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Saturday, October 27, 2012
October 27, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:25 PM :: 7152 Views

Audio Interview: Kona Resident--Father of Slain SEAL Killed in 9-11 Attack, Bengazi

Debate: Djou Closer to the Center

Mililani, Kalihi, E Oahu: Talk Story With Charles Djou

Hirono and Hanabusa cut $2.1B from Hawaii Medicare Advantage and Medicare Reimbursements

Hanabusa Backs Effort to Link Indian Tribes to Turkey

Brookings: Honolulu 10th Largest International Airport

Eradication: Who Are the Real Invasives?

Save O’ahu Farmlands Alliance Announces Endorsements

ML&P Faces Delisting from NY Stock Exchange

Armed With Carpenter’s Statement, Democrat Primary Runner-up Sues To Stop Manabat in Ewa

CB: On Wednesday, Rose Martinez filed a complaint in 1st Circuit Court arguing that Chris Manabat's name should be taken off the Nov. 6 general election ballot and replaced with her name.

Martinez, who took 20 percent of the primary vote compared with 27 percent for Manabat, charges that Manabat was not a certified member of the Democratic Party of Hawaii as of June 6, something required by state law and the rules of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

The plaintiff has included an affidavit in her complaint from Party Chairman Dante Carpenter affirming that Manabat only applied for membership on June 7….

Martinez, 54, complained to the state Election's Office and to the Democratic Party about Manabat's status in mid-June and not long after the primary. But the Elections Office decided to keep Manabat on the ballot and the party decided not to pursue legal action.

The complaint states "Manabat was not qualified to be on the ballot during the primary election and he therefore should not have been on the ballot at all." The complaint asks for new ballots to be printed and distributed to voters.

Barry Sooalo, Martinez's attorney, said in a statement Wednesday, "this is a serious issue for candidates who meet the party's internal eligibility requirement, and the party itself who should have a say in who runs as Democrats in future elections."…

Manabat is the son of state Rep. Rida Cabanilla, 59, who is running for re-election to represent District 41 (Ewa Beach, West Loch Estates). Her Republican opponent is Adam Reeder, 36.

Best Comment: “Yet another reason to have voters declare their party when registering to vote.”

read … Stop Manabat

School Board Member Criticized over Defense of Accused Child Molester

SA: De Lima is representing John Ridgely Tucker, 56, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. Tucker, who is being held without bail, is accused of six counts of producing child pornography.

Honolulu resident Marilyn Vrasa, who described herself as a retired teacher but not with the state Department of Education, said De Lima's decision to represent Tucker calls into question his priorities.

Vrasa said she does not know De Lima and has had no dealings with him, but was appalled to learn that the vice chairman of the school board was defending a man accused of child pornography.

"His first priority under the BOE charter is to the children of the whole state of Hawaii," Vrasa said. "His vision is clouded. His first duty is to the children of Hawaii. He cannot, in good conscience, continue as a member of the board."

Related: Alleged Big Island Child Molester Arrested: Runs Gay-Friendly Bed & Breakfast

HTH: Man pleads not guilty to child porn

ex-Rep Joe Bertram: Bertram tied to second molester: House Speaker Calvin Say defends

Rep Rida Cabanilla 2010: Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

(Note: Unlike DeLima, Joe Bertram and Rida Cabanilla are not attorneys and are not performing a required function within the justice system.)

read … Molester Defense?

Why Linda Lingle Might Just Win

WS: Former Republican governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii might win one of the major upsets in the U.S. Senate 2012 elections…. Polling is difficult in this state, and often inaccurate, but the few recent published polls indicate Hirono is well ahead, perhaps by double digits. Lingle has released her own internal poll that asserts she is only 4 points behind Hirono (with Hirono under 50 percent). The public release of a candidate’s own poll just before an election is often not reliable information, so skepticism is in order. On the other hand, Lingle is a unique political figure in this state, and was a very popular two-term governor who only recently retired.

I suspect that Lingle is actually trailing Mazie Hirono by a number of points, but that no candidate is above 50 percent. Lingle’s secret political weapon is her popularity among native Hawaiian voters who make up about 25 percent of the electorate. (She also defeated Hirono in her first race for governor.)

