Hawaii Republican Convention This Weekend
Djou Campaign Kickoff Rally May 23
Hirono's Mainland Special Interests: Follow the Money
UHERO: Government Millstone is a Drag on Economy
JSC Names Nominees for Supreme Court, 2nd Circuit
Governor Makes Appointments to Public Safety Department and DHHL
VIDEO: Chamber of Commerce Ad for Lingle
Ceremony marks the return of 4,000 Schofield soldiers from Afghanistan
SA: Afghanistan is one of the world's toughest battlefields, and few areas of that country are tougher than the eastern provinces of Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar, Army Col. Richard Kim said at a homecoming ceremony Friday for nearly 4,000 Schofield Barracks soldiers.
Combat Outpost Honaker Miracle was one of the few remaining U.S. footholds in the deadly Pech River Valley of Kunar province. The base, about two football fields in size, was manned by a company of Hawaii soldiers.
The low-lying base took mortar, rocket and heavy machine gun fire nearly every day last summer from the mountainsides that surrounded it.
"Pretty stressful," said Spc. Robert Shafer, 23, an infantryman from Texas.
In mid-October the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry "Wolfhounds" out of Schofield waged a battle more than a week long against repeated attempts by an enemy determined to overrun a small outpost, Observation Post Shal, in Kunar province.
Taliban casualties were estimated between 120 and 200 fighters. Four Schofield soldiers who took part in the defense will receive Silver Stars for bravery, officials said.
read … Back from Afghanistan
Abercrombie: “Environmentalists Not Paying Attention, Ought to take a look at Themselves”
Shapiro: Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he'll mend fences with unhappy environmentalists by admonishing them that "they were not paying close enough attention; they ought to take a look at themselves." He was always dyslexic on the difference between mending fences and burning them….
Abercrombie said he keeps taped to his desk a quotation from the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Emerson also said, "Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man."
And the quote of the week … from Abercrombie to his critics: "Apparently you don't know me very well at all. I have never been anybody's rubber stamp. I've never been anybody's reflection pool." He's too busy being everybody's mixed metaphor.
read … Reflecting Pool
Nobody Represents Consumers on Hawaii Health Connector
SA: QUESTION: How do you answer people who are concerned that the exchange won't be covered by the Sunshine Law, and that voting members of the board have a financial interest in what the Health Connector is doing?
ANSWER: I think that there's a misunderstanding of the role that the federal government actually plays in overseeing and regulating our activities. ... Within the ACA, there is a section pertaining to the insurance exchanges. There's an agency called CCIIO (Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight), who are actually calling into our board meeting on Friday. ...
The final guidance is actually very specific, under governance of insurance exchanges, describing their responsibilities of conducting their meetings in public, to establish conflict of interest policy, to maintain transparency. And also it speaks to the composition of the board. It says you must have at least one consumer representative, and that health plans, while not precluded by the federal government from participating, ... the regulations just specify that they cannot comprise a majority of the board.
Again, helping the public to understand that we're not just operating under state statute: While the focus during the (legislative) session was around the state statute, there are already regulatory requirements we have to meet that address some of those same concerns that surfaced during our legislative session.
Q: So how will they be addressed?
A: We have actually a conflict of interest policy that is coming back before the stakeholders and board this week. We have until May 26 to incorporate those federal regulatory requirements into that. We have always conducted our meetings in the public. ...
Q: Who is the consumer representative on the board?
A: The final exchange regulations do not offer a definition of "consumer." ... .
PDF: Lots of details here, must read!
read … And the CoC Represents Small Business???
Queen's may buy and reopen Hawaii Medical Center-West
SA: The parent company of the Queen's Medical Center said today that it may purchase and reopen Hawaii Medical Center-West, which was closed late last year as part of a lengthy and contentious bankruptcy.
Queen's Health Systems officials said an agreement with St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii will enable Queen's to explore the feasibility of an acquisition. The Ewa facility, formerly known as St. Francis West, and Hawaii Medical Center in Liliha are being returned to St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii as part of the bankruptcy of the hospitals' owner, Hawaii Medical Center.
Both hospitals closed in December. HMC purchased the Ewa and Liliha campuses from St. Francis in 2007.
Queen's said it will perform due diligence to determine the feasibility of reopening the West Oahu facility as an acute care hospital, including a physical, environmental and regulatory review.
