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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
April 25, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:30 PM :: 14450 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Full Text: Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction Against Reapportionment Plan

Clinton’s chief economist supports Jones Act reform for Hawaii

Relativity Media Using Hollywood Accounting to Sell Hawaii Film Incentive

DoD IDs Hawaii Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

2,700 Okinawa Marines Coming to Hawaii

Planning Commission Set to Decide on 15-year Extension for Waimanalo Gulch Landfill

House Democratic Blog: OE Seeks Funds to Prepare for Possibility of Another Reapportionment Plan

“Office of Elections asking for $1,090,612 to prepare for possibility of another reapportionment plan, given the current lawsuit.”

PDF: Election Office Funding Request

read … Deemer

Court Asked to 'Remedy Extraordinary Wrong'

Hawaii's primary election is about 100 days away, and while the Office of Elections is busy preparing for it, the fate of the state's legislative districts remains tied up in the latest legal challenge.

Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's redistricting plan on Monday filed a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to halt the upcoming election.

"A preliminary injunction may be extraordinary relief, but here it is necessary to remedy an extraordinary wrong," the motion said.

A hearing on the request is set for May 18 before a three-judge district court.

read … Court Asked to 'Remedy Extraordinary Wrong'

Say: SB755 Transfers Control from Environmental Council to Governor’s Office

Calvin Say: …the language in SB 755 for the Governor is the same as in current law for the Environmental Council.

The following is a list of state projects gleaned from the past two years of The Environmental Notice, the Office of Environmental Quality Control's weekly publication. In my subjective judgment, these are the types of state projects that may qualify for an exemption.

related: Unspeakable arrogance and Hawaii's environmental laws

read … SB 755

SA: Resist limiting public input

SA: Senate Bill 2927 would allow developers to make decisions that may depart from the needs and wishes of a neighborhoods residents and tenants.

The bill would allow developers to submit "exceptional" commercial or residential projects that could be approved within 45 days in rail station areas, which would be automatically reclassified as urban districts….

The public also is given short shrift in the current set-up of the Hawaii Health Connector, our state's version of health insurance exchanges of individuals and employees of small businesses, a central part of the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act.

Several members of Hawaii's 11-person "Connector" board, newly formed, consists of representatives of medical and dental organizations, which raises the troubling issue of conflicts of interest.

We agree with consumer advocates in supporting Senate Bill 2434, House Draft 3, which would make the insurers non-voting advisory members. To protect the public interest, these insurers would be more fairly utilized as technical consultants but not actual members of the board….

And then there is Senate Bill 755, which would authorize broad exemptions from some environmental review processes to rush certain construction projects….

read … Resist limiting public input

House, Less Pork with More Control

SA: House negotiators appear committed to about $300 million in new general obligation bond-financed state construction spending, the amount requested by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The Senate has called for up to $500 million in new construction money for repair and maintenance at public schools, hospitals and other public buildings, but senators acknowledge the proposal — their signature idea for the session — is now unlikely.

Senators have suggested a streamlined permitting and procurement process for state repair and maintenance proj­ects of less than $1 million. The relaxed regulations would be in place for two years, and a legislative oversight committee would monitor the proj­ects to ensure transparency in bidding and contracting.

The House, however, still wants to give the governor the authority to temporarily exempt certain types of state proj­ects from environmental review, a concept that many in the Senate believe is too broad.

read … Lawmakers divided on construction funds

Cash Call! Rep. Herkes Raises Money During Session

CB: Bob Herkes, who is weighing a state Senate run, has scheduled a campaign fundraiser at Michaels (that’s what it says on the filing disclosure, but maybe he meant Michel’s).

That’s Tuesday (April 24) for $500 a pop.

Among those giving Herkes money in 2011 were Calvin Say’s PAC, Outrigger, Altria, Pfizer, Anheuser-Busch, roofing contractors and Monsanto.

read … Cash Call! Rep. Herkes Raises Money During Session

Rail Contractors Illegally Using Ag Land for Construction Yard

HNN: Zoned agriculture land has specific requirements so rail opponents question how equipment is able to be stored on farmland.

