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Monday, April 18, 2011
April 18, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:36 PM :: 12180 Views

How They Voted: House approves Pension Tax and GE Tax Hikes

After lobbying in Hawaii: Online Poker sites seized by FBI, execs Indicted

Hawaii Windfarms killing endangered Birds: After five years Mitigation Lags

Kabuki Over: Legislators to meet for two weeks behind closed door, make real decisions

Conference committee hearings were scheduled to start Monday and last for two weeks, leading up to the final days of this year’s legislative session.

In conference committees, representatives and senators meet to reconcile different versions of bills that have already moved through both chambers.

They must agree on one version that both the House and Senate can agree on before a measure can become a law.

Conference committee meetings will culminate late in the night of April 29, when all bills must have passed conference committee votes or die.

Then final votes will be held in the full House and Senate before the legislative session adjourns May 5.

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Losing bidders might delay rail project

Contract award protests will result in uncertain delays for the city’s rail transit system, officials acknowledge.

Until the protests are resolved, the city cannot take action on the solicitation or award of the contract to design and build the rail cars. And state law does not provide a deadline by which a protest must be resolved.

The two losing bidders in the contract, Bombardier Transportation and Sumi­tomo Corp. of America, have filed protests with the city alleging that winning bidder Ansaldo Hono­lulu doesn’t deserve the contract….

If the protests are not resolved by mutual agreement, the city’s chief procurement officer, Budget and Fiscal Services Director Mike Hansen, could make a decision that awarding a contract without delay is “necessary to protect the substantial interests of the city,” said city spokes­woman Louise Kim McCoy.

But even if that decision is made, the companies could appeal with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for an administrative hearing, which would be held within 21 days.

Then the DCCA hearings officer must issue a decision within 45 days of the appeal. After that proc­ess a company would still have 10 days to file an appeal with Circuit Court, McCoy said. If that fails, a bidder can take it to appellate court.

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Hawaii tram plan to learn from Edinburgh fiasco

From The Scotsman: IT'S fair to say the tram project has been making headlines here for quite some time.

But news of its mounting difficulties has now reached further afield.

Opponents of a light rail scheme in Hawaii have used Edinburgh's tram fiasco as an example of what not to do amid fears their own project is set to go over budget and way behind schedule.

In an article in a Hawaiian newspaper, local expert Panos Prevedouros said the problems in Edinburgh were an example of "what's in store" for Honolulu.

When comparing his city with Edinburgh and a tram project in Puerto Rico, Mr Prevedouros, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Hawaii, said: "Honolulu is clearly no different - subservient professionals offer politicians what they want to hear, and clueless politicians believe all of it.

"Poor planning and bad government guarantee a financial fiasco.

"Honolulu has all the components for a bad outcome."

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City Council Nominates Financial, Union Leaders to Transit Board

  • The council's Transportation Committee chairman, Breene Harimoto, nominated retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Magaldi, Jr.
  • Ernie Martin nominated International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' local business manager Damien Kim.
  • Ikaika Anderson nominated Arnold Wong of the Iron Workers union for his union background and legal expertise.
  • Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo nominated Ivan Lui-Kwan, who was the city's budget director under former Mayor Jeremy Harris.
  • City Council member Ann Kobayashi nominated Donald Takaki, whom she calls a long-time local transportation leader.
  • City Council member Tom Berg nominated Panos Prevedouros, a two-time mayoral candidate and well-known rail critic.

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STEM: A Private foundation is doing the job the DoE won’t

The foundation recently embarked on such a partnership with Roosevelt High School, and we encourage other local business and government leaders to ask themselves how they can follow this lead:

  • » Part 1: A new science lab at Roosevelt High School built within six weeks at a cost of $250,000.
  • » Part 2: Math and science teacher training for teachers within the Roosevelt complex. These include teachers at the elementary and middle schools that feed into Roosevelt High School.
  • » Part 3: PSHF's Good Idea Grant program that offers annual grants to teachers to promote innovative learning in the classroom.

Price tag: $500,000-plus, all funded by the Public Schools of Hawaii Foundation.

The sum of all the parts is too large in terms of effort and cost for any organization to implement at all of the public school complexes in Hawaii, as a renovation of science labs statewide alone will run in the tens of millions of dollars. But if one business together with the state Department of Education could adopt a school complex, along with PSHF's supporting Good Idea Grant program, the enormous task becomes manageable.

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SA: Campbell High is too big, so Conference Committees must Raise Taxes

(After 39 paragraphs of DoE Tax Hike Propaganda all related to the claim that Campbell High School is too large, we get three lines of truth at the very end….)

