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Thursday, May 03, 2012
May 3, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:39 PM :: 10789 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

As Legislative Session Ends, HSTA Suddenly Decides to Re-Vote Rejected Contract

Legislative Wrapup: Victories for Life, Family and Religious Freedom

Hawaii Churches Win Some Protection Against Forced Civil Unions

SB2785: Ratepayers will Foot Bill for Billion Dollar Cable

Ethics, Foreclosures, and Workers Comp: House Republicans Speak Out

'Dereliction of Duty' -- Hirono Misses Student Loan Vote for Campaign Event

GAO Details Progress in Jones Act Study Requested by Puerto Rico Congressional Delegate

Reject SB2776: Beth and Duane ‘Dog' Chapman Open Letter to Legislators

Cayetano to Inouye Followers: What are you guys? Potted plants?

CB: Cayetano asked both rail supporters what they'd do if the project ran out of money — a scenario Caldwell described as a "boogeyman" conjured up to scare voters. Carlisle asked Cayetano if both Inouye and Honolulu-born President Barack Obama are misguided in their support for rail, leading to quite possibly the juiciest quote of the night.

"Senator Inouye has been listening to the government. He's never listened to the people," Cayetano said. "Senator Inouye is up at the 30,000-foot level, dealing with national and international affairs. The senator should take time to go down to McDonald's and talk to the retirees. ... He's out of touch, as far as I'm concerned. I respect Senator Inouye. He's done a lot for our country and for our state, but you shouldn't defer to him. Respect him, but not defer. What are you guys, potted plants? You're elected to make decisions."

Boylan: Comments that mean-spirited and negative really don’t deserve a response. No comment.

CB: Cayetano a Temporary Mayor?

SA: "The trouble with you is, you have never made a hard decision in your life in government," Cayetano said to Caldwell.

HNN: Caldwell, Carlisle, Cayetano trade verbal jabs in first mayoral debate

PR: The viewing schedule can be found here, by searching “mayoral debate.”

read … 30,000 foot level

One Year Later: DoE Moribund, Evaluation Bill failed

One year has passed since the state Board of Education began operating as an appointed rather than elected body, and there are signs of discomfort. Considering, however, the many years that the board struggled to achieve any forward motion in educational policy, that discomfort may not be a bad thing.

It is a signal — though a preliminary one — that some of the cobwebs in what had been a fairly moribund system are being shaken loose….

Among the primary examples, the BOE has supported the Department of Education in its mission to stay on track with reforms proposed in its federally funded Race to the Top blueprint. (THIS is their claim to success???)

State lawmakers tried to pass legislation mandating the adoption of such an evaluation system. That bill failed,

Abercrombie has pledged to be accountable for the success of his educational policies as administered by the school board. There are too many balls in the air — including unsettled labor issues and navigating budget cuts in school bus services and adult education — for such an accounting now.

read … A success story

CEOs: Hawaii is the 41st Best State for Business 2012

CEO Comments “Hawaii and California are incredibly unfriendly towards business. Too many regulations, restrictions, and new taxes. Local government does not care about your problems.”

“Hawaii is over-regulated and over-taxed.”

read … Hawaii #41

Lawmakers: Send Tourists to the Moon

HNN: Hawaii lawmakers are expected to pass two bills on Thursday that would bring the state closer to space tourism and even developing the moon.

Imagine this runway out here in Kalaeloa as a space port capable of taking tourists to outer space. Some lawmakers say that possibility is closer than ever before.

The sky is not the limit for space tourism but money is. In the past the idea had support but the funds haven't been released.

"It looks like this is going to be the year for the aerospace industry and in particular space tourism," said State Senator Will Espero, (D) Ewa Beach, who introduced the bill.

First Hawaii needs a space port license from the FAA. Ten states already have or are applying for one. The state needs to front $250,000 and hopes the federal government matches that amount. The application deadline is May 11.

read … Send Tourists to the Moon?