There is no question rail contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West is storing equipment, machinery and supplies on the land at the corner of Farrington Highway and Pipeline Road. The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting says Kiewit got a temporary use permit to do so back in December 2010 but the time limit has passed so Kiewit has applied for a special use permit. However that permit application is in the middle of an open public comment period that closes May 18. Since the special use permit has not been approved concerned citizens wondered what's up….

"The City Department of Planning and Permitting initially determined that a 6-month use did not trigger a permit (SUP) for the temporary test-boring stage of the rail project. When the use extended beyond 6 months, the DPP determined that an SUP was required. The use is allowed to continue until an SUP application is submitted and acted upon. The contractor can use the site to store equipment, materials and vehicles through the end of the year, or until a special use permit is issued," said the Department in an email response.

(Compare this to the treatment of the Haleiwa Farmers Market….)

read … ‘SUP with that?

$80M PM Contra-Flow Plan Will Cut Commutes by 20 minutes

KHON: A more than 80 million dollar freeway project aims to shave time off the afternoon rush hour, but not without nearly a year's worth of road repairs.
Sections of the H-1 freeway are going to be reinforced and smoothed in advance of a p-m contraflow plan that could take 20 minutes off peak commutes.

read … about how simple real traffic solutions are

Federal Judge Voids HGEA Make-Work Fee on Air Cargo

SA: A federal judge has issued a permanent injunction stopping the state from requiring that air cargo carriers charge customers a fee to help pay for efforts to protect the islands from invasive plant and animal species because state law conflicts with federal laws.

State legislators in 2007 established the pest inspection, quarantine and eradication fee for companies that import cargo by ship. Lawmakers also established a special fund for the collected fees and charges.

Lawmakers amended the law the following year to include cargo imported by airlines and to require the transportation companies to collect the fees. In 2010 lawmakers established fines for transportation companies that do not collect and remit the fees in a timely manner to the state Department of Agriculture.

The Air Transport Association of America, the principal trade and service organization for the country's domestic air carriers, sued the state in 2010 to block the fee as it applies to airlines. The organization said the state law is pre-empted by the federal airline deregulation act and another federal law that prohibits states from collecting a tax, fee, head charge or other charge on the sale of air transportation.

read … Conflict with federal laws voids state air cargo fee

HB2659: Forces Churches to host Gay Union Ceremonies

CB: The proposed conference draft — known as a CD1 — for House Bill 2569 is intended to ensure that churches do not violate the state law on public accommodations that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The new language, which is highlighted in the document posted at the end of this article, says the facilities must be those used only for religious purposes, restricted to members of the organization and not operated for commercial purposes.

(In other words, any church facility open to the public and/or used for the slightest non-religious purpose—such as a school, day care, or soup kitchen—is free game for gays to utilize to solemnize and perhaps consummate their ‘unions’. Here’s a question: how many church facilities are not open to the public?)

The CD1 was proposed Tuesday at a conference committee hearing by Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran, chair of House Judiciary. He called the religious exemption "fairly narrow."

Full text: Proposed religious exemption for civil unions

read … Gays control your church

Civil Beat Considers a Gay Marriage with Grabuskas

CB: Grabauskas spent more than two hours at Civil Beat's office last week, chatting easily and intelligently about how he sees Honolulu, its problems, its future and how rail fits into that larger picture.

It was a good first date. We hope to see much more of him….

He's a newcomer for sure, but his message is there are places where this emperor has no clothes.

Just like the rest of us he's been stuck in traffic plenty of times, too, in the two weeks he's called Honolulu home. "If there's one thing everybody agrees on it's that traffic is craptacular." (He’s soooo articulate. He even know how to say ‘craptacular.’)

And to the rail critics who complain about Honolulu's "virgin" view planes, Grabauskas asks: What view planes?

So we're eager to see where this new relationship goes.

