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Saturday, June 30, 2012
June 30, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:26 PM :: 11990 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Duke Aiona to Speak at Rally for Religious Freedom

'Irresponsible': Hanabusa Walks off House Floor, Skips Holder Contempt Vote

Hoku Out of Cash in Nine Weeks, So Broke It Can't Write Annual Report

Abercrombie Cancels Jr Kindergarten for Thousands of Children

JSC Seeking Nominations for Two Oahu Judicial Vacancies

Notice of Petition for Retention the Honorable Gerald H. Kibe

Geothermal: 600mw Available on Big Island

Members, Donors Threaten to Resign as Sierra Club Oahu Group Votes to Back Rail

HNN: A source told Hawaii News Now the Sierra Club's seven-member Oahu group voted unanimously to approve using the organization's money and efforts to campaign in favor of rail transit. The vote came last Saturday after several hours of discussion, the source said.

Reached for comment, Harris confirmed the vote but said the final decision still must be made by the Sierra Club's 12-member state chapter executive committee and that decision should come in the next week or so….

The Sierra Club surveyed its 4,000 members on Oahu about their feelings on transit but Harris said the organization will keep results of that survey confidential, because "it's an internal tool." Another source said only a fraction of the organization's Oahu members returned the survey, so it's not statistically accurate.

The organization was planning to send a letter out to its members explaining the decision, a source said. Some Sierra Club donors have threatened to stop donating money if the group takes a stand in support of rail transit, according to the source.

The Sierra Club's Hawaii chapter must now decide which candidate to endorse in the Honolulu mayor's race. …

read … More Members to Quit

Interesting Facts:

1) The Wallace Alexander Gerbode foundation is directed by Maryanna G. Stockholm, a major A&B stockholder and former longtime member of the board of directors of A&B. Her husband Charles M Stockholm has served as A&B Chairman.

2) The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation gives megabucks to the Sierra Club every year.

3) The Gerbode Foundation is currently offering Stop Rail a matching grant of $25,000 to support Rail Litigation costs.

Stop Rail: "Save Our Honolulu" fundraiser on July 21st

A&B: “Entitled land in a great place with high barriers to entry is good”

Past is Prologue: Sierra Club Vice Chair: “Killing TMT will cause another drop in Sierra Club membership and stature; it is the Superferry all over again”

Wind Cable Scammers Tried to Buy Lanai

HNN: A source said the Bio-Logical Capital is still interested in developing a wind farm with Murdoch, who has retained the rights to any wind operation on Lanai.

The company has yet to begin construction on any major project in the islands, but it is exploring a number of them. Based in Denver, it also has offices in San Francisco and Honolulu.

The company's web site said it's working on a project called Molokai Renewables, a joint venture with Pattern Energy Group, "to explore an opportunity to provide clean energy to Hawaii in a responsible manner. We are looking at a potential wind project on Molokai Ranch lands that could provide 200 megawatts of clean energy."

The company also said it's in discussions to "develop diversified organic farming practices" on the islands of Oahu and Maui.

A third project, Hawaii Inter island Cable, a joint venture between Bio-Logical and Pattern Energy, "was formed to explore the opportunity to connect Hawaiian Islands via electric transmission cable systems in a responsible manner," according to Bio-Logical's web site.

Sources said representatives of more than a half dozen hotel firms visited Lanai to see if it would make economic sense to take over its two resorts and the answer was a resounding "no."

Hotel experts found it would cost $50,000 to $100,000 per hotel room to bring Lanai's hotels up to current standards, including infrastructure and so-called back-of-the-house improvements, a source said.

The cost of hotel upgrades could easily be in the tens of millions of dollars, a source said.

Hotel experts concluded even if they were given the hotels for free, they'd continue to lose money, a source said.

Murdoch's Lanai's operations lost between $20 and $30 million a year, sources said.

read … Bio-Logical Capital pursued possible Lanai purchase

Slom: Prepaid and the Obama Care Decision Impact on Hawaii

HR: …what will the impact be on Hawaii IF the law is not over turned by a President Romney?

Hawaii enacted the Nation’s first (and only) mandatory, compulsory, Prepaid Health Care Act in 1974. At the time, it was hailed as the wave of the future with the prediction that every state would adopt a similar law. It was to amount to “universal coverage” with 100% of the population covered. In fact, at one point, the law did cover about 96% of the population but Hawaii’s residents were already at 90% before the law. Today, the coverage amount has slipped to under 90% as insurance premiums continue to soar.

Hawaii’s law was challenged in court by Standard Oil. They lost. It was actually Republican President Nixon that made Hawaii’s law possible through an exemption to the federal ERISA law. Under the law, every employer must cover every employee who works “nineteen hours or more per week.” Over the years, many employers chose only to hire employees for less than 19 hours. Many more small business owners couldn’t pay for their own family insurance after covering employees.

To date, no other state adopted such a law, although ironically, Massachusetts, under Governor Romney, came closest, though not as comprehensive. Romney was criticized early by conservatives for passing the bill that they said president Obama later copied for his federal measure. Romney has consistently argued that individual states should pass legislation unique to their circumstances.

