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Saturday, August 28, 2010
August 28, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:10 PM :: 7206 Views

Will wandering Republicans be Mufi’s hope or Hawaii’s salvation?

Secretary Duncan's Race to Waste Your Education Dollars

Progressives Against Progress: The rise of environmentalism poisoned liberals’ historical optimism

Candidates seek last-minute donations 

As the state's Sept. 18 primary election approaches, candidates are looking to stuff their coffers with as many donations as possible to give them ammunition for a final campaign push.

State and local candidates have until Friday to raise money that will be reported for the period since July 1. That disclosure must be submitted to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission by Sept. 8. 

For congressional candidates, the last day for pre-primary election fundraising is Sunday.

RELATED: www.Djou.com

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Carlisle: I'm No Elephant—FALSE

So was Carlisle's involvement with the Republican party really as limited as he says?

Not according to a press release issued by the Hawaii Republican Party Thursday afternoon.

News Release:  Fact Check: Carlisle misleads on his involvement in Republican Party

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Council, Caldwell seek tax changes: Bills would give homeowners a rebate and base rates on property use

Cleaning up Mufi’s going away present to the homeowners of Kalihi.

Application for property dedication are available at: https://www.realpropertyhonolulu.com/portal/rpadcms?parent=HOME&code=-1

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Honolulu Mayoral Candidates All Promise Faster Access to Building Permits

Mayoral candidate and University of Hawaii engineering professor, Panos Prevedouros, said when it comes to building permitting, the city is still operating like it did 40 years ago.

Prevedouros suggested one solution might be to farm out permit applications for the smaller building projects to private firms.

"It has been done elsewhere," said Prevedouros. "Smaller permits need to be privatized. Engineering and architectural firms can do it expeditiously and properly."

Prevedouros said it would be similar to the privatization of car safety checks. He said the safety checks have been done perfectly well by privately-run gas stations for decades.

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SA: Reduce e911 system tax

Subscribers to cellular phone service pay as part of their monthly billing a 66-cent fee that feeds the e911 Fund, which is overseen by a state board. Projects authorized by the board maintain and improve the e911 system, which pinpoints the location of a cell phone call by using global positioning system technology.

Here's the problem, as outlined by Star-Advertiser writer Dan Nakaso: The fund was so flush that last year the Legislature skimmed $16 million from it to help close the budget deficit. Even so, according to the board's recent minutes, the fund remains healthy enough that the board was able to budget up to its $9 million spending cap on projects from its top two priority tiers.

This raises the question: Why is the consumer continually billed at a rate that so clearly exceeds the needs of the fund? Why hasn't the Legislature, which by law sets the fee, lowered the amount tacked on to subscribers' bills?

RELATED: Excess of $1.4B found in 186 Hawaii Special Funds

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State building stands vacant

When 315 state employees vacated the Princess Victoria Kamamalu building in November 2003, the eight-story building was supposed to be renovated and reopened within a few years.

Then in 2005 the state said the plan was to renovate the building for $12.6 million and refill it with state workers by 2007. In 2007, with the work still not done, the cost estimate was more than doubled to $27 million, and the reopening date was pushed back to 2010 or later.

Today the state is no longer answering questions about the boarded-up building that sits prominently next to Iolani Palace. When or if the 53-year-old office building will reopen and what the state's plans are remain unclear.

The state bought the Kamamalu building at the corner of King and Richards streets from Hawaiian Trust Co. for $2.5 million in 1968. The current assessed value for the property at 250 S. King St. for tax purposes is $12.7 million.

The 50,626-square-foot building was previously occupied by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which relocated across King Street to the King Kalakaua Building in 2003. At the time, Saito told The Honolulu Advertiser that the Kamamalu building needed renovation because of safety issues, including "air conditioning, elevators, asbestos."

