CoR: Solar Tax Credit Scammers Will Take $491M More than Projected
Over 50% of HSTA Members Voted on Rejected Contract
Full Text: Sierra Club Candidate Questionnaire
Filing Deadline for 2012 Election Tuesday 4:30PM
HR: The 2012 election filing deadline is Tuesday, June 5, by 4:30 p.m. and both major political parties are scrambling to recruit candidates to fill seats.
There should some be some surprises, because there are new districts created through reapportionment - and some incumbent elected officials who will be forced to run against one another because of reapportionment who may choose instead to seek different offices.
Who is running in your district: http://hawaii.gov/elections (Click on ‘2012 Statewide Candidate Report’)
read … Last Chance for Change
Republicans replace Democrats as the advocates of environmental protection
Gene Ward: Many saw the 2012 session as a role reversal when the Republicans replaced the Democrats as the advocates of environmental protection….
A few of the specific bills that House Republicans successfully opposed in week one of the session and were subsequently defeated by the day we adjourned were:
SB 2927 SD2 HD1 CD2 which could have resulted in unrestrained development near train stations. This bill was an invitation for abuse and was at the last minute yanked from the House and Senate floors.
SB 755 SD2 HD3 would have "temporarily" exempted certain airport construction projects from environmental reviews and public involvement. Testifying in strong opposition, the Hawaii Audubon Society said this bill "is not in the public interest and is not protective of Hawaii’s native flora and fauna or cultural resources." Minority Caucus member, Rep. Corinne Ching warned this measure would create an “open season on the treasures of the land…and health of the people.”
In addition to protecting the environment, the Minority Caucus also worked in its traditional areas of emphasis against tax increases and intrusive government. It was the Minority Caucus that led the charge against defeating a State-owned bank (with Governor Abercrombie as the Chairman of the Board), as well as an Internet Sales Tax that would have been levied on all of Hawaii citizens' online purchases on Amazon or other websites.
read … Minority Legislators Played Key Role in Environmental Protection
DoE Refusing to Release Results of Student Surveys
SA: The Department of Education declined to release results from the March surveys, saying the data are still being analyzed.
While some educators worry the surveys will reflect poorly on teachers who are strict or tough, the surveys' developers say the questionnaires are research-based and have been found to be highly linked to teacher effectiveness.
"We're asking students about what they're experiencing in the classroom. They're not popularity questions," said Rob Ramsdell, director of the Tripod Project, which creates the surveys for dozens of school districts.
"We have a lot of reason to believe that kids take it seriously and that the information we're getting is valuable," he said.
While a number of school districts use surveys to improve teaching, just one — Memphis, Tenn. — takes them into consideration when formally evaluating teachers. A handful of others are preparing to do so, including Georgia, which recently launched a pilot program similar to Hawaii's.
read … Kids in isle public schools take surveys that ask them about the education they get when in the classroom
Iwi in Limbo as Oahu Burial Council's Hiatus Hits Record Five Months
CB: "Not being able to meet means the developer and anybody else with iwi concerns, the community, has no outlet and no venue to express their views and opinions," said Hinaleimoana Kalu, chair of the Oahu Burial Council. "There is no outlet whereby they are able to seek council guidance. Developers aren't able to share the latest updates and follow through with guidelines they must follow."
The council has only met once this year — in January — because Gov. Neil Abercrombie has yet to appoint someone who represents a large landowner or developer to the council. Without the member, the council, which is supposed to meet once a month, lacks a quorum.
Donalyn Dela Cruz, a spokeswoman for the governor, said that Abercrombie was expected to make a decision this week in time for the next scheduled meeting on June 13. She said that it has been hard to find someone who meets the qualifications and is willing to serve.
It's not just up to the governor's office. The State Historic Preservation Division is in charge of vetting candidates and making recommendations to the governor. That agency is under fire from the federal government, which is threatening to revoke its certification and withdraw funding, for being slow to hire necessary staff and delays in processing permits.
William Aila, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees SHPD, also said that it has been difficult to attract landowners and developers. …
Some, like Scheuer, wonder if the delay in picking someone for the Oahu council is related to the Abercrombie administration's political efforts to advance its own agenda of consolidating the councils.
