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Tuesday, February 23, 2010
February 23, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:42 AM :: 7873 Views

LINK>>>Lingle: “Current draft of Akaka Bill is not one I can support”

LINK>>>Rules Committee: Abercrombie’s latest version of Akaka Bill to face full House vote

LINK>>>Finance Committee to hear Gambling Bill Wednesday

LINK>>>Flag Pole bill hearing Wednesday 9:10AM

Lingle balks at rewrite of Akaka Bill (Dems set to blame Lingle for Bill’s failure in Senate)

A new version of the native Hawaiian government reorganization bill is moving in the U.S. House, but Gov. Linda Lingle remains opposed to it—and that could doom it in the Senate.  (The old version was good enough for the last 9 years.  The Akaka Gang got greedy and now they're complaining that the Gov wont go along.)

House supporters and Hawaii Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka announced yesterday that closed-door negotiations among the Hawaii delegation, the Justice Department and state Attorney General Mark Bennett have ended with a bill designed to respond to objections by all parties.

(And because the Dans say it is so, Democrat Borreca agrees, “It is so!”)

Clyde Namuo, Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator, said he doubts the bill will pass the Senate without Lingle's support.

"Having the governor's support is going to really make the difference, in my mind," Namuo said.

"What will be key is that the governor and Mark Bennett need to support the bill absolutely. And at this point I am not sure all the AG's concerns have been addressed," Namuo said. 

Here is the clause that Bennett said is objectionable:

"Governmental, nonbusiness, noncommercial activities undertaken by the native Hawaiian governing entity, or by a corporation or other association wholly owned by the native Hawaiian governing entity, shall not be subject to the regulatory or taxation authority of the state of Hawaii."

ADV: U.S. House may vote today on Akaka bill  Inouye: "Today is a new day. We have a new administration, and this bill represents a new compromise in our goal of achieving self-determination for Native Hawaiians."  (This is the root of Inouye’s -–and Abercrombie’s-- delusion.  Obama got elected.)

SHAPIRO: “There needs to be a critical mass of Hawaiian support to be worth moving forward. A costly settlement that settles nothing and leaves as many unhappy protesters as before makes no sense.”

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Hannemann talks up rail and jobs but says city workers face furloughs 

City Council members in the audience said they are anxious to see the mayor's budget proposal next week.

"I think it was a very optimistic outlook for the city," said Councilman Ikaika Anderson.

"I was hoping to hear a little bit more about his proposal for real property taxes and whether or not he will have two separate rates being proposed for residential properties."

Under legislation approved last year, the mayor may propose separate property tax rates for owner-occupants and for owners who do not live on their properties.

Councilman Charles Djou, a frequent critic of the Hannemann administration's spending and a possible Republican candidate for U.S. Congress, likened the speech to a bathing suit.

"The mayor's speech was like a bikini: What he said was interesting, but what he hid is what's important," Djou said.

"The mayor delivered a good speech, but he failed to say if this would be his last State of the City address, if he's planning to raise taxes or what programs he plans to cut."

ADV: Honolulu mayor touts optimism, collaboration in annual address 

RELATED: Lingle: Rail is “most expensive transit project in the history of America”

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UPW reaches pact with county mayors

"After months of discussions, we're pleased that we've been able to put forth a new labor proposal for public employees represented by the United Public Workers," a statement from the four county mayors said. "While the terms were not included in Gov. Lingle's original public employer proposal to the UPW, we believe the state will find this to be a reasonable settlement that reflects the most recent position the governor communicated to us."

Gov’s Statement:  “We are glad to see the Mayors have decided to agree to our proposal and that the UPW is now on board.”

ADV: UPW, Hawaii counties reach agreement on new contract

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ADV: HSTA lodges complaint against Lingle

"The governor has never shown the slightest willingness to move off of her position," HSTA president Wil Okabe said in a statement. "Instead, the governor stubbornly clings to her mantra of allowing only 'essential teachers' to return to school and eliminating all planning days. Only the governor pretends these are workable solutions."

(Only the HSTA believes it has any credibility.)

Response: Lingle: “HSTA’s legacy will be that money comes first; children come second”

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Hawaiian Electric gets OK to boost rates (to pay for biodiesel scam)

The company initially asked for permission to increase prices to raise an additional $97 million in annual revenues to help offset costs for its new biodiesel plant at Campbell Industrial Park. Hawaiian Electric later reduced the request to $80 million.

ADV: Electric rates may rise with PUC plan

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Three Honolulu police officers sue, alleging racial bias

"On at least two occasions, numerous on-duty officers were observed eating at Zippy's restaurant in Kailua, deliberately choosing to not respond to Sgt. Dowkin's or Officer Delgadillo's calls for backup cover," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also alleged that on several occasions, the two were subjected to derogatory racial remarks from their superiors and fellow officers. Dowkin and Delgadillo said these officers used words such as "pōpolo," "wetback," "beaner" and "big-nosed Mexican" to describe them.

In 2008, Dowkin and Delgadillo filed racial discrimination complaints with the department, as well as with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission and the state Civil Rights Commission.

