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Wednesday, May 09, 2012
May 9, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:15 PM :: 12462 Views :: Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Pay to Play Bus Dealer Selling Illegally in Hawaii?

Lawsuit: OCCC Guards Slept Thru Ex-Guard's Prison Suicide

HSTA Reelects Okabe President

Abercrombie Releases $37.5M in Transportation CIP

City to Build More Transitional Housing for Homeless

Lanai Could Be Liberated from Windfarm: Hawaii Land Sale Part of Dole Restructuring

Bloomberg: Dole Food Co. (DOLE) (DOLE), which has evolved from a Hawaiian pineapple purveyor into the world’s largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables, would now stand to reap almost 60 percent for shareholders by splitting itself up.

The Westlake Village, California-based company last week said it was considering options including a breakup after its shares dropped by a third in the past year, the second-worst performance among North American food makers with market values larger than $500 million. Dole is now trading at a lower valuation relative to sales than 97 percent of the industry, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. …

The transaction would also allow Dole to move some of its debt (DOLE) to the new company’s balance sheet so that the more volatile fruits and vegetables business won’t be overburdened, said BB&T Capital’s Jones.

Another way Dole can reduce debt is to sell some of its land in Hawaii, which may be worth as much as $400 million, Carla Casella, a credit analyst for JPMorgan Chase & Co., wrote in a May 4 note. In a breakup, Dole could be valued at as much as $19.70 a share, including its property, she wrote.

“They have a lot of land that isn’t being used for anything productive right now,” Paradigm Capital’s Ronovech said. “When you factor that in as well into a sum of the parts, you can make a case for an even higher valuation.”

read … Another Purchase Target for Omidyar, Case?

US Chamber of Commerce to Run More Campaign Ads in Hawaii

AP: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching ads in Florida, Missouri, Hawaii and Ohio as Democrats struggle to hold Senate seats and their slim majority. The Republican-friendly lobbying group is also targeting 17 House races from New York to Minnesota.

The ads, hitting Democratic incumbents over votes for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and backing his energy policies, will begin airing Wednesday and Thursday and run for 10 days to two weeks, part of a multimillion-dollar buy six months before the election. The ads in House races will focus on contests in New York, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Florida and Georgia.

 

The entry into markets in Democratic-leaning New York, Rhode Island and Hawaii represents a significant commitment from the GOP-allied chamber as Republicans try to capture control of the Senate and hold onto their majority in the House….

The chamber declined to say how much it will spend in this round of advertising. Ad buys earlier this year in eight Senate races and 12 House races was estimated at $10 million….

In Hawaii, Republicans are hoping former Gov. Linda Lingle can break the Democratic grip on the Senate seat; incumbent Daniel Akaka is retiring.

Earlier this year, the chamber ran ads in eight Senate races — Ohio, Montana, Wisconsin, Virginia, Indiana, Hawaii, Missouri and North Dakota — and 12 House races that hit more than 40 media markets, including the expensive Washington region. Republicans and Democrats estimated the buy at $10 million; the chamber would only say eight figures but did describe the effort as unprecedented in its 100-year history.

Related: Senate Likely to Shift Republican Even Without Lingle Victory

read … Chambered

Inouye Exports Hawaii Democrat Money to Mainland

SA: U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye has transferred more than $875,000 since January 2011 to help keep the U.S. Senate under Demo­cratic control.

The Hawaii Demo­crat has much to lose if Republicans capture the Senate in the November elections. The 87-year-old is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate president pro tempore, a title reserved for the most senior member of the party in power….

The Lingle campaign has been anticipating that Demo­crats would lean heavily on the Ino­uye theme. Lingle has said that if Republicans do take control of the Senate, Hawaii would be better served by having a senator in the majority who could work with Ino­uye, as Ino­uye partnered with U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

"For decades, Sen. Ino­uye often said that the late Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska and he looked out for each others' interests when one party or another was in the majority. Since Sen. Stevens' passing, Sen. Ino­uye has had the advantage of sitting in the majority party, but that could change after 2012. Hawaii can have the same kind of advantage he described right here at home by having both a Demo­crat and a Republican senator," Lenny Klompus, Lingle's deputy campaign manager, said in an email. "Gov. Lingle and Sen. Ino­uye have enjoyed a good working relationship over the years, and this would continue should she win the U.S. Senate race. They have worked together on infrastructure and energy issues as well as the Akaka bill."