He says Honolulu is having cold feet at the altar. But can he coax us into marriage? We'll see.

read … Gay Marriage

Another Bogus Civil Beat Fact Check -- Attacks I Aloha Molokai

CB: FACT CHECK — I Aloha Molokai: Arizona Utility Abandoning Wind Power—FALSE

Another demented Civil Beat Fact Check. Thanks to CB for confirming that the Civil Beat Fact Check problem comes from a source higher up in their organization than John Temple. What's Omidyar's cut of the Wind Scammers' action in Hawaii? Is ML&P planning to host a windfarm somewhere? Or is he just lending a helping hand to his fellow billionaire, Murdock in a selfless act of state capitalist solidarity.

The lede from AZ Daily Sun -- Flagstaff's local daily print newspaper (CB’s fact check use of the adjective ‘small’ implies that ADS is somehow disreputable)

Only months after Coconino County's first major wind energy farm got up and running this winter, the utility buying its power says more wind farms here are unlikely -- at least for now.

Cost is the bottom line, with the sun beating the wind on both equipment prices and time-of-day power production.

Even a cursory glance at the ADS article shows that this faulty Civil Beat 'Fact' Check is predicated on a word game--imposing absolute infinite interpretations of IAM’s words and then matching them with 'nuanced' interpretations of the utilities' words. Click on the link below and see how CB twists the truth into a full on ‘false’ for IAM’s claim that Arizona’s utility is dropping further development of wind power in favor of solar.

read … FACT CHECK — I Aloha Molokai: Arizona Utility Abandoning Wind Power

Hawaii now Has 10,000 Medicated Pot-Heads

HNN: In just more than nine months the number of medical marijuana permits issued in Hawaii jumped 27%. At the end of June, 2011 7,593 people held medical marijuana cards. By April 11, 2012 that number had climbed to 10,454.

"Some, like I said, are legitimate, but there is some questionable. Why do we have (almost) 3,000 more patients all of a sudden?" asked Keith Kamita, Deputy Director of Law Enforcement for the Department of Public Safety.

"It may be because there was a push toward dispensaries on this island or there was a push toward legalization. We don't know, but 3,000 patients. That's a significant bump," Kamita added.

Of the 10,454 permits, 6,199, or 59%, were issued for "severe pain." That is by far the most for any single category. Cancer patients account for 155 of the medical marijuana certificates, 89 HIV or AIDS patients have certificates, and 85 glaucoma patients have marijuana cards.

Kamita does not have proof, but suspects some patients and physicians are acquiring and issuing certificates for recreational purposes instead of medicinal purposes….

"When we look at our physicians who are issuing certificates, a lot of our oncologists (cancer doctors), our pain management people, are not issuing more. What we're seeing is an increase by general practitioners utilizing this as a business," Kamita said… (Why? Are doctors having a hard time making an honest living?)

The state keeps track of how many certificates physicians issue. As of April 11, a Big Island doctor had issued 2,358, or 22.5% of all certificates issued state-wide.

read … Hawaii experiences run on medical marijuana permits

More Medicated Drug Pushers Busted

SA: Two men charged with possessing marijuana with a street value of more than $100,000 at a Kalihi hydroponics supply store are scheduled to appear in Hono­lulu District Court this morning.

Kapahulu resident Thomas Lee Acklen Jr., 31, and Ward Avenue resident Carlos Jude Trahan, 48, arrested Friday, are out of jail after posting $20,000 bail each. Both were charged with two counts of first-degree promotion of a harmful drug, one count of possessing drug paraphernalia and one count of second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug.

The two men work at Green Hands of Aloha, a store on Mary Street near Sand Island which bills itself on its website as "Hawaii's Number One Hydroponic Greenhouse Equipment and Organic Garden Supply Store."…

Earlier this month U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested Hono­lulu police officer Michael Steven Chu, who was charged with conspiring to possess and distribute 48 marijuana plants and one pound of processed marijuana.

The 13-year HPD veteran allegedly grew marijuana at indoor operations inside a Kapiolani Boulevard apartment and a Mililani Mauka home. Chu said he has a medical marijuana permit.

