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Sunday, May 13, 2012
May 13, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:28 PM :: 12189 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Hawaii Republicans Unite for Once-in-a-Generation Campaign

VIDEO: Congressman Charles Djou addresses Hawaii Republicans

A Lull Before the Storm, Taxpayers Should be Wary

Lingle: Save Medicaid, Social Security

WHT: Linda Lingle says her experience as a Republican governor in a primarily Democratic state makes her the strongest candidate to be Hawaii’s new junior U.S. senator.

That experience will specifically be helpful in Congress, where partisanship is driving the two parties so far apart, they argue even when they are trying to do the same thing, such as preventing student loan interest from doubling, Lingle said Thursday during a Rotary Club of Kona meeting at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. She added she can bring the ability to compromise to Congress, which, she joked, has a 9 percent approval rating “on a good day.”

“Being a Republican in Hawaii has positioned me and given me the experience to help others find the way forward,” Lingle said. “You can’t just have your way all the time.”

Given the chance, one of her first federal government cuts would be to reduce or eliminate the Medicaid distribution office in Washington, D.C. Lingle said the “bureaucrats” who oversee that department set policies dictating how states should spend Medicaid funding and don’t consider factors that make each state unique. She proposed returning Medicaid funding to states as block grants, with performance measures to meet but allowing each state to determine how to best meet those measures.

Social Security will also need reform, although people who have been counting on the system — and paying into it for decades — shouldn’t see major changes to their expected benefits. Lingle said she would like to make changes effective for people with at least 25 years to go before retirement, so people 37 and younger. Cost of living allowances for Medicare now exceed inflation, which is one concern, she said. She proposed means testing, and withholding Social Security benefits from people who earn more than a certain threshold.

read … Lingle cites bipartisan experience in Hawaii as a plus in Washington

Hidden Windfarm Subsidy: Taxpayers Fork Out $18,401 for Each Electric Car

SA: Hawaii has developed a network of charging stations using federal funds and now leads the nation on a per-capita basis, with one station for every 5,500 residents. With the infrastructure in place, Hawaii drivers have purchased plug-in cars at 10 times the average rate for U.S. drivers. (Read to the end. This is a hidden subsidy to Windfarm Scammers)

"EVs are cleaner and cheaper. They're fun to drive," said Dan Davids, a part-time Kaneohe resident who is a director for Plug In America, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that promotes the use of EVs. "After you drive one for a while you start to realize you're not going to gas stations anymore. And that's pretty cool."

Nationally, sales of plug-in electric vehicles last year totaled 17,345, representing 0.1 percent of the 12.8 million cars and light trucks sold. By comparison, the 422 plug-in EVs that hit the roads in Hawaii last year constituted 1.2 percent of the total 35,531 vehicles sold….

As with solar and wind energy, the government subsidizes electric vehicles and the infrastructure that supports them as part of its policy to advance alternative energy technologies. Since January 2011, the state has issued rebates totaling more than $2 million to 450 EV buyers. In addition, the state awarded $2.6 million in federal stimulus grants to cover the cost of 200 charging stations at 80 locations statewide.

(DO THE MATH: $4.6M / 422 EVs = $10,901 per EV)

The subsidy available for EVs is fairly generous. The $7,500 rebate offered by the federal government cuts the price of a Leaf to $27,700 from the $35,200 manufacturer's suggested retail price.

(DO THE MATH: $10,901 + $7,500 = $18,401 per EV)

For its part, Hawaiian Electric Co. launched a pilot program in October 2010 that offers participating customers a discounted rate for charging their EVs at night on Oahu, Hawaii island and in Maui County. On Oahu, HECO will shave 6 cents off its normal rate for electricity consumed between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. (Other ratepayers will pick up the bill.)

Hawaii's high electricity prices mean it costs more to "fill up" an EV here than on the mainland. But the cost per mile to drive a plug-in EV in the islands is still about half the cost of a standard vehicle getting 25 miles per gallon.

