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Sunday, June 17, 2012
June 17, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:30 PM :: 12156 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Djou: Hawaii Small Businesses Deserve Better than an 'F'

Case: Hirono Pandering, Hiding, Living in a Fantasy World

Micronesia’s future between China and the US

Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park: Community Leaders Demand EIS

Beware of Misleading Assumptions for Tax Relief

VIDEO: Honolulu Rail Continues to Fleece the Taxpayer; Bill 33 Vote on HART Bond Budget

Chamber of Commerce: Hirono, Case Both Mediocre

Borreca: Although the pair sat at the table with moderator Dan Boylan, the two might as well have been on separate islands. The debate was held 58 days before the election and is not likely to have any effect on the voters.

If anything, the only service of the televised meeting was to assure Hirono and Case supporters that they have not changed.

They were talking to different groups of voters, and their positions on the economy showed the clearest differences.

Hirono supports federal spending to create jobs; Case supports helping the private sector make more jobs.

"Mazie's political philosophy is quite extreme; she is the seventh most liberal member of the U.S. House … I am different, I am a Democrat, but I tend to be a little bit more moderate," said Case, adding that it would be the moderates who could find compromises for a balanced budget.

Case is at 100 percent for voting right, according to the National Organization for Women; so is Hirono. The National Rifle Association gives both of them an F. The highest score Case gets from the Citizens Against Government Waste is 32 percent, while Hirono's high mark is 2 percent.

The United States Chamber of Commerce, which has already spent $500,000 on ads supporting the likely GOP candidate for the Senate, former Gov. Linda Lingle, has given mediocre ratings to both Hirono and Case. Hirono is listed at 48 percent and Case at 51 percent.

SA: Canceled forum, which was to have been hosted by the Oahu Democrats, may or may not be rescheduled

read … Mediocre

City Burns Through $88M of Rail Reserves

SA: Construction on Ho­no­lulu's 20-mile rail line has just begun, but the city is already chewing through cash reserves set aside to cover budget overruns or other unexpected costs related to construction of the project, according to city records.

Last year the city reported it had "contingency" funding of more than $865 million to cover unexpected or unbudgeted costs for the $5.27 billion rail project.

That contingency budget dropped to about $835 million after the city drew down funds to cover change orders and other unbudgeted expenses, and the city expects to tap another $58 million in contingency funding for undisclosed costs in the months ahead, according to records released by the Ho­nolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

That additional contingency spending would drop the remaining contingency reserve to $776.9 million, but HART Executive Director Daniel Grabauskas said that is no cause for concern.

SA: Seeking the Second City

read … Precisely as Predicted

After Cutting Busses, Yoshioka Points to Bus Overcrowding as Reason to Build Rail

SA: Our bus system is approaching realistic capacity at peak hours when most customers want to ride. Today, we average between 25 to 35 times per day when drivers report that they are leaving passengers behind because the bus is completely full. This even occurs frequently with articulated buses, which have a higher seating capacity. Our system clearly needs the additional capacity that a rail system offers.

» Bus Rapid Transit — as proposed by Ben Cayetano ("Enhanced bus system, not rail, is the way to go," Star-Advertiser, Insight, June 3) — will make congestion worse on our roadways. BRT will reduce the number of existing roadway lanes, making already congested roads even more congested.

» Increasing the bus fleet, which the BRT plan proposes, would result in a nonstop wall of buses along our major streets, and further slow traffic. During peak times, we operate a bus every 30 seconds at the King-Liliha streets junction near downtown and about every 45 seconds along Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki. Adding more buses is not a solution.

Rail cuts busses, then rail points to lack of busses as a reason to build rail. Then they claim there is not enough physical space on the streets for more busses. The mind wobbles.

read … I create facts, and the facts support me

Few favor recycling fee hike while State Paying for Non-Existent Containers

SA: Hawaii's recycling rate has averaged roughly 75 percent over the past four years, compared with less than 30 percent before the program started in 2005…. (or has it?)

Higa's 2005 audit, which covered the first six months of the program, described a financial system in which transactions were not properly recorded, records were in disarray and the resulting environment was "ripe for abuse." The program typically collects more than $50 million annually in deposits and handling fees.

Legislators have raised similar concerns. The House this year passed a resolution urging DOH not to increase the handling fee until Higa completed an updated management and financial audit. No House member voted against the measure. (The only person who favors the fee hike is Reynolds Recycling…. must want to dissapate the pressure for an audit.)

"It's completely unfair to consumers and distributors," said Michelle Tang, distribution center manager for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Hawaii. "This fee increase is just a tax hike in disguise."

… the department still hasn't changed at least one of the major flaws Higa identified. She noted that payments made to recycling centers in 2005 were based on unverified numbers, creating the potential for the state to be paying for nonexistent containers.

More than six years later, the payment system is largely unchanged, relying on unverified claims, not the actual quantity of containers recycled and shipped elsewhere for processing into other products, department officials acknowledge.

