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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
May 23, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:22 PM :: 14389 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Email Chain Shows Hawaii Attorney General Foments Latest Round of Birtherism

Oral Argument Preview: Can The Honolulu Rail EIS Be Segmented?

Jones Act Reform Key Element of Guam's Economic Plan

Abercrombie: Only Hawaii Union Contractors May Bid on State Jobs

Akaka Bill: Rep. Cole speaks to community, business leaders in Kona

Law of the Sea Treaty Transfers Trillions from US to Jamaica 

Caldwell Goes Wobbly, Urges Review of Rail Proposal

Akaka Bill: Rep. Cole speaks to community, business leaders in Kona

Lingle Endorses Bipartisan Startup 2.0 Act

Crabbe Announces New Leadership Team at OHA

Law of the Sea Treaty Transfers Trillions from US to Jamaica

Cayetano’s Oahu Democrats Vote to Silence Inouye, Abercrombie, Akaka, Hirono, Hanabusa

HR: A bold and controversial resolution that will be debated at the Democratic Party of Hawaii convention this weekend is causing quite a stir among party members – even in the highest political circles. And an email obtained by Hawaii Reporter sent by a key Inouye supporter to a Congresswoman, Inouye’s chief of staff, Inouye’s special assistant, the party’s National Committeewoman, and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono’s spokesperson, shows there are already plans underway to kill the resolution before it even comes to the floor for a full vote.

The resolution, which already unanimously passed the recent Oahu County Convention, demands Hawaii’s congressional delegation, governor and party leaders remain neutral until after the Democratic Primary.

Cayetano, who will attend the convention, said as Hawaii’s governor he did not take sides in the Democratic primary races, and traditionally Hawaii governors don’t take sides “to keep unity within the party.”

“The governor has power and should not be interfering with races because that means you have to go against another Democrat,” Cayetano said.

If a high-ranking member of the party makes endorsements, it makes the other candidates and their supporters “really upset,” Cayetano added….

Some members of the party recently compared Inouye and his so called enforcers to “bullies” who want to put into place the next U.S. Senator, two U.S. Representatives, the next Oahu mayor and even the next federal judge….

Adams said: “I wrote it, because it has become abundantly clear that with the retirement of Senator Akaka, we are beginning the transition of our Congressional Delegation to the next generation. It is not as clear, and yet there are rumors, that the field is being limited in some races by decisions made ‘by the powers that be.’

Related: Both Sides in Thielen Dispute Aim For Democrats-Only Primary Elections

read … Shut Up and Deliver the Pork, Old Man

Case: Pathetic Mazie, There’s Just Nothing There

SA: "Trying to find exactly what Mazie has done, what she thinks and what she will do is like sticking your hand in warm Jell-O. There's just nothing there," Case said at a news conference at his campaign headquarters at Ward Warehouse.

Party leaders had suggested a forum at the state Demo­cratic convention this weekend, but the Hirono campaign did not include it on her debate schedule. Hirono has purchased rally time on Sunday morning that was offered by the party. Case declined to purchase rally time and described Hirono's decision to buy time instead of debate as "pathetic."

"This is like Mazie applying for the job, refusing the interview and then expecting the voters to hire her," he said.

Case also released the results of an internal poll that showed that he and Hirono were deadlocked in the primary. The Demo­cratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which prefers Hirono, called Case's poll results "highly questionable" and indicated that Hirono has a double-digit lead. (Its only possible because Hawaii Democrats allow non-Democrats to vote in primaries and select their candidates.)

PR: `We’re not going away’

Related: Both Sides in Thielen Dispute Aim For Democrats-Only Primary Elections

Read … About the Fruit of Open Primaries

2nd vote ends on Hawaii teacher union contract, Strike Authorization

AP: Results are expected now that Hawaii's teacher union members have stopped voting on a contract they previously rebuffed.

Union leaders say a strike is at stake if the Hawaii State Teachers Association doesn't ratify the contract and that it's a way to keep Hawaii from losing a $75 million federal Race to the Top grant for education reforms.

