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Wednesday, August 13, 2014
August 13, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:53 PM :: 3898 Views

Sabato: Abercrombie Biggest Loser in History of 50 States

Full Text: Hanabusa Letter Calls for Election Delay, Demands Louie Step Aside

Issues To Watch In The Promised Lawsuit Challenging Hurricane Primary

Activists, Hurricane Deal One-Two Punch to Hawaii Farmers

Video: Hawaii National Guard Reaches Cut-off Puna Homes

Puna to Pick Senator

Obama Executive Order to Screen Unions, Federal Contractors for Labor Law Violations

Support Aloha for Puna Fund

Hannemann Scores MegaBucks from Sweatshop Operator

CB: The personal disclosures filed by Aiona and Ige are, in short, pretty boring.

But Hannemann’s has some zing to it.  He reported receiving as much as $185,000 in consulting fees from the owner of several Waikiki convenience stores, the developers of the two Ritz-Carlton luxury condo-hotels in Waikiki, a drug treatment center on Sand Island, and a Saipan conglomerate which has been one of the largest garment manufacturers in Saipan.

The largest amount, between $100,000 and $150,000, came from the Saipan-based L & T Group of Companies.

The L & T Group is controlled by the Tan family, originally from Hong Kong, which has interests ranging from garment factories to tourism and hotels, publishing, and retail sales.

In the 1990s, the Tan family companies were linked to notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was using his ample political clout to stave off congressional action to clean up labor conditions in the island’s sweatshops.

In July 2009, the L & T Group settled a series of lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity commission, which “charged the company with retaliation and discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy and age, all in violation of federal law.”

Tan Holdings, a related Tan family company, is reportedly funding a new Marianas Chapter of the Pacific Century Fellows Program.

read ... Sweatshops

A Republican Governor In Paradise?

NRO: Voters in Hawaii may have just paved the way for the Aloha State to get a Republican governor for only the second time in the state’s history.

Over the weekend, Governor Neil Abercrombie became the first Hawaiian governor to lose a primary. State senator David Ige received 67 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary against the incumbent governor, who had received the endorsement of President Obama, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Abercrombie’s defeat may open the door to a Republican takeover in November. In the general election, Ige will face former lieutenant governor James “Duke” Aiona, who served in former Republican governor Linda Lingle’s administration from 2002 to 2010. Aiona ran against Abercrombie as the Republican nominee for governor in 2010 and lost by double digits. But before Saturday’s primary results, Aiona led both Abercrombie and Ige in a July 21–29 poll conducted by the Star-Advertiser. In a three-way hypothetical matchup against Ige and former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, Aiona led by seven points, with 41 percent.

SA: Abercrombie finally gets around to going to Puna

read ... A Republican Governor In Paradise?

Charles Djou chats with Howard Dicus about his 2014 race for Congress

HNN: The race for colleen Hanabusa's house seat is set. Mark Takai beat Donna Mercado Kim for the Democratic nomination. The Republican nominee is Charles Djou. He joins us now on Sunrise to talk about his race for Congressional District one.

read ... Djou in 2014

Takai Support Comes from East Oahu, Kim West Oahu

SA: An analysis of the primary election results shows Takai grabbing the greatest number of votes in 20 of the 1st Congressional District's state House districts, while state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim took eight of those districts and state Sen. Will Espero won one House district.

Takai won nearly every district from Hawaii Kai to downtown Honolulu. Only from there westward does Kim, the initial front-runner for the nomination, begin picking up more support in her home-base districts of Kalihi, Salt Lake and Moanalua. Kim also did well in heavily Filipino districts such as Waipahu and Ewa Beach.

The only House district where Espero finished on top was in District 40, the Ewa Beach-Iroquois region that he calls home.

read ... Rich People's Candidate

Republican Saiki calls on state to delay Friday's walk-in voting

KITV: Saiki: "The State should be focusing all of its efforts on providing these victims with basic necessities"

read ... Priorities

Schatz Thrilled by Decision to Vote Friday

HTH: The state Office of Elections initially planned to mail ballots to the affected voters, but announced Monday it would hold voting Friday at the school instead.

A Schatz spokeswoman said Tuesday, “Senator Schatz is working to help Puna residents get back on their feet. The independent nonpartisan experts at the Office of Elections and the County Clerk from Hawaii Island are in a far better position to evaluate how to proceed with this election than anyone else.”  (Translation: We're gonna win anyway, Nago has decided to be on the winning team.)

Both candidates are in Puna assessing the damage and meeting with residents.

In addition to the Senate race, the Hawaii County Council District 4 and state House District 4 races are also impacted by the precinct closures. Their results are not considered complete.

There are 8,269 registered voters in the two precincts, 1,448 of whom voted absentee or at walk-in sites prior to Saturday, according to County Clerk Stewart Maeda. That leaves 6,821 voters who could still cast a ballot.

read ... Nago Knows Which Side the Bread is Buttered On

Hanabusa to File Suit Today

HNN: With power and communications still out in some Puna neighborhoods, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa says that now is not the time to hold an election.

