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Thursday, November 24, 2011
November 24, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:02 PM :: 8387 Views :: Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

NCAA “Extremely Concerned” about UH Point-Shaving Allegations

Outdoor Circle Comes Out Against Rail

New Batch of Global Warmers’ Emails: “We're choosing the periods to show warming”

Judicial Selection Commission Releases List of Nominees for Second Circuit Court

 

The hidden story of the third Thanksgiving: 1623--giving thanks for freedom

Assimilation, American style

The key to what Peter Salins, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, calls “assimilation, American style’’ was a balancing act. On the one hand, newcomers to the United States found out quickly that they were expected to become honest-to-God Americans. That meant learning English, getting a job, embracing America’s democratic values and institutions, and eventually taking the oath as new citizens.

On the other hand, immigrants weren’t obliged to shed their ethnic pride, or to drop the foods and customs and festivals they brought with them from their native land. They were free to be “as ethnic as they pleased,’’ writes Salins. The goal of assimilation was not to make all Americans alike; it was to get newcomers, however dissimilar their backgrounds and cultures, to believe that they were “irrevocably part of the same national family.’’

There was one other key ingredient, which we too easily overlook. Immigrants understood that the country they had come to was in some indispensable way better than the one they had left. They might retain a soft spot for the scenery or clothing or rhythms of life in the Old Country, they might always prefer their mother tongue to English, they might even pay tuition at a private or parochial school so that the religious or linguistic values they had grown up with would be passed on to their kids. But underlying everything would be the awareness that they had chosen to be Americans.

link … Thanksgiving Day Must Read

Shapiro: Abercrombie has no Principle Left to Stand On

Shapiro: As for Abercrombie, he has no principle left to stand on.

The Office of Information Practices and Sakamoto ruled he's wrong on the law, and they along with the state Supreme Court, the past two chief justices, the Hawaii chapter of the American Judicature Society and now the Judicial Selection Commission have repudiated his thin rationale for secrecy -- that naming finalists has a "chilling effect" on attracting quality judges.

Appealing Sakamoto's well-thought ruling would be pointless now that the selection panel will release the nominee lists, and dragging this divisive side issue into a second year would be yet another of the blunders that have distracted attention from Abercrombie's agenda.

The governor should promptly release the lists of finalists for his first three judicial appointments, as Sakamoto ordered, and move on to more pressing concerns.

read … Judicial panel's openness overrides governor's appeal

Hawaii Defense Cuts Loom After Super Committee Implodes

CB: The so-called super committee's impasse triggers an automatic cuts process known as sequestration that would slash $1 trillion in defense spending over the course of a decade beginning in January 2013. About half of that amount comes from cuts that the Defense Department agreed to make with or without sequestration.

A federal report released in September shows that Hawaii received $10 billion in defense spending last year, the most federal defense dollars, per capita, of any state.

Hawaii also ranked first in the amount of federal dollars it gets, per capita, to pay salaries and wages last year. More than 91 percent of the $7.9 billion in Hawaii wages that the federal government paid last year were within the Defense Department, including $725 million for Hawaii civilians working in the Defense Department.

Related: RAND: Military is 18% of Hawaii’s Economy (Full Text), Military Spending: In pursuit of Ideology, Hirono Votes Against 18% of Hawaii Economy

read … Thanks for burning down the Treasury, Obama

Sempra's Giant Solar Farm Unlikely Replacement for Molokai Big Wind

CB: It would be one of the largest solar installations in the world and was seen as a possible substitute for the 70-turbine wind farm that is being proposed for the island of Molokai as part of the Big Wind project.

But it’s unlikely that the massive 300-megawatt solar farm that San Diego-based Sempra Energy is hoping to build on underutilized Navy land near Pear Harbor will take the place of the wind farm.

The company told Civil Beat that it probably would not be able to secure land for the project in time to respond to Hawaiian Electric's request for proposals for other renewable energy projects.

(So what? That didn’t stop First Wind.)

read … Sempra

Rooftop Solar Contractor Upset as PUC opens up HECO to Big Renewables

Under the PUC ruling, HECO will pay Tier 3 producers 19.7 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated from solar photovoltaic panels and 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for wind-generated electricity. HECO customers stand to benefit from the pricing because the utility sells electricity generated by renewable energy developers and other independent power producers with no markup. The Tier 3 rates are significantly below the current residential rates HECO charges, which hit a record-high of 34.6 cents per kilowatt-hour on Oahu this month….

