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Monday, October 15, 2012
October 15, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:48 PM :: 5456 Views

Key Hirono Endorser Switches to Lingle

Akana: OHA Gentry Deal Sidelines Kakaako Development

Absentee Ballots Hit Mailboxes

HNN: Those wishing to submit an application for an absentee mail ballot should visit www.honoluluelections.us to download the form. Applications must be received by the city clerk by 4:30 p.m. on October 30, 2012.

Voters are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to ensure a ballot is delivered on-time.

Absentee walk-in voting begins on October 23 and runs through November 3.

(Editor’s note: We have received one report of absentee ballots arriving Saturday in Kihei, Maui.)

read … Absentee Voting

Defense Spending: Hirono, Hanabusa Voted to Launch Hawaii Over ‘Fiscal Cliff’

SA: Congress and the White House have been unable to agree on a deficit reduction package — and $109 billion in cuts are scheduled for January — so the Budget Control Act has become an issue in the November elections.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Demo­crat campaigning for U.S. Senate, voted for the law because she thought it would stabilize the nation's fiscal situation and avoid plunging the economy into a double-dip recession. Former Gov. Linda Lingle, the Republican candidate, said she would have voted against the law because of the potential for "dangerous cuts" to the military and other federal spending that could harm Hawaii's economy.

Hawaii was fourth among states in per capita federal spending in 2011 — at more than $21 billion, according to the federal Office of Management and Budget — and could be particularly vulnerable to automatic cuts because of the state's large military presence. A study released in July by an analyst at George Mason University in Virginia estimated that sequestration could cost Hawaii more than 10,000 jobs, mostly in defense.

"I do not have second thoughts …." Hirono said in a statement.

Lingle said Hirono and others in Congress should have had the foresight to recognize the potential impact of the law. She cited Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's warning to Congress that automatic cuts to the military could threaten national security.

"Unlike Congresswoman Hirono, I wouldn't have supported sequestration that would have included such steep and dangerous cuts to our military and our nation's defense as Secretary Panetta has warned," the former governor said in a statement. "Instead, I believe it is important to deal with the issues at hand, rather than kicking the can down the road as our current Congress has done too often. Our deficit spending must be reined in, and our nation's looming debt must be addressed, but the sequestration is not the way to handle it.

"Congresswoman Hirono and others in history's most unpopular Congress should have had the foresight to recognize the impacts of their delayed decisions."

The Budget Control Act was approved … in a 269-161 House vote. Hirono and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­busa, D-Hawaii, voted with the majority….

The … Senate approved the law 74-26. U.S. Sens. Daniel Ino­uye and Daniel Akaka … voted with the majority.

Doom Looms: RAND: Military is 18% of Hawaii’s Economy (Full Text)

Doom Approaches: Military contracting in Hawaii hits 5-year low, more cuts on the way

read … 'Fiscal cliff' has Lingle taking issue with Hirono

Hirono is a Zero, but How Small and Insignificant is That?

CB: No bill sponsored by the three-term Democratic congresswoman has ever become law, and just one of the 49 measures she's introduced has even passed the House of Representatives, according to GovTrack.us, a legislative research site.

Now Hirono is running for U.S. Senate, and her Republican opponent, former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, has criticized her as "ineffective."…

On its face, that batting average (.000) sounds somewhat unimpressive….

In four decades, 10 different congressmen and congresswomen have passed a grand total of 19 bills. The late Patsy Mink and retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka would have to be considered the most productive — and that doesn't even factor in Title IX, which Mink helped became law the year before the GovTrack database starts.

Hirono, again in bold, appears somewhere toward the bottom of the list….

read … No Hirono Bill Has Ever Passed, But Does That Mean She's Ineffective?

Self-Dealing Charged in OHA Purchase of Gentry Pacific Design Center

CB: Several concerns have made it evident that OHA is in need of a leadership change. Regardless of the exchange of personal insults, the fact remains that one trustee, Rowen Akana, has publicly charged another trustee, Haunani Apoliona, and the entire board with self-dealing in OHA’s recent purchase of the Gentry Pacific Design Center.

For a sitting fiduciary trustee of a public organization to vote to give business (the financing of the purchase) to a bank which compensates her for sitting on its board of directors is a textbook case of conflict of interest that implicates the entire trustee board. Moreover, Akana’s charge that the trustees edited the official record of their deliberations to hide the conflict of interest is sufficient grounds to call for investigation by both state and federal agencies. In its failure to properly manage this situation, the OHA board has invited a public demand for external investigation, and the matter should be considered by the State Attorney General and Legislature….

In the last year, OHA has undergone a rapid transformation from a mostly cash-only trust to the state agency with the fastest growing financial portfolio thanks to its acquisition of 30 acres of prime Honolulu waterfront property, tracts of land on several neighbor islands and the purchase of the Gentry Pacific Design Center. OHA is considering scooping up additional undervalued properties through leveraging its existing cash and realty assets.

