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Monday, December 05, 2011
December 5, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:31 PM :: 7996 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Lawsuit targets "Illegal" $117M Federal Loan Guarantee for Kahuku Windfarm

Kalapa vs Property Tax Exemptions: Vitality of County Depends on Everyone Paying Their Share

Hawaii Republican Presidential Vote to be Held in Every House District

McIntosh to run for Hawaii County Council in 2012

As WWII vet numbers dwindle, preservation of their legacy shifts to newer generations

The survivors have faithfully commemorated America's entry into World War II year after year, decade after decade, but after 70 years, there just aren't enough alive anymore or in good enough health across the country to carry on that cause.

"World War II history is about to go into dramatic evolution as this generation passes," said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which includes the Arizona Memorial.

Of just 334 Arizona survivors, only 18 — one Marine and 17 sailors — are still known to be alive.

Most are now in their 90s. The oldest Arizona survivor, Joseph Langdell, is 97.

Seven crew members from the sunken battleship are expected to attend this year's commemoration, but there may be fewer.

HNN: More Schofield soldiers returning from Iraq Monday night

And, lurking in the shadows: East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”

read … Pearl Harbor salute at year 70

The More Abercrombie Rages, the More He is Ignored

CB: Our Governor's growing irrelevance is a personal tragedy, and a huge public disappointment. We were seeking a seasoned leader, but we're now learning the hard way that older isn't always wiser. Mr. Abercrombie seems no longer able to make mid-course corrections or rebuild a broken consensus. The more he rages, the more he is ignored.

If this cloud has a silver lining, it will be the emergence of new leadership at all levels. Weakness at the top obliges every responsible official to step forward and try to fill the gap. Some are beginning to do so. Hopefully, there are genuine leaders among them who will seize this opportunity to articulate a public agenda the public can actually support.

A good place to start would be a serious, consensus-driven state energy plan. There is no such plan today, despite the Governor's claims. What he did was paste his name onto ex-governor Lingle's proposals, and allow squabbling private interests to shape the planning process. To date, we still don't know the need, the costs, the terms, the players or the real outcome. The incredibly ambitious goal of 70 percent renewables by 2030 is being used not to stimulate creativity, but to steamroll opposition. The result is a top secret incoherent mess.

read … Top Secret Incoherent Mess

Secrecy Shrouds Abercrombie’s Year-Long search for Water Board Nominee

Donna Kiyosaki completed her term June 30. Currently a senior vice president with Waimana Enterprises, an (Al Hee) development company, Kiyosaki is a former deputy manager and chief engineer on Honolulu's Board of Water Supply…..

Abercrombie was sworn in Dec. 6. According to Bill Tam, the DLNR deputy director who works with the water commission, the governor decided to extend the nomination process through December.

In January, he sought more applicants.

"He wanted as big a net as possible for boards and commissions," said Tam.

On March 24, the DLNR announced that it was extending the nomination period again, this time until April 6, "to provide the broadest range of potential candidates."

Tam says at least three names were selected from a candidate pool by a nominating committee and sent to the governor in April. But Abercrombie did not send a nominee's name to the state Senate for confirmation because the attorney general once again expressed concern about the process.

A spokesman for the attorney general said the office declined to comment, citing attorney-client privilege. Tam says the names of the nominees are confidential.

By law, two of the nominating committee members are appointed by the governor, one by the Senate president and one by the House speaker. The current committee is comprised of Rebecca Soon and Allen Hoe and Abercrombie appointees Warren Watanabe and Miles Furutani.

On Nov. 1, DLNR announced that it was once again soliciting nominations for the commission vacancy — the third time in a year.

read … More Abercrombie Secrecy

99% tell Occupy Honolulu: “Get a job. Go back to the Mainland.”

Protesters who were on bikes, skateboards, scooters and on foot shouted, “Whose streets? Our streets” “Hawaii’s needs not corporate greed” and “We are the 99 percent, you are the 99 percent.”

Some spectators flashed shaka signs and applauded in support while others yelled, “ Get lost, go back to the mainland,” and “Go get a job.” ….

“We couldn’t get the people to come to us, so we came to the people,” protester Lucas Miller said.

read … Occupy meets Reality

Rail Planners Admit Most of their Plan is Flawed

SA: At least until 2029, the city plans to operate two-car trains, with each car able to hold up to 159 people seated and standing. Sometime after 2029, the city plans to shift from two-car trains to four-car trains to accommodate more riders.

The length of the trains affects the design of the stations. Each car will be 64 feet long, and current plans call for the stations to be about 240 feet long.

But the city may also opt to go with three cars to a train instead of four. (And yet, they just rushed to sign up Ansaldo. Anything to help Inouye get those Federal funds.)

If the city shifts to a three-car configuration, planners could shrink the station platforms to about 180 feet, Hamayasu said. "If we can provide the same capacity with three cars, then we can shorten the platform and save some costs," he said….

