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Friday, February 12, 2010
February 12, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:07 PM :: 14346 Views

LINK>>>Laupahoehoe Liberation: Rural school targeted for closure votes for charter conversion

Hawaii man found guilty of killing toddler

Prosecutor Peter Carlisle will seek a sentence of 200 years behind bars for Matthew Higa, convicted yesterday of throwing 23-month-old toddler Cyrus Belt to his death from a freeway overpass Jan. 17, 2008….

Carlisle said that he was expecting the guilty verdict, but defense lawyer Randall Oyama was visibly upset by it and said he plans an appeal.

"Our appeal is going to be that his (Del Rosario's) decision is clearly erroneous," Oyama said.

Carlisle said he will seek an extended term of punishment beyond the statutory maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

The child's murder, which occurred just before noon on a weekday just blocks from the state Capitol, shocked the state, generated headlines around the country and brought renewed attention to the widespread abuse of crystal methamphetamine in Island society.

Higa admitted after his arrest that he was a chronic ice user. Police officers involved in his arrest were familiar with Higa because of earlier drug-related arrests.

His father, Shelton Higa, testified as a defense witness in the trial, saying that he regularly smoked ice with his son and with Chanco and her boyfriend, Shane Mizusawa.

Chanco also took the witness stand to admit regular methamphetamine use, testifying that she was at a Chinatown illegal gambling parlor smoking ice with Shelton Higa when her son died.

She said she also smoked ice with Mizusawa at the "Back Door" gambling parlor that day and then went with him to spend hours at Ala Moana Center trying to shoplift to support the couple's drug habits.

Mizusawa also admitted to methamphetamine abuse on the witness stand, as did Clifton Higa, a friend of Mizusawa who is not related to the defendant. Clifton Higa was with Mizusawa the morning Cyrus died.

(ACT 215/221 helped pay for their drugs.  Wait ‘til THAT story is told.)

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Kalapa: Barrel tax means $4/gallon gas  

I think the one (tax) that's getting a lot of emotional support is the barrel tax. That's the one that is supposed to fund the clean energy initiative — energy independence by 2030. That's the one that goes from a nickel per barrel right now to $1.05 per barrel. The problem we have with it is that tax originally was intended to create a reserve fund to do shoreline cleanup of oil spills. That was enacted within five years after the Exxon Valdez (oil spill in Alaska). ... And over the years it's morphed into a number of other types of responsibilities. ... So now it's being looked at to fund sustainability of our energy use. And I think that that is a really underhanded way of funding that.

All of us consume energy ... but this tax is imposed at the point that the barrel of petroleum product comes on land in Hawaii. It's not being upfront. We're not saying "Mr. and Mrs. Hawaii: Are you willing to pay a dollar more in the cost of your gallon of gas?" It's not at the pump. By the time it gets to me, the final consumer, it's embedded in the cost of the shelf price of the product I'm buying. But I won't blame state government, I'll blame Tesoro because my gasoline is now $4 a gallon.

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State tax collections down 5.4%

The state Department of Taxation yesterday reported that general fund revenues since July 1, 2009, were $2.46 billion, a 5.4 percent drop from the $2.6 billion reported last year. Although tax collections continue to be below last fiscal year's totals, the latest report is an improvement from the 8.3 percent decrease in collections reported in the first six months of the year.

The state still has a ways to go if it intends to meet projections made by the Council on Revenues for the fiscal year, which ends June 20. The council projected that revenues would be down 2.5 percent.

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ADV: Forget this school year, start fixing the next

It's time to face the reality: The furlough-shortened 2009-10 school year is beyond salvaging.

For most schools, there are fewer than 60 instructional days left. Spring break and student testing are right around the corner. Negotiations to restore classroom days are getting nowhere.

At this point, major changes to the school schedule would be more disruptive than helpful.

This leaves only one prudent option: Move on.

(ADV accepts without comment the result of the BoE/HSTA staling and again asks that their ransom demands be paid.)