KITV: Queen's Health Systems looking at acquiring St. Francis
Read … Queens
Smart Meters to Take Billions out of Your Pocket
DN: The HCEI Agreement also calls for billions of dollars of ratepayer money for Smart Grids. The idea is that we should give the utility billions of dollars so they can build hardware and software that could, theoretically, in the future, lead to higher renewable energy penetration levels. We should trust the utility, but not tie the expenditures to any actual performance metric.
read … What could possibly go wrong with implementing a Smart Meter program?
Maui, Kauai Rebel against Smart Meters
CB: On Maui, there are sparks of resistance too. The utility's smart meter pilot project in Maui Meadows prompted local residents to organize a meeting in Kihei to discuss the dangers of the technology.
Opponents main concerns? Health, privacy and in some cases a deep-seated distrust of those in power.
Mark Naea, a retired engineer on Kauai, launched a website called StopKIUC.com in February to stop the utility’s roll out of the meters.
“Smart meters represent the hubris of the elite, the mindless grasp for more profits, the soulless sacrifice of not only the public’s health and well-being, but ultimately all future generations’ survival,” he writes on the site….
Smart meters also pose new questions when it comes to privacy laws and whether the data, for better or worse, can be used in criminal investigations.
For example, there are the marijuana growers, who use high amounts of electricity to grow plants in their homes. According to Macari, they have been one of the groups raising alarms about privacy issues in California out of fear that police will be able to locate their operations by monitoring how much power they are using.
The information can also be used in trying to piece together information about missing people or crimes that happen inside the home.
How much of the information can be tapped, and when law enforcement officers can access the data, is expected to be worked out in the court system as judges and lawyers navigate their way through the legal implications of the technology.
read … Grasp for Profits
Hawaiian Grabs 82% of Market, Jacks Up Inter-Island Rates
SA: Average airfare for 2012 is not yet available, according to Kam.
The average one-way fare ranged from $41.24 for Honolulu-Molokai to $120.74 for Kahului-Lihue.
From Honolulu the average one-way fares to the largest neighbor island cities were $83.26 to Lihue, $83.28 to Kahului, $88.64 to Hilo and $90.47 to Kona.
Hawaiian Airlines also has expanded, as expected, its interisland market share to 82 percent since the shutdown of Aloha Airlines on March 31, 2008. Before Aloha's demise, Hawaiian had 47 percent and Aloha 36 percent in 2007.
The data are based on scheduled interisland seats for the first half of 2012, Kam said.
Among other carriers, go!Mokulele has 10 percent of the interisland market today, while Island Air has 6 percent. The remaining 2 percent is made up of smaller carriers.
read … Monopoly
OHA Orders Shutdown of Poi Mill
MAKAWELI POI MILL IS BEING CLOSED against the wishes of the farmers, employees and community. Mill owner, Hi'ipoi LLC (The is an OHA LLC) has suddenly and unreasonably given the poi mill 2 weeks notice, with highly questionable plans for the mill's future and no community input. Last day of operations might be May 24th. For more information or to voice concerns come to the OHA community meeting on Wednesday May 16th, 6:00pm at King Kaumualii Elem. cafeteria in Hanamaulu. Any interested in helping to SAVE Makaweli Poi Mill should contact email@example.com. Please let folks know.
CB: Kauai’s Makaweli Poi Mill Could Shut Down The Office of Hawaiian Affairs bought the assets of Makaweli Poi Mill in 2008 for $185,000 from kalo farmer John Aana.
read … Makaweli Poi Facebook
“Support & Cooperation”: Abercrombie Gives Farmers Market 2 more Weeks to Get Out
While evicting 70 vendors and 2000 customers, here is what The Abercrombie and his Louie have to say:
"We are very pleased that we have been able to work cooperatively with HFM (Hale'iwa Farmers' Market) to achieve this result," Attorney General David Louie said in a news release. "We understand that HFM is very close to finalizing arrangements for its new location, and that some additional time is needed."
"I'm very supportive of our local farmers and vendors, who are an important part of the community," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie, "and I'm pleased at the efforts that have been made to resolve this situation."
read … I support you, Now Get Out!
Abercrombie, Ouansafi Make Prison out of Public Housing
SA: Hawaii Public Housing Authority Executive Director Hakim “Islam Day” Ouansafi, who was appointed in January, … arranged for a higher fence to be erected around the property, installed 70 outdoor light fixtures to light up every dark spot on the site, replaced the security, implemented an ID card system for tenants and created a curfew for nonresidents. About two dozen cameras will eventually be installed on the property.
Ouansafi said when the fence is finished, security will check the ID of every person entering the property 24 hours a day, and visitors will have to get a pass.
Not everyone appreciated the changes.
