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Friday, June 15, 2012
June 15, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:12 PM :: 10273 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaiian’s Big Growth Gamble

Hawaii Loses 10 Construction Jobs a Day as Rail Work Begins

New Research on Children of Same-Sex Parents Suggests Differences Matter

FACE: Hawaii Home Health Aides Underpaid

Maui News: Ideologically Rigid Hirono Pie in the Sky Ideas

MN: Their remarks on the subject of raising the eligibility age for Social Security told the whole story. Case said he would support "gradually" increasing that age; Hirono said she would "never support" such an increase. Case favored raising the cap on wages subject to Social Security deductions; Hirono wants to do away with the cap completely.

Case emphasized that his plan would not affect those already receiving benefits - or even those approaching retirement age. In other words, he backs adjusting the eligibility age to reflect the increase in life expectancy. Just like an earlier fix to the system did in the 1980s.

Hirono's approach is pie-in-the-sky. With more and more people living into their 80s and 90s, we can't keep promising them a government payout for life beginning in their 60s. At some point, we are going to have more people retired than working. And, unfortunately, the workers fund Social Security payouts - it is not an insurance system.

Case has also said he would work in a bipartisan way to find solutions to the nation's economic problems. Hirono said she has always worked "collaboratively" to find such solutions.

Sorry, Ms. Hirono, but you can't be ranked the sixth most liberal representative out of 435 in the House and claim to have worked "collaboratively" - not any more than the sixth most conservative representative could make such a claim.

Anyone with that kind of ranking is too ideologically rigid to collaborate.

CB: Senate Hopefuls Hirono and Case Go Out Swinging

HR: Case called Hirono’s politics “far left extreme.”

SA: Hirono: “Europe? They're just cutting, cutting, cutting. And have they solved their problem, their economic woes? No."

read … A Clear Choice for Senator

Republican Handlers Working for Case Campaign

PR: Al Hoffman, a former television newsman and public-relations executive at Hawaiian Airlines and Communications Pacific, has helped Case prepare for his debates against U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono.

Hoffman was a media adviser to former Gov. Linda Lingle in her unsuccessful Republican run for governor in 1998..

Janet Scheffer, the president of Mana Means Communications, is helping Case with the news media.

Scheffer’s only significant prior political experience was on Quentin Kawananakoa’s failed Republican primary campaign for Congress in 2006 and his unsuccessful state House race in 2008. Kawananakoa lost to former state Sen. Bob Hogue in the 2006 primary for Congress. Hirono beat Hogue in the November general election.

Scheffer was also involved in her friend Adrienne King’s unsuccessful Republican primary campaign for lieutenant governor in 2010.

Similar: Mufi’s Republican Army: The Bush Family Connection

read … Advising

Lingle TV channel has pros puzzled, but it's bold

Borreca: Much as generals are fated to fight the last war, rather than look ahead anticipating future battles, politicians and their advisers are condemned to run their last campaign.

So former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's leasing of an entire digital television channel appears to be an actual new idea.

Is it a good idea? Who is going to gather the kids, break open a bucket of chicken and watch a half-hour of their favorite Linda Lingle commercials?

Think a coffee hour on TV, advises Lenny Klompus, Lingle's communications director.

Political campaigns live or die on the coffee hour. Friends or supporters of a candidate invite the politician to their house, and then people invite their friends to come and listen. Since the days of Jack Burns, people have been doing this. No miracles happen at these things, Democrats don't become Republicans and the Fox News Nation isn't suddenly turning on the Rachel Maddow Show.

But the message goes out.

"Being on Channel 110 provides an opportunity for people interested in politics, gives them a chance to hear us.

"If you are part of that group that says, ‘I like Linda but I want to check it out,' we are able to communicate our message," explained Klompus.

Lingle's step, however, is new ground; no one has tried to make a separate television channel part of their campaign. If it works, it will rocket across the country….

CB: Lingle Pays $5,000 a Week For Cable Channel

VIDEO: Colbert Satirizes

read … Lingle TV channel has pros puzzled, but it's bold

Former Hawaii Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona will preside over weddings

PBN: Aiona, who is currently self-employed as a mediator, arbitrator and consultant focusing on family law, will be uniting people again — this time couples — as a wedding officiant for Modern Weddings Hawaii, a free online resource for anyone getting married in Hawaii.