EXPLAINED: BoE Chair Toguchi caught lying about Furlough Negotiations

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Councilman seeks limits on campaign yard signs

Councilman Ikaika Anderson has introduced legislation that says political yard signs can't be larger than 2 feet by 4 feet. Resolution 10-31 also includes a restriction against putting up signs on private property any earlier than 120 days before an election, and no later than 30 days after the election.

There is a state law that says campaign signs cannot be erected more than 45 days before an election, but it has fallen by the wayside since the Attorney General's Office determined it would not be enforceable.

(Just say no to this anti-democratic ordinance.  Democracy is beautiful.)

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SB: Minus Abercrombie, health reform needs true bipartisanship

(OK.  Dems agree that the people don’t want socialist medical “care”.  They join with Republicans in rejecting Obamacare.  Bipartisanship achieved.)

However, the death Monday of Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania reduced House support of health care to a mere one-vote margin by some counters. Abercrombie's departure would leave the House all square, eliminating the reconciliation strategy. Abercrombie still plans to resign on Feb. 28.

Sen. Daniel Inouye acknowledged that the "big, ambitious" health care legislation that he has supported is no longer realistic.

"I think we will come up with something smaller," he said.

EXPLAINED: Abercrombie resignation kills Obamacare majority in House

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Council Looks At Banning Tents, Carts In Parks: Some Homeless Say They Will Get Around Proposed Bill

The American Civil Liberties Union said the effort may be discriminatory.

"The concern would be with unequal enforcement. Our concern is if the police only target the homeless while leaving other Oahu residents and tourists alone," said Daniel Gluck, of the ACLU….

Danielle Sanchez has lived in Kapiolani Park for three months.

"If they prohibit tents period, I am going to have to switch to a canopy," Sanchez said.

Open-sided canopies are allowed in the bill.

Cabanilla: Helping the homeless is not an easy matter

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Hamamoto named principal at Saint Louis School

Jim Morris, assistant to Saint Louis President Walter Kirimitsu, said Hamamoto's appointment will be effective Feb. 22.

Former Principal Jack Rizzo resigned in early November due to health reasons. Since Rizzo's resignation, Kirimitsu has served as both president and principal….

(Pre-planned?  Hamamoto finally gets to head up a ‘system’ where progress is possible.)

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HMAA to acquire health insurer Summerlin's Hawaii business

In a move that surprised its membership and customers, Summerlin Life and Health Insurance Co. yesterday said it would sell its health plan membership portfolio to a competitor and withdraw from the business here.

Summerlin said it had reached an agreement to sell coverage for its 22,800 members to the Hawaii Medical Assurance Association in a deal that will make HMAA the third-largest health insurer in the state.

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ACLU says DLNR biased against unmarried couples

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint alleging that the Department of Land and Natural Resources is discriminating against unmarried couples who want to live together on boats in state-run harbors.

The ACLU says the department won't allow Bruce Lenkeit and Susan Carstenn to obtain live-aboard and parking permits, or other benefits afforded to spouses of boat harbor tenants.

HR: ACLU Clients File Marital Status Discrimination Complaint with Civil Rights Commission

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Mollway to remain as Ethics Director (Mystery story)

The nine member panel met for several hours discussing the fate of Mollway, and in the end, they determined that there has been no issues of misconduct. The panel would not describe what prompted today's meeting.

Panel Chairwoman, Maria Sullivan said they will continue discussions with Mollway about his "future duties" at the commission. Mollway has served as the Executive Director for 24 years, but has had strained relations with the legislature for years.

(Clearly something is going on here.  But what--is not apparent from the story.)

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Hilo hospital: No furlough plans


HILO -- Hilo Medical Center has no plans to use up to 38 employee furlough days OK'd by a state arbitration panel….

"There isn't a consistent pattern of patients coming in," Atwal said. Due to the unpredictable nature of illness and injury, there's never a right time to be understaffed.

As a result, HHSC representatives hope to negotiate alternative solutions to reduce payroll expenses.

"Right now, we're waiting for some additional direction from HHSC as they continue conversations with UPW," he said.

Ideally, Atwal said, he would like to see UPW agree to a 5 percent pay cut for its members, similar to an agreement reached in October with the Hawaii Government Employees Association which represents about 80 percent of the hospital's employees.

