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Sunday, December 13, 2009
December 13, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:31 PM :: 7981 Views

Donations flow in from beneficiaries of earmark funds (Borreca targets Abercrombie on behalf of Mufi, Inouye)

Hawaii's four-person congressional delegation has picked up $228,560 in campaign donations from companies or organizations that they designated for federal earmarks....

(There's a bunch of stuff about Inouye's earmarked contributors, but the only section which can affect elections is below.)

Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who is expected to announce today that he will resign from Congress to run for governor, was also singled out for giving an earmark to a firm whose vice president was a campaign supporter.

CBS News featured Abercrombie in a piece on earmarks last month. The Hawaii Democrat had steered $3.5 million in earmarks to Pacific Biodiesel for a demonstration project growing plants on military land that could be turned into diesel fuel.

Kelly King, co-founder of the Kahului-based firm, was named one of four honorary co-chairs of Abercrombie's campaign for governor. She said she had requested the earmark to help her company before she was named a co-chair.

"We were getting frustrated with the lack of access we were getting to federal grants and projects," King said in an interview last week.

She said her company had requested interviews with all four members of Hawaii's congressional delegation, but only Abercrombie and Rep. Mazie Hirono talked to her in person, and Abercrombie said her project was the sort of thing that the military in Hawaii should work on.

"From what I know of Neil Abercrombie, I would have been supporting him anyway," King, a former member of the state Board of Education, said. King has personally donated $1,500 to Abercrombie campaign, but she said her firm had never contributed to Abercrombie.

(If Inouye wants to make this work for Mufi, he's going to have to direct his media to create a regular drumbeat....)

RELATED: Mufi chases Neil Abercrombie out of Congress , Follow the money: $10B Guam pork project benefits Abercrombie contributorNeil Abercrombie 2009: A year of corruption

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Kiewit offered city 'best value'

The committee that evaluated the proposals comprised three city employees and two employees of project management oversight consultant InfraConsult. Kiewit's proposal garnered the most points — 8,607 — followed by Nordic PCL/Hawaiian Dredging (7,495 points) and the Flatiron consortium (7,222 points), according to the committee's scoring sheets.

The city Department of Transportation Services is withholding the minutes of evaluation committee meetings from public disclosure. The Advertiser is appealing that decision with the state Office of Information Practices.

RELATED: Last-minute donation: Rail contractor gave to Hannemann Campaign , Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

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Obama Stimulus small-business focus means opportunity for politicians to create new cronies

The Obama administration has introduced — belatedly, many would say — proposals aimed at job creation with a heavy emphasis where it belongs: on small businesses as the engine of economic recovery....In Hawai'i, where budgets must be balanced, the challenge is even greater. State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and House Speaker Calvin Say agreed that tax credits for hiring are being considered.  The Legislature also has tapped a task force of 17 leaders in business and banking to propose the most efficient ways of getting a jobs boost from construction projects....McKelvey is hoping to broaden a law that lets businesses retain workers on reduced hours by tapping unemployment benefits to partly replace the lost wages.

(But will they be able to disburse funds in time for 2010???)

"That was a speech he should have given a year ago," said state Rep. Angus McKelvey, the Maui lawmaker whose House economic development committee will be contemplating various ways of helping the small-business sector kick-start the process of job creation.

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Hawaii's parks agency to lease out land to raise funds

State Sen. Clayton Hee, D-23rd (Kane'ohe, Kahuku), was among the lawmakers who were skeptical that DLNR would be able to cover the debt service on its original Recreational Renaissance financing plan. He supports efforts by DLNR and other state agencies to develop steady revenue streams to offset budget cuts and increasing costs.

"The government has to redefine itself in light of the economy. Relying on the Legislature to appropriate monies that they may have received in the past is probably not a good idea going forward," Hee said. "All departments will have to be innovative and find ways to raise capital."

The senator said he also would like to see DLNR and other departments re-examine the lease terms on their properties to adopt a system that relies more on higher base rents rather than a percentage of gross, and to move toward market pricing.

(In other words squeeze the economy through landlordism.  Why not try a trick from OHA's playbook: Sue Al Hee's Waimana Enterprises Hilo Hydro plant for streambed violations.  Demand an end to water diversion.  Could make millions for DLNR.)

UNRELATED: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water

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Water staff: Restore one of 19 streams

WAILUKU - In what appears to be a blow to East Maui Native Hawaiian taro farmers and environmentalists - and a potential much-needed win for struggling Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. - the state Commission on Water Resource Management staff has recommended that water diverted by HC&S be restored to only one of the 19 streams it uses to irrigate its sugar crop.

