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Friday, August 26, 2011
August 26, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:44 PM :: 9922 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

New Day: UH Regents Propose Tuition Hikes

Abercrombie to make You Proud of Your Home

Gallup: 60% say Hawaii Economy Getting Worse

Expensive, Unnecessary Hawaii County Building Code Changes to be Debated

Video Shows Hypersonic Plane Which Crashed Half-Way to Hawaii 

Biden 9-11 Generation, “Greatest Generation”

“Only 1 percent of our population fights these wars,” began Biden, “and that one percent is made up of some of the most extraordinary women and men this country has ever known and you're among them.”

SA: 'We owe you a lot'  

read … 9-11 Generation

Inouye Cannot Guarantee Rail Funding, Lectures HART on Transparency

"I guarantee you this - I'm going to do my damndest to see that money comes in," Sen. Daniel Inouye said.

His bold statement Thursday was to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the board overseeing Oahu's rail project. He tempered it with a sobering sentence. He said given the nation's economy he can't guarantee full-funding from the Federal government.

"It should be okay. But to predict an absolute outcome, only a fool would do that," he said.

Inouye told the board members meeting at Kapolei Hale that if he can't deliver federal funds for rail, he should be cursed. The city hopes to land $1.5 billion from Washington and the Federal Transit Administration….

At times Inouye appeared to lecture the nine-member board, especially on the topic of transparency. "If something goes haywire -- say so," he said.

Haywire Defined:

read … I Should be Cursed

Ansaldo Honolulu's "ability to complete the project" is suddenly called "an area of concern" by HART

Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a proponent of rail for decades, offered words of encouragement for the board and urged members to be transparent.

"If something goes haywire, say so," Inouye said, "because with all the communications and high technology we have, if you make a mistake, people know about it. So remind the folks that you're transparent, your pencils are sharp and you realize what the circumstances are. After all, you are the stewards. We're counting on you."

When asked whether he had any concerns about Ansaldo Honolulu, Inouye said he didn't know all the facts, but that he trusts the board to handle the contract. (Translation: Dump Ansaldo)

"It's the responsibility of the finance committee to review this," said First Hawaiian Bank Chairman Don Horner, head of the rail authority's finance committee.

"Our area of concern is their ability to complete the project and the amount of support they have from the parent company in regards to car building," board member Keslie Hui said.

HART interim Executive Director Toru Hamayasu said the agency is launching its own investigation into Ansaldo Honolulu's finances. The company said its stability remains the same as it was a year and a half ago, when it first submitted financials in response to the first request for proposals.

read … Area of Concern

Rail Opponents Ask For Investigation

…they asked the city to determine which entity was responsible for the $29 million "mistake" that had the original rail route closer to the airport before it needed to be moved. The authors of the letter, Cliff Slater, Randy Roth, Ben Cayetano and Walter Heen, are the same folks who are suing the city for failing to comply with environmental review laws.

Read the letter here: Call for investigation and accountability re routing of railway near Honolulu international

read … Parsons-Brink

Cronies Seeking Contracts give Abercrombie $850,000 for 2014

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, in campaign mode Thursday night at the first major fundraiser for his 2014 re-election, described his “A New Day in Hawaii” agenda as a “living, breathing organism.”

“Aren’t you glad, you think, `Well, is the campaign underway already?’ Yes, because it is. It’s a campaign for confidence. That’s what it’s all about. And I know that’s easy to mock. I know you’d have people sit on the sidelines and they’d throw rocks at the people who are trying to get things done,” he said.

“We’re going to get things done because we love Hawaii.”

Abercrombie’s campaign advisers estimated the take for the fundraiser at about $850,000.

read … $850,000 for the Hippie

DoE Asks Feds for More Time to Fail

The waiver would give Hawaii a one-year extension.

The Department of Education is working to overhaul its teacher and principal evaluations, and Naguwa said schools with SIG grants will implement that redesigned system once it's off the ground.

The Hawaii schools that have received the federal grants are Kamaile Academy in Waianae, Naalehu Elementary, Kau High/Pahala Elementary, Keonepoko Elementary, Hilo Intermediate and Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind in Waikiki. (Having a homosexual rape gang running amok is a sign that restructuring is not going too well.)

