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Tuesday, August 19, 2014
August 19, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:27 PM :: 5039 Views

LAST DAY: How to Submit Your Comments on the Proposed Rule to Recognize a Native Hawaiian Government

The Obama Administration’s Attempt to Balkanize Hawaii

Hawaii Still a Debt "Sinkhole State"

Not Red Hot: Hawaii Construction Employment Drops 1.4%

Hawaii and U.S. Territories aim to increase fuel diversity with LNG imports

In Hawaii $100.00 is Only Worth $85.32

Honolulu 214th Ranked City for First Time Home Buyers

OHA Awards $1.5M to Charter Schools

Gabbard: If Our Mission Isn’t to Take Out ISIS, ‘We’ve Got a Real Problem Here’

Hee, Hanabusa, Abercrombie: Hawaii's 84-Year Nightmare Coming to an End

HNN: Neil Abercrombie, Colleen Hanabusa and Clayton Hee have a combined 84 years in public office (what an indictment!).  Now all three will be out of office in a matter of months.

"There is no doubt a loss is hard. You go through stages of grief," said Ed Case....

Professor Moore says there is sure to be a lot of second guessing, namely from people like Hanabusa or Hee, wondering if they should have run for governor instead.  But looking back doesn't help....

(Bonus Points: We also got rid of Solomon, Hanohano and Cabanilla.)

HTH: Primary concludes with losses for two incumbents

read ... Three prominent politicians to be out of office

Nago Hid 800 Maui Ballots From Public for Two Days

KITV: ...It wasn’t until the elections staff was compiling the ballots from the Big Island special election that the public learned that the tally would include 800 votes cast by Maui residents.

Those votes failed to get counted the first time during the August 9 primary.

Elections chief Scott Nago had some explaining to do....He  learned of the problem four days after the primary  (ie Wednesday Aug 13)

Today the Republican Party issued this statement.

"It's not surprising this would happen. It seems the Office of Elections cannot get their act together to uphold one of the most important pillars of our democracies. It is a shame," said party chairwoman Pat Saiki.

Nago said in hindsight, he wishes he had issued a public statement as soon as the error was discovered, instead of waiting until the Friday's election....

Nago will face more questions when he faces the Elections Commission on Friday.

SA: Election errors erode public trust

2012: Secret Letters Show Nago Timed Attack on Hilo Election Office with Workers Planning Sickout

read ... Grilled Nago

"Fire Nago" -- 2014 Edition

HNN: Some critics are hoping he'll be fired.  "People are disgusted. They say this is just another example of the way Hawaii does things. We sweep things under the carpet. Nobody is held accountable," said State Sen. Sam Slom (R-Hawaii Kai, Waialae-Kahala).

"It's my concern to have a clean, honest, fair, transparent electoral process. I'm not sure if the people in Puna got that," said State Sen. Gilbert Kahele (D-Hilo, Puna, Kau)

During the Puna election, a bank of voting machines at one precinct went down for about 20 minutes.

The new results released on Friday included 800 absentee mail-in Maui County ballots that were on a card that wasn't read.

"It's someone not putting the card in or getting confused with the card and bypassing it and not reading it," said Nago. "Fortunately, we do conduct the audits. That's how we knew we had a card that was not read."

Election officials found out about the mistake on Wednesday, but officials held off on releasing the information for two days. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz called the accounting error "appalling and outrageous."

"In hindsight, that's something we probably would have looked at, releasing it sooner, but at that time, we said we had to release results on Friday, we'll just put it in with the Friday results," Nago said. "For us to actually consolidate, print new results, it's just a lot of work to bring up the system. We would have had to bring it up on Friday anyway to do the special election." ...

Commission chair William Marston said that he is reserving judgment until he hears from Nago.

KITV: Sen. Ruderman calling for Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago to be fired

read ... Hawaii's election chief defends primary performance

Will Hanabusa Challenge Election Result?

KITV: Senate candidate Colleen Hanabusa stopped short of saying she would challenge the results and has until the end of the week to decide.

"There are still people who feel disenfranchised, but these are the results that we have to deal with, and my campaign will, of course, evaluate it, but I think that it's a very interesting situation where we have 2,000 votes, actually 1,700 votes, that's going to decide the United States Senate race," Hanabusa said.

There's also the 11th-hour issue of hundreds of uncounted votes from Maui that were added to the mix.

"I want to know what happens. I want to know where those 600 (sic) came from (and) why it took so long for them to find out about those 600 (sic) votes, and I am pretty sure a lot of people want to find out also, because it's only fair," Big Island resident Macario Balucan said.

With back-to-back storms, an unexplained batch of uncounted Maui ballots and a possible election challenge, the 2014 primaries will go down as one for the record books.

read ... Lawsuit?

Many Anti-GMO Candidates Defeated in the Primary

MW: Despite the attention and controversy generated by anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) activists in the months leading up to the August primary, their candidates gained little traction in the recent primary election.

Both locally and statewide, most who opposed GMOs went down to defeat in partisan races or trailed by a wide margin in non-partisan races.

