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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
May 15, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:32 PM :: 14789 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaii Reapportionment Commission: U.S. Military, Military Families and Students Don't Count

Hawaii Health Exchange Will Take Place of Your Insurer

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted May 14

State DoH Loots $2M from Kona Water Bottler

Lingle: Support S2134 for Military Working Dogs

Supreme Court: Rights of Native Hawaiian Practitioners Not Absolute

CB: The high court noted that when Native Hawaiians use their culture as a defense against criminal charges, the court needs to weigh the interests of the practitioner with those of the state's interests in regulating the conduct.

In its 3-2 opinion, the high court found the state's right outweighed Pratt's rights, noting "the privilege afforded for Native Hawaiian practices, as expressed in our State constitution and statute, is not absolute." The opinion was issued by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald and associate justices Paula A. Nakayama and James E. Duffy Jr.

"The balancing of interests weighs in favor of permitting the park to regulate Pratt's activity, his argument of privilege notwithstanding," the opinion says.

KGI: Kalalau camping conviction upheld in high court

FULL TEXT: Supreme Court Opinion

read … Pratt

$12,482 dog run part of thousands of dollars in upgrades to governor’s residence

KITV: Gov. Neil Abercrombie and First Lady Nancie Caraway have spent more than $41,000 in taxpayer money on improvements to the governor's residence since moving in about a year ago.

According to records obtained by KITV4 from the Department of Accounting and General Services, part of the expenditures at Hale Kia'aina includes installing a dog run for the couple's Shetland sheepdog at a cost of $12,482.

Since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, lawmakers have cut $4.6 billion from state budgets, while also raising taxes to help keep Hawaii afloat.

Despite the severe austerity measures imposed on isle residents, renovations at the governor's residence did not end with a dog run. KITV4 tracked expenditures over $500 in the past year and a half that totaled more than $41,000.

"Well, we had to fix the house up to make it habitable," explained the governor. "It was 10 years old and it needed some fixing up."

read … Off the Leash

I Aloha Molokai Candidate Challenges J Kalani ‘Powdernose’ English for Senate

CB: No issue was more contentious than the effort to move ahead with an undersea power cable that would connect Oahu and the neighbor islands. People on Molokai and Lanai don't want wind farms cluttering up their landscapes just so people on Oahu can run their air conditioning. That's over simplified, but you get the point.

The bill was strongly supported by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his energy experts who found a sympathetic ear in Democratic leadership. Republicans took the opposing position.

Thus it was in the waning days of the session that Molokai sent a small contingent to the state Capitol to plead with lawmakers to kill the cable bill, or at least let neighbor islands opt out.

They met with Senate Republicans and a few Democrats. They even met with Civil Beat.

But their words did not sway legislative leaders and the cable bill passed. Now, they say, they need new legislative leaders to break the political monopoly of the Democratic Party….

Kanohowailuku Helm, president of I Aloha Molokai, has pulled papers to run against (convicted cocaine dealer) Sen. Kalani English, a Democrat (who used to score free rides from Hawaii Air Ambulance). Helm listed himself as an independent with the state Elections Office.

Now they are hinting at a new, much broader political uprising that would unite what Helm calls "small d" Democrats with Republicans.

"Too many see the cable project as one big luau pig to be carved up and distributed to the loyal," Helm says in a new video that sounds like a campaign spot. "Long as you invited, never matter who pay."

Other groups who also felt shut out by Democratic leadership are talking about change at the ballot box, too.

Could tiny Molokai with the charismatic Helm at the helm be the one to unite the dissidents into a new political force?

VIDEO: Molokai Voters' Guide to the Bizarre Rituals and Slippery Corridors of Hawaii Senate

read … Molokai for Senate?

As Hemmings looms over Democratic Field, Abercrombie’s Wife Backs SD 25 Primary Challenger

ILind: Senate District 25, already in the news because of the internal flap in the Democratic Party over former Lingle cabinet member Laura Thielen to run as a Democrat, looks to be heating up even more.

In an email to friends this week, Nancy Caraway solicited campaign support for Levani Lipton, who has already filed to run in the 25th Senate District.

Here’s what Caraway, who is married to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, said about her friend, Lipton.

