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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
November 22, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:27 PM :: 9122 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaiian Tel to Impose Last, Best and Final Offer on IBEW

Lingle: Super Committee Failure Shows Lack of Bi-Partisan Leadership

New rules turn GOP race from sprint into marathon, early nominee unlikely

National Journal: Hawaii Senate Race Up for Grabs

Feds: Even with Low Usage, Hawaii Still has Highest Electric Bills

Djou Featured in National Journal

NJ: Republican Charles Djou lost to Colleen Hanabusa after serving less than a year in the House. (He won a special election in May 2010 to replace former Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who became Hawaii's governor.) Djou is seeking a rematch with Hanabusa next year, but first he is finishing a stint with the Army Reserve in Afghanistan (pictured in 2010).

USA Today: Growing numbers of Asian Americans run for Congress

read … Trying Again: Former Representatives Seeking a Second Chance

Hawaii Unemployment Tax Rates To Rise?

HR: Legislators and state officials may increase unemployment taxes next year to the highest levels allowed under state law.

The higher taxes, paid by employers, would be imposed to replenish a trust fund that held a $552 million reserve three years ago but was bankrupted after the recession hit and thousands of new benefit claims were made on the fund.

The higher tax rates would kick in as the state’s overall jobless rate, which had been in steady decline, has notched up again in recent months.

“For the past two years or so, it’s been on the decline and we were hoping that the decline would continue,” state Labor Department Director Dwight Takamine told legislators in a recent briefing.

Over the past four months, the unemployment rate has risen from 6 to 6.5 per cent.

“The recovery rate has come to a standstill this year,” Takamine said.

read … Unemployment Tax

SA Editors Make Error Upon Error pushing to Reduce complexity of tax exemptions

This SA Editorial is so full of errors that it cannot be relied on. Here are three commenters correcting the Editors….

  1. The example the SA uses is wrong. A $40,000 elderly exemption doesn't result in a $1,400 exemption it results in a $140 exemption….
  2. The editorial is incorrect. Punahou School pays $300 in annual property tax; its assessed LAND value is $37,000 for its 74-acre property. Iolani School pays $300 in annual property tax; its assessed property value is $105 million. The original article by Rob Perez was accurate however this editorial is riddled with errors, much like our Real Property Tax data….
  3. "With each 10 years of age after that, the homeowner gets what amounts to an additional tax reduction of $700." This is also not correct. The additional exemptions are for low-income homeowners only, and they have to apply for it. The maximum exemption is $200,000, which results in additional tax savings of $280, not $700. Let's get this straight: The tax savings for $80,000 is $280. The additional exemption of $40,000 (to $120,000) results in additional savings of $140. The maximum savings based on a $200,000 exemption for a low-income homeowner is $700 total (not additional).

read … How to Raise Taxes

Top Three: ERS Trustees to Consider Limits to Pension Spiking Schemes

CB: At least 14 states have revamped their pension systems in the past five years to prevent employees from "spiking" their pay to pad retirement benefits.

The Hawaii Employees' Retirement System is looking to do the same despite opposition from public employees' unions.

The system's trustees expect to draft legislation aimed at deterring the practice known as pension spiking — essentially working extra overtime in the years before retirement to boost the overall pay level on which retirement pay is based. Wes Machida, the system's administrator says spiking is a big concern, especially in light of the ERS's estimated $9 billion unfunded liability.

Some ERS members serving on a legislative committee are scheduled to meeting Tuesday to come up with a plan to present to the full board before the Legislature convenes in January.

Don’t Forget Why this is necessary: Act 100: How Hanabusa and Cayetano launched Hawaii Pension crisis

read … Pension Spiking

Leadership: Judicial commission acts while Abercrombie dithers

Borreca: After years of being something of a rag-doll toy for whatever political machine was in power, the Hawaii Judicial Selection Commission is showing both real independence and real smarts.

