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Monday, June 18, 2012
June 18, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:00 PM :: 11138 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

NYT Editorial: Lingle Deserves Credit for Creativity

To Get More Federal Medicaid Funds, Hawaii Joins Hospital Tax Bandwagon

Feds: Hawaii Too Small to Succeed with Health Exchange

Planned Rail Extensions: $266,207 per rider

HART's $3M Noise Machine

UH Manoa ‘Confucius Institute’: Chinese Communist Party Celebrates its Influence in Hawaii

Farmers, vendors protest shutdown of Haleiwa Farmers Market

PBN: Dozens of Hawaii farmers and vendors protested along a stretch of Kamehameha Highway Sunday at the former site of the Haleiwa Farmers Market, two days after Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the market could no longer operate on the state-owned land.

KHON VIDEO: Protestors gather in former Haleiwa Farmers' Market location

KITV VIDEO: Vendors, organizers of Haleiwa Farmers' Market rally for support
read … Protest

Poll - Stunning Turnaround In Hawaii's CD2 Race

CB: The first of the two Civil Beat Polls, part of a larger poll of several races, surveyed 340 likely Democratic primary voters between June 5 and June 7 for a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percent.1 It found a 35-31 split in Gabbard's favor over Hannemann; a gap within the margin of error means the race was a statistical tie at the time the phone calls were made. Big Island lawyer Bob Marx scored 11 percent and former Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief advocate Esther Kiaaina 10 percent, leaving 14 percent undecided.

Civil Beat conducted a second survey a week later for two reasons: to confirm the dramatic turnaround, and to find out why voters changed their minds. The second poll surveyed 685 different likely Democratic primary voters on June 13 and June 14 for a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.2 This one found Hannemann at 34 percent and Gabbard at 33 percent — again a statistical tie. Marx and Kiaaina both sat at 10 percent, and 12 percent were undecided. Both polls asked voters who they'd vote for "today."…

When he first announced his candidacy last August, Hannemann touted a 66-to-11 edge over Gabbard. In early February, he released new internal polling numbers showing a 57 percent to 15 percent lead. Both of his surveys were conducted by QMark Research.

More importantly, an independent poll conducted by Ward Research for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now in late January and early February found Hannemann with 65 percent support versus 20 percent for Gabbard.

CB: Civil Beat Poll - Questionnaires and Toplines — June 2012

CB: National Political Analysts Predict Hirono Will Win Hawaii Senate Race “President Obama will get 65-70 percent of the Hawaii vote….” (No he won’t)

read … CD2

Hirono Camp: Case Strategy From ‘Fantasy Island’

SA: Former congressman Ed Case describes U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono as part of the far-left fringe of the Democratic Party, an appeal to moderates, independents and Republicans to back him as the mainstream choice in the primary election for U.S. Senate.

The moderate Case used a similar, if slightly softer, theme in his unsuccessful primary against the liberal U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka in 2006. But he hopes voter turnout will be higher this year and that the demographic shifts that have been taking place across the islands will finally turn in his favor.

Political analysts called Case's approach a gamble six years ago, because it could alienate the establishment, labor and progressive Democrats who are among the most likely primary voters. This year, analysts say, Case has the additional obstacle of former Gov. Linda Lingle, the leading Republican contender for the U.S. Senate, who will use the primary to help identify the moderate and independent voters she will need to compete in the November general election.

In 2006, when Case lost to Akaka, Lingle was up for re-election as governor but made only a token primary effort, so just 12 percent of voters cast Republican ballots. In 2002, when Case narrowly lost to Hirono in the primary for governor, Lingle made an aggressive primary effort for her campaign for governor, and 29 percent of voters cast GOP ballots….

Andy Winer, an adviser to Hirono who was Akaka's campaign manager six years ago, rejects Case's depiction of Hirono as far-left. He said her views are squarely in the mainstream of the Democratic base.

Public opinion polls have shown that Hirono is much stronger than Case among voters who identify themselves as Democrats or are in union households — the kind of voters who have a history of participating in primaries.

Winer said he doubts the Case campaign, which trails badly in raising funds, has either the money or the tactical ability to drive voter turnout among independents and Republicans in the primary when Lingle is interested in the same voters.

"I think it comes a little bit out of ‘Fantasy Island,' to be honest with you," he said.

He said the Case campaign would need extensive communications and multiple voter contacts to get independents and Repub­licans to show up at a primary on an unfamiliar early date, choose a Democratic ballot, and vote for Case.

"You just don't do that by having coffee hours and waving signs," he said. "Those are important parts of a campaign for visibility, but that's not what will convince voters to actually show up and do all of those things that they need to do."

(This is why Progressive Democrats have yet to sue for a Closed Primary.)