Hanabusa, who trails Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,600 votes in Hawaii's U.S. Senate race, said she plans to file a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court no later than Wednesday.

"Fundamentally, what we are trying to preserve here is the people's right to vote and making sure that people know that their vote counts," Hanabusa said in a telephone interview from Hilo.

The suit will ask the five justices for a restraining order to delay Friday's vote...

Attorney Tony Gill, and former Oahu chair for the Democratic Party, said the Office of Elections has "a considerable amount of discretion" when it comes setting the new election date. He added that there aren't a lot of guidelines that spell out how the office goes about picking that new election date.

"No matter how you slice this thing, no matter who is upset, the basic fact is that the state is apparently playing within the lines," Gill said.  (Quick IQ test: T or F -- Gill supports Schatz.)

The Hanabusa campaign outlined its legal issues in a letter dated Tuesday to Chief Election Officer Scott Nago.

That letter also accused Attorney General David Louie of having a conflict of interest and that Nago's office should hire an independent counsel.

Hanabusa noted that Louie was seen on election night at Sen. Schatz's campaign headquarters. Louie could not reached Tuesday night.

"If Louie was involved in and consulted for the decision to schedule the election on Friday, Aug. 15, I request that the Office of Elections revisit this decision with independent counsel," Hanabusa wrote.

read ... Lawsuit

House, Council Winners Pleased with Friday Election, Losers Displeased

WHT: House District 4, which she represents, includes both the closed precincts and two others in lower Puna that remained open but had low turnout.

As of Saturday, Hanohano was trailing Joy San Buenaventura in the race’s Democratic primary, 260 votes to 558 votes.

San Buenaventura said she wasn’t objecting to holding the vote Friday, and added she planned to help drive voters to the poll.

“My position is right now I got to work with what I got,” she said.

“If the elections officer says this is what’s going to happen, then I’m going to try to get as many voters to the voting booth Friday” as I can.

Hele-On was also working on a special route to help voters get to the poll, said County Clerk Stewart Maeda.

Pat Saiki, Hawaii Republican Party state chairwoman, also called on election officials to delay the vote “until Puna residents have access to basic necessities.”

The state Democratic Party was drafting a letter raising objections to the plan, according to David Tarnas, Hawaii County Democratic Party chairman.

“I am appalled at the clear violations of the voting rights of the people of Puna,” he said. “We must object. We have to object.”

The County Council District 4 race also includes the affected precincts.

Council member Greggor Ilagan is leading with 346 votes in the four-person race. He could not be reached for comment.

Roy Lozano, who is in second with 234 votes, said he is also upset with the way the state is handling the election.

“Whoever is in charge for this … they are not sending representatives down to take a look,” he said.

read ... Winners vs Losers

Nago Can't be Bothered With Ruderman

HR: I personally tried to contact Mr. Scott Nago, Chief Elections Officer, and to notify the offices of the actual candidates numerous times during the weekend to get some kind of update on what was happening on the ground, in the district. My calls went unanswered until late Monday when Mr. Nago contacted me AFTER a decision had already been made. Even during our conversation, Mr. Nago still failed to notify me of that decision.  This is extremely troubling and unfortunate.

KOS: Puna is home to Punatics and Dennis Kucinich supporters.

read ... Ruderman Complains about Election

Star-Adv: HPD transparency, oversight lacking

SA: Honolulu police officers have fatally shot eight suspects in the past five years, two of them in the past two weeks: A drunken-driving suspect shot to death on a busy Waikiki street on July 30 and a suspected car thief shot to death in Pacific Palisades on Aug. 6. Police said both were shot because they endangered officers with their cars as they tried to flee. On July 24, a Honolulu police sergeant fired on a man driving a stolen car in Red Hill, but that suspect got away.

HPD's protocol in such cases is wholly internal. Absent alleged misconduct, an officer involved in even a fatal shooting is debriefed by a department psychologist, placed on paid administrative leave for a maximum of three days, and faces criminal and administrative investigations conducted by the department.

The officers' names are not released, and details of the internal investigations won't be either, unless one results in an officer's firing — unlikely in these recent fatalities given that police brass described the shootings as justified. The city prosecutor went to the scene of both fatal shootings, as is his practice, but the results of those investigations won't automatically be made public either, serving mainly as a check on HPD's work.

Related: Former Officer Calls for Inquiry into HPD Killings

read ... HPD transparency, oversight lacking

Anti-GMO arguments based on fear, not facts

SA: By the time you finish this column, about 15 children will have died from malnutrition. Before you sleep tonight, over 20,000 people will have died today from hunger. Know how many individuals have ever died from eating genetically modified (GM) food? Zero.

As society moves further away from an agrarian-based economy, most people have lost any direct connection to their food production, and therefore have no experience to refute outrageously false claims.

read ... Anti-GMO arguments based on fear, not facts

Sovereignty Activists to Squeeze Kerry for Answer Tomorrow

CB: Since August 7, Kerry has been in Afghanistan, Burma and Australia. On August 13 he will meet with leaders of the Solomon Islands and lay wreaths at the Guadalcanal memorial.  Later, he will fly to Honolulu and give remarks on ASEAN issues at the East-West Center. Then he will leave. There are no plans to address the Hawaiian question.

