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Saturday, May 26, 2012
May 26, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:32 PM :: 9734 Views :: Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Shamed, Civil Beat Revises 'Fact' Check Questioning Djou's Afghanistan Combat Record

Lingle: Please Pause for Moment of Remembrance at 3pm Memorial Day

Mike Greco Announces State Senate Campaign

Star-Adv Boosts Isle GOP in big climb up hill

SA: David Chang, the newly elected chairman of the Republican Party of Hawaii, wants any members of his frustrated minority party to know: Building up a larger presence in the islands' political landscape is a long-term project that needs to begin now, even if the rewards won't be reaped for another election cycle or two.

It's a call that the card-carrying members of the isle GOP should heed, because without a course correction there's little hope of the party increasing its influence on Hawaii governance. That would be a loss for residents overall, regardless of party affiliation, because it's in the competition of ideas that the best public policies are born.

Willing warriors for the electoral battles don't have much time to sit back. Tuesday (June 5) is the deadline for candidates in the primary election, which, with this year's calendar, is coming up fast, on Aug. 11….

The good news is that the new election maps devised by the state Reapportionment Commission and upheld by the U.S. District Court also shifted boundaries enough to create five open House districts. If the GOP wants to give its rebuilding process a push, finding strong candidates to contend in those districts, where nobody has an incumbent's edge, would be the obvious place to start….

Chang added that his strategy is to take the "farm club" approach: recruiting members who may not be ready to run now but can be groomed and mentored for a 2014 or 2016 campaign season. They will be encouraged to start by getting involved in their neighborhood boards or other community organizations, as well as participating in party organizational work.

Related: Hawaii Republicans Seek Legislative Candidates

Read … Star-Advertiser Editorial

Controversy over military personnel and reapportionment is similar to debate over counting of prisoners

ILind: It turns out many of the very same arguments are being made in other parts of the country about whether or not prisoners should be counted as residents of the districts in which they are incarcerated, even though virtually all are from somewhere else and none vote.

The result of counting relatively large numbers of people in this situation is a distortion of political power and influence in state legislatures and city governments as the remaining voters have proportionally more political clout than voters in more typical electoral districts.

This issue has been highlighted by Peter Wagner, executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative. The arguments are summarized at the Prisoners of the Census website and blog.

Wagner has a recent article in the William Mitchell Law Review which provides a good overview of the issue (“Breaking the Census: Redistricting in an Era of Mass Incarceration”)….

Wagner blames policies of the U.S. Senate, and underscores the point that federal law does not require use of the census total population count as the sole basis for state and local reapportionment.

The issue has been profiled by NPR, and reform efforts have drawn editorial support from the NY Times on more than one occasion.

Read … Prisoners Represented, Military Not

Democrats Consider Expelling Dozens of Elected Officials

PR: Democrats on the rules committee, meanwhile, voted to reject an amendment that would have subjected elected officials who failed to demonstrate support for the party’s human and civil rights, labor, social safety net and environmental protection planks to possible expulsion.

The amendment had drawn the concern of several state House and Senate lawmakers and the Abercrombie administration.

Freed and other party activists have been disappointed that elected officials do not follow the party platform.

But Linda Chu Takayama, an ally of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said expulsion was a serious penalty for elected officials who may have legitimate differences on issues such as Honolulu rail or the Ho’opili residential development project….

Jim Shon, a former state lawmaker, said he was sad that Democrats were even discussing expanding the six-month rule to 12 months. He said the party had always trusted primary voters to decide which candidates were authentic Democrats. “This party is bigger than that,” Shon said. “That’s what the other guys do.”

But Ann Freed, a member of the party’s state central committee, said primaries are used to select candidates who represent the party’s values, not all voters who are eligible to vote in the state’s open primaries. She said the 12-month membership rule would have given the party greater ability to screen candidates.

Related:

Read … Expel all the Electeds!

Democrat Convention Slaps Officeholders: “They’re supposed to be Democrats, not Republicans”

SA: …the actual business at the convention reflected tension among party activists and elected officials over the party's ideological direction.

A resolution under consideration would remind elected officials that they are expected to support the party's platform and resolutions at least 60 percent of the time. "I think it will make them think twice and just remind them who they are supposed to be," said Peter Ehr­horn, a delegate who is an insurance agent from Kailua. "They're supposed to be Demo­crats, not Republicans."

Another resolution would place the party on rec­ord in opposition to exempting public or private construction proj­ects from environmental or regulatory review. The resolution is in response to bills before the state Legislature last session, most of which failed, that would have exempted state construction proj­ects from environmental review to speed up construction and help with economic recovery.

"I'm sorry, I think that anyone that is going to build something should have to follow the same regulations," said Lynn Sager, chairwoman of the party's environmental caucus.

Democrats will debate potential changes to the party's constitution that could revise the screening process for candidates who want to run for elected office as Demo­crats.

