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Sunday, May 20, 2012
May 20, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:40 PM :: 14123 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

After Receiving Contributions, Clayton Hee, Josh Green Push Bill Described as Sop to Pill Mills

Solar Tariffs May Hurt Hoku, Topple Chinese Companies

Djou: The Future of NATO

Case Challenges Hirono After Oahu Democrats Cancel Debate

Complete List of 2012 Hawaii School Graduation Dates

VIDEO: Oahu infrastructure dilapidated, expensive to fix, Cayetano says

Inouye, Akaka Will Try Again to Slip Akaka Bill into Appropriations Bill

PR: U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye will make a last run at federal recognition for Native Hawaiians — which would treat Hawaiians as indigenous people with the right to self-government — before Akaka’s term expires in January 2013.

The Hawaii Democrats will likely look to attach language to a federal spending bill, which would sidestep a stand-alone vote in the Senate, a tactic that failed last year and may have even poorer odds in an election year when the political control of the Senate is in the balance.

(This will give Inouye something to trade away for pork.)

Totally Related: Hawaii Democratic Party Attacks Long-Time Akaka Bill Advocate, Lingle to Host Luncheon for Native American Congressman Tom Cole

read … Last try

Lingle Pushes to Save Akaka Bill

SA: The strategy behind the Akaka Bill has been in transition as the 87-year-old senator, the first with Hawaiian ancestry, prepares to leave office. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a state bill into law last year that recognized Hawaiians as an indigenous people and created a process for establishing a roll of Hawaiians eligible to participate in a new government that could oversee land use and cultural issues. The federal government could recognize the Hawaiians eventually identified through the state law.

Hirono said she does not believe additional public hearings or some type of vote on federal recognition is needed in Hawaii, as some of the bill's supporters and critics have suggested….

Lingle said the next senator should work quickly with the delegation — and Akaka — to examine the reasons why federal recognition has not become law.

"We know already from history that it is not enough for Hawaii's congressional delegation alone to support the Akaka Bill. Its passage will require bipartisan support from a majority of members of both houses of Congress," she said.

"No version of the Akaka Bill has ever passed both houses of Congress and made it to the desk of any president. This is true even though the Akaka Bill has been under consideration during times when Demo­crats controlled both houses of Congress, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, and control was divided.

"I believe this was due in part because many members of Congress as well as the broader public did not understand the history of Hawaii and its people, and did not understand the content of the legislation itself. It is clear that Hawaii's next U.S. senator will need to spend time talking with their fellow senators as well as the public about Native Hawaiian federal recognition — both what it means and what it doesn't mean."

read … Lingle Pushes to Save Akaka Bill

After Throttling Environmental Law, Will Abercrombie Pick UHM Environmental Law Prof for Supreme Court?

SA: The four state judges were also on the list when Abercrombie appointed Sabrina McKenna to the high court last year. The fifth candidate, David M. Forman, is the interim director of the University of Hawaii law school's environmental law program….

The four judges on the list:

» Derrick Chan, 56, chief judge of Oahu's Circuit Court, who was appointed by Gov. Ben Cayetano in 2000. He is a former state deputy public defender. He has also served as Kauai's first deputy prosecutor and state deputy attorney general.

» Daniel Foley, 65, the longest-serving appeals judge and the only one appointed by a Democratic governor among the six on the Intermediate Court of Appeals, the state's second-highest court. A former American Civil Liberties Union attorney, Foley was appointed by Cayetano in 2000.

» Craig Nakamura, 55, chief judge of the appeals court. He was appointed as an appeals judge by Gov. Linda Lingle in 2004, then chief judge by Lingle in 2009. He was an assistant U.S. attorney for 14 years.

» Richard Pollack, 61, an Oahu circuit judge who was appointed by Cayetano in 2000. He served as the state public defender, managing the office's deputies around the state for 13 years until his appointment.

Forman, 46, a UH law school graduate, served as staff attorney for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, executive director of the Hawai‘i Appleseed Public Interest Law Center and enforcement attorney with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. He was also an associate attorney with the Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing law firm from 2000 to 2004.

Forman is past president of the Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association and the Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League….

read … New justice will be named in June

Justice Reinvestment: Hawaii Attempted Murderer Sentenced to Life Gets Parole, Allegedly Sodomizes 60 year old Woman

SA: A missing Waipahu woman's ex-husband, who was sentenced in 1988 to life in prison for the attempted murder of a 24-year-old Moiliili woman, was arrested Friday for violating terms of his parole.

Lonnell Reginald Wideman, 48, had been questioned by police earlier this week regarding the disappearance of ex-wife Loida Gabon Wideman, but police maintain he is not a suspect in that case.

