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Wednesday, October 17, 2012
October 17, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:56 PM :: 5101 Views

Fact Check: Hirono Continues to Mislead Voters with Inaccurate Statements

Change in Afghanistan, Change in Hawaii

New paper details Hawaii and Hawaiians’ surprising roles in the U.S. Civil War

ACLU, Alston Demand Courtroom Video Access for 'Hawaii Guerrilla Video Hui'

Hawaii Zipline Operators Want Protection from Their Competition

DayStar Technologies Buys Avatar Solar Hawaii Projects

Honolulu Transit Megaprojects Compared

Pro-Rail Legislators, Advertiser Threaten to Grab All of 0.5% GE Tax For Themselves

SA: In a creative misinterpretation of rail funding and oversimplification of process, mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano says he would use special tax revenues to build what he brands a new bus rapid transit system and pay for whatever city functions he desires. Such moves would undoubtedly be challenged in court, extending legal battles indefinitely while miring motorists in continued gridlock.

The former governor, a lawyer, argues that the 2005 state legislation that allowed a general excise tax surcharge collected in Honolulu — projected to reap $3.36 billion — could be turned to pay for much of his "Flexible Affordable Start Transportation" system….

As for usage of the excise tax surcharge, that clearly was not what the Legislature had in mind. The 2005 law offered the surcharge for Oahu to plan and construct a "locally preferred alternative for a mass transit project," which Cayetano seems to think can mean just about anything.

However, an accompanying legislative committee report pointed out that the tax revenue would be for construction of "a fixed rail system with an initial trunk line extending from Kapolei in West Oahu to Iwilei in the central business district." Rep. Marcus Oshiro, then the House majority leader, says that was clearly the intention.

…that would leave Oahu residents with nothing.

read … Negotiating Position for Next Session’s Budget Fight

PRP: Cayetano Tied to Birfers

Shapiro: Now PRP has opened a new front in its effort to bury Caye­tano in mud with a brochure mailed to Oahu voters ridiculously attempting to tie the two-term Demo­cratic governor to Republicans Mitt Romney and Linda Lingle, the tea party and the anti-Obama birther movement.

Cayetano has publicly endorsed Demo­crats Barack Obama and Mazie Hirono over Romney and Lingle. He was warmly received at the recent state Demo­cratic convention and described by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as a "good Demo­crat."

PRP's basis for its ludicrous claim that Caye­tano "will eat, sleep, breathe Republican" is that he's received support from Republicans who oppose rail.

Never mind that Oahu voters decided long ago to make city elections nonpartisan to get Demo­crats and Republicans working together on municipal issues that have nothing to do with the national partisan divide.

The "evidence" that Cayetano is in cahoots with the tea party and birthers is that a political action committee that endorsed Caye­tano also endorsed GOP state Sen. Sam Slom.

While attacking Caye­tano for his publicly disclosed donors, PRP has kept secret its own contributors who put up the millions to sully Caye­tano.

Ariyoshi: Rail is a matter of equity for West Oahu residents

read … Group escalates mudslinging by tying Cayetano to GOP

Abercrombie, Louie Continue to Harass Star-Advertiser over Judicial Transparency Suit

SA: The nearly $70,000 awarded to the Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser for attorney fees and costs for prevailing in its lawsuit seeking the release of the names of judicial finalists from Gov. Neil Abercrombie should be reduced, state lawyers said in an appeal of the award.

The amount is "unreasonable" and should be "substantially" lowered, state lawyers said in their opening brief.

In his order issued in June, Circuit Judge Karl Saka­moto granted the newspaper $67,849 in fees and $1,777 in costs.

Sakamoto said the time spent by newspaper lawyers was "reasonable" in view of the "novel and complex issues presented by the case and the extensive research it entailed."

He had ruled in November that the governor, under the state open-records law, had to make public the names of judicial candidates submitted to him by the state Judicial Selection Commission.