Officials at Honolulu-based (Act 221 Company) Hoku Solar, which is developing several Tier 2 projects, welcomed the expansion of the program to include utility-scale developments.

The company said it is optimistic that the additional tier "will be helpful in moving more large-scale projects forward in Hawaii."

"Much depends on the final language, however, so we'll all continue watching carefully over the coming weeks," said Jerrod Schreck, Hoku's chief strategy officer.

"Hoku Solar is currently working on several multi-megawatt projects, some of which could be strong candidates for the Tier 3 procurement mechanism," he said.

However, Schreck and many other solar developers in Hawaii say they are concerned about language in the feed-in tariff rules that give HECO the ability to cut off the flow of electricity from a renewable energy project if they feel the instability of the power would adversely affect the grid. Investors may not feel comfortable backing a project with the uncertainty that the utility could "curtail" its take of electricity at any time, they say.

"This ruling has been a long time and we're looking at it as the beginning of many good things to come," said Mark Duda, president of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association. "That said, there are elements of the program that are problematic for developers. Unless they can get that worked out, I'm not sure how far it will get," he said.

Marco Mangelsdorf, president of ProVision Solar Inc. in Hilo, said he was concerned the Tier 3 ruling would allow bigger players to dominate the market as the penetration of renewable energy overwhelms HECO's ability to incorporate it into its grids.

"More and more circuits across the state are reaching high saturation, effectively closing down the option of going PV to a growing number of utility customers," he said. "This manic mania for megawatts feeding frenzy will now go into hyper-drive, further eliminating the ability for homeowners and small businesses to install modest solar electric systems.

"The bottom line is our relatively small island electric grids can only handle so much distributed generation and these mega-systems going in will close the door for thousands of Hawaii residents to become more energy independent."

 

read … Larger electricity producers will now be able to sell their power more easily

The Politics of Digitizing Hawaiian Language newspapers

HR: Most of the history twisting in this new project, and an older project like it, is accomplished by carefully selecting which newspapers and articles to make available and which to ignore. During the 1880s, 1890s, and early 1900s there were royalist Hawaiian language newspapers but also anti-monarchy and annexationist Hawaiian language newspapers (as well as royalist and annexationist English-language newspapers) competing for readership and political loyalty. By choosing to make available only the royalist items, today's sovereignty activists can provide a twisted impression that all native Hawaiians were staunchly royalist; or that Dole, Thurston, Kinney, et. al. were scoundrels. For example, see an analysis of how the book "Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism" used a one-sided selection of Hawaiian language newspapers to create the impression that native Hawaiians were all royalists: http://tinyurl.com/6877l

Just imagine a similar project 100 years from now delving into politics of the period 1990-2012 but focusing entirely on newspapers like Honolulu Weekly, Ka Wai Ola (OHA's monthly rag), Civil Beat, Huffington Post, Peoples Weekly World, Al Jazeera, etc. The news release published November 22 explicitly said the newspaper project, if successful, will digitize only "half of the entire archive of Hawaiian-language newspapers published between 1834 to 1948." Guess which half?

There's good evidence that such history-twisting by omission is likely to be done, in view of a similar project at UH Manoa a decade ago. A grant was given for thousands of dollars to scan and transcribe the important documents related to the Hawaiian revolution of 1893 and annexation of 1898. The grant specified that the documents to be digitized included the Morgan Report. The project managed to complete its work for the pro-royalist Blount Report of 1893 and the anti-annexation petition of 1897, but somehow conveniently ran out of money before it got around to doing the Morgan Report of 1894, which it had also promised to do.

Related: 3,000 Volunteers Needed to Bring Historical Hawaiian Language Newspapers to the Internet

read … Selective Digitizing

Waikiki Business May Sue over Lousy APEC Sales

KHON: thinking about seeking federal dollars -- a group of Waikiki business owners who say APEC cost them dearly due to shutdowns or slowdowns. They gathered to talk with an attorney about a possible lawsuit.

"I think you're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars of total losses all those people lost serious money, and of course their employees are hurt as well," says John Carroll, attorney.

Club House Honolulu right across the street from the convention center says they had high hopes that quickly fizzled. They shut down for APEC week.

"What we didn't know was that they would block the crosswalk, and sure enough come lunch time not a single soul came here," says Ernie Inada, Clubhouse Honolulu.

"The wealth was not spread. a very small percentage did very very well, but most of us did not," says Inada.

