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Thursday, November 22, 2012
November 22, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:29 PM :: 7016 Views

The hidden story of the third Thanksgiving: 1623--giving thanks for freedom

Greenwood: I’ve Been too Busy to Read Senate Accountability Report

NOAA announces rules to protect false killer whales off Hawaii

Art: Profitable Nonprofits Generate $159M

Calling all Cronies: OHA Announces December Cash Giveaways

Five Year Plan: Hawaii County Energy Sustainability Program

Marcus Oshiro to Quit House, Join Caldwell Admin?

CB: Under a Speaker Souki, Marcus Oshiro, a Say loyalist, is likely out as Finance chairman. Word around town is that he may resign and go to work for a former colleague, Kirk Caldwell, as the Honolulu mayor-elect builds a Cabinet. Others may jump ship, too….

Joe Souki's Supporters: Democrats (21): Joe Souki, Sylvia Luke, Chris Lee, Scott Saiki, Gil Keith-Agaran, Mark Nakashima, Scott Nishimoto, Mark Takai, Dee Morikawa, Roy Takumi, Jessica Wooley, Cindy Evans, Tom Brower, Faye Hanohano, Della Au Belatti, Angus McKelvey, Romy Cachola, Nicole Lowen, Bert Kobayashi, Richard Onishi, Kaniela Ing.

Republicans (7): Gene Ward, Cynthia Thielen, Bob McDermott, Aaron Ling Johanson, Beth Fukumoto, Lauren Cheape, Richard Fale.

Calvin Say's Supporters: Democrats (20): Calvin Say, Henry Aquino, Karen Awana, Rida Cabanilla, Isaac Choy, Ty Cullen, Sharon Har, Mark Hashem, Derek Kawakami, Linda Ichiyama, Ken Ito, Jo Jordan, John Mizuno, Marcus Oshiro, Karl Rhoads, Jimmy Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Ryan Yamane, Kyle Yamashita, Gregg Takeyama.1

That adds up to 48 of the 51 representatives.

It's not clear who Mele Carroll and Denny Coffman, Democrats previously associated with the dissidents, support. Takashi Ohno, just elected to office, is uncommitted.

KITV: Oshiro Leaving? Say, Souki to meet Friday

read … Faction List

Carpenter: “Screw it, Dissidents Should Resign”

SA: Democratic Party Chairman Carpenter, who had publicly asked House Democrats to settle their dispute without taking up with the GOP, said the party is also hopeful of Say ultimately receiving a majority of votes.

Carpenter said he spoke with Souki earlier this week. "I basically told Joe (Souki) that until it's done, it's not done," he said. "So they're still open for conversation, discussion, and I'm hoping that all the Democrats are still open for that as well."

Souki would have to "reckon with the wrath of the Democratic Party" and some members who would be very angry over the coalition, Carpenter said. "A lot of Democrats will say, ‘Well, screw it. If these guys don't care for party politics, then they should resign from party,'" he said.

read … Resign

Souki, Johanson Outline Priorities

MN: …the Republicans, led by Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson, will be given vice chairmanships of three key House committees: Energy and Environmental Protection, Economic Development, and a newly created co-vice-chair position on the powerful Finance Committee that Johanson would hold.

"It was important that we be able to organize the House now because we can't plan a legislative agenda if we're not organized now," Johanson said. "I really feel like this is a historic event because this is the first time there has been a bipartisan coalition for leadership. I am excited for the minority caucus to have the ability for the first time to be a constructive voice and have a little more opportunity for input within the confines of committees."

Souki noted several Maui projects among his priorities for the upcoming session.

"I would like to see for Maui a new high school for Kihei; I would like to push that," he said. "And, of course, moving the Maui County jail to a new location, and as far as infrastructure, we need to complete the access road for the airport."

Souki said he also wants to address the state's massive unfunded liabilities for retiree health and pension benefits as well as revisiting the role of the controversial Public Land Development Corp.

"And I want to make sure that we hopefully end with a (budget) surplus, and maybe re-evaluate all the (state) tax credits and see which ones we need, which ones we can trim or maybe not even have," he said.

Johanson said there will be "no shortage of work" in the upcoming session, noting that some of his priorities include helping the economy grow more robustly and addressing cost-of-living issues.

read … Priorities

Desperate, Flailing Josh Green Decides to Make His Support for Pill Pushers Illegal Again

CB: State Sen. Josh Green said Wednesday that he plans to introduce legislation next session to close a loophole that likely helped him avoid an ethics violation.

He came under fire this month after sending a fervid letter in August to Honolulu Human Resources Director Noel Ono, urging him to solve a reimbursement matter with Automated Healthcare Solutions.