In Hawaii, pre-existing medical conditions were covered from the outset, although medical providers could set terms (usually 12 months of coverage before certain procedures were paid). There are medical, dental, drug and vision components but from the outset, big business and government were treated better than small businesses and individuals. At one time, a business had to have a minimum of 5 non-related employees to qualify for a drug rider. Many small businesses never qualified for “group” rates.

Over the decades, the State Legislature has continuously added additional costly mandates for every provider. Some really have nothing to do with “health” but were powered by lobbyists and special interests, such as the expensive in vitro fertilization mandate. The providers then passed along the extra costs to rate payers. Proposals to adopt a “cafeteria style” medical plan that allows the insured to choose only what they desire, has never been adopted.

There is also a Prepaid Health Care Advisory Council, initially including the existing insurance providers. They were in a position to veto the market entry of any new competitors. And they did.

When Obamacare was first proposed, Hawaii’s all-Democrat Congressional team, joined and lobbied Obama to exempt Hawaii from the new federal act, arguing that our law was superior. The whole point of Obamacare is federal control. An exemption as such was not granted but perks were given to Hawaii and other states in order to secure its passage.

read … Prepaid History

Hirono Campaigns by Email, Refuses Invites, Interviews

HR: There are several Chambers of Commerce and other business groups including Smart Business Hawaii whose invitations Hirono turned down.

But it isn’t just Case and business and community groups that Hirono is dissing.

She’s refused invitations from all major network television stations to participate in the joint forums with Case.

She’s also turned down invitations from many media outlets including Hawaii Reporter for television interviews and appearances.

Most recently as Thursday, Hirono has refused to be interviewed by Hawaii Reporter on general topics such as her background, her voting record and her personal and professional life.

She’s limited her remarks to emails from her handlers that only come on topics they initiate.

All of the other U.S. Senate candidates have been open and transparent with the record, personal history and voting record and have agreed to interviews and have been featured on Hawaii Reporter Television.

Hirono is the only high ranking public official and major candidate for office taking this position at this time. Even Hawaii's Senior Senator Daniel Inouye responds to media inquiries and takes the time to have sit downs with local media now and then.

It is not just Ed Case and community and business groups that Hirono is refusing access to – it is everyone in Hawaii.

read … Less Accessible than Inouye

So Sad: Malu Mota’s Boy Kenoi Shut out by Kupuna Kim

BIN: Pointing to the Hawaii Island and Honolulu mayoral races Boylan said, “this is the year of the old folks coming back for renewed life.” Boylan also joked that here in Hawaii we honor our kupuna but that when it comes to political leaders perhaps we honor them a little too much. He noted Governor Abercrombie just turned 74; former governor Ben Cayetano, who is running for Honolulu mayor, and former mayor Harry Kim, who entered the Hawaii Island mayoral race at the last minute, both turn 73 this year; and our state’s senior senator Daniel Inouye turns 88 this September.

Boylan says it bothers him that Hawaii politics seems to have missed an entire generation of people who find it difficult to break into politics because seats at the county, state, and national level are repeatedly held by the same few names or people jumping from one office to another, i.e. Mufi Hannemann, Mazie Hirono, and Ben Cayetano, just to name a few. Boylan singled out Mayor Billy Kenoi, who he referred to as the ‘Shakespeare of pidgin’, and said it’s tough for younger candidates in their 40s when long- established political opponents, such as Harry Kim, enter a race.

While Boylan didn’t predict a winner in the Big Island mayoral race, he did predict that a Democrat would win the tightly contested U.S. senate race, a seat vacated by the retirement of 87-year-old Senator Daniel Akaka. Former Congressman Ed Case is facing Congresswoman Mazie Hirono in the primary on the Democratic side while former governor Linda Lingle and John Carroll are squaring off on the Republican ticket for the senate seat.

Reality: Billy Kenoi helped Pali Shooter

read … Next Generation a bunch of Wannabe Gangbangers

Honolulu Rail Project May Benefit from Transportation Authorization Bill's Passage

HR: The House and Senate approved a compromise transportation reauthorization bill today known as H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, which passed the House today by a vote of 373 to 52….

Transportation and planning expert Randal O'Toole, who has consulted with Hawaii businesses about transportation and planning issues and has appeared on Hawaii Reporter Television, argues the compromise "is laden with far more pork than the House bill that fiscal conservatives rejected earlier this year" and "overall it is a major loss for those wishing to downsize government."

In total, about $1.9 billion a year will go to New Starts and Small Starts spending for transit capital improvements, which can include rail or bus rapid transit. The bill will keep highway and transit spending at around the 2009 levels, O'Toole said, or about $12 billion a year more than is collected in gas taxes and other highway user fees.

Because of this bill's passage, Hawaii could receive New Start funding for its planned elevated steel on steel rail project. However, there are no specifics in the bill about Honolulu's rail project or any other rail project, O'Toole said.

