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Monday, December 12, 2011
December 12, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:49 PM :: 7552 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Poll of Hard-Core Hawaii Democrats gives Hirono 18-pt Lead over Case

Flood of Money Pours into Lingle Campaign

Duke Aiona Undecided About 2014

Need $15,000? OHA Giving Away More Cash

Supreme Court asks for Federal Input on Challenge to Hawaii Admission Act, Hawaiian Homes Commission Act

Lingle: Grow the Economy to Raise Revenue

Lingle — like Case — chided those who have pointed to a possible $1.4 trillion in savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"That sounds good, but the reality is the expected savings from troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq — $1.09 trillion by the White House's own estimate — was already taken out of the President's budget that was submitted to Congress," Lingle said. "You cannot cut something that is not in the budget to begin with and then claim a savings."

While Lingle emphasized that the "devil is in the details," she offered only general guiding principles on how she would approach reducing the federal deficit:

  • Making spending cuts, increasing revenue and focusing on the factors that grow the economy
  • Eliminate as much waste, fraud and abuse as possible, while also realizing that such efforts will not "significantly reduce the debt"
  • Preserve and make good on promises made to retirees and senior citizens who have worked their entire lives with the expectation that these benefits, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, will be there for them.
  • Raise revenues for government through tax reform that yields "lower rates for all" and creates a broader and more efficient system. "We cannot solve the deficit and debt problem simply by raising taxes on wealthy Americans," Lingle said.

read … Lingle

Ed Case: Raise Taxes and Cut Defense Spending

EC: I've been talking story across Hawaii as this fiasco has unfolded, and agree with most that the only real way forward is a fair combination of options — fair meaning that current tax and spending policies favoring too few at the expense of too many cannot continue; combination meaning a balanced mix of revenue increases and spending restrictions.

On revenues, I voted as congressman against the Bush-era upper income temporary tax cuts because they were unfair, unaffordable and unnecessary; they should lapse. Comprehensive tax reform to curb the plethora of special interest breaks, which just increase the burden on the rest of us, is also long overdue. These provide a solid start on the revenue side.

… National defense can be maintained with proven weapons systems rather than new expensive ones, and at post-Iraq/ Afghanistan troop levels. Non- defense discretionary growth must be fairly leveled off. These would provide a solid start on the expense side.

Related:

read … 18% of Hawaii’s Economy? So what?

Sam Aiona, Dylan Nonaka Join Forces in Hawaii Super-PAC

CB: Two former leaders of the Hawaii Republican Party are behind Hawaii Solutions, one of the three independent-expenditure committees registered so far with the state's Campaign Spending Commission.

Dylan Nonaka, the party's former executive director, is strategy director, while former party chairman Sam Aiona is listed as chairman of the committee.

Nonaka told Civil Beat the committee will focus on state races next year, but declined to specify which ones.

"We probably won't know until later on next year," he said, noting that the group will evaluate the "winability factor" of candidates.

The Hawaii Solutions website says it "seeks to bring common sense to Hawaii's political system by educating and motivating its citizens towards participation in the election process. We identify and support candidates for office who will fight for solutions to Hawaii's problems."

Nonaka said the committee "hopes to be another voice to help inform voters about the issues and candidates in the races. We're just looking to add our voice to the conversation and be an outlet for people who want to have an impact."

He said the committee hopes to be a grassroots effort and take advantage of social media to get their message out.

"Initially, money's going to come form a lot of personal friends of myself and the board of directors," he said. "We'll have to help lead the cause, and as time goes on, we're looking to be a grassroots effort. I'd also like to have a large base of donors so that we're not beholden to a small group."

Related: Nonaka Launches 'Hawaii Solutions'

read … Aiona, Nonaka

Planned Parenthood behind New Hawaii Super-PAC

CB: A registered lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Hawaii is behind another independent-expenditure committee.

Kathryn Reardon is listed as the chairperson of the Hawaii State Democratic Women's Caucus noncandidate committee.