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“Sovereignty” squatter blocks ranch access to water

Soares is angry with Lui on a number of fronts. Most pressing, perhaps, in the drought-stricken district, is his accusation that Lui or members of his group have blocked his legal access to water from the well on the county parcel. Soares said he had a claim with the prior landowner and the claim runs with the land, no matter who purchases it.
His feud with the Luis is costing him about $2,000 a month. He had to cut 200 head from his herd because there's not been enough water.

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DLNR chief defends fishery management

The top administrator of the Department of Land and Natural Resources says the marine aquarium fishery is "not unmanaged."

DLNR Chairwoman Laura Thielen said the state agency is monitoring what tropical fish collectors and dealers are reporting monthly. It also wants to get a measure passed that would allow Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers to inspect closed containers for prohibited fish. Now DOCARE officers can only inspect closed containers if they have probable cause to believe containers contain illegally harvested fish.

But some residents are unconvinced and point to last month's dumping of 610 fish in a trash bin at Honokohau Small Boat Harbor as evidence. As of press time Thursday, DLNR officials in Honolulu did not provide further details about the fish dump or confirm if the agency was investigating it.

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Tavares plans to balance budget on taxpayers’ backs

The county's budget puka most likely will be stitched together through a combination of new or increased taxes and fees and slashed spending, Tavares said. Those ideas include upping the real property tax rate, halving residential trash pickup to once a week and adding to the county gas and diesel tax, which now stands at 16 cents per gallon.

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Group seeks judgment to force Sol Kaho‘ohalahala out of office

A group of 19 Lanai residents is seeking a judgment to force Kaho'ohalahala out of office, claiming he is not a Lanai resident and lives in Lahaina with his wife.

In its decision, "the Hawaii Supreme Court did not declare the Lanai council seat vacant, nor did the court deprive Mr. Kaho'ohalahala of seat, voice or vote on the council," Moto wrote. "The court did not invalidate any past council action or prohibit or limit the council from acting upon pending or future matters."

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Obama's Missing Year (HawaiiReporter goes “Birther”)

(Birtherism a scam promulgated by 9-11 trooothers and Clinton Democrats—and backed by the Ron Paul camp—has finally found a home in Hawaii.  The purpose of this scam is not to hide anything but Obama.  It is to divert Obama’s opponents into tin-foil-hat conspiracy theories guaranteed to render them ineffectual.  Fortunately, birtherism has failed to gain any foothold in mainstream conservatism.)

(Read at the risk of your own sanity.)

Did a black woman – perhaps a friend of Davis' – give birth to a child of Dunham's? Might that explain what Obama describes as "the complicated, unspoken transaction between the two men"? Or, another possibility, was Davis the father of Ann's baby, as he, too, matches the description of "Pop" in all salient details?

Either explanation might account for Ann's apparently subsidized departure for Seattle with a child allegedly less than 2 weeks old. Did Barack Sr. play a useful role in this charade in return for an American wife and baby and all the potential benefits that entailed? Might this all make Obama squirrelly about releasing any birth records?

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More: Tropical Cyclone Rene bearing down on Samoa

The storm was 210 miles east-northeast of the main island of Tutuila at midday Thursday, packing sustained winds of 63 mph and gusts of 80 mph.

Meteorologist Mase Akapo Jr. of the National Weather Service in Pago Pago says the storm should strengthen to a Category 2 or 3 hurricane by mid-morning Friday.

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Hawaii-based Marines gearing up for major assault in Afghanistan

Hawai'i Marines battled with fighters on the edge of Marjah in southern Afghanistan this week as thousands of troops mass to attack the Taliban stronghold in what's being called the biggest offensive since 2001.

The upcoming attack is being likened to the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004 — a difficult house-to-house offensive the same Hawai'i unit, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, also participated in.

Estimates are that up to 15,000 U.S., British and Afghan forces are prepared to assault Marjah in Helmand province, described as a Taliban haven in the poppy-growing south.

Hawai'i Marines with Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines were flown in by helicopter on Wednesday to secure an intersection known as "Five Points" outside Marjah, and were fired upon by fighters from the town with machine guns.

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