Green said the city owed the Florida company hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding payments. AHCS provides billing software for physicians to dispense medications directly to their workers' compensation patients.

The company donated $2,000 to Green's political campaign a week after he wrote the letter. He was one of only two Hawaii lawmakers — the other was Sen. Clayton Hee — to receive contributions from AHCS.

Green, a Big Island doctor and chair of the Senate Health Committee, told Civil Beat Wednesday that he has since given the money to two charities, Aloha Medical Mission and a hospital foundation.

"I didn't commit any ethics violation," he said. "But to dispel any — any — perception of conflict, I gave that donation to charity." (Money from pill-mills goes to charity so its OK.)

As an example of past efforts to avoid the perception of an ethical issue, Green said he once received a campaign check from Monsanto, a genetically modified seed company. He said he sent the money back because he was the lawmaker pushing a bill to require GMO labeling on products. (So GMOs are worse than oxycontin, eh Josh?)

"I wasn't trying to advocate for a middleman," he said. "I didn't mean to overstep my bounds. I simply wrote to the city to ask them to resolve the matter. If that's a concern, I will support an ethics law change to make it tougher and tighter. My name will be on that bill." (I will make my own actions illegal again—but I didn’t make a violation.)

Les Kondo, executive director of the state Ethics Commission, said he would have considered pursuing charges against Green if not for a new exemption in the fair treatment provision of the ethics code.

Who Green is:

read … Hawaii Senator Vows To Fix Ethics Exemption That Spared Him

Kauai County Moves to Quash Subpoenas, Seitz Claims no Arrest Attempt on Mayor

KGI: The County of Kaua‘i has filed a motion to quash investigative subpoenas issued to county offices, making it the first official action of the county in the state’s case against Human Resources Manager Janine M.Z. Rapozo.

Rapozo is charged with second-degree theft and 21 counts of falsifying business records. An independent investigation revealed a possible cover up relating to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s alleged abuse of a county gas card in 2009 and 2010.

Kaua‘i Chief of Police Darryl Perry said the Kaua‘i Police Department’s investigation is complete, while the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney said its investigation is ongoing.

The OPA declined to comment if there was enough evidence to indict the mayor.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano will hear the county’s motion to prevent subpoenas from the OPA on Dec. 4. The county’s alternative motion is a request for a protective order….

Current County Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho will be in office for Tuesday’s hearing, as will First Deputy Prosecutor Jake Delaplane, who is handling the case.

If the case is not dismissed then County Prosecuting Attorney-elect Justin Kollar will have his office handling the case at the Dec. 4 hearing. Currently a deputy county attorney, Kollar said it would be appropriate to wait until in office to comment on the matter. (Translation: He will kill the investigation.)

Regarding reports in other media about a recent attempt to deliver an arrest warrant on the mayor for charges related to the gas card case or a subpoena to testify, Seitz said there appears to be no truth to the rumors. (Note: The report was that no judge would approve a warrant, therefore no warrant ever existed. Seitz has denied something that has not been asserted. Typical lawyer trick.)

read … Kauai Retaliation

Counties vary in ethics infrastructure

ILind: …it looks like all the counties are weak in regulating lobbyists, but the State Ethics Commission has had similar problems in that area….

read … Counties vary in ethics infrastructure

Double dipping at charter school?

HNN: The state Ethics Commission says a Hilo school administrator violated Hawaii's conflict of interest laws 20 times over the past several years.
The commission accuses Eric Boyd of taking advantage of his position as a key administrator at the Connections New Century Public Charter School to sell hundreds of school lunches and thousands of dollars in cleaning supplies and electronic equipment to the school.
Boyd will appear before a commission hearing on Tuesday in Hilo for what's turned into the agency's first contested case proceeding since the mid-1980s.
"He's charged with ... 20 violations of the state ethics code," said Les Kondo, the Ethics Commission's executive director.

"His company provided school lunches to Connections. His company also provided materials and supplies to Connections."
The commission filings alleged that the food service contract was issued on a non-bid basis and is worth more than $100,000 a year.

read … Double Dipping?

KHON Looks at The Bus

HPU seeks to take over Aloha Tower redevelopment

SA: Hawaii Pacific University presented its plan to the state Aloha Tower Development Corp. Wednesday seeking approval to assume management and redevelopment of the 165,000-square-foot open-air retail center from a private developer that started the project last year.

Under the plan, the marketplace plagued by high vacancy would get a new name, possibly Tower District, as well as new retailers and restaurants, dorms for 320 students and a sports and entertainment complex.

The ground floor would keep its retail focus but also include some classroom space and HPU's business school.