Read … Progressives on Rampage

Mufi, Tulsi, Hanabusa Skip Dem Convention, Abercrombie Cheers Show of Unity

CB: The word at the convention was that neither Mufi Hannemann, the former Honolulu mayor, nor Honolulu Council member Tulsi Gabbard would participate in a CD2 candidate forum Saturday night….

Gabbard has been refusing to show up at CD2 forums unless Hannemann, the perceived frontrunner, is also there. It includes a debate on Maui's Akaku cable television next week.

Hannemann's name was not listed on an early version of the Democrats' convention schedule, but Gabbard, Esther Kiaaina, Bob Marx and Rafael Del Castillo were listed.

Then came talk that another candidate — Miles Shiratori, like Del Castillo considered a longshot for the primary — would also attend.

And then came word that Gabbard would not.

I did spy Hirono Friday night at the Sheraton ballroom but looked in vain for Gabbard, Hannemann or Case. A party spokeswoman confirmed the three were absent, as was U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Abercrombie seemed unconcerned about the drama.

In his remarks he said Democrats were better organized than they had been in three decades.

"We are mobilizing all across the state," he said. "This is less about individuals than it is about the party."

Likening the differences to the ones that also divided the Hawaii Legislature — such as over the environment and Native Hawaiian issues — the governor declared, "That's what the Democratic Party is all about. We have these discussions, and then we move forward."

VIDEO: A screaming Abercrombie claims Democratic Party better Organized than it has been in 3 decades  (Mentions Reapportionment Suit at 12:00 mark)

HR: 'Rally Time' and 'Personal Attacks': Democratic U.S. Senate Primary Heats up as Party Convention Begins

Read … Overrun with gay-atheist activists

Cayetano Almost Endorses Lingle

Shapiro: And the quote of the week … from Ben Cayetano, in a debate slip when asked who he'd vote for if the U.S. Senate race comes down to his former lieutenant governor, Hirono, or Republican Linda Lingle: "Are you kidding? I'll vote for Lin … uh, Mazie Hirono." He hasn't deflated Hirono's morale that badly since he sang kara­oke at her headquarters the night she lost to Lingle for governor.

Read … Ca-caraoke

Cayetano: Caldwell Talks Like He is The Godfather

KHON: Cayetano repeated his pledge to stop rail and try to get the money set aside for it for an alternate transit plan and infrastructure.

"They're stuck on rail, they can't get extra money to infuse into the sewer and water system, that's their problem, we're going to take this rail system down."

"He talks like he's the godfather -- he's going to go up to the legislature and make a deal they can't refuse, he's served in the legislature and I have too. You think they're going to say sure mayor, we'll give you the money, you take 2/3rds we'll keep 1/3rd."

"I'd like to say none of my plans involve going to the legislature, going to the city council is more than enough."

Read … Candidates for Honolulu mayor squared off

Okabe Keeps HSTA Voter Turnout Secret When it Suits Him

CB: Okabe has ignored repeated requests for the information, instead relying on misleading statements: "I am pleased to inform you that two-thirds of teachers (66% Yes, 34% No) have ratified the January agreement."

That makes it seem that two-thirds of the union's entire membership voted in favor of the contract proposal. But that can't be verified without turnout numbers.

It's not the first time Okabe has tried to hide voting data.

He did the same thing earlier this month when teachers re-elected him to another three-year term. He sent out a news release simply saying he won. No numbers. Not even a margin of victory.

In that instance, brave HSTA members leaked the results. Only then did teachers learn that turnout was abysmal and the race was quite close.

He was less shy in January when teachers rejected the same contract by a two-to-one margin. More than 70 percent of the state's 12,500 teachers had cast ballots.

Apparently if the details don't suit him, Okabe just doesn't share them.

Read … Nobody Voted so We Won

City Council committee OKs $450M line of credit for rail

SA: The proposed city-backed $450 million line of credit is separate from that rail financial plan, and it isn't clear how HART would repay that money if it must tap the line of credit to finish rail construction.

Council Budget Committee Chairwoman Ann Koba­ya­shi asked Wednesday whether the city might be required to raise property taxes someday to repay the $450 million if HART cannot cover the debt.

"We're looking to certainly not ever get there," said Michael Hansen, director of the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin then remarked that winning final approval of the bill on June 6 would be easier if the administration were "more forthright" in its testimony about the bill, including the potential for a property tax increase in connection with the line of credit.

"We basically might as well just admit it, there is a possibility," Martin said.

Read … Mortgaging your future

Probe of Teamster’s death in HPD custody under review

SA: Michele Torres said after being handcuffed, her husband was thrown to the ground by a police officer, then one officer who was a sergeant sat on his back and another officer sat on his shoulders and neck as a third officer restrained his legs.