On Nov. 16, the commission decided in favor of transparency and openness by announcing that it would make public the names of judicial nominees sent to the governor….

The nine-member selection commission was much more suspect when former union boss and now incarcerated federal felon Gary Rodrigues was a commissioner. During the Lingle years, there were complaints that Lingle picked mostly former prosecutors as judges and not enough women were named to the bench.

So now to have Susan Ichinose, the newly elected commission chairwoman, take the issue of transparency away from Gov. Neil Abercrombie and settle it with intelligence and dispatch is reason to cheer….

"The JSC believes that the judicial selection process will be strengthened by the new rules because the work produce of the JSC will now be more easily accessible and more readily evaluated by the public," Ichinose wrote.

Imagine how government productivity would be strengthened if each state agency and leader adopted that message.

read … Judicial commission acts while Abercrombie dithers

Abercrombie Backs Malama Solomon’s Demand to Disenfranchise Military Voters

WHT: "The governor respectfully requests that this court compel the 2011 Reapportionment Commission to do everything necessary, including recreating 'permanent resident' population bases for the four basic island units, to correct the 2011 Reapportionment Plan it filed with the Chief Elections Officer, and assure that it complies with article IV, section 4 of the State Constitution," concludes the 14-page response filed by Deputy Attorney General Charleen M. Aina….

The commission, in its lawsuit, disagreed. It's asking the court to dismiss the petition and award the commission attorney fees and costs.

"Insofar as the commission complied with Article IV, Section 4 of the Hawaii Constitution in apportioning the members of the Legislature among the four basic island units, the petition fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted," said Deputy Attorney General Robyn B. Chun on behalf of the commission….

It's not known when the Supreme Court will decide the case, although the court is expected to expedite it to leave time for candidates to line up for an Aug. 11 primary.

What this is all about: Military to be Disenfranchised so Meth dealer’s friend can keep Senate Seat?

read … Commission files brief in reapportionment suit

New public land agency hires executive director from Campbell Estate

SA: Haraguchi was involved with planning and development of the Villages of Kapolei as a former project manager for the Housing Finance and Development Corp., a state agency promoting affordable-housing development.

Later, Haraguchi joined Campbell Estate where his duties included helping manage and later dispose of roughly 55,000 acres of agricultural, conservation, residential and commercial land on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island.

Haraguchi no longer works for the estate's successor, James Campbell Co. He presently serves on nonprofit boards including Malama Learning Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii.

Among those who testified in support of Haraguchi were present and former Campbell executives, Kapolei community leader Maeda Timson and Malama Learning's executive director, Pauline Sato. Developer Stanford Carr and Roy Tsutsui, vice president of planning firm R.M. Towill Corp., also lauded Haraguchi for his work with the Villages of Kapolei and Campbell projects.

CB: New State Land Development Head Known as Listener

read … Haraguchi

Abercrombie Flip-Flops on Free Trade

Henry Curtis: Representative Neil Abercrombie generally opposed U.S. free trade agreements: Peru (2007), Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) (2005), Australia (2004), and Singapore (2003).

He co-authored the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment Act (TRADE Act) in 2009. The proposed bill would limit expedited approval or fast tracking unless there were provisions safeguarding labor, human rights, environment, public safety, and food. The TRADE Act also required a review of NAFTA and the WTO. Representative Abercrombie supported assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization (2007) and withdrawing from the World Trade Organization (WTO) (2000).

On the opening day of APEC Hawaii 2011 Governor Neil Abercrombie held a press conference at the guarded Hawai`i Convention Center. I asked him “Are there any downsides to APEC?” and he replied: “Not for us.”

read … Flip-Flop

Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers headed for Kuwait

SA: Fifty citizen soldiers from the Hawaii Army National Guard and their Black Hawk helicopters are on their way to Kuwait for a nine-month deployment instead of Iraq.

The soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 207th Regiment were at Fort Hood in Texas in pre-deployment training.