Inouye has transferred $600,000 from his campaign account to the Demo­cratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the group that helps elect Demo­cratic candidates to the Senate. The senator also contributed $6,000 from his campaign fund to Demo­cratic candidates.

Inouye used DanPac, his political action committee, to donate about $275,000 to the DSCC and Demo­cratic candidates across the country, including $5,000 to Hirono. The DSCC has contributed $43,100, the maximum allowed, to the Hirono campaign.

Related: Senate Likely to Shift Republican Even Without Lingle Victory

read … Inouye spreads campaign funds to fellow Democrats

DHS Decides to Continue Coverage for Artificial Limbs

SA: The state Department of Human Services, which administers Medicaid, determined last week after the Legislature finalized the budget that it could maintain coverage of medical supplies, deemed the first priority after hearing public concerns. Funds to continue coverage were realized through reductions in eligibility for QUEST, reduced reimbursement rates for providers and an increase in federal matching funds, among other streamlining efforts.

"After further discussion and a deeper look into our fiscal situation, it was clear that we could meet the priority of restoring durable medical equipment," said Pat Mc­Mana­man, DHS director, in a statement. "The governor made it a priority and in this case, the department understood there was an obligation for those in need of these services. We are very pleased with this outcome."

DHS is reviewing use trends and seeking additional funds to maintain other benefits scheduled to be cut, including rehabilitation services and optometry, according to Kenny Fink, Med-QUEST administrator.

read … About your benevolent masters’ gift

Danger Sign: Act 221 Scammers Enthused About State’s Proposed IT Policy

TT: We were all rooting for him and will root for him in hopes that the legislature will support him and fund him next year and in the years to follow so that he will have adequate staff and resources to do it right. This won’t be chump change – over time, hundreds of millions.

What a change this will be for Hawaii's image; from grass skirts to world class government IT, and why not? We have the will and we know what we need; hopefully we can find the money and stay focused on it. Talk about jobs, great jobs too.

The process will be grand. The people involved will learn so much. The government will be improved and made more efficient in so many ways us. What a blessing that will be. Hopefully, the public will come along and the unions won't stand in the way. We can come out on top with a new image and a new way of doing representative government. New computer systems transform their owners, and this is as transformative of any initiative we've seen.

Pierre Omidyar gets kudos for enabling this. Neil Abercrombie, too, for having the vision to see its value. We look forward to hearing much more about Sonny's project. We look forward to seeing the changes fall into place, seeing the successes tumble out at us and improve our civic life, and most ultimately seeing the state rise to new efficiency. It can’t happen soon enough.

Related: State Releases Information Technology Proposal

read … Must be Contracts in this

Cayetano BRT to Feature Designated Bus Lane on King St or Beretania

HFC: My proposal is a system that uses Bus Rapid Transit like Mayor Harris proposed except that I’d make some changes. Most people agreed that Harris’ proposal was fine coming in from Kapolei on the freeway. Where it met some opposition was when they decided to run the bus line down Kapiolani Boulevard. It was to be a dedicated bus lane, which faced opposition. We’ll revisit the system and look at alternatives. The beauty of a bus system is that it has the flexibility to change. So we’ll look at running it down King Street or Beretania Street. We may have to elevate it in certain areas but it’ll run on the freeway, so we won’t have to create a new elevated structure. When it enters Downtown, it will need a dedicated lane which may require taking away some parking here and there. It’s a system that’s worked in Europe, South America and Japan. It’s now starting to catch on in the U.S.

read … BRT

Leeward Students Not Fooled by Grabuskas

KITV: The head of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation continued his public relations push ahead of a crucial mayoral vote in August by holding a round-table discussion at Leeward Community College….