Chu is out on an unsecured $25,000 signature bond.

read … Dope Pushers

Big Isle Newspaper Publisher is Escaped Coke Dealer

HNN: Lawrence said Sargent spent at least a decade in the town. According to friends, he got married and lived in a five-bedroom plantation house with his wife and two sons. They said he ran a mortgage company and bought the Kohala Village Inn as well as a restaurant called Luke's Place. He even published the Kohala Mountain News. Gale Leonardi used to work for him. She was shocked to learn about his double life….

Sargent escaped from a California prison in 1990 while serving time for his arrest with 220 pounds of cocaine, according to news reports out of Thailand. Sargent's visa was reportedly revoked and police planned to hand him over to U.S. authorities. Sargent's real name is still unclear to those who knew him in Hawi. Friends said he and his wife divorced awhile ago, but she moved to Thailand with their sons to be close to him. His attorney is now collecting letters of support.

read … Another Doper in Charge

Pot-Heads, Group Led by Convicted Drug Dealer Harass Hawaii Co Council over Geothermal

HTH: Geothermal wells tap into something much more than a renewable energy source, members of the Pele Defense Fund (led by convicted drug dealer Ralph Palikapu Dedman) and other geothermal opponents told the Hawaii County Council on Tuesday evening.

They drill into the goddess Pele herself….

read … Pot Heads

Psychos Obsess over Radiation Dangers on Kauai

KGI: Before Tuesday’s meeting, a handful of protesters lined the street outside the Kapa‘a meeting place, holding up picket signs to protest smart meters, citing health fears and/or privacy concerns.

read … KIUC board to consider smart meter opt-out plan

Kauai’s Troubled Prosecutor Gets Appointment From Abercrombie

KGI: Just skip to the comments …

read … Iseri-Carvalho named to state juvenile justice council

Shapiro: Landfill Plan Kills Jobs, Wastes Money

Shapiro: It seems to make little sense to close a working quarry that employs 300 people in support of Oahu's construction industry to accommodate a landfill that could just as well be situated elsewhere.

And the case for going to such great expense to shut down Wai­ma­nalo Gulch before it reaches capacity is less than compelling.

But I'm bothered by the knee-jerk responses on both sides before there was time to even digest the advisory panel's recommendations.

Technology to make 100 percent of Oahu's trash magically disappear is nowhere on the horizon, and we need a landfill somewhere.

read … Ash in the Future

Honolulu Salaries 2012 — The City's Big Earners

CB: Mayor Peter Carlisle may be the guy in charge at Honolulu Hale, but he's not the best paid. In fact, there are at least 12 city workers who make more than Hizzoner.

Today, Daniel Grabauskas, the new CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has a salary of $245,000. That presumably makes him the city's highest-paid employee.

As part of our series this week exploring compensation at Honolulu Hale, we've assembled a list of the city's top earners.

At the start of this fiscal year, the city's Acting Medical Examiner William Goodhue reigned as the city's highest-paid employee. But in the months since, Goodhue has retired and the city hired a rail chief at a higher salary.

Civil Beat's salary database — the one we shared with you Monday — begins with the current fiscal year, listing Goodhue as numero uno and not yet including Grabauskas.

But answering the question of who comes in 2nd as the city's highest-paid worker is tricky. That's because more than half of the 8,467 city employees in our database1 have salary ranges instead of exact salaries. Under state law, ranges are all that the city has to disclose for those who are part of collective bargaining units or other non-exempt employees.

The ranges can be quite large. Former rail chief Toru Hamayasu, for example, had a salary somewhere between $89,604 and $149,808, placing him anywhere from the second-highest-paid city employee (after Goodhue) to No. 212.

read … Honolulu Salaries 2012 — The City's Big Earners

EMS Director Questions Merger with Fire Department

SA: Last year, the consultant group Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) presented its report on the feasibility of a merger between the Honolulu Fire Department and the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, which consists of paramedics and lifeguards.