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Electrical company sues to overturn a ban on political advertising by state contractors

A conservative mainland attorney who has successfully fought federal campaign-spending restrictions on corporations filed suit in federal court in Hawaii yesterday, alleging that Hawaii's ban on political donations by state and county contractors is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, filed by James Bopp Jr. of Indiana on behalf of A-1 A-Lectrician Inc., a local electrical and construction firm, asks the U.S. District Court to lift the ban on donations by government contractors before the September primary and November general elections.

The suit also seeks similar injunctions against the state law requiring corporations to register as political action committees before making donations, the political advertising reporting requirements, the political advertising attribution and disclaimer provisions and the $1,000 donation limit to political action committees.

The lawsuit alleges that the state campaign-finance restrictions are unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment's right to free speech and the 14th Amendment's citizenship protection of corporations as well as individuals.

State lawmakers passed the ban on political donations by state and county contractors in 2005 to discourage what is known as "pay to play," where contractors make campaign contributions in hopes of winning state and county bids. The ban came after several campaign-finance scandals involving engineering and construction firms.

This year, lawmakers considered relaxing the ban to only cover nonbid contractors, but the move was opposed by open-government advocates.

"The contractor provision was passed to stop the 'pay to play' system," said state Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Pacific Heights-Pauoa-Punchbowl), who was among the lawmakers who drafted the law. "As we try to instill integrity into politics, this was one of the things that we looked at."

The lawsuit claims A-1, which has government contracts, wants to make $250 donations to several candidates this year but is unable because of the ban. The lawsuit argues that the candidates do not decide whether A-1 gets government contracts or oversee those contracts.

A-1, the lawsuit claims, also wants to donate $2,500 to the Aloha Family Alliance political action committee but is unable because of the $1,000 donation limit.

The Aloha Family Alliance was formed this year and reported receiving no donations through the end of June. Andrew Gerakas, the group's chairman, said the group intends to back candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide and abortion and who follow "good moral principles."

(Bopp, a dissident member of the RNC, was in 2009 the author of a failed “Purity test” for Republican Candidates)

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Candidate running from prison cell: Seeks to fill Rod Tam’s shoes

Carlton N. Middleton, 53, has been in Oahu Community Correctional Center since Aug. 9, when police arrested him for allegedly violating an injunction ordering him to stay away from a woman who lives in the same Maunakea Street apartment building as him. Middleton had developed friction with the neighbor and her family over several months.

Neither Middleton nor his newly appointed court attorney, Emmanuel Guerrero, could be reached for comment yesterday.

Middleton has been a member of the Downtown Neighborhood Board since 2005, and he lists himself as a small-business owner and longtime volunteer at the state Capitol.

An advocate for the homeless, he has run unsuccessfully for the state Senate and House.

Middleton was charged in June with harassing the woman, and he is due to appear in Honolulu District Court on that matter Sept. 15, three days before the primary election. He was jailed on June 29 on the charge and then released on July 6…

The woman who filed the harassment claim against Middleton declined comment and asked that her family's name not be published out of fear of retribution from Middleton or any friends he might have.

In a court affidavit filed June 29, the woman wrote that Middleton has harassed her, screamed at her within an inch of her face and pushed her, including when she was pregnant and in the presence of her children.

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Haleakala Telescope meeting draws many views

(Here’s a look at the OTHER telescope shakedown operation.)

Kiope Raymond, a UH-MC instructor and leader of Kilakila O Haleakala, a group opposed to the Haleakala solar telescope project, announced that members of his group would request a contested case hearing on the matter.

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Former Maui officer agrees to pay donors in deal

The seven second-degree forgery charges involve medical status notes from doctors from August 2008 to April 2009, according to court records. The counts for tampering with evidence involve methamphetamine recovered as evidence and replaced with a fake substance on seven dates from October 2008 to January 2009.

Police employees had held fundraisers and donated leave to Moore after reports that she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2008 and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in February 2009. But some planned fundraisers were canceled without public explanation last summer.

Moore had been on unpaid leave from her job as a vice officer before resigning from the Police Department last Sept. 15, ending her five-year police career.

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