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Wednesday, August 4, 2010
August 4, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:07 PM :: 9251 Views

Hawaii 3rd most indebted state

Even with furloughs, Edison curriculum turns around 14 failing Hawaii DoE schools

Hawaii Right-to-Life announces 2010 Political Endorsements

Bank bailouts: Maxine Waters faces ethics charges—Inouye next?

Caught on VIDEO: Thief steals Arakawa for Mayor signs in Wailuku

Leonard's ability to lead is doubted by Taniguchi (Dems continue to prepare the “We don’t like you” excuse)

Sen. Brian Taniguchi, committee chairman, said he is concerned about what former Hawaii State Bar Association President Paul Alston called the most important criteria for the job: the ability to lead, to inspire judges and to protect the independence and integrity of the Judiciary at all costs.

"I'm not clear she can lead the Judiciary," Taniguchi said.

Taniguchi (D, Moiliili-Manoa) said he has not yet decided how he will vote when the committee meets tomorrow on whether to recommend approving her appointment to the full Senate. The chairman said he has not polled the other four committee members, but thinks Sen. Sam Slom (Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai), the only Republican on the panel, will support Leonard.

Leonard told the committee that when she was interviewed by the law school board, she was asked about her administrative skills and background but not about her cases.

Hawaii Bar Assn Pres, Dep AG Hugh Jones said many questions were asked when Leonard appeared before the board for two hours Monday, and he said he had "substantial discussions" with her about the concerns by bar members.

In addition to Honolulu attorney Eric Seitz, who was the first lawyer to publicly oppose the appointment last week, former Circuit Judge Marie Milks and Honolulu lawyer Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara told the committee Leonard did not have the record of leadership or administrative ability for the job.

Taniguchi later said he understands the bar association's process and that he himself asked the association in the past to be more open.

But he said the vote by a majority of the board means there are "very serious concerns" probably along the lines of the opposition testimony—that Leonard might be a good associate justice on the high court, but not the chief justice.

(This is 100% about whether Dems believe they can stall the nomination process until the next governor is seated.)

AP: Public weighs in on Leonard nomination as state’s chief justice

RELATED: Katherine Leonard: Separating the temperament from the noise, Eleven Opinions: Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee Katherine Leonard

Testimony: By To`oto`o, By former AG Michael Lilly (Author of

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Shapiro: Katherine Leonard: Judgment by character assassination

The bar association’s 20-member executive committee voted Leonard “unqualified” Monday, but refused to say what the vote was, who voted how or what the reasons were for the negative finding.

In contrast, the American Bar Association provides a detailed written explanation of its ratings when it advises the U.S. Senate on federal judicial appointments.

HSBA President Hugh Jones said the secrecy is necessary to allow attorneys to speak freely and protect them from retaliation by judges.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Taniguchi backed him up, saying, “They need to have kind of a safe haven place where attorneys can come and are free to say stuff that may be critical of a judge.”

This is nonsense. If lawyers want to play a role in judicial selection, they need to have the guts to publicly stand behind their recommendations. There is simply no place for anonymous character assassination in such important public policy decisions….

Who’s to say the vote didn’t reflect anonymous lawyers retaliating against a judge who ruled against them? Who’s to say the bar association’s process wasn’t politically manipulated by senators looking for cover to shoot down a key appointment of the governor from an opposing party?

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Hawaii Progressives attack Leonard

Anti-Superferry protester Larry Geller: Media oversimplifying the job requirements for Hawaii’s next Chief Justice

Ian Lind: More information needed on Chief Justice nominee

I have the impression that Leonard, prior to her appointment to the ICA, was a relatively unknown member of the legal community. Her work experience is limited to a single firm that is known primarily for its business law rather than its litigation practice, and I’m told her clients included a relatively narrow list of businesses, banks, and wealthy individuals. Although she litigated civil cases in private practice, she had not served as head of the firm’s litigation section.

A lawyer friend explained to me that the chief justice, as the effective head of the judicial branch of government and the bar, has to command respect among different segments of the legal community. Lingle’s nominee was, until her appointment to the Intermediate Court two and a half years ago, relatively unknown. Today, I’m told, she does not command respect in the legal community at large.

I’m glad to see that Senator Taniguchi is cautious in his approach to the nomination, expressing concerns about her ability to lead the judiciary.

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Hannemann busted on another lie:  Endorsements by Business Groups

Mufi Hannemann's campaign website, in a section detailing the former mayor's "Economic Action Plan," claims that he is the only gubernatorial candidate to be endorsed by a Hawaii business group….

Bt the Hawaii Venture Capital Association announced its support for Hannemann's Democratic rival, Neil Abercrombie, on July 29. The group represents the $3.5 billion technology industry in Hawaii.

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Shapiro: Mufi=Kim jong Il?

Hannemann, billing himself as "the only candidate with executive experience," is running like a confident incumbent, controlling the race and dictating the agenda.

