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Sunday, December 11, 2011
December 11, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:33 PM :: 7714 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Colette Machado: I look at Kalaupapa--Native Hawaiians will fight against Assisted Suicide

KOS: The perception of Occupy Honolulu is Universally Negative

Verifying the Numbers a Challenge for Tax Department

Church Volunteers Clean Waianae Storm Channels in Advance of Rainy Season

"Accretion," Hawaii Style

Hawaii Mortgage Down Payments 4th Highest in USA by Percentage

Lingle Pushes back against Tax Hike

SA: Conservatives have been successful at pressuring Republicans in Congress — and a few Democrats — not to agree to any tax increases. Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington-based interest group founded by conservative activist Grover Norquist, has persuaded 238 members of the House — a majority — and 41 members of the Senate to sign a pledge promising not to raise taxes. The group offers the pledge to all new candidates.

Hirono and Case will not sign the pledge.

Lingle will not sign, either. As governor, Lingle opposed most new tax increases. She did support higher state taxes on tobacco products to curb smoking and allowed a bill that gave Oahu the right to impose a rail surcharge to become law without her signature.

In written statements, she said "simplistic sound-bite proposals" would not solve the nation's deficit crisis. "Neither the ‘millionaire's tax' nor the extension of the ‘Bush-era tax cuts' will solve the deep fiscal hole our state and nation face today. What's worse, these narrow solutions have become a battle cry for political gamesmanship. Our country needs real, comprehensive, bipartisan solutions to meet this crisis," she said.

Lingle said she would simplify the federal tax code, eliminate special-interest tax loopholes, broaden the tax base and lower the tax burden for all taxpayers. While a millionaire's tax would cover only about 700 taxpayers in Hawaii, she said some would be small-business owners who report business income as personal income for tax purposes.

"Increasing taxes on small-business owners, who are the main job creators, runs counter to what our economy needs today," she said. "We need consumers and businesses in Hawaii and around the country to be able to save and invest more of their own money, which is what the payroll tax holiday extension now being debated in Congress seeks to do."

How Millionaires can evade any tax, thanks to Obama: Hawaii Wind, Solar projects: Millions for Wall Street, Banks, maybe even Big Tobacco

read … SA working hard to call it a Millionaire’s Tax, after all Democrat talking points must frame the debate

City Council openings promise lively elections

Borreca: Berg, a self-described tea party Republican on the nonpartisan Council, says he will run for reelection to his Leeward seat next year. He is already picking up opposition from former state Rep. Alex Santiago, who says he will run against Berg.

Next year will be a good year for Council races. Because term limits are forcing two Council veterans out, Democrats Nestor Garcia and Romy Cachola will not be able to run for reelection.

The rumor mill is cranking out plenty of possible candidates and moves. Although I was unable to reach Garcia or Cachola before press time, there are reports that Cachola is interested in returning to the state Legislature and Garcia is also rumored to be considering a run for the state Senate. And former state Sen. Ron Menor is reportedly interested in Garcia's Mililani Council seat.

Also running for reelection is Windward District's Ikaika Anderson. So far no candidates have said they would challenge him.

Council and legislative veteran Ann Kobayashi says she is running for reelection to her Manoa seat. The news there is that Kobayashi's decision means she won't run for Honolulu mayor….

One incumbent, Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the Makiki-Downtown-Kalihi district, is running for Congress. She doesn't have to resign to run for a federal office, but if she wins, a special election will have to be held (please, not in December) to fill that Council vacancy. If Gabbard loses in the 2nd congressional district race, she remains on the Council.

The other incumbents with races in 2014 include the Council chairman, Ernie Martin, and two Council newcomers, Stanley Chang and Breene Harimoto.