Aiona is well-versed in weddings and has officiated thousands of ceremonies across the state since 1999 as a judge. Now, the St. Louis School alumnus is focusing on doing it commercially.

Speaking of the future, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t ask the former lieutenant governor and one-time candidate for governor about his political future.

Aiona chuckled, but gave a straight answer: “I haven’t ruled it out. Next year I will make a firm commitment, yes or no, and as of right now it still is in the back of my mind.”

Until then, he’ll continue to delve into the private sector, which now includes presiding over weddings, commercially.

read … Weddings?

Should we ask how the governor missed his constitutional deadline?

ILind: the governor issued a press statement announcing the missed deadline, and the resulting ceding of appointment authority back to the Judicial Selection Commission, I haven’t read or seen anything about reporters putting pressure on the governor for an explanation. Have the questions been asked? And asked again? Has there been any behind these scenes snooping for info?

It seems to me that this is an indication of continued disarray in the governor’s office. Where’s the state’s administrative director when we need him? Or what was he doing instead of minding the store and making sure deadlines are being met.

It’s also a sign of timidity on the part of the media.

Related: Abercrombie Two Days Late With Judicial Nomination

read … Timid Media

Takata: Kaneshiro Too Tough on Crime

CB: Both candidates agreed that ensuring public safety and protecting witnesses are top priorities.

"Justice is two-pronged," Takata said, "in that guilt shall not escape and that innocence shall not suffer."

He said Kaneshiro seems focused only on the former, but it is also important for defendants to receive a fair trial.

The prosecutor's office needs to be "the voice of public safety," Kaneshiro said.

He said his office was the only one to raise concerns about the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which involves making room in Hawaii's prisons through better case management and even early release in order to bring back prisoners now housed on the mainland.

"The only voice against that, because it may jeopardize public safety, was the prosecutor's," he said.

read … Too Tough

Crabbe: Akaka Bill vs Roll Commission?

Q: How do you see the Akaka Bill mission now?

A: We going to stop? No. That’s part of our strategic plan, governance. What the outcome is, as a result of the roll commission, we don’t know. But that’s still on the plate.

I think that, moving forward, we need to be open about what that looks like for our community. The change in the political landscape in Washington, D.C., the changes in the political seats within the congressional delegation and the potential changes in the Legislature, create a power dynamic shift. We have to be astute to those changes and flexible enough to work out strategies to move that agenda forward.

It will require us to reconnect with old foes, allies and reshape what is OHA’s role now. I envision OHA’s role more to provide good education and information, to provide leadership in bringing people together of diverse backgrounds, … and moving in a direction that will foster good forums for people to be informed so they can make a good decision on what they want.

read … The Tea Leaves

Consideration of a motion to dismiss case against a U.S. agent is no longer scheduled

SA: State Circuit Judge Karen Ahn has removed from her calendar a hearing on a motion by the attorney for Christopher Deedy to dismiss a murder charge against the State Department special agent.

Ahn had scheduled July 13 to hear motions by Deedy's attorney, Brook Hart, who wants the murder case dismissed.

Deedy, 28, is scheduled to stand trial in Ahn's court on Sept. 10 on charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm.

Hart said Thursday he does not view Ahn's action as a setback. No reason was given for the hearing's removal from her calendar.

He said there are other motions he is considering, as well as the possibility of moving Deedy's case to federal court.

read … Deedy Denied

SA: Flawed PEO Bill Should be Vetoed

SA: Critics charge that surety companies may not issue the required bond to a new company; more testimony is needed from the surety field before the state's law is made more restrictive. To that point, the House Minority Caucus issued a statement on Wednesday pointing out that smaller PEOs were left out of the legislative debate and cite some of its provisions as onerous.

The state DLIR is busy formulating registration procedures and other tasks in preparation for full implementation of Act 129. It can continue with that work in the interim.

And then the Legislature should come back into regular session and make sure that further regulations they put in place enable a reliable service but also allow for competition to make it more affordable. Instead of enacting this bill and going back to tweak it later, as has been suggested, let's get it right from the start.