The filing identifies her as the executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, Hawaii Chapter. Reardon did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

read … Kill Babies, get Donations

Hawaii Voter Turnout Correlates to Strong Republican Challenges

CB: Hawaii is the only state to hold a primary election on Saturdays. Hawaii also consistently dwells at the bottom of voter-turnout rates among all states.

Hawaii lawmakers decided in 1970 to hold primaries on Saturdays because they believed it would increase voter turnout. But the trend at least in recent years has been in the opposite direction.

Only 36.9 percent of registered voters voted in the 2008 primary, a year in which there was not a high-profile competition for governor but there was a spirited contest for Honolulu mayor — Mufi Hannemann was re-elected over Panos Prevedouros and Ann Kobayashi. Voter turnout in the 2010 primary was just 42.8 percent.

Both elections represent quite a drop from the 66 percent primary turnout in 1994, a year that featured a hot three-way contest for governor. That was the year Democrat Ben Cayetano bested Republican Pat Saiki and independent Frank Fasi….

Interestingly, the one time in recent memory that a Saturday election had a solid turnout — 54 percent — was on May 22, 2010, when Democrats Case and Colleen Hanabusa were bested by Republican Charles Djou. That was a special election to fill the congressional seat of Abercrombie, who had resigned to run for governor.

But that race, unlike the 2002-2003 contests that first sent Case to Congress with only a tiny voter turnout, preceded an election cycle, not followed it; the Case-Djou-Hanabusa race was arguably the most exciting and historical — Hawaii sent a Republican to Congress for the first time in 20 years.

read … Republicans Drive Turnout

SA: Ritte Should be Arrested Next Time, Maybe

SA: The protesters who last month blocked Kaunakakai harbor to keep an eco-tourism group from reaching Molokai certainly succeeded in getting the attention of the business community, though not in a way that should be repeated again….

Aila said the U.S. Coast Guard also is being consulted on the tour group's legal rights, which is a good thing. The practice of blocking waterways with human shields — the small crafts and surfers on boards — has gained the veneer of a successful tactic after its use in turning back the Superferry years earlier, and now it's been taken up on Molokai.

Authorities need to discourage that as strongly as possible, even if it means arresting participants. Planning for the advent of tourism is the right move here, but the community should avoid repeating that unruly first step: no more Kaunakakai harbor blockades.

read … Protesters can’t close Molokai with blockades

Big Wind Brinksmanship: The Fate Of Lanai Hinges On A Los Angeles Real Estate Tycoon

CB: Murdock has propped up the island’s economy for more than two decades. But he may be pulling out in the face of bitter opposition over Big Wind – a project that could bring in millions of dollars for Murdock’s Castle & Cooke, the development company that manages the Lanai operation. Supporters of the project, particularly the unions, argue that Big Wind is critical to Lanai's economy because it would stop the company's financial hemorrhaging and create jobs.

Last month, a Castle & Cooke official told lawmakers visiting Lanai that Murdock had put the island up for sale. But what a sale could mean has raised more questions than answers, leaving residents to fret over whether Lanai will be getting a new owner — or owners, if the island were to be broken up and sold off in parcels.

Not everyone is convinced that it’s sellable. And with Castle & Cooke losing $20 million to $40 million annually on its Lanai properties, some fear that the company might just shut down its operations….

…De Jetley reported that Murdock said he had three options: “I can stay and sustain the animosity; I can sell off parts of the island, although it may not be easy to do; or, I can close it all down and leave.”

West, the union leader who also met with Murdock in August, said that he was very adamant about leaving …

read … Lanai

Ending Homelessness: Interview with Marc Alexander

HR: Ending Homelessness in Hawaii with Marc Alexander, governor's coordinator on homelessness, Connie Mitchell, Institute for Human Services executive director, and Darryl J, Vincent, US Veterans Initiative State Director.

watch … YouTube

Star-Advertiser does another Fluff Piece on Occupy Honolulu

SA Headline: Employed, educated take part in protest

Reality: KOS: The perception of Occupy Honolulu is Universally Negative

read … More Progressive Pabulum

Unitarians, Crossroads Quivering With Excitement over Gay Civil Unions

SA: Within the first minutes of the new year, clergy and judges may register online to perform civil unions, and within a short time will be able to unite same-sex couples in a legal relationship that grants them the same rights as married couples for the first time in Hawaii.