Raised windward, Harvard Kennedy School
Directs int’l development aid organization
Levani is the most authentic, committed, smart young leader in Hawaii today!
That is saying a lot. And she’s even more
This is her first run for public office.

(Conscious, Enlightened and Progressive, Levani is smarter than you are and thereby ordained by God with a divine right to rule over you.)

Former Senator Fred Hemmings has also taken out papers to run in the district. I guess Fred found out that retirement wasn’t all that much fun. None of the three potential candidates have held a fundraiser to date, according to a check with the Campaign Spending Commission’s database.

By your endorsers we will know you: The Segregated Sisterhood of Neil Abercrombie and Nancie Caraway

read … Primary battles shaping up on Windward side

Hawaii Health Connector: HMSA Spent $27K Lobbying

  • *Altria Client Services (tobacco) — $48,410
  • *Visa, Inc. — $37,500
  • *Hawaii State Teachers Association — $29,582
  • *Hawaii Medical Service Association — $27,450
  • *County of Kauai — $25,000

Here’s What they Bought: Hawaii Health Exchange Will Take Place of Your Insurer

read … How Cheap the Legislature is

Hawaii Five-0 Teamsters Official Killed By Police

HR: A Teamsters Union supervisor on the “Hawaii Five-0” television production was asphyxiated by police at his Nanakuli home in February and was in a “cocaine-induced excited delirium” when he died, according to the City Medical Examiner’s office.

Aaron “Spydah” Torres, 37, died of “mechanical asphyxia during police restraint” Feb. 20 and his body showed a “history of cocaine abuse,” the office said.

The Medical Examiner said the manner of Torres’ death was “homicide” and police are conducting an internal affairs investigation to determine if the use of lethal force against him was justified.

An attorney representing the Torres family, Michael Green, said the investigation could result in criminal charges against the officers involved.

read … Teamsters, Cocaine

Hawaii Movie, TV Drivers Have A Long History of Drugs and Violence

HR: The February death of "Hawaii Five-0" driver Aaron Torres is the latest link in a decades-long chain of incidents connecting Teamsters movie and television drivers here to drugs and violence.

  • Two Five-0 drivers are on federal parole after serving five-year prison terms in separate methamphetamine distribution cases.
  • The man hired to replace Torres as a transportation captain has been convicted of drug dealing and assault.
  • A past business associate of Torres, George Cambra Jr., worked as a Five-0 driver last year while awaiting trial on drug-related forgery and theft charges.

Cambra and his father have been directly or indirectly linked to three of the most notorious criminal cases in recent Hawaii history.

  • George Cambra Sr., served a federal prison sentence for conspiring with fellow Teamster movie driver Joseph “Joe Boy” Tavares in 1997 to set fire to film and television production vehicles owned by competitors of the Cambra company.
  • The elder Cambra and Tavares accused each other of involvement in the 1994 waterfront murder of movie vehicle owner David Walden, although each denied the allegations. No one was ever charged in the murder and the case is unsolved.

Walden was shot to death by two men on a motorcycle while he waited for a business appointment with three Teamster movie drivers.

  • George Cambra Jr. admitted in federal court testimony in 2009 that he helped to destroy firearms used in the 2004 organized crime murders of two men at the City’s Pali municipal golf course.

Nationally, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been under a federal court order for 21 years requiring the union to cooperate with and pay for investigations of any ties to organized crime or labor racketeering.

The probes are conducted by what is called the Internal Review Board, based in New York City, that has previously brought charges against Teamsters members for illegal activities connected to film and television productions in several locations around the country.

The IRB has never brought charges against Teamsters in Hawaii

read … Drug, Violence, Unions

Old Boy Crooks, Cronies Join Hirono Campaign Team

PR: Andy Winer, who (stage-managed the death of Patsy Mink) was the campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka during his successful primary against former congressman Ed Case in 2006, has joined U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono’s Senate campaign as a senior advisor.

Hirono has assembled many of the same key advisors who helped Akaka fend off Case for her August primary against Case.

Betsy Lin, Hirono’s chief of staff and campaign manager, was field director for the Akaka campaign. Elisa Yadao, who is helping with communications and debates, did similar work for Akaka.