SA: Businessman to sue for losses due to APEC

read … APEC Lousy

89% Vote for Furloughs: UPW ratifies two-year contract

SA: UPW announced Wednesday that 89 percent of workers voting statewide chose ratification. The union represents about 9,000 workers.

The contract includes 5 percent in labor savings from 14 unpaid days of leave this fiscal year and 13 unpaid days of leave next fiscal year. Workers will also pay an equal 50 percent share of health insurance premiums, up from 40 percent. No layoffs will be imposed during the contract.

Related: Abercrombie: From now on Furloughs will be Referred to as “Dil-Wops”

read … Contract

After Price-Fixing Exposed, Major Mainland School Bus Company Considers Hawaii

CB: The nation's second-largest school bus company may soon be rolling into Hawaii.

Durham School Services, based in Chicago, has obtained the paperwork necessary to bid on school bus contracts up for grabs next month. A company official says Durham's interest in the market was sparked after reading Civil Beat's Taken For a Ride series, which documents how the lack of competition among local bus companies is to blame for runaway transportation costs.

If it bids and is successful, Durham would be the first mainland company to enter the Hawaii school bus market in the history of the state….

The school district is currently soliciting bids on 17 contracts containing 88 school bus routes. The contracts would begin in July 2012 and run through June 2018. The invitation for bids comes as the federal government investigates possible collusion in setting prices in Hawaii. (In other words, local bus contractors have been looting the DoE.)

Forty-three percent of the transportation budget is spent on special ed students, even though they make up just 10 percent of the riders. Although there's not been a single competitive bid for regular transportation routes since 2007, there has been a minimal amount of competition for special ed routes…. (Special Ed=Big Bucks)

(The competing local bus companies will now rally their employees against mainland encroachment. They will portray themselves as standing up against looting the DoE. Will the media report this without flinching?)

LINK: this year's contracts

read … Bust the Cartel

HPH Touts Voluntary Medical Home Plan

At Hawaii Pacific Health, we have known for years that with or without national health care reform, we need to make significant changes in how we provide health care to our patients. Over the past eight years, we have invested more than $57 million in technology to help us better serve our patients. The result is a robust electronic medical record (EMR) system called Epic that is operational across our health system's four hospitals and 49 outpatient clinics and service sites. Just 5 percent of health care systems and hospitals in the country have implemented an EMR to this same level….

In Hawaii, caring for people with diabetes now costs $1 billion a year. We are seeing remarkable results with diabetic patients who are a part of HealthAdvantage, our new way of delivering health care that is focused on wellness and preventive care using Internet-based communication in addition to traditional doctor visits.

You may have heard the term "Patient Centered Medical Home" and that's what this is — patients partnering with their primary care physician and an extended team of nurses and health educators who are all focused on good health.

Related: Abercrombie’s Medical Homes scheme rejected by Mayo Clinic, other top clinics

read … Voluntary, not Government Imposed

Hawaii Non-Profits suffer Loss of “Unlimited Government Funding”

CB: The nonprofit landscape has been changed forever. Especially in Hawaii.

According to a recent survey by HANO and PHOCUSED (Protecting Hawaii’s Ohana, Children, Under Served, Elderly and Disabled), 70 percent Hawaii nonprofits underwent budget cuts during their last fiscal year, despite the need to deliver additional services during the economic recession. Strategies for coping with budget cuts included these:

  • 67 percent met budget challenges by cutting staff
  • 52 percent reduced programs and services
  • 37 percent cut salaries
  • 22 percent re-financed loans
  • 21 percent were forced to waitlist clients

What the economic crisis is showing the nonprofit sector is that they can no longer depend on corporate social responsibility, unlimited government funding or stable donations from even their most loyal donors.

Must Read: Nonprofit Boards: Confused or M.I.A.

LINK: Second Annual Conference of Nonprofit Communities of Hawaii.

read … Non-Profits less Profitable

Molokai: Taxpayer funded Enemy of Jobs

MD: Recently, I watched those that I love, respect and care about (Walter Ritte and some people on welfare) protest the yacht Safari Explorer come to our shores. As a business owner and a resident of Molokai, I consistently seek the balance with how I conduct business. Change is always scary and the fear of the future is no different but as I reflect on the past decade, it is hard to dismiss the economic hardships, which continue to burn a huge scar into the hearts of people worldwide….