PBN: Local PEOs could have nation’s highest bonds

MN: Governor, veto SB 2424

read … Star-Adv Editorial

OHA Creates Excuse for $53M in Pork

CB: Dan, Dan, Mazie and Colleen said Thursday (June 14) that Hawaii will receive more than $53 million for Native Hawaiian health, education and cultural preservation programs….

Both bills were approved by a vote of 16 to 14 with Chairman Inouye voting in favor of each. The measures now go before the full Senate for a vote before proceeding to conference with the House.

read … A horse to be traded? or Dead on Arrival in Conference?

Legal Analysis Says Courts Would Have Rejected Party Challenge to Thielen

CB: The Party’s main argument seems to be that it has the constitutional right to choose which of its members can run in the primary. This argument was resoundingly rejected in 2008 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, whose decisions on constitutional matters are binding on Hawaii courts. In a suit by the Alaska Independence Party, the court ruled that the state of Alaska had every right to require political parties to allow primary election voters, not party leaders, to choose the party’s candidate.

In reaching this conclusion, the court discussed at some length the philosophy and history behind the fact that almost every state requires parties to choose candidates through primaries. The court noted that the purpose of primaries is “to remove party nominating decisions from the infamous smoke-filled rooms and place them instead in the hands of a party's rank-and-file, thereby destroying the corrupt alliance between wealthy special interests and the political machine." Ultimately, the court found that the key right at stake was not that of the candidate or the party, but the interest of the state and the voters “in eliminating the fraud and corruption that frequently accompanied party-run nominating conventions.”

Hawaii’s statutes on access to the primary ballot embrace these principles. Under Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS) 12-3, an individual qualifies for the primary ballot for the party of her choice if she swears that she is a member of that party. That’s it. There is another provision, in HRS 12-8, designed to allow political parties to challenge a candidate, but the only legitimate ground for a party’s objection is that “the candidate is not a member of the party pursuant to the party’s rules.” Here, the Party admits that Laura is a member under the Party’s rules, but says that she can’t run because she is not a member “in good standing.” That phrase is simply is not part of the law, so the court would not recognize it.

Some have argued that the Hawaii law is just a statement of minimum qualifications to which the Party can add. That argument is wrong in light of HRS 12-1, which bars anyone from adding hurdles to the primary process: “All candidates for elective office, except as provided in section 14-21 [applicable to presidential campaigns], shall be nominated in accordance with this chapter and not otherwise.”

The compelling Ninth Circuit decision, along with the clear and simple language of Hawaii law, would have doomed any Party challenge to Thielen’s candidacy. I have little doubt that after threatening since March to go to court to take Thielen’s name off the ballot, and authorizing just such an action in late May, the Party finally looked at the law and realized that it couldn’t win.

The strangest thing about this process is that Laura told the Party months ago that its rule was illegal, before the Party finally rejected her candidacy, and before the matter ever drew public attention. (Civil Beat, April 6, "Party Chair Dismissed Legal Opinion on Thielen".

NOTE: Here is a key difference which should be noted: Alaska allows a closed primary unlike Hawaii. "Alaska allows each political party to choose who among the electorate may vote in its primary."
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2008/10/06/0735186.pdf see pg 14181

read … Legal Analysis Says Courts Would Have Rejected Party Challenge to Thielen

Caldwell Issues List of Bus Questions to Cayetano

PR: Caldwell on Thursday issued a four-page list of detailed questions that he feels the former governor and anti-rail candidate should answer in order to fully inform the public about what the alternative would be if the $5.27 billion rail project is killed. Both are trying to unseat Mayor Peter Carlisle.

The list of questions here: Caldwell Questions

read … Questions

Lawsuits next for Koa Ridge, Hoopili developments

PBN: Hoopili opponent Kioni Dudley, president of Friends of Makakilo, told PBN that the group plans to file a motion for reconsideration with the LUC later this month. And state Sen. Clayton Hee, D-Kaneohe-Kahuku, who is being represented by high-profile Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, is expected to challenge the decision. He alluded to doing just that in his closing argument to the LUC.

Sierra Club Hawaii chapter Director Robert Harris says it is unsure if his group will appeal the Hoopili or Koa Ridge rulings.

Seitz told PBN that Hee plans to appeal the Koa Ridge project as well.

