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Sunday, November 30, 2014
November 30, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:39 PM :: 7194 Views

Nobody Commits to Buy Ansaldo: Deadline Extended Again for Parent Company of Honolulu Rail Contractor

The Tax Credit That Should Not Die

Neil "F*** You" Abercrombie Berated Everybody

Borreca: His niche was as the fiery opponent....

A retired UH political scientist who worked with Abercrombie recalls that he excelled in the attack.

"Before he became governor — as a city councilman, state legislator and member of Congress for all of 40 years — he had the forum and the power to attack the establishment from the bully pulpit in all these debating arenas. And he excelled and reveled in this role," said the professor who asked for anonymity....

Even when he was doing good for the voters, like supporting the late Mayor Frank Fasi's Makiki Library, Abercrombie could go on the attack, such as his infamous "F*** you" letter to Noboru Yonamine, who was on the Board of Education at the time and opposing the library....

"When he became governor himself, which called for a different kind of role, he acquired the power himself and what does he do with it? He didn't have the personality to exercise power himself, which he had always criticized. So having had no experience on the other side of the equation, he berated everybody," the professor said....

...at the end of four years, Abercrombie was unable to go from Abercrombie the fighter, to Abercrombie the builder. Turned out of office and denied a second term in the Democratic primary, Abercrombie was unable to fit in his own Democratic Party.

Another one: Hospital Reform? Randy Perriera Says "F*** You"

read ... Couldn't Wield It

In Abercrombie's wake, a legacy of broken promises

SA: Former Govs. George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano were qualified, as no other individuals, to assess Abercrombie's governance. Among our seven elected governors, these two inherited budget deficits that, like Abercrombie's, resulted from economic recessions.

Against a billion-dollar budget, Ariyoshi made up a $340 million deficit over three years.

Against a $3 billion budget, Cayetano made up a $250 million deficit.

Abercrombie's situation was no comparison. He made up a $220 million deficit against an $11 billion budget — all of this in continuously inflated dollars.

In his first legislative session as governor, he essentially proposed to finance the deficit on the backs of seniors and state workers. When this blew up in face, he turned to rapid development as a means of expanding state revenues.

As a Ph.D. student at Manoa in the '60s, he had written his dissertation about the urban planner Lewis Mumford, who famously prescribed an urban vision for Honolulu in the 1930s. In conversation, Abercrombie summoned the Mumford tradition of big ideas. He seemingly convinced himself that his "Third City" of Kakaako towers, the Honolulu rail (to which he gave the environmental-impact-statement green light), and the suburbanization of the rest of southern Oahu, was similarly visionary.

What he thought of as bold, most people thought of as ransacking the environment. Both former governors were appalled. Despite deficits, each had established good environmental records. Each had reconciled the deep tensions between development and government finance. In this context, each turned to David Ige as an improbable means of stopping Neil Abercrombie from continuing to do what he was doing....

From the national analysis of Abercrombie's resulting 36-point record loss, we learn that next down the list was Gov. Price Daniels of Texas. In l972, Daniels was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Sharpstown bank and security scandal, which also took down his lieutenant governor, the speaker of the House, and half of the Texas legislature....

read ... Tom Coffman

7/9ths Fail to Implement: The Sun Sets on a New Day

IM: In 2010 the Abercrombie for Governor Campaign published “A New Day in Hawaii.”

Neil Abercrombie proposed a nine-point energy plan.

At least five of the nine failed. Four may be advancing of which perhaps two were implemented.

Climate change was listed separately under the Environment.

Tomorrow David Ige is sworn in as the next Governor of Hawai`i.

read ... The Sun Sets on a New Day

Abercrombie Operative Apologizes 

SA: When I met Neil Abercrombie in 2009, he asked me to be his deputy campaign manager. I was a person he didn't know, with no experience and, frankly, no interest in Hawaii politics. He put his trust in me, so I put my trust in him....

Day by day, people who were promised a change in government grew more restless about how things looked exactly the same. Some who rallied around a campaign that promised to put them first, eventually felt betrayed. I often found myself on the opposite side of people who were standing alongside me just one year earlier. Budget shortfalls and tough times can be used as excuses, but we weren't living up to our most important promises. In that way, I was betraying myself....

read ... Apology

Abercrombie Pleased only by Forcing Himself on Hawaii

AP: In one of his last appearances as governor, Abercrombie, donned with a lei, accepted an award from Equality Hawaii for his service to the island state’s LGBT community, and showed his fiery side as he delivered an impassioned speech at the gala.

“I know that as a result of the signing of that SB1, lives have been changed forever, and I’m proud and pleased to be part of it,” Abercrombie shouted as the crowd cheered. “What we have to do is encourage that and support that and not take it for granted, and be on the offense no matter what takes place.”