Student President Tracey Imper was skeptical whether geographically challenged students would ride the elevated train. She said students who live west of Kapolei were unlikely to drive or take a bus to the nearest transit station along North-South Road.

"They're not going to drive to the Kapolei station and ride the rail from Kapolei in," said Imper….

Another student, Kinsly Joseph, asked Grabauskas why Honolulu would turn to 18th century technology to help ease its infamous traffic congestion.

read … No Fools

State DOT holds meeting on major freeway work

KHON: It's a project that'll ultimately improve the commute for many pau hana drivers.

This is what drivers typically have to sit in as they head home from work through Aiea and Pearl City.

In a couple of years, there will be a zipper lane during the afternoon rush hour to help alleviate some of this traffic.

But before the State can start working on that, it needs to do some major repairs to the Pearl City and Waimalu viaducts.

read … About real traffic relief

HART Puts 150,000 pages of Rail Documents online

SA: The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has made 150,000 pages of rec­ords related to the federal approval of the rail proj­ect available on the HART website.

The city on Tuesday posted the full administrative rec­ord along with more than 5,000 pages of additional documents, said Dan Grabauskas, HART's executive director and chief executive officer. The rec­ord is available in a user-friendly, searchable format and can be viewed at www.hono­lulu­tran­sit.org, city officials said….

The administrative rec­ord consists of 14,000 documents, and was compiled in-house with the assistance of the city Department of Information Technology, headed by city Chief Information Officer Gordon Bruce.

read … More FTA

Maui: Broken-down buses and growing ridership collide

MN: Maui County's public transit system is straining to meet the growing demand of bus riders. On occasion, some people have been unable to get aboard buses because there simply isn't enough room.

"We're currently operating at a huge disadvantage," county Department of Transportation Director Jo Anne Winer told Maui County Council members Tuesday as she described how large-capacity buses have been out of service and were being replaced by buses with fewer seats.

"It really makes for a lot of complaints," she said. "And we have been getting complaints recently from our riders, stating that they're being left at stops."

Winer's comments came as she asked council members to expedite approval of a resolution accepting the donation of three 1994 Gillig buses donated by the City and County of Honolulu. Each of those buses is valued at $5,000. And, Young Brothers donated the shipping cost of the buses, which was about $8,500 total….

Councilors unanimously approved the bus and shipping donations.

Winer said that the county has only 14 of its 18 buses available for its 12 bus routes.

"We should get a couple back on line shortly," she said, explaining how one was severely damaged in a rear-end collision in early October and another bus had its front windshield shattered "in another mishap."

read … Be Patient, We’re Building a Railroad

Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders Continue to Flee Hawaii

WHT: Hawaii County leads the nation in the highest percentage of its population — 33.8 percent — claiming Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander bloodlines.

But data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau seem to show a growing movement of Pacific peoples away from Hawaii and toward the U.S. West and South.

Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders living in Hawaii grew by 25.9 percent between 2000 and 2010, compared to 40 percent nationwide. Nevada’s Pacific population grew 102.3 percent and Alaska’s grew 102.2 percent.

More than half of those claiming Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander blood live in Hawaii (356,000) or California (286,000).

But pockets of Pacific Islanders in counties in the West and South showed much higher growth levels, based on smaller population bases. Thirty-nine counties experienced growth of 200 percent or more, 146 counties saw growth of 100 percent to 199.9 percent and 237 counties saw growth between 50 percent and 99.9 percent.

Counties seeing such growth are in northern Georgia and Alabama and into Tennessee, as well as parts of Maryland and Virginia around Washington D.C. There are also population clusters growing near the Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio metropolitan areas in Texas and in many counties in Florida.

read … Driven Out

Homeless near Keaau Beach Park pack up again

HNN: Three weeks after the city cleared out about 200 people living on the undeveloped side of Keaau Beach Park, many of the homeless campers are packing up again. Some of them simply moved across the street, so now the state is stepping in.