The union is expected to release results Wednesday after about a week of telephone and online voting ended at midnight.

Read … Strike Vote 

 

Hirono Claims Jones Act Brings $4.7B into Hawaii 

HR: More than 10,000 hardworking maritime and longshore workers literally help to keep our state going by bringing in the goods we rely upon. Without their commitment to transporting cargo and people, our islands would come to a standstill. In Hawaii especially, the maritime industry is an essential economic mover, generating more than $4.7 billion annually into Hawaii’s economy and providing more than $1.1 billion in wages and benefits for our people….

The maritime community reminds us of the importance of the Jones Act to ensure efficient, reliable shipping to Hawaii.

Read … Orwellian Statement

Defense: Video Shows Agent ID'd Self, Then Was Attacked, Then Fired Fatal Shot

HR: The video shows that after Deedy id'd himself, Elderts and his friend Shane Medeiros attacked Deedy and a friend and then Elderts was fatally wounded by a single gunshot to the chest, according to Hart.

The "video is compelling evidence in support of Special Agent Deedy's motion to dismiss (the) indictment," Hart argued.

Hart maintains that Deedy, who is free on bail and living in Virginia, acted in self defense and in defense of others.

The videotape, and still photographs taken from it, are attached to a defense motion to dismiss the case. The motion has been sealed from public view at the request of Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro’s office.

Deputy Prosecutor Jan Futa said in her motion to seal the videotape and photographs that their public release would create harmful and prejudicial pretrial publicity about the case.

Hart said in response that prosecutors “must articulate compelling reasons…and support the reasons with specific factual findings” if the motion to seal is to be granted.

The state has failed to do so, said Hart in a new motion filed today.

News media lawyers Jeffrey Portnoy and Elijah Yip said in asking that the records be opened to public scrutiny that the Hawaii Supreme Court has held that judicial records are presumed to be open unless the state can cite “strong countervailing reasons” for sealing them.

Prosecutors cited no such reasons and did not “cite a single case or statute for support,” Portnoy and Yip argued.

And they pointed out that it is customarily defendants who argue for closure of records to protect themselves from prejudicial publicity.

Read … Prosecutors Protecting Pre-existing Prejudicial Publicity from Preemption 

 

Auto Thief Killed by Police Had 18 Convictions

Police identified the victim as Marshall M.K. Langford, who was pronounced dead at the scene…. (If he had been kept in prison, he would be alive today. He was killed by liberal soft-on-crime policies.)

According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, Langford has 18 criminal convictions, including five for unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, as well as second-degree theft, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia. In 2006, he was sentenced to a five-year prison term for three car break-ins at Nakalele Point.

Court records show that Langford was incarcerated Feb. 18 when he was arraigned in 2nd Circuit Court on charges of promoting prison contraband and possessing drug paraphernalia. The charges were dismissed April 19.

Read … Soft on Crime Claims Another Victim

Hawaii Legislative Sausage Factory Rates 38th in Budget Process

CB: Hawaii scored a D in the State Integrity Investigation for State Budget Processes, tying it for 38th among the 50 states.

The state got a 64 percent score for State Budget Processes. Leading the pack was Nebraska. Hawaii was tied with Georgia. Oklahoma came in last.

Hawaii scored a 100 percent on the question of whether the Legislature can provide input to the state budget (they can and they do). But whether that process is open to the public in a meaningful manner is a separate issue that will be tackled in later questions.

Read … You mean there are 12 worse?

UH: Apple’s Salary Geared to Boost Greenwood’s?

Shapiro: Greenwood … suggested Apple's $439,000 salary was geared to what he made in Dela­ware, but in fact, she announced last October — before the candidate search began — that she intended to increase the pay to that level.

Now that the chancellor's salary is so close to Greenwood's $475,000, it'll be most interesting to see whether there's a push to also increase her pay.

To put this in perspective, in the coming year salaries for Greenwood and Apple and the sabbatical for Hin­shaw will add up to a total compensation of $1.2 million to run the two offices.