The Hirono campaign also announced on Tuesday that Carolyn Tanaka, an experienced communications advisor, will join as deputy campaign manager in charge of communications.

PHOTOS: Akaka Campaign 2006 with Mazie Hirono at the Home of Larry Mehau

read … Crooks, Cronies

FACT CHECK — Djou: I Accepted No PAC Money Last Quarter 100% True

CB: Writing to campaign supporters on April 17, former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou bragged that "100% of the donations I received last quarter were from individual hard-working Americans like you who believe that we need to change our government."

The Republican, who is seeking to retake the 1st Congressional Seat held by Democrat Colleen Hanabusa, observed that his opponent "has taken over $284,000 in special interest group money" from political action committees affiliated with unions and big business.

"We can't continue to do the same thing and expect a different result," Djou declared in the email. "If we want elected officials who aren't beholden to special interests, we have to elect people who aren't in the pocket of special interests."

Is it true that Djou took no PAC money from Jan. 1 through March 31 of this year? And that Hanabusa's war chest is chock full of PAC donations?

The answer to the first question is "yes" — Djou received no money from PACs in the first quarter, according to his FEC filing.

The answer to the second questions is also "yes" — according to OpenSecrets.org, Hanabusa has received $284,000 in PAC money during the 2012 election cycle, or about 36 percent of her total fundraising.

(That’s 100% true, but this is a Civil Beat Fact Check, so they twist it as usual.)

read … Djou 100% Correct

School library being eaten away by termites

KHON: The book shelves in Washington Middle School's library are overflowing, not so much with books, but termite droppings.

There are piles of them on the floor that need to be swept up regularly by the students assigned as library aides.

"What is that and they're like oh termite poop and they're like eeew, so it's our job to make sure everything is clean and there's lots of tiny little holes and we get duct tape and we put duct tape over the holes," says Waileia Botelho, library aide.

Dead bugs litter the shelves regularly. And then there are the books. Students open them up and see termites crawling on the pages. Either that or the bugs have eaten through the books from cover to cover.

"They eat through the shelves and it's affecting our books and we end up fixing it and it doesn't always help," says Jessica Park, library aide.

Pieces of duct tape are placed all over the books and the shelves. But the termites just eat through the tape. Eighth graders Jennifer Park and Waileia Botelho want to fight back.

As their advocacy project, the two girls want to eliminate the termite problem. but raising money for an exterminator is a challenge.

SA: 13-year-old girl arrested for alleged assault on school staff

read … About the Majestic DoE

OHA Closing Poi Factory, Laying off Workers

KGI: A “change of operations” is the term used to describe what will happen at the Makaweli Poi Mill next week, said Bryna Storch, operations manager at the mill.

The term arrived in an inter-office memo advising Storch the last poi production for the mill in Waimea will be on May 23 and the final day of the mill will be May 24.

“Everyone is going to be laid off, including myself,” Storch said. “There are 15 workers at MPM who produce about a thousand pounds of poi weekly. Some of them have been with the mill since it opened in 1993.”

Upper Makaweli Valley taro farmer John A‘ana, who co-owned the mill with his cousin, Rawlins Char, said the timing to close the mill is terrible.

“We’re just at the start of the busy season,” said A‘ana, who learned the craft of taro farming from his uncle, Barney Char. “People are going to be inconvenienced because of all the graduation parties, holidays, and the taro coming in. To shut now is a real shame.”

A‘ana said the Office of Hawaiian Affairs bought the mill in 2008

Read … Another OHA Success Story

Private Hospital in Guam May Reduce Transfer of Patients to Hawaii

ST: The Fitial administration said the $220-million private hospital that The Medical City is currently building in Guam will help provide CNMI patients urgent care instead of sending them to farther places such as the Philippines, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland.

Press secretary Angel Demapan said Monday that Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and other jurisdiction leaders welcome the development of a new hospital in Guam and view it as “an opportunity to receive urgent care in a more timely manner.”

The Medical City was one of the presenters at the last Micronesian Chief Executives' Summit held in Guam. It is currently building the Guam Regional Medical City, to be completed in 2014.

This comes even as the Fitial administration looks to privatizing the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.

Demapan said it was TMC that offered to assess the viability of turning the CNMI's only hospital into a private entity.