Martin has reportedly toyed with the idea of running for mayor, but he won his Council seat last year by only 47 votes, so he may need to start watering those grassroots before considering a promotion.

read … Lively Elections

Gay Civil Unions Fix it Bill to Grab for Control of Children

HTH: …many of those who worked to have a civil union bill pushed through the Legislature have expressed displeasure with the finished product, and plans are under way to submit what is being called a "Fix It" bill to address a number of confusing areas, said Alan Spector, an advisor at Equality Hawaii, an LGBT advocacy group based in Honolulu.

"Our priority for 2012 is to get these fixes to the civil union law completed," he said.

Spector said his organization has received a number of inquiries from gay couples interested in obtaining a civil union in Hawaii, but many are confused by seemingly contradictory areas of the law.

"The main questions we get from the gay community are, what if we already have a reciprocal beneficiary or other legal relationship from another state or county? Another question is about issues of parenting. When a child is born into a marriage, the legal assumption is that the child is the child of both parents. But what about civil unions?" Spector said. (Watch for effort to ice out any rights of the biological parent.)

HTH: Couple awaits civil unions

read … Clarity sought for new law

'Forgotten' Sacrifice Honored In West Oahu

KITV: On Dec. 7, as Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, others aimed at Ewa Field where U.S. planes were parked.

Retired Marine Maj. John Hughes, who is 92-years old, still remembers the attack vividly. Hughes said he and others fought back even though they were out-gunned against the Japanese.

"A strafing plane was coming in, the first one, and I got three shots off before he got past. Whether I did any damage -- I don't know," said Hughes.

The attack killed over a dozen servicemen as well as civilians in West Oahu. They were remembered by those at Saturday's ceremony, but have been forgotten by others who look back at Hawaii's history.

"It's often just about Pearl Harbor, and that's an important part of it, but there were about 15 sailors and soldiers killed here in West Oahu. We want to remember them," said John Bond who helped organize the commemoration.

read … Barbers Point

Green Beret reflects on end of Afghanistan involvement

SA: Ten years ago, Army Special Forces Lt. Col. Jason Amerine, a 1989 Roosevelt High School graduate, was part of a handful of U.S. forces waging war on the ground in Afghanistan.

Amerine, then a captain, recalled there were about 50 U.S. troops in the north of the country, "and there was nobody in the south but us" — his detachment of 11 Green Berets with the 5th Special Forces Group.

read … Amerine

Rail: 40% of the Financial Puzzle Comes Undone

SA: City engineers plan to adopt something akin to an honor system for riders of Honolulu's planned rail transit system, and are designing the stations to allow riders to board trains without passing through any pay gates, turnstiles or similar barriers.

That would make the system easier and faster for riders to use, but the open design has members of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board asking exactly how the open stations will function.

One question is how to effectively enforce fare collection in a system without barriers. Rail fare revenue is expected to total $47 million a year by 2030, and that money is supposed to cover 40 percent of the operating cost of the system.

Another concern is whether the open design could allow trains or the 21 rail stations to become magnets for the homeless or criminal activity, which might make the system less inviting for riders.

SA: HART makes good case for Ansaldo deal

Outdoor Circle: Stop rail to save Oahu's natural beauty

read … Now they tell us

Pawns of Hotel Workers Local 5--Occupy Honolulu Targets Hyatt Hotel in Waikiki

CB: … some Occupy protesters were dismayed at the low turnout for the march …. (But the richest man in Hawaii sent a reporter to make up for the lack of attendance.)

Occupy Honolulu members held signs saying “people not profit,” “close Guantanamo Prison,” “free Palestine”, “Bill 54 violates human rights,” and walked silently on the sidewalks of Kalakaua Avenue (meditating on the matter of whether Pierre Omidyar should have his assets expropriated.) ….

… within minutes Hyatt security guards asked protesters to leave and escorted them out of the hotel….

The protest was mostly quiet and was over in an hour.

Recently Occupy Honolulu protesters have been trying hard to get the public's attention and support. Last weekend, protesters sneaked into Honolulu's City Lights parade to take advantage of the large audience that had gathered.