"That this delay in finding a replacement happened simultaneously with the administration's attempts to consolidate the burial councils is troubling," said Scheuer.
Abercrombie's office did not respond to the criticism.
read … Just in Time for Rail
Mazie Hides Behind Handlers
CB: Case is more independent, Hirono more collaborative. Case depends on the help of a few, Hirono the help of many. Case is direct and reachable, Hirono has key staff members that handle communication.
Those characteristics were evident over the past few weeks of the campaign.
Case held a news conference May 22 to protest speaking fees at the Democratic Party of Hawaii's convention, lambast Hirono's agenda and announce new poll results that Case said show the race to be a dead heat.
Hirono left it to her spokeswoman and deputy campaign manager, Carolyn Tanaka, to respond with a three-paragraph rebuttal, and to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to flatly dismiss the poll.
That pattern has been a familiar one.
read … Mazie Hides
Civil Beat Hawaii Lobbying Laws Fall Short Because Christians Were Allowed to Meet Legislators
CB: In another instance, a nonprofit group Hawaii Family Forum engaged in lobbying against civil unions and a citizen (atheist activists) alleged the group had understated its lobbying expenses, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
- Hawaii State Ethics Commission, Daniel J. Mollway, 12/6/07, Memo: "'Goodwill' Lobbying as Lobbying Expenditure"
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Susan Essoyan, 9/17/10, "Christian group required to pay taxes for lobbying"
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Susan Essoyan, 6/7/10, "Group's tax status disputed after its lobbying"
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Our View, 9/21/10, "It's lobbying, and it's taxable"
read … Atheists are citizens, Christians must pay taxes to them
Hanalei Farmers market Closed by Permitting Issues, NIMBY Attacks
KGI: Vendors at the Hanalei Farmers Market got a shock Saturday when the board of Hale Halawai ‘Ohana O Hanalei, which operates the market, announced the market would close immediately until permitting issues could be resolved.
“After extensive meetings and attempts to implement other solutions to unresolved parking and permit issues, this is what we have to do,” states a letter read to vendors at a meeting Saturday.
Louisa Wooton, whose family’s Kaua‘i Kunani Dairy relies on farmers markets across the island to sell their goat milk, cheese and various produce, said the abrupt closure is a shock and a huge hit to the vendors.
“We derive 20 to 25 percent of our sales per month from that market,” she said. “My son and daughter-in-law came back (from the meeting) devastated — it was like a punch in the stomach.”
Representatives of Hale Halawai said two issues came to a head to force Saturday’s closure. One was parking for the market, which often overflows into the adjacent park, and the other is what is and isn’t allowed by the special use permit under which the market operates.
read … About Hawaii's Support for Agriculture
KSBE want condo conversion at Pagoda
SA: Part of the Pagoda Hotel in Pawaa could become a residential condominium under a plan by Kamehameha Schools and developer Peter Savio to satisfy an affordable-housing requirement tied to building new condo towers in nearby Kakaako.
Kamehameha Schools and Savio plan to convert one of the Pagoda's two buildings, a 162-unit low-rise referred to as the Pagoda Terrace, into fee-simple condos for sale at moderate prices.
The Pagoda's main 12-story building with 197 rooms and famed floating restaurant would remain, though one day it may be replaced by a new, bigger hotel, Savio said.
Totally Related: Ka Pua Makaha: Multi-million dollar giveaway of DHHL assets disguised as “gift”
read … Kakaako Byproduct
Supreme Court Instructs Judges to Make it Even Easier for Criminal Defendants
SA: Misidentification, the court said May 17, is "one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions."
The justices announced a new rule that requires judges to instruct jurors on how to weigh an eyewitness identification when requested by the defense lawyer.
Associate Justice Simeon Acoba suggested that the instruction should have the jury weigh more than a dozen factors, including the opportunity of the witness to observe the offender, the stress, if any, the witness was under and the extent of the witness's certainty in making the identification.
"It's long overdue," said state Public Defender Jack Tonaki, who has pushed for new rules that would make giving the instruction mandatory.
