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Tuesday, December 06, 2011
December 6, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:09 PM :: 14175 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Confidential Memo: Wind Turbine Model Installed at Kahuku has Structural Problems

LoPresti: Ewa Neighborhood Board 'Most Dysfunctional in USA'

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted December 5, 2011

Pearl Harbor Survivor to Direct ‘Mass Band Performance’ on 70th Anniversary

Ewa Field Event to Mark 70th Anniversary of Attack

Mission Memorial Auditorium Site of Rail Showdown December 6

Hawaii Physicians Rally Against Assisted Suicide

Duke Aiona to Address Pro-Life Group

For The First Time In 70 Years, 24 Pearl Harbor Survivors Return

KITV: Two dozen men -- all of them Pearl Harbor survivors from across the country -- traveled to Oahu this week to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack that launched the United States into World War Two. For many of them, it was the first time in 70 years they have returned to the islands.

They were members of the Army, Army Air Corps, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard.

SA: Pearls of Wisdom

Meanwhile, Waiting in the Wings: East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”

Read … Pearl Harbor reunion

FBI: Police Major got $6000/month from Illegal Gambling Room

SA: Police Maj. Carlton Nishimura received about $6,000 a month from the operator of an illegal gambling room on Keeaumoku Street from April 2004 through March 2006 to protect the operation, and used the money to support his own gambling activities, the FBI said in court records a federal judge unsealed last week….

The FBI said that during the period he is charged with extortion, Nishimura directed HPD officers to conduct inspections of illegal gambling operations run by competitors of the operator who was paying him to harass the competitors.

At the time, Nishimura was a captain assigned to the patrol district that includes Keeaumoku Street.

Agents found HPD records of one such inspection in Nishimura's home, including a photograph, of a woman, taken during the inspection, the FBI said….

Nishimura's lawyer, Federal Public Defender Peter Wolff Jr., said in a previous court hearing that among the items the FBI seized from the home is a secret recording Imose made of a conversation she had with her previous lawyer in which she tells the lawyer she lied to the grand jury that indicted Nishimura in February….

The content also suggests the recorded conversation was not the first time Imose disclosed to Tamashiro that she lied to the grand jury….

Imose discusses with Tamashiro telling Wolff she lied to the grand jury. She also asks Tamashiro what effect that would have on the government investigators.

"You know what, they should get burned, f-----s. They put pressure on you to say what they wanna hear. Did they ever polygraph you?" Tamashiro said.

read … Keeaumoku Payoffs

DoTax Manipulates Check Cashing Times to Suit Political Expediency

In 2010, tens of thousands of GET checks from local businesses would remain uncashed by the government for a month or longer, but by the middle of 2011, that number was down to a few hundred.

Local tax experts confirm the speed-up in check cashing. “It’s much faster. It used to take up to two months,” says Jackson Chen, a Kaneohe CPA. “Now it’s within two to three weeks.”

“The faster processing time improves the state’s cash flow for its biggest revenue source, the GET….” (Conveniently after using the ‘crisis’ to stampede the legislature.)

In June 2010, only four GET returns with payments were processed in a week or less, and 21,792 returns with payments took 29 days or more. A year later, in June 2011, the numbers were reversed: 34,400 GET payments were processed in seven days or less, and only 92 took 29 days or more.

Kamikawa credits Abercrombie’s administration and Tax Department Director Frederick Pablo.

read … State of Hawaii Speeds Up Check Cashing

State's constitution is what props up its credit rating, not Abercrombie

Borreca: A reading of the entire Standard & Poors 11-page report indicates that Hawaii's relatively good marks are not specifically about Abercrombie being at the wheel, but rather that the Hawaii Constitution gives strong powers to whomever is governor.

If the report is not destined to the best seller list, it does sum up the actions already taken and are likely to happen.

Simply put, Abercrombie balanced the budget by draining the hurricane relief fund and the rainy day fund; now he must either stop services or raise taxes….

While the Abercrombie team stressed that bond money would not be used to pay back the emergency funds, at least one akamai legislator, Maui Democrat Rep. Joe Souki warns that using borrowed money would be a big mistake.

"Bonds shouldn't be used for cash purposes. California used bonds to replace cash shortages — it contributes to the problems and compounds them," Souki said.