What this means for the public is that the quality of leadership in OHA is a major concern in our state’s economy and political culture. Frequently non-Hawaiians feel that voting for OHA trustees, which is the right of all voters in Hawaii, is somehow an interference with a Hawaiian organization.

Related: Akana: OHA Gentry Deal Sidelines Kakaako Development, OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii

CB: Cal Lee: I'll Bring Teamwork to OHA

read … Why The Public Must Hold OHA Accountable

Lines Drawn in Battle over Greenwood

SA: J.N. Musto, executive director of the University of Hawaii faculty union, looks at the hiring of former UH President Evan Dobelle in 2001 as the point when Hawaii joined the rest of the nation in granting high salaries and benefits to top public university executives.

Dobelle made $442,000 a year compared with his predecessor Kenneth Mortimer's $167,000 salary, and Mortimer was both UH system president and UH-Manoa chancellor.

At the time, the Board of Regents believed it had to pay Dobelle a big salary to attract the person it felt could build UH into a world-class institution.

A decade later the UH president is again under fire, and some of the same issues involving executive spending, salaries and perks like tenure and paid sabbaticals are part of the criticism.

"There's considerable public anger around highly compensated people at the university," said state Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown-Pearl City). "Not only are they getting paid a lot of money, but it's too many people being paid too much."….

"In general, tuition has been going up, faculty salaries have not improved and administrators salaries have," said Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, a nonprofit think tank that promotes access to higher education. "It seems to me this is not a healthy trend."

Callan, who emphasized he is talking about trends in higher education and not specifically about Greenwood, said there is a growing anger at executive salaries and benefits at public universities and that it is undermining the public's perception about institutions of higher learning….

Greenwood's supporters, including many top business and community leaders, say she is worth what UH is paying her. They point to the development of the $1 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, the construction of a new UH community college campus in West Hawaii, the Pan-STARRS telescope on Hale­akala and the raising of graduation rates as evidence of Greenwood's leadership.

"Marci is a respected leader who has brought our university to the edge of greatness," said retired judge and former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Walter Heen, who served with Greenwood on a board overseeing the development of Mauna Kea. Heen testified at a regents meeting Friday in support of Greenwood.

read … Telescopes

Campaigning in the Dark: New Hawaii Law Creates Extended Blackout Period

CB: State Sen. Les Ihara said the change impacts both the voters who want to know who is pouring money into what campaign and the candidates who want to know where their competitors stand financially.

"It doesn't allow for any discussion about who's backing who during the campaign period," he said.

The primary used to be the second to last Saturday of September. This would've been Sept. 22 this year, making the "pre-general" reporting period from Sept. 23 to Oct. 22.

Since the primary was moved to Aug. 11 this year, the reporting period instead covers Aug. 12 to Oct. 22. That's a difference of 42 days.

The deadline for candidates to file their pre-general campaign finance reports is Oct. 29 — just about a week before Election Day. Absentee and early walk-in voters will be able to start casting their ballots for the general election before candidates have to file their reports.

Some are already talking about addressing the issue next legislative session, which starts in January.

Campaign Spending Commission Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao said she is meeting this week with concerned parties to see what ideas they can come up with before crafting a concrete proposal.

read … Campaigning in the Dark

New groups form to back Cayetano as ads multiply

SA: Defend Ben, a group that filed organizational papers as a political action committee with the state Campaign Spending Commission on Thursday, began running radio commercials the next day that support Caye­tano.

The ads claim former city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell neglected basic city needs while prematurely pushing through the city's $5.26 billion rail project, thus "costing taxpayers over $114 million to date and contractor delay damages."….

Earlier last week, three rail project opponents launched a group called www.Save­Our­Hono­lulu.com to support Caye­tano and put an end to what it calls the "destructive" rail project.

The principals of that group are University of Hawaii law professor Randal Roth, former federal Judge Walter Heen and Hono­lulu businessman Cliff Slater, who also have filed a lawsuit against the project. Heen resigned as chairman of the Caye­tano campaign to become chairman of Save­Our­Hono­lulu.com.

Heen said the group has not yet run any ads, but intends to do so in the coming weeks. It began putting up information on its website Friday afternoon….

Meanwhile, a group known as Workers for a Better Hawaii has also begun to run a series of television ads that back Caldwell.

The Federal Election Commission website shows showed that Workers for a Better Hawaii's agent is the Hawaii Government Employees Association's comptroller, Maureen Waku­zawa.

FEC records also show that in 2010 the group spent more than $100,000 to oppose congressional candidates Charles Djou, a Republican, and Ed Case, a Demo­crat.

read … New Groups

Ing Insults Police Officers, Firefighters

MN: Kaniela Ing claims that "if we stick to the facts" South Maui Rep. George Fontaine "has passed zero laws and secured zero dollars while in office" (The Maui News, Oct. 5).

It is Ing who needs to learn the facts.