The unit left Hilo in August for Texas. The Pentagon did not say when the unit left.

Meanwhile, another Hilo-based Hawaii Air National Guard unit left today for southwest Asia.

read … Kuwait

Deedy’s Lawyer to Lynch Mob: Wait for the Trial (Innocence Project pronounces Guilt?)

CB: A man walked alongside Deedy and told him to hang in there. Deedy replied, "Thank you for your support."

In a hallway, one protester held a sign that read "JUSTICE for Kollin Elderts." Hart, visibly annoyed, told the man, "Wait for the trial."

Community activist Kat Brady, who is with the Community Alliance on Prisons, stood near that protester, holding up a cell phone to take photos or videos. Hart told Brady, "Tell me you're on the board of the Innocence Project, remember that?"

Michael Green, the attorney hired by Elderts' family, said he served Deedy Monday with a lawsuit he filed last week. Green said he also plans to sue the federal government because he believes Deedy was on-duty at the time of the incident.

read … A bunch of hypocrites

New DoE Talking Point: Hawaii is #2 in Cuts to State School Spending

CB: Of course, this means little since other states’ schools are funded mostly from LOCAL sources, not State sources. But it’s good enuf for a “True” from a Civil Beat Fact Check….

See Study behind the claim: New School Year Brings Steep Cuts in State Funding for Schools

What the DoE didn’t cut: Hawaii DoE: Cost of waste, fraud, and corruption between $191M and $431M per year

read … Another Fact Check

State Raids Maili Condo Site on Behalf of Carpenters Union

KITV: Hidano said, "We're getting mixed messages to "Who's the developer?" "Who's the contractor?" "What subcontractors are on site?" Are they properly 'carded,' do they have the proper identification to be here?"

Investigators from the state tax department were there, trying to figure out if workers are getting paid off the books, so the contractor can avoid paying taxes of all sorts….

Two construction workers tried to escape from the site to evade questioning, but were stopped by a neighbor and two investigators, Hidano said. "They did try to escape, and we know for a fact there are some of them hiding in the buildings," she said.

"Contractors who cheat and developers who hire them really hurt all of us," said John White, executive director of Pacific Resource Partnership, which is funded by the Carpenters Union.

"When you have unlicensed non-union contractors performing work or you have people who are violating the our rules, you call into question the whole safety of the project, not only from the workers' standpoint, but from the actual building itself," White said.

Hidano said, "If you're dishonest non-union and you're not doing paying all the things that the other unionized businesses are doing, you have an advantage, a profit advantage."

The state established a Construction Site Inspection Task Force in 2010 to investigate and inspect construction sites for unlicensed non-union contractors, undocumented workers, and workplace safety violations. Monday’s raid was the first joint inspection by three departments as part of the task force effort, officials said.

read … Maili

Police Called on Councilman Berg Rail Rant

KITV: About twenty minutes into Thursday night’s Waipahu Neighborhood Board Meeting, City Councilman Tom Berg, who represents the Kapolei and Ewa Beach district, asks Chair Rito Saniatan if he can address the board.

"I come to you with a concern on the rail," said Berg.

Saniatan allows Berg to speak, even though a proposal to discuss "Rail Transit" at a future meeting is not scheduled until further down the agenda….

Board vice chair Cory Chun says he doesn't take offense with Berg's passion on the issue of rail.

However, Chun said he expected the elected government official to follow the order of the meeting.

"When you step outside the rules and try to manipulate them that’s where I find it unacceptable and frankly it was very disrespectful," said Chun.

City Councilman Ernie Martin said he is reviewing the video tape.

SA: Berg apologizes for actions at Waipahu Neighborhood Board

SA: Councilman's disruption spurs call to police

VIDEO … Berg Rail Rant

MORE Illegal Dumping by Honolulu City Workers

SA: Sand, soil, rocks, lumber, asphalt, concrete, gravel, tires and rebar -- some of it belonging to the city -- have piled up on city-leased land in Waipahu in a case of unauthorized storage, Mayor Peter Carlisle said Monday.