Finally, the bond agency warns that Hawaii is still on the bubble and its strong bond rating could suffer.

"If actual revenue growth is significantly below the state's projections or if the state is unable to further reduce spending, the rating could come under pressure," the report stated.

So what the report says is that the glass is either half full or half empty, but if you drop it, the glass breaks.

read … Tax Increase Coming

SA Editors: We Look forward to Abercrombie Pushing thru OHA Settlement, Soda Tax, Kakaako Tower

SA: (After trashing Abercrombie for umpteen paragraphs, this….)

His boldness, channeled in a right way, could indeed be contagious….

Moving forward, he has come out early and unequivocally in support of a proposed $500 million residential, mixed-use project in Kakaako — and the needed debate over a 650-foot skyscraper will surely be lively and enlightening. And in revealing a $200 million settlement proposal with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Abercrombie has set the stage for a possible resolution to a long-festering ceded-lands dispute between the state and Native Hawaiians; legislative approval is pending.

The Legislature also will be the political battleground as the state deals with a projected $1.2 billion gap in the next two fiscal years, even as Abercrombie warns of an "undeniable storm" of fiscal challenges like rising public worker retirements and health care costs. Proposals like the soda tax have been mentioned again, and whether the governor and his renewed team can make a good case for them is eagerly awaited.

read … Let Abercrombie burn up his credibility pushing our agenda, say the Old Boys

Roll Call: Hirono Probably Going to beat Case

Roll Call: President Barack Obama is likely to carry Hawaii and Massachusetts comfortably, giving a leg up for his party’s Senate nominees in each state — Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and probably Rep. Mazie Hirono (but possibly ex-Rep. Ed Case) in Hawaii.

On the other hand, the president’s weakness in a number of other states presumably would give an advantage to the likely Republican Senate nominees in Missouri, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Yes, I know, none of this is certain. Voters still know how to split their tickets, and if Massachusetts voters simply never warm to Warren or Democratic incumbents in Missouri, Montana and Nebraska succeed in localizing their races, Obama’s standing in any of these states may not determine who will win the Senate contest.

It is at least worth noting, however, that Democrats make the partisanship argument when they are handicapping their chances of winning the Hawaii and Massachusetts Senate contests, and Republicans make the exact same argument when handicapping Senate races in states that the president is likely to lose badly.

Actual Polling: Case, Hirono neck and neck in U.S. Senate seat poll

read … Hirono, not Case?

City officials opt to skip forum on rail transit project

A forum organized by City Councilman Tom Berg on the city's rail transit project will be held tonight, but Mayor Peter Carlisle and other supporters of the $5.17 billion project won't be attending.

The forum at the Mission Memorial Auditorium next to Honolulu Hale will include prominent critics of the project such as University of Hawaii civil engineering professor Panos Prevedouros and state Sen. Sam Slom.

Also attending will be Scott Foster of Advocates for Consumer Rights, Dennis Callan, president of the Hawaii Geographic Society, and others, according to Berg.

Details: Mission Memorial Auditorium Site of Rail Showdown December 6

read … Rail Forum

Fidell: Arrest Walter Ritte

Fidell: Walter Ritte told American Safari Cruises, the owner of the ship, "You ask first, before you come to somebody's house." Whose house could that be? He wants ASC to ask his permission before entering a state harbor? This all sounds like a 17th-century toll road; travel, but only after settling with the highwayman.

Ritte said ASC should have allowed the Molokai "community" to "work though" its "concerns" before the ship arrived. He wanted ASC to show "some kind of commitment to the community by stopping the cruise ship before coming in." Imagine what would happen if he asked NCL to do that in Honolulu Harbor.

Let's get it straight. The obstruction of a ship from entering a state harbor by private individuals was not a "protest" or a "demonstration"; it was a blockade, reminiscent of the Superferry blockade on Kauai in 2007. Both were illegal.

It is a violation of law to interfere with navigation into a harbor. Harbors are strategic to state commerce, especially in an island state. Federal and state governments are supposed to protect harbors and keep them open. These "protesters" intentionally obstructed the ship. Will we do nothing about it?

Walter Ritte's assemblage is claiming a right to obstruct tourism. What would the authorities have done if this incident took place in Honolulu?

read … Arrest Ritte

KIUC to delay smart meter install

Not all members of Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative are accepting of the co-op’s plan to replace ratepayers’ existing electricity meters with smart meters, which will transmit real-time usage information to the utility wirelessly.