Fontaine co-sponsored or co-introduced several high-profile pieces of legislation, including the Police Memorial and the Move Over Law to protect our first responders. Fontaine also obtained funding for projects in his district, including two badly needed warning sirens for South Maui tsunami protection. Funding was also obtained for a special-needs access ramp for Lokelani Intermediate School and a new portable classroom for Kihei Elementary School.

I think our police officers, firefighters and EMS technicians are heroes. Apparently Ing thinks they are zeroes.

read … Fontaine has record of accomplishments

Ing Could be Barred from Office over Campaign Spending Violations

MN: I just finished reading a post on Kaniela Ing's Facebook page. He writes this about Rep. George Fontaine:

"Fact: no laws were passed, and no funds were secured for South Maui since 2010. These are the two main jobs of a representative.”

For Ing's information, the funds that he mentions had lapsed in 2008 and Fontaine was elected in 2010. This only proves that Ing has no idea on how the funding works, or was too lazy to check his facts and was only out to slander Fontaine. Shame on Ing.

In The Maui News on Oct. 5, the headline is that Ing faces spending allegations from state Republican Party. Ing had a chance to answer to these charges but chose to dig himself into a deeper hole by ignoring them. These are serious charges that could legally bar him from any public office. Ing needs to learn the laws before he ever can be considered to make them.

read … Ing Headed for Prison?

Fontaine has record of achievement for S. Maui

MN: While Kaniela Ing was a staffer for the Honolulu County Council, Fontaine was bringing in money for projects we needed in South Maui.

Thanks to Fontaine, we have contracts out for two new civil defense sirens for Wailea areas that were at risk because the old sirens could not be heard. Fontaine brought in funding for improvements at Lokelani Intermediate School and Kamalii Elementary School. These are just a few projects among many others.

Fontaine has made it a priority to secure funds to build the Kihei high school.

In the 2011 legislative session, Fontaine introduced HB1173 and, in 2012, submitted HB2757 to provide funding for Kihei high school construction. Within the last 10 months, the state has purchased land for Kihei high school, proposed a preliminary environmental impact statement, taken public testimony and now has the final EIS for Kihei high school sitting on Gov. Neil Abercrombie's desk.

read … Fontaine Record

Shimabukuro: Need to Investigate Ash Diversion to Reduce Landfill

MS: On 10/10/12, Sen. Shimabukuro toured the HPower/Covanta plant in Kalaeloa, which is where all of Oahu’s gray trash bins go for processing. She learned that HPower takes all of Oahu’s municipal solid waste (MSW), and 85% of the island’s total trash (prior to expansion, they had taken 65%). HPower also recycles all the metal they receive through our trash using giant magnets, and provides electricity for approximately 8 percent of Oahu’s homes.

“The ash by-product from HPower is an inert substance that states such as Pennsylvania reuse to pave roads and for other purposes,” Shimabukuro stated. “However, Oahu sends the ash to the landfill. I want to investigate whether this can be changed.”

“HPower also shared that they are in the process of being approved to accept sewage sludge, another item which is currently landfilled,” Shimabukuro continued. “It was very eye-opening to learn that HPower hopes to eventually be able to accept even more than 85% of our trash, which reduces our need to use landfills.”

read … Ash

Miss Hawaii Defends Accused Priest

HR: Fr. Maurice McNeely was the pastor at my parish school, Holy Family Catholic Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii when I was in junior high. I attended the school from 1988-1990, and I served as our Student Body President.

I saw Fr. McNeely daily at morning mass, which I attended with my family. "Fr. Mac", as he was lovingly called by all the parishioners and students, was by far the coolest and most down-to-earth priest that had a knack for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all he met, in a way that anyone could understand and appreciate. A true visionary, he began what is known as "Stereo Mass" every Sunday night at 7pm, which was popular with the youth.

Fr. Mac could be found celebrating Mass on the beach at Waikiki, where all were invited to attend. He was fearless in spreading God's word and always had time for anyone who sought help, guidance, or assistance.

read … Fr. Maurice McNeely Made Positive Impact on Many People in Hawaii

Real ID Sparks Bump in Name Changes

SA: A state law that took effect in March, toughening identification requirements for driver's licenses, is tripping up Hawaii residents such as Masu­naga, who use first names that differ from what's on their birth certificates. Some are finding that they must legally change their names, a costly and time-consuming process, to prove they are eligible for a license or state identification card.

"Since this legal-presence law took effect, our volume has nearly doubled," said Kim Yoshi­moto, chief of staff for the Lieutenant Governor's Office, which handles legal name changes and is now receiving roughly 75 requests per week. "About two-thirds of that increase are elderly people."

"Typically, there's a certain name that's on the birth certificate, and the person has adopted another name, often an English name, throughout their lives. And then suddenly, when they go to renew their state ID or their driver's licenses, it doesn't match up. So they have to come to our office and correct the inconsistency and then take it back. They go through a legal name change."

read … Real ID

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