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Wednesday, August 11, 2010
August 11, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:04 PM :: 9882 Views

Abercrombie part of Democratic Socialists of America Caucus at Democratic National Convention 

City, State, EPA agree to Federal consent decree for Honolulu sewage treatment 

Inouye, minions challenge Governor over $26B pork package 

Lingle and 41 (sic) other governors from both political parties signed a National Governors Association letter in February asking congressional leaders to provide the extra Medicaid funding through mid-2011 rather than allow it to lapse on Dec. 31. They also asked Congress to drop restrictions on how states managed their Medicaid caseloads….

Koller stressed that the new law didn't free up states to reduce eligibility or otherwise contain costs. She also denied that Lingle's statement Tuesday contradicted the NGA letter in February.

"This is money that will help us. We are not saying that we are not going to accept this money or that we don't appreciate having it to help us maintain our expenditures," she said. "But it doesn't do anything to solve the long-term problem."

She also said the state is more likely to get between $30 million and $40 million in extra Medicaid funding, not the $86 million that Hirono, Inouye and other supporters have touted.

The new law will spend $15 billion on Medicaid and $10 billion nationwide to support teacher salaries. Hawaii is in line for $39 million for education.

LINK>>>47 Governor NGA Letter on Extension of the Recovery Act's Enhanced Medicaid Funding  “To maximize the positive impact of FMAP enhancements on the economy, Congress should also modify ARRA’s existing maintenance of effort (MOE) provisions. Restoring flexibility to manage our Medicaid programs and enact common sense reforms is critical to ensuring the program’s ongoing and future stability.”

What this is all about:

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Mufi donors: Pay-to-Play SSFM leads pack

Remember SSFM, the engineering firm that was hit with a record $303,000 fine by the Campaign Spending Commission in 2003 for illegal contributions?

During this election cycle, SSFM President Michael Matsumoto contributed $6,000, the maximum allowed by law, to the Hannemann campaign in November 2009, and company VP Norman Kawachika added another $6,000 in June 2010.

Matsumoto’s wife, Theolinda, also contributed $6,000 on June 22, 2010. Matsumoto’s son, Paul, a physical therapist, gave $6,000 on the same day.

Total of these SSFM-related contributions: $24,000.

Gary T. Okamoto, president of Wilson Okamoto & Associates, and his wife, Lori Okamoto, were fined $44,500 in 2003 for making contributions under false names.

The Hannemann campaign reported receiving $6,000 from Gary Okamoto on June 30, 2009, and $6,000 from Lori Okamoto on June 28, 2010. Myron Okubo, senior vp of Wilson Okamoto & Associates, gave $2,000 on the same day, as did Barry Toyota, another company officer. Michael Fujita, a planner with the firm, gave $1,000 on June 17, 2010, and $300 in November 2009.

Total from those associated with the firm over the past 18 months: $15,300….

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Mayoral campaign: Prevedouros calls for nuclear power

Prevedouros at times delivered scrappy responses to questions, such as his comment that public and private partnerships are often not successful. He said good contracts are more important than relationships and said his background as an engineer will help ensure that government projects are completed on time.

Prevedouros said it would cost $22 billion to fix the sewers, build the rail system, replace outdated water mains and repair roads and parks.

"What does it mean for a typical family of four on Oahu: $100,000," he said. "Oahu needs an engineer to solve our problems, not more of the same politicians that left Oahu in a mess. ... A tidy, well-run city is a great place to do business."

Prevedouros suggested shifting to privatization for permitting, parking, shipping trash, housing and creating energy.

When questioned about land use, Prevedouros suggested building floating nuclear plants about 15 miles offshore, which "doesn't affect the aina at all."  (And is outside the State’s 3-mile limit of jurisdiction)

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HGEA rejects molester’s employer Cabanilla (And still deciding on Say)

Interestingly, the union weighed in against Democratic incumbents in two House primaries. The union backed Daynettte “Dee” Morikawa, one of its own, against Rep. Roland Sagum in House District 16 on Kauai and Niihau. The union also chose Michael Schultz, who works for a defense firm, over Rep. Rida Cabanilla in House District 42 in Ewa and Waipahu.