City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro was far less enthusiastic.
read … Jurors must get briefing on IDs in testimony
New taro team will take over operation OHA is giving up
SA: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs' announcement last month that its nonprofit subsidiary, Hi‘ipoi LLC, will give up ownership of the Makaweli Poi Mill after four years stunned customers throughout Hawaii who prefer Makaweli's thick style of poi, which they say turns sour quicker than others.
But OHA's decision to pull out of the mill also created an opportunity for nine Kauai volunteers — mostly in their 20s and 30s — to form a nonprofit entity with the goal of guiding Makaweli Poi Mill back to profitability while continuing a tradition of kalo production that goes back generations on Kauai's southwest side.
Bryna Storch, operations supervisor for the mill, said she hopes the new nonprofit — Ka Piko o Waimea — also will inspire a younger generation of taro farmers to reconnect with the land and with their ancestors.
read … Still no profit motive
Hi-Tech Parking Meters Hit Chinatown
KHON: The first batch of new parking meters that'll accept credit and debit cards will be up and running starting Monday.
They'll be located near the civic center and will also be installed in other parts of downtown and Chinatown.
The meters will also allow you to add more time by using your cell phone.
The bad news is you won't be able to use any of the time leftover by the driver before you. The clock resets when the car leaves.
read … Vacuum
Star-Adv: Eradicate Axis Deer
SA: The deer eradication program is part of a larger effort to protect the island's resources against the depredations of introduced species like sheep, goats, deer and pigs. A draft environmental assessment released in May proposes to fence off 12,000 acres of the Ka‘u Forest Reserve — a small portion of the 62,000-acre preserve — and eliminate the destructive ungulates contained within. Hunters, gatherers and hikers would have ready access, through gates, walkovers and improved trails. Eventually, the area could be used to return to the wild the critically endangered Hawaiian crow, now existing only in captivity.
Predictably, members of the hunting community have objected. Palikapu Dedman, president of the Pele Defense Fund, said in an Associated Press story that "the hunter has been ignored" in the state's campaign against feral ungulates. In a recent Star-Advertiser Island Voices commentary, Pahoa resident Sydney Ross Singer argued against the elimination of introduced game, saying that hunters both keep the population down and "are invested in perpetuating the species for the future."
There is some merit to their complaints. Subsistence hunters, especially those in wild and remote areas of Hawaii island, depend on the meat of the animals they harvest. It is their way of life. And without the hunters, it would no doubt be more difficult, if not impossible, to keep these voracious animals in check.
But Hawaii island hunters don't need axis deer to survive. There is no shortage of goats, pigs and sheep on the island. And for those who prefer to hunt axis deer, it's open season on public lands on Maui and Molokai.
read … Eradicate
UH Manoa Profs’ Hype About Tsumani Debris Conceals Scheme to Keep CNMI Poor
RNZ: An international petition to stop Japanese companies from dumping tsunami debris on Pagan Island in the Northern Marianas has received over 2,000 signatures.
University of Hawaii biologists who were part of a recent biological survey team there are spearheading the international effort, dubbed ’Save Pagan Island.’
A Japanese company has announced plans to mine pozzolan, which is used in cement, on Pagan Island.
But the proposal would have meant sending empty ships from Japan (fill in the hype here) ….
(Meanwhile in Hawaii, we dump pozzolan substitutes in Waimanalo Gulch)
read … Keep CNMI Poor
Hundreds of Mormons march in gay pride parade in Salt Lake City
…Sunday, current and former members of the church offered support to the LGBT community as part of the Mormons Building Bridges group….
Erika Munson, founder of Mormons Building Bridges and lifetime member of the Mormon church said: "We wanted to invite faithful, practicing Mormons to show their unconditional love and support for the LGBT community."
…Munson said she felt like it was a good time to start the group because of recent legislation to prevent same-sex marriage, like California's Prop 8, which the Mormon church encouraged its members to vote for.
"Prop 8 was was heartbreaking and full of strife for a lot of people, not just for the gay non-Mormon community, but for the Mormon community," Munson said. "I think the wounds are starting to heal, and I think we are ready to start having a conversation again."
Though the church officially opposes same-sex marriage, it supported a proposed ordinance to protect gay Salt Lake City residents from housing and employment discrimination in 2009.
read … Who is Coopting Whom?