"DOH has in some cases found significant differences between the number of containers claimed for deposit refunds and the number of containers reportedly shipped later," the department wrote in a December report to the Legislature….

read … More Thieves Looting the Taxpayer

Crooks, Cronies Jump Into Hawaii Solar Business

SA: The firm has trained about 150 people over the past 18 months, including a group of 11 offenders incarcerated at Waiawa Correctional Facility, a minimum-security prison….

Solar City has boosted its workforce to 66 employees since launching its Hawaii operations about a year ago, said Jon Yoshimura, director of government affairs.

"We've had steady growth. For years people have been talking about the ‘brain drain' and kids having to leave Hawaii for the mainland to get a good job. At Solar City, there are a group of us who have been able to come back to Hawaii because of the solar industry," said Yoshimura, who previously worked as communications director for Sen. Daniel Akaka in Washington, D.C.

read … Blow out Top

HLRB to Decide if State can impose its "last, best" contract offer

SA: The central question before the HLRB is whether the state can unilaterally implement a last, best and final contract under Hawaii labor laws.

In its brief, the state argued nothing in Hawaii's law prohibits unilateral implementation of a last, best and final contract offer when negotiations have stalled.

Federal labor law allows a private employer to implement its "last, best" offer if contract talks are determined to be at an impasse, but applying that to public-sector talks in Hawaii is uncharted territory.

CB: Decision Time In Teacher Contract Case Before Labor Board

read … Last Best Labor Board

OHA had No Data and No Justification

HW: When he arrived at OHA, Crabbe says, he discovered that he had to build the research department from nothing. There was no in-house data. “How does an agency measure its work and justify spending without data?,” he asks. It took him two years.

read … Just making it up as they go along

DoTax Director Late With Financial Disclosure

ILind: The interim director at the Dept. of Taxation missed the May 31 deadline by a week, and the deputy by a day.

Board of Education

  • · Keith Amemiya’s disclosure was received on June 1, missing the deadline by a day.
  • · Charlene Cuaresma, received at 6:35 p.m. the day after the deadline.
  • · Brian De Lima, not yet posted.
  • · Kim Gennaula Hagi, received June 7, a week late.
  • · Wesley Lo, not received until June 12, nearly two weeks after the 5/31 deadline.

State Senate

  • · Will Espero, filed June 6, 4:05 p.m.
  • · Josh Green, not yet posted.
  • · Clarence Nishihara, not yet posted.
  • · Pohai Ryan, filed June 4.
  • · Sam Slom, not yet posted.
  • · Glenn Wakai, not yet posted.

Whether any of those not yet posted were filed on time but just hung up somewhere along the line in handling by the Ethics Commission isn’t known yet.

So the next question is whether those who filed after the May 31 deadline will be assessed the $50 administrative fine spelled out in the ethics law?

read … $50

Where will Hawaii-bound Marines live and work?

MT: The Corps’ presence in Hawaii already is expected to change due to reorganization as total active-duty end strength declines from 202,100 to 182,100 Marines by the end of 2016. Modernization of the service’s aviation communities, which will bring the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to Kaneohe Bay, should add 1,000 Marines to the base population.

While the Marine Corps hasn’t released any figures, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie estimated that 2,700 Marines would come to the state as part of that restructuring and pledged to support the transition.

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this year that expanding facilities at Kaneohe Bay is a possibility. Another is to move leathernecks to the Army’s Schofield Barracks. The Corps could also build new facilities on the Big Island, home to the Pohakuloa Training area, where Marines go for live-fire exercises.

In 1999, the Navy shuttered the Barbers Point Naval Air Station, on Oahu’s southeast corner, and moved several units, including a patrol wing, to Kaneohe Bay. The 3,819-acre site is now home to a Coast Guard air station and the Kalaeloa Airport, and the Navy continues to maintain more than 1,100 acres, some for recreational beachfront cabins. Commercial redevelopment of the site — which included plans for houses, offices and shops — has lagged despite efforts by local officials.

One area veteran thinks the military should take it back.

read … Where?

Fathers have big influence on daughters

SA: Fathers often influence a daughter's career choice as well as her sense of competence and self-worth.

Today's wide-open rules for living are more challenging for young women than ever before. Society often offers images of girls in a sexual manner through the media, lyrics, advertising and movies.

This places girls in greater danger of being sexually or physically assaulted, for having an eating disorder or an alcohol addiction, and for being depressed or suicidal.

In fact, more than 60 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds dress and talk like teens, and gifted girls, especially in grades 5-9, downplay their accomplishments.

