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Saturday, November 19, 2011
November 19, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:56 PM :: 7665 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Whipped in Court, Undercut by JSC, Abercrombie Admin not ready to abandon Defense of Judicial Secrecy

Court Ruling on Judicial Secrecy an Embarrassment to Abercrombie’s Neutered OIP

Hirono, Hanabusa Say ‘No’ to Balanced Budget Amendment

Lingle Unveils Issues-Based Video on Economy

Rothenberg: Hawaii Senate Race ‘In Play’

Hawaii Debt Highest in Nation as Percentage of Private Sector Production

Ceremony Recognizes Aviation Brigade Deployment to Afghanistan after Pohakuloa Training

The mission of the 2,600 soldiers deploying to Afghanistan is to provide a bird’s-eye view of the war zone for their comrades on the front lines.

They are the men and women of the Combat Aviation Brigade.

To ready themselves for overseas, the troops practiced flying at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island.

"We put our pilots in a scenario as close as we can get to Afghanistan without going to Afghanistan, so we try to put them in a position where they are at high altitude. The winds are howling up there at the top of the volcano," said senior instructor pilot Joe Roland.

The troops start leaving the beginning of January.

SA: Wheeler aviation brigade prepares for Afghan duty

read … Afghanistan 

Suspended Police Major Collected Full Pay While Allegedly Dealing Drugs

Honolulu police major Carlton S. Nishimura was placed on administrative leave without pay late this morning following his arrest Monday night on new federal drug charges, the department announced.

Nishimura had been receiving full pay while on leave following his February indictment on federal extortion charges.

Nishimura, 55, was working as an HPD “legislative liaison” when the indictment was returned, and then was stripped of his police powers and reassigned to “community affairs” duties by the department.

HPD spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said earlier today Nishimura was on administrative leave with full pay while awaiting trial in the extortion case, explaining that job security protections written into HPD employment agreements limited the department's ability to suspend or terminate officers accused but not convicted of criminal conduct.

Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu announced later this morning that Nishimura's status was changed "to leave without pay following the latest developments."

According to allegations in federal court papers filed yesterday, Nishimura was dealing in large quantities of crystal methamphetamine while collecting his police salary.

FBI agents seized more than a half-pound of the illegal drug – packaged in five plastic baggies – during a raid on Nishimura’s Waianae home Monday evening, according to an affidavit from Special Agent Daniel Olson….

read … Meth Dealer

Mitch Roth to Challenge Old Boy Lincoln Ashida for Hawaii County Prosecutor

Mitch Roth, a veteran deputy prosecuting attorney, announced Wednesday he will challenge Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida for the four-year office.

"My passion for the last 15 years has been to improve the quality of life for the community and my family," Roth said.

Roth, 47, served as Honolulu deputy prosecutor for five years before joining the Hawaii County prosecutor's office in 1998. As Hawaii's first "community oriented prosecutor," Roth said he continues working to build partnerships to solve crime and social problems, while also handling asset-forfeiture cases.

In 2003, Roth used a civil action, the first successful attempt at drug-nuisance abatement, to rid drug dealers from a downtown Hilo building. He later employed the same strategy successfully in Pahoa, which received a federal Weed and Seed designation in 2005 due to the efforts of Roth and others.

He also has been a Western Community Policing Institute instructor since 1996.

Roth said he's uniquely qualified to become prosecutor, citing his experience as a problem-solver and history of helping to protect crime victims.

read … Roth bids for county prosecutor

Hawaii 4th-Highest Debt Per Capita

Shapiro: In non-APEC news, a report said Hawaii's state government has the nation's fourth-highest debt at $26,693 per capita, compared with a national average of $13,754. And those who ran it up expect us to pay them a debt of gratitude at the polls….

Report: Hawaii Debt Highest in Nation as Percentage of Private Sector Production

read … Debt

Berg: Voters deserve another crack at city rail proposal

In the pursuit of bringing rail to our landscape, the state Legislature and city officials have failed to advance the most effective means of traffic relief. This has spawned a lawsuit that stands to derail the current rail project.

How did our government dupe the public into thinking we were to get the best traffic solution available?