Naguwa said many states are seeking SIG waivers after realizing efforts to overhaul schools take longer than the time allotted under the federal program. The U.S. Department of Education created the waiver program to address the concerns of states that received grants.

Naguwa said the waiver request will be filed as early as today.

The Department of Education is also seeking comments on its waiver request, which will be accepted through Sept. 1. In a public notice, the DOE said the waiver will give the state more time to put in place "a high-quality teacher and principal evaluation system."

Evaluate This: Lawsuit: Adult counselor engaged in questionable activities with students at Blind, Deaf School

read … State seeks delay in deadline to overhaul schools

HSTA blunders endanger Organized Labor Rights

With just about a week to go before Labor Day, Hawaii's major public worker unions have tied themselves into an amazingly dangerous knot.

It started, as Gov. Neil Abercrombie tells it, when the Hawaii State Teachers Association did not allow teachers to vote on his labor contract offer. The union rejected the offer and the fight was on.

The union has so poorly played its hand that other public unions say the HSTA has "run amok." Both the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly fear that HSTA's intransigence and blundering will pull down much of labor's bargaining power.

When Abercrombie, the school board and the superintendent of education imposed a "last, best and final offer" on the teachers, it amounted to a new contract for the teachers without the union's approval and without a vote by the rank and file.

At the time, observers thought it would bring the state and the union back to the bargaining table. Instead the HSTA came up with a clumsy attempt to draw the state into binding arbitration. Binding arb is not covered in state law for teachers and when used with the HGEA rarely helps the state, so of course, the state rejected the HSTA's ham-handed offer….

Adding to the mix is the state Democratic Party. Its members are debating over whether to jump into the argument and scold Abercrombie for not supporting labor.

"Given that one of the core values of the Democratic Party is its support for workers and unions, it is not surprising that so many Democrats and strong Neil supporters are so very angry, given his arguably antiunion movements," said one party member in an email message to state Democratic Central Committee members.

SA: State played tough guy in talks, HSTA says

read … HSTA Dangerous Knot

New Day: UHPA Contract forces UH Manoa tuition to increase 32 percent under five year plan

tuition increases are also needed to help pay a six year contract for University of Hawaii professors and faculty.
Under a six year contract that was ratified in January of 2010, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly took a pay cut of 6.7 percent in the first 18 months of the agreement. However the contract restored all of the pay cuts in 2011 and includes a pay back of all the money professors lost in three installments that began August 1. UH faculty will also see pay increases of 3 percent in 2013 and again in 2014.
The UHPA contract, considered generous when compared to those of other public worker unions, could fuel a sense of resentment among students if the tuition plan is approved by the Board of Regents.

SA: Regents propose raising UH-Manoa tuition by $528

read … 32%

Stimulus Creates Jobs in Hawaii at cost of $650K Each

The state of Hawaii has already spent $1.329 billion of the total $1.824 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds received, but just 2,046 jobs have been created. That is $650,000 per job. (Could have just bought them each a house free and clear.)

read … $650 K Job

Hawaii Labor makes Top and Bottom Wages

The average hourly wage for all job categories in Honolulu was $21.68, the 72nd highest out of 403 metropolitan areas surveyed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Honolulu wages were 2 percent above the national average of $21.35 an hour. The BLS conducted the survey in May 2010.

The $29.45 an hour paid to construction workers in Honolulu was the third highest in the country, according to the BLS. Within that category the rate of $33.10 an hour for carpenters was the nation's highest, the BLS reported. (Union carpenters are nearly 90% unemployed)

Honolulu's wages were "significantly" higher than the national average in 11 of the 22 occupational groups included in the study, the BLS said. Honolulu wages were "significantly" lower in seven areas and comparable to the mainland in four other areas.  

read … Highest and Lowest

Chinese Visitors Alarmed by Homeless in Chinatown

It's one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has been a target market for Hawaii tourism officials for years.