Please bear in mind that commerce and keeping a healthy economic cycle is an important component to keeping our community alive. If grant money runs out and welfare, state and federal programs were taken away, would the opinions shift? (Just tell Ritte that the grants are only available if he moves off Molokai. He’ll be gone in a heartbeat and so will the “opinion”. BTW how long are you going to keep scratching your heads over this rather obvious point?)

read … A Delicate Balance

GMO Labeling, TAT Considered for Maui Legislative Package

MN: The proposals to be considered include state bills relating to: easing visa restrictions on the People’s Republic of China; maintaining the counties’ share of the transient accommodations tax (TAT); agricultural product branding and country or region of origin labeling; increasing the gallonage tax on liquor; and requiring publication of notice and a public hearing for certain types of adult residential care homes.

“The Maui County Council has already approved three proposed state bills, including a proposed bill requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food products, for inclusion in the HSAC package,” said Policy Chair Riki Hokama….

Hokama noted that only those proposals that are approved by all four councils will be included in the HSAC package for introduction at the 2012 state legislative session.

read … Maui’s Luddite Council

Judge tries to Hold off Lawyers Circling Dorcy Estate

MN: Second Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto said Wednesday he was inclined to deny a request that Laurence "Baron" Dorcy's $80 million estate pay fees for attorneys contesting the Kula resident's will and trust.

The judge asked that the request for attorneys' fees be "properly itemized and justified" in court filings before a continued hearing on the matter Dec. 28. Raffetto said fees would have to be found to be reasonable before being paid.

"This is not the usual case. There's a lot of money involved here, other people's money," Raffetto said. "There's a high interest in transparency, fairness and equity with regard to how this money is spent."

Taylor said the 2011 amendment to Dorcy's trust includes the Laurence H. Dorcy Hawaiian Foundation, which has three members (bunch of sovereignty activists stealing from the elderly) - Kanuha, his brother-in-law and Kanuha's attorney, Glenn Kosaka.

An analysis showed that group would receive about 23 percent of Dorcy's estate, Taylor said. "Once they get ahold of that money, who knows what they're going to do," he said.

read … Attorneys’ fees up in air in Dorcy case

Pedestrian critically injured in accident involving police officer

SA: A 49-year-old woman was crossing School Street toward the makai side when she was hit by a Nissan four-door sedan driven by a police sergeant on his way to work, Towne said. The car was traveling east on School Street, Towne said.

The woman was in a crosswalk, a witness told police. The woman ended up about 25 feet from the crosswalk, Towne said.

The witness said the pedestrian was dressed in dark clothing and that a street light above the crosswalk was out. Police said the witness reported that it appeared the pedestrian was hurrying across the four-lane road with her attention on an approaching mo-ped.

Towne said it did not appear that speeding or alcohol were involved.

read … In Crosswalk

Special report: law enforcement faces backlog of 87,942 state warrants

HNN: As of last month, state judiciary officials say there were 87,942 outstanding warrants across Hawaii with the total bail amount exceeding $41 million. There were 12,422 individuals with more than one warrant out against them.

Most of the bench warrants -- 57,426 -- were for traffic matters.

State sheriffs say they have about 40,000 traffic warrants stored at their office in Kakaako. The drawers are stuffed full. Newer warrants are being issued electronically, reducing the paperwork.

The Honolulu Police Department stores criminal warrants at its main station. Police say their officers work on serving warrants regularly. In the first 10 months of this year, HPD says it served about 5,000 misdemeanor warrants and nearly 1,000 felony warrants.

US Marshals deal with federal matters and are under no obligation to clear state warrants, but they do so when task force members -- who come from various agencies -- bring cases in. In the first 10 months of this year, the Hawaii Fugitive Task Force apprehended 754 state fugitives and cleared 1,049 state warrants.

read … 87,942 Warrants

Nofoa Beats Rap In Ex-Girlfriend's Murder, still Faces Original Kidnapping Charges but She won't be Around to testify

KITV: The case went to trial after several new details emerged, including an apparent confession of the crime by Nofoa to his brother.

25-year-old Kaukani was found with a fatal gunshot wound to her face on March 17, 2009.

At the time of her death, she had been scheduled to testify against Nafoa in a separate kidnapping and terroristic threatening case, which Nafoa still faces.

SA: Jury acquits man in Ewa murder

Read … So Who Killed Her Then?