U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is seeking $250 million in New Starts Funding, but Republicans in an Appropriations Sub Committee cut that funding to $100 million in recent weeks. The final authorization is still in negotiations.

read … Millions for Rail?

H1 to be Repainted to Allow 4th Lane

HIGHWAY HEADACHES: Westbound cars enter the H-1 freeway from Lunalilo Street at the same place cars exit toward Vineyard Boulevard, creating a bottleneck.

PROPOSED FIX
A fourth "transition lane" would be added to the right side from Punahou Street to Pali Highway. Lanes would be narrowed from 12 feet to 10 feet, and shoulders reduced to 3 feet, to accommodate the additional lane.

CONES WOULD GO
Coning that keeps cars from entering the H-1 from Lunalilo Street during morning rush hour would be phased out after the fourth lane is added.

read … Who needs Rail when a little paint will do?

Star-Adv: ‘Occupy’ Annoying, Tiresome

SA: It's become annoying, even to many who otherwise might be receptive to the message, or at least to the principle of free speech. The general sense is that while the more rightist tea party movement mobilized in the lawmaking arena, the left-leaning Occupy chapters in New York, Oakland and many other cities lacked clear goals.

The local group adapted the name, sometimes calling itself (De)Occupy Honolulu, partly in deference to the Hawaiian sovereignty assertion that the U.S. annexation of Hawaii amounts to an occupation.

That may have further clouded the public perception of the group, now best known for its tents in Thomas Square. People wonder: What exactly is its message or purpose?

Whatever. The whole standoff is becoming tiresome.

(Translation: Hawaii Democrats have recruited all the leadership they are going to recruit from Occupy.)

Shapiro: What started as a political statement has devolved into a battle of half-wits. 

read … Annoying, tiresome

Hawaii’s top 10 largest landowners

SFG: With his recent purchase of 98 percent of Lanai, Larry Ellison became one of the largest landowners in Hawaii — but he's not the biggest, nor the only one with California connections. Here's a look at who else is in the top 10, based on a 2011 state report and how they got their piece of paradise.

read … Top 10

Veterans In Politics Endorses Colleen Meyer for Senate 23

News Release - Colleen Rose Meyer, Republican State Senate District 23 Candidate, (Temple Valley, Ahuimanu Valley, Kahaluu, Waiahole, Waikane, Kaaawa, Hauula, Laie, Kahuku, Sunset Beach, Pupukea, Haleiwa, Waialua and Schofield Barracks.) will be endorsed by the Hawai`i chapter of the Veterans In Politics, International.

To commemorate the occasion, there will be a press conference held on Monday July 2nd at 12 noon at the Haleiwa Beach War Memorial.

Dennis Egge and other patriotic war veterans as well as residents of the North Shore community will join Meyer for this event.

PTSA holds annual meeting with membership on the rise

SA: Hawaii's Parents, Teachers and Students Association will hold its annual convention today and for the first time in at least six years will be able to celebrate an increase in membership statewide.

In the 2011-12 school year, Hawaii PTSA saw its ranks grow by about 12 percent, or some 800 members. It was one of only nine PTA congresses (states and jurisdictions) whose membership rolls grew during the period, officials said….

The Hawaii group now has about 7,000 members.

» What: 85th annual Hawaii PTSA convention

» Where: Ala Moana Hotel

» When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today

» Speaker: Otha Thornton, president-elect of the National PTA, at around noon.

» Information: www.hawaiistateptsa.org

read … PTSA

Secret Garbage Shipments Spur Call for Audit of DEM

WHT: Citing a “total lack of transparency” and a “complete disregard” of the legislative branch, North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago is calling for a top-to-bottom audit of the Department of Environmental Management.

The County Council is scheduled to consider Pilago’s resolution seeking the audit at its 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday in Hilo. The public can testify in person at the county building in Hilo, or by videoconference from the West Hawaii Civic Center or the Waimea or Pahoa council offices.

At issue is a pilot program the department quietly undertook Jan. 27, transporting garbage from the Hilo, Keaau and Pahoa transfer stations to the West Hawaii landfill at Puunahulu instead of dumping it in the nearby Hilo landfill. The addition of the added waste brought the amount of the county’s garbage being trucked to West Hawaii to 78.8 percent of the island’s garbage, compared to about half previously.

The department did not alert the council, the Environmental Management Commission or the public. In fact, it was going on even as Mayor Billy Kenoi assured West Hawaii residents at a Kona Town Hall meeting the county had no plan to truck Hilo’s garbage westward.

The project, which department officials said was a 90-day pilot program, would have remained a secret if tipsters hadn’t alerted council members and the media.

read … Retaliatory Audit

Rothschild Appointed Per-Diem Judge

MN: Frank Rothschild has been appointed as a per diem judge of the Fifth Circuit District Court for a four-year term and as District Family Judge of the Fifth Circuit District Family Court by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.

Rothschild was sworn in to his new tenure by Judge Randal Valenciano, Friday, his four-year term as per diem judge starting from July 1 and expiring June 30, 2016.

Read … New Judge

 


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