"Like a prison over here," shouted 19-year-old Era Tuitele as Abercrombie strolled by. "We don't need the fence. We don't need all this."
Tuitele said officials visited her Friday and told her to clean up her yard before the governor's visit.
"They need to fix the inside of our houses before they fix the outside," she said.
Meet Your Director: Hakim “Islam Day” Ouansafi to Direct Hawaii Public Housing Agency
read … Like a Prison
Council Votes $325K to Settle Retaliation Lawsuit vs Carlisle
SA: The City Council has approved a $325,000 settlement to a lawsuit brought by a former investigator with the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney against the city, then-Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, his former first deputy and former chief investigator.
The Council on Wednesday approved an appropriation to fund the settlement.
Former prosecutor's investigator Craig Whang filed the lawsuit in May 2004, claiming the defendants, including First Deputy Prosecutor Iwalani White, retaliated against him after he filed a complaint with Carlisle in August 2003 accusing his supervisor, Chief Investigator Robert K.W. Lee Jr., of workplace violence.
Whang said the defendants reassigned him, took away his supervisory responsibilities and went "fishing" for reasons to discipline him.
read … Retaliation upon retaliation, upon retaliation
New UH Chancellor To Be Paid 95K More Than Predecessor
HNN: University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood is recommending the UH Regents hire University of Delaware Provost Tom Apple as the next UH Manoa chancellor, sources said Friday.
Greenwood is asking the Regents to approve a salary for Apple that is nearly $100,000 more than his predecessor….
Asked if she is recommending the hiring of Apple, Greenwood told Hawaii News Now Friday: "If you've been talking to people in Delaware, then you know that Dr. Tom Apple, who was the candidate from there is highly respected. And that he would be a great choice for our university. But I'm not going to confirm that right now."
Greenwood declined to speak about her recommendation to hire the next chancellor until after the Regents meet to vote on her proposal next Thursday.
"This has been a national process, we've worked hard at it. We've had a great search committee. And I think it's going to have a positive outcome, but I can't pre-judge that," Greenwood said.
Greenwood is asking the Regents to pay Apple nearly $100,000 more than Hinshaw, whose salary is $344,880 a year.
Greenwood's proposal called for UH to pay Apple $439,008, a raise from his last reported salary of $375,400 at the University of Delaware.
read … If you are surprised, you haven’t been paying attention
PBS Hawaii legislative wrap-up gives win to governor
PBN: Joining moderator Dan Boylan were Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, the Senate majority leader, Blake Oshiro, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Rep. Marcus Oshiro, the House finance chair and Sen. Sam Slom, the Senate minority leader.
The overwhelming consensus seemed to be that Abercrombie (even Slom, the lone Republican in the Senate agreed) was the true winner of the session.
Blake Oshiro, by most accounts, played a major role in making sure that the more than 100 initiatives proposed by Abercrombie passed the Legislature, including the undersea cable bill (Senate Bill 2785).
To see the entire show, go to http://www.pbshawaii.org/ourproductions/insight.php
Read … Hawaii legislative wrap-up gives win to governor
Businesses satisfied with 2012 session
PBN: Construction companies, startups and renewable energy firms could be helped by steps taken in the 2012 legislative session, and most businesses were unharmed by other legislative actions. Several bills that had potential negative impacts failed to make it to the governor’s desk, with the most notable being legislation that would have addressed mandatory sick leave, worker’s compensation and the minimum wage.
“Those bills really got the business community engaged in the legislature by submitting testimony and being active at the state Capitol,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, vice president of business advocacy and government affairs for the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. ...
Read … Business Satisfied
Peeping Police Officer Case Set For Trial Next Month
HR: The first time Honolulu police officer Craig Clissold was accused of peeping into the home of a Hawaii Kai neighbor, he was allowed to enter a deferred plea of no contest that resulted in eventual erasure of the charge against him.
Not this time, prosecutors say.
Clissold, now retired from HPD, was charged with criminal trespass last year after neighbor Robert Tinsley complained that Clissold was peering into the windows of Tinsley’s home at night.
Craig Clissold's house (right), is across Kalanipuu Street from Robert Tinsley's home (center)
A court hearing will be held next week in which Clissold is expected to seek a second deferred no contest plea.
read … Peeping Officer?
Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs petitions for Hawaiian green turtle de-listing
HNN: For many years we've called the turtles that live in our waters -- Hawaiian green turtles -- but scientifically the species does not exist. Or does it? The issue is part of a petition to de-list the turtles that call Hawaii home from the endangered species act.
Is there a distinct population segment of Hawaiian green turtles? And if so has the population recovered enough to de-list under the Endangered Species Act? Many believe after 34 years, its time.
