Seven Hawaii High Schools Compete in World Championship of Robotics
US, Japan Reach $8.6B Deal on Transfer of 9,000 Okinawa Marines
Marumoto: Plan to Release 1,195 Criminals is 'Kapakahi'
KITV Video: Euro Socialist working for UHERO Peddles Plastic Bag Tax Proposal
Leaked Democrat Emails: “Emotional Chickens” Bicker Over Laura Thielen Candidacy
CB: "Everybody should relax and stop worrying about the press," Gill writes. "The ritual hooting and hopping and throwing of fruit through the bars will die down shortly. Besides, when do we concern ourselves about what a few editorial writers say? The most important thing we can do is stick to the decision and not scatter when we get a little criticism."
"There is plausible inference that those with a view contrary to the vote are somehow like emotional chickens with our heads cut off, foolishly reacting to the uninformed opinions of a few in the media," counters Shon. "This is just a tad demeaning. Many have very well thought out reasons for holding a different view."
Oahu County Democrats, who will hold their convention May 5, met over the weekend to discuss rule changes that have come as a result of the Thielen affair. Those rules changes could be voted on at the Democratic Party of Hawaii's state convention....
CB: Hawaii Democrats: 'Emotional Chickens With Our Heads Cut Off'
6PM Today is Deadline for Bills to Clear Conference Committee
CB: Lawmakers face a 6 p.m. cutoff time Friday (April 27). If a bill has not emerged from conference committee, it’s very likely dead for the session — with the oft-cited caveat that nothing is ever dead at the Ledge until sine die.
A lot will depend on how things go when the money conferees take up the state budget and construction projects this morning. It’s been a difficult negotiation.
If the budget passes, that will make it a whole lot easier for other bills to follow suit; if it does not, look for lawmakers to extend deadlines … or else a whole lot of bills will die.
Bills Hanging in the Balance (click link for info): Civil unions, online voter registration, campaign spending database, homeless return tickets, ethics in charter schools, a veterans’ court, exemptions for transit, aerospace development, telecommunications regulation, food self-sustainability and renewable energy tax credits.
read … Deadline Day at the Hawaii Legislature
Plan to Release Hardened Criminals onto Streets of Hawaii May Be in Trouble
KHON: Justice reinvestment aims to reduce Hawaii's overall prison population by 500 next fiscal year, 850 the following, and another 1,050 in fiscal 2015.
Some of that would come from release before maximum term of up to 18 months sooner.
Measures face a key deadline to clear conference committee at the Capitol without the entire wish list of resources.
"I think the legislature is also sending them a message to slow down, and let's take it slowly,” said JRI critic Keith Kaneshiro, Honolulu’s prosecutor. “And the administration should take that message and not stick to their original timetable of releasing all these inmates within so many years."
The measures wanted many more supervisory officers for instance. It looks like budgeting could be for a fraction of what was sought.
"If they continue to release the inmates and not increase the parole and probation officers,” Kaneshiro said, “you're going to have a major problem."
SA: Move ahead with prison reform (Oddly the Editors have not volunteered to host half-way houses in their neighborhoods.)
read … Major Problem
Poof! The tax credits to Hollywood are up this a.m.
ILind: That bill to restore/extend the film tax credits is being rushed out into view this morning in a last minute conference committee meeting.
The vehicle turns out to be HB 2868, HD2, SD2 …. A late report says the 9 a.m. session has been deferred until 1 p.m. while lobbyists work feverishly to push further lucrative changes for the film industry. Senator Fukunaga reportedly trying to push the industry position.
Related: Relativity Media Using Hollywood Accounting to Sell Hawaii Film Incentive
read … Poof! The tax credits to Hollywood are up this a.m.
SB3003 Streamlines Permitting for Geothermal Exploration
WHT: Senate Bill 3003 would differentiate between geothermal development and geothermal exploration, streamlining the permitting process for the latter.
The bill also gets rid of geothermal subzones.
“That allows for geothermal development on all lands,” Coffman said.
While the public may ultimately reap some benefit from the measures, certainly geothermal development companies will, too, if they’re able to create working geothermal plants, Coffman said.