Several members have testified to the board about potential health ramifications associated with broad-based wireless radio frequency transmissions. Some have expressed concerns about the lack of privacy provided by the real-time data gathering performed multiple times daily. (It could catch their grow-ops.) Others have questioned the integrity of the security network transmitting the data.

At its monthly meeting last Tuesday, the KIUC Board of Directors voted unanimously to delay installation of smart meters on the homes of those who are opposed the technology.

Read … KIUC to delay smart meter install

Anti-GMO Crackpots Win Maui, Kauai Council Support

KGI: The bill for a Food Labeling Act originated with the Maui Council. A summary of 78 respondents was compiled from Kaua‘i public testimony at special meetings in November. It was considered and included in the council decision, according to Council Chair Jay Furfaro.

Four more people testified at the Thursday meeting in the Historic County Building.

Dr. Cindy Goldstein, a research scientist at Pioneer Hybrid in Waimea and the seed operation center in Kekaha, described the purpose of U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeling requirements as a science-based assessment of the health and safety of foods.

The purpose of labeling is for consumers to be aware of nutritional and allergic properties in food, and to gather information on natural ingredients, flavorings and substitute ingredients, she said. She said current laws require labeling of genetically engineered foods when it changes the nutritional content to some extent.

Biotech and genetically engineered foods, oils and seeds are substantially equivalent and consistently shown to be safe, Goldstein said. To establish a labeling process that addresses the way something is produced rather than the product itself would present unforeseen manufacturer consequences of deciding not to produce altogether, she added.

Food manufacturers would be forced for the possibility of the presence of a genetically engineered ingredient from its suppliers, Goldstein said. It would create a falsely negative connotation for products and would be seen as a warning, she added.

Reality: The Future of Fraud

Read … Anti-GMO Crackpots

Santiago: Don’t Force the Homeless into Shelters, Give Money to PHOCUSED Instead

CB: The newest candidate for Honolulu City Council tells Inside Honolulu he’d oppose the controversial bill that would allow the city to remove personal belongings left or kept on sidewalks and in parks.

Former state Rep. and Democratic Party Chair Alex Santiago announced Saturday he’s running to take Tom Berg’s District 1 seat. Santiago, 54, is executive director of PHOCUSED, which advocates for “underserved” people. The organization has issues with the proposal.

“On this particular issue, we are very concerned about how that will be enforced,” Santiago said.

Calling from his cell phone, he said he wants to keep his candidacy and his day job separate. (He then began laughing uncontrollably and the line went dead.)

REALITY: Kapiolani Park: Homelessness industry takes Hawaii tourism hostage, Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii, Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … Homelessness Industry

Catholic Charities set to open transitional housing in Makiki

SA: Catholic Charities Hawaii recently completed a 12-apartment transitional housing complex for those who need help.

A grand opening ceremony is planned for today for the three-story complex, the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Hale, for people including seniors, single mothers seeking reunification with their children and the developmentally disabled.

It is the final phase of the Clarence T.C. Ching 2.2-acre campus next to Catholic Charities headquarters on Keeaumoku Street in Makiki.

Contractors renovated the building, which features two-bedroom, one-bath units. It will offer affordable housing with a maximum stay of 18 months. Clients will reside at the site as they work with case managers, who will assist them with seeking permanent housing.

read … Transitional HOUSING

Laupahoehoe appeals to BOE

Last month, the CSRP advised Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School's interim board that it would have to hold elections for a permanent school board no later than Nov. 21 if it was to avoid sanctions, including the possible revocation of its charter. The interim board has maintained that it cannot lawfully hold the elections until it has identified the participant groups that will make up the new charter school -- including parents, community members, faculty and staff.

On Friday, the interim board announced via a press release that it had submitted an appeal on Nov. 28 to the Board of Education, requesting that it be allowed to amend its school plan regarding the timing of its Local School Board elections. The interim board submitted the amendment to the CSRP on Nov. 7, but the panel has yet to approve or deny it.