The Environmental Protection Agency rates the Leaf's efficiency at 34 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles. Using HECO's discounted EV rate of 29.6 cents per kilowatt-hour in April, the fuel cost for the Leaf works out to about 9 cents a mile. With gasoline at $4.40 a gallon, the per-mile fuel cost for a standard car getting 25 mpg is about 18 cents. (In other words, your EV is the same cost as a 50mpg car)

Hawaii has turned out to be an ideal location for automakers to market their electric vehicles for several reasons, said Dave Rolf, HADA executive director. The limited driving distances in the islands are a good fit for the range of EVs, which is generally less than 100 miles, he said. The batteries that power the EVs also perform better in warm climates, he added.

In addition, EVs blend well with Hawaii's push for renewable energy development, Rolf said. For example, Hawaii's wind farms sometimes generate excess energy at night when demand on the grid is low. Instead of being curtailed, (‘curtailed’ means the wind scammers aren’t getting paid) that energy could be used to charge EVs, he said. (In other words, we are buying people cars in order to create demand so the Wind Scammers will make more profit)

read … $18,401 per car

Kauai Smartmeter Contract: Mainland Contractor Beats Out Local Union Workers

KOS: Travis called me back almost immediately and said that he very much appreciates my honesty but they needed me. He said they could front some money to get started and they would pay all of my payroll and operating expenses provide vehicles and all I would have to do is manage the job. They would also see that I made $150,000 to $200,000 in profit.

I was counting on this to save my company but it just did not happen. I received a call from the local business agent from the union and he told me there was a mainland company that applied to the licensing division of the state and got a ruling that they do not need licensed journeymen to install meters. Well I put two and two together and decided the original company was pushed out of the way by this other company.

I finally got a text from Travis and he confirmed my fear that the power company contracted this other company without even telling Travis. He was not happy and neither was I….

This company is advertising on craigs list and the only requirement is that they have a high school diploma or GED. Well I did some research on the improper installation of smart meters that these companies do. There have been quite a few incidents of fire and explosions. EMF Safety Network. The meter installs on Kauai will definitely run into problems on older homes where the meter base is corroded.

read … Mainland Contractor

Fund to Reelect Incumbents: Profitable Non-Profits Score Megabucks

SA: It could be worse. In the past few years, federal funds that social service programs had grown to expect became no longer available. State legislators turned to rainy day funds to provide $27 million to the programs two years ago, but the money went dry last year.

"Coming into this year, much of that money was drying up," said (Democrat Operative and King of the Ward-Heelers) Alex Santiago, executive director of PHOCUSED — Protecting Hawaii's Ohana, Children, Under Served, Elderly and Disabled — a coalition of health, housing and human service agencies. "These agencies were really saying we can't hang on any longer; we're going under." (And Santiago wants to be on the Honolulu Council)

Lawmakers this year provided $11.6 million for those programs, slightly more than half of what they sought but enough to instill them to restore much of the public health, welfare and education they have provided to the working poor. An additional $4.9 million was provided in a separate bill to help seniors through programs such as Kupuna Care.

Parents and Children Together (PACT) provides services to 150 children on a typical day at Kuhio Park Terrace, at an afterschool program that provides services to children in one of the highest-risk communities, including an immigrant population from Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and other Pacific islands. The organization's budget dropped from $22.5 million last year to $18 million this year.

Among the recipients will be Child & Family Services totaling nearly $450,000 for its centers on Oahu, Maui and Kauai. Howard S. Garval, the organization's president and CEO, said the Oahu program was shut down last year because of cuts last November.

One of the persistent difficulties, Santiago said, is the view by "the community at large" that those using social service programs are recipients of "handouts and they don't deserve it, and why don't you guys just get a job; look at how hard I work." He expressed dismay about those who express anger and say, "I'm paying my taxes and it's going to pay that low-life over there who should be working.