While the report was 211 pages, some readers keyed in on the four-page executive summary, particularly the sentence: "ESCI estimates that a merger of the organizations has the ability to generate savings in excess of $10,000,000 within the next five years."

However, the analysis is flawed and to suggest a merger of the two departments will save the taxpayer any money at all may be completely false.

read … Make sure of facts about possible HFD-EMS merger

Humane Society Pushes for Conferees on HB108

SA: Small hobby breeders would not be affected by the provisions in HB 108, which would apply only to those who possess more than 11 intact dogs solely for the purpose of breeding and selling their offspring. The law is carefully targeted to address substandard conditions at commercial breeding operations. Similar laws have already been enacted in more than 20 states. It's not a novel concept; any reputable, responsible business engaged with the public understands that professional standards and accountability are necessary.

Hawaii's residents are compassionate people who want our dogs protected. And the public, too, should be protected when acquiring a pet. This year's legislative session is nearing an end, and it is crucial for Hawaii's dogs, and for families who purchase pets, that HB 108 be enacted.

The HSUS urges leadership in both chambers to assign conferees for a conference committee, which is the last hurdle the bill must pass before final floor consideration. To protect our animal companions, legislators should move this measure forward….

SA: Bill banning sale of bear bile products headed to governor's office

related: HB 108: Dog Fighting OK, Dog Breeding Illegal

read … Hawaii should join states that have rules for large-scale dog breeders

House Bill 2703 would commit the Aloha State to doubling the amount of food we grow in the islands by 2020

SA: All over the Windward side, the North Shore, the Waianae Coast, even in Palolo Valley and Hawaii Kai, enterprising new farmers are trying to make a go of it, despite all the obstacles the state keeps putting in their way — like shutting down farmers markets and imposing burdensome safety inspection regimes.

Hawaii’s farming renaissance has started. Between 1990 and 2004, the acreage growing vegetables increased 475 percent. We don’t have more recent statistics because the state Department of Agriculture shut down data collection as a cost-savings measure. Today it can’t even tell us how many farms there are in the state.

That’s one thing HB 2703 would fix. This is a bill that would finally tell the administration to make our farm economy a priority.

It has one last hurdle to clear: today’s conference committee between the Senate and the House.

read … Just like HCEI

Feds Investigate Fourth Killing of Monk Seal

SA: Federal and state conservation enforcement officials are investigating the death of a Hawaiian monk seal found Sunday in northeastern Kauai.

It is the fourth death of a Hawaiian monk seal under suspicious circumstances since November, said officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Two deaths were on Kauai and two on Molokai.

Hawaiian monks seals are designated as a federal endangered species. Killing one is a crime punishable by up to a year in jail and a $50,000 fine. (Which is more than a quadruple child rapist gets in these fair isles.)

read … Monk Killer

9%: Hawaii has Most Multi-Generational Homes in Nation

SA: Nine percent of Hawaii households are multigenerational, the highest percentage in the nation, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau today.

The bureau defines a multigenerational household as containing three or more parent-child generations.

Nationally, the number increased to 5.1 million in 2010, up from 3.9 million in 2000.

read … 3 Generations

Business group donates iPads for DOE teacher evaluations

SA: The Hawaii Business Roundtable has donated 189 iPads to the Department of Education for its teacher evaluation pilot program.

Three iPads will go to each of the 63 schools that will join the pilot in the upcoming school year. (The pilot began this school year, with 18 schools).

The iPads are used by school leaders as they observe teachers in the classroom.

read … iPads

Gingrich to leave presidential race next Tuesday, sources say

FOX: Newt Gingrich plans to formally leave the Republican presidential race next Tuesday, senior campaign aides told Fox News, after struggling for months to turn around his sagging bid for the White House.

The former House speaker will "more than likely" endorse Mitt Romney when he makes his announcement to either suspend or end the campaign, a source said.

The decision comes after Gingrich huddled with senior advisers following the five primaries Romney swept on Tuesday night. Romney's victories made it virtually impossible for Gingrich to secure the 1,144 delegates needed for the Republican nomination.

Read … Gingrich


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