Former UH President Kenneth Mortimer, who did both jobs reasonably a little more than a decade ago, was paid $167,184.

Can UH seriously argue there's been that big an improvement….

Related: Executive compensation at UC: MRC Greenwood and the $871 million dollar secret

Read … Same thing she did at UC

Ho'opili ruling delayed at developer's request

SA: The state Land Use Commission was scheduled to decide Tuesday whether to approve developer D.R. Horton's plan to build an 11,750-home community called Ho‘o­pili on 1,554 acres of prime farmland in Ewa. But Horton sought and received more time to rebut a key argument made against the proj­ect.

Two Ho‘opili opponents, state Sen. Clayton Hee and the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter, focused much of their case on the notion that a portion of the state Constitution calling for the preservation of prime agricultural land trumps the legal ability of the commission to approve such land for urban development.

The argument is a novel one that could set a precedent and affect other development proj­ects.

KITV: Hoopili developer asks for more time

CB: Final Decision on Hoopili Delayed Despite Opponents' Protests

Read … Ho'opili ruling delayed at developer's request 

 

MECO Rate Increase Approved to Pay for ‘Green’ Energy

MN: On Monday, May 21, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a decision approving Maui Electric Company’s (MECO) interim rate increase request allowing a 3.16% rate increase.

This was less than the 4% to 5.75% increase the MECO was asking for to make up $13 million in revenues.

According to MECO’s request, rate relief was needed due to “increased operations and maintenance expenses and additional investments in plant and equipment required to maintain and increase system reliability, meet expected load growth, and integrate increasing levels of renewable energy.”

Read … Another Day, another Rate Hike 

 

Puna Geothermal Drilling nearly finished

HTH: Noise readings reached 60 decibels Tuesday afternoon, according to PGV’s website. (60 db is the sound level generated by two hippies yammering about ‘astral projection’ from three feet away: LINK)

PGV is drilling the 6,500-foot well to ramp up production to 38 megawatts at its geothermal power plant in Pahoa.

The drill has reached 5,700 feet.

Kaleikini said the plant is averaging 34 megawatts with its five existing production wells.

“We hope to be able to be at 38 at a regular basis,” he said.

The well will be about a foot across at the top. The wells narrow as they descend (as do the minds of anti-geothermal protesters)

BIW: Council Sides with ‘Community’ on Geothermal Fund

Read … about some real alternative energy

End of Free Fares Drives Ridership Down 10%

HTH: Hawaii County’s Mass Transit Agency estimates that its $1 bus fare enacted last July will raise about $500,000 this fiscal year, down slightly from original projections.

The agency initially estimated that the fare would raise $560,000. (Question: How much does it cost to handle the cash?)

The County Council approved the fare to help balance the county’s operating budget. It ended a gratis program that lasted about seven years.

Agency Administrator Tom Brown said the small shortfall will not impact Hele-On bus service, which remains largely subsidized. No other fare increases are planned, he said.

But the $1 ticket price has turned away some riders, or at least caused them to take fewer trips.

Through March, Hele-On saw a 2.3 percent drop in ridership in its 2011-2012 fiscal year that started in July.

Ridership dropped significantly then, when the bus service saw 7.7 percent fewer uses.

Read … Free Rides

Honolulu City Council Rejects Pay Raises

CB: The nine members of the Honolulu City Council’s Legislative Matters Committee have just voted unanimously to reject a 3 percent raise for themselves and Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro that would take effect July 1.

Chair Ernie Martin introduced the resolution last week. He said he talked to Kaneshiro and the two agreed that it would be inappropriate for them to take more money while other city workers and Oahu constituents make do with less in an election year.

Read … Honolulu City Council Rejects Pay Raises

Waimanalo Gulch Landfill Extension

From Councilmember Tom Berg: May 25- this could be it, final decision - see agenda by clicking here.