Related: NMI Medicaid Cases “Circulate in Hawaii Like Hot Potatoes”

read … About something Hawaii should do

Funding for Marines move to Guam on hold

UPI: The U.S. Senate has frozen funds for moving Okinawa-based Marines to Guam amid uncertainty about the cost of the move to taxpayers, a lawmaker said.

The funds will remain frozen until the Defense Department addresses concerns about the cost and feasibility of the move, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., said in a statement to Stars and Stripes.

"It is premature to assess the accuracy of what the Defense Department describes as preliminary cost estimates for realignment actions on Guam," Webb said.

Congress gave the department until the end of next month to submit an independent study on the base realignment and possible alternatives.

SA: Consider revival of Barbers Point

Read … Guam?

Quick growth of solar industry can lure entrepreneurs astray

SA: From 2009 to 2010, installed PV capacity in the state more than doubled, and did the same again from 2010 to last year. Quite a few firms saw their revenue go up hundreds of percent from year to year as they struggled to staff up, keep up with demand and ride the growing solar wave. Whether there has been a commensurate increase in profits during this time of exponential growth and ever tighter margins is a different matter, but as long as the sales keep coming and the cash flow keeps flowing, there's at least been the perception of success and expectation of continued expansion.

The reality is that this kind of growth rate is not sustainable. While I may take a more conservative view on when that peak will be reached compared to others who believe the local PV industry is just starting mass market adoption, it's not a question of "if" the line on the growth chart will flatten out and start downward but "when."

read … Marco Mangelsdorf

Feds Decide Thursday on Solar Tariffs

SA: Hawaii's progress toward money-saving, job-creating, environmentally friendly solar energy will reach a crucial crossroads on Thursday when the U.S. Department of Commerce will decide whether to set steep tariffs on some solar cells and modules imported from China.

This ruling will respond to a complaint by SolarWorld, a German-owned company with one facility in Oregon, charging that China is "dumping" solar panels on the U.S. market. In a preliminary determination last month, the Commerce Department set low countervailing duties, or tariffs, on these imports….

read … Protectionism?

New design unveiled for Hawaii's law enforcement memorial

HNN: As Hawaii honors its fallen police officers this week, the push continues to build a permanent memorial. The Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation just released renderings of the tribute's new design. Supporters said they still need about $300,000 for construction.

Forty-five Honolulu Police Department officers have been killed in the line of duty, including two since last year's Police Week procession. Officer Eric Fontes died during a traffic stop in September. Officer Garrett Davis was killed in a fiery crash in January after pulling over to help a stranded driver.

read … Law Enforcement

HB2681: DNLR Officers to Get Tasers?

CB: In less than two weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to take on the complicated question of when Taser use should be considered excessive force. One of the cases involves a Maui resident who got zapped by police in her home.

Meanwhile, Hawaii lawmakers this year pushed hard and passed a bill that enables Department of Land and Natural Resources officers to carry the electric weapons….

Currently, laws concerning Taser use are not clearly defined. The 9th Circuit also ruled that police officers can have immunity from lawsuits filed by people who have been 'Tased,' according to McClatchy Newspapers.

In Hawaii, lawmakers passed the House Bill 2681 on the last day at the Legislature, which allows DLNR's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers to carry Tasers for six years while the agency seeks accreditation. The measure awaits the governor's signature before it becomes law.

Before this bill passed, DOCARE officers were prohibited from carrying Tasers unless the division was accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a national group….

The ACLU urges the Governor to veto this bill….

read … Tasers

Convicted Felon, Thief Seeks $40K in Donations

HR: The Pele Defense Fund (PDF) is raising $40,000 for a class action lawsuit to save the wild for the people, and preserve the hunting and gathering lifestyle that is the peoples' right. (because it likes money)

According to (convicted thief and felon) Palikapu Dedman, President of the PDF, “All funds received by hunters and supporters will go to immediate use for a retainer or down payment to the attorney (If you believe this, you are a fool) who will file a class action law suit to stop immediate fencing and eradication of deer, sheep, goats, pigs and cattle on DLNR lands including NARS (Natural Area Reserve System) areas. We feel there is strong evidence of traditional and customary practices that have been grossly neglected in the designated fence lands to date, including Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. These funds will be kept in a litigation account with PDF and only used as such. (Don’t be a sucker.)

read … If you trust this guy with your money, you are a moron

Cerberus Said to Seek $1.8 Billion Loan for Kyo-Ya Hawaii Resorts

Bloomberg: Cerberus is approaching banks for a loan to pay off debt taken out in 2006, according to three people familiar with the transaction. A new $1.4 billion mortgage would be packaged into securities, while the remainder is placed with other investors, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations aren’t public.