The city has begun looking into the problem, Carlisle said.

"We're investigating where these materials came from and have determined that some did come from city projects," he said.

There are clues about where some of the items came from, but that is still being analyzed, he said. Piles of sand and blocks have already been identified as belonging to the city.

read … MORE Illegal Dumping

Hawaii State Salaries 2012: Highest Paid at University of Hawaii

Look up #48 in your copy of Broken Trust …

48 Rockne C Freitas VP Student Aff & Univ Comm Rel $213,768

read … UH Salaries

Do I want to work? UH Hilo Dropout from Joins ‘Occupy’

WaPo: Dylan Bozlee, of Hilo, Hawaii, (your UH tax dollars at work) has his foot taped by volunteer EMT David McClintock of Philadelphia at the Occupy Philadelphia encampment at City Hall on Nov. 15. Bozlee dropped out of college at the University of Hawaii to join Occupy, and says he’d rather travel across America than get a job. “Do I want to work? Only if I wanted a home, wife, kids and a dog. If not, I think you’re ruining your life,” he said. Before the march, Bozlee was a member of the Class Warfare camp at Zuccotti Park in New York, where he says he joined other anarchists in teaching passersby about the concept of warfare of the lower classes against the upper class. His inspiration? “When I saw the pepper spraying by Toni Baloney,” or Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, whose spray hit penned-in female protesters. (The Occupiers are Gods and must not be touched by mere mortals.)

read … WaPo Fluff Piece on Occupy and HERE

Kauai Luddites Demand GMO Labeling to Assist in Hysterical Propaganda Campaign

KGI: Mark Phillipson, from Syngenta, said food safety should be the crux of the matter, not labeling. There has not been a single problem with GMO foods regarding safety, he said. BINGO!

Total Rundown: The Future of Fraud

read … GMO On the Table

Hawaii regulators approve Kapolei solar farm

PBN: The 1-megawatt photovoltaic system that will supply power to the Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park has won final approval.

The state Public Utilities Commission recently approved the power purchase agreement between Forest City Hawaii and HECO.

Hoku Solar will design and install the project, which is located on a former disposal site near the James Campbell Industrial Park in West Oahu.

Forest City will operate the system, which will cost between $6 million and $7 million.

read … Solar Scam

Pono Chong named House Majority Leader

HNN: "Pono Chong is my choice to replace Blake as Majority Leader," said Speaker Say. "Pono has worked very hard for the people of Hawaii and the House of Representatives, especially during the budget crisis of the past three years. As Majority Whip during those years, he was a major contributor in resolving the crisis through a balanced approach of budget cuts and revenue enhancement. Blake has recommended Pono has Majority Leader. I am confident that Pono will continue the standard set by Blake."

Political Radar: Chosen

read … Majority

Civil Beat Decides Hawaii Needs a 'Butt Bill'

CB: “If cigarette manufacturers want to sell cigarettes in Hawaii, the state should require them to include a separate part of their pack to store used butts. They could return the pack to any store that sells cigarettes and wants the processing fee. And the smokers would get back, say, 10 cents a butt, or $2 a pack.”

Question: Is there any aspect of consumer behavior which Civil Beat thinks government SHOULDN'T regulate with some Rube Goldberg tax scheme?

read … Butt Head

Hawaii residents struggle with long-term healthcare

HNN: Laurie Kaneshiro is your typical Hawaii caregiver. The 57 year old is college-educated, raised a family, worked full-time as an interior designer, and for three years, spent 20 to 30 hours a week providing care to her 84 year old mother, Yukie Kuwahara - who suffers from Parkinson's disease

"I had no idea how hard it was," says Kaneshiro about her caretaking duties.

