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Sunday, April 29, 2012
April 29, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:44 PM :: 10347 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Zero in on Details to Figure Out True Story Behind Bills

Soldiers, Community restore Kaena Point

The History of Natural Gas in Hawaii

Honolulu Attorney Named to Board of Owners Counsel of America

AUDIO: Rick Hamada interviews Michael Hansen of Hawaii Shippers Council

Borreca: Cayetano Victory Will Signal Serious Loss of Face for Inouye

Borreca: Cayetano is more William Wallace in "Braveheart" than a cool, rational politician making only calculated moves.

"I'm 72 and I don't care what they say," Cayetano said during an interview before his campaign rally Wednesday in Manoa.

By basing his campaign on the premise that the city's heavy rail plan, backed by his opponents, is a financial and cultural disaster for Oahu, the two-time former governor and lieutenant governor is going up against not just Carlisle and Caldwell, but much of the Democratic Party's kings and kingmakers….

In the other corner is a newly formed pro-rail group headed by Hawaii's senior U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. The Move Oahu Forward group is a who's who of Hawaii business leaders, from the electric and gas companies to the airlines, the insurance companies and the hotels. Even L&L Drive-Inn's Eddie Flores is on the masthead. Also included were enough big landowners to reshoot the reading-of-the-will scenes from the movie "The Descendants."

…On another level, perhaps not as important as the decision of whether to build the rail line, is the question of Cayetano's challenge to the state's power and political structure.

Cayetano has always been a strong, liberal Democrat. The union leaders and the politicians he now opposes are expected to take the battle for rail and against Cayetano to a political level.

So far, Cayetano's legislative ally, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, has stayed clear of the nonpartisan mayor's race, but a lot of his supporters are helping Cayetano's campaign.

If Cayetano wins, there will be, at least in the beginning, an alliance between Cayetano running City Hall and Abercrombie steering the state.

If that comes to pass, it will signal a serious loss of face for Inouye, who has said the only thing that can stop the rail construction is "World War III."

For this election year, a lot more than just who becomes mayor of Honolulu is at stake.

read … Serious Loss of Face for Inouye

Over 200 Rail Jobs go to Mainland Workers

KHON: The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Friday gave the Honolulu City Council a breakdown of local jobs created so far in the rail project.

Out of 508 positions, more than 40 percent went to people not from Hawaii. Just over 300 jobs went to Hawaii residents, and a handful of returning residents.

Contractor Ansaldo hired the most from out of state. 10 of the 13 hires, or 77 percent were not from Hawaii.

Parsons Brinkerhoff went out of state for 61 percent of their rail jobs. 53 hires were from Hawaii, 82 were not.

Infraconsult has 12 local hires, 15 from out of state, equaling 56% from out of state.

And local company Kiewit, which is the contractor for the first rail segment, recruited 94 people from out of state.. or 39 percent of their rail workforce so far.

HART itself has the best instate hiring tally at 93 percent locally filled positions. Of the 90 positions, 84 were from Hawaii.

CB: HART Updates Local Jobs Count

SA: Rail project job count reaches 508

KITV: Rail road work for the week of April 29

read … Mainly Mainland Moolah

Solar Scammers May Yet get Legislative Reprieve

SA: Lawmakers are expected to publicly release the eligible bills today.

Kalbert Young, the state's budget director, expressed concern that two bills the Abercrombie administration considers important to the state's finances might not make the cut. Lawmakers have not agreed to an extension of a rental-car surcharge that budget analysts believe could help keep the budget in balance over the next several years. Lawmakers have also not committed to immediately replenishing the state's hurricane relief and rainy-day funds, which were tapped to help close budget deficits….

Lawmakers also appear unlikely to extend or expand a film tax credit that many had hoped would encourage more movie and television productions in the islands and help with job creation. Ige, the lead Senate budget negotiator, listed an enhanced film tax credit as a Senate priority as late as Friday.

Several lawmakers are optimistic that a reconfigured solar tax credit may still advance. A draft compromise, which has won the support of the solar industry and environmental advocates, would address some of the concerns by the state that the tax incentive has grown too costly.

Lawmakers are also hopeful about a bill that would provide more than $1 million to help with ambulance service on the Leeward coast in response to the bankruptcy and closure of Hawaii Medical Center-West in Ewa Beach.

The bills that are saved by Monday's new deadline would be scheduled for final votes by Thursday, the last day of the session.

