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Monday, May 13, 2013
May 13, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:43 PM :: 3700 Views

Database Reveals Hawaii MDs and the Drugs They Prescribe

Hawaii Obamacare Leaders Warn: “We’re not Going to Have Any Health Care”

Video: Hawaii Wounded Warriors Qualify for 2013 Warrior Games

The Sinking Ship of Cabotage

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted May 13, 2013

Danner Claims Obama in on Conspiracy to Federalize DHHL

SA: The federal government more than 90 years ago gave Hawaii the responsibility to administer a newly created trust designed to provide homestead lots for eligible Native Hawaiians.

But the government never gave Hawaii the federal regulations to govern how the roughly 200,000-acre trust should be administered.

President Barack Obama has been asked to change that.

In a private meeting at the White House last week, Native Hawaiian advocate Robin Danner, sitting with the president in a West Wing conference room, asked Obama to authorize the Department of the Interior to start the process for developing federal regulations.

Danner was there as president of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. She was one of a dozen Asian-American and Pacific Islander advocates and leaders from across the country who were invited by the White House to meet with the president. It was arranged as part of Asian American Pacific Islander month.

While most of the 30-minute meeting was devoted to immigration and health care — two hot national topics — the final third was set aside to discuss Native Hawaiian issues.

During that time, Danner mentioned the lack of federal rules — a topic that the advancement council she leads identified as one of its top public policy priorities two years ago....

In her first meeting with an Interior representative in July, Jobie Masa­ga­tani, who was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie a year ago to head the commission and DHHL, discussed the possible issuance of federal rules, Young said.

Subsequent conversations have been held to discuss the procedures for determining whether congressional approval is needed for amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and for obtaining federal approval for land exchanges involving trust property, according to Young. The commission act was the 1920 federal legislation establishing the Hawaiian land trust....

Based on the ground rules for the meeting's participants, Danner was not able to characterize how the president responded to her request for federal regulations. (Translation: The Feds aren't really that interested, this is just Danner talking.)

A White House spokes­man declined comment.  (Translation: The Feds aren't really that interested, this is just Danner talking.)

An Interior representative did not address a Star-Advertiser question about the department's position on the issue. But she said in a written statement that the agency over the past four years has made great strides in increasing oversight of the trust.  (For instance ... after 14 years, a second tier political appointee shows up in Hawaii.)

She noted, for instance, that Interior's Rhea Suh was the first assistant secretary for policy, management and budget to meet with beneficiaries and DHHL officials in Hawaii since 1999. Suh came to Hawaii late last year.  (This is the DoI 'oversight'?  Suh will be out of office after the elections in 2016.)

For the past year, the spokes­woman added, Interior has had monthly meetings with DHHL and state attorneys to discuss Hawaiian homeland issues, and Interior is regularly consulting with Native Hawaiians on proposed amendments of the commission act.

She did not deal with why federal rules have yet to be established for a law that is 93 years old.

read ... Scheming to turn DHHL into an Indian Tribe

Salaries: Greenwood Down, Apple Next 

SA: Deferred compensation and other benefits push the pay package for University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood and UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple past the half-million dollar mark.

Apple earns more in total compensation than the retiring Greenwood, according to a survey of public university president’s pay released today.

The Chronicle of Higher Education survey adds deferred compensation plans to the base salary to come up with a total compensation pay package. Deferred compensation plans, meant as retention incentives, give executives a lump sum after a specified number of years on the job.

Both leaders' pay packages are above the median of $441,392, for public university presidents.

According to the survey, Apple's total pay in 2011-2012 was $504,859, which includes $65,851 in retirement pay. Greenwood's base pay of $427,512 is supplemented by $64,127 in deferred compensation for a total package of $491,639. Greenwood also gets a housing allowance of $60,000 a year and a car allowance of $3,912, which would put her total package at $501,551. Apple receives a $3,312 annual car allowance.

Apple was the 75th highest-paid public university president out of 191 institutions surveyed. Greenwood ranked 79th.

Former UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw made $396,612 in 2011-12. Her deferred compensation was $51,732 in addition to her base pay of $344,880. She also received $24,000 in a housing allowance and $3,312 in an annual car allowance. She was the 131st highest paid university chief executive.

read ... Retirement, benefits push UH leaders' pay past $500,000

Hirono Invents Excuses for Illegals to Stay in USA

NYT: Some good amendments passed, including one from Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, that requires border agents to ask people they detain about spouses and children, and to consider family unity and safety when holding or repatriating anyone.