ILIND: Debates reminded me why I don’t back Ed Case in the Democratic primary

HR: Winer for Federal Judge?

read … Case aims to counter traditional Democrats 

Five Minute Lingle Video on all Stations Tonight 10:30PM 

SA: Former Gov. Linda Lingle’s paid media rollout for her Republican campaign for U.S. Senate continues on Monday night with a video that will air simultaneously on all network affiliates.

The video, called “Looking back. Looking Forward,” will air at 10:30 p.m. and run for less than five minutes. Her campaign has been promoting the spot at the end of the new television advertisement that debuted last week.

read … Tonight 

Another Failed Civil Beat ‘Fact’ Check 

CB: Lingle's campaign attributed the assertion to Time Warner Cable. Both local and national spokespeople for the cable company say they’re unaware of any other interactive, on-demand cable channels in the country being devoted solely to a political candidate. Industry groups suspected it might be true but couldn't prove it short of calling each individual cable company in the nation. We find the statement to be UNVERIFIABLE.

read … More Pathetic Agenda-Driven Drivel

Fontaine’s fundraising event a success

MN: State Rep. George Fontaine's fundraiser held at Wailea's Mulligan's on the Blue restaurant on June 8 moved into a happy crescendo later in the evening when Ginai, a Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, embraced the night with the first song dedicated to Fontaine.

read … Success

The End of New Jersey’s Solar Gold Rush, and the Beginning of Hawaii’s

CN: New Jersey added more solar panels than any other state last quarter, marking the first time that another state swiped California's crown for the most new installations.

In the first three months of 2012, New Jersey installed just under 16,000 solar projects totaling 174 megawatts, according to a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association and consulting firm GTM Research, enough to power roughly 26,000 homes. California came in second, at 148 new megawatts.

A third of the solar power installed in the United States in the first quarter was installed in New Jersey.

But according to the report, the Garden State's lead as the fastest-growing solar market could be short-lived. "We're expecting to see a downturn in the New Jersey market" starting in 2013, Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM Research, told reporters on a conference call.

Most experts agree on the culprit: New Jersey's incentives system, called the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program, encouraged a brief solar gold rush. Today, the program can no longer guarantee investors sizable profits and is in need of repair, with lessons for other states where similar programs are under way.

At the same time, Massachusetts, New York and Hawaii, have launched new incentives that could help ignite a burst of installations, Kann said. Together, those three states are expected to install about 100 megawatts of commercial-scale solar capacity in 2012, a 40 percent increase over last year….

read … Gold Rush Mentality

SA: NELHA Insular, Dysfunctional

SA: There's nothing like shining a bright spotlight on an insular, dysfunctional operation to suddenly kickstart activity into overdrive.

Less than two weeks after a scathing state auditor's report found a host of problems with the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in Kona, a new report commissioned by NELHA is touting the economic virtues of the beleaguered operation. The 32 tenants at NELHA's tech park spent $81 million in 2010, some $50 million of which stayed in Hawaii, said the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization on Wednesday, and the ripple effect of that spending meant $4.5 million in tax revenue and 583 jobs.

Certainly, this positive spin offers some redeeming news for NELHA. But it cannot dispel the many troublesome aspects of an agency that, as state Auditor Marion Higa found, "struggled with the basics of open government" and was "woefully inadequate" in crucial areas. Among NELHA's problems: lack of an adequate master plan, financial plan and administrative rules; as well as its seriously outdated policies and procedures manual.

Tenant rate-setting procedures were also questioned as possible violations of the state Ethics Code, as were inappropriate meetings in violation of the state Sunshine Law.

As a result, the audit found "an agency which, after nearly 40 years, has yet to achieve its potential as an ocean-related research, education and commercial center."

NELHA has been repeating the same economic impact numbers since its year 2000 Private Tenant Impact report was published. It has not consistently reported key performance indicators in its annual reports, and failed even to produce an annual report for fiscal 2010.

Related: NELHA Audit: 40 Years of Pork Without a Plan, After 40 Years Without a Plan, NELHA Claims Pork is Good for Kona

read … Better oversight needed for NELHA

Venture Capital Startup Accelerator: Hawaii About to Waste Another $2M on Tax Credit Scammers

CB: With the state legislature’s recent passage of HB2319 in early May, which provides $2 million for a Venture Accelerator Funding Program, Hawaii’s growing community of startup entrepreneurs has two million more reasons to be excited. (End sales pitch, begin reality check.)

Hawaii has a long and wasteful history of giving away money to hucksters pledging to form new 'technology' companies. First Act 215, then Act 221, now wind/solar tax credits.

This "accelerator' will be the next venue for the same floating crap game. Maybe some unemployed Hoku execs can get together and start a company called Joku.

There is 'no venture capital' here specifically BECAUSE of ACTS 215/221 which were correctly deemed scams by the VC community on the Mainland (and Forbes Magazine). Your 'solution' is the cause of the problem.