Unless Abercrombie and Aiona find a way to compete with his big footprint, the contest could turn into a referendum on Mufi Hannemann, and the last time that happened in his mayoral re-election two years ago, he won big with 56 percent of the vote against Ann Kobayashi.

The big question this time is whether voters will be swept away by what the Hannemann campaign is calling the "Mufi Express" or turned off by the flaunting of excess in austere times.

With his outsize face looking back at you nearly everywhere you turn, he's got to be careful of a Kim Jong Il effect that could backfire.

(Does this column reflect deep demoralization in the Abercrombie camp?)

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Big isle Incumbents Fuel Campaigns With Off-Isle Money

Tobacco companies and lobbyists top list of donors to Democrat incumbents.

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Kauai County manager proposal killed

This has been the plan all along.  How can political machines distribute the goods with a professional in the way?

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Rod Tam's Meal Expenses Drop 60% Amid Probes

That’s right.  Stay focused on the meals and ignore this…Ousted Zoning Chair Rod Tam is secret partner in $1 Billion North Shore development hui

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City ending trash contract

If the contract is canceled, the city would have to determine whether the garbage should go to the Waimanalo Gulch landfill or to the HPOWER waste-to-energy plant, said Tim Steinberger, city director of environmental services.

The intent of the shipping contract was to ease the burden on the landfill until a third boiler is up and running at the HPOWER plant by late 2011.

Hawaiian Waste Systems has already been fined by the state Health Department for improper storage of the garbage and faces a lawsuit from a company seeking to have its storage containers returned.

(The words “Mufi Hannemann” do not appear in this article.  Excellent work.  A gold Star for the Advertiser.)

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Small isle charities risk losing IRS status

More than 1,700 small nonprofits in Hawaii could lose their tax-exempt status for failing to file annual returns, and the Internal Revenue Service is offering them one last chance to keep their charitable standing.

Many had been exempt from annual IRS filings in the past and were not aware of the current requirements.

"That's news to me," Paul McCurdy, president of the Oahu Volleyball Association, said yesterday when told his nonprofit was on the list of at-risk groups. "The old law was that if annual revenue was less than $25,000, we didn't have to file. We don't even come close to that amount."

Well-known nonprofits such as the Honolulu Boy Choir and the Friends of the Royal Hawaiian Band are among those listed on the IRS website as being at risk of losing their tax-exempt status. Others range from the Kahala Business Association to the Kalihi Valley Homes Tenants Association, along with various parent-teacher associations and chapters of the American Legion.


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Anti-Superferry commission unable to waive EIS for enviro projects, SA complains bitterly

The appalling result of this dysfunction is that several projects that can safely bypass the lengthy and complex EIS process, including a University of Hawaii study on coral worth several million dollars in research funds, are on hold. (Does that project involve tying a boat to a dock?)

Several reforms aimed at clarifying the administration of the council by OEQC are part of a larger, complex effort to overhaul the state's environmental laws. The EIS process, always a contentious realm, became an all-out battlefield in the Superferry case. This prompted the formation of a task force that last year proposed changes aimed at making the process more rational. (This is a reference to the secret negotiations on HRS343.)

Work needs to continue in the months before lawmakers reconvene on several unresolved reform conflicts. But proposed improvements to Environmental Council operations were spun off into a separate measure, Senate Bill 2818.

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PUC nears decision on Pasha request for interisland service

(As with the Superferry) Young Brothers has opposed the Pasha application from the start, arguing that granting it would result in an “unlevel playing field” because Pasha would serve only the profitable ports. Young Brothers is required under its PUC certificate to call on all ports in Hawaii, including unprofitable stops on Molokai and Lanai.

But Pasha argues that its filing with the PUC was in response to customers in Hawaii who requested the service.

The PUC’s decision is eagerly awaited not only by the two parties but by elected officials, business and military leaders, and others who have weighed in on the application.

Gov. Linda Lingle has expressed her support of the request, as has Dick Pacific Construction and Grace Pacific Corp., and the U.S. Army. All have argued that increased competition to Young Brothers would lead to lower shipping rates.

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Parking fee thief sentenced to probation

A woman who pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars in monthly parking fees when she was a manager for the vendors of two downtown city parking garages will not go to prison.

But she will not avoid conviction.

A state judge sentenced Gale Bracey, 39, to five years' probation yesterday and ordered her to repay the city and the two vendors $419,238. Her lawyer is disputing the amount of restitution owed.

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Smart Grids Stumble in Hawaii, Baltimore

Enviros having trouble forcing consumers to pay for latest “green” scheme.

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Hawaii to help Alaska with foster care

The Hawaii Department of Human Services was asked by the federally funded Western Pacific Implementation Center to assist Alaska in developing a computer system that weighs risk and safety factors to determine what actions to take when investigating reports of child abuse.

Before Hawaii launched the system in 2005, Native Hawaiians were more than twice as likely to be removed from their families.

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