Occupy Honolulu has also come under fire from the city. The Honolulu City Council this week passed a sidewalk possessions ban that could affect Occupy members who have built part of their encampment on the sidewalk outside Thomas Square Park. Mayor Peter Carlisle signed Bill 54 into law on Friday.

The new law allows the city to confiscate all personal belongings left or kept on public property for more than 24 hours.

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

read … Occupy Waikiki

Inouye? Who’s That? Omidyar Continues Push to Grab Control of Non-Profit Sector

SA: When times are hard for the community, as they have been for the last few years, they're hard for the people who work to help them, or to fulfill some other nonprofit mission. The mission doesn't go away — usually the need for the charity services is greater — but some funding streams start to dry up.

The answer, say the people expert at navigating these stormy seas, is often to make better use of the resources at hand. Many of Hawaii's nonprofits have begun to think more creatively about how to raise money in partnerships with businesses and by thinking more like a business themselves, achieving more efficiency through various alliances, even mergers.

But effective use of resources doesn't always mean what people might think. The most important resources, said Pierre Omidyar, might not even be the money.

Development officers working for nonprofits find themselves in tougher competition for gifts, especially those whose missions involve the arts, the environment or other causes apart from the social services.

All that concern drove a much higher enrollment in the conference than in its first year, 2010, said Alan Tang, executive director of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, one of the conveners of the event. Last year's attendance grew by about a third to roughly 550, and roughly 800 people came to Omidyar's keynote, Tang said.

CB: VIDEO — Pierre Omidyar on Philanthropy

read … The Star-Advertiser’s Fluff Piece

Cataluna: Arrest Berg

Even on the Honolulu City Council, there is an expectation of decorum, and though sometimes it is appropriate to fuss and fight and argue, you have to have more than that one setting.

But this is Berg's pattern. He gets loud, won't listen, disrupts the process and then claims he's simply fighting for the people. No, he's just fighting.

Clearly, he loves every minute of an extended rant.

Things started to go wrong for Berg that night because of his own mistake. In a similar situation, most of us would humbly, apologetically try to enlist the help of security officers. Instead, Berg clicked into his standard mode: abusive and unhinged. Perhaps he did get special treatment that night. Anyone else would probably, should probably, have been arrested.

(This editor is still waiting for somebody to arrest Walter Ritte…. Oh, that’s right, he’s a Democrat.)

read … Berg

Did Burial Claim force Haseko to Abandon Marina Plan?

SA: Michael Kumukauoha Lee was contesting Haseko’s state permit for the marina, claiming that blasting a channel through the shore would disturb or destroy a sacred burial complex for Hawaiian royalty.

Just a week before Haseko announced its lagoon plan, a hearings officer recommended that the state Board of Land and Natural Resources dismiss Lee’s complaint and allow Haseko to proceed with the marina….

Lee was instrumental in forcing Haseko to alter plans for a storm-water drainage system for Ocean Pointe, contending that the system with an ocean outfall would adversely affect offshore native seaweed, or limu, valued in Hawaiian culture as food and medicine. A state judge invalidated regulatory approvals for the system in 2008. Lee continues to fight alternate designs.

Converting the marina basin to a lagoon will affect storm-water drainage plans. But Lee opposes the marina because of burials.

A marina was supposed to be the defining element of the 1,100-acre project long known as Ewa Marina….

The initial plan for 2,500 boat slips was cut to 1,500, then to as few as 600, and the acreage of the marina fell from 120 to 70, then 54.

Haseko needed Land Board approval to reduce the size of the marina to 54 acres from 70 acres by amending a state conservation district use permit that allows creation of a marina entrance channel.

Lee challenged the permit amendment in February, and the board held a contested case hearing in July….

Lee said he will appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court if necessary, and has enlisted help from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to protect burials and document caves.

“Till there’s a last blood in my body, I am going to fight them to the end,” he said at the community meeting. “This is undoubtedly the most sacred spot on Oahu, and people don’t know it.”

