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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
November 21, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:57 PM :: 5236 Views

Joe Souki teams up with Republicans, Has Votes to be New House Speaker

Election Commission to Evaluate Performance of Scott Nago

For Hawaii, Fiscal Cliff Means Automatic State Tax Hikes, Massive Defense Layoffs

Lingle: Not Done Fighting

PLDC Creator Donovan Dela Cruz Suddenly Open to Abolishing Agency

SA: "We're not talking about projects; we're talking about organization. So the fact that the Public Land Development Corp. has not been able to organize, has not been able to develop an operational strategy is disturbing," said Dela Cruz (D, Wheeler-Wahiawa-Scho­field).

Asked whether he would call for a repeal, the senator said, "I think at this point, until they can prove that this idea can be properly implemented, then maybe that has to be put on the table."

William Aila, the DLNR director, who also serves on the PLDC's board, said the Abercrombie administration and the PLDC would like the opportunity to work with all parties to try to resolve concerns. "I don't think that a repeal is necessary at this point," he said.

Other sources, speaking privately, say that overwhelming opposition to the PLDC from environmentalists and from some Native Hawaiian and labor interests has caused the administration to reconsider and "slow down" implementation. Rather than adopt the new draft of the PLDC's administrative rules or take the rules out for additional public hearings on the neighbor islands, the PLDC and the administration will likely meet with those who have been critical of the rules process and the law.

Sources also say that Dela Cruz and other lawmakers contributed to the public skepticism about the PLDC by not doing enough to inform people about the concept when the idea moved through the Legislature in 2011.

"The PLDC's purpose is to fund new schools, recreational facilities and operations by using public lands for public purposes that otherwise may not have had sufficient funding," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. "The PLDC was drafted by the Legislature in order to address these longstanding issues. If legislators have received concerns and plan to address it this upcoming session, then that is their prerogative and obligation.

"At the end of the day, it is the creation of the Legislature and the Legislature can decide its future."

read … Now that Rail is going thru, the Old Boys can just use TOD

Mainland Gay Activists Take Aim at Hawaii

Politico: Gay activists are preparing to quickly use the momentum from this year’s election to try to legalize marriage in at least seven new states and force Congress and the president to make major changes in discrimination laws.

Advocates have identified Oregon, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, Colorado, Hawaii and New Jersey as states where they believe that as early as 2014 they’ll see gay marriage legalized through ballot measures, court decisions or state legislative action….

Inspired by post-election conversations in Congress on immigration reform, gay leaders believe there’s hope on passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as well as succeeding in getting President Barack Obama’s signature on a long-sought executive order to ban discrimination among government contractors. Changes in military benefits, tax measures and health care provisions are also in their sights….

But now that they have, they’ve set bigger goals in preliminary strategy conversations, and more are expected for the end of the month, when many of them gather in Long Beach, Calif. for the international leaders conference of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund….

Much of that strategy will be shaped by next Monday, when the Supreme Court announces which cases to hear — even though any decisions wouldn’t be expected until the end of its term in June….

Meanwhile, advocates are looking at putting a gay marriage referendum on the ballot in Oregon in 2014. But given the cost involved in any referendum effort, they’d prefer to go either the route of state-level court decisions in Rhode Island, Illinois, Delaware and Hawaii, where they’re optimistic about judicial opinions. Some have their eyes on Nevada as well.

Reality: Broken Trust Gang finally Imposes Gay Unions on Hawaii

Gayopolis: Hawaii, USA: Could State Be Next for Marriage Equality?

CB: Is Hawaii Next for Gay Marriage? Local Gay Rights Advocates Say Yes

Harassed by Aggressive Homosexuals, San Francisco lawmakers vote 6-5 to ban public nudity

Elmo actor Kevin Clash resigns amid Homosexual child molestation allegations

read … Flown Here

Secret School Bus Study to Be Released December 4

SA: A consultant's report examining ballooning costs of public school bus service was described as "comprehensive" Tuesday, but not made public because state officials said they needed more time to review it.

Officials said the report, which cost taxpayers $109,000, would be released by the Board of Education's next meeting Dec. 4, when proposed solutions for student transportation will be discussed….

A "full review" is necessary because of procurement issues and potential litigation with school bus contractors, she said….

The Star-Advertiser has filed an open-records request for an unredacted copy of the report.

