponzi scheme seeks to recover money transferred to the defendants. On October 28, 2011, a hearing was held on the plaintiff's unopposed motion for summary judgment.

read … Kimura

Hawaii County urged to purchase Banyan's Beach

HTH: Banyan's Beach in North Kona has surfed to the top of the priority list for county acquisition next year.

The Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission on Monday put the finishing touches on its priority list as part of its annual report to Mayor Billy Kenoi.

The commission also recommended a dedicated funding source for maintenance and improvements of purchased sites, but stopped short of voicing support for a charter amendment sponsored by South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford that would dedicate 0.25 percent of property taxes -- about $500,000 annually -- for maintenance of land purchased with the open space fund.

The County Council Finance Committee takes up Ford's amendment at 1:30 p.m. today at the West Hawaii Civic Center.

read … Government Keeps Control of land

Paauilo land attracts Lease bidders

HTH: Roughly 18 months after Hawaii County failed to attract a single purchase offer for its Paauilo properties, its attempt to lease the 718 acres of former sugar cane land has generated more than 40 requests.

Monday was the deadline to submit lease proposals for any of 16 of the vacant parcels the county accepted in a 1994 property tax settlement with a bankrupt sugar cane plantation.

They range in size from 12.8 acres to 110 acres. The southernmost and northernmost lands have paved access via Antone De Luz Road and Paauilo Mauka Road, respectively. Old dirt cane-haul roads, some very steep and bumpy, are used to reach the other parcels.

Farmers, ranchers and at least one would-be housing developer have agreed to pay the county's minimum rent of $11.63 an acre for each year of a 10-year lease. Those upset prices would range from $1,489 to $12,760 for a decade's worth of use.

"We have received multiple proposals on each parcel, so it will go to sealed bid," said Ken Van Bergen, the county's property manager.

read … Government Keeps Control of land


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