What the Legislature is Responding to: Why Stop at $500K? DoTAX Quietly Multiplies Hawaii Solar Tax Credit

read … Solar Scammers Hopeful

Monday is Deadline for Bill to Release 1,195 Criminals on Streets of Hawaii

KHON: House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Shan Tsutsui also extended the deadline from Friday to Monday for bills to be heard.

Finance committee Chair Oshiro says more than three dozen bills will likely be heard….

But with only $50 million to spend on the bills that are left, not everything will get the funds they need.

The Governor's staff is watching closely to make sure bills like justice reinvestment, watershed and early childhood initiatives make it through and don't fall by the wayside.

"We just hope in this next day and half something doesn't automatically happen and something starts unraveling," said Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff Blake Oshiro.

Some bills in education have already seen that reality, with funding cuts for school bus transportation and adult education at schools.

Reality: Marumoto: Plan to Release 1,195 Criminals is 'Kapakahi'

read … Day and a Half to unravel $50M

Hawaiian Electric CEO ‘Earns’ $5.3M, Top 5 HEI Execs Pull Down $12.65M

SA: The average compensation for Hawaii CEOs, based on nine of Hawaii's largest listed companies, declined to $1.9 million last year from $3.8 million in 2010, according to a Star-Advertiser analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Leading the list of executive compensation in Hawaii last year was Hawaiian Electric Co. CEO Constance Lau, whose compensation package was valued at $5.3 million, down 19 percent from $6.6 million the year before.

(Click the link to see a chart with the top 5 HEI execs listed. Their combined ‘earning’ total $12.65M for 2011. Generating rationalizations and excuses for looting the ratepayer is a tough job—somebody’s got to do it.)

Second to Lau was Alexander & Baldwin CEO Stanley Kuri­yama, whose compensation dropped to $2.34 million last year from $3.68 million in 2010. Allan Kita­gawa, Territorial Bancorp's chief executive, fell to third place from first after his compensation dropped to $2.33 million in 2011 from $6.79 million in 2010. Six of the nine CEOs reported declines in their total compensation packages.

read … About something that has absolutely nothing to do with high electric rates, really

Natural gas is cheap, but Jones Act rules it out for Hawaii

SA: The prospective use of natural gas to fire power plants in Hawaii begs two unanswered issues: Where would large quantities of natural gas actually come from? And, are there any ships to transport it?

Natural gas is carried on highly specialized tankers known as LNG carriers, which transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) at very cold temperatures (-260º F).

Widespread use of natural gas to fire power plants in Hawaii — as posed in the article, "Natural gas in mix as isle energy option," (Star-Advertiser, April 15) — would require deep-sea LNG carriers.

There are no Jones Act LNG carriers to transport domestic natural gas to Hawaii. No LNG carrier has been built in the U.S. since the 1970s.

read … Protect Matson’s Monopoly or Lower Your Electric Bills?

SA: Start laying groundwork for Marines

SA: …The move must be read by Hawaii officials as excellent news. The Marines and their dependents will need housing, and construction (mmmmm contracts!) — as well as the spending by the new Hawaii households — will give the islands' building industries, and the overall economy, a needed boost.

Congress still must approve the proposal, but a fair measure of delay also should be greeted with a sigh of relief. Inouye underscored the clear reality that "there is a lot of work that needs to be done to prepare for their arrival."… (Inouye: Contracts. Contracts: Inouye.)

Based on the count of the Okinawa-based contingent, the group coming to Hawaii could number around 5,000, including dependents.

Military officials say the Kaneohe's Marine Corps Base Hawaii is the preferred location for the troops, but the area already will be crowded with other planned force realignments.

There are, for example, proposals for Navy P-8A Poseidon jets, Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and new attack, utility and heavy transport helicopters — adding up to a 49 percent increase in airfield use by 2018. That, officials say, might make it impossible to base all the Marines there.

It would be better for the Oahu community to scatter the impact a bit. Otherwise, a concentrated influx in one area would have the potential to drive up rents for everyone, because military families would be given a housing allowance that puts higher rents within their range.

Using the Defense online calculator for the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) (www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm) makes the point.

read … Start laying groundwork for Marines

State Senator "Appalled" by Newspaper Lobbying Tactics

HR: The Honolulu Star Advertiser’s bid to keep monopoly control of non-judicial foreclosure newspaper ads has failed at the Legislature and a key state senator said she was “appalled” by the newspaper’s lobbying tactics.

Dave Kennedy, marketing vice president for the Star Advertiser, told Sen. Roz Baker that a bill creating competition for the ads would cost the Star Advertiser $4 million in revenue and force it to lay off employees, Baker said.