Jamie Calarruda lived at Keaau Beach Park with her husband and son for a couple of years. They moved across Farrington Highway ahead of a city clean-up last month.

"Then they just came and said that everybody had to go, so from one spot we moved to another, and now they're saying that the state owns this and we have to move from here," said Calarruda.

State officials said the new homeless camps along the side of the road are a safety hazard. Crews will clear out trash along both sides of the highway starting on Wednesday.

read … Good, keep pushing until they accept shelter

City Contracting: 6 years, $300K to Build Public Restroom in Park

HR: Hawaii Kai isn’t the only community lacking sufficient places for bodily relief.

Oahu’s leeward coast is notorious for its dilapidated public restrooms.

Whether it is a boarded up facility, no bathroom at all, or just no toilet paper and soap for park users, area residents are fed up.

City Council member Tom Berg, who oversee parks maintenance issues for the council, and represents the district, said many organized sports events have been canceled because there are no restrooms.

Games start, and suddenly in the middle of the game, coaches have to take a 20 minute break while the children get loaded up in vans and drive to the nearest park restroom.

Like Hawaii Kai, some bathrooms in Berg’s district have been closed for years.

Some of them include Oneula Beach Park, Kahe Point Beach Park, Ulehawa Beach Park, Waianae District Park and Iiahi Neighborhood Park. Other parks donated by area developers still don’t have public restroom facilities, he said.

It takes the city sometimes as long as 3 to 6 years and as much as $300,000 to design, plan and build a “cookie cutter” bathroom, he said.

read … Just Hold on Until We Get to the Train Station

Kauai Budget: More Spending, Higher Property Taxes

KGI: Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. on Tuesday submitted his supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2013. Carvalho’s revised proposal reflects an increase of $4.11 million in operational expenses and $2.56 million in capital improvement projects compared to his March 15 budget submittal.

The new budget submittal proposes operational costs of $165.33 million, and $64.35 million in CIPs.

“After careful consideration and taking into account recent discussions with (the Kaua‘i County) Council, we are proposing tax rate adjustments to the single-family residential land rate, and both the land and building rates for hotel and resort classification,” Carvalho said in Tuesday’s budget submittal.

To view the mayor’s proposed supplemental budget for FY13 in its entirety along with his accompanying message, please go to the county website, www.kauai.gov/mayor.

Read … Tax n Spend

Theft and forgery by ex-police officer fetch fine of $2,500

SA: A former Honolulu police officer who admitted using other officers' names and Social Security numbers to get part-time jobs will have the opportunity to clear his criminal rec­ord of any charges.

A state judge granted Dave E. Furtado's request Tuesday for a deferral of his guilty pleas to identity theft, unauthorized possession of confidential information and forgery, and to his no-contest pleas to theft….

Furtado used the names and Social Security numbers of two officers in 2010 to apply for special-duty jobs and forged their signatures on the applications. After performing the work, he then forged the signature of one of the officers to cash a $370 check. The other officer cashed a $310 check issued to him and gave the money to Furtado.

Furtado retired from the Hono­lulu Police Department in May 2011 after 27 years of service.

read … Another day, another crooked cop

Greenwood: Socialism is Needed to Win War on Obesity

University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood (what’s wrong with this picture???) served as vice chairwoman of the study, "Accelerating Prog­ress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation." She said that in the past 15 years, Hawaii's rate of obesity more than doubled to 23 percent in 2010 from 11 percent in 1995.

The Institute of Medicine is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which provides advice to decision makers and the public.

One in 3 children entering kindergarten in Hawaii are already overweight or obese, she said.

"This is an unprecedented epidemic. … Across-the-board societal changes need to take place," said Greenwood, who specializes in obesity and diabetes research.

read … I’m not fat, but you are and I’m going to make you change

Marianas Pension Fund Runs Dry June 15

MV: A HAWAII-BASED bankruptcy expert is optimistic that the retirees will continue receiving pension payments.