The staff findings are only recommendations, but (OHA's) Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorneys said on Saturday that they believe the seven-member commission will rely heavily on the staff assessments and recommendations when it renders its decision, most likely during a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday in Paia.

RELATED: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water , Lingle: Will agriculture survive Maui water diversion?

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Teachers at Hana school work more, get paid less (HSTA propaganda)

(This article exists because the effect of furloughs on the Hana HS schedule is very similar to what Lingle and the Leg are asking HSTA to accept in exchange for $50M in salary.)

Because their school has a Monday through Thursday schedule, which was in place before furlough days were imposed, Hana teachers have lost classroom preparation and professional development days, and Powell said teachers in Hana believe they have grounds for a grievance, but they'd prefer to work something out rather than fight the system....

In the meantime, Hana's teachers will finish out this academic year operating on the school's unique class schedule while not having time for staff meetings and professional development.

"I'm happy the students are getting the time, but they may not be getting as much quality because the teachers don't have time to meet or assess what they're doing in the classroom," Paul said. "Furlough Fridays has kind of jammed our system."

RELATED: HSTA using furloughs to keep “Race to the Top” dollars—and reform--out of Hawaii schools

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Maui County plans hundreds of homes on Lanai

(Does this make sense when Maui remain unaffordable?)

"At this point, we have all the houses on this island we're going to need for the next 10 years at least," he said.

Lanai resident Alberta De Jetley agreed.

"Right now the economy is so bad," she said. "It's hard for people to think about how they're going to buy a house when they're having trouble putting food on the table."

There are already many vacant houses listed for sale in Lanai City, she added.

"A lot of families have left the island," she said.

(Who is he contractor?  What is Murdock's cut?)

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Kenoi asks for 20% budget cut

Mayor Billy Kenoi has a "Plan B" if Hawaii County cannot balance its budget by selling Paauilo land for $8.2 million -- but it will be painful.

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WHT: Kenoi one year on: Accomplishment and contradiction

On one hand, he's taking a strong stand against the old ways of doing things by proposing ethics reforms that would curtail cronyism and a "who-you-know" mentality in county government.

On the other, he's stocked his cabinet with many of the same faces he criticized as being what was wrong with government when he was campaigning.

RELATED: Billy Kenoi associate Malu Motta gets life without parole for Pali shootings

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Shootings by Honolulu police spike to 7 so far this year

By way of comparison, a Citizens' Police Review Board in Oakland, Calif., in a December 2008 forum, learned from the Oakland Police Department and the Oakland City Attorney's Office that there were 45 officer-involved shootings in that city between 2004 and 2008, all of which were deemed justifiable.

Carlisle said he "wouldn't be surprised" to learn that the behavior of the three men in the November cases "was crystal-meth related."

"Ice causes more problems than you can imagine for our police officers," Carlisle said. "What I fear most about these three incidents is that they are ice-related. I'm not saying they are, but the three individuals' utter disregard for themselves, for the police officers and for the public in general suggest that they are."

(Maybe politicians should stop consorting with ice pushers?  Stop electing former drug dealers and other felons to office.)

RELATED: Malama Solomon's meth connection

RELATED: Billy Kenoi associate Malu Motta gets life without parole for Pali shootings

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Questioning the future may enhance Isles' prospects

ACT 215/221 subsidy pigs predict the following if their tax credits are not restored:

Christmas 2015, Mom. We would love to visit but there are so few flights. Since groceries are so expensive, we've been growing vegetables in the yard, but the hungry homeless just steal them. We won't be able to pay the mortgage much longer, and soon we'll also be homeless. We pulled the kids out of Punahou and canceled our PV contract. The planned opening of the rail was delayed again for the lack of funding, so we'll car pool with the neighbors while we can; at least there's no more traffic jams. Some Christmas! Love, Fred.

Hilo is hard, Fred. Thank goodness our community garden is doing well — the stores are so low on food. Our neighbor shares an occasional fish, but there aren't many left to fish for. Another wind turbine broke last week. There are no parts being shipped now, so we have rolling blackouts most every day. Too bad geothermal didn't expand while it could. My back bothers me these days, but there are no specialists left here to treat it. Hope 2016 is better! Love, Mom.

(That's what the death squeal of a subsidy pig sounds like.  Enjoy!)

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