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Thursday, August 14, 2014
August 14, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:16 PM :: 4667 Views

Pono Choices May Violate State, Federal Laws

Too Soon? Lawsuit To Delay The Delayed Puna Precincts Primary Filed

Cam Cavasso in Puna: There is no Difference Between Schatz, Hanabusa

OHA focuses new attention on developing master plan for 30 acres in Kaka'ako Makai

UPW Scores Massive Pay Hikes After Disrupting Honolulu Ambulance Service

Hawaiians Punish Abercrombie for Federal Recognition Push

GMOs: No Evidence or Logic Will Ever Be Considered by Those Who Don’t Value It

Changing Hawaii – Fred Hemmings

$144.5M Surprise: Honolulu rail stations' bid 75% higher than budgeted

PBN: The lowest bid for the construction of the first nine westside stations for Honolulu's $5.16 billion rail project came in at $294.5 million Wednesday, nearly 75 percent higher than the amount the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation had budgeted for the stations.

Only three contractors submitted bids for the project, which were unsealed late Wednesday afternoon. Nan Inc. submitted the low bid of $294.5 million, while Hensel Phelps submitted the highest bid of $320.8 million. Nordic PCL Construction submitted a bid of $312.3 million.

Contractors who submitted the bids were at HART headquarters in Downtown Honolulu Wednesday afternoon to watch the unsealing of the bids. The room was quiet, with a lot of disappointed faces.

“It’s a big deal,” said Forrest Dill, of Nordic PCL. “It’s very emotional. A lot of people’s lives are altered.”

HART had budgeted $150 million for the construction of the nine rail stations, with a $20 million contingency budget, for a total of $170 million. The lowest bid was 73 percent above that total.

(The balance of the article consists of Grabauskas pointing fingers, bla, bla, bla.)

read ... It Begins

Ige had Primary won even before the campaign began

CB: There’s a strong case to be made that David Ige had this election won even before the campaign began.

Polls showed that the public reversed the usual pattern.  A very large number of people chose Ige before they knew him.

Most unknown outsiders like Ige have to begin with the challenge of getting name recognition.

That was certainly the case for all of the Democratic candidates in the 2014 First Congressional District, as it was for Tulsi Gabbard in her successful 2012 bid for the Second District seat.

But David Ige was different. In fact, he probably still has low name recognition compared to gubernatorial general election candidates running elsewhere.

Psychological studies consistently show that people make choices first, and only then search for justifications for these choices.  In his book, “The Righteous Mind,” the psychologist Jonathon Haidt calls this “the intuitive dog and its rational tail.”

In that sense it is not that uncommon for someone to choose a candidate first and then search for reasons later — a pretty good nutshell description of the Ige phenomenon.

read ... Ige won even before the campaign began

Governor's Race? Hawaii 9th Most Likely to Change Parties

NJ: 9) Hawaii (Open D, Gov. Neil Abercrombie lost primary) (Previous: 14)

Now that Abercrombie lost his primary, the race in Hawaii is in flux. Abercrombie appeared destined to lose in November against second-time Republican candidate and former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, but Democrats' new standard-bearer, state Sen. David Ige, has an opportunity to hit the refresh button in a heavily Democratic state and get his partisans to come home. Like in Maine, however, a third-party candidate threatens to give Republicans a path to victory. Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who lost Democratic primaries for governor and Congress in 2010 and 2012, is running as an independent, and he could be a real thorn in Ige's side.

read ... Reset Button?

Final Revenge: Abercrombie Claims he has Nothing to do With Friday Election

CB: ...Abercrombie has no control over a controversial decision to hold a special election here on Friday that will decide the race between U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.  (Know them by what they deny!)

“The last thing anybody wants in a democracy in the United States — and certainly in Hawaii — is for the executive branch to decide whether or not to hold elections,” Abercrombie said during brief press conference at a community center in Puna. “I might have wanted to postpone last Saturday myself if that were the case.”