She said she and Aaron Torres' brother, Brian, wanted police to stop, saying their action was unnecessary.

She said his arms were being twisted and that he was shouting, "Ow, ow," and eventually he went silent.

"We kept telling them, ‘He's not moving. … Get off of him,'" Michele Torres said.

A Honolulu Medical Examiner's autopsy found that a contributing cause and significant condition in the death was a history of chronic cocaine abuse and that cocaine was found in Torres' blood.

But the Medical Examiner's Office also described the manner of death as "homicide" and that the cause of death was due to "mechanical asphyxia" or suffocation during police restraint, "due to or as a consequence of cocaine induced excited delirium."

Read … Probe of death in HPD custody under review

Pflueger employee admits tax fraud

SA: Another defendant in the federal income tax fraud case involving father-and-son car dealers James and Alan Pflue­ger has pleaded guilty.

Julie Ann Kam, Alan Pflue­ger's executive assistant, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Friday to filing a false tax return for 2005 by failing to claim as income personal expenses paid by her employer, Pflue­ger Inc.

Kam's 2005 tax return listed a total income of $47,398. The court rec­ord does not indicate how much income Kam failed to report.

In exchange for her guilty plea, the federal prosecutor promises to drop a conspiracy and similar charge involving Kam's 2004 tax return.

The prosecutor in the tax fraud case filed papers this week indicating that it just learned from a potential government witness that Duban prepared false income tax returns for two other Pflue­ger family members.

The government says Pflue­ger Inc. paid wages to Helen and Tracy Pflue­ger, the daughters of James Pflue­ger and sisters of Alan Pflue­ger, for performing no work in order to also pay their health insurance premiums. Duban then prepared the two women's income tax returns claiming that the money the company paid them was nontaxable because they were either foreign earned income or health insurance payments made by someone who is self-employed, the government said.

(This is how they got Al Capone.)

Read … Pflueger employee admits tax fraud

Politicization of Archaeology Empowers Cultural Practitioners

CB: The archaeological process itself was something of a mechanical enterprise performed in isolation and archaeologists were looked on as perhaps an odd lot.

Slowly but relentlessly this has changed.

Today archaeological studies are major components of permitting and fully integrated into the planning process. Landowners and planners are now acutely aware of, and receptive of the need for, preservation of important and unique areas. This awareness has transformed our view of the land and its intimate connection to the legacy of the many generations of people who have preceded us in these islands. Archaeological investigation is now conducted in the context of the ahupua'a, the place names, the landforms, the mo'olelo which define all places in Hawai'i as special.

This is enabled by the ever increasing involvement of lineal and cultural descendants in the planning and preservation process. This involvement was initially confined to those projects which concerned treatment Hawaiian burials, but is ever expanding to include descendent insight into the entire planning and design process.

Totally Related: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

Read … Gramsci in action

Former Damien chaplain sued over sexual abuse allegations

AP: Attorneys have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man alleging sexual abuse by a priest at a Hono­lulu all-boys Catholic school in the 1980s.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Oahu Circuit Court, claims the then-13-year-old boy was a freshman when he was abused during an overnight retreat by the Rev. Gerald Funcheon, a former chaplain and teacher at Damien Memorial School.

The lawsuit doesn't name the plaintiff, now an adult living in Hono­lulu.

This is the first lawsuit under a new Hawaii law providing a two-year window for claims of sexual abuse against minors to be made, even if the statute of limitations has lapsed, said Joelle Casteix, western regional director for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. The two-year window began April 24, when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed it into law.

Read … If he worked for the State, he would be exempt

'Complete streets' measure approved

SA: Advocates celebrate as the mayor signs a bill that requires planners to consider nonvehicular travel when designing transit projects….

Read … 'Complete streets' measure approved

276 Hawaiian Heroes

HR: What we all need to do is take some time over this weekend and examine our hearts and souls to see what we are doing with the bloodstained legacy that these men and women have left behind. Did those valiant Marines at Iwo Jima make their sacrifice so that sacramental union could be redefined as same sex marriage? Did our Revolutionary War heroes go into battle for the right of mothers to kill their unborn children? Did men die in the trenches at Argonne so that man-boy love could be protected? Did 276 of Hawaii’s fighting men and women die so I would have to put a disclaimer at the end of this article in case, heaven forbid, I should offend someone by sharing these thoughts?

Today, America is busy finding new ways to pleasure itself, new ways to avoid responsibility, new ways to destroy the family and isolate and marginalize those who call for morality and personal responsibility. On this most solemn holiday, we must stop and consider the great sacrifices that others have made so that we may have the freedom and prosperity we enjoy. Let us consider what those valiant warriors were fighting for...and let us honor each and every one of them...with a prayer, and a pledge to restore to this nation the honor, morality, values and love of God for which they gave their lives.

Read … Duane Vachon

 


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