The move marks the second attempt to refinance the debt on the so-called Kyo-ya portfolio in the commercial-mortgage bond market. A deal struck with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) last year never closed, leaving the private-equity firm led by Stephen Feinberg without funding when loans matured in July, a person familiar with the deal said.

The debt was extended until next year, according to Morningstar Inc. The Hawaii hotels are located in Maui and Oahu, including the Sheraton Waikiki and three other properties that account for 40 percent of the rooms at Waikiki Beach. The sixth hotel is in San Francisco….

After struggling amid the global economic slump, cashflow from the Kyo-ya hotels has nearly doubled since 2009, Deutsche Bank AG analysts said in a research note today. The most recent appraisal values the properties at $1.8 billion, compared with $2.7 billion in 2006, according to the Deutsche Bank analysts led by Harris Trifon in New York.

Occupancy at the hotels had climbed to 86 percent for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, compared with 72 percent through Dec. 31, 2009, according to Morningstar.

read … $1.8B

US Fish Stocks Hit Record Levels

AD: The Associated Press reports that according to a federal report released Monday, a record number of fish populations have been rebuilt in U.S. waters. The report looks at species numbers on the East and West Coasts and along the coastlines of Alaska and Hawaii. Taken as a whole, the data represents a positive upturn in the sustained effort against overfishing in the U.S.

read … But You can’t Fish There

Hamakua Resident Roseanne Barr too Crazy for Green Party

AP: The surreal moment at the Green Party’s recent presidential debate in San Francisco came just after it ended, when candidate Roseanne Barr — yes, that Roseanne Barr — got campaign advice from punk pioneer and previous Green Oval Office candidate Jello Biafra….

So in deference to the Green’s anti-death penalty stance, the wealthy TV comedian and Hawaii macadamia nut farmer said she would stop joking about sending billionaires “to the guillotine.” And she’s played down an earlier shtick where she said she was simultaneously running to be prime minister of Israel. Or how Willie Nelson turned down her invitation to be her vice president because “he’s starting his own party.”….

“For those people,” Barr told an audience Saturday night that didn’t quite fill the 480-seat Victoria Theatre in the Mission District, “if they could just leave the Democratic Party and register as Greens, they could still vote for Obama but it would be sending the Democratic Party itself a message it needs to hear.”

The audience cheered.

While that’s not the official stance of the Green Party, among those agreeing was Barr’s opponent, Jill Stein, a Harvard-trained physician and environmental health expert who has won the vast majority of Green delegates committed thus far and all of the primaries.

read … Too Crazy for the Greens

UH opponents get more money from taxpayers and students

SA: The University of Hawaii's soon-to-be opponents in the Big West Conference all subsidize their athletic programs at a rate twice that of UH, according to a USA Today study published today.

The paper said UH athletics receives 32.6 of its funding from state taxpayers and university funds, while the schools UH Manoa will join in the Big West all receive at least 65 percent support from the state and the university monies, including student tuition and fees. Six of the current Big West members have 75 percent or more of their costs subsidized, according to the USA Today study.

Figures are from 2006-2011, the paper said.

read … Athletic Dep’t

University of Hawaii Manoa Chancellor Hinshaw to get $287K sabbatical, $292K/year tenured med school professorship

PBN: University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw will take a 10-month paid sabbatical after stepping down from her post this summer, and then will take a tenured faculty position at the university's John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Hawaii News Now reports Hinshaw, who has been chancellor of the University of Hawaii's flagship campus for five years, will be paid $287,400 during her 10-month sabbatical that starts July 1, or $28,740 per month, the same salary she earns as chancellor. Hawaii News Now reports Hinshaw’s faculty salary will be $292,188.

read … Lets Raise Tuition Some More

 


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