Loida Wideman, 39, of Wai­pahu remained missing Friday….

Hawaii Paroling Authority Administrator Tommy Johnson said a warrant for Lonnell Wideman's arrest was issued Friday for violating parole because he failed to tell his parole officer that police served him with a temporary restraining order in 2011 for allegedly sexually assaulting a Kapolei woman, nor did he relay that police questioned him this week….

In that case, Lonnell allegedly sodomized a 60-year-old Kapolei woman with whom he was living, a court document says.

The woman alleged in court documents that Wideman sodomized her on June 5, 2011, because "he was mad because I refused to give him my dead son('s) birth certificate so he can forge a passport to go to the Philippines to see his daughter."

"He asked his parol(e) officer if he can go he said no," she states….

On Nov. 17, 2009, the Paroling Authority granted Wideman parole on his attempted-murder sentence. He was released on Jan. 26, 2010, from Halawa Correctional Facility, where he had been serving a life sentence for the May 25, 1985, attempted murder of a 24-year-old Moiliili woman. (And there’s more….)

read … about the coming wonders of Justice Reinvestment

Profitable Non-Profits Seek Business Opportunities

SA: It is no secret that the old model of doing things will not work in Hawaii's nonprofit community.

With funding cutbacks in the government sector and budget considerations in the private sector, nonprofits across our community are seeking innovative ways to continue to provide vital services to Hawaii's families.

Social enterprise — the practice of using the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to advance social, environmental and human services needs — represents an opportunity for organizations to fulfill their missions, and as important, to create a sustainable future….

Kupuna Concierge is a fee-for-service program that provides a range of health and wellness services to Hawaii seniors by utilizing the services of a personal assistant….

read … Profitable

UH Regents Re-Elected

AP: The university announced Friday that Eric Martinson, Carl Carlson and James Lee were re-elected at the 15-member board's monthly meeting. Martinson will serve a one-year term as chairman, while Carlson and Lee will serve one-year terms as vice chairmen….

Martinson is executive vice president of The Queen's Health Systems and president of Queen Emma Land Co.

Carlson is founder of Huehue Ventures, a real estate consulting and agricultural property management firm. Lee is a partner in the Hono­lulu law firm of Devens, Nakano, Saito, Lee, Wong and Ching.

read … Regents

NCAA Sanctions Threat Brings More UH Contracts for the Cronies

SA: Within the next two months the University of Hawaii expects to break ground on nearly $20 million in Manoa campus construction projects aimed at improving its aging athletic facilities and removing the threat of NCAA sanctions.

Officials are heralding it as the biggest athletic building boom on the lower campus since the Stan Sheriff Center began its rise from the quarry floor in the early 1990s.

The centerpiece will be the long-awaited Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex on the site of the former Cooke Field. Ground breaking is scheduled for July 17. By then, work is also scheduled to be well under way on a $4.5 million expansion of the Nagatani Academic Center.

The projects will be fueled or completed with a $12.5 million capital improvement appropriation from the Legislature that awaits the signature of Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

March 25: Abercrombie, Greenwood Team Up to Steer $260M in UH Contracts to Bert Kobayashi Inc

read … UH facilities facing a facelift

Last Minute Race For Space Tourism Grant

ILind: On May 3, 2012, the House and Senate each passed SB112 SD1, HD1, CD1 on final reading.

It authorizes $250,000 of state funds to prepare a spaceport licensing application, as long as the funding is matched by federal funds on a 1-1 basis.

It was signed into law by Governor Abercrombie on Friday, May 11.

Three days before it was signed into law, the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism filed a “request for exemption” seeking permission to proceed with a non-bid contract with Reynolds, Smith and Hills, Inc. valued at $500,000.

The department was racing to meet a grant application deadline of May 11 for an FAA/AST Space Transportation Infrastructure Matching Grant that would “provide the funding required to complete a spaceport application with the FAA.”

Now, how does this work? The application was due the same day as the bill was signed into law. But the request to exempt this contract from the state’s requirement for competitive bidding is still pending.

read … Space Race

Hawaii Poses as Anti-Corruption Force, Joins Futile Effort to Squelch Free Speech

SA: "It is highly unlikely that the Court would reverse its decision in Citizens United," said law professor Richard L. Hasen of the University of California-Irvine.

At best, the court would listen to arguments and might agree a clarification is needed to allow the Montana law to stand. But even that is a long shot, Hasen said.

Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock argues that political corruption in the Copper King era led to the state ban on corporate campaign spending. A clarification of Citizens United is needed to make clear that states can block certain political spending in the interest of limiting corruption, he said.