"These perceptions, I think, are ill-founded," he said. "I do know that there are people who abuse the system, and they're sensationalized, and people think that they're all that same way. (Not to mention the fact that it is the service operators themselves who are gaming the system for political and financial benefit. When is the last time PHOCUSED has been audited?)

Counterpoint: Children learn best through family activities

read … PHOCUSED on Grabbing Your Tax Dollars

Rural Hospital Loses Millions Every Year, But Has Waiting List for LTC Beds

WHT: The hospital’s gross annual revenue is about $8 million, with an operating revenue — what the hospital actually makes, administrator Merilyn Harris said — closer to $5 million. The hospital’s cost to do business is closer to $6 million. A state subsidy, $1.4 million last year, a smaller amount than previous years, makes up the difference, she said….

The staff members give back, too. On Wednesday, two hospital clerks and another employee set up an amplifier, then provided the long-term care residents with live music. Five years of fundraisers by the South Point Red hats, Ka Lae Quilters and the Ka‘u Golf Group has netted more than $100,000. O Ka‘u Kakou raised enough money to buy a 14-seat, wheelchair-accessible van.

“We kind of say they did it one cookie at a time,” Harris said, describing the fundraising efforts. “They’re our guardian angels.”

More improvements are coming soon, Harris said, including new doors, which will replace doors that don’t seal, and, eventually, a new roof and air conditioning system. Those improvements will help filter sulfur dioxide and other volcanic emission particulates from the air circulated within the hospital. It will also mean, Harris said, the end to the days of open windows throughout the hospital, although a few windows will be left that can be opened on vog-free days.

The $4.7 million vog mitigation project is expected to start in August and take at least 18 months. That project is funded by the state’s Capital Improvements Project budget, as is a $248,000 parking lot project, which includes entrance door replacement.

The hospital has four emergency room beds and five acute care beds. It houses the only pharmacy, a Longs Drugs, in the district, as well as a walk-in rural health clinic. But the biggest portion of the hospital’s duties, and space, is for long-term care. The 16 beds are always full, Harris said, and the hospital has a waiting list of patients who would like to stay there. Each room has its own paint scheme, with patterned, aloha print curtains helping create individual decor. The point, Harris said, is to avoid an institutionalized, hospital environment.

read … Waiting List but Losing Money

Star-Adv Launches Another Attack on Charter Schools

SA: Hunter Villanueva, who will turn 5 in September, would be eligible to start school this fall in any regular public school in the state, but he will have to wait another year because the school that serves his district, Waialae Public Charter School, says it doesn't have room for him.

"It's just unfortunate that we live in a district where that charter school is our home school," said his mother, Kristi Villanueva, who expected his enrollment to be automatic. "If charters can make their own rules and exclude some students, then we shouldn't have to be assigned to them as our home public school."

read … HSTA/DoE/BoE is failing miserably, but what is Vorsino Worried About?

UH Leftist Perfersser: Close Down E-W Center

SA: The recent death of former East-West Center President Everett Kleinjans, who spent his life working for peace and multicultural understanding, seems to be the appropriate time to review how his vision for the center has panned out. In a phrase: It has not. In fact, the center has become virtually the opposite of Kleinjan’s vision: A venue for right-wing and militaristic dictatorships around the world to get together to discuss military and defense objectives.

Fueled largely by money obtained by Hawaii senior U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye — who never encountered an aspect of U.S. militarism he didn’t like or wasn’t willing to fund — the center has become a hypocritical caricature of peace and multicultural endeavors. This parody has been hidden from the public by a variety of pronouncements emanating from the office of recent center presidents that say precisely the opposite of what the center’s most basic purposes and endeavors are.

Surprisingly, given Inouye’s support and the lip service paid by the center to its largely lost mission, last summer the center almost ran out of money amid discussion that it might close. Almost immediately, center apologists rose to its defense…. “promoting U.S. values” is the absolute opposite of what a true multicultural center should be doing….

the center is a remnant of the Cold War; it is a right-wing dinosaur that is obsolete and irrelevant. The East-West Center should be closed.