Note: The Mainland ‘Falls Back’ 1 hr on Nov 2 so on Election Day HST will be 5 hrs behind EST, not 6.

read …Why Linda Lingle Might Just Win

Star-Advertiser Ties Hanabusa to Hated Obamacare Program

SA: Hanabusa would preserve the Affordable Care Act, a hard-won health care reform plan that will gain full force in 2014. Already, millions of American are benefiting from ACA, including those with pre-existing conditions and those who can remain on their parent's health insurance until age 26.

Djou has said he would vote to repeal Obamacare — as Republicans in the House have done 33 times, for purely political reasons — because it does not contain medical malpractice liability reform or the ability to sell insurance policies across state lines. But these changes wouldn't be nearly enough to reform a health care system whose costs are spiraling out of control while leaving 48 million people uninsured. And neither Djou nor the GOP offer a credible, comprehensive alternative. 

Hanabusa also favors repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers while supporting President Barack Obama's so-called "balanced approach" to cut the federal deficit by $4 trillion through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. This approach, while criticized by some for its fiscal assumptions, is based in part on actions already taken by Obama and Congress. It's a realistic plan. Djou, who made his refusal to vote for any tax increase a hallmark of his previous campaigns, would extend the Bush-era tax cuts unless Congress comes up with a comprehensive solution as articulated by the Simpson- Bowles commission.

Djou also favors a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, line-item veto authority for the president, and extending the moratorium on earmarks. These are all fine talking points for a political speech. However, with the exception of the earmark ban — a dubious proposition that simply turns over spending decisions to the White House — it's highly unlikely that these ideas will ever come to pass.


More Reality:

read … A bunch of reasons to vote for Djou 

HART Burns $77.4M Buying Steel Rails

PBN: The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is spending $77.4 million to purchase 8,735 tons of steel for Honolulu’s controversial elevated-rail mass-transit project, and the first 3,000 tons of steel track are expected to arrive here in early November even though work on the system has been halted following a recent Supreme Court ruling.

All of the rail is expected to arrive sometime in December or January….

“It’s unwise,” Cayetano said about buying the rail. “They will say it’s cheaper, but who can tell the future? The taxpayer shouldn’t be paying for it.”

Cayetano, who has vowed to kill the project if he is elected mayor on Nov. 6, pointed to a recent report by the Jacobs Engineering Group that he said was critical of HART buying materials for rail so far ahead of time. He said the city is just trying to boost the cost of the project now so people don’t believe there is any turning back on building rail.

A $195 million contract with Kiewit Building Group and Albert C. Kobayashi Inc. requires 160 miles of rail, which is enough for two train tracks, an electric third rail to power the system, turnouts along the route and track for the maintenance and operations yard. That contract includes building the rail yard near Leeward Community College.

The rail has been forged to fit in place along the route, HART spokesman Scott Ishikawa said.

When asked what the city would do with the rail if the project was scrapped, HART officials said in an email: “If it comes to that point, we would work with the contractor in selling the rail material. The steel rail being used is the industry standard for other transit systems.”

During the delays and throughout construction of the project, HART has places to store the rail, Garrido said. It will be stored where the maintenance and operations yard will be built, near Leeward Community College, and at the West Kalaeoloa Business Park

read … Fait Accompli

Libel? Cayetano Court Victory ‘Highly Unlikely’

PBN: …given our country’s liberal freedoms of speech imbedded in the First Amendment, a black-and-white courtroom victory is highly unlikely.

And, quite frankly, we think that’s a good thing.

The First Amendment is designed to support the kind of speech — especially political speech — we don’t like, or there would be no need to protect it. Any weakening of such protection could have a chilling effect on the civil discourse — as messy as it sometimes is — that allows our democracy to continue to operate.

HPR: The Conversation (10/126): Is the Ben mightier than the sword?

read … Free Speech

Armed With $77M, Abercrombie Health Exchange Takes Secret Bids on Secret Contracts

PBN: Hawaii Health Connector officials are interviewing potential vendors for information-technology services and communications, public relations and public outreach.

But they aren’t saying who is bidding on the work, or how much the contracts will be worth.

Connector officials said they also plan to hire an undetermined number of employees to create and operate the online system. The local connector has a 15-member board, a few employees and $77 million in federal grants….

The connector has to be up and running by Oct. 1, 2013, but health insurance companies that opt to participate will have to get their plans qualified with the state before then, Hughes said.

related: Abercrombie Defensive as HMSA Awards itself 83,000 New Customers

read … Health Connector prepares to hire contractors

Air Leaks, Roof Caves in at UH Bio Safety Lab

HNN: The so-called "level three lab" is capable of dealing with diseases like dengue fever and tuberculosis.