The study, which is about 70 pages long, includes an in-depth analysis of student transportation services and recommendations about what the state should do to bring down school bus costs, board Chairman Don Hor­ner said.

"The report was comprehensive and in my opinion well done," he said. "There is substantial work that needs to be done."

Horner did not comment on the conclusions in the report.

But at a board meeting Tuesday afternoon, he did say there is no doubt the report will be made public.

"We've got to have a chance to have the lawyers look through it," he said, adding that the report had some "very strong recommendations."

"We've got a really clear path forward," he said.

read … Clear Path Forward

Federal Government to Spend $1.5 Billion on Hawaii Rail Project Currently in Litigation

Reason: Fiscal cliff? What fiscal cliff? America’s most senior senator, Daniel Inouye, just scored $1.5 billion for a high-speed rail project in his home state of Hawaii….

Preventing “deeply destructive” [non] cuts from happening’s next on Washington’s agenda.

read … Litigation

TOD Includes Special Taxes

CB: Some options mentioned in the plan include special taxes, bonds and private financing. There are also incentives for developers, such as tax increment financing.

Transit oriented development — or TOD as its commonly known — has been a major selling point for rail. The idea is to develop the areas around the project’s 21 stations to make them more dense and pedestrian friendly.

For a condensed 12-page version of the “Celebrate Waipahu” TOD plan, click here. If you want more specifics, there’s this 112-page version.

read … Waipahu’s Future Sketched Out Along the Tracks

Biofuel Contract $200/Barrel

Richard Ha: People cannot take continuously rising electricity rates. The Consumer Advocate should be on our side.

Oahu rate payers will pay for the bulk of the rate subsidy. The purchase price of the biofuel will be close to $200 per barrel and the contract will last for 20 years.

We are opposed to the Aina Koa Pono biofuel purchase proposal, it will raise electricity rates. We want lower rates.

Now we need to concentrate on writing letters to the Public Utilities Commission explaining how our families, our businesses, and our communities which are hurt by rising electricity prices.

The PUC will make the final decision. We have until Nov. 30 to submit letters to the PUC. You are the most effective person to tell your story.

You can email testimony to:

PUC Docket #2012-0185

Application for approval of biofuel supply contract with Aina Koa Pono - Ka’u LLC

read … Geothermal

Racial appeal to Japanese from Caldwell was improper, disrespectful

Shapiro: In the last week before the election, Mayor-elect Kirk Caldwell's campaign mailed out a flier that said, "Please join Senator Daniel K. Ino­uye and us in supporting Kirk Caldwell."

It was signed by more than 50 prominent members of the local Japa­nese-American community such as Breene Hari­moto, Bert Koba­ya­shi Jr., Fujio Matsuda, Barbara Tanabe and Arthur and Ruth Ushi­jima.

On the reverse side was a picture of Caldwell with his Japa­nese-American wife, banker Donna Tanoue.

In one household with four registered voters, this flier was sent only to the one voter who had a Japa­nese surname by marriage….

It raises an interesting question that Barbara Tanabe was a signatory to the Caldwell mailer; she's a public relations executive who represented Pacific Resource Partnership in its $3 millioncampaignto support Caldwell by attacking Cayetano.

Her foot in both the PRP effort and Caldwell campaign would seem to bend — if not break — campaign spending rules that disallow collaboration between independent expenditure groups such as PRP and candidates.

How they did it: “Surname Ethnicity (~85% coded)”

read … Ethnic Vote

Legislature, Ethics Commission at odds

ILInd: It’s too easy to get cynical about the intentions of public officials and special interests, and exasperated with the shortcomings of an under-resourced ethics commission. With communication between the commission and legislature strained by recent clashes over the application of ethics rules, it’s hard to see them developing a better working relationship in time to pursue any substantial and constructive changes in the upcoming 2013 legislative session.

Perhaps this is one of those times when leadership will have to come from elsewhere in the community.

Who’s ready to step up?

read … Why Are Ethics So Tough To Come By In Government?

PRP Hawaii/Hawaii Carpenters Union Files Motion to Move Libel Case Filed by Cayetano to Federal Court

HR: Pacific Resource Partnership, also known as the Hawaii Carpenters Union Market Recovery Fund, has filed a motion in U.S. District Court to transfer the libel and slander case filed against them by former Gov. Ben Cayetano from state to federal court. The 11-page motion, filed November 19, argues the case is intertwined with labor contracts that are governed by the Labor Management Relations Act.