Wired: Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform

read ... Excuses

Star-Adv Backs 'Housing First'

SA: The mentally ill and substance abusers make up more than a third of Honolulu's unsheltered homeless and account for an inflated drain on public resources in their cycle through hospital emergency rooms and jail. Mayor Kirk Caldwell is logical in following other cities that have found success in providing housing where these "chronically homeless" can be helped. The goal is commendable, but should not be at the expense of homeless children and their families also in drastic need of assistance.

Caldwell's project is patterned after Housing First programs that have been successful in New York City, Los Angeles and numerous other cities, and been endorsed by the Obama administration and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which has a budget of $5.3 billion to assist cities. Honolulu's goal is to provide rooms comparable to dormitory housing for as many as 100 of the more than 500 chronically homeless by the end of 2015, of the 1,465 unsheltered homeless residents. The mayor said he wants to expand the project, if successful, in future years....

At a typical setting in Los Angeles, men in their 40s, 50s and 60s can be seen gulping cheap vodka or — this is progress — beer in a designated back patio of a four-story building housing 60 residents, hopefully with growing periods of sobriety. Whereas there previously was no help and no hope, as many as 5 percent stop drinking every year. A study found that a Housing First facility in Seattle cost taxpayers significantly less than leaving alcoholic homeless on the street by having less to pay at emergency rooms and social and legal services.

SA: State preps renters for federal low-income homes

read ... Some homeless need housing first

It’s Neil’s Birthday (Again)!

CB: Well, it’s that time again, it’s Neil’s Birthday. I haven’t gotten my invitation yet, but I’m sure it’s on its way and this should be quite the birthday bash (again).

But what to get him for a present? One only turns 75 once. So when Neil announced that he wanted to stay on as our Governor, I thought of ... the Perfect Gift.

I think we should all rally together to give Neil ... the Virtually Perfect Candidate. Think about it: last time he had Mufi, he had Duke, he had all those issues, and debates on all those issues! This time? Well, I’ve been waiting to see if anyone would challenge him - from any party - and the silence has been pretty deafening.

I think Neil needs someone to keep him company, keep him sharp! It will be so lonely, toiling around the state making all those lofty campaign statements, such as “I am a so-called political unknown only because I do not have $1.8 million to buy the election.” (Anyone remember when Neil said this?)

So we are starting a “Dream Gov” Campaign, so you can help create a Virtually Perfect Candidate for Neil. What a gift! This person you create can virtually address what you identify as the weighty issues in our state and we can then pass this along to Neil.

You can send us examples of other campaign promises Neil made in the past, so he can address them (again)

read ... It’s Neil’s Birthday (Again)!

Hawaii Ed Department Could Restore School Bus Cuts

CB: The pilot student transportation program that the Hawaii Department of Education plans to roll out to some Oahu schools next school year is expected to do more than just test out an innovative way of buying school bus routes — officials say it'll also restore rides for many of the 2,000 kids who lost out when routes were cut this past school year....

The plan involves new software that uses real-time data, a pilot process that is designed to allow officials to fine-tune the program along the way and significant changes to bus providers’ bidding procedures, including two bills passed this session that aim to loosen up once-costly school bus contracting laws.

The new system is expected to be rolled out to Oahu schools by the 2014-15 school year, with the goal of implementing it statewide by the 2015-16 school year. But officials say the state should start to see improvements to student transportation as soon as the upcoming school year, in part because the Legislature — after severely cutting funding last year — recently decided to give the DOE an additional $8 million for student transportation for the 2013 fiscal year.

read ... More Money

NYT: Disentangling the Politics of a Hawaiian Murder Mystery

NYT: How on earth did you convince Walter Ritte, the activist, to introduce you to “The Kid,” who killed a monk seal?

A nice steak dinner. No, I wish it were that easy. I’m honestly not sure why Uncle Walter did that. He later told me he was surprised that, a half hour after we’d met, he let slip that he knew who had killed the seal. I think, ultimately, it may have been more for The Kid’s sake and the monk seal’s than for the sake of my story. Uncle Walter wanted to give the guy an opportunity to confess, albeit anonymously, and felt his story might create a little more understanding of the issue.

Original:  Who Would Kill a Monk Seal?

read ... Ritte

Gov. Abercrombie mulling bill to help local pharmacies

KITV: The Hawaii Legislature passed the bill to allow residents to go to their local pharmacies to get their prescription drugs.  Some plans, including current state and county employee health plans, require people to receive certain drugs by mail, like diabetes or allergy medication.

read ... CVS Mail Order to End?

Hawaii tax revenue rises 8%

PBN: State tax revenues through the first 10 months of Hawaii's fiscal year were 8.4 percent higher than the same period a year ago, the state Department of Taxation said.

The state took in a total of $4.36 billion through the end of April, compared to $4 billion at the end of April 2012, the tax department said.