Hoopili’s demographic target will be first-time single-family homebuyers and move-up buyers with a price range from the high $200,000s to the mid-$600,000s

read … Hoopili

The companies behind the city’s sewage sludge budget battle

ILind: It turns out Synagro was taken over by The Carlyle Group back in 2007, according to a proxy statement filed with the SEC at the time. Remember Carlyle? They’re the politically well-connected group that bought Hawaiian Tel from Verizon, loaded it up with debt, and ran it into bankruptcy.

There’s a tangle of Carlyle entities involved in Synagro’s ownership structure, according to that proxy statement….

Interestingly, Synergo doesn’t appear to have a lobbyist registered with the Honolulu Ethics Commission, so just who is representing the company in the political infighting isn’t clear from this vantage point.

HRP 56, LLP was registered to do business in Hawaii in February 2011. It’s sole registered member is Valentine Peroff Jr, president/director of Steeltech Inc., a Hawaii general contractor. City documents show Steeltech is the contractor that would build the new facility of HRP 56′s technology were to be selected….

Peroff is also the principal in NANI KAHUKU AINA LLC, which has proposed running with the former Hawaiian Riveira project in Kau once planned by Charles Chidiac….

Real estate records show HRP 56 bought the former Hawaii Raceway Park site at the end of 2011, relying on seller financing from AG/CW Raceway Owner II LLC, controlled by Angelo, Gordon Advisors LLC, a New York hedge fund sponsor. Peroff also has ties to the Weinberg Foundation….

read … The companies behind the city’s sewage sludge budget battle

David Murdock trying to sell Lanai

PBN: Harry Saunders, president of Castle & Cooke Hawaii Inc., has confirmed one of the biggest rumors of 2012: The island of Lanai is for sale.

The sixth-largest Hawaiian island is owned by Los Angeles billionaire David Murdock, who in 1985 took control of it as a result of his purchase of Castle & Cooke.

The state owns 2 percent of the island. If sold, it would create many uncertainties within the island’s community, including what would happen to its main economic drivers, the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay and the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele and other local businesses. Murdock entities also own the two Four Seasons properties.

In addition, depending on who buys the island, changes could be on the way for any renewable-energy development.

The listing price for the island is not being publicly disclosed, but one expert who sells islands for a living told PBN that its price is probably upward of $500 million.

May 9, 2012: Lanai Could Be Liberated from Windfarm: Hawaii Land Sale Part of Dole Restructuring

read … $500M

Isle home care aides' wages lowest among Pacific states

SA: A report released Thursday by the community group Faith Action for Community Equity said there were about 4,730 home care aides in Hawaii in 2010, and the figure is expected to increase to 7,230 by 2018.

"Employment for home care aides is projected to be the fastest growing occupation in every county in Hawaii through 2018," the report said, "and home care aide job growth is projected to be 7 percent higher in Hawaii than the national average."

But low pay for the aides remains an issue, said the report, "Help Wanted: A Future for Hawaii's Home Care Aides."

In 2011, aides in the state were paid the lowest among other states in the Pacific region. The average hourly wage for aides in Hawaii last year was $9.08, compared with $13.83 in Alaska, $10.53 in Arizona, $10.58 in California, $9.13 in Idaho, $10.70 in Oregon, $10.21 in Nevada and $11.14 in Washington state.

read … Help Wanted?

DoE to Inventory Schools, Looking for Real Estate Profits

SA: Some onlookers also see the plan as an opportunity to study out-of-the-box ideas for financing new schools or modernizing old ones.

The inventory will give the department a better idea of what properties aren't being used to their potential — and whether there is unused land on campuses that could be leased out to commercial developments, with profits going into new school facilities.

That model has been advocated by the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs, a nonprofit research group, and is already being tried in several cities.

Alan Oshima, a member of HIPA's board, said an inventory of the potential value of land underneath schools is vital to gaining a better understanding of how to upgrade campuses.

"You almost have to look at our land base under our public schools as a resource," he said.

At a recent BOE meeting, Chairman Don Horner pointed to Jefferson Elementary School as an example of an "underutilized asset." The school is on more than 15 acres in the heart of Waikiki.

"We know there's an opportunity for economic development," he said.

read … Money


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