In his speech, Abercrombie credited civil rights leaders who paved the way for the historic legislation, giving more credit to their work than his own.

“With every breath I take until my last day on Earth, I’m going to be committed to the common humanity that’s represented in this room tonight … I’m looking forward to the opportunity for more trail blazers to come,” Abercrombie said.

The moment brought tears to the eyes of many in the crowd, said Todd Simmons, executive director of Equality Hawaii.

“Had he not have called the special session, we likely would not have marriage equality today,” Simmons said. “Had we waited until the regular legislative session, it may not have ever reached the floor, and if it had, it may not have ever passed, simply because of all the competing interests.”

“He knew that pushing the special session last fall was going to be unpopular in some quarters, but he did it anyway because it was the right thing to do,” Simmons said.

The breakthrough on gay marriage that Abercrombie championed goes beyond the couples that have since wed. It has paved the way for activists to begin working on issues like preventing bullying in schools, Simmons said.

Of the 2,907 same-sex marriages that took place in Hawaii since Dec. 2 last year, about half were for couples where at least one partner did not live in Hawaii, making the state a wedding destination for more than just heterosexual couples, Simmons said.

“He not only has touched the lives of a great many people like myself and my husband and our kids, but he took an action that is going to be good for the long-term economic health of the state,” Mr Simmons said....

read ... The only people who like Abercrombie

Ige to Balance Budget With Technology for Tax Collection

AP: Ige's unlikely political career began when former Gov. George Ariyoshi was looking for bright, young professionals to appoint to open seats in the Legislature....

"I was appalled about the whole fact that the legislative process was an insider's game," Ige said. "They controlled who participated by who had access to information."

Ige joined a small group of like-minded lawmakers committed to reform — now called the "Chess Club" — and embarked on a series of changes that would help improve citizen access to the Legislature, often using technology to accomplish his goals.

Ige led an initiative to transform the Senate into a paperless enterprise, where bill drafts, budget documents and detailed hearing notices were posted online, saving the state money on printing costs....

He encouraged state Sen. Jill Tokuda — then a high school senior — to serve on the education committee, as a student representative who didn't vote but gave students a voice in the statehouse.

Ige's also credited with making sure committee votes are held in public, rather than behind closed doors, said Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, another fellow Chess Club member.

"The chairs a long time ago would have the ability to bottle things up," Chun Oakland said.

Now 57 and heading to the governor's office, Ige plans to bring the same goals and values to the top job: engaging the public to craft solutions, listening to public employees whose ideas have been stifled, working collaboratively and updating outdated technology to improve government efficiency, he said....

He'd like to tackle upgrading technology in the state's budgeting software and its tax system, which could help raise money and help the state analyze how its spending money, he said.

Ige believes hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes are lost every year because the state's antiquated technology.

That money could make a difference heading into a year when Ige is expecting the budget to be very tight.

The state Council on Revenues in November reduced its forecast for growth in income tax revenues from 4 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014 and 4.7 percent to 3.5 percent in 2015.

"I know that we already were on pretty thin margins, so I don't anticipate that there will be a lot of excess funds to be awarded or appropriated to new projects," Ige said....

"People trust that he's not one of those that has nefarious motives," said Sen. Les Ihara, another Chess Club member. "He's not a wheeler-dealer."

SA: Ige to take oath Monday at Capitol

read ... Gov.-elect Ige committed to inclusive government

Kaneshiro in Rumor Mill for AG

Shapiro: City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro took heat for his deputy's involvement in a "rave" party, had a judge castigate his office in a gambling case and reported that several rape cases and a negligent homicide weren't prosecuted because the office lost track of them. But hey, at least he's in the rumor mill for attorney general in Ige's admini­s­­tra­tion.

read ... Shapiro

Abercrombie's budget director to be named CFO of UH

SA: Kalbert Young, the state's budget director under outgoing Gov. Neil Abercrombie, is expected to be named chief financial officer for the University of Hawaii system....

The agenda for a special UH Board of Regents meeting scheduled for Thursday includes Young's recommended appointment as system vice president for budget and finance/chief financial officer at a $237,000 annual salary. If approved, the appointment would be effective on or around Jan. 5.

The job involves oversight of systemwide budgeting, asset management, bond operations, procurement and real property, according to the university's website. UH has an operating budget of about $1.03 billion.

Howard Todo, who joined UH in 2005, currently holds the title and plans to retire in October, UH spokeswoman Lynne Waters said.

She said UH President David Lassner launched a search for a replacement early because it took the university more than a year to fill the post the last time it was vacant.

"After an extended vacation, Howard Todo will be reassigned to complete several projects and assist in the transition until his retirement in October," Waters said in an email....