Officer Bennett-Bagorio came to the defense of the two after they filed their complaints, and she was "almost immediately retaliated (against) by her supervisors," the lawsuit said.

"This opposition to illegal racial discrimination expressed by Officer Bennett-Bagorio was not what the HPD hierarchy wanted to hear, and after her supposedly confidential testimony was leaked to her chain of command, illegal retaliation against her ensued," the lawsuit said.

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Sports commission sacked despite big support

But Mike McCartney, HTA president and CEO, recommended in written testimony to the state Senate that SB 2743 be deferred. He said the HTA by law “is tasked with the responsibility of marketing and promoting sports-related activities and events.”

However, another tourism official, state liaison Marsha Wienert, reminded lawmakers that the state had discussed a sports commission for many years.

Having a body whose sole, full-time responsibility would be dedicated to sports would increase Hawaii’s competitiveness “on a global stage,” said Wienert, a former ex-officio member of HTA’s board.

Also testifying in support of a sports commission were Jim Haugh, executive director and CEO of Aloha Section PGA and president of Hawaii Golf Alliance; Mark Zeug, president of Aloha State Games and Hawaii Senior Olympics; Ray Stosik, president of 141 Premiere Sports & Entertainment; Rick Blangiardi, general manager of KGMB and KHNL TV; Herman Stern, president of the Honolulu Quarterback Club; Brendan Cravalho, section director of AYSO Hawaii; and Chad Tsuneyoshi, president of MMA Hawaii.

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ADV: HTA moves for more secrecy (Shhh Don’t tell the Mexicans)

But as more of the HTA's agenda items have been moved out of public view in the name of competitive advantage, objections have been raised, especially to such indefensible items as "Discussion regarding sports events in Hawai'i," which was listed on the Feb. 20, 2009 agenda as a topic for closed executive session.

Apparently tired of having to explain its growing enthusiasm for secrecy, the HTA, a public agency funded by the transient accommodations tax, is pushing two bills that would give it the authority to keep more of its discussions confidential.

Today, Senate Bill 2187 will come up for a vote before that chamber's Judiciary and Government Operations Committee. Similar legislation, HB 2445, has passed both its committees in the House.

The Senate measure would make it easier for the HTA to withhold "competitively sensitive" information from public disclosure.

The problems with this should be obvious. The law already carves out a sufficient exception for government agencies so they don't have to release information that's proprietary or that would harm the business interests of a company.

These bills would push things too far, with a new, enormous escape hatch.

Included in the shielded class would be "information that is necessary to protect Hawai'i's competitive advantage as a visitor destination."

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LA Times/AP: Hawaii may place bet on gambling to save its troubled tourist-driven economy

"People don't come here to be shut up in a casino to gamble," said Dianne Kay, president of the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. "It would be sad if we destroyed the beautiful ambiance we have here."

Islanders have a long history with gambling, dating back to the days of the Hawaiian kingdom when there was betting on horse racing, said Kale Gumapac, spokesman for the Native Hawaiian group Kanaka Council Moka o Keawe.  (Gumapac last seen on a junket to a WA Indian casino—paid for by. . . ?)

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SB Commentary: Choose democracy over dollars

Common Cause Hawaii, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii and other citizen groups are calling on legislators to address these key issues:

>> Limit and disclose corporate political spending: Require corporations to disclose all donations and expenditures through a political action committee to ensure transparency. Furthermore, since the U.S. Supreme Court did not strike down the federal ban on corporate donations directly to candidates, Hawaii should continue to limit those direct contributions. Senate Bill 2918 and House Bill 2968 would establish these disclosure and limitation regulations.

» Uphold our "pay to play" reform laws. In 2005, Hawaii enacted a significant reform that prohibited those with government contracts from donating to campaigns. But now lawmakers are attempting to water down or even eliminate this important law, and that would welcome back the unseemly connection of political donations and lucrative government contracts.

» Ensure campaign reporting for special elections. When voters cast ballots for the upcoming congressional special election (expected to be conducted all by mail), they will not have campaign finance information that is normally reported by candidates for regular elections. SB 2321 would correct this problem by requiring additional campaign reporting.

» Disclose lobbyists' campaign donations. Lobbyists currently report their lobbying expenses such as fees, printing and advertising. But in addition, they often make donations at legislators' fundraisers during the session—the same time of the year when they are pushing for legislation favorable to their interests. SB 2870 and HB 2955 would improve disclosure by requiring campaign donations to be reported on lobbyists' reports.

» Ensure timely disclosure of financial interests. Some lobby groups also have business relationships with legislators, but legislators are not required to disclose their financial interests until after the legislative session adjourns. SB 653 would require legislators to report their finances by the first crossover deadline in early March, so potential conflicts of interest can't be kept secret while legislation is being finalized.

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New Climate Agency Head Tried to Suppress Data, Critics Charge

The scientist who has been put in charge of the Commerce Department's new climate change office is coming under attack from both sides of the global warming debate over his handling of what they say is contradictory scientific data related to the subject.

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