…Another idea planners are considering is to create a turnaround near Leeward Community College. That would allow some trains to shuttle back and forth more frequently on a shorter run between urban Honolulu and the college, while other trains would make the entire 20-mile run from Ala Moana Center to Kapolei.

That could provide more frequent service in the most heavily developed areas of Honolulu. It could also make the system more efficient by allowing some trains to turn back before reaching undeveloped areas west of the Leeward college campus, Hamayasu said.

That increased efficiency might allow the city to get by with fewer train cars for some additional savings, Hamayasu said. The city signed a contract with Ansaldo Honolulu JV last week to purchase 80 cars, but Hama­yasu said a turnaround at Leeward Community College might allow the city to get by with perhaps four fewer cars. (Geee. Should’ve negotiated this BEFORE signing Ansaldo up. But that’s ok, after Ansaldo is dissolved by the Italian Gov’t, they can get it right with the next company.)

The city is also weighing a proposal to delay construction of elements of some rail stations planned for rural Leeward Oahu. Those stations probably would see little use in the early years of the project because few people live in those areas. (And yet they insist on building these FIRST, not last.)

"If the area is not going to be developed by the year 2019, why construct a fully furnished station?" Hama­yasu said. "Since the expected use is not significant, we can perhaps leave it as the basic station rather than the fully furnished station." (Duh!)

read … Rail Planners Admit Most of their Plan is Flawed

Honolulu Not Alone in Trying to Move Homeless from Sidewalks

The Honolulu City Council is expected to vote this week (Dec 7) on a bill that would ban people from storing their belongings in public spaces. The bill would allow the city to impound anything left on sidewalks for more than 24 hours or in a park after closing.

SA: Ban on storing personal items in public areas advances

read … Its good to have company

State Releases RFP for 650 foot Kakaako Tower

The state has released a draft request for proposals to build a residential tower in Kakaako that would rise significantly higher than any existing structure in Hawaii.

Developers would have until May 29 to submit proposals to build a condominium tower up to 650 feet high along with affordable housing and commercial and community space on two acres of state-owned land bordered by Keawe Street, Pohukaina Street and Mother Waldron Park.

read … RFP

Marina proposal at Sand Island is meeting some opposition

The state DLNR envisions a new marina with 400 to 500 boat slips as part of a proposed Sand Island Ocean Recreation Park.

A private developer would take on the almost $30 million cost to develop and operate this site with more public ocean access in mind.

But many of those against the plan are worried it'll just make the area more congested and not as safe.

read … State Development

43% of Makawao Residents Pay 50% of Income in Rent

According to recent statistics collected by the 2005-09 American Community Survey and compiled in the 2011 Maui County Data Book (a sometimes surprising list of statistics on Maui’s citizens and economic life), approximately 43 percent of Makawao residents spend more than half of their income on rent. This is less (but still a large percentage number) compared to Kihei, Kahului and Lahaina residents, with 21, 19 and 18 percent spending at least half their income on rent, respectively, yet the figures are unnerving and unsettling, especially if there are families with children.

read … Thank an activist for Keeping Real Estate prices high

Performance Contracts for Hawaii Charter Schools

Right now, the Hawaii Charter School Review Panel is the only agency that can authorize new charter schools and hold them accountable. But soon there will be others, based on the task force's recommendations.

"We have paved the way so that in the future you can have multiple authorizers," Tokuda said. "We're actually redoing the composition of the panel and renaming it."

There are currently 32 charter schools in the state, and it doesn't look like any of the recommendations will dramatically change their number in the near future. State law currently lets the Charter School Review Panel charter up to three start-up schools for every existing charter school that is accredited, and to authorize up to 25 charter conversions from existing regular public schools.

"I don't believe new caps will be necessary," Tokuda said. "The ultimate cap is a strong application process and strong performance contracts that will make sure good charters get through."

While that may be difficult for some charter school advocates to accept, Tokuda said, bigger in this case is not necessarily better. Meaningful applications and strong performance evaluations will not foster a big charter school network, but they should foster a good one.

Meanwhile, several schools whose charters are up for renewal this year may not get to renew just yet. The task force is encouraging the review panel to hold off until next year when it can attach performance contracts to the renewals.

Performance contracts are what the Charter Schools Administrative Office director says he is most excited about.

"I think a lot of the community is getting on board with the concept that there should be a performance contract for every school," Roger McKeague told Civil Beat. "An initial application is one thing, but there should be a document that is a contract, that protects the school by providing clarity in expectations."

read … Charters

SA: More Money for Preschool

SA: The overall drop of about 3 percentage points since 2008 may not sound so devastating: The numbers for the current school year show that 58 percent of Hawaii kindergarteners attended preschool the year before, compared with 61 percent three years earlier.

However, digging a little deeper into the tally uncovers the cause for the real concern. Schools in lower-income areas are showing a far more drastic drop ….