Cayetano filed the lawsuit against the Carpenters Union, PRP Hawaii, its director John White, its board members and advertising agency after PRP spent $3 million on attack ads and push polls trying to ensure Cayetano was not elected mayor.

Cayetano may oppose the motion to transfer the case from state to federal court. He said Tuesday that he was still reviewing the case.

LINK: Complaint against PRP

LINK: PRP Hawaii request transfer to federal court

LINK: Carpenters Union Contract

read … Libel?

TV Stations Made Millions from Campaigns

CB: KHON2 — the local Fox News affiliate — made at least $3 million from campaign advertising. Many campaign spots air during local news broadcasts.

Hawaii News Now — a three-station venture that includes KHNL, KGMB and KFVE — collected at least $4.8 million….

In the end, local TV stations took in more than $13.8 million over the election season, a period that ran from about January — when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ran it's first pro-Lingle ads — through the Nov. 6 election.

read … $13.8M

Kakaako: Rental vs Ownership?

HNN: One of the bidders, Forest City Hawaii said it wants to build 800, mid-priced rental apartments for the 690 Pohukaina high rise project.

The company said that rentals -- and not more luxury condos -- are what local people need.

"Forest City believes we can put local people here in Kakaako," said Jon Wallenstrom, Forest City Hawaii's president.

"There's nobody from California or Japan that's going to buy one of our units. These are rental units."

Forest City says rents will go from $1,700 a month for one-bedroom units to $2,500 a month for three-bedroom units.

Rival Lend Lease, however, says it wants to develop condos to sell. It says most people would rather buy than pay $1,700 a month in rent.

"There isn't really demand for rentals at that income level," said Richard Hawes, Lend Lease executive vice president.

"We felt we would be better served by focusing on a for-sale approach."

Lend Lease's plan calls for one-bedroom condos priced from $286,000 to larger units at $420,000.

SA: Kakaako tower contenders say lower height acceptable

read … Rental vs Ownership?

Kahuku: Rental vs Ownership?

CB: “Continental Pacific’s main goal has been and continues to be providing ownership to village residents while simultaneously maintaining the character and integrity of the existing village culture,” the company says on its website.

Continental Pacific says in documents that plans for the luxury homes were scrapped after the city required it to do an expensive environmental impact statement. That meant it had to raise the prices because the original deal to sell the lots to tenants for $75,000 is no longer viable.

Continental Pacific now says it intends to offer the lots to residents for $150,000, though no official offer letter exists, before putting the lots on the open market.

However, in letters to tenants the company says the lots are valued at between $250,000 and $350,000.

That is causing residents to worry that the company is working to get them out of their homes so that Continental Pacific can fetch a higher price for the properties….

In April, the Honolulu City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the city to buy the land….

The City Council's resolution is meaningless unless the mayor acts on it. Mayor Peter Carlisle told Civil Beat that he has no intention to do so.

read … VIDEO: Kahuku Residents Fight To Save Homes From Developer

Fatal injuries rank high, especially for young people, a study finds

SA: The leading cause of death for young people in Hawaii is from such nonmedical injuries as motor vehicle accidents, suicides, drownings and drug poisonings, according to a new state Department of Health study.

State officials said the study shows accidents, suicides and homicides take the lives of more Hawaii residents ages 1-39 than all other causes of death combined, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Among residents of all ages, injuries are the third leading cause of death, with the greatest contribution coming from suicides, falls, drug poisonings, motor vehicle crashes and ocean drownings.

Health officials said the report, released by the Health Department and Injury Prevention Advisory Committee, includes the most comprehensive data available on fatal and nonfatal injuries in Hawaii since 2006. The statistics were released in conjunction with a five-year plan to reduce and prevent serious injuries, according to the state's news release.

LINK: Injuries in Hawaii, 2007-2011 , Hawaii Injury Prevention Plan 2012-2017

Related: Highest suicide rate in US: Hawaii DoE highschoolers

read … Suicide

Foreign Students: UH Tuition Increase Kills Economic Opportunity

SA: While foreign students' enrollment in the United States has grown from 572,509 in the 2003-2004 school year to 764,495, the number has slipped from 4,768 to the current year's 4,446 total at Hawaii's five colleges with the most foreign students.

At UH-Manoa alone, the number of foreign students has declined from 1,657 in 2003-2004 to 1,560 in 2011 and 1,390 in the current school year.