The attorney general's office did not appeal the November ruling, but is challenging the amount of Saka­moto's award….

The dispute involves about $40,000 — the difference between Saka­moto's award and the amount the state has acknowledged is reasonable.

The newspaper lawyers have said if the decision is upheld, the Star-Advertiser would contend that under state law it would be entitled to the additional fees and costs spent in the appeal.

read … State appeals costs for newspaper's suit


Grasping DoE Bureaucrats Defy Abercrombie, Demand $75M

CB: The board ultimately approved the Department of Education's request, deciding to let the Legislature and executive branch sort out a couple key areas of concern — in particular, $4 million to create a student assessment test in Hawaiian and almost $1 million to restore athletics programs to 2008 levels.

Board members told department officials that going forward they expect more detailed breakdowns of the budget requests, better rationales for the proposed expenditures and more time to consider everything before voting on it.

Board Chair Don Horner wanted to know why the district wants $40.5 million for fiscal year 2014 and $35.6 million for the following year in extra general fund money despite Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration telling the department to hold the line.

"They told us to submit a flat budget. And what you're asking this board to do is override that by $75 million," he said. "I think you need to be crystal clear that's what you're asking. That was not clear in your presentation, at least to me."

To maintain current services, the department would need $1.39 billion from the state general fund. Instead, the district wants $1.43 billion for FY14 and $1.42 billion for FY15.

Full Text: DoE budget recommendation October 2012

CB: There's No Excuse For Hawaii Ed Department's Really Bad Management

read … Board Sends Education Budget to Governor

University President To Address Unhappy Faculty?

HR: University of Hawaii faculty unhappiness with President M.R.C. Greenwood is on the agenda of a Manoa campus faculty senate meeting tomorrow and Greenwood “is tentatively planning” to attend the session, her office said today.

It’s not clear if the faculty will take up a proposed vote of no-confidence in Greenwood, but there is widespread unhappiness among the academic community with her management style, according to the meeting agenda.

The faculty senate’s committee on administration and budget said in a memo yesterday that a “lack of commitment to consultation and shared governance” by Greenwood’s administration has resulted in “the loss of faculty morale, loss of prestige of the University, and perhaps, even loss of respect in our community.”

The memo said the committee voted October 4 “to delay consideration of a Motion of No Confidence” beyond tomorrow’s meeting, then “reconsidered the issue after it was learned that President Greenwood was coming to the Senate meeting.”

“We still believe that the Motion of No Confidence is premature at this time pending conclusion of the ongoing dialogue between the President and the Board of Regents,” the memo said.

ILind: What's Behind the UH Athletics Debacle

read … Premature

HMC Closure Causes Losses, Layoffs at Kaiser

SA: The company reported a $200,000 loss in the second quarter, its most recent earnings statement, reversing gains of $2.8 million in the year-earlier period.

Kaiser said earlier this year the loss was in part due to more West Oahu residents turning to the emergency room at its Moana­lua Medical Center and Clinic in the wake of the December closure of Hawaii Medical Center-West in Ewa.

The company saw a 9.5 percent boost in the average daily number of patients in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2011.

The higher patient volumes following HMC's closure also resulted in greater use of pharmacy, laboratory and diagnostic imaging services, as well as more admissions and patient days, Kaiser said earlier this year.

Increased usage, especially of the emergency room, can result in lower profits for Kaiser when it does not get fully reimbursed for expenditures.

read … Kaiser lays off 20 to try to streamline operations

Omidyar Hassles Ellison over $250 Anchorage Fine

CB: Larry Ellison’s luxury yacht has no boundaries, including, apparently, prohibited nature preserves. 

Some angry Lanai residents say the island’s new billionaire owner dropped anchor in the Hulopoe Bay nature preserve this past weekend, but skipped out before state boating enforcement officers got out there.

State law bans boaters from the preserve. And Lanaians want Ellison to pay the $250 fine — just like some of them have had to. After all, he's worth $41 billion, according to Forbes. (Jealous, Pierre?)