Silicon Valley 'accelerators' aren't looking for funding from the California Legislature. Learn from this.

read … Another Sales Pitch for Corporate Welfare 

Technical education real-world emphasis is drawing more high school students 

SA: Career technical education courses at Hawaii high schools are seeing big enrollment increases amid statewide efforts to incorporate new technologies, more rigorous standards and better partnerships with industry professionals.

Some 27,400 Hawaii high-schoolers took at least one career technical education course in the 2010-11 school year, up by 52 percent — or more than 8,100 students — from five years earlier.

Meanwhile, 2,421 students graduated in 2011 with a designation indicating they had completed all the requirements of a career technical program of study, up from 1,595 in 2007.

Department of Education officials said career technical education, formerly called vocational education, has been revamped to emphasize the relevance of coursework, tie learning into what's actually going on in the workplace and create courses for media-savvy 21st-century students.

"Instead of having woodworking, we have building and construction," said Sherilyn Lau, educational specialist for CTE at the Department of Education. "Instead of just graphics, we now have gaming, animation, fashion design. Instead of typing, we have finance and entrepreneurship."

Schools have also worked to expand career technical education to all students, not just those who don't plan to pursue a four-year college education. Budding engineers and teachers are now encouraged to enroll in technical education courses, along with students interested in being construction workers, nurse's aides and paramedics.

read … How Will the DoE Kill This?

Wastewater tunnel a threat to homes, residents fear

SA: As the city plans to start building a $200 million, 3.2-mile wastewater tunnel between Kaneohe and Kailua this year, some residents living near the project are worried about the potential impact on their properties.

Residents whose communities have experienced soil instability and cracks in building walls in the past fear the vibrations from tunnel work could aggravate sensitive ground conditions.

"There's going to be cracks in our walls and foundations," said Collette Madden, Healani Gardens Homeowners Association board president. "All of the community is concerned. … We want some indemnification."

Madden said a study done by the condominium association found the area sits on a caldera where the soil is susceptible to shifting.

read … Wastewater Tunnel 

Hiccups in pickups rankling residents

SA: The city will add 12 new garbage trucks to its fleet this fall, hoping to reduce delays in curbside trash pickups that have plagued residents for a year.

The city Department of Environmental Services put 20 new garbage trucks into service earlier this year, but complaints about collection delays continue to roll in, said City Councilman Stanley Chang, who represents much of East Honolulu, Waikiki and parts of Kapahulu, Kaimuki and Ala Moana.

"This is a chronic problem, not just in Hawaii Kai," Chang said. "It's all over the island."

Bob Ubersax, who lives on Wainiha Street in Hawaii Kai, said trash pickup in his neighborhood often comes days late.

read … Trash Pickups

Is Hawaii's Redistricting Process Open and Transparent?

CB: Hawaii gets high marks in the State Integrity Investigation for its redistricting process for trying to make sure the public has input.

The state got an A, or 90 percent score for redistricting. But even with that grade, Hawaii was not at the top of the list. Ten states, including California and Florida, earned 100 percent scores. Hawaii tied for 14th place with four other states: Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Kentucky, with a 5 percent score, came in last.

Even if not all Hawaii residents ultimately agreed with the commission's plan (neighbor island residents sued last fall), Hawaii got credit for its attempts to make the redistricting process inclusive and open. There state put on 13 public meetings throughout the islands and made information available online.

read … Redistricting

Federal judges defend Maui conference as cost-effective

Fox: Federal judges in the 9th Circuit appear to be going ahead with plans to host their annual conference in Maui, defending the sunny location as cost-effective despite concerns from lawmakers.

Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa -- who had complained about the scheduled August conference several weeks ago and estimated it could cost more than $1 million -- have demanded details about the trip, on the heels of the scandal surrounding one agency's lavish Las Vegas conference.

But in a lengthy responseclip_image001, 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski defended the choice to host the affair at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, where the group also stayed in 2010.

He said planners looked at other sites in the western circuit area -- including Alaska and Idaho -- but found a good deal on Maui.

read … More Blowback from Dan Inouye’s Supporter’s GSA Blowout

Charitable event aims to give to the needy more food and services than last year

SA: Convoy of Hope Hawaii, which debuted as the largest charitable effort in the state last year, hopes to double attendance and give away three times the amount of goods at the second annual Day of Compassion next month.

With help from Hawaii businesses, nonprofits and churches, Convoy of Hope plans to distribute 67 tons of food, other supplies and services to about 30,000 people on Oahu. The July 28 event will take place at McKinley High School, the Kapolei Fairgrounds across from Walmart, and the Kailua Recreation Center. The first convoy, held at Aloha Stadium, gave away 21 tons of food to about 14,000 people.

"The blessings are multiplying," said Bulla Eastman, Convoy of Hope Hawaii media director. "It's like the story where Jesus fed 5,000 people from five loaves and two fishes."

read … Convoy


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