Chuck C. Choi, of Wagner Choi & Verbrugge, told Variety, “Assuming the case is not dismissed, the Fund should negotiate with the committee over consensual reductions as well as ways of collecting on the Fund. I don’t believe that the judge would permit the Fund to unilaterally cut benefits significantly in the short term until these discussions are held.”

He also expressed confidence in the Fund continuing to make payments. “I am confident that in the short term the Fund will seek to continue to make substantial benefit payments to retirees and others (even if at a reduced level) past June, 2012.”

The Pension Holdings Corp. account will be exhausted by June 15.

For the Fund, without the court granting the requested relief, the retirees/beneficiaries may not receive benefits from June 15 “through the effective date of a confirmed plan for reorganization.”

read … Bankruptcy expert: Payments will continue

Luddite Harassment Suit vs GMO Farmer Transferred to Federal Court

Law360, New York (May 08, 2012, 8:33 PM ET) -- A putative class-action complaint filed by more than 100 Hawaii residents was transferred to Hawaii federal court Friday, alleging DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. is creating pollution and health hazards to island residents with its genetic engineering crop facility.

In the suit, originally filed in Hawaii state court, residents of the coastal town of Waimea said the Iowa-based Pioneer Hi-Bred's farming practices generated excessive dust, toxic run-off and other pollution in violation of Hawaii's laws controlling pollution and land-clearing activities.

Dust pollution and chemical-laden runoff water...

read … Pure Harassment

Solomon Behind OHA Settlement, Geothermal Push

News Release: The following bills made it through the Legislative process and are awaiting the governor’s consideration:

* Changes the Hawaii State Planning Act to include the development of geothermal energy resources on State Land.

* Amends the Hawaii State Planning Act to include promoting the development of geothermal energy resources that are located on State Land as a source of firm power to reduce the cost of electricity.

read … About two interrelated things

1 in 20 isle homeowners late in paying mortgage

SA: Hawaii homeowners are getting further behind on their mortgage payments.

The percentage of the state's homeowners who were 60 days or more delinquent on their payments rose to 4.98 percent in the first quarter from 4.80 percent in the final quarter of 2011. That 3.75 percent gain was the second-largest increase in the nation, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday.

Hawaii had the 20th-highest mortgage delinquency rate in the nation at 4.98 percent. On a year-over-year basis, mortgage delinquencies in Hawaii dropped about 1 percent from 5.03 percent.

read … House Note

Lawsuit: State Removed Residents of Board-Care Home After False Allegations

CN: Hawaii removed all of the residents from a family-run retirement home after unfounded allegations of sexual misconduct, the home's operators claim in circuit court.

Norma Daligcon says she has been licensed to operate a care home since 1991, and that she has run the business with her husband Adriano and daughter Sharlene for 20 years, providing residents with "excellent service."

The home has a "year-to-year" license the state, allows up to five residents, and is funded by both the state and private revenue, according to the complaint.

Trouble arose in fall 2007 when one of the Daligcons four residents, described in the complaint as K.S., "accused Norma of physical abuse, that is, slapping her; this was reported to the Department of Health; there was an investigation; it was determined that the accusation was false and unfounded; and K.S. then admitted the allegation was false and she had lied because she was mad at a Handi-Van driver," the lawsuit says.

Link: Text of Complaint

read … Allegation

Hawaiian Electric Industries Reports First Quarter 2012 Earnings & Declares Dividend

News Release: Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE - HE) (HEI) today reported consolidated net income for common stock for the first quarter of 2012 of $38.3 million, or $0.40 per share.

On May 8, 2012, the board of directors maintained HEI's quarterly cash dividend of 31 cents per share, payable on June 13, 2012, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 21, 2012 (ex-dividend date is May 17, 2012). The dividend is equivalent to an annual rate of $1.24 per share.

Dividends have been paid continuously since 1901. At the indicated annual dividend rate and the closing share price on May 7, 2012 of $26.51, HEI's yield is 4.7%.

read … ‘Green’ Energy


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