"Taken together, the Charter School Review Panel's failure to respond to the November 7, 2011 Amendment to the Detailed Implementation Plan and the Charter School Review Panel's letter dated November 14, 2011 insisting on compliance with its directive requiring elections by November 21, 2011 constitute denial of the November 7, 2011 Amendment to the Detailed Implementation Plan," reads the interim board's appeal. Therefore, it argues, the Board of Education is empowered to overrule the CSRP.

read … HSTA tries to block Charter Conversion

DoE Taken For A Ride: Fewer Players, Bigger Budgets

CB: For the last four years, Hawaii taxpayers have paid whatever price school bus contractors asked of the Department of Education.

That's because in 2008, the state's 12 school bus companies stopped bidding against one another for contracts, leaving the district with only three options: negotiate the bids, reject them or accept them.

It chose to accept them all.

The result is a $72 million budget this year for services that just six years ago cost only $34 million.

It wasn't always this way. Competition used to thrive among dozens of small mom-and-pop operations throughout the state.

SA: Department sifts for ways to check school bus costs

read … Taken for a Ride

Prediction: HSTA Dispute Won't End Before 2017

CB: If the goal is swift justice for 12,500 teachers who sustained a 5 percent pay cut and (in some cases) a 100 percent increase in health care costs this year as a result of the contract imposed on them, this may not be the ideal way to go about it.

As former HSTA Executive Director Joan Husted observed, "The legal battle will drag on for months or perhaps years of appeals, unless the parties wake up one day and decide that for the sake of the students, teachers and collective bargaining, they need to get back to the table and resolve both the contractual issues and the legal issues."

But if the goal is to placate teachers by doing something until the next round of contract negotiations begins in 2012, HSTA's decision-makers may be right on the money.

read … right on the money

Lingle: Feds Didn't Give Enough Notice On Monk Seal Rule

CB ranks Lingle’s statement as “false”

Another poorly conceived Civil Beat Fact Check. Define "enough". Apparently the Feds agreed that there had not been "enough" notice, since they have agreed to reopen comments until Jan 6. As usual, CB is "fact-checking" an opinion.

What is "false" is the premise that Monk seal protections actually help Monk seals. There is a lot of evidence that the so-called protections in the NW Hawaiian isles have done substantial harm to Monk seals. Now the Feds want to extend these 'protections' here.

read … Another Civil Beat Fact Check

While Our Leaders Doze, a National Plan to Hose Hawaii Moves Onward

At stake is something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), a coalition effort (of sorts) to accomplish a backdoor elimination of the Electoral College by having states individually pass legislation that agrees to award its electors by popular vote within the state. Then, once the NPVIC has sufficient participating states to control a majority of the Electoral College, they would cast their votes as a block in favor of the nationwide popular vote winner (regardless of who won the popular vote within each state) so as to guarantee that the winner of the national popular vote wins the Presidency. (As for the states that do not join the Compact and might have objections to divisive electoral manipulation? Too bad for them I guess.)

read … National Popular Vote

Honolulu property search still hides public information

ILind: The Office of Information Practices has ruled at least twice that information about property ownership, drawn from real property tax records, is public information. There was an opinion written in 2002 when Honolulu was considering a proposal to make certain information confidential. OIP concluded this was not permitted. Another opinion this year returned to the question of addresses of property owners when the tax bill is sent to an address different from the property in question. Again, OIP said property tax records are generally public, with a few privacy exemptions (such as social security numbers, dealt with in the 2011 opinion).

Honolulu makes its real property tax records available online at www.HonoluluPropertyTax.com.

The system generally works quite well, with one glaring exception. You can easily find information on any piece of property on Oahu using the street address or tax map key. But you can’t search by name, whether individual or corporate.

read … Property Records

LIUNA Tries to Shake Down Saddle Road Builder

Mark Travalino, an organizer with the Laborers' International Union of North America Local 368, said he's tried for six months to contact Kirkland Construction Co. to see what jobs might be available for Big Island residents.

"It's getting skinnier and skinnier to their start date," Travalino said Monday. "They're not calling me back."

Concerned, Travalino traveled to the construction site and contacted one of company owner James Kirkland's sons….

read … One of the Crookedest unions in Hawaii

Murder Suspect was Praised by Mayor Kenoi

Carenio was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of second-degree murder after he turned himself in to police.

…There are blurry, low-resolution videos online that purport to show Carenio in a MMA fight in 2008.