The sports and entertainment complex, dubbed the Aloha Cultural Theater, would have a spectator capacity of 1,000 to 2,000 indoors and potentially 4,000 using an outside promenade. The facility would feature a basketball court for the university and also serve as a venue for concerts, performing arts and other local community events.

Dorms would be created from the mall's second-story space.

The former Hawaii Maritime Center at Pier 7 would be converted to an HPU faculty club and alumni center.

A new parking lot at piers 5 and 6 is also part of the plan.

The state stands to benefit from the project because the marketplace is on state land and generates lease revenue through the Aloha Tower Development Corp., a board tied to the state Department of Transportation.

However, board members balked at approving HPU's takeover plan because of a disagreement between HPU and the private developer that initiated the redevelopment project in partnership with the university.

read … Aloha Tower

UH Supercomputer Air Force Re-writes Bid Rules

HNN: The federal government has dismissed the University of Hawaii's protest in its losing bid to continue managing a Maui supercomputer facility, the largest contract in the university's history. But UH officials said they are "optimistic" the school may still win the contract back from a mainland defense contractor.

"After repeated rounds of legal submittals to GAO over several months, and before GAO rendered a decision, late last week the Air Force agreed to take corrective action to ensure the integrity of the procurement," Lassner said. "In light of the Air Force commitment to take corrective action, the protest is now considered moot and has been dismissed by GAO."

"The University of Hawaii is optimistic that our remarkable team of local and mainland partners will be selected to continue to manage (the facility) through a corrected procurement process," Lassner said. A UH spokeswoman said UH could not elaborate on that statement to explain what action was required to assure integrity of the procurement and to detail the scenario under which UH could win back the contract.

read … Optimistic

Feds ask judge to dismiss American Samoa citizenship lawsuit

AP: Government attorneys are asking a federal court in Washington, D.C. to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of laws denying automatic U.S. citizenship to people born in American Samoa.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wynne Kelly told the court in a brief filed this month the plaintiffs are attempting to sidestep Congress' power to determine the naturalization process….

Legal experts say the entire U.S. Constitution would have to apply in the territory if people born in American Samoa received citizenship at birth. They say this would prevent certain communal land ownership rules, such as favoring those with Samoan blood.

read … Citizenship

Drunken Attempted Killer on Leave from Looney Bin Gets Drunk Again

KHON: Joyce almost killed a security guard back in 2008 by pushing him out of a 26th floor condominium.

He was on leave from the State Hospital when he didn't show up for a review hearing.

"When the police picked him up on the bench warrant they found that he was delusional, they found that he was incredibly drunk, and he had disorganized thoughts. Last time he was like this he tried to kill a 62-year-old security guard," Deputy Prosecutor Scott Spallina said.

Judge Michael Wilson recommitted Joyce to six months in the hospital with a review hearing set for two months from now.

read … Four years later, out partying

Transsexual Murder: Kaimuki Student Faces Trail for Killing

SA: Question: Was the Kaimuki High School graduate who was accused of killing a fellow Kaimuki alumni in Los Angeles in May ever prosecuted?

Answer: The criminal trial for Richard Gilla Herrera is scheduled for Dec. 4 in Los Angeles Municipal Court.

Herrera, 29, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court in May to the murder of Bobby Khamvongsa, 27.

Police responded to a call regarding a traffic accident in L.A.’s Wilshire District about 1:30 a.m. May 19 and found Khamvongsa lying in the street with several stab wounds. Police said the stabbing occurred in the 300 block of North Orlando Avenue in Beverly Grove.

During the investigation, detectives learned Khamvongsa got into an argument with a man, which apparently led to the stabbing. City News Service in Los Angeles said the victim was wearing women’s clothes at the time of the stabbing.

read … Gay Murder

Hawaii Author Releases Book With Liberty University

News Release: "God, the World, and I" was published by Liberty University Press earlier this month. Books from all over the continental United States bear the Liberty University Press stamp, and now a new book from Hawaii will as well. Crystal Castillo, author of “God, the World, and I,” is the first writer from the Central Pacific to have her book printed by the emerging publishing company.

Castillo’s new children’s book, “God, the World, and I,” tells the story of a child who explores her role in the world and her responsibilities as a young Christian. Through colorful illustrations and easy-to-read text, Castillo encourages young readers to grow deeper in their faith and discover more about their Creator.

“God, the World, and I” can be purchased via Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Crystal Leilani Castillo is currently a graduate student at Liberty University and a U.S. Army Reservist. Born and raised in Hawaii, Castillo has one daughter, Leilani, who is featured as a character in “God, the World, and I.” Crystal gives all the glory to God for being able to use her life experiences as the basis of her stories and to teach valuable, Christ-centered lessons to children.

read … Liberty University

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