"The important thing and we should celebrate that recovery," said Soulee Stroud, the President of the Association of Hawaii Civic Clubs. On February 14, the AOHCC, which is made up of 60 community-based clubs throughout the nation, filed a petition with the Departments of Commerce and Interior, to classify the Hawaiian Green Turtle as a Discrete Population Segment and de-list them under the Endangered Species Act….
"They are noticing especially on the windward side that the shark activity has increased, they feel the reason is because of the honu population," says Stroud.
Next week the Western Pacific Regional Ecosystem Advisory Committee will announce whether there's enough scientific information in the petition to continue with a status review.
read … Delicious
Maui Councilmembers Pay Out Thousands in Bonuses to Staffers
MN: In fiscal 2010, 14 council executive assistants were paid $27,950 in what's categorized as "salary supplements." In fiscal 2011, 20 council office staff members received $48,950 in addition to their base salaries, according to council records. Council Members Don Couch of South Maui and Elle Cochran of West Maui and Couch's predecessor, Wayne Nishiki, paid no bonuses to employees.
The information about the bonuses came to light this week in a report by Hawaii News Now investigative reporter Keoki Kerr. He submitted a Freedom of Information request for the information in February to council Chairman Danny Mateo, who provided a written response in early March.
Over the two fiscal years for which information was released, records show Council Member Mike Victorino paid his four staff members the highest total amounts - $4,000 in fiscal 2010 and $13,750 in fiscal 2011.
In 2010, Victorino gave a $4,000 bonus to one employee whose base salary was $49,000. In 2011, he provided bonus payments of $5,250 each to two workers - one working full time and earning a base salary of $41,600 and another working three-quarters time and earning nearly $30,000. A half-time employee with a base pay of $9,500 received a $2,250 bonus from Victorino, and an employee earning $20 an hour was paid $1,000.
read … Your Tax Dollars at Work
Construction of $200M windward sewage tunnel gets the green light
SA: The city has received federal approval to build an estimated $200 million, 3.2-mile tunnel to move sewage from a Kaneohe treatment plant to a Kailua wastewater facility.
The concrete tunnel, which will be 10 to 13 feet in diameter, will start at the Kaneohe Pre-Treatment Facility near the Bayview Golf Course and end at the Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Aikahi. The project will entail boring a tunnel through Oneawa Hill….
The existing line, a 42-inch concrete main, is 3.1 miles long under Kaneohe Bay Drive. The city is required to install a replacement under a 1995 legal settlement over sewage spills.
Various community groups, including the Sierra Club and the Surfrider Foundation, sued the city in 1992 because of wastewater discharges. Damaged lines in the current system have allowed groundwater and storm water to enter and overload the sewer system, resulting in spills. Floodwaters can also enter the system through manhole covers during heavy rain.
The city resolved the lawsuit in 1995 under a consent decree with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, with deadlines to complete improvements over 20 years.
Under the decree, a new discharge main running from the Kaneohe Wastewater Pre-Treatment Facility to the Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant must be built.
read … $200M 3.2 miles
HC&S sours on sugar production, profits up
MN: Sugar production at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. on Maui was off significantly in the first quarter of this year compared to same quarter last year, but profits rose 35 percent in the company's agribusiness sector, according to Alexander & Baldwin's first-quarter report released Wednesday.
Only 1,900 tons of sugar were produced in the first quarter, compared to 6,700 tons in the same period last year. But profits reported were $3.5 million for the quarter, compared to $2.6 million in the first quarter of last year.
"The improvement (in profits) was due principally to a $1 million improvement in operating margins due to higher power and lease revenue and lower operating expenses from the sale of the coffee operations in the first quarter of 2011," an A&B news release said.
The actual amount of sugar sold in both quarters was identical, 2,200 tons. Prices are locked in for 75 percent of the crop, the news release added.
Read … Sour on Sugar
Student helping hands LDS members serve through statewide clean-up day
KA: Students were given the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and participate in a day of service late last month in activities around the community. The efforts were part of a wider service project entitled Mormon Helping Hands that took place throughout the island and also on various parts of the west coast United States. Activities included beach clean up around Pounders Beach and Hau‘ula, as well as clean up around Laie Elementary.
President McArthur of the BYU-Hawaii Third Stake acknowledged the efforts and the success of the activity. All of the stakes in California and Hawaii participated in similar service projects. The park’s manager here was particularly grateful for the service that was provided. She said, “What you guys did in the morning would take me 6 months to do.”
read ... Mormon Helping Hands