There's also a video of Mayor Billy Kenoi and then-Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira honoring Carenio and another person, Kekoa Namohala, volunteers from the Lanakila Learning Center, for saving a Hilo Intermediate student from drowning at Coconut Island in 2010.

Carenio was unable to attend the ceremony, but Kenoi read an except from a letter written by Waikoloa Fire Station Capt. Ty Medeiros that stated in part, "It is good to know that young men such as Kekoa and Waylen are part of our community and are examples to those around them."

Related?: Billy Kenoi at Shooters—and the Pali shooter—the connections, Billy Kenoi helped Pali Shooter

read … Man dead after Hilo bar fight

Soft on Crime: Out after Raping Step Daughter, Criminal gets Paltry 56 Month Minimum for Manslaughter

Paul Kaeo will have to serve at least six years and eight months of a 20-year term before being eligible for parole for manslaughter in the beating death of his estranged wife’s boyfriend.

State Circuit Judge Karen Ahn imposed the six-year, eight-month mandatory minimum today because Kaeo, 47, is a repeat offender. He has prior convictions for abusing his wife and for sexually assaulting his stepdaughter.

A state jury found Kaeo guilty of manslaughter this summer, rather than murder, for killing Charles Kahumoku Jr. in 2009 with a 2-foot-long metal reinforcing bar in Maili.

read … soft on crime

Indicted in Hawaii, Alleged Scammers Pop Up In Connecticut

Forty-three employees each got paid once, a small amount during the months of training and prep work, and then nothing. A group of employees gathered outside Pic-Nic to tell News 8 their story, they showed us bounced checks and the research they've done on John and Jeremiah.

"This is his whole record, it's a lot of the same thing," said Carvalco, "he's just scammed a lot of different businesses in Miami, Pennsylvania, California, Miami and Hawaii, and now New Haven."

News 8 followed up and found a string of failed businesses, clubs, restaurants, Vegas shows. Coleates had written bad checks, defrauded banks, ripped off employees, then ran. He was even indicted by a federal grand jury in Hawaii for more than $2.7 million.

read … Restaurant Scam

Plug pulled on Hawaii Kai luxury condo project after financing fails

Construction has been halted on the Hale Ka Lae luxury condominium in Hawaii Kai after the lead investor failed to obtain financing for the roughly $300 million project with 242 units.

read … Financing Fails

Four Hawaii Post Offices Still on Chopping Block

To cut back on operating costs, the U.S. Postal Service now aims to close more than 250 mail processing centers -- not Hawaii's….

Meanwhile a decision is expected soon on the fate of four post offices on a possible closure list that was put out prior to the processing center closures and mail-slowing announcement: one on Kauai, in Hanamaulu outside of Lihue, the site serving Kalaupapa, the Nuuanu location in Chinatown, and the office in the city of Kapolei.

read … Go Postal

University of Hawaii students seek support for cargo container redesign

A group of engineering students at the University of Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), dubbed Unique Lite Design, is working to develop a composites-intensive alternative to the cargo containers — unit load devices (ULD) — currently used in the aviation industry. The team's advanced composite ULD, now in the design stage, is 44 percent lighter than traditional ULDs ….

read … Lighter

Kauai’s oldest Catholic church to celebrate 170 years

The public is welcome to celebrate the 170th anniversary of St. Raphael’s Church in Koloa from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the church, 3011 Hapa Road.

Read … 170 Years

Has the War with Iran Already Begun?

Two incidents that occurred on Sunday—Iran’s claim of a shoot-down of a U.S. drone, and an explosion outside the British embassy in Bahrain—may have been unrelated. But they appear to add to growing evidence that an escalating covert war by the West is under way against Iran, and that Tehran is retaliating with greater intensity than ever.

Asked whether the United States, in cooperation with Israel, was now engaged in a covert war against Iran’s nuclear program that may include the Stuxnet virus, the blowing-up of facilities and the assassination or kidnapping of scientists, one recently retired U.S. official privy to up-to-date intelligence would not deny it.

“It’s safe to say the Israelis are very active,” the official said, adding about U.S. efforts: “Everything that [GOP presidential candidate] Mitt Romney said we should be doing—tough sanctions, covert action and pressuring the international community -- are all of the things we are actually doing.”

read … Obama’s New War


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