HPA only cuts Four Years off Rapist’s Prison Sentence

SA: Nelson Olshefski, 36, was convicted of the 2008 rape and received a 20-year sentence in October 2010. The Hawaii Paroling Authority determined on Oct. 24 that Olshefski should serve at least 16 years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. 

According to the Prosecutor's Office, Olshefski, then 32, took the girl to a spare bedroom and raped her as his girlfriend and children slept in January 2008. The girl, who was a family friend, reported the assault to her friends and family, and police were called.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin argued before the Paroling Authority that Olshefski's prior criminal record, which includes theft, family abuse, and criminal property damage convictions, shows he has little regard for others, the Prosecuting Attorney's office said.

read … What? No probation?

Police Release 911 Tapes Of Fatal Waikiki Shooting

KITV: Part of the evidence in the case against Deedy comes from the 911 calls.

About a dozen people called for help after hearing the shots and watching the crime scene unfold.

HNN: 911 tapes show chaos, panic at Waikiki McDonald's shooting

Read … 911 Tapes

HGEA, UPW members Fail in Effort to grab State, County Surplus Payments to Health Fund

Supreme Court: In light of the Legislature's decree that employees had no vested right in employers' premium contributions and the numerous amendments to HRS § 87-3 which expanded the permissible uses of the premium surpluses to include uses benefitting employers, we conclude that the Health Fund statute did not create vested property rights or contractual obligations that precluded the return of the premium surpluses distributed to employers.—13 Plaintiffs cannot meet their burden of showing that the Legislature had a clear and unambiguous intent to create private contractual or vested rights that entitle them to recover as damages the premium surpluses that were distributed to employers. Accordingly, Defendants did not violate vested rights or breach contractual obligations in distributing the premium surpluses to employers. Based on the same reasoning, we conclude that the Legislature's enactment of legislation directing and authorizing the Health Fund to take such action did not constitute an unconstitutional taking of vested property rights or the impairment of contract.—14

Plaintiffs contend that the Trustees breached their fiduciary duties by allowing the premium surpluses to accumulate in the Health Fund without using them to improve benefits or reduce employee premiums. Plaintiffs also claim that the Trustees engaged in misrepresentation in describing the health plans. We conclude that these claims are without merit….

read … Premium Surpluses

Kahuku Hospital Bankruptcy “Good for Creditors”

Supreme Court: The results of this case were unusual and exceptionally good for the creditors. All secured and unsecured creditors were paid in full with interest, leaving a surplus of about $1,000,000.00.

The debtor's general and special counsel made a substantial contribution to this outcome. Counsel negotiated and helped to consummate the sale, and then challenged questionable claims. There would have been no surplus if the sale did not close and the unsubstantiated claims were not eliminated.

Under the controlling case law, however, this impressive result is not an independently sufficient basis for an upward adjustment.

read … Kahuku

Security cameras installed on buses

SA: The surveillance system, which comprises four internal and two external cameras on standard 40-foot buses and an additional two internal cameras on 60-foot buses, will initially be installed on 158 buses once the kinks are worked out of the system, said Roger Morton, president and general manager of OTS, which operates buses for the city.

Eighty percent of the $1.03 million project cost for the first 158 buses is being funded by Federal Transit Administration, with the city paying the rest ($205,114), the city Department of Transportation Services said in a news release.

Images will be stored in a central high-definition digital recording system, the city said. Video will be viewed only when necessary to conduct a review of an event on a bus, the city said.

read … Security cameras installed on buses

Two PhDs Debunk Lies of Anti-Aquarium Campaigners

SA: There is no question that our coral reefs are in serious decline, but the causes are manifold, and the impact of the aquarium fish trade is negligible. Pollution, invasive algae, overfishing and the introduced grouper roi — which feed mainly on reef fishes and are not fished because of risk of ciguatera fish poisoning — are the major concerns.

These were ignored in — and we therefore take issue with — Robert Wintner’s commentary (“Curtail isle aquarium fish collectors,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Nov. 13). He wrote, “Multiple scientific studies call the aquarium trade a major cause of reef degradation” — but we know of no such scientific study.

There are 3,775 licensed commercial fishermen in Hawaii, but only 166 licensed aquarium fish collectors; another 203 have permits as recreational aquarium fish collectors, according to Alton K. Miyasaka of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Add to this the unknown number of sportfishermen and spearfishermen, and the negative impact on the fish populations is clear.

AP: Massachusetts fishermen snare 881-pound tuna, feds take it

read … Marine reserves the best way to protect fish and fishing

 

 


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