“I was appalled,” said Baker, D-5th Dist. (West Maui).

Baker said she told executives of the newspaper to “go ahead and compete” for the advertisements.

“I asked them, ‘don’t you believe in a free market?’” she said. (This is the same Roz Baker who blocked efforts to build a hospital in her district.)

Changes to the publication law are contained in a small section of HB1875, a large omnibus bill that implements changes to state foreclosure laws recommended by task force created by the Legislature in 2010.

The bill changes a section of the law that now requires publication of the notices in a daily newspaper of general circulation published in the county where the foreclosures occur.

Baker said lawmakers “made a mistake” with language in the law last year and “now we want to remedy that inadvertent monopoly.”

The new changes would allow weekly publications to compete for the work.

In trying to head off the changes last week, Star Advertiser publisher Dennis Francis told lawmakers that the newspaper was immediately cutting its rates in half – from $90 per column inch to $45 – for the non-judicial foreclosure ads….

read … Appalling, just Appalling

Cataluna: New Dump? Lets just Make the Peasants Follow our Garbage Rules

Cataluna: The reality is that finding a new dump is not a solution. The solution lies somewhere between smart scientists figuring out better ways to wrap food and diaper children, etc., and caring consumers who will do all the mindful things needed to reduce waste. It also requires a completely new economy that is not based on encouraging consumers to throw out furniture, appliances and clothes every two years to be replaced with all new stuff.

Before the data entry mistake, there were myriad other problems, starting with the way we think about garbage. We're accustomed to think there is no cost — economic or otherwise — associated with tossing out the trash: free pickup, free bulky waste, etc. Which is why we're startled and angry when the bill comes due. (Socialist sales pitch: We need to complete re-make society and human nature based on the fight over Waimanalo Gulch.)

read … Cataluna

Why Does Abercrombie Have anything to do with Van Jones?

MN: Van Jones was the keynote speaker at a Hawaii State Capitol rally in March. In attendance were Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Neil Abercrombie. This rally was held to promote economic fairness, economic justice and discuss the establishment of a state bank (House Bill 1033).

If Hawaii establishes a state bank, it will be only the second one in the country. In some proposals being floated at the Capitol, the governor would chair this state bank, union leaders would serve as directors and Democratic lawmakers would appoint the board.

The whole rally was unsettling, but more disturbing is that our lawmakers would have anything to do with Jones….

Related:

read … Van Jones

Demise of Pro Bowl Political Karma for Abercrombie

Politicians say dumb things.

You know it, I know it, and they know it, even if they won't admit it.

And sometimes, their dumb comments come back to haunt them when they least expect it.

I'm not referring to the current election cycle and the men and women involved in that cycle. I could be, but I'm not.

No, I'm talking about Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie and some remarks he made in June, 2011. Seems he took exception to the fact that his state had to dangle cash in front of the NFL to get the league to play its Pro Bowl in Honolulu. And by golly, he was going to take a stand.

"You can't do things like give four million bucks to a $9 billion football industry and not give any money to children," Abercrombie told a gathering of education officials then. "You've got this spectacle of these multimillionaires and billionaires out there arguing about how they're going to divide it up, and then they come and ask us to bribe them with $4 million to have a scrimmage out here in paradise. We've got to get our values straight and our priorities straight."

You tell 'em, Neil. I didn't realize children were denied money because of the NFL but, hey, if you say so. All I know about Hawaii is what I saw on that episode of "The Brady Bunch" when the kids ran into Vincent Price in a cave.

…for Abercrombie, let's just say the demise of the all-star game is a case of political karma.

Now he can do his best to help Hawaii get its values and priorities straight. He'll just have to do it with 30 million less dollars.

read … Bad Karma

UHH added execs during crunch

HTH: Despite making across-the-board pay cuts in 2009 and freezing salaries in 2010, the University of Hawaii at Hilo is spending 61 percent more on executive pay than it did five years ago….

As explained: Greenwood Mafia grabs two power positions in UH system

read … UHH added execs during crunch

Sewer moratorium impacts planned senior facility

HNN: MW Group plans to construct its fourth senior living facility on Oahu under The Plaza brand and open in early 2014, but a city issued moratorium on new sewer connections from Halawa to Pearl City threatens the project. MW Group's request for a permit allowing it to hook-up to the sewer system was rejected and upgrades that would allow the permit to be granted will not be finished until 2018.