SB2434: Last Minute Effort to Push Insurers off Healthcare Exchange Board

DN: It’s been difficult watching the tweets fly by about legislative agreement to one environmental exemption bill or another. More on that later. For now, there is one bill that is not dead despite what you might have read in the newspaper, and with enough support, could still go forward.

That’s SB2434 HD3, the bill that would remove voting powers from the three near-monopoly insurance companies on the Hawaii Health Connector.

The HHC will determine how health insurance is sold in Hawaii under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/4Lb5FRUr1XI

If insurers are removed, that would leave only one conflict of interest--the conflict between government money and consumers’ healthcare. To eliminate THAT conflict, we need to eliminate the exchange.

SA: Senate fails to clear bill to ban health insurers from new board

read … Only One Conflict

Development, Big Cable: More Polling Results

Civil Beat Poll - Hawaii Wants Undersea Cable--Undersea Cable Crosstabs The survey asked registered voters, "Do you support or oppose Hawaii's plan to construct underwater cables between some of the islands to transmit electricity from wind, geothermal, solar, and other power sources?"

To slant the results in favor of Big Cable, CB’s poll asks about transmitting solar power which has not been part of the plan for Big Cable. It does not ask about transmitting fossil fuel power which most definitely IS part of the plan.

Hemmings: Undersea Cable Boondoggle

Civil Beat Poll - To Preserve or Develop Hawaii Land?--Development Preservation Crosstabs

ILind: Does Hawaii really “want” an undersea high voltage cable?

CBS: Undersea cable bill gets 1 last chance in Senate

AARP Backs Star-Adv Effort to Keep Monopoly on Profitable Legal Notices

Stanton: Don’t require seniors to go online to read legal notices….

read … You scratch my back …

Landfill selection process under scrutiny

SA: The head of the City Council's Public Works Committee said Wednesday it was "unimaginable" that one of the 11 sites for a possible landfill was in the Hawaii Kai area.

Councilman Stanley Chang, whose East Honolulu district includes Hawaii Kai, raised questions about the method of selection used by the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Landfill Site Selection.

City officials appeared Wednesday before the committee to provide a status report on the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill on Oahu's leeward side and on efforts to find a new landfill site.

read … Garbage

Having a Baby? Go to Kona -- Kamuela, Hilo Maternity Wards Overflowing

WHT: The announcement came without fanfare or hesitation about two weeks ago, when North Hawaii Community Hospital administrators declared the maternity ward full. It implemented a diversion, meaning women in active labor were advised to have their babies somewhere else, but were not turned away. If a woman insisted on having her baby at the Waimea hospital, she would do so in the Emergency Department or a temporary nursery, said NHCH CEO Ken Wood.

Such situations do arise. NHCH once delivered 12 babies in 36 hours, of which one was in the tub room, one in the nursery and one in an empty closet. While all were delivered safely, that isn’t the level of care NHCH wants to provide, Wood said.

The situation two weeks ago at NHCH was the same at Hilo Medical Center, which was also full. That meant the only place with the proper acute care beds to deliver a baby was Kona Community Hospital, Wood said.

Overcrowding in NHCH’s family birthing unit is a serious issue, one that’s got hospital leaders, a task force and the community working together to solve. More than 200 people attended Waimea Community Association’s meeting Tuesday about the future of the private, nonprofit hospital’s maternal health care services. In particular, testifiers were concerned about any dismantling of NHCH’s successful Waimea Women’s Center

read … Maternity

Traffic fines go to myriad special funds held by state

SA: Calendar year 2008, 332,583 citations, $37,225,730 in fines and fees collected; 2009, 345,360 citations, $37,334,360 collected; 2010, 327,818 citations, $36,482,896 collected; and 2011, 311,684 citations, $35,974,661 collected.

read … Profitable

PUC Opens Docket for Big Isle Geothermal Plant

HTH: The state Public Utilities Commission has taken the first step toward approving a second geothermal plant on the Big Island.

On Tuesday, it opened a docket for Hawaii Electric Light Co., which wants to expand geothermal operations by up to 50 megawatts.