King, the PTSA president, said there are definite perks to a big campus: a plethora of programs and classes, more teachers and a greater efficiency to how resources are spent. (Hmmm that sounds good)

"You have access to resources. Less money is spent on facilities, and more money is spent on the classroom," said King, whose daughter is a senior at Campbell.  (Less money spent on facilities, oh that could be a drawback for corrupt DoE contractors.)

"I don't think we've reached the point of getting too big yet," King said.  (So the head of the PTSA likes the school large.  Amazing!)

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Senate Bill 249 gives the government rights to purchase Oahu's only slaughterhouse

Hawaii would be the first state to own a slaughterhouse, under a bill moving in the Legislature.

The state House on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 249, which would allow the state to appropriate money to purchase, upgrade and outfit Oahu's only certified slaughterhouse facility.

The plant is on state-owned land in Campbell Industrial Park. Lawmakers estimate that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Dono­van Dela Cruz (D, Kaena-Wahiawa-Pupu­kea), could cost Hawaii taxpayers between $1 million and $1.6 million.

The facility has had a history of financial insolvency. The Hawaii Livestock Cooperative, current owner of the plant, bought the slaughterhouse from the Palama Meat Co. when Palama filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004

(Instead of the State buying this facility and ruining it, the Co-op should be given title to the land under the building.  That would reduce their operating costs and increase their access to credit.)

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Eco-Religion Begins Warm-Up for Earth Day

"To me it's no longer Earth Day," said Shannon Wood, president of the Windward Ahupua‘a Alliance. "It's not even Earth Month. It's Earth Day every day, forever."

Wood said she voted for the first time in 1970, the same year Earth Day was founded, and has been advocating for the environment ever since.

Earth Day will be a combination of work, political activism and celebration for Wood's group, which is sponsoring a community cleanup of debris from roadways surrounding Kawainui Marsh.

RELATED: Ira Einhorn, Earth Day's Dirty Secret

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In Nine Months, Police Dept. Arrests Just One Pimp

Civil Beat has tracked prostitution arrests through the daily police blotter, a public document that lists the names, addresses, etc., of every suspect arrested on Oahu.  Our analysis revealed:

  • Police arrested one pimp in nine months
  • Recently, most of the men arrested for prostitution have been locals, not tourists1
  • After a Civil Beat report revealed that massage parlors were operating illegally, police began charging women arrested for prostitution in massage parlors with massage license violations

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Your Tax Dollars at Work: State burns $100K on Bicycle-Sharing program

In the next couple of weeks, Nguyen Le, owner of Momentum Multi-sport, a local triathlon store, and the State Department of Health are rolling out Hawaii’s first bike sharing program to drive motorists from gas power to pedal power.

The state secured $100,000 dollars for the one-year pilot project, covering the costs of two bike stations. Health officials are hoping the program promotes healthier living.

(Prediction: Nobody will use this.)

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Hawaii County Building: Roof repair needed just two years after $27.7M renovation

The new, multimillion-dollar roof of Hawaii County's main office building in Hilo has started leaking -- again.
"It was watertight," Deputy Public Works Director Brandon Gonzalez said Thursday, "and this past weekend we got a report of a leak."

A new roof was part of a three-year, $27.7 million building renovation completed in October 2009. The roof work, however, failed to repel rainwater that had been damaging the facility at 25 Aupuni St. for years.
County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong called the result "inexcusable" when informed of the problem last October.

(We must raise taxes immediately to support our majestically efficient Government!)

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Parents: Teacher Hit Kailua Teen With Hammer

"They put four staples in his head to stop the bleeding," said Bitanga.

The incident happened at a Kailua High School wood shop class.

"I was told there had been an accident and a hammer had hit my son in the head. When I got the call from my wife -- I'm thinking the kids had been clowning around in the classroom," said Bitanga.

After the shock of seeing their son's injury, the Bitangas were in for another shock. It wasn't another student throwing things around, they were told -- it was the teacher.

(We must raise taxes immediately to support our glorious Hawaii DoE!)

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Honolulu gas prices near record; Maui at all-time high

Thanks to the Manoa-Liberal-in-Chief

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Tsunami flotsam reaches Kauai?

The sign, reportedly popular around construction sites in Japan, may have washed ashore on Kaua‘i after the March 11 tsunami.

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HNN: Republicans cause Teen Suicide (no media bias here, eh?)

Suicide attempts by gay teens - and even straight kids - are more common in politically conservative areas where schools don't have programs supporting gay rights, a study involving nearly 32,000 high school students found.

Those factors raised the odds and were a substantial influence on suicide attempts even when known risk contributors like depression and being bullied were considered, said study author Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Columbia University psychologist and researcher.

His study found a higher rate of suicide attempts even among kids who weren't bullied or depressed when they lived in counties less supportive of gays and with relatively few Democrats. A high proportion of Democrats was a measure used as a proxy for a more liberal environment.

(There’s no such thing as liberal media, really.)

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