Another Senate bill still moving would ask the state to promote the development of geothermal resources on public trust land.
Not all of Coffman’s energy bills gained traction this session. Companion House and Senate bills that attempted to reorganize Hawaii Electric Industries, by separating power generation and power distribution, failed.
WHT: Ormat official: PGV no different from geothermal projects elsewhere
read … Geo
Excellent News: Tsuji Amends Phony ‘Food Self-Sufficiency’ Bill to Prevent another HCEI-type Disaster
Just as the Adoption of Binding Goals under the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative has produced Big Cable, Big Wind and has led 100s of Mainland Solar Scammers to Loot the General Fund, the Sierra Club’s proposed ‘Food Self Sufficiency’ Bill HB2703 HD2 SD2 would force the State into contortions which have not been broached with the public as the Sierra Club and the usual suspects push through another set of mandatory ‘goals’ designed to re-shape the economy according to their version of utopia. Here is a list of the things that Euro Socialist Sierra Club Bosses are ‘Mad as Hell’ about. You can see their goals by what they denounce:
- explicitly stated in the bill that the food self-sufficiency goal shall be non-binding – of course! And if the Department of Ag doesn’t like the goal they should be allowed to cut it nearly in half – naturally!
- Then, as if these aren’t bad enough, he wants our food and farming bill to be tied to “other goals of equal priority.”
- Meeting our renewable energy portfolio standard in 2020 “partly with biofuels and biomass crops at the volume estimated by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism.”
- Requiring that “the community growth boundary of a county's long-term general, development, or community plan shall be respected,” which appears to be an effort to kill the Honolulu City Council’s recent decision to consider designating as Important Agricultural Lands the farmlands of billionaire developer Donald Horton and billionaire developer David Murdock at Ho‘opili and Koa Ridge (which between them grow 40% of the food currently grown in the state).
- there shall be ”no state or county prohibition on the growing, raising, possession, or consumption by people of genetically engineered agricultural products within the state if the products are grown or raised in compliance with federal law.”
- he inserts language that contradicts and nullifies public trust protections of water resources, by making commercial agricultural diversions a “public trust purpose”
- “No person may bring an action against the state or any state officer or employee for an act or omission alleged to be contrary to attainment of the food sustainability benchmark.”
read … HB2703
New Hearing Officer in UH Telescope Case is Also UH President's Attorney
CB: A three-member selection committee of state employees chose Fazio, an attorney with Ashford & Winston, from a pool of six pre-qualified applicants. She didn't specifically apply for the position.
Fazio disclosed her connection to Greenwood in a letter sent to parties in the case last week. It's unclear if the committee knew of her relationship when the selection was made.
“On occasion, I represent MRC Greenwood, the president of the University, in personal matters unrelated to the University (with the exception of representing Dr. Greenwood in her negotiations with the Board of Regents concerning her employment contract),” she wrote.
read … Greenwood
Photos: Bulldozers Rape Earth to Construct Mammoth Tax Shelters
First photo: A blade assembly is lifted Wednesday afternoon to the top of a 168-foot tower on the Kaheawa Wind Power farm above Maalaea. Each blade is 112 feet long and weighs about 14,000 pounds. This tower is the 13th of 14 turbines to go up for Kaheawa's second phase.
read … Maui Tax Avoidance Scheme
Ag lands approved for solar farms
KGI: After a few deferrals and various amendments, a bill to regulate solar farms on agricultural lands passed a final vote Wednesday by the Kaua‘i County Council, although some council members wanted more time for scrutiny.
Bill 2424 complies with Act 217, signed last year by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The act allows solar photovoltaic projects as a generally permitted use in ag districts and grants automatic approval for projects on ag lands rated from B to E, but projects on B and C lands can only occupy 20 acres or 10 percent of the land, whichever is less. Act 217, however, allows counties to impose additional restrictions.
“I find it very, very, very disappointing that the vote was taken while I was in the building, with staff, on the phone,” said Councilman Mel Rapozo, adding he was going to ask for a deferral because of the phone conversation he had with Kaua‘i Farm Bureau Executive Administrator Melissa McFerrin while the council was taking the vote.