Related: Sneak Attack: Re-write of Pearl Harbor History Awaits Death of WW2 Veterans, East-West Center hammered for “sustained, biased and politically-motivated attack on World War II veterans”

read … A rant from a UH perfesser you have been paying to brainwash students for 4 decades

Kalaeloa suggested to house incoming Marines

SA: U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, recently was asked at a town hall meeting in Ewa Beach if she would support Marine housing at Kalaeloa.

"Her response was yes, that sounds like something she would support," said Hanabusa spokesman Richard Rapoza.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye confirmed on April 24 that the Okinawa Marines are coming to Hawaii — a more than 20 percent increase in the islands — after the U.S. scaled back a massively expensive $21.1 billion long-planned Marine shift to Guam.

The additional Hawaii Marines, added to the 11,700 already here, would be phased in over several years, officials said.

That's led to the question: Where to put them?

The Marines' preference is to have most of its forces at Kaneohe Bay, but plans already in the works, including 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 — might make it impossible to base all the Marines there.

An official said Pearl City Peninsula, where SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 has a compound, is among multiple sites on Oahu that might be looked at to house some of the extra Marines.

The old Barbers Point is another.

Rapoza, Hanabusa's spokesman, said if the Pentagon is doing a detailed review of the Barbers basing, "we aren't aware of it."

"There would be a number of issues to be resolved, including how to return the facility to military use, what kind of infrastructure and construction work would be required, and what other logistical questions would have to be answered, including transportation," he said.

Even if the basing look is at a very early stage, Ewa Neighborhood Board and state officials, a developer and a lawyer involved in base closure issues are saying: It's possible to do.

read … Kalaeloa suggested to house incoming Marines

Website aimed at Cayetano is not being very nice itself

Cataluna: First off, a website that starts a petition to wag a scolding finger at a former governor, admonishing him to "be nice," is by its own definition of the term, not very nice. It takes a personal shot at Ben Cayetano.

Pacific Resource Partnership, a collective of Hawaii contractors and the Hawaii Carpenters Union, sounded the alarm when Cayetano dared to question U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye's support of Honolulu's rail transit project in a mayoral debate last week. PRP launched a website (www.beniceben.com) urging voters to reprimand Cayetano and make him eat his words.

Usually when a person is told to "be nice," a power play is going on. Like a parent warning an unruly child, you call into question that person's ability to gauge the social situation. It's akin to calling Cayetano "out of touch." "Be nice" is also something you say to someone who is being brutally honest.

Ben Cayetano should not be nice.

He's at his best when playing the contrarian, speaking his mind and stepping on toes….

None of this is really about being nice or showing respect or Ben going rogue by daring to disagree with The Man. It's about money to be made from rail and the threat Cayetano's candidacy poses to the rail project.

The real disrespect is to Oahu residents, who should be trusted to weigh the issues for and against rail rather than talked-down-to with phony schoolyard outrage.

read … Be Nice PRP

Pflueger can't block access to water and land, court rules

SA: Pflueger's illegal grading and bulldozing on his 378-acre property has already cost him millions of dollars. The November 2001 mudslides also destroyed pristine coral reefs at Pilaa Bay.

Pflueger pleaded guilty in 2005 to 10 water pollution felony charges in state court. He was fined $500,000.

He also reached a settlement with the Justice Department, the state, Kauai County and environmental groups in 2006 in their federal Clean Water Act lawsuit.

It called for Pflueger to pay $2 million in fines to the state and federal governments, the largest Clean Water Act storm water penalty in the United States at the time for damage to a site by a landowner.

He also had to pay more than $5 million to repair the damage.

In addition, the state Land Board fined Pflueger $4 million, which is on appeal.

The Marvins' 31,000-square-foot beachfront property is surrounded by land owned by Pflueger and Huddy-Yamamoto.

The Marvins filed their lawsuit in 2002 against Pflueger and reached a confidential out-of-court settlement that covered the damage to their home.