Related: Oneula Burials: The Big Cover Up?, Contested Case Hearing requested over Oneula Burials

read … Back Story

Without Tax Credits, Solar PV More Expensive that HECO

MN: The line was in a Business Week story about solar energy: “In Hawaii, Italy and other places with abundant sunshine and high electricity rates, it’s already cheaper for consumers to install rooftop solar panels than to buy power from their local utility” (“Solar panels start to outshine mirrors,” Bloomberg/Business Week, Oct. 13, 2011; www.bloomberg.com).

It is sort of true. There are caveats. That was apparent when none of Maui’s solar companies contacted about the statement would offer data to support it. Some said their personnel might offer more information on inspecting my home for an installation.

That makes sense. Hawaii environmental writer Jan TenBruggencate, an elected board member of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, said the statement can apply in a “very specific set of circumstances:

“You remain connected to the grid, the utility is willing to sign a net metering contract, both federal and state tax credits remain in place, and you have the financial wherewithal to front tens of thousands of dollars. . . . It may be cheaper long-term, but that depends somewhat on how you calculate the risk that the system will still be working optimally years down the road when you’ve fully amortized it. That assumes limited corrosion, the inverter electronics survive for years, no hurricanes, no kids throwing baseballs up on your roof, and all kinds of other things.”

read … Energy: PV getting competitive?

HNN Posts Video of Wind Turbine Burning

The 328-foot-tall, $3 million (!) behemoth spun itself so fast it EXPLODED IN FLAMES. And another one toppled over….

watch … This Turbine Spun So Freaking Fast It Exploded

Researchers uncertain about tsunami debris’ radioactivity, Certain about need for More Funding

An estimated five to 20 tons of debris — such as electronics, appliances, lumber, plastics, buoys and even fishing boats — has scattered across thousands of miles of open ocean and is drifting slowly and deliberately toward Midway Atoll and the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, researchers say.

To address the looming threat to Hawai‘i’s coastal waters, some of the key researchers and organizations involved in collecting data and creating protocols for dealing with tsunami debris gathered Saturday morning at Kaua‘i Community College to provide a standing-room-only crowd of concerned residents with information. (Stay tuned for several years of frantic posturing and hype -- much ado about nothing?)

“Japanese tsunami debris cleanup must be an island-wide effort,”said Dr. Carl Berg, head of Kaua‘i’s chapter of the $urfrider Foundation.

Researchers and agencies are working collaboratively and developing a process, said Carey Morishige, Pacific Islands regional coordinator of the NOAA’s Marine Debri$ Program. For now, efforts involve informing communities and gathering data.

However, she said her program is largely constrained by a lack of adequate funding, with its $4 million budget for the entire national NOAA Marine Debri$ Program.

(Much ado about funding!)

The debris that doesn’t find its way to shore or sink to the bottom of the ocean may end up merging with the Western Garbage Patch floating between Hawai‘i and Japan or the Eastern Garbage Patch floating between Hawai‘i and California. Collectively, the non-biodegradable masses of plastics are estimated to span an area one and a half times the size of the U.S. (A lie.)

Even if all of Fukushima’s debris ended up in the Great Garbage Patch, it would only contribute a small fraction to the mass of the floating dump, researchers said. (Another lie.)

read … Chemophobia Breeding Ground

Smug Sociology Prof: UH football entertaining but unimportant

They even got a sociology perfesser who claims to have played football before. There is noting as dull as a sociology perfesser seeking sacred legitimacy through the unimportant football. Football is unimportant, I played football, and that’s important for me to point out so I can legitimately tell you that football is unimportant.

BTW. This is what you are paying tuition and student loans for.

Remember this from 2009? Furloughs: Advertiser sides with “sustainability” billionaires against “Save our Sports”

read … Can you smell the smugness?