"We got to work through this," said Steve Metter, CEO of MW Group.

The city Department of Environmental Services issued a memorandum on April 20 outlining the sewer connection moratorium, who it effects, and the planned solution.

Tim Steinberger, Environmental Services Director, told Hawaii News Now transmission lines at the Pearl City Wastewater Pump Station have reached capacity and allowing new sewer connections would increase the risk of sewage spills. Steinberger said the moratorium will remain in effect until 2018 when improvements to the system, expected to cost $60 million, are complete

read … Bureaucratic Dominance

AG, Large Landowners Block Oahu Burial Council Function

"It's almost impossible to imagine the chaos that would ensue if we're not able to get up and running soon," said Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, the OIBC chairwoman.

At issue is an opinion from the state attorney general that prevents the Burial Council from conducting its monthly meetings until the proper ratio of regional representatives to large landowners has been met. The last time the OIBC met was on Jan. 11.

Under state law, the Oahu Island Burial Council can maintain nine to 15 members. The ratio of regional reps, or moku reps, to large landowners must be 3-1, or not less than 2-1.

Currently, there are six district representatives and two large landowners on the Council, which would fulfill the required percentage. However, the total number of members does not meet the mandated quota.

"Right now, we only have two large landowners onboard, and we need one more," said Wong-Kalu.

read … This has nothing to do with Rail, really

Hawaii Co Voters Consider Blocking Reapportionment Commission Members from Running

WHT: Come November, voters in Hawaii County will revisit the 2 percent land fund, contemplate changes to public meeting notices and decide on other amendments to the county’s governing document.

Only voters may amend the Hawaii County Charter. To date, four proposed amendments have been approved by the County Council and are awaiting final approval by voters.

Several other proposals, including the election of the corporation counsel and a provision that Redistricting Commission members not stand for election in the districts they have just created, are still pending before the council.

read … Draw and Run

Kenoi Again Refusing to Fund Hawaii County Workers Pension

WHT: GASB 45 obligations came to the forefront of discussions on the county budget last month when Mayor Billy Kenoi announced he planned to postpone the payments for the second consecutive year in order to balance the county’s $365.3 million budget. Hawaii County last year deferred a $20.3 million annual payment; it’s not known what this year’s obligation will be, although it’s likely to be higher.

The County Council has scheduled a public hearing on the budget for 5 p.m. Tuesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center.

County officials on each side of the debate point to the experts to bolster their own perspective, most notably Kenoi, who thinks a second consecutive deferral is justified, and County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who thinks the county should meet its obligation every year….

“Reality dictates that an entity may opt to defer (GASB 45) funding in times of budget stress. However, indefinite deferrals are damaging to credit quality,” said Fitch in its June 2005 special report, “The Not So Golden Years — Credit Implications of GASB 45.”….

“Sure, you don’t legally have to do it,” Yagong said. “But eventually, someone is required to pay for it. In essence, you’re stealing from the future.”

read … About the origins of future bankruptcy

Bronster Seeks Dismissal of NMI Pension Fund Bankruptcy Petition

Atty. Margery Bronster, another counsel for the unnamed retirees or creditors, informed the court last April 20 about their motion to dismiss the bankruptcy petition.

In their pleadings, Bronster said the Fund is a “governmental unit” and an agency of the Commonwealth” and, therefore is not a “person” eligible to file such a petition under the Bankruptcy Code.

Consequently, Bronster said, the Fund's Chapter 11 petition must be dismissed.

The Fund counsel told the court that the intent of filing the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition is to restructure the Fund's obligation and not to shutdown.

read … About Hawaii’s Future

Remember PREL? Meet McREL

MV: The board of directors for the Pacific Region’s new Regional Education Laboratory, administered by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning, held its first meeting on March 29 and 30 in Honolulu, Hawaii, at McREL’s Pacific Center for Changing the Odds.

In addition to discussing the board’s role and goals in improving educational opportunities and achievement for all students in the Pacific Region, members also elected their first chair and chair-elect.

The new chair is Rita Sablan, commissioner of education for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System. Rufino Mauricio, Ph.D., secretary of education of the Federated States of Micronesia, was chosen as chair-elect.

read … McREL

Officials Request Permission to Shoot Endangered birds to Save Endangered Salmon

AP: Oregon officials were successful in getting permission to kill sea lions that feed on protected salmon trying to swim upriver to spawn. Now they want federal approval to shoot a sea bird that eats millions of baby salmon trying to reach the ocean.