It did so via Act 247, Hawaii Session Laws 2005, which included language that any general excise tax increase on Oahu cannot be used for highway technology such as managed lanes, reversible expressways or what we refer to as bus rapid transit

read … Vote on Rail

Star-Adv: OHA Land Deal Shows Promise (Just like all the Previous Deals)

the offer does seem "credible," as state Sen. Malama Solomon describes it. These are prime properties with what appears to be significant development potential. Even if the deal falls through, the offer is a serious one, and it at least communicates that the state wants to do right by the Native Hawaiians OHA Cronies who since 1978 have been absconding with anything owed to Native Hawaiians ….

The OHA share was set after the agency was created in 1978, fixed at roughly 20 percent because the Statehood Act lists "the betterment of conditions of native Hawaiians as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920" as one of five beneficiaries of ceded lands. The other four were public education, development of farm and home ownership, public improvements and land for public use.

The matter was always contentious, and not least among the objections was the argument that the legislative language reserved the money for those with 50 percent or more of Hawaiian blood, and not the broad constituency of OHA…. (The whole deal is a violation of the Admission Act. The OHA settlement works to the Detriment of Native Hawaiians by strengthening the power of the Trustee Class over them.)

Payments resumed in 2006, and then-Gov. Linda Lingle reached a settlement with OHA two years later over the back payments, a package amounting to about the same $200 million figure but a mix of cash and property, largely commercial and industrial parcels on Oahu and Hawaii island.

The state Senate rejected that deal, however. Among other criticisms cited, some feared the deal would extinguish future claims on resources.

The biggest problem with that proposal, however, seemed to be the sense that the broad Hawaiian community wasn't consulted. That's an error that the state, correctly, now seems determined not to repeat.

Reality: OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii

read … OHA land deal shows promise

House Dems Seek New Majority Leader

Democrats in the state House will caucus Monday at the Capitol. Agenda items are expected to include discussion of who will replace Blake Oshiro as majority leader, now that he's working for the governor.

The names of Cindy Evans, Roy Takumi and Jimmy Tokioka have been bandied about, but the leading candidate appears to be Pono Chong, currently a majority whip. A floor vote on the selection will likely come when session starts Jan. 18.

read … Majority Leader

Judge Ezra Issues Injunction: State must Speed Foodstamp Applications, Stop Violating Federal Law

A Maui resident filed an application for food stamps but did not hear anything from the Department of Human Services office for almost a month. When she inquired, she learned that her file had been transferred to the Oahu DHS office.

According to a complaint filed in federal court, she tried to contact DHS multiple times to inquire as to the status of her application but to no avail.

Her application had entered the black hole of SNAP (food stamp) applications at DHS. It turns out that she was not alone. So Lawyers for Equal Justice (led by attorney Victor Germiniani), along with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing and the National Center for Economic Justice filed a class action suit in federal court….

Judge David Ezra issued an injunction against the state on Wednesday.

Lingle and Koller Tried to Solve this Problem in 2010, were Pushed back by HGEA, Legislature:

Documents:

read … Judge Ezra rules state must issue food stamps in a timely manner

Soft on Crime: 18 Months For Homosexual Gang Rape at Maui Homeless Camp

The assault on the 38-year-old man occurred Aug. 23 to 26, 2009, at an encampment in brush near Puunoa Street next to Lahaina Cannery Mall. According to police reports, the victim was hogtied, beaten and sodomized with a tent pole, kiawe stick and broomstick.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said what happened was "beyond atrocious."

"He was tortured and tormented over a three-day period," she said.

Conner, one of four defendants charged in the attack, had pleaded no contest to first-degree assault and a reduced charge of first-degree unlawful imprisonment. First-degree sexual assault charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Defense attorney Al Albrechtson said Conner acknowledged slapping the victim while he was intoxicated and urinating on a couch. But although Conner was there, he didn't participate in the most serious crimes, Albrechtson said.

"There was no evidence that he participated in the sexual assault, other than to be there, to be laughing, to be just playing along with it," Albrechtson said.