WSJ:  Congresswoman Sues to Block Special Election in Hawaii

read ... Final Revenge

No Paper Ballots for Puna Friday Vote

KHON: If a state judge denies U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s request to a state judge to delay Friday’s makeup election for two polling places in Puna, the results could be tabulated and released by as early as 7:15 p.m. Friday.

The two remaining Puna polling places where voting was delayed because of Tropical Storm Iselle will be consolidated into one Friday at Keonepoko Elementary School, which will be closed for school that day because of the Statehood Day holiday. The other polling place, at Hawaiian Paradise Community Center, will not be open for voting.

The state said the voting site will be open for voting from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. at night Friday.

No paper ballots will be used at Keonepoko , said Rex Quidilla, a spokesman for the state Office of Elections. Instead there will be 16 electronic voting machines. The school has power and the voting machines have battery-backup if there's any problem with electricity, Quidilla said.

According to Pat Nakamoto, the elections administrator for Hawaii County, 1,487 residents in those two precincts already voted early by mail and at walk-in sites before the election, so they will not be allowed to vote a second time Friday at Keonepoko Elementary.

That leaves 6,782 of the remaining registered voters in those two communities eligible to vote that day. A total of 8,269 people are registered to vote in the two precincts....

Once the voting is completed sometime after 6 p.m. Friday, the computer cards with the results will be driven from the Puna polling place to the counting center at the state building in Hilo to be counted, a trip that will take around 45 minutes.

Those results will be transmitted electronically to the election center at the State Capitol for release in the first printout that could come as early as 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. Friday. The bulk of the votes in the postponed election will be contained in that first printout.

A second and final printout, composed of any absentee mail-in ballots that people bring in to the polling place in person Friday, will be released later Friday night, Quidilla said....

SA: It's not clear why delaying the vote would yield better results.

read ... 7PM Friday

Homeowners Have Until Sept 30 to Claim $33M Tax Rollback

SA: Officials with the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, who had anticipated Wednesday's passage of Resolution 14-179, already have tax compromise claim forms for eligible homeowners available, as well as information about how the plan will work, at the website www.realpropertyhonolulu.com.

Eligible property owners have until Sept. 30 to submit their claim forms and necessary support documents.

But exactly how many homeowners are eligible for the relief is still uncertain. City finance officials estimate about 10 property owners will benefit.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi, who introduced the measure, contend the number is significantly more.

The resolution is designed to help a segment of property owners who live on their properties but don't already take the so-called "homeowner exemption" that's available to them.

By itself, an $80,000 reduction in a property owner's assessed value amounts to a savings of $280 (because all identified owner-occupants are taxed at the standard residential rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of valuation).

The impact of not obtaining the homeowner exemption was multiplied exponentially this past year, however, when Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed into law a bill passed by the Council creating the new Residential A tax class, and placing all 7,400 residential properties valued at $1 million or more and without homeowner exemptions into that category.

The Council raised the tax rate for Residential A properties to $6 per $1,000 of value in June (while leaving the standard Residential class rate at $3.50 per $1,000). That 71 percent increase in the tax rate, combined with soaring valuations in some neighborhoods, resulted in some Residential A property owners seeing their tax bills more than double.

The Caldwell administration did not oppose the resolution, but city Budget Director Nelson Koyanagi expressed worries about how allowing the compromise would affect the city's revenue stream.

The administration earlier estimated that the $6 rate on Residential A property owners would provide the city with $33 million in additional revenue.

read ... $33M

Verdict-less jury in Deedy retrial heads back to court

SA: The jury in the Christopher Deedy murder retrial completed 4 1⁄2 days of deliberation Wednesday without reaching a verdict.

On Monday, jurors sent the court a note, according to court minutes.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn sent them a response after discussing the note with the opposing lawyers by telephone. Ahn has yet to place in the record the content of the note or her response.