Although the media, peers and pop culture are strong influences, a most important and saving factor that aids girls in growing into confident and well-adjusted women is a caring and involved father.

read … fatherhood

Rent-a-Poll, Protests follow Waimanalo Success: Humane Society Launches Attack on Aquarium Collectors

SA: And they’re teaming up with the Sierra Club so it isn’t just tourist dive operators this time. With Human Society bucks, they’ve got a rent-a-poll, they’ve got PETA protesters at PetCo, and this is just the beginning of waves of hype aimed at a dozen or so local divers who harvest fish for the aquarium trade. Who will be fooled? Well given the fact that very few people spend much time thinking about the aquarium trade, it will be easy to lie to the public while creating the illusion that the public can place itself on the side of ‘justice’ by supporting this ‘cause.’

KHON: Protesters rally outside Petco's grand opening

KITV: Protesters Boycott PetCo

read … Residents reject reef raids, poll finds

Star-Adv Workers Decertify Union

SA: The Graphics Communications Conference International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 501-M has withdrawn as exclusive bargaining representative for the employees of Oahu Publications Inc.’s composing and imaging departments.

The union employees of the departments filed a decertification petition with the National Labor Relations Board in late May, seeking to remove the union as their representative and requesting that the company immediately withdraw recognition from Local 501-M because the union no longer enjoyed the support of a majority of employees in the bargaining unit.

The change was brought to the attention of the company when employees requested that it cease deducting union dues from their wages.

Dennis Francis, president of Oahu Publications, said he was pleased

read … pleased

McKinley HS 1942: Life Before Gramsci

SA: The Code of a Good American was the commencement theme of the class of 1942 at McKinley high school.

Carolyn Ogata gave the opening invocation. She asked, to be given to leaders, guidance and wisdom; for young men on the battlefronts, comfort and strength and courage; for parents, strength sufficient to bear the ordeals of war; and for "the youth of the world upon whose shoulders must fall the burden of healing and rectifying the tragedies of greed, misunderstanding and intolerance," guidance and strength.

Albert Tsukayama, giving the class history, pointed out that the class entered McKinley only a few hours after Hitler had marched into Poland and that during the three years the class had been called upon to help in the community in many ways.

"Since we had been trained for public service, the morning of December 7 found us ready to serve in the emergency," he said, and enumerated the ways in which students had helped. …

Shizuko Fujimoto spoke on Our Democratic Heritage. … "Today we are writing a tragic chapter. The responsibility rests on each member of our class and … our generation to make this a significant chapter, worthy of our heritage and of our training."

Kazuo Nishikawa followed with a talk on the Unfinished Business of Democracy. … "Now we have, perhaps, our last chance to prove that a free economy can survive and be strong," he said….

Better Find Out: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

read … Before 1968 

Insufficient deaths to put a traffic light in Aiea

DN: It seems that there is a dangerous intersection at Kaahele Street in Aiea where, the article points out, speeding is an issue. Please also note the disappearing paint in the crosswalk—that can’t help much either.
The article doesn’t say how many pedestrians have been injured or died at the intersection, only that it has been of extreme concern to the neighborhood residents, who have mounted an awareness program.
So the problem is speeding. The answer? None from the city, it seems. State Rep. Mark Takai has made up some flags and flag containers for pedestrians to wave at motorists. While I applaud his taking action, it’s the wrong approach. Why flags where there should be a traffic light and enforcement of the speed laws?

read … Insufficient deaths to put a traffic light in Aiea

Hawaii Council candidates receive $195,000 in public funds

WHT: Public campaign funding totaling more than $195,000 has been doled out to eight Hawaii County Council candidates during the second election year of a three-election-cycle pilot program.

Three candidates seeking the District 6 seat, which following the redistricting process spans from about Kealakekua to the Volcano area, received the bulk of the comprehensive public funding, $124,519, for the 2012 election.

Incumbent candidate Brenda Ford and Maile David each received $41,573 while Bradley Westervelt obtained $41,373, according to current State of Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Hawaii County Comprehensive Public Funding data.

The amount of money available for campaigns is based on candidate spending for each district in previous elections. District 1 candidates can qualify for $1,226 in the primary campaign, compared to $41,573 for District 6 candidates.

James Weatherford and Greggor Ilagan, candidates seeking the District 4 seat, which comprises lower Puna, have each received $16,230, while J Yoshimoto, looking to secure District 2, has received $14,559, according to the commission.

read … Giveaway $195,000

Usual Gaggle of Professional Protesters Oppose Navy Training on Big Isle

HTH: Jim Albertini, a peace activist who has a long history of tangling with the Navy, came in dressed as the Grim Reaper, with a skull mask, an American flag hanging from a mockup of a scythe and signs reading “Go Navy” hanging from his front and back. He stood silently in the center of the room.

“That was my testimony,” Albertini said later.

read … Big Isle professional protesters sound off on Navy training

Brits: If we want an effective penal system, we should copy Hawaii

UK Telegraph: Tagging does not deter criminals - offenders on probation need to face the immediate prospect of a short jail sentence if they reoffend.

read … HOPE Probation


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