That's according to Alvin Onaka, state registrar of vital statistics, who conducted the Department of Health's first online training Dec. 5 for "performers" of civil unions, most of them clergy eager to conduct ceremonies on Jan. 1, when Hawaii's new law allowing civil unions goes into effect.

"Many clergy are chomping at the bit to perform civil unions because it is one more step toward marriage equality," said the Rev. Kyle Ann Lovett of the Church of the Crossroads, who is spearheading the effort to sign up religious leaders for training. Lovett, a United Church of Christ minister, is on the DOH task force studying how best to implement the law….

The Rev. Jonipher Kwong of First Unitarian Church of Honolulu said some of his lay ministers who went through the training have been making arrangements with a few couples to perform civil unions Jan. 1.

"We're very excited about it actually going to start," said Kwong, who also attended the DOH task force meetings. "It's about time government caught up with us to honor same-sex couples. … The new law is still somewhat unequal, designating them as civil unions instead of marriages."

Unitarian ministers have been conducting "holy unions or commitment" ceremonies for same-sex couples since the 1970s….

Lovett and Kwong said they don't expect that civil union ceremonies will be much different from traditional marriages.

Just a Coincidence: Beyond Marriage The Confession: Hawaii Gay marriage advocates let the polyamorous cat out of the bag

read … The usual suspects

HOPE Probation Comes to Seattle

One repeat offender with multiple violations during previous attempts on community supervision hasn't committed a single violation under the new program. When Schillinger asked him why, she said he responded, "I could tell you guys were serious."

Related: Judge Steven Alm: Justice Reinvestment and the future of HOPE Probation

read … There May Yet be Hope for Seattle

Outgoing FCC Commissioner Calls for Change in Rules to Outlaw HNN

CB: Different views have been expressed about the decision by the Federal Communications Commission not to act on a complaint about Hawaii TV stations combining their operations.

Outgoing commissioner Michael Copps recently spoke in Atlanta and took on "so-called shared services agreements" like the one between KHNL/K5 and KGMB.

“Some broadcasters are doing end runs around our media ownership limits by way of so-called shared services agreements — a fancy term for covert consolidation that lets one company control another without actually formally owning it,” he said, according to a report on the website of Freepress, a nonprofit media reform organization that opposes consolidation.

“Just last week, our Media Bureau actually dismissed a complaint against such a shared service agreement, even while admitting that the arrangement was at odds with the purpose and intent of our rules on duopolies,” he said. (A duopoly is when a single company owns two or more stations in the same city.)

“It just seemed to me that this might be a case where we should have acted on behalf of the public interest instead of kicking the can down the road,” he said.

His views echoed what the Media Council of Hawaii said last month about the decision. The council called it "a black Friday gift to big broadcast owners while leaving the public with crumbs."

Related: Oahu Democrats Fail in Effort to Break up Hawaii News Now

read … Democrats Still Pushing Against HNN

HPD Issues First Smoking Law Citations In Years

KITV: For the first time in more than four years, a Honolulu police officer has issued tickets to bar patrons for breaking the statewide smoking ban….

The owner and employees of Kelley O'Neil's Irish pub and grill on Lewers Street in Waikiki said a police officer ticketed three of its customers for smoking in the bar on a Sunday in October, in response to another customer who called 911 to report them….

These are the first citations police have issued since a police officer ticketed someone for smoking at a Chinatown bar nearly five years ago, right after the law took effect….

He said one of the customers ticketed is from Hawaii and the other two were visiting from Guam.

Comerford said his three customers were issued summons requiring them to go to court, when they should have just been able to pay a fine, sort of like a parking or speeding ticket.