Related: 5-4: Supreme Court rejects FEC bans of books, movies critical of candidates

read … Citizens United

'Corpse flower,' Legislature giving off a similar stink

Shapiro: » State Rep. K. Mark Takai said a bill passed by the Legislature requiring human resources companies to get a $500,000 bond "is like putting an atomic bomb on a problem that probably doesn't even exist." In other words, a typical law enacted by the Hawaii Legislature.

» Gov. Neil Abercrombie had a $12,482 dog exercise run installed at the governor's residence. I didn't realize he'd switched from weightlifting to aerobics.

» Hawaii public school teachers began a new vote on a labor contract they rejected once already and which the state says is no longer on the table. For their next exercise in futility, they'll revote on whether George W. Bush or Al Gore should be president.

Related: SB2424: Veto the PEO Bill

read … Corpse Flower

Shortages of Flowers, Poi, Fish

Cataluna: Two weeks ago at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival, writer Misty-Lynn Sanico shared this piece of flash poetry:

You know t'ings stay bad when no more poi.

Mo' worse, da price of poke stay rising.

Cuz get fish shortage.

But how's dis, now we gotta borrow sand from one beach to another?

We gotta borrow sand?

Like one sand shortage?!

Maybe aloha shortage.

Now days, not like before.

 

Her words stayed with me, and when people started talking about how hard it was to get lei for graduation this week, I thought of how that poem was almost prescient — that this new shortage fit the theme so perfectly. Sanico saw it, too.

"Had I known then about the flower shortage everyone is dealing with now I would have added something about that shortage, too. Cuz, wow, yeah?" Sanico said.

read … Socialism Causes Shortages

Kenoi Organizing Evacuation Drill to Hype Punatics into Anti-Geothermal Frenzy

WHT: Hawaii County is planning its first evacuation drill for a disaster at Puna’s nearly two-decades old geothermal power plant.

Planning for the exercise is still in its early stages, but Benedict Fuata, the Big Island’s civil defense coordinator, said he is aiming to hold a three-day drill in mid-July.

It will be the first drill since the plant, now operating at 38 megawatts, went online in 1993. It will also act as a test of the county’s first geothermal evacuation plan, now being drafted.

Fuata said the county is acting in response to the outcry from dozens of Puna residents concerned that there isn’t enough health and safety protections in place. Those anxieties have resurfaced in the wake of Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s recent efforts to expand geothermal operations on the Big Island by up to 50 megawatts.

“I was mandated by Mayor [Billy] Kenoi to get to the bottom of this,” he said.

read … Fake Drill to Flee from Non-Existent Problem

Supreme Court ruling offers some time relief in siting a new landfill, but the issue festers

SA: Lots of city officials breathed a huge sigh of relief May 4 when Hawaii's Supreme Court struck down a looming deadline: a state restriction against Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill accepting garbage after July 31. It doesn't mean the search for a new landfill site will end, however; it just means the city no longer has a gun held to its head.

"We're still moving forward with looking at either a replacement or supplemental site," said Tim Steinberger….

Steinberger hopes more progress can be made in diverting waste from the landfill, reducing the volume that would need to be dumped anywhere. A third boiler unit at the HPOWER garbage-to-energy plant is already having test firings and is expected to come online as early as next month, processing an additional 300,000 tons of municipal solid waste a year.

Shimabukuro pointed to plans for a new municipal composting facility that, as soon as next year, will take in a mix of sewage sludge, green waste and compostable food scraps, further winnowing the volume of trash for the landfill.

There's room to improve the amount of mixed recyclables that can be kept out of the waste stream, Steinberger said. The city estimates that of those participating in curbside collection, about 77 percent of the green waste is segregated into the green bins, he said. The proportion of recyclables separated out in the blue bins is about 20 percentage points less, and there are a lot of people not participating at all.

The city also has plans to promote more recycling at condominiums now served by private trash hauling companies, he added, which should help notch up the volume of recyclables diverted.

More technological strategies for reducing waste that HPOWER can't burn have not yet yielded cost-effective solutions, he added. Specifically, there are tests in Japan and elsewhere of what's called plasma arc and plasma gasification systems, but they can take more power to operate than they produce from processing the waste, he said.

Finally, the plug was pulled on one additional proposal for reducing what goes to the dump: sending it to another landfill. Two years ago, federal authorities withdrew approval of a permit for shipping garbage to Washington state, seen as a potential backstop to problems with landfilling garbage here.

Robert Harris, executive director of Sierra Club Hawaii, said the city deserves praise for taking the difficult step of banning nonbiodegradable plastic bags, even though it represents a small percentage of the waste stream and won't take effect for three years.