Civil Beat couldn't reach Ellison for comment.

Residents have reported seeing Ellison around the island the past few days. And according to one local, the grass at his properties was being cut rather frantically on Friday — a sign of an impending visit by Lanai's owner. Grass cutting was a sure sign that David Murdock, the billionaire real estate tycoon who sold the island to Ellison in June, was about to touch down….

The yacht was in the bay for about 20 minutes before moving, said Ward.

By the time DLNR’s enforcement officer on Lanai responded, the vessel was outside the conservation zone. The officer radioed the boat captain and gave him a verbal warning not to reenter the nature preserve, said Ward.

Meanwhile: Team Oracle Boat Capsizes Near Golden Gate Bridge

read … 20 Minutes

Honolulu's Sewer Construction Projects Cost Five Times the City's Estimates

HR: Three major sewage construction projects the City & County of Honolulu administration planned to complete for $88 million, actually cost the taxpayers $473 million.

That is five times the cost of the city's initial estimates.

Why were the estimates so far off? Why were the projects so costly? What fund is the administration using to cover the difference?

Taxpayers want to know, but so far, Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration won't give the answers.

Hawaii Reporter's questions posed to the administration last week are so far being ignored.

But even more remarkably, the city administration won't tell City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi the answers either - and she's in charge of overseeing the city budget….

read … Cesspool

Mining is Hawaii’s #1 Growth Industry: Tourism growing at slower rate than rest of Hawaii economy

PBN: Lim said the tourism industry’s contribution to the economy has actually been declining for more than 20 years. He told attendees at the Waikiki 20/20 conference on Tuesday that tourism’s contribution to the economy has been declining since its peak of 30 percent of the total state GDP in 1998 to 17 percent today.

“It’s not that tourism is not growing, it’s just that it’s growing at a slower pace than the rest of the economy,” he said.

In the past 20 years, non-tourism services have been leading the state’s job growth rates.

The fastest-growing industry over the last 20 years is actually mining — coral for jewelry use — which is a small piece of the economy but had 4.7-percent rate of job growth between 1990 and 2010, state economist Eugene Tian told PBN. It’s followed by educational services at 3.5 percent, administration and waste management at 2.6 percent, and management and health care, both at 2.4 percent.

read … Tourism

County Lobbying Group Could Propose Bill to Repeal PLDC

CB: “The amount of emails received in just 72 hours was astounding,” said HSAC President Mel Rapozo. “As a result, at our monthly meeting on Friday (October 12, 2012) HSAC members voted to approve a resolution that mirrors the Kaua‘i County Council’s resolution requesting a repeal of Act 55, which had passed unanimously earlier this month, be submitted to each of Hawai‘i’s four County Councils for approval.” Approval by all four Councils will mean that HSAC will include the proposal in its 2013 Legislative Package, its own unified effort towards a repeal of Act 55.

The Kaua‘i County Council, Hawai‘i County Council, and Maui County Council are expected to approve the HSAC proposal since both the Kaua‘i County Council and Hawai‘i County Council have already unanimously passed resolutions seeking a repeal of Act 55 by the State Legislature. The Maui County Council has a similar resolution making its way through the Council’s Policy Committee, and is expected to pass as well. The Honolulu City Council has not yet placed the issue on a Council meeting agenda.

“The Councils of Kauai, Big Island, and Maui County have heard our communities’ concerns and once the Honolulu City Council has an opportunity to place it on their agenda and review it to their satisfaction, we will know if a repeal will become part of our Legislative Package for the upcoming session,” Rapozo added. The 2013 Legislative Session – a little over 12 weeks away – begins January 16, 2013.

read … Repeal PLDC

Homelessness Tops Agenda at Waikiki 20/20

HNN: "The beginning was Duty Free Shops, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Royal Hawaiian Center, the big Lewers Street redevelopment. You could go on and on," said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association….