Jurors will return to court Thursday.

read ... 4.5 Days No Verdict

$325M Damage: Papaya Farmers Hard Hit

SA: ...Local economist Paul Brewbaker of TZ Economics said his early ballpark estimate on damage from the tropical storm is between $148 million and $325 million.

One concentrated field of destruction was agriculture. Producers of flowers, macadamia nuts, coffee and papaya were hit hard by the high winds from Iselle.

"It's bad," said Eric Weinert, general manager of Hawaii operations for Calavo Growers Inc., the largest exporter of local papayas to the mainland.

Weinert said half of all the papaya trees in the state probably were felled by the storm, causing close to $55 million in damage that includes lost sales and the cost to replant.

"We're maybe looking at 35,000 trees that were damaged," he said.

Some farms suffered losses as high as 90 percent, while others — even farms in close proximity — experienced only 10 percent tree loss. Generally though, trees that were in a prime production stage and heavy with fruit were destroyed.

"They just snapped in half," Weinert said. "There are certain growers who are financially devastated."....

In the category of personal property, there were 230 damage assessment reports received by Hawaii County.

Nearly all of those reports were for homes, but most reports did not include a description of the severity of damage or a value.

Relatively few reports did have damage value estimates. In a sample of a dozen reports, damage values ranged from $1,000 to $66,000 and averaged $12,500.

At least 12 homes were listed as destroyed.

read ... Big Isle's agricultural sector is especially hit

Golf Courses: The Dirty Secret of the Food Movement

KE: The dirty secret of the food movement is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living. After the tools are put away, we head out to second and third jobs to keep our farms afloat.  Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012 — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on.

Others of us rely almost entirely on Department of Agriculture or foundation grants, not retail sales, to generate farm income. And young farmers, unable to afford land, are increasingly forced into neo-feudal relationships, working the fields of wealthy landowners.

Especially in urban areas, supporting your local farmer may actually mean buying produce from former hedge fund managers or tax lawyers who have quit the rat race to get some dirt under their fingernails. We call it hobby farming, where recreational “farms” are allowed to sell their products at the same farmers’ markets as commercial farms. It’s all about property taxes, not food production.

The food movement — led by celebrity chefs, advocacy journalists, students and NGOs — is missing, ironically, the perspective of the people doing the actual work of growing food. Their platform has been largely based on how to provide good, healthy food, while it has ignored the core economic inequities and contradictions embedded in our food system.

Doesn't matter if you're in New York, New Mexico or Hawaii, it's all playing out the same way: farmers struggling as non-farmers try to tell them how they should be practicing an occupation that few of us know anything about.

Is it any wonder that so many farmers silently scream when they hear the anti-GMO contingent in Hawaii keep perpetuating the fantasy that small farms, organic farms, self-sustaining farms, will take over the westside fields and feed the hungry masses — and all the tourists, too — once the nasty chemical companies are driven out?

That's just not gonna happen. Instead, golf courses, luxury homes and resorts will spring up in their place, all of them using significant quantities of pesticides to keep the bugs and weeds at bay.

read ... Golf Courses Coming

Big Green Losers on the Big Island

CCF: The votes are in, and anti-GIF (genetically improved foods) greenies are the biggest losers in the latest Hawaiian election polls. Activists like the “Babes Against Biotech”—a silly name for a silly cause—have fought to ban so-called “GMOs” in the Aloha state county-by-county, claiming massive public support. But a funny thing happened on the way to a supposed organic paradise: The people voted anti-GIF lawmakers off the island in Saturday’s primaries.

read ... Voted Off the Island

CB: Gabbard to Visit Hawaii Island, Calls for FEMA Assistance

KHON:  State to offer emergency loans for storm-affected farmers

Kauai County Wastes $175K on Anti-GMO Law

KGI:  The Kauai County Council authorized the Office of the County Attorney Wednesday to spend another $50,000 to defend the county’s law regulating pesticides and genetically modified organisms, Ordinance 960, in federal court.