He said Conner and the others, including the victim, knew each other and had been to the homeless camp before. There was an understanding that if anyone became so intoxicated that he passed out with his shoes on, "it was basically fair game for the others to draw on them to make them look foolish," Albrechtson said….

He said the victim was drinking bourbon and beer as well as ingesting Oxycontin, and Conner and others were drinking heavily.

Hmmmmm: Death, Disease plague 'Occupy’ Protests ... and more

read … This sounds like an Occupy Wall Street protest, but it’s a non-protest Homeless Camp

After APEC Lull, Honolulu Police Back to Making Prostitution Arrests

After a drought of prostitution arrests during APEC, Honolulu police seem to be back on the beat.

The Honolulu Police Department did not make a single prostitution-related arrest the week thousands of delegates and dignitaries were in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. That despite a forecasted influx of prostitutes to Waikiki for the events.

The summit started Nov. 8 and officially ended Sunday, Nov. 13. Police had last made a prostitution arrest on Nov. 2.

But as city operations returned to normal this week, officers also made two prostitution-related arrests Wednesday night.

read … APEC

Maui County Council Considering Massive Property Tax Hike aimed at Farmers

County Council members will meet again next week to discuss a bill requiring the land under a home on agricultural properties to be taxed in the same way as a regular residential lot.

The measure could mean a significant property tax increase for country estates that now receive agricultural tax benefits on their entire property, even parts that are not actually engaged in agriculture.

The Budget and Finance Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the eighth-floor Council Chambers of the Kalana O Maui Building. Council members said they wanted to hear comments from the public on the proposal, which can be viewed online at www.co.maui.hi.us/archives/194/BF-70_MW%20homesite%20bill.pdf. Comments may also be sent by email to bf.committee@mauicounty.us.

read … Lets Squeeze Ag some more

Hawaii's jobless rate climbs to 6.5 percent in October from 6.4 percent the previous month

Hawaii had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in October — up 0.1 percentage point from the previous month.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said Friday the state's labor force included 633,900 people in October. Of this total, more than 592,000 had jobs and more than 41,000 were unemployed….

In Honolulu, the unemployment rate rose slightly from October last year to a seasonally unadjusted 5.6 percent.

The county with the highest rate was Hawaii, where the unemployment rate was 9.3 percent. In Kauai County, it was 8.5 percent. In Maui County, it was 7.6 percent.

read … Thanks, Neil!

APEC Gave 1% Boost in Occupancy, 28.8% Boost in Rates

Hotels on Oahu, which hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week meetings, were 80.9 percent occupied last week, which was just one percentage point higher than a year ago.

But room rates soared 28.8 percent on Oahu, compared to last year, to an average $200.60 per night, according to the report.

Carlisle/Chin: Honolulu proved it has right stuff to host complex, prestigious events

Gill: Oahu residents paid a high price for a bad deal

read … 28.8% Hype Tax

$64.8M School will save $22,000/year, pay for itself in 2,945 years!

The middle school is equipped with an air conditioning system that works with day lighting to conserve energy. Contractors were also required to use green materials, include special control for storm water runoff, and test for material emissions before students moved into the building. Its energy efficiency has the potential to save the department up to $22,000 per year in utilities. That's a boon to a department that earlier this year predicted it would cost $1.5 billion to air condition all of Hawaii's public school campuses.

The 175,900-square-foot campus in Ewa Beach cost $64.8 million to build and is one of the first single-structure schools in Hawaii. But more like it are in the planning stage in anticipation of rapid population growth on the west side of Oahu.

(Math Problem: $64.8M / $22000 = 2945 years ‘til it pays for itself)

read … 2909 years

Fire Forces PBS Hawaii Off The Air Indefinitely

KITV: A smoky fire at PBS Hawaii knocked Hawaii’s public television station off the air indefinitely Friday, and the fire department said some evacuations were delayed because no one pulled a fire alarm in the building.

The fire also caused traffic tie-ups when it broke out just before 11 a.m. at the corner of University Avenue and Dole Street.

Thick, black smoke billowed out of PBS Hawaii across from the University of Hawaii Manoa campus late Friday morning.