Even more interesting?  The union said a decision is still pending in the primary between state House Speaker Calvin Say and Realtor Dwight Synan in House District 20 in St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley and Wilhelmina Rise….

ILind: Complete list of HGEA endorsements 

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HGEA announces endorsements

Perreira said Hannemann has the leadership and administrative experience for the job and is more familiar with issues facing the state's public-sector labor force.

The HGEA has 43,000 active and retired members.

The union also endorsed Brian Schatz, a former Democratic Party of Hawaii chairman and state House lawmaker, in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. The union backed Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell in the non-partisan mayor's race.

SA: HGEA endorses Hannemann

GOP: How much GE Tax Hike did Hannemann, Schatz and Caldwell promise HGEA?

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Sierra Club endorsement: Another albatross around Abercrombie's neck 

The club said the endorsement comes after detailed surveys were sent to the candidates, their records were reviewed and two committees in the organization voted in the majority for the long-time former congressman.

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Brian Schatz: “Hemp as a crop, is an idea that should be explored….”

On the Big Island, he said agriculture should be cultivated as a way to help diversify the economy. “The Big Island should be the state breadbasket,” he said.  Hemp as a crop, he said, is an idea that should be explored cautiously.

WHT: Candidates talk schools, energy

REALITY: Drunks, tax cheats, and other wannabees: Scary Democrat Lieutenant governor candidates air ideas

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Anonymous Army rehab program gains support

A six-month review of the Confidential Alcohol Treatment and Education pilot program at three Army bases received favorable reviews from counselors and most of the 157 soldiers who volunteered under an agreement that treatment would not adversely affect their careers….

The pilot project will continue at Schofield Barracks and at the other two original sites, Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Richardson, Alaska, said Army Pentagon spokesman Hank Minitrez.

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Hawaii bases could escape DoD budget cuts

None of the Defense Department cuts announced Monday by Secretary Robert Gates appears to be connected to military bases in Hawaii.

Gates said the proposed cuts, which were widely reported to total $100 billion, are designed to reduce overhead, duplication and excess in the department. He said the savings could be applied to military force structure and modernization.

WHT: Osprey squadrons eye Oahu home

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Lingle Eyes China For More Tourism Help

New statistics from the Hawaii Tourism Authority show total visitor spending dropped from more than $34 million a day to $27 million a day in 2009; a 22 percent drop.

In the first half of this year, tourist spending improved to about $29 million a day.

The governor was in China last month and said she plans to return to China before the end of her term this year to try once again to get direct flights to Hawaii.

PBN: Gov Lingle plans one more trip to China

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Hawaii Kai farmers face 25-fold rent hike

The farmers now face a rent increase from around $200 an acre per year to around $5,000 an acre per year, according to tenant and landlord representatives.

The old rental rate expired July 1, so the revised rate will be retroactive.

Other new terms being proposed by Kamehameha Schools include allowing farmers to sublease parts of their farm, which would help older farmers generate more income, and receiving half of any proceeds if farmers sell their leasehold interest in the property.

The trust, however, is not offering to extend the term of the lease beyond 15 years or sell the land to its tenants.

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Na Wai Eha: Streams flow again — along with controversy and conflict

But the day was not without controversy and conflict, said Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake and Wailuku Water Co. President Avery Chumbley.

Moriwake accused Wailuku Water Co. of not fulfilling its obligations under the water commission order and threatening Native Hawaiian taro farmers' long-held rights to fresh water for their taro patches.

Meanwhile, Chumbley said his company will fully comply with the order. It was just the first day, he said, and adjustments will be made to make sure the correct amount of water goes into the stream.

As for the kuleana farmers, Chumbley said, yes, the restoration of water to the stream could result in less water for their taro patches. But he said he never threatened them, only alerted them to "unintended consequences" of the water commission order - that they, along with every other Wailuku Water Co. customer, may have less water as a result of the state's order.

(That’s OK.  This was never about taro farmers.  It was and is all about OHA taking ownership of your drinking water.)

RELATED: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water

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