KHON: Thief makes off with 476 solar panels
read … Ag lands approved for solar farms
State Evicting Haleiwa Farmers Market On Two Weeks Notice
HNN: The state says it has given the Haleiwa Farmers' Market a two week extension to relocate.
Attorney General David Louie and Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto met Thursday with an attorney for the Haleiwa Farmers' Market. (Because there is nothing more important than making sure farmers markets aren’t held on disused road surfaces!)
Louie and Okimoto told the attorney about a 'final' two week extension to relocate….
PBN: State of Hawaii: Haleiwa Farmers Market must leave North Shore location after May 13
read … State gives Haleiwa Farmers Market options and extension
Two Projects Already Blocked: Carlisle Admin Announces Sewer Hook-Up Moratorium Until 2018
HNN: The City and County of Honolulu Department of Environmental Services has issued a moratorium on new sewer connections from Halawa to Pearl City. No new home, high rise, or business can hook-up to the city sewer system until the system is upgraded, and that is not expected to happen until 2018.
Two major developments have already been denied requests to connect to the sewer system and there is fear construction of everything from small single family homes to large commercial projects will be stalled by the moratorium.
Tim Steinberger, Director of the Department of Environmental Services, explained the Pearl City Wastewater Pump station is at capacity. That station shares transmission pipes with the Waipahu pump station. Steinberger said if new customers anywhere from Red Hill to the West end of Pearl City are allowed to connect to the system; it will be over capacity and at greater risk of sewage spills.
"Every time you do something and you knowingly increase your risk of a spill, and this would be one of those situations, then you are putting the county at risk for more federal action and more fines," Steinberger said.
The solution, Steinberger told Hawaii News Now, is to install a new force main (large transmission pipe) from the Waipahu pump station, across military property at West Loch, then under the loch to Geiger Road.
"It's expensive. It's probably going to end up costing in the neighborhood of $60 million," Steinberger said. And he said the work is not expected to be finished until 2018 at the earliest. (Unfortunately, the City is all tied up building Rail and then demolishing it. So this will have to wait.)
When asked "How big of a snafu is this?" City Councilman Breene Harimoto answered, "Probably as big as it can get."
Harimoto knows of two developers who have already been denied sewer connections.
Robertson Properties Group is planning to build a commercial / residential development on nearly 14 acres at the site of the old Kam Drive-In. The multi-million dollar project would include 200,000 square feet of retail space and as many as 1,800 condominium units. It is expected to create as many as 1,000 permanent jobs. The project is still undergoing an environmental review and is years from opening, but it has been denied a sewer connection and cannot be finished until it is allowed to hook-up to the city sewer system….
A developer planning to construct an assisted living facility for seniors in Pearl City has also been denied a wastewater hook-up.
read … Situation Normal AFU
Time Warner/Oceanic Cable in broad attack on public access media
ILind: I was more than a little surprised to discover that Time Warner/Oceanic Cable has used my comments about public access in what appears to be a broad, multi-pronged attack by the corporate giant on Olelo Community Media, Oahu’s provider of public, education, and government cable programming.
TW/Oceanic made numerous references and lifted long passages out of my February 27, 2012 post (“Have community access media organizations adapted to the digital age?“). These are included in a March 29, 2012 document filed by TW/Oceanic in a proceeding reviewing Olelo’s application to continue to provide public access services.
TW/Oceanic took the unusual step of intervening in the proceeding at the same time that the company is already challenging Olelo’s funding request for new equipment and facilities, a case that is already in arbitration.
And Kauai Rep. James Tokioka, who works for Oceanic, has been leading criticism of Olelo within the legislature, despite what seems to be a pretty clear conflict of interest (see Civil Beat, “Hawaii Lawmaker Voted on Bills Backed By His Employer — Oceanic Cable“).
read … Time Warner/Oceanic Cable in broad attack on public access media
Public housing getting modern renovations with private help
KITV: Granite countertops, energy star appliances and an organic rooftop farm.
Sounds like a new high rise development?
No. It's a low-income housing apartment in Kalihi.