As Predicted, Chaminade Asst Coach resigns, Apologizes

Former Chaminade men's basketball assistant coach, Mike Mathey, apologized to the team after stepping down due to an inappropriate message. Mathey, 24, mistakenly sent a text message with a racial slur to a player instead of a friend.

read … Ritual of Criticism and Self-Criticism now Complete

Tsunami Aftermath: The Kona Coast has recovered, but not the Kona Village Resort

SA: When the resort closed on March 11 after a devastating tsunami, the family's tradition was broken.

The tsunami temporarily closed the neighboring Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and damaged King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. It's effect on the three hotels cost hundreds of employees their jobs, at least temporarily, and dampened tourism along the Kona-Kohala Coast, a region that accounts for more than 80 percent of Hawaii island's visitor arrivals. It also caused the island's average daily hotel rate and its revenue per available room to plummet by 14 percent in April, according to Hospitality Advisors LLC.

Nine months have passed since an earthquake off the coast of Japan sent the waves hurtling across the Pacific Ocean.

While the Four Seasons has reopened, and Kona Beach Hotel has been repaired, the Kona Village is still closed.

read … Kona Village Resort

Honolulu 7th Healthiest City for Women

KITV Slideshow…

read … Women’s Health

Tribal Leader: Alaska should be listed as non-self-governing territory

Clearly the vote for Statehood was not a free and informed expression of the political will of the Indigenous Peoples of Alaska for many reasons, the most obvious of which is the majority of voters were not in fact Indigenous Peoples of Alaska. To correct this gross violation of the International Law, Alaska must be re-added to the list of non-self-governing territories.

read … Secession

Esther Kiaaina Plays Up Guam Roots

Guam PDN: "If I succeed I will not only be an advocate for the people of Hawaii, but I don't know how I could forget the people of Guam. The island has been good to myself and my family and so Guam would get two congresspeople."

Esther Kia'aina is a candidate for the second Congressional District of Hawaii. She was on island last week to help drum up support for her candidacy.

read … Guam daughter seeks Congress seat

Synagro Donates $25,000 to Support Sand Island Park Restoration Efforts

Synagro Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of waste capture and conversion services, hosted a donation ceremony today to benefit the Hawaii Softball Foundation. At the event, Synagro Interim CEO and General Counsel Joseph L. Page presented the Foundation’s chairperson, Donald G. Meinel, with $25,000 in support of the restoration of the Sand Island Recreation Park softball fields, as well as new equipment for 25 members of local youth softball teams.

read … Digester

Public Access Room workshops coming to Big Island December 12-17, 2011

The schedule of PAR’s December presentations is as follows:

  • Monday, Dec. 12, 6:00PM – Mt. View Public Library
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 5:00PM – Hilo Public Library
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14 5:30PM – Waimea Thelma Parker Library Conference Room
  • Thursday, Dec. 15, 6:00PM – Na’alehu School Cafeteria
  • Saturday, Dec. 17, 12:00PM – Kailua-Kona, West Hawaii Civic Center’s Liquor Control Conference Room

read … Get Involved!

City Declaring War on Sex-for-Money Hostess Bars

SA: The city Liquor Commission has declared war on “hostess” bars that offer customers sex for money.

The commission has closed four Oahu bars recently because of sexual misconduct. Another was scheduled for a hearing today and a sixth establishment is facing multiple charges.

“Sex was more the object than liquor in some places,” said Eugene Carson, liquor law administrator. “Some are nothing more than houses of prostitution.”

Bar owners now face a special task force of undercover investigators who are not recognizable the minute they set foot on the premises.

And the investigators are backed by commission members who take the violations so seriously that they are considering denying any future request for a hostess-style establishment.

Carson said that of the 600 dispenser licenses held by bars and restaurants on Oahu, between 150 and 200 are establishments which feature hostesses….

Chow said the crackdown evolved from public hearings at which apartment residents began to appear in numbers to oppose additional bars and the unsavory side effects in their congested neighborhoods.

“It makes a big difference that most of the commissioners are not customers of those places,” said Chow of the commission’s stern members.

(Only one problem. This is a 1986 article. Oh well.)

read … Hostess Bars


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