Visitors from China are finally arriving in the islands in growing numbers but not everyone is leaving with the image we want.

It was just two weeks ago when state officials celebrated the arrival of the first regularly scheduled direct flight from China to Hawaii.

Nearly 300 passengers from China Eastern Airlines were greeted with lei and much fanfare. What we didn't see is what they were greeted with when they visited Chinatown.

"They walk around Chinatown, there's human feces on the sidewalk, urine and real smelly and someone passing by they're holding their nose and start walking away," said Kalihi-Palama neighborhood board member Roland Louie. "I'm afraid that they come once they might not come again. And when they go back to China, they might say don't go Hawaii it's bad smelling."

Louie has heard directly from Chinese visitors.

"In China we have homeless but not as bad as over here so make me feel very shame."

read … Homeless

Homeless Drug Dealers accused of deliberately setting fires in protest of airport viaduct sweep

Some homeless people made accusations that deputy sheriffs ordered them to empty their pockets and then took their cash. Bert Arriba says the money he (claims he) made from selling his catch from fishing was stolen.

"Almost $400," he said. "Yeah, I can't do nothing. They just laugh. They just laugh every time I ask them about the money."

State public safety officials say the theft claims were unsubstantiated during a field investigation.

"The department's response is that they did not take any of their belongings," Keith Kamita, state Department of Public Safety, said. "What would have been seized if anything would have been if drugs were come across, and I know there has been drugs found at this location."

Kamita says sheriffs recovered an eight-ball of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine during their search Thursday.

SA: 50-60 truckloads of garbage hauled out

read … Burn Baby Burn

Lingle’s Public-Private Palolo housing Partnership hailed as model for the nation

The President's Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan toured the project with the Governor this afternoon.
He said he was inspired by the public-private partnership that helped improve and renovate the homes.

With federal funds in short supply...partnerships like the one put to use in Palolo are being looked at for housing across the nation.

read … Don’t mention Lingle

Kauai to let more Criminals Avoid Jail

It’s the type of culturally based restorative justice program that Kaua‘i County Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho has wanted to start since she took office in 1998.

Project POHAKU (Productive Optimism Helps All Kaua‘i Unite) is now in place as the first comprehensive diversion program of its kind to incorporate cultural-based education and community service projects, as well as restitution for participants who would otherwise face a conviction, incarceration, probation and a criminal record, she said.

POHAKU offers an incentive for defendants to embrace the spirit of restorative justice. The goal is to involve defendants in community service in a way that benefits the victim and themselves.

Read … No Jail

Lawsuit Challenges Hawaii Gun Laws

State law mandates citizens may be provided licenses to carry only in “exceptional circumstance” or “where a need or urgency has been sufficiently indicated,” at the discretion of the county’s chief of police.

The complaint asserts that this language violates the Second Amendment, which secures the right of all responsible, law-abiding citizens to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense.

“We have the ability to defend ourselves. And we have the ability to use arms to do that, specifically firearms. So the question is, why do we have that ability? It was decided a long time ago that everyone, every person has that ability. So it isn't really up for discussion any more than any of the other amendments are,” said Attorney Kevin O’Grady.

Attorney Richard Holcomb said the suit was filed now because recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have upheld citizens’ rights to carry guns in public.

read … Right to Carry? 

Hawaii Regulators Shoot Down HECO Request to Reconsider ‘Big Wind’ 

PUC commissioners didn’t pull any punches in denying HECO’s request, at one point writing the the commission declines to engage in the utility’s “faulty logic.”

This was in reference to HECO’s argument that the utility and Castle & Cooke, the developer for the Lanai portion of the project, had “detrimentally relied” on an earlier PUC ruling. The utility argued that Castle & Cooke was afforded the right to assign 200 mw of its “development rights” to Molokai Renewables to develop a wind farm on Molokai.

The PUC denied that this authority was ever granted to Castle & Cooke.

Commissioners also said it was premature for the utility to argue that extensive expenditures and efforts related to the Molokai project had been lost.