The largest category of revenue, general excise and use taxes, saw a 9.2 percent increase, with the state collecting a total of $2.4 billion during the first 10 months of the fiscal year, compared to $2.2 billion last year.

Hawaii's hotel room tax, or the transient accommodations tax, increased by 14 percent to $305 million, compared to $268 million last year, reflecting the increase in tourism over the past year.

read ... Hawaii tax revenue rises 8%

The fall of the yen as seen from Hawaii

FP: The efforts of the new Tokyo regime of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to have the Bank of Japan engage in so called quantitative easing by buying assets onto the BOJ balance sheet have already resulted in more than a 20 percent decline of the yen against the dollar. This has resulted in outcries of pain from Seoul, Taipei, and the capitals of other countries that compete with Japan in global export markets. Indeed, the head of General Motors in South Korea publically called on the Korean government to take counter measures to prevent the won from becoming too strong with regard to the yen. If it did not do so, he warned, Korea's export dependent economy could suffer severe damage....  (If they do this, they too will be less likely to come to Hawaii.)

According to Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism Chief Economist Eugene Tam,  the decline in growth will be significantly a result of the depreciation of the Japanese yen . He points out that the falling yen will have a two edged negative affect. First, it will make flights from Japan to the islands more expensive and thereby reduce the number of travelers willing or able to buy a ticket and make the trip. Second, the travelers who do make the trip are likely to spend less because everything will seem more expensive in the light of the devalued yen. This means that the state of Hawaii's expected GDP and job growth will fall about eight percent from previous expectations.

(Here's a paragraph for Mike McCartney and anybody else who actually thinks Obama-style stimulus will work in Japan....) Thus, Japan's gain, if there is any, will be partly at Hawaii's expense. This may be outweighed by longer term gains for the state if Japan actually achieves revitalization of its long dormant economy. But the fear is that because the Abe administration has not suggested the far reaching structural reforms necessary for a genuine Japanese economic renaissance, the exchange rate move will be the major influence. If so, the desired revitalization is likely not to occur with the result of a more or less permanent negative impact on Hawaii and on other economies significantly impacted by Japan....  (Translation: Stimulus doesn't work.)

As Explained: Stimulus Japan Style: Cost of Hawaii Vacation Jumps 3% Today

Mike McCartney:‘No question’ Hawaii’s tourism industry will benefit from Japan stimulus (LOL!)

read ... The fall of the yen as seen from Hawaii

Civil Beat: Hawaii is Being 'Left Behind' as Gay Marriage Penetrates More Jurisdictions

CB: After deciding to not even hear a gay marriage bill this session, the Hawaii Legislature passed a concurrent resolution calling for the study. The dean of the University of Hawaii law school will be tasked with leading the task force and reporting back to the Legislature by Nov. 1.

The vote for the task force "reso," was not unanimous, with most Republicans voting "no." Quite a few members of both parties also proposed bills this year to reserve marriage "to relationships between one man and one woman."

Reality: Broken Trust Gang finally Imposes Gay Unions on Hawaii

More Reality: Broken Trust Partners Abercrombie and Levinson Demand Legislature Invent Gay 'Marriage' Now

read ... Left 'Behind'

Public Housing: 128 Kona Apartments Value Reduced to Zero

SA: “It’s probably as good of a deal as we can get,” added Ralph Mesick, a bank executive and HHFDC chairman.

Kama‘aina Hale originally was a condominium called Kona Gardens. It was built by a private developer in 1976 on land leased from Kame­ha­meha Schools. But that project was hurt by a depressed real estate market at the time, and the units were converted to rentals and bought by the state in 1978 for $3.7 million.

Lease rent for the land soared in 2006 because it was linked to land value that ballooned with the real estate boom underway at the time. Annual lease payments jumped to $385,000 from $57,600 currently. In July annual lease rent will become $420,000. The lease runs through 2031 and rent will likely continue escalating.

Another problem has been maintenance. The agency planned to remove floor and ceiling coverings containing asbestos in 2003, but finished the work on only 60 units at a cost of $600,000.

The empty units and higher ground rent produced deficits averaging $337,000 in each of the past three years, according to agency figures.

In late 2011 the HHFDC issued a request for proposals to buy Kama­‘aina Hale. Seven interested parties took a look at the property, but no one bid.

At the time, HHFDC estimated it would cost $1.7 million to rehabilitate the 68 empty units. Now the agency estimates the work will cost $4 million to $7 million.

HHFDC is spending $365,000 to remove asbestos from the 68 units. That work is scheduled to be completed this month. University of the Nations will be responsible for improving the units so they can be rented.

read ... Reduced to Zero

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