SLIDESHOW: PBS Hawaii Fire, Evacuation

Read … Nobody Pulled Fire Alarm

OTEC Uses No Government Money

NELHA said it has selected OTEC International LLC to build the 1-megawatt demonstration plant that will use ocean thermal energy conversion technology first tested in Hawaii in the 1970s.

Baltimore-based OTEC International will combine proprietary technology with off-the-shelf components for the demonstration project, which will use cold water from the deep-water pipes at NELHA's Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point, officials from OTEC International and NELHA said.

Privately funded OTEC International said it has not relied on any government money to reach its goal and expects to be first-to-market with a commercial ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant. The company has a preliminary agreement with Hawaiian Electric Co. and is negotiating a power purchase agreement with HECO for a 100-megawatt plant off the coast of Oahu. A HECO spokesman confirmed the company was in negotiations with OTEC ….

read … OTEC

Hawaii Conference Highlights Federal Funding Opportunities for Small Businesses

High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) is hosting the 12th Biennial Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Conference on December 7th and 8th 2011 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki. The conference will focus on “Federal Funding Opportunities for Innovations Leading to Commercialization with the Department of Defense”. The conference aims to inform Hawaii’s small business community on how to apply for and win SBIR grant awards from the Federal Department of Defense, whose allocation for the award totals approximately $1.2 billion annually.

Totally Related: Name and Shame? Obama May Go Public with Inouye’s Funding Requests

read … Looking for New Gig

Sacred Hearts consolidation is complete

The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, which brought the first Catholic missionaries to Hawaii in 1827, formally merged its Hawaii chapter with a mainland contingent this week to expand its resources and invigorate its ministries.

The Rev. Johnathan Hurrell, an assistant pastor of St. Michael's Church in Waialua, was elected Wednesday as head of the consolidated chapter. The reorganization and election were part of a weeklong conference at St. Anthony Retreat Center in Kalihi Valley, presided over by the Rev. Javier Alvarez-Ossorio, the Rome-based superior general of the global organization's governing body.

"My big push will be vocations (recruiting priests). That will be an absolute priority — to bring new life into the community," Hurrell said.

read … Sacred Hearts

Niu Valley playground gets $15,000 online boost

Last week, non-profit group KaBoom! and Let’s Play, a community sponsorship program led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, announced that NiuValleyPlayground.com had won $15,000 in a social media contest, competing against 50 other communities around the country by garnering the top five votes on a Facebook page.

“Hawaii has again shown that it has a vibrant social media network that will flex its muscle to get behind a good cause,” said Peter Kay, the Association’s Vice Chair. “This is not the first time that Hawaii’s online community has won an online contest and it’s gratifying that as a community, we can successfully compete at a national level.”

To find out how you can help Niu Valley, please visit www.niuvalleyplayground.com or Facebookcom/NiuValleyPark.

read … Niu Valley

Hawaiian Immersion Preschool faces closure

Punana Leo O Kona Preschool, a Hawaiian language immersion program at Christ Episcopal Church's Wallace Hall, has just five students enrolled this year, Parent Hui President Joseph Dolan said. Punana Leo officials told parents in late October they would need at least 10 students to keep the program open after Dec. 31.

read … Immersion

NPS Doesn’t Allow Hunters, But May Exterminate Pigs, Goats

The National Park Service may be planning to shoot feral ungulates within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park but won't be opening the park for recreational hunting.

According to the draft environmental impact statement, NPS officials are considering lethal measures -- including supervised hunting, aerial shooting, snares and traps -- to decrease the feral animal population within the park.

"Much of the native flora lacks defenses against browsing such as stinging hairs, repellent odors, or thorns," the draft document said. "Non-native ungulates cause loss of vegetation, wildlife habitat degradation and population decline for native Hawaiian species."

Recreational hunting, which some community members requested during meetings earlier this year, is not permitted under NPS rules, the document said. Feral ungulates include pigs, sheep, goats and cattle. …

In most cases, animal carcasses would be left in place, although carcasses may be moved from sensitive areas, such as next to a road, trail or cultural site.

"Donation of carcasses is an option," Chief of Natural Resources Rhonda Loh said. Planned public meetings are "their opportunity to let us know" how they feel about that option and others.

read … Extermination


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