Kauai County Raising Property Taxes

Resolution 2012-30 establishes real property tax rates for FY 2013. Three out of the eight property tax classes will see changes.

The single-family residential class of taxpayers (non-resident homeowners) will have their land rates increased. Hotels and resorts will also see their land rates increased, as well as their building rates. However, these two property tax classes will not pay more taxes collectively — declining market values paired with the increase in rates will keep their contribution a revenue neutral.

Kaua‘i is the only county in the state that divides tax rates on land and building values. Pre-approved changes will unify property values in the following fiscal year, FY 2014.

Homesteaders (resident homeowners) will have their land and building rates reduced, thus avoiding an increase of roughly $1 million in taxes next year.

Read … Another Tax Hike

Kawamoto’s Shoreline Violations

Most of the violations — 27 of them — were for overgrowth and litter. But he also was fined for grubbing and grading without a permit, collapsed fences overhanging into the shoreline setback area without a variance, pool filled with litter, layers of concrete bricks stockpiled within the shoreline setback area without a variance, seawall construction without a variance, a broken sprinkler system, cylindrical footings deposited and exposed in the shoreline setback area, fence constructed in the setback area without a variance, and a chainlink fence erected without a permit.

The record of violations paints a sharp picture of a property owner who is letting his properties fall into disrepair and who doesn't seem to care much about what that's doing to the neighborhood.

And the neighbors would argue neither does the city. The $38,000 in fines is a small price to pay for a billionaire repeat offender.

Read … Kawamoto

Mystery deer surfacing on Hawaii’s Big Island pitting hunters against government officials

AP: Hawaii wildlife authorities think someone dropped a few from a helicopter on the northern tip of the island. And tracks along the southern coast indicate deer were pushed into the ocean from a boat and forced to paddle ashore….

Officials estimate that there are 100 deer on the northern and southern ends of the Big Island. A government-funded group is leading efforts to get rid of them before they breed pretending to eradicate the deer in order to allow them to breed, thus generating a new basis for HGEA and UPW make-work jobs.

Big Island hunters like Tony Sylvester welcome the axis deer as a new source of meat.

There are no native land mammals in Hawaii except for a bat. Big Island hunters, who hunt to supplement their diet, say the deer should stay because the gift to the former king was for all of Hawaii.

Sylvester suspects other hunters brought the deer from nearby islands to retaliate against government agencies and conservationists for converting vast tracts of hunting ground to forest restoration. He said he understands the concern for the environment and the need to protect the forest, but he said the deer can coexist if managed properly.

The Pele Defense Fund, a group that led a successful legal fight in the 1990s to win Native Hawaiians access to private land for hunting seize prime geothermal sites for OHA, is now rallying hunters together raising money for a class action lawsuit against the state to stop its efforts to eradicate game animals and fence off land.

“They go in and kill all the pigs and everything else. Then you eliminated the hunter,” said convicted thief and drug dealer Palikapu Dedman, the fund’s president. “I think the hunter has been ignored and it’s the state’s responsibility to look out for them, too.”

Related: NOAA Reminds Hawaii -- Delicious Turtles Still Protected

Read … Axis Deer

Alaska sees surge in Japan tsunami debris

ZA News: Floating material including buoys and Styrofoam has washed up on Montague Island, about 190 kilometres south-east of Anchorage, in volumes that clearly suggest a wave of debris from the March 11, 2011 killer tidal wave.

“The debris found on initial surveys of the island showed an absolutely unprecedented amount of buoys, Styrofoam and other high floating debris,” said Patrick Chandler of the Centre for Alaskan Coastal Studies.

He said debris from Asia has been washing up on Alaska shores for years, so “it is incredibly difficult to say with complete confidence that a given piece of debris is from the tsunami.”

“However, we have never seen the amount we see now. In the past we would find a few dozen large black buoys, used in Japanese aquaculture, on an outside beach clean-up. Now we see hundreds,” he told AFP, before the start of a planned 12-day clean-up operation, set to start Thursday.

Read … Alaska sees surge in Japan tsunami debris


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