The economic reward is significant. A report last week by the Institute of International Education estimates that more than 70 percent of all foreign students receive the majority of their funds from sources outside of the U.S., including personal and family sources and their home country governments or universities.

International students typically pay full out-of-state tuition, which has nearly doubled at UH-Manoa since 2006-2007 to $23,232 annually.

The report indicates that foreign students contributed $107 million to Hawaii's economy in the current academic year, down from $115 million the previous year.

UH should line up with universities that Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor at IIE, says "really are starting to realize the tuition from international students makes it possible for them to continue offering scholarships and financial aid to domestic students."

More than one-fourth of the foreign students at U.S. campuses are from China, where their number has grown from 157,558 to 194,029 students from the previous school year.

read … Foreign students in Hawaii good for all

Jones Act Fail: Military Shuts Out US Owned Ships

NYT: It began in the mid-1990s as a way to boost America's vanishing international shipping business. But an obscure program to subsidize the shipment of U.S. military cargo around the world has become something quite different: a $2 billion operation that, paradoxically, is dominated by a handful of shipping giants all owned overseas.

Sixty ships get millions from the government for hauling tanks, Humvees, fuel, munitions and other equipment across the seas. The vast majority of the ships — at least 45 — fly the U.S. flag but are owned by foreign parent companies like Maersk, a Danish shipping company that commands almost half the fleet, records show.

With government financing up for renewal in Congress for another decade, the program's foreign flavor has set off a debate about its future and, more broadly, about the volatile issue of foreign ownership in U.S. industry.

"Somewhere along the way, the purpose of this program has gone off track," said Philip J. Shapiro, who owns a Long Island shipping company with a single ship in the program. "It's effectively shut out American companies."

The program began in 1996, growing out of the Persian Gulf war five years earlier. The U.S. had to rely on nearly 300 foreign-flagged ships during the war, leading to the realization that the U.S.-flagged maritime fleet — which boasted some 2,000 ships in the World War II era — was essentially disappearing from international waters.

In contrast, more than 90 percent of military cargo in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq since 2009 has traveled on U.S. commercial ships under the program, officials said, and the United States has become less dependent on foreign-flagged ships….

read … Jones Who?

Maui Time Editor Arrested wile Filming Traffic Stops

MT: This morning the Maui Police Department arrested Thomas Russo, MauiTime’s publisher and owner, after Russo began filming MPD officers on Haleakala Highway during a massive series of traffic stops involving five or six police cars. Maui PD charged Russo with interfering with a government operation, harassment and resisting arrest.

“I stopped to find out why it was so important to back up traffic for miles,” Russo said after being released. “Social media was blowing up my phone, asking what was going on there. I wanted a report from the scene. I was arrested for filming and all other charges from the MPD are ridiculous. The police chose to arrest me in a direct attempt to stop the documenting of their activities.”

Russo said he walked up to an officer on the side of Haleakala Highway and asked him what was going on. The officer told Russo that they were looking for “traffic violations.” Russo then repeatedly asked the officer what gave them the right to back up traffic on a busy morning clear to Hali’imaile.

Russo said a second officer then told him that he was “obstructing” a traffic stop, in contradiction to the first officer who merely told him to “stay on the side.” Russo says he repeatedly asked the officers why they’re conducting all these traffic stops on such a busy morning.

Maui News: Officers had pulled over a vehicle when Russo stopped behind the vehicle and began videotaping the traffic stop at about 9:20 a.m. Police said the two occupants of the stopped vehicle were offended by the videotaping and officers told Russo multiple times to leave the area. He refused and was arrested, police said. While being handcuffed, Russo tried to pull away from officers, police said.

read … One side of the story

Hawaii ERS seeks private equity consultant, global custodian

Altius Associates was hired as the pension fund's first private equity consultant in February and is invited to rebid. Mr. Machida said the board decided to see what else is available and that there were no performance issues with Altius. The pension plan has a 7% allocation to private equity.

Northern Trust currently provides global custody and securities lending services for the pension fund and is invited to rebid. Its contract expires on March 31.

The pension fund is also looking for a consultant to review and evaluate procedures to establish an internal audit function within the system.

The RFPs are available on the pension fund's procurement website. The custodian RFP is due Dec. 4; audit RFP, Dec. 14; and private equity consultant RFP, Dec. 19.

read … Pension




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