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Monday, August 25, 2014
August 25, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:04 PM :: 3316 Views

Hawaii’s Papaya Growers Struggle in Hurricane Aftermath

Hawaii Ranks #1 in Gender Equality

Judge: Kauai genetically modified crop law invalid

SA: A federal judge has ruled a new law regulating the use of pesticides and growth of genetically modified organisms by large-scale commercial agricultural companies on Kauai is invalid.

In a judgment dated Aug. 23, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled in favor of four seed companies: Syngeta, DuPont Pioneer, Agrigenetics Inc., doing business as Dow AgroSciences, and BASF. The companies filed a lawsuit in January against Kauai County seeking to block implementation of Ordinance 960. 

The law was scheduled to go into effect Aug. 16 but the court extended it to October. However, the judge's ruling stops the county from enforcing the ordinance....

Attorney Margery Bronster who represented Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Pioneer in the lawsuit, said, "To suggest that there is no state regulation is wrong. There is. There is state regulation."

Bronster said she was pleased with the judge's ruling. "I think he recognized that the ordinance was preempted by state law and it's invalid and that he recognized that this is simply not the job of the county council."

Bronster had testified against the measure at public hearings held by the council last year on the measure. "Before it was passed, we told them that it has constitutional problems and that we believe strongly that the court would invalidate it and the court has done so," she added.

A public hearing scheduled for Tuesday on administrative rules to carry out the law has been canceled.

Court Orders: Judgment 2 pgs, Order Denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 16 pgs, Order on Preemption 38 pgs

read ... A victory for Farmers

New Yorker Runs Complete Debunk of Anti-GMO Hypester Shiva

NY: At times, Shiva’s absolutism about G.M.O.s can lead her in strange directions. In 1999, ten thousand people were killed and millions were left homeless when a cyclone hit India’s eastern coastal state of Orissa. When the U.S. government dispatched grain and soy to help feed the desperate victims, Shiva held a news conference in New Delhi and said that the donation was proof that “the United States has been using the Orissa victims as guinea pigs” for genetically engineered products. She also wrote to the international relief agency Oxfam to say that she hoped it wasn’t planning to send genetically modified foods to feed the starving survivors. When neither the U.S. nor Oxfam altered its plans, she condemned the Indian government for accepting the provisions.

read ... The New Yorker

Republican Lokahi Rally Brings Candidates to Kapiolani Park

CB: Dozens of hopeful candidates from diverse walks of life, hopeful, excited, sporting banners and signs and buttons and T-shirts and stickers and websites, all believing this will be the election year that Hawaii elects more than a token representation of Republicans....crowded the Kapiolani Park Bandstand on Saturday afternoon at a party unity rally, including Aiona, Djou and Cavasso again running for the same top seats....

Hawaii has been led far astray by Democrats who have controlled the state since 1954. Exorbitant housing costs. Small businesses strangled by red tape. An education system continually challenged to improve. Families forced to live in the streets. Island youth chasing jobs to the mainland....

Aiona, the former lieutenant governor, sees a “disconnect” between elected officials and average people.

“It’s because we don’t have enough trust, respect and balance in government,” he told party members Saturday.

Ahu, a New Hope Church pastor and Aiona’s running mate, said the reason voter turnout is so low is not because of apathy.

“They are tired of the same people running the state for the longest time with no change at all,” he said, holding up a broom and pledging to “clean house.”

The second thing giving Republicans hope this year is the conviction something historic happened Aug. 9 — the day Abercrombie was blown out of office in an unprecedented primary defeat and Hanabusa and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz were forced into a makeup primary a week later in two Big Island precincts damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle.

“A couple of weeks ago, friends, we had a hurricane here, and I’m not talking about the rain,” said Djou. “I’m not talking about what happened over there in Puna. We had a hurricane in an election. It was statement by the people of Hawaii that the status quo and voting as usual isn’t working.”

Saiki told me that the sense of optimism in her party is real, fueled by a sense that Democrats are a fractured party. Nationally, Republicans may soon control both chambers of Congress and President Obama is suffering his lowest approval ratings....

For Janet Grace, who wants to topple Rep. Tom Brower in his Waikiki-Ala Moana district, the homeless crisis has inspired her run for office. She thinks constituents are fed up and want to vote for someone besides Brower, whose biggest claim to fame, she contends, is taking a sledgehammer to shopping carts.

Republicans called their gathering Saturday a “Lokahi Rally.” Another rally is set for this Thursday at Aloha Stadium.

SA: Mainland Progressives Burn Money on Takai

read ... Republicans on Parade

Storm drains state’s disaster fund

HTH: The state of Hawaii depleted its Major Disaster Fund in response to Tropical Storm Iselle, according to a Thursday letter sent by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to President Barack Obama seeking federal assistance.

“The state has expended approximately $1.3 million in response costs and has a reported $13.2 million in damage and debris expenses,” reads the letter, which was supplied to the Stephens Media Hawaii in response to a records request.

“This exhausts the state’s Major Disaster Fund, and the Governor will move general fund dollars from other areas of the state budget to replenish the fund.”

In addition, the governor reported that Hawaii County has no “rainy day” or disaster fund and “will be forced to borrow to meet operational expenses and any response requirements if another disaster threatens.” However, in a phone interview Sunday afternoon, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said he didn’t know where that information came from.

“We do have a disaster relief fund. We had $5 million in it, and we’ve spent $1.6 million so far in disaster relief,” he said.

read ... Disaster Fund

UH Manoa Cash Balances Decline Precipitously

CB: UH Manoa’s finances are so muddled that there’s disagreement over how to characterize the campus’s current financial state. Contrary to some accounts, UH Manoa as a whole isn’t actually in a deficit; as Johnston describes it, it “hasn’t overdrawn its checking account.”