The move initiates proceedings that will allow HELCO to seek proposals for a new plant.

read … Geothermal

Another Hearing Officer in UH Telescope Case Resigns Amid Conflict Controversy

CB: A University of Hawaii telescope project on Maui continues to struggle through a permitting process that has been shrouded in controversy and missteps.

The original hearing officer was booted off the case after having inappropriate discussions with the UH Institute of Astronomy.

Now his replacement, Rosemary Fazio, has resigned as hearing officer amid conflict of interest complaints: Fazio represents UH president M.R.C. Greenwood as her personal attorney.

In related news, the board this week also clarified what UH can and can't do on Haleakala before this issue is resolved. A a minute order [pdf] released Tuesday limits construction to removal of a certain cite and other unused facilities.

Full Text: Hearing Officer Resigns from Haleakala Telescope Case

More at EH: http://www.environment-hawaii.org/

read … Haleakala

Luddites Plan Further Litigation against Fish Farm

SA: Two groups opposed to floating fish farms are considering an appeal of a ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway that a federal agency was within its authority to grant an ocean aquaculture permit to a private research venture.

Zach Corrigan, senior staff attorney for Food & Water Watch, said allowing "space-age" fish farms in the ocean is outside the authority of the National Marine Fisheries Service to manage fishing catches.

KAHEA is the other group critical of Mollway's ruling

read … Sue sue sue

Guam Base Location not to be Finalized til 2015

GPDN: The decrease in the number of Marines headed to Guam has prompted the federal government to rethink the placement of a military base, and a final decision is not expected until 2015.

Joe Ludovici, executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office, announced yesterday that the military would add the decision to house the Marines into ongoing scoping efforts, which could revise the placement of the Marine firing range.

Military analysts will once again collect public comment on the impact of the Marines' move to Guam, and new draft and final environmental impact statements will be released in 2014, Ludovici said.

A new record of decision -- which will once again decide where to build a Marine base and a firing range -- is expected in early 2015, Ludovici said.

read … 2015

Tesoro's profitable quarter gets boost from Hawaii refinery

SA: Tesoro's companywide gross refining margin, a key measure of profitability, fell to $12.15 a barrel in the first quarter from $14.33 a barrel in the same three-month period a year earlier.

The company's Hawaii refinery, which can process up to 94,000 barrels of oil a day, saw its gross refining margin rise to $2.07 a barrel in the first quarter from a negative $3.05 a barrel a year earlier. By comparison, the gross refining margin at Tesoro's California's refineries fell to $7.98 a barrel in the first quarter from $16.66 a barrel a year earlier.

Tesoro's Hawaii plant produces about half of the state's gasoline and fuel oil for electricity generation. It also is the primary supplier of jet fuel and diesel.

The refinery has been considered underperforming by Tesoro in recent years. The company has said it expects to complete the sale no sooner than the second half of this year.

read … Suddenly Profitable

Teamsters Shake Down Movie Producers Back East, Too

AP: In August, a retired Teamster from Boston stepped off an Amtrak train in New York City and collapsed on the platform at Pennsylvania Station. As medics tried to revive him, police searched his backpack for identification. Inside, they found the stuff that "Law & Order" episodes are made of: $179,980 in cash, bundled with rubber bands and tucked inside two plastic bags.

That raised some eyebrows. So did the dead man's background.

William P. Coyman, 75, a lifelong resident of Boston's Charlestown section, had a criminal history dating to 1955. His record included prison time in New Hampshire after he was caught with a pile of cocaine and $20,000 that had just been stolen from a department store.

Coyman's old union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 25, was notorious for its organized crime ties in the 1990s. Years ago, Coyman's name was mentioned in news articles about allegations that union officials were shaking down Hollywood film crews and forcing producers to give cushy film set jobs to gangland hoodlums. He'd worked as a driver on some of the films in question.

Police brought in a drug-sniffing dog, which indicated traces of narcotics in both Coyman's backpack and briefcase, according to a court filing. Investigators contacted one of Coyman's relatives, who said he had been working as a courier for a company called 180 Entertainment and was supposed to have been delivering cash from Boston to Philadelphia when he died.

read … Not just in Hawaii


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