He could, while he is here simply say “no” — like Governor Abercrombie did — No, the Kingdom of Hawai’i no longer exists.”

Kerry, who is responsible for such an answer and much better placed to respond, probably will not address the subject.

read ... Kerry Letter

Non-Statehood Day Friday

SBH News: Friday marks another Statehood (Admissions) Day, 55th, and another non-celebration. It is an official State holiday but no one really publicly celebrates or acknowledges the event any longer for fear of angering anti-American, Native Hawaiian, and other special interest activists. And they are angry. I remember how proud we were in 1959 to become the 50th State; to be American. Now there is fear in public celebration. It's a shame. I suggested getting rid of the day as an official paid holiday, but of course, people still want a paid holiday regardless of the significance of the event.

read ... Statehood

Big Isle papaya farmers' loss estimated at $53 million

SA: "It was pretty clear to us that the papaya farmers took the highest amount of damage," Richard Ha, president of the Hamakua Springs Country Farms, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. "Estimation of the sales lost, plus the startup, the bulldozing costs and growing up to that first year, when they're ready to harvest again is about $53 million," he said.

"People have been flying overhead to look over the damage with helicopters. The damage is devastating. Some folks have about 80 percent damage. Some folks' farms had less, of course, but the damage is extremely high," Ha said.

State and federal agriculture officials spoke with local farmers Monday, he said.

Ha said the banana crop wasn't affected as much because it's at a higher elevation.

Coffee and macadamia nut growers on the southern end of the island also had damage. Ka'u Farms Management estimates it lost about 1,000 coffee trees and another 2,000 macadamia nut trees, said Randy Stevens, with field operations of Ka'u Farms Management and manager of Ka'u Coffee Mill.

"We have 100 acres of coffee. It's probably less than 10 percent of our overall field, but it is significant. A thousand trees producing 100 to 200 pounds of bean a season at $2 a pound is a lot of money," he said.

read ... About Storm Victims Being Sued by Anti-GMO Activists

Military families vent as reports of botched vehicle shipments pile up

AD: A new military contractor tasked with shipping U.S. service members' vehicles to Alaska, Hawaii and abroad has come under fire by military personnel who complain of lengthy delays, misplaced cars and vehicle damage since the company began operations this summer.

The target of the complaints is International Auto Logistics, a new contractor based out of Brunswick, Georgia. The company took over the U.S. Department of Defense's vehicle shipping program May 1, according to a U.S. Army press release.

Service members have been venting their frustrations on a Facebook Page set up to voice complaints about the company. The group had nearly 2,000 members as of Tuesday afternoon, including posts from Alaska. Meanwhile, reports of shipment issues have been circulating on The Hill news blog and Navy Times, among numerous other online publications.

read ... Botched

No state pays smaller share of workers' health insurance

SA: Hawaii state employees paid 42 percent for their insurance plans last year, significantly more than the national average of 16 percent and the highest among the states, excluding Pennsylvania, which didn't participate in the study.

The state's 58 percent premium contribution for workers' medical plans compares with the U.S. average of 84 percent.

However, health plans for Hawaii's public workers, excluding the city and counties, were rich in benefits -- among the top 10 in terms of actuarial value -- with the lowest copays, zero deductibles and no cost-sharing, the report found.

The state's average monthly contribution for a single worker was $251, with employees paying $184. For employees with dependents, the state spent $714, while workers' out-of-pocket cost was $523.

"While your employees have to contribute quite a bit to the premium, the richness of the plan is among the highest of any state," said Maria Schiff, project director for Pew's State Health Care Spending Project. "I can imagine a single young employee of the state thinking this is not a good deal for her ... but an older employee or one with a large family might say, 'I have to spend a lot of my paycheck, but I don't have to spend anything when going to the doctor.'"

While Hawaii state employees get top-10 benefits, the total premium paid is below the national average. The average monthly premium per state worker was $792, compared with the U.S. average of $963, the report showed.

read ... No state pays smaller share of workers' health insurance

Soft on Crime: Suspected Murderer Gets Off Easy on Theft

SA: A state judge lifted the theft conviction Tuesday of a man who became the focus of Japanese media in 2011 after his wife's body was found in a California desert, and gave the man the opportunity to permanently keep the conviction off his criminal record.

Anthony Simoneau, 45, pleaded guilty in August 2011 to theft for stealing $395 worth of luggage from Nordstrom.

Then-Circuit Judge Michael Wilson sentenced Simoneau in October 2011 to five years of probation and fined him $1,580.

On Tuesday acting Circuit Judge Paul B.K. Wong set aside Simoneau's guilty plea and granted him a three-year period of deferral. If Simoneau stays out of trouble for the three years, the court will permanently set aside the guilty plea.

In 2007 the body of Simoneau's wife, Fumiko Simoneau, was found in a shallow grave in a desert near San Diego. It was not until 2011 that authorities identified the body using DNA from her family in Japan. Simoneau had never reported his wife missing....

read ... Soft on Crime 

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