In an April 5 letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service obtained by The Associated Press, Oregon Wildlife Chief Ron Anglin says harassment has “proved insufficient” in controlling double-crested cormorants, and officials want the option of killing some of the birds.

Oregon needs federal approval to start shooting double-crested cormorants because the birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

read … stupid environmentalists

Nature Conservancy Scientists Challenges War on Invasive Species

H24-7: According to a growing body of experts, environmentalism is failing, especially the war on invasive species. The current approach to conservation with its emphasis on weeding the world is damaging the environment and harming people. And there is no end in sight.

Dr. Peter Kareiva, chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy, is one of the newest voices in the scientific community criticizing current conservation practices and calling for a new environmental approach for the 21st century.

In his recent expose of today’s failed conservationism, excellently discussed in the eye-opening, must read article entitled, “Conservation in the Anthropocene.”

It argues that nature is resilient and not fragile and easily destroyed as typically portrayed, and argues that environmental policy must consider the needs of people, rather than trying to exclude people. People are not the enemy, it reasons, but part of the solution.

As Dr. Karieva states, “…(w)e need to acknowledge that a conservation that is only about fences, limits, and far away places only a few can actually experience is a losing proposition. Protecting biodiversity for its own sake has not worked. Protecting nature that is dynamic and resilient, that is in our midst rather than far away, and that sustains human communities — these are the ways forward now.”

read … Prescription for Sick Environmentalism

Adopted in 1977 Honolulu, Philadelphia Man Finds Himself on Missing Children Website

DT: As reported by CBS News earlier this week, a Philadelphia man named Steve Carter discovered his own baby picture on a site designed to help reunite missing children with their parents. Carter was adopted at age four from an orphanage in Honolulu, Hawaii, but details prior to that time didn’t add up for him. His birth certificate was created a full year after his birth and listed that he was half Hawaiian. Carter had always suspected that his was a lie due to his blond hair and blue eyes. After reading about the kidnapping of Carlina White last year, Carter decided to start searching the Internet for photos of children that went missing in Hawaii around the time of his birth.

Carter discovered a picture of a baby named Marx Panama Moriarty Barnes that had a birthday one day away from Carter’s birthday. Even more revealing, the site included an age-progression photo that looked fairly identical to Carter when he was a teenager.

As mentioned with the CBS interview, Carter forwarded the age-progression photo to his adoptive mother and she stated “Oh my God, that’s you. But it can’t be you. You know, we adopted you at 4. There’s no way you could have been missing at 6 months and we’d be able to legally adopt you at 4.”

Last year, Carter got in touch with the Honolulu police department in order to setup a DNA test and recent results proved that Carter is definitely Marx Panama Barnes. Retracing the steps of his biological parents, Carter discovered that his biological mother, Charlotte Moriarty, left his biological father, Mark Barnes, during 1977 and took Carter with her. The biological father reported his child as missing to the local authorities three weeks later, but the mother had vanished with Carter for good. The father wasn’t incredibly worried during the three week period as he claims his wife was prone to take off on trips for days at a time. While his biological mother eventually ended up in a psychiatric hospital, Carter was left at the orphanage in Honolulu.

Carter was unable to track down the location of his biological mother, but did locate his biological father in Northern California. Carter was able to speak with his biological father on the phone recently and discuss the events that led up to this incident. Mark Barnes stated “He introduced himself over the phone. And I was absolutely, positively, thunderstruck and amazed. And we just sort of, in an hour of conversation tried to catch up on 32 years. Not one day went by when he wasn’t in my thoughts.” Neither party made any indication if they were ready for a visit in person yet.

FOX: “Carter says he believes Moriarty put him in the Hawaiian orphanage and told authorities his name was Tenzin Amea.”

ABC: Philadelphia Man Finds Himself on Missing Children's Site

read … Honolulu, 1977

Godfather of local surf a legend

OCR: George was born in Hawaii in 1883 to Elizabeth Kaili, who was one-half Hawaiian, and Englishman George Freeth, Sr. His grandfather, William Green, was a pretty big deal in the islands in the 1800's having formed an inter-island shipping company and started the Honolulu Iron Works….

In 1907 Ford was selected to host a group of Congressional delegates that were touring the islands to determine if Hawaii might someday qualify for statehood, and George was put to work as head lifeguard and local knowledge guy for the group. This tour was the early seed in the long process that eventually led to Hawaii becoming a state.

In May of 1907 Ford ran into fellow writer Jack London ….

read … Surfing


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