"Currently the inventory product that we have is dated and relatively small and doesn't meet those consumer needs," Kyo-ya Co. LLC president Greg Dickhens said. "We need to focus on building bigger products, better guest rooms, better amenities, and servicing those higher rated customers."

"The number one thing is we want to streamline the bus system into Waikiki. We want to create more pedestrian and bicycle access into Waikiki," Egged said.

The conference asked for community input. Waikiki resident Rachel Simmons singled out the homeless situation.

"I actually manage a property that has residents and guests that come to stay with us. That's the number one topic. They can't believe how many poor souls are sleeping on the stoops," she said.

SA: Visitor industry, businesses to formulate plan for state's tourism hub

read … Homelessness

Sovereignty Activists Admit to Crimes Against Hawaiians, Face Federal Felony Sentence

MN: The defendants were associated with Maui-based Hawaiian sovereignty groups Hawaiiloa Foundation, Ko Hawaii Pae Aina and The Registry, and targeted victims through seminars offering to teach participants about Hawaiian history and property rights, according to the indictment.

It alleges the defendants "knowingly devised a scheme to defraud and to obtain money from others by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises."

Oliver and Leatrice Hoy admitted in their plea agreements that the scheme involved marketing a debt assistance program in which they claimed participants could eliminate mortgage, credit card and other debt.

Participants were told that all individuals have an account at the U.S. Treasury that can be accessed through various bonds, promissory notes and other documents, according to Oliver's plea agreement.

"In return for the payment of a 'kokua,' or fee of approximately $1,500 to $10,000, the group prepared bonds and other documents which they claimed could be used to pay off their customers' mortgages and other debts," the court document said.

"John Oliver admitted that during the time of the conspiracy, he and others with the organization accepted money from more than 100 participants totaling $468,000," Tong said.

Hoy admitted that she initially got involved as a participant of the debt program, but later worked for the organization, collecting fees and preparing bonds "she knew were not legitimate and could not be used to pay debts."

Peter Hoy, had also attempted to change his plea to guilty. But, after taking up the motion in court, Seabright ordered a comprehensive evaluation of Hoy "to determine whether he is competent at this time."

read … Two Down, How many to go?

Old Boy Councilmember Caught Lying About Polling Place?

WHT: The complaint is based on Blas’ comments during an Aug. 20 County Council meeting where County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi was reporting on primary election day problems. Blas, speaking from the dais after Kawauchi’s presentation, described how he was standing about 200 feet from a Pahoa polling place that morning and he was “really disappointed” about what he saw.

“You see cars drive in, in and out like a drive-through, and I said, ‘What’s going on down there?’” Blas told the clerk that day. “They said, ‘The poll is closed; we have to come back later on. We don’t know what time.’ A lot of the voters, you know, they have to go to work. So there’s really a lot of people that did not vote in that district down there.”

In all, 13 of Hawaii County’s 40 polling places opened late for the primary, with four opening 45 to 90 minutes late, five opening within 30 minutes and four opening less than five minutes late, according to the state Office of Elections.

But polling place 04-02, Keonepoko Elementary School in Pahoa, was not one of them. It opened promptly at 7 a.m., according to the state report.

read … Retaliation against Kawauchi

Want a UH Job?

SBH News: The UH Manoa Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has initiated the formal search process for the regular appointment of three executive positions: Director and Publisher of UH Press; Dean of the School of Pacific and Asian Studies (SPAS)/Assistant Vice Chancellor for International and Exchange Programs (OIEP); and University Librarian.

The current Director and Publisher of UH Press is retiring at the end of this year, and the Interim Dean of SPAS/Assistant Vice Chancellor for OIEP is retiring next year. The Library is currently being led by an interim appointment. These three searches reflect Manoa's continuing commitment and efforts in moving the University forward in the hiring of deans and directors. Contact: Michele Tom, (808) 956-9396 Executive Search Coordinator, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

read … No job openings for UH concert organizer



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