But that’s not to say it’s financially stable.

There’s Manoa’s Athletic Department, which closed the fiscal year with a $2.1 million deficit. The deficit is projected at $1.5 million for the current fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the campus also faces a nearly $400 million repair and maintenance backlog. It typically spends about $40 million a year on basic facilities upkeep, much of which goes toward utilities. Last year, utilities alone cost UH Manoa $33.5 million, according to a university spokeswoman.

In announcing the hiring freeze, Apple said UH Manoa, whose annual operating budget is $400 million — or about a fourth of the entire university’s $1.5 billion budget — has been depleting its reserves by about $20 million a year. (As of now, that hiring freeze is still formally in effect, though officials say exemptions are being made and that student learning won’t be affected.)

What Apple was referring to, according to Johnston, weren’t actually reserves — they were cash balances. The university didn’t maintain reserves until recently, thanks to a new policy stipulating that all campuses keep a certain amount of backup cash.

Johnston does, however, agree that UH Manoa’s cash balance has “declined precipitously” over the years.

In the 2011 fiscal year, for example, UH Manoa had $77 million in unencumbered cash in its tuition fund. By the 2012 fiscal year, that number had dropped to $35.4 million. This past fiscal year, the cash balance amounted to $1.9 million, according to UH estimates.

By comparison, the cash balance for UH Hilo’s tuition fund has hovered between $5.5 million and $11.7 million since the 2011 fiscal year.

read ... Decline Precipitous

HTA Cuts 2014 Tourism Projections

SA: State tourism officials aim to set records for visitor arrivals and spending in 2014 and 2015, which if achieved would result in a four-year run of record-setting years for Hawaii's No. 1 industry.

Hawaii Tourism Authority board members have set a goal of luring 8.41 million travelers to the islands next year. The target reflects an increase of 1.9 percent over the record 8.25 million arrivals expected to be achieved this year. Likewise, officials set a 2015 goal of achieving $15.11 billion in visitor spending, which is 2.8 percent above the record $14.69 billion in spending anticipated this year. The new 2015 targets indicate officials expect the record-setting growth that they have experienced since 2012 to continue. However, they made some downgrades to their original 2014 targets, which acknowledge that the pace will plateau.

"It's no secret that the percentage of growth is starting to narrow. We'll end up ahead of 2013 in 2014 — not as much as first projected but still decent growth," said David Uchiyama, HTA vice president of brand management.

As a result, HTA has dropped its 2014 spending goal by 6.6 percent and its visitor goal by 2.2 percent from the earlier targets that the board set in February.

PBN: Paul Brewbaker on what ails Hawaii’s economy — and how to fix it

ILind: Tourism: Hitting record highs or steadily declining?

read ... Tourism officials aim higher

Hawaii Has Fewest Concealed Carry Permits--Only 183

TB: Florida has the most concealed carry permits, at nearly 1.3 million, according to the Times. Texas is second, with more than 708,000. Hawaii has the least, at just 183.

read ... Concealed Carry

FEMA's Flood Zone reclassification affects 1,000 properties on Oahu

SA: Hundreds of property owners on Oahu have been told their land has been reclassified and is now in a "high-risk" flood zone as the result of remapping by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Owners with mortgages will be required by lenders to buy flood insurance if they find themselves in the zone. Others with mortgages on homes already in a flood zone may have to pay more for coverage if new maps now have them in an area of higher risk.

The change, effective Nov. 5, could reduce the value of certain properties by imposing stricter development requirements for new structures — such as increasing how high off the ground a building must be.

read ... Mortgage?

Pflueger's sentencing in Ka loko dam breach case delayed a third time

HR: Retired auto dealer James Pflueger was scheduled to be in court Thursday, Aug. 28, to be sentenced in Kauai’s Fifth Circuit Court for recklessly causing the deaths of 7 people when his Ka Loko dam breached on March 14, 2006.

However, his attorneys successfully negotiated yet another delay in the case, which has dragged on since November 2008 when Pflueger was first indicted on 7 counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree.

Pflueger was scheduled for sentencing last January and that was delayed until April. In April, the sentencing was delayed again to August 28. The sentencing is now scheduled for September 17 at 8:30 a.m. before Kauai’s Chief Judge Randal Valenciano.

Over the course of the last several months, Pflueger’s attorneys have claimed the 88-year-old has various health issues that prevent him from traveling.

read ... Running down the Clock

Tobacco Age Limit Would Also Affect Marijuana

SA: Oahu's proposal, like Hawaii County's law, also rightly covers electronic smoking devices, which use nicotine derived from tobacco and can be used to inhale THC, the psychoactive active ingredient in marijuana, without emitting the tell-tale odor associated with smoking that drug.

read ... Ban smoking before age 21

Campaign News:

Which States Have the Highest Gubernatorial Reelection Rates?

Throwback Senators: The Must-Have 2014 Campaign Accessory

Lesson in democracy

QUICK HITS:

Desperate to Keep the Homeless on the Streets, Activists Recycle Debunked Berkeley Claims

VIDEO: Puna Hwy Before and After Iselle

HECO makes Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) deal with Fortis

Which Solar Company Boasts the Highest Market Cap?

Surfer accused of attempted murder arrested again

Hawaii Resistant Gonorrhea Hits Australia

Nevada's Blue Earth sells 497kw Hawaii solar farm to Kenyon Energy for $2M

Complaints About Gabbard's Opposition to Bergdahl Swap

Albizia planting on Hawaii Island was intentional

More Anti-GMO Gibberish

Extension at a cost

Another Escapee Caught

Complaints flare over city's use of fund for park upkeep


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