UH officials said it was closed for "planned maintenance" June 17 and has not opened for more than four months since then because of numerous problems.

"I'm not particularly happy about the speed with which this is happening either, because people's research programs have been put on hold," said UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple, who oversees the lab, when he briefed UH Regents about the situation Oct. 18.

While medical school officials estimate the loss in grant money from postponed or canceled research projects to be $159,000 so far, they are hopeful the final numbers will be lower….

the amount of loses could increase if the lab remains closed for a longer period and if certain lucrative projects don't get under way because of the difficulties.

"The lab is not certified right now," said Apple, noting the lab is slowly working its way through a "rigorous" certification process, with many restrictions and requirements. "It's probably the reason that there's never been a single person injured outside of a BSL3 lab anywhere in the country, because they are incredibly rigorous, and we're not passing them right now."

On July 5, the UH spent about $11,000 to have its lab tested by consultant World BioHazTec, which found the lab failed several federal requirements.

One of the biggest problems: the lab's ventilation system wasn't preventing air from escaping out of the lab and some doors and other fixtures were not sealed properly….

At one point, part of the lab's ceiling caved in when officials tried to adjust the lab for pressure, sources said.

All these difficulties are happening as the UH decides whether to build a much larger bio-safety lab on top of a parking lot in Kalaeloa.

Construction of the $47.5 million facility would be paid for with $32.5 million in federal money approved in 2005 and another $15 million in state funds released by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in September. Apple said the UH must secure a 30-year $1-a-year lease from the National Guard for its site in Kalaeloa by December or it will lose the federal funds for the project. A final environmental assessment is due Nov. 8, Apple said.

SA: More isle TB cases come up resistant to drugs

read … Potential research loss from UH lab problems could reach $159K

Apple: Wonder Blunder Equivalent of ‘Bake Sale Gone Awry’

HR: “The equivalent of an academic bake sale” … that’s gone "awry.”

That was the comparison that University of Hawaii Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple made earlier this week at a campus forum after a student asked him to explain how the University was defrauded out of $200,000.

Apple --Top Issues identified by Faculty and Students: Facilities, Safety, Red Tape, Academic Rigor, Sustainability

Apple -- My Top Issues: Student Passion, Research, Hawaiian Place of Learning

23:00 ‘National Flagship Designation’ for UH Language Programs

34:00 Commits to Hamilton Library open 24 hrs during finals

52:00 Stevie Wonder Question My over-arching goal is to get this behind us. (Applause) It was people trying to do the right thing, trying to generate some money. We have an underfunded athletic department and this was the equivalent of an academic bake sale that went awry. We need to get it behind us. Imua.

VIDEO: Chancellor Campus-Wide Conversation

read … Bake Sale

UH President spends from lucrative donor accounts

KHON: What the year's worth of expense reports reveal is nearly $300,000 of donated money spent from the UH Foundation's “UH President’s Advancement Funds.” This is different money than university funds that come from student tuition or the state -- from that side she's paid a salary of $425,000 a year, $5,000 a month in housing, nearly $4,000 a year for a car allowance and a $150,000 dollar protocol fund.
This separate spending from about five different UH Foundation sources shows things like:

  • nearly $1,000 for Dalai Lama tickets;
  • thousands on a dinner to welcome the new Manoa chancellor;
  • thousands in lei and gifts;
  • thousands labeled "telephone expense";
  • even down to a $10 parking tab the foundation picked up.
  • lots of travel included a nearly $23,000 tab for a Vietnam-Okinawa-DC trip, and 5,000 for a "disaster risk recovery" trip to Sendai and DC.

read … Expensive

Tom Berg Opens Up

KITV: Whether you're a fan or a critic, there's no denying District 1 Councilman Tom Berg goes to bat for his constituents on Oahu's Leeward Coast since winning a special election in December of 2010.

"Everyone who's watched the video on this knows I wasn't intoxicated," Berg says of the confrontation. "Rather than focusing on Berg's behavior, I wish the media would focus on the message (and) what made me snap."

Through all of his ups and downs on the council, Berg has maintained a high level of support in his district, which stretches from Ewa Beach to Makua. Berg finished second in the Aug. 11 primary with 27.2 percent of the vote. Former Republican State Rep. Kymberly Pine, Berg's challenger in next month's general election, finished 6.5 points ahead of the councilman.