The Molokai wind farm is still a possibility. But Hawaiian Electric must put out a RFP for 200 mw of renewable energy, which can now be sited on any island that can reasonably reach Oahu via a cable, or on Oahu itself. The RFP also must be open to any technology, not just wind. The 200 mw Lanai portion of the project is permitted to proceed, but must gain final PUC approval.

read … reconsider the reconsider?

Hawaii Biofuels Plant Passes Hurdle

State Consumer (sic) Advocate gives OK to Aina Koa Pono contract.

read … Biofools

Just in Time for Winter, Michigan Accountant gets idea to build ethanol plant on Big Island, NELHA Humors him

Duane Bitner, an engineer at Ford Motor Co., wants to leave the automaker and build a $5 million ethanol-producing pilot project at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority on the Big Island.

He still lives in Michigan, but said he’ll be in Hawaii next month to present his initial proposal to NELHA’s board.

He hasn’t found land or a local feedstock provider (oops) to work with yet, but he does have an approach in mind. “Everybody is doing it wrong because they’re building massive plants,” he said. “I think it will work on a smaller scale.”

This is Bitner’s first foray into the energy business…at PricewaterhouseCoopers he was a corporate accountant.

(Quick: Where is the federal subsidy to build small ethanol plants?)

read … Another Big Scheme

Ron Paul Appoints Senior Advisor with Hawaii Expertise

In a news release on August 24, 2011 Presidential candidate Ron Paul announced that he has named Bruce Fein to be his senior advisor on legal matters.

The news release, copied below, describes Mr. Fein's expertise and distinguished record of public service.

Mr. Fein is a strong opponent of the Akaka bill.

read … Bruce Fein

Spot the $50M Fib: Lesbian “recently married in Hawaii” sues after Indiana Stage Collapse

The first lawsuits filed over the Indiana State Fair stage collapse could challenge the state's rules on same sex marriage.

Attorney Kenneth Allen said his clients were recently married in Hawaii, a state that allows same sex civil unions. (Sorry, you lose. Hawaii’s Civil Unions law does not take effect until January 1, 2012.) Beth Urschel was injured in the stage collapse. Her spouse, Tammy VanDam, died from the incident. (VanDam has 3 children who would—in the absence of a spouse--be the beneficiaries of any lawsuit.)

Allen said the lawsuits address a legal gray area in Indiana.

"Tammy was her wife and Beth is entitled to be treated as any spouse should be treated: fairly, equitably and justly under the law," he said Monday. "That's something we intend to challenge because as it stands now, Indiana law does not recognize her as a spouse and we expect to change that." (Money, money, money)

Allen said the court is the best place to address the issue because the state legislature hasn't taken action. Allen is seeking more than $50 million in damages on behalf of Urschel and the estate of VanDam.

Totally Unrelated: Cross-Dressers to headline Kona’s Gay Pride 2011 event

read … Lesbians Already Faking Hawaii Marriage for Money

Rosanne Gets medicated Marijuana License in Hawaii, Complains State is too slow in Mailing Forms

Roseanne has a medical marijuana license in California, prescribed to her for anxiety, and she went to apply for one in Hawaii, but learned that the qualifications are much different—and more stringent—in that state, and the drug is not prescribed for anxiety. Still, Roseanne qualified for a license because of her migraines, but also discovered that you have to wait three months for it to arrive in the mail and when you finally do get it, you actually have to grow the marijuana yourself. So instead of all that hassle, she flew back to L.A. for a few days and bought some pot cookies and chilled with one of her hippie friends.

MN: Marijuana linked to school bomb plot in Florida

read … Rosanne is a Headache

3 Hawaii Marines accused of hazing Marine

Three Hawaii-based Marines are accused of hazing a fellow Marine who killed himself in Afghanistan.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the April 3 death in Helmand province determined Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, 21, committed suicide, Lt. Col. Curtis Hill, spokesman for U.S Marine Forces Pacific, said in an email Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Carlos Orozco III, Lance Cpl. Jacob Jacoby and Sgt. Benjamin Johns were charged last month with various offenses, including "wrongfully humiliating and demeaning" Lew, of Santa Clara, Calif.

read … Suicide


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