But in retaliation for their lawsuit, Pflueger cut off access and water to the property where three generations of Marvins have resided, Esser said.

read … Pflueger can't block access to water and land, court rules

DHHL Dumps College Scholarship Program

ILind: The Hawaiian Homes Commission is ending its college scholarship program, according to a request filed with the State Procurement Office.

The most recent annual report of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (2011) has this brief item regarding the scholarships:

The Hawaiian Homes Commission Scholarship Program (HHCS) made awards to 93 eligible students enrolled full-time in post-high school educational institutions with demonstrated financial need and/or academic excellence. In FY 2011, the HHCS average award was $1,747.

I didn’t find any indication of the scholarship program termination on the DHHL web site.

read … DHHL Back to the Bad Old Days

Waimea community helps select new principal of charter school

SA: Matt Horne, who most recently was a school improvement administrator for Ontario High School in Oregon, steps into his new job at the public charter school on Hawaii island July 1.

Ho‘okako‘o Corp., the local school board for Waimea Middle and two other public charters, caught the community off-guard in February when it announced Principal John Colson's departure, without explanation. It later said Colson had resigned.

Parents came out in force to protest, saying Ho‘okako‘o had not provided any reason for Colson's departure and that the school was losing a strong advocate. Ho‘okako‘o confirmed Colson had not done anything morally or ethically wrong.

Colson is chairman of the Charter School Review Panel. He was appointed to the body in July 2011.

read … Waimea community helps select new principal of charter school

West Hawaii accounts for two-thirds of property tax burden

WHT: Are Hawaii County property taxes high? Depends whom you ask.

Property owners in just two West Hawaii County Council districts — North Kona’s District 8 and Kohala’s District 9 — pay more than half the property taxes that will be collected from the entire county this coming fiscal year, according to a West Hawaii Today analysis of the property assessments used to determine the coming year’s budget. Add South Kona’s District 7, and a full two-thirds of the county’s property tax burden falls squarely on the west side of the island.

Property taxes likely won’t be raised this election year. Mayor Billy Kenoi has proposed a no-new-taxes budget that the County Council will tackle next week. The council so far has been reluctant to raise taxes this year, either.

A public hearing on the tax rates is set for 5 p.m. Monday in Hilo, followed by a 6 p.m. public hearing on the entire budget. Public testimony also will be accepted via videoconference from the West Hawaii Civic Center and council offices in Waimea and Pahoa.

The analysis showed Districts 1 through 6 — Hamakua, Hilo, Puna and Ka’u — contributed about 5 percent each to the total tax burden. Per capita property taxes, the property taxes divided over each district’s population, range from a low of just $374.83 in Puna, to a high of $2,639.31 in North Kona.

read … West Hawaii accounts for two-thirds of property tax burden

Windfarm Scammers Take Aim at Small Pacific Island Nations

AFP: Using coconut biofuel and solar panels, Tokelau -- which consists of three island dots half way between New Zealand and Hawaii -- plans to become self-sufficient in energy this year.

The leaders of other so-called small island states around the world made commitments at a meeting this week organized by the UN Development Program and the Barbados government.

The Cook Islands and Tuvalu in the Pacific are aiming to get all of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, while St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean is aiming for 60 per cent from renewables by 2020.

And East Timor's government vowed that no family in its capital, Dili, would be using firewood for cooking by 2015 and said half the country's electricity would be from renewable sources by the end of the decade….

"I know we set ambitious targets, but it is actually exciting," Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna told AFP.

"We don't see those targets as being difficult. It is very inspiring and that is what is motivating us to get going."

Puna said about 15 per cent of the New Zealand-dependency country's budget is spent on importing diesel oil. He has called it a "crippling dependence"….

In North America and many European countries there has been resistance to wind turbines sprouting up on land and sea.

"There may well be some in the Cook islands," said Puna. "But I think once people realize and see the benefits from these instruments there will not be too many problems."

(Just wait ‘til they start breaking down. They will be abandoned for decades on Cook Islands.)

read … Coconuts


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