In Maui County's nonpartisan races, pro-GMO Mayor Alan Arakawa had an easy victory with 63.8 percent of the vote. Tamara Paltin, whose platform included several anti-GMO positions, trailed behind with 11.9 percent.

Background: Anti-GMO Candidates Lose Big Statewide

read ... About a bunch of Losers

Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Forces Gay Marriage on HD50 Republicans

ITC: In the world of megadonors, ideology is usually more important than individual candidates. The Koch brothers for example focus their money on Tea Party leaning candidates with an anti-regulation streak. Tom Steyer supports mostly Democratic candidates with a strong record fighting climate change. But hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer's approach is less cut and dry. His American Unity PAC supports pro-business Republicans, so long as they are also supportive of gay rights....

Some of the candidates who will be benefiting from Singer's deep pockets include Republican Representative Richard Hanna from New York, who backs proposed legislation to end work-place discrimination based on sexual orientation; Republican Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, who announced his support for gay marriage in May; and Richard Tisei, an openly gay Republican from Massachusetts who is running for the House of Representatives.

So far the American Unity PAC has raised $9 million, $2 million of which has come directly from Singer, while another $1 million has been donated by Boston-based investment manager Seth Klarman. American Unity's impact goes even deeper than these numbers suggest. The group's strategy has focused on organizing with other local PACs to support certain candidates, as well as asking voters who support both the GOP and gay marriage to donate directly to the campaigns defined as most-critical by the PAC.

At a state level, American Unity has coordinated backing for Minnesota Republican Jennifer Loon, who voted to legalize gay marriage in the state, and  Hawaii Representative Cynthia Thielen, who was the only Republican in the state legislature to vote for gay marriage legalization.

read ... Arranged Marriage

Honolulu second-costliest city to raise kids

SA: It costs $429,635 to raise a child in Honolulu, 75.1 percent more than the national average of $245,340 reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday.

Personal finance site NerdWallet delved into the numbers and its market-by-market ranking of child-rearing costs is topped by Manhattan, in New York City, at $540,514.

Honolulu is second, followed by San Francisco, Calif., Brooklyn, New York and at No. 5 on the list, is Hilo, Hawaii, at $369,559....

The least expensive U.S. markets in which to raise a child according to NerdWallet, are Norman, Oklahoma, at $199,298, and Harlingen, Texas, at $199,694.

LINK: USDA Figures

read ... Honolulu second-costliest city to raise kids

97.7% of public school teachers with "highly effective," "effective" ratings

KITV: There were no negative consequences for tenured teachers....

• 16.0 percent of teachers are rated highly effective, meaning they demonstrate excellence in teacher practice and positive student outcomes.

• 81.7 percent of teachers are rated effective, which means they demonstrate effective teacher practice and positive student outcomes.

• 2.1 percent of teachers were rated marginal, meaning improvements are needed to demonstrate effective teacher practice and positive student outcomes.

• 0.2 percent of teachers were rated unsatisfactory, which means teachers do not show evidence of effective teacher practice, positive student outcomes.

read ... No Consequences

Kauai to Hike Timeshare Taxes?

KGI: And visitor industry officials and some Kauai residents say that a proposed Kauai County Council bill to establish a new tax class for timeshare properties could have negative consequences on the island’s economy.

Creating this new tax class, they claim, would single out a specific sector of the tourism industry and open the door to higher taxes on timeshare properties, which are now taxed at the same rate as hotels and resorts....

A budget measure approved by the County Council in May increased the tax rate for hotels and resorts from $9 to $10.85 — a move that is expected to generate about $4 million in additional revenue.

A total of 2,377 individual timeshare units on Kauai comprised 27.4 percent of all available visitor accommodation last year, according to a 2013 Hawaii Tourism Authority report. Hotels, meanwhile, offered up 2,735 available rooms, making up 31.5 percent of all visitor accommodations available last year.

read ... Timeshare tax class bill draws fire

Ben Jay: UH football could be 'going away'

KITV: Both Jay and UH president David Lassner are meeting with the university's Board of Regents to discuss the financial conditions of the athletics program at Manoa.

Jay says the university projects a $1.5 to $3-million shortfall this year and has operated under a budget deficit during 11 of the past 13 years.

Jay says that UH Manoa athletics faces "tough times ahead."

MCC: Only 15,500 season tickets have been sold for this upcoming season despite a solid home schedule which includes Washington, Oregon State, Utah State and Nevada, plus others. The Hawaii football program has not sold less than 18,000 season tickets in a year since the 1970s, and it seems that the 2014 team will not reach that mark.

HNN: Key regent says UH football not going away but more money needed

read ... Abercrombie & Lassner on the Job

Accidental self-inflicted gunshot kills HPD officer

SA: The family of a 39-year-old Honolulu police officer said his death Monday morning was due to a gunshot wound from an accidental discharge of a handgun at his Wilhelmina Rise home Saturday evening.

Jens Magelssen, a Honolulu police officer, was showing his handgun to a friend during a barbecue at his home on Sierra Drive when it accidentally discharged, his uncle Mark Magelssen said.

"There was no intention for anyone to get hurt," he said. "Jens was just showing the gun to someone, and it accidentally went off. No one else shot him and he was not attempting to shoot himself. It was just a terrible, tragic accident.