Whether he wins re-election or loses to Pine, Berg is satisfied his time on the council has born useful fruit. Berg has authored and passed 19 resolutions, forced the transit authority to cut its public relations budget, and fought for the protection of iwi kupuna – a result of his background in anthropology at the University of South Dakota.

"Just like a six-pack drinker at a picnic table, what would make you get mad at government," Berg asks rhetorically. "That's me… when government doesn't disclose, is not transparent (and) has no accountability."

read … Tom Berg

Why the Plastic Bag Ban Makes No Sense

BIN: To better understand this, let’s take a brief trip back to the Bay Area. Specifically, to glance at the state of California’s 2008 report on solid waste. The report estimated that plastic bags accounted for a whopping 0.3% of the state’s solid waste stream. By comparison, the remainder of plastic products (including garbage bags, films and containers) accounted for roughly 30 times more junk, measuring in at over 9% of the state’s refuse.

Banning plastic bags here in Hawaii may be less about “making a difference” and more about fulfilling a false sense of accomplishment.

If the Hawaii County Council were really focused on sustainability and a clean environment, they would have kept their attention on more potent issues.

Call them the “Bag Boys” (or “Bag Ladies” if you want gender-precision.)

It’s an appropriate term when describing the quasi-law enforcement duties the DEM takes on once the bag ban takes effect in January of next year.

After a one year grace period where plastic bags must be sold if they are to be used at checkout, it will be up to the director of the DEM (or his/her appointed crusaders) to enforce the rules with local businesses.

If a proprietor is caught peddling contraband packaging, they will first be issued a warning. If repeat offenses occur, the owner will face fines that steadily increase from $250 per day to $1,000 per day for each recurring violation.

How the DEM would determine the number of violations at say, a liquor store without staking out the parking lot is unclear. Short of a sudden infusion of federally-funded aerial drones, enforcement is going to be sparse, and very selective.

read … Why the Plastic Bag Ban Makes No Sense

Play puts new saint's acerbic side on display

SA: In "November's Song" the Franciscan nun is often portrayed as sarcastic, demanding and strong-willed when it came to fighting to improve conditions for Hawaii's outcast victims of leprosy, director Modesto Cordero said.

The play will be presented Nov. 16 and 17 at Sacred Hearts Academy in Kaimuki….

"We wanted to portray all her faces as a woman. Yes, she's a saint, but we want people to see how she (really) was. The sisters have been advising us and really approving it," Cordero said Oct. 20 in an interview.

The play is named for the month in which many milestones occurred in Cope's life, including her entering a convent in 1862, arriving in Hawaii with six sisters in 1883 and sailing from Oahu to Kalaupapa in 1888.

In a monologue in the play, Cope says, "November's song … is always a joyful one, even when it brings death or loneliness or ordeals of the spirit. November's song is promise: the coming birth of Christ, and the new birth for all of us who labor in his name among the poor and the despairing, the sick, the dying."

The action is interspersed with live Hawaiian music, hula and chants that Cordero uses to enliven the production with more local flavor, he said.

The play was written in 1983 by George Herman to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of St. Francis, Cope's religious order, to Hawaii.

There are 20 members in the cast, with Eva Andrade in the lead role of Cope.

"This is one of the most exciting and humbling opportunities to portray such an awesome woman," Andrade said. As executive director of Hawaii Family Forum, and a diocese policy spokes­woman, she said she can identify with Cope in her "desire to help those who had no voice."

Related: A Song of Pilgrimage and Exile Mother Marianne’s modern biographers

read … November’s Song

After Six Years, ‘Experts’ Finally Decide Killer is Crazy, No Prison for Him

SA: Higa, 46, fatally beat 21-year-old Shantel Figue­roa with a hammer Feb. 4, 2006, at his farm after he tried to shoot her but his rifle misfired.

He believed Figue­roa was cheating on him, and just before the killing, the two had argued at Figue­roa's aunt's house. After he bludgeoned Figue­roa, Higa called the aunt to tell her what he did before stabbing himself in the abdomen with a knife.

The three experts on a fourth panel the court appointed to determine whether Higa had the ability to distinguish right from wrong and to follow the law at the time he killed Figue­roa also were split in their opinions, with one expert finding him criminally responsible and two finding him not responsible. (They guy confesses and stabs himself, but can’t tell right from wrong?)