"We're asking our tourists now if they are cited here, if they didn't show up for it, there would be a bench warrant. Would they come back again? I don't think so. There are problems in this law," Comerford said.

read … Anti-Smoking Bill

Hawaii does not have to be a pedestrian deathtrap

DN: “A typical traffic signal is not appropriate for the crosswalk because it is close to the heavily traveled Castle Junction intersection at Pali and Kamehameha highways, and because the area in front of HPU did not meet the minimum requirement of five pedestrian "incidents" in a 12-month period”—Department of Transportation spokesman Dan Meisenzahl

read … Hawaii does not have to be a pedestrian deathtrap

Foreign visitors perk up recovering hotel industry

SA: Hawaii occupancy increased 1.6 percentage points to 72.5 percent in October, according to statistics released today by Hospitality Advisors LLC and Smith Travel Research. Hotels across the state collected an average daily rate of $176.18, a 7.4 percent increase from the prior year, and their revenue per available room, or revPAR, rose by 9.9 percent to $127.73.

A 6.1 percent rise in international visitors helped Oahu's occupancy climb 3.1 percentage points to 81.4 percent, the second-highest October level behind only the peak 84.7 percent achieved in 2005. Oahu's ADR rose by 9.6 percent to $163.05, which was only slightly lower than October 2007's peak of $163.44. With both occupancy and ADR near historically high levels for the month, revPAR on Oahu rose by 13.9 percent to establish a new October record of $132.72.

"Oahu continues to lead the ongoing market recovery from the tourism downturn of 2008 to 2010," said Joe Toy, Hospitality Advisors president and chief executive.

read … Weak Dollar Boosts Business

State Still Trying to Shake Money Out of Catamaran Operators

SA: Operators currently pay an annual $8.50 registration fee. They support paying a higher fee but oppose a permit system, fearing it could potentially lead to a bidding process that could push out smaller catamaran businesses.

A fee increase of $60 per seat per year was proposed during a September meeting between the operators and boating staff. Operators said they thought the fee increase proposal would result in the boating division withdrawing its use permit proposal, but division Administrator Ed Underwood said at no time did the agency agree it would go one way or the other.

During the meeting Friday, attorney Cynthia Farias, who represents a majority of the catamaran operators, said the boating division doesn't have the authority to issue permits to Waikiki catamaran operators and that a 2003 rule under the boating division that addresses permits is "fatally defective."

read … Hey, they’re making a profit, we can’t allow that!

Whole Foods Touts Strategy in 'Buying Local'

CB: Here is the percentage of the company’s purchases made from Hawaii farms:

  • 31 percent — Kahala produce (total department) (Too bad the Superferry is gone, Sister Isle farmers could pump up their sales at Kahala.)
  • 32 percent — Kahala prepared foods (produce only)
  • 46 percent — Maui produce (total department)
  • 54 percent — Maui prepared foods(produce only)
  • $2,626,406 — Whole Foods Market’s total purchases of produce, meat, milk, butter, cheese and honey grown by Hawaii farmers. This does not include purchases of Hawaii-made packaged products, regardless of ingredient origin.

read … Whole Foods

Students want say in selection of new football coach

SA: Associated Students of the University of Hawaii President Anna Koethe said the imposition of the mandatory $50 per semester student athletic fee earlier this year makes the students "stakeholders" in the program and has asked the Board of Regents and UH President M. R. C. Greenwood to seat two student members on the committee.

The UH athletic department received $818,000 from student fees for the spring semester.

Koethe said ASUH requested the seats last week but has yet to learn if they will be added.

The six-member committee, composed primarily of boosters and community members, is scheduled to hold its first meeting this afternoon.

read … Football is not Important, like students

Occupy protesters seek to shut West Coast ports

Anti-Wall Street protesters along the West Coast joined an effort Monday to blockade some of the nation's busiest ports from Anchorage, Alaska, to San Diego, with the thought that if they cut off the ports, they cut into corporate profits.

Demonstrators were to gather to march on the Port of Oakland, which Occupy protesters successfully shut down in November. Marchers also descended on the sprawling port complex spanning Los Angeles and Long Beach as the work day begins.

Occupy groups also planned blockades in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia, and in Portland, Ore.

read … Occupy a job if you wanna organize a union

The Descendants Wins Best Picture, 2nd Best Screenplay

Alexander Payne’s The Descendants won Best Picture in voting Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association ….

read … Descendants


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