"It's carelessness on Jens' part, which is unusual because he's usually a very careful person," he said.

Jens Magelssen died Monday morning at the Queen's Medical Center Monday after he was taken off life support, his uncle said.

The Honolulu medical examiner will conduct an autopsy Tuesday to determine the cause and manner of death.

read ... Accidental self-inflicted gunshot kills HPD officer

Lawyer Working Hard to Get Manoa Rapist Back out on the Streets

KE: ...“I just had a lot of, to put it simply, a lot of problems in my normal life that I couldn’t deal with,” Freudenberg said, “and I took the coward’s way out of taking out my stress and my anger to some extent on innocent people who didn’t deserve what I did to them.”

“The fear we have is a lack of empathy, of using violence as a tool, so that’s what I was interested in hearing what your response was,” said Hawaii Paroling Authority member Annelle Amaral. “I’m listening for empathy, and that you have a sense for your victims, so thank you for sharing.”  (That's so sweet.)

(Clue: Sociopathy does not equal empathy.)

The prosecution wasn’t buying it from the man who was a standout student by day, predator by night.

“Just because he says he has empathy doesn’t mean he has empathy,” said Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. “Mr. Freudenberg is a very slick talker and that’s why he was able to do what he did with his victims.”

“He was active in the university and he was a good student. For all intents and purposes, people did not identify him as being a perpetrator,” Costales added, “and it was because there was a different side of him that would appear.”

The hearing ended as others have with the board making furlough a condition of release, but this time seeming to suggest they would at least be willing to review an alternate path to freedom, all while the federal lawsuit runs its course....

John Freudenberg has been locked for more than 30 years for raping or assaulting 16 women over a 14-month Manoa crime spree in the 1980s.

In the mid-1990s, he finished the minimum part of his life-with-the-possibility-of-parole sentence, and he’s been denied parole every year since.

2007: Same Stories, Different Lawyer

read ... About a Lawyer Hard at Work

D.R. Horton submits rezoning plans to Honolulu for 11,750-home Hoopili project

PBN: The East Kapolei project, which is being designed by Honolulu-based Group 70 International, calls for 264 acres to be kept as agricultural lands that will be used for commercial agriculture, community gardens, open space and infrastructure.

Besides the single and multi-family homes, Hoopili also includes commercial and light industrial space, community facilities, three elementary schools, one middle school, a high school, parks and open space, facilities and utilities.

D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI) hopes to start construction on the Hoopili project in 2015and deliver the first homes shortly after.

About two years ago, the Hawaii Land Use Commission voted in favor of changing the land designation for Hoopili.

Related: DBEDT: Decline of Nuclear Family Makes Kakaako Development Possible

read ... Hoopili is Back

Hawaii Co Employee Indicted on Embezzlement Rap

HTH: A former employee of the county Department of Finance Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division has pleaded not guilty to embezzling from the county.

On Thursday, Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura ordered 45-year-old Mary L. “Leinaala” DeMello of Pepeekeo to stand trial before Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Hara at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 24.

DeMello was indicted by a Hilo grand jury July 9 on charges of first-degree theft and first-degree computer fraud.

The indictment states the offenses took place between Aug. 1, 2009 and July 28, 2011. The document doesn’t contain the amount allegedly stolen by DeMello but the threshold for first-degree theft is $20,000.

read ...  Embezzlement

Saving Cancer Research in Hawaii Means New Leadership

CB: A national search to recruit a new leader who can unify the faculty is the only viable option to save cancer research in the state....The UHCC scourge has now affected the entire Manoa campus by causing, at least in part, the fall of Chancellor Apple....

Carbone’s management lacks the transparency essential in managing taxpayer dollars. We urge the UH administration to conduct independent audits of the functioning of the UHCC. We also ask for a release of an anonymous ’360 evaluation’ of Carbone as director, executed by UH over a year ago.

Carbone is unsuited for the position of a UH research institute director. This was the conclusion of UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple, who twice attempted to remove him as director. We thank Apple for his courageous attempt to rectify the toxic environment at UHCC and ask that he not be further blocked by the Board of Regents, legislators and hospital executives in fulfilling his duty. Carbone must be removed immediately to give the faculty time to rebuild a nurturing research environment and prepare for the next peer-review of our Cancer Center designation by the NCI.”

Apple Unredacted: Did Attack on Carbone's $300K 'Assistant' Precipitate Removal of UHM Chancellor?

read ... Fire Carbone

Hawaii VA Short on Doctors

AP: They told Hirono at a Tuesday hearing on Oahu that they face problems getting medical treatment across the islands.

Vietnam veteran Victor Croft calls the Veterans Affairs problems "a train wreck in slow motion." He says veterans have died for unknown reasons and that waiting to fix the problems is unacceptable.

Capt. Elisa Smithers of the Hawaii Army National Guard says she was sleeping in a closet to curb anxiety when she couldn't get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fred Ruge of the Maui Veterans Council says replacing doctors who leave takes longer in Hawaii.

KITV: Sen. Hirono chairs first VA committee hearing Tuesday

read ... About Single-Payer

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