One countermeasure deserving of support that she proposes is to readjust the federal subsidies that states receive to underwrite early-education opportunities. Subsidies have been issued on a sliding scale according to family income, but when funding cuts hit in 2010, the Department of Human Services under the Lingle administration reduced the subsidy across the board, Chun said. She rightly argues that it would be better to concentrate available funds where it is most needed: by the poorest children, whose families had little hope of finding any additional money for even a slightly higher co-pay.

In 2008, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 2878, establishing the Keiki First Steps early-learning system, a way to coordinate and oversee existing programs for children from birth to kindergarten. It was never funded — and budgetary shortages are sure to persist this session — but lawmakers should at least consider providing some resources to help the fledgling early-learning council get started.

read … The Frenzy of Spending Begins

More students receiving free & low-cost lunch

While school enrollment has stayed steady, the number of keiki receiving free or reduced meals has jumped 30% over the same 5 year period from 69,000 to 90,000 students….

A family of 4 making $33,423/year is eligible for free school meals. The same sized family with an income up to $47,564/year qualifies for a subsidized lunch priced at 40 cents….

The Hawaii Foodbank network serves over 183,000 people in the state who need food assistance, that's 39% more from 4 years ago. "That's basically over 14% of our state population or 1 in 7 people," says Kaya.

read … ‘Free’ Lunch

SA Editors Waste More Ink of Cult of Gore

Nonsense: Climate change expected to worsen Pacific weather

Ignorance: Carbon emissions show biggest jump ever recorded

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

CB Gives Doper Space for Long, Rambling Diatribe on Dope

“The State has created an accepted medical use for a Schedule I controlled substance. This substance must therefore be rescheduled. End of discussion.”

read … Another doper trying to get more dope so he can feel medicated

CB Gives Peak Oil Cultists Space for Long Rambling Diatribe on Peak Oil

Over the past decade, world oil prices have advanced from approximately $25 per barrel to more than $100 per barrel. Had the price of oil merely kept pace with inflation, the $25 barrel in 2000 would have been worth just over $30 in 2010. Thus, there was a fundamental shift in the oil markets. (Wrong again. There is uncertainty because of the rise of Islamism in oil producing countries and the strength of the Environmental Religion in the US and Europe.)

By 2005, the idea that the price increase was being caused by oil depletion – commonly referred to as “peak oil” – was receiving widespread attention. While some dismissed the idea of peak oil, instead offering up speculation, OPEC, growth in developing countries, or other geopolitical factors as the primary factors behind the advance in prices – oil production remained flat despite record high oil prices.

Sigh. Once again we have to play whack-a-mole with the Peak Oil Cult: Here is a chart of Oil in 2011 dollars

Reality: Peak Oil Debunked

More nonsense: Carbon emissions show biggest jump ever recorded (and yet global cooling continues)

read … More Peak Oil Stuff

UH System to Give More to Green Energy Scammers

Last Friday, Hawaii News Now brought you live coverage as President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton announced the new green initiative.

The Better Buildings Challenge aims to upgrade building energy performance by a minimum of 20 percent by 2020.

Not only was the Manoa and Hawaii campus recognized for their outstanding leadership in setting and achieving energy goals, UH Manoa has outlined goals to beat the minimum set by the challenge reaching 25 percent renewable energy by 2020.

HNN: Crews respond to gas leak at HECO Biofuel power plant

read … Tuition Increase

Green Bubble About to Pop: Battery Makers don’t have Customers

Some high-profile battery makers have stumbled, burdened by high manufacturing costs, strong competition from Asian rivals and a slower-than-expected rollout of electric vehicles. Now the companies are responding by cutting costs, scaling back production and trying to tap other markets, such as large-scale storage for the electricity grid.

The troubles have some experts worrying that the fledgling industry could face the same fate as domestic solar-panel makers, which have suffered a series of high-profile failures.

Not mentioned: Xtreme Power: A Pig-in-a-poke For Hawaii Wind Farm

read … Now they're trying to figure out how to survive

IRS Has $716K for Hawaii Taxpayers

$716,438 in refunds are due to 585 taxpayers in Hawaii.

The average undelivered refund check nationally is $1,547; $1,225 in Hawaii.

The IRS says taxpayers can find out if they're still due a refund by going to irs.gov and using the "Where's My Refund?" tool; or by calling 1-800-829-1954.

read … Don’t let them keep it

West Hawaii Bar Association civil unions seminar (Dec. 12)

Lorrin B. Hirano, Esq., in-house counsel for Title Guaranty, will discuss the impact of the new Civil Unions an Transfer on Death laws on conveyancing practices.

Jo-Ann M. Adams, Esq. maintains an estate planning practice. She will share insights on the implications of these two new laws on Estate Planning and how these laws bring new options to all members of the community.

read … Civil Unions


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