That brings the total amount spent so far on special counsel services in the case to $175,000.

read ... Indefensible

Kauai County Considers 500% Garbage Tax Hike

KGI: A measure now being considered before the Kauai County Council, Bill 2551, would implement a new waste management program, called pay as you throw, which aims to divert some waste from the Kekaha landfill and bolster recycling practices. It would charge residential and commercial customers incremental rates based upon how much they choose to throw away.

But the change being considered today could also mean residential users may pay the same amount for smaller bins than they have now, and higher fees if they want to throw away even more....

Fraley estimates that it costs each county household about $60 a month to maintain current refuse collection and disposal services.

The county, however, currently charges most residential customers about $12 per month for refuse services. 12 x 5 = 60

KGI: Garbage Tax Hike Deferred to Aug 20

read ...  Another Tax Hike 

Rosegg Tried to Force Way into Life of the Land

IM: In 2003 Peter Rosegg wrote a series of emails from the HECO web server demanding to be admitted as member of Life of the Land.

Rosegg asserted that he was a member of some environmental groups and that he supported many of Life of the Land’s environmental goals, but as a member of Life of the Land he would work to undermine their energy goals.

I was dismayed to receive your letter of August 8, 2003, rejecting my membership …I wonder if what the Supreme Court would say to your treatment of my request.”

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of association which is also the freedom of disassociation, the right to reject associating with those who would seek to undermine your beliefs.

The email harassment lasted several months.

Then a  hostile filing was made to the Better Business Bureau against Life of the Land.

Today Peter Rosegg is HECO’s Senior Spokesman.

read ... Community Frackers

Feds to Investigate Hawaii Geothermal Potential

REF: Play Fairway Analysis ($4 million): Eleven projects will apply the “play fairway analysis” technique2 to identify prospective geothermal resources in areas with no obvious surface expression by detecting and plotting underground heat, permeability, and fluid to discover where all three are most likely to be present together. Selected projects will study diverse territories across the United States – from as far west as Alaska’s Aleutian Islands chain and Hawaii, to the Cascade Range of Oregon, the Great Basin in Utah, the Rio Grande rift zone, and eastward to the Appalachian Basin in the mid-Atlantic region, where lower temperature geothermal resources could be tapped in the future.

read ... Play Fair

Hawaii Lowest Sugary Soda Consumption in USA

USNWR: A new survey of American adults across 18 states finds 17 percent drinking at least one sugary soda per day, with rates varying widely across states.

For example, while about 12 percent of people in New York state or Hawaii downed one or more non-diet sodas each day, that number jumped to 30 and 32 percent in Tennessee and Mississippi, respectively.

The report, from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found high levels of sweetened fruit drink consumption, with close to 12 percent of adults downing at least one serving daily.

CDC: Full Report

read ... Lowest in USA

Arizona Appeals Court: 'Pregnant Man' (sic) can get a divorce

AR: ...because Miss Beatie still had female reproductive organs, she was artificially inseminated and became pregnant.

Then she hit the talk-show and tabloid circuit as the "The Pregnant Man (sic)," posing with his her manly beard and chest and his her very pregnant belly. SHe gave birth to his her first child in 2008 and had two more by 2011.

By then, she and his her wife (sic) had moved to Arizona. When their marriage (sic) fell apart, and Beatie wanted to marry (sic) another woman, they petitioned for an uncontested divorce.

But in March 2013, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that Beatie's marriage (sic) was between two females because Beatie had given birth. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Arizona.

In one of his rulings, Gerlach wrote that Beatie's "marriage was between a female ... and a person capable of giving birth, who later did so."

Wednesday's ruling, however, noted that Arizona law also permits people who have had gender reassignment to alter their birth certificates and legally change gender (that pesky X chromosome is still there in all its glorious immutability). In fact, according to the opinion, Arizona's law on the matter is more liberal than Hawaii's in terms of what evidence must be presented to amend the birth certificate....

read ... Gay Divorce to Invent Gay Marriage

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