Barbara Krieg, who was appointed in 2011 as director of human resources for the state, was recently tapped to run the Department of Education's office of human resources as an assistant superintendent.

read ... Abercrombie's budget director in running for CFO of UH

Why Did Carbone Quit?

SA: ...The unanswered question is: Does the director's abrupt resignation announced a week ago signal any urgent problems to be resolved? Official statements issued at the end-of-the-week assembly mentioned only Carbone's desire to return full-time to faculty work as a cancer researcher, but the suddenness took some staff members by surprise.

Whatever's gone on behind the scenes, the primary objective should be to conduct a thorough search for his replacement as soon as possible.

Carbone has more than his share of defenders and detractors, the former group essentially prevailing when former UH-Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple unsuccessfully sought to terminate him. The clash was apparently so contentious, however, that a complex and expensive reorganization was deemed necessary to keep the peace.

The director was able to keep his job but was placed under Brian Taylor, the interim vice chancellor for research. Virginia Hinshaw, the former chancellor who hired Carbone, was named senior adviser to Carbone and Taylor, a voluntary role. Finally, a new hire, Patricia Blanchette, was named the center's chief operating officer, also reporting to Taylor.

Since then, Robert Bley-Vroman has been named interim chancellor, and cancer center oversight ranks high on his priority list.

In August, he and UH President David Lassner called for "an objective, forward-looking review" of how the operations can be improved. The results are due in a few weeks....

read ... Cancer Center chief change an opportunity

People driven by misinformation are endangering local farming

SA: Does Hawaii support local agriculture?

We support the ideals of sustainable agriculture, locally sourced ingredients and farm-to-table, certainly. But behind these faddish catch phrases and buzzwords are people — farmers — and without them those ideals will remain elusive.

We enjoy shopping at farmers markets, but the reality is that Hawaii imports about 85 to 90 percent of the state's food supply. So a better question might be: Does Hawaii support local farmers?

Recent events suggest that despite our ideals, our actions indicate that we do not. Farmers struggle to overcome many challenges: inability to lease land at reasonable prices or qualify for loans when financial institutions are understandably reluctant to lend because of short, tenuous lease agreements; limited access to water for farming; and the cost of supplies and labor.

With extremist GMO opponents demanding laws that restrict how farmers can farm, and a majority of voters getting swept up by their misinformation, sustainable agriculture becomes even more of an elusive fantasy.

It's time for reason to prevail. We must stop basing our actions, decisions and laws on fear and instead look at the facts. Do we need to spend taxpayer money conducting any more studies into the health and environmental impacts of growing GMO crops?

No, they are the most widely tested crops on the market.....

read ... People driven by misinformation are endangering local farming

Kauai GMO/Pesticide Fact-Finding Group to Convene

KE: A $100,000 joint fact finding project intended to ground the Kauai GMO-pesticide debate in reality is set to begin “as early as practicable” next year.

It's coordinated by Peter Adler's ACCORD 3.0 Network — he previously did the Kauai feral cat study — with Kauai County and the state Department of Agriculture putting up the dough. It's being run as a pilot project that may have applications for other islands and issues — a consultant's dream.

It's also all that's left of Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 — the pesticide/GMO regulatory bill that was overturned by a federal judge, along with the provision for an Environmental and Public Health Impact Study (EPHIS). The joint fact finding (JFF) process will be done instead of the EPHIS....

read ... Kauai GMO/Pesticide Fact-Finding Group to Convene

HCDA Pushes Homeless Micro Apartments for Waikiki

SA: The nonprofit Hawaii Housing Development Corp., which has built several affordable rentals on Oahu, is moving forward on a plan to construct a nine-story tower in Wai­kiki that offers affordable rental possibilities for low-income and chronically homeless individuals with units as small as 250 square feet.

The project would add a second tower to Aina­hau Vista, an affordable senior rental built by HHDC in Wai­kiki. The new tower would cater to low-income tenants with as much as 10 percent to 20 percent of the rental units being considered for the city's Housing First program to support the chronically homeless, said Keith Kura­­h­ashi, president of Kusao & Kura­ha­shi Inc., a consultancy assisting with the project. Kura­ha­shi presented plans to the Wai­kiki Neighborhood Board on Nov. 18....

Kurahashi said the tower, which would be built where there is currently a small park, aims to provide about 47 one-bedroom units averaging 400 square feet and 30 studios coming in at 250 square feet. Along with the tighter unit size, the development would have extremely limited parking and would have to get exemptions to density and other building rules....

"The reason that a lot of them (the homeless) don't want any help is that they don't want to leave Wai­kiki," he said. "If there was a unit in Wai­kiki with wraparound services, that would get them off the street."

read ... Micro Apartments

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