And an example of future affordable housing projects done with private and public partnerships.
Ceremonies today marked what could become a template for the future of affordable housing in the islands.
Seattle-based Vitus Group bought the Banyan Street Manor Apartments last May for $8.5 million and spent just over $3 million dollars to renovate the units.
(Don’t get any funny ideas about the private sector doing a better job or something.)
read … Banyan Street Manor opens after $11.5 million effort
Hannemann Supports Jones Act
WHT: Hannemann said he does not support repealing the Jones Act, which requires all goods transported on water within the U.S. be done so on U.S. flagged ships, built in the U.S., with U.S. owners and American crews.
“Jobs that go to American workers are very important,” Hannemann said. “It may be cheaper to transport goods, but it will mean a reduction in longshoreman jobs.”
read … You Must Pay for My Union Cronies
ILWU Backs Loser Caldwell
SA: Caldwell endorsed by ILWU 142 in mayor's race
News Release: Hannemann earns two union endorsements
Union Lawyers Score $250K Payoff from Hotel
NLRB: A federal magistrate in Honolulu has recommended that the Pacific Beach Hotel of Waikiki be ordered to pay more than a quarter million dollars to the National Labor Relations Board and to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 142, as the latest contempt sanction in a long-running dispute.
read … In the money
Pot-Head Abercrombie Signs Law Banning Spice
It is a drug known on the streets as spice, smoked as a legal alternative to marijuana.
But as of April 19, 2012 the alternative is no longer legal.
In fact, selling or smoking the synthetic drug is now a felony in Hawaii.
For more than a year The Rack on Kilani Drive in Wahiawa was booming with business.
"Phenomenal business, I mean he was open 7 days a week constant stream of folks coming in," said coffee shop owner Michael Richards. Less than two weeks ago, the owner abruptly shut down his business. "He came over told me that he was closing, that the law had changed and he was leaving."
These products are now illegal.
On April 19, 2012, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law Act 29.
Synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 and Spice and substituted cathinone also known as bath salts were now considered schedule 1 controlled substances.
For more information on Act 29 go to: http://hawaii.gov/psd/search?SearchableText=act+29
read … Prohibition
Dopers Push Dolan for Hawaii County Prosecutor
Paul Dolan eliminates Roth’s caveman instincts by proving unmistakably that prosecutors have better things to do than to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. Here is Paul’s position statement on marijuana
Decriminalization of marijuana will be a top priority of this campaign! Although marijuana is illegal by federal laws, Hawai’i State Law allows the use and cultivation of pakalolo (marijuana) by way of medical marijuana. blablabla smoke…
read … Dopers get their candidate
Oahu travel agent tells school band he lost $267,500 for Hawaii trip
KITV: Officials at Southside High School in Fort Smith, Ark., have contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice after an Oahu travel agent told them via email he had lost $267,500 paid by the school for a summer trip to Waikiki.
"This is supposed to be the culmination of their year to go to Hawaii, and for many of them it's the culmination of their band career," Sean Carrier, the band's assistant director, told KITV4 by phone from Arkansas.
Band officials knew something was amiss when the owner of the tour company Performing Hawaii Tours, Ope Saaga, stopped returning phone calls….
The director of the festival, Eric Ishizuka, told KITV4 that Saaga never registered the Southside Band to take part in any Pan-Pacific events….
Carrier provided an email from Saaga that the tour operator apparently wrote on April 19. In the email, Saaga admitted he's now in Samoa and no longer has the band's money.
read … ‘Lost”, eh?
Council passes anti-bullying resolution
KGI: Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution to encourage schools to adopt anti-bullying policies and regulations.
“This item was initiated by Councilmember Rapozo in response to the death by suicide of a young man in Waimea,” said Councilman KipuKai Kuali‘i, who co-introduced the resolution with Rapozo.
“School bullying, harassment and intimidation can directly affect a student’s health and well-being and thus contribute to excess absences from school, physical sickness, mental and emotional anguish, and long-term social and mental illness,” Kuali‘i said.
AP: Parents Wire Kids, Nail Teachers’ Bullying
Read … Council passes anti-bullying resolution