On Friday, following a brief nonjury trial, Circuit Judge Michael Wilson found that Higa was suffering from a mental disease, defect or disorder when he killed Figue­roa, and acquitted him of murder. Wilson noted that the mental health experts had determined that Higa was mildly mentally retarded and had been suffering from long-term brain damage and seizures.

Wilson also found Higa a danger to himself and others and committed him to the Hawaii State Hospital.

SB, 2007: He apparently had been feeling helpless for months because of his girlfriend's alleged infidelity

read … About a future College Student

Lehman lost $85M on Superferry

WM: Lehman is the founder and chairman of J.F. Lehman & Company, a private equity firm. He also sits on several corporate boards.

Lehman invested in a government-backed “Superferry” in Hawaii — a business that ultimately failed, but not before boosting the standing of Austal USA, an Alabama shipbuilder that constructed the ferry service’s ships. Austal USA’s rising fortunes in turn benefited international defense giant BAE Systems, which then bought up shipyards owned by Lehman in order to work more closely with Austal USA.

When all was said and done, the roundtrip deal helped net Lehman’s firm a reported $180 million. And besides that, Lehman continues to own shipyards that do lucrative maintenance work for the Navy. Even leaving aside the intricate ferry-and-shipyard series of deals, Lehman still stands a decent chance of profiting from the naval buildup he is helping to plan.

Lehman, through a Romney campaign aide, calls any suggestions that he benefited from shipbuilding operations “kind of amusing.” Lehman says he lost enormous sums of money on the Superferry deal, rather than earning it.

But Ryan Sibley — an editor at the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog Sunlight Foundation who has closely tracked the former Navy Secretary’s investments — says that ”Lehman’s involvement with the Superferry shows that he is no stranger to using personal connections to influence costly decisions.”

Lehman was the chairman of Hawaii Superferry, a transportation startup based in Honolulu that briefly provided passenger service between the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Maui. It relied on a new type of fast catamaran ferry built by Austal USA, a shipbuilder in Alabama specializing in speedy aluminum vessels.

Founded in 2003, Hawaii Superferry secured a $136-million loan from the Maritime Administration, a federal agency that oversees sea transportation. Lehman’s own equity firm, the controlling private investor, put $85 million into company. Hawaii Superferry also benefited from $40 million in port enhancements paid for by the state of Hawaii.

The ferry company bought two ships from Austal USA, each more than 300 feet in length and capable of carrying hundreds of passengers plus their cars at speeds in excess of 30 knots. The vessels cost $105 million apiece.

The first ferry entered service in mid-2007. But with low ticket prices and soft demand, the service was a money-loser. The company was also mired in controversy over the environmental impact of its facilities. In 2009 Hawaii Superferry declared bankruptcy. Lehman reportedly lost his entire $85 million investment, and says his total losses were much, much greater than that.

“The two Hawaii Superferrys that we built — on time, and on budget — were operated in commercial service, with no government customers,” Lehman tells Danger Room. “We were put out of service by the chicanery of the State Supreme Court and we lost over $300 million.”

read … A Bunch of Conspiracy Theories Which Ignore the Fact that Protesters, not lack of Profit, Shut Down Superferry

Maui County Tries to Shut Testifiers out of LUC Meeting

MN: Land Use Commission Chief Clerk Riley Hakoda said he couldn't recall an example of a similar request being granted.

“I cannot think of a time when the chair has shut out testifiers," he said. "In general, managing testimony all depends on the size of the crowd. If there's a lot of people signed up, there is a time limit, and they're informed to keep to the matter at hand. But it's not done with an iron fist."

read … Piilani Promenade

Democrat Operatives Sponsor Ag Park

SA: The Kunia Ag Park was organized last year by the nonprofit Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, an offshoot of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.

Today the land is producing tomatoes, peanuts, eggplant, kale, papaya, long beans, carrots, taro and other fruits and vegetables. Many more are growing, including avocado, pineapple, dragon fruit, breadfruit, lemon, lettuce, sapote, longan, yam, banana, tangerine, parsley, mango, lilikoi and sugar cane.

“It’s exciting,” said Dean Oki­moto, a Wai­ma­nalo farmer and Hawaii Agricultural Foundation board member. “We are proud to be growing new farmers.”

Okimoto led a ceremony Friday attended by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye and other local government officials in a tractor garage on the site once owned by Campbell Estate.

Question: How many politicians does it take to till a field?

read … Creating Icons and Captives



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