But he added that it's a step toward the kind of policy leadership that's needed. There are more aggressive policies advancing recycling used in other cities, such as fines for mixing recyclables with regular trash. These should be considered, too, along with more educational outreach to get better compliance from businesses. (Sierra Club solution: Harass and tax the people)

"The cheapest and best thing to do is to attempt to reduce the amount of waste we produce," Harris said. "I don't think the county has put as much effort into that." (Return to C.A.V.E.-man existence)

read … Talking trash

SA: Funding Needed to Overcome ‘Employer Bias’ Holding Back Long-term Unemployed

The logical supposition is that it's some combination of both discouragement and age, with the added ingredient that being on the jobs trail for a long time tends to move that resume to the bottom of the pile.

That last factor — employer bias — is tough to document, (but we’ve predicated an entire editorial on it) although there are anecdotal reports of employers who actually post in help-wanted ads that applicants must be currently employed. Some states have moved to legislate against this, proposing fines for employers whose job listings overtly discriminate against the jobless.

But hiring is subjective, based on a host of reasons, so it makes the whole bias phenomenon difficult to document and legislated solutions basically unenforceable. Some personnel managers may reason that a jobless applicant is simply wanting a job, any job, and will pull up stakes as soon as something better comes along. Or the seeker may feel desperate; as justifiable as that feeling is, it often doesn't translate into a persuasive job interview.

What's lacking in many places, Hawaii like all others, is enough of an outreach to help people break this cycle. State figures show that the number of people in the top tier of the EUC program, receiving unemployment checks for 61 or more weeks, has dropped from 2,500 in 2011 to 2,000 in the first quarter of 2012. While that's progress, it's also a lot of people still struggling to get back on their feet.

Employers need to recognize that the economic wreckage produced by a financial crash and stubborn problems in the housing market is unusual, making conventional assumptions — long-term unemployment equals unworthiness — invalid.

Fortunately, out-of-the-box thinking has begun to produce new ideas. Earlier this spring, one of them got a national airing on "60 Minutes." A Connecticut-based workforce development agency called The WorkPlace created a public-private initiative called Platform to Employment, which aims to reduce the risk that employers sense and give the long-term unemployed their shot. During an eight-week period, wages are subsidized with private investment funds and workers are placed on the payroll of The WorkPlace while they try out at a company where they hope to work.

That's just one approach that could be replicated here, giving many people who can come back from joblessness their fair chance to do so. Only when labor statistics show that everyone who wants to work can find a job can Hawaii claim to have healed from this devastating economic injury.

VIDEO: Replicate Platform to Employment Across Country

read … A legislative Proposal for Next Session

Maui Misanthropes Meet on Your Dime

MN: The "Rights of Nature," the first of a four-part series of speakers on key environmental issues presented by Ala Kukui/Hana Retreat, will be held on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's McCoy Studio Theater.

The speakers will be Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in Pennsylvania, a nonprofit law firm that provides affordable legal services to communities facing environmental threats, and Kapua Sproat, a professor of environmental law at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and an Earthjustice attorney.

The conversation, moderated by Lucienne de Naie, will discuss the alternative to the view of land rights simply as property of humans or corporations, but nature's inherent rights being recognized in a court of law.

read … Anti-Superferry Protesters

Hawaii man accused in designer drug conspiracy

AP: A Hawaii man and three other people are charged with leading an international conspiracy to manufacture and sell designer drugs online and to stores that earned them $5 million between 2009 and earlier this month.

Federal agents arrested Alexandre Valentinov Dimov in Hawaii earlier this week. Dimov and Ryan Scott, of Vancouver, Wash. had shipments of merchandise from Peru labeled as incense, "burial powder" or insecticide, all of which government agents seized in February 2011 and said were actually a synthetic drug that imitates the high of cocaine and Ecstasy, the Oregonian reports.

Less than two weeks after his shipment from Peru was seized, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued an emergency order to control five chemicals, all of them synthetic cannabinoids used to make what government agents call "fake pot."

Scott and Dimov, a Bulgarian national living in Hawaii, face charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance. A mother-daughter pair from Las Vegas was charged with money laundering.

read … Drugs

Partial Solar Eclipse Begins at 2:03PM HST

Today May 20 – partial solar eclipse (visible in Hawai‘i). A small portion of the sun will be blocked by the moon today, as seen from the Hawaiian Islands. From Honolulu the first contact will occur at 2:03 p.m.. By 3:15 p.m., the time of deepest eclipse, about 1/10th of the sun will be blocked by the moon. The eclipse will end at 4:12 p.m.

Animation of Path of Eclipse: http://shadowandsubstance.com/

read … Eclipse

Cuz get taro shortage.


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