She faced some difficult decisions as Yukie aged. "I had to eventually quit my job because I would leave her home and when I'd come home, I didn't know what she ate all day. I wasn't sure if she'd fallen down, explains Kaneshiro.

They remodeled their home to accommodate Yukie, sought help from Medicaid and Medicare, and hired a day nurse before Kaneshiro eventually quit work. It took a financial and emotional toll.

Kaneshiro is not alone. It's happening in families all across the islands, and the challenges are likely to get worse in Hawaii - as baby boomers age and the number of younger adults who'll take care of them declines.

read … Long Term Care

Dozens of seniors on waiting list for meals

HNN: The number of Hawaii seniors seeking assistance from the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program is growing. The organization now has a waiting list with the names of 90 seniors who have asked for food the organization cannot afford to provide.

Anyone who can donate time and especially money is urged to contact the folks at Lanakila Meals on Wheels. The phone number is 531-0555.

You can learn more about the program by clicking on the link www.lanakilamealsonwheels.org

read … Seniors

Guam Senator Blas sends letter expressing disappointment to Obama

PDN: “Albeit your arrival occurred in the late evening hours and your time on the tarmac was roughly less than a couple of hours, many who call Guam their home would not have minded to stay awake for a couple of extra hours and brave the inclement weather just for the just for the opportunity to say that they saw their President wave and cast his eyes upon the most loyal and patriotic community in America,” Blas said in the letter….

“While the farnily and friends of this young soldier await the arrival of his body to honor and lay him to rest, I believe that you missed a great and important opportunity to express your condolence and appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice given by Army Specialist Calvin Pereda,” Blas said.

The next time Air Force One needs to land on the island to refuel, Blas asked that the president “take what little time you have to rekindle your relationship with the people of Guam.”

read … Guam

Matson “Christmas Tree Ship” Arrives Saturday

MN: Matson has been carrying Christmas trees from the Pacific Northwest to Hawaii for over a century. The trees are loaded directly into refrigerated containers at Christmas tree farms located inOregon and Washington. The containers are then kept sealed and refrigerated throughout the transportation process to maximize freshness upon arrival in Hawaii. Matson estimates that it ships over 100,000 trees every holiday season.

read … Christmas

 

APEC - a lost public relations opportunity for the State of Hawaii?

ETN: While it is still too early to determine if Honolulu received a net gain of 10,000 additional visitors, it is not too early to conclude that Hawaii received much less world publicity than it had hoped for. It is always dangerous to read into non-events. The truth is that no one ever really knows why some events create a “big bang” around the world and other events receive merely a passing mention. Nevertheless, there are certain sociological patters that, if understood, help to explain why Hawaii did not gain the expected coverage for which it had hoped. Below are a few of these principles. It is the writer's desire not to cast blame but to provide useful information for other locales.

Do not get caught up in localism. Most people are convinced that the eyes of the world are upon them and their locale. Andy Warhol may have said it best when he argued that we all seek our 15 minutes of fame, but in reality, most of us never get it. The same is true of locales. The further away a locale is from the epicenter of news, the less likely it is to get worldwide coverage.

read … APEC

Rep. Gene Ward Discusses The Hawaiian Library System

 

Colleen Lashway, branch manager of Hawaii Kai Public Library, and Cora Eggerman, branch manager of Waimanalo Public Library discuss the Hawaii Library with Representative Gene Ward

See … YouTube

 

Rain files claims suit vs. concert promoter

MANILA, Philippines - Asian pop star Rain has filed a 4 billion won (P152 million) compensation claim against a concert promoter to recoup the money he paid when he lost a lawsuit in Hawaii for a botched US concert tour in 2007.

The singer, who is now fulfilling his mandatory military service, filed the lawsuit against Wellmade Star M, which prepared the concert tour, according to reports in the Korean media.

The new lawsuit seeks to recover the money he paid in the Hawaii case and compensation for his damaged reputation.

read … Rain


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