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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
November 28, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:58 PM :: 4089 Views

Election 'Fiasco': Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Threatened

VIDEO: Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Oahu, Hilo Teachers Protest

Honolulu Council Rail Vote Thursday

JSC Nominates Six for Oahu Family Court

Hawaiian Electric Seeks Public Comment on ‘Integrated Resource Planning’

Governor Releases $44 Million for Projects Statewide

Obituary: Richard A Coons

Shapiro: Criticism of the UH regents cast by problem's architects

SA: Through 13 hours of punishing hearings and a 32-page report that followed, a state Senate committee investigating the University of Hawaii's Stevie Wonder concert scam vented its displeasure at the UH Board of Regents for poor leadership in resolving the fiasco.

If legislators aren't satisfied with the quality of regents, however, they have nobody to blame but themselves….

the Legislature pushed through an ill-advised and politically motivated constitutional amendment six years ago that forced the governor to appoint regents from a list provided by a seven-member advisory committee accountable to nobody.

The main aim of Demo­cratic lawmakers was to handcuff former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle by stripping her of any meaningful role in the process.

Advisory panel members are appointed by the governor, the Senate president, the House speaker and campus interests representing faculty, students, alumni and ex-regents.

Then-UH President David McClain called the panel a "Noah's Ark" of special interests, and the national organization that accredits universities derided the change as bad practice….

It led to a ridiculous situation last year when Gov. Neil Abercrombie didn't like any of the few choices given him for two regents seats but was turned down when he asked for more candidates. He appointed from what he had, and the Senate rejected both nominees as ill-qualified.

Earlier, one of the two candidates provided Lingle by the panel withdrew, and the Supreme Court refused her request for a replacement, leaving the governor with a single choice.

read … UH Regents

Kauai: Judge Dismisses Rapozo Indictment

HR: Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano threw out the indictment, which included one count of theft and 22 counts of falsifying government records,  because he said the grand jury proceedings were flawed.

The grand jury met November 15 and the indictment was issued the next day.

Valenciano said today the indictment was issued "erroneously" because not enough grand jurors supported it.

Fourteen grand jurors heard evidence in the case and 10 voted to support it, according to court records.

The Hawaii rules of penal procedure require that 75 per cent of grand jury members must vote to approve an indictment – meaning 11 votes were necessary, Valenciano ruled.

“No true bill should have been presented to the court,” Valenciano said, according to minutes of a court hearing today….

Complicating matters, Valenciano issued a controversial ruling in October that said the mayor, not the police commission, has authority to discipline the police chief.

The 7-member commission voted 4-2 (with one member absent) not to appeal that ruling, but there may be another vote.

The commission brought the lawsuit in June against Carvalho after he suspended Perry for several days while the county investigated complaints from a police department employee about alleged mistreatment by police executives.

Some speculated if the police chief pursued the case against the mayor, the mayor could retaliate by suspending him.

KGI: Judge dismisses charges against Rapozo

read … Charges Dismissed Against Kauai County Official Who Allegedly Covered Up Theft by Mayor

Church denies auditorium improvements impacted collapse

HNN: Some have questioned if the church had any impact on the accident. The church says ten years ago it did work on the roof. It didn't replace it, but it patched some leaks.

"We didn't want it to continue leaking so we had permission to go hire a roofing company that went up and assessed it and with permission patched it," said Wayne Cordeiro, New Hope Christian Fellowship Founding Pastor.

The church also added an air cooling unit, but it wasn't on the roof.

"The air, it's an augmentation system, the chillers are on another section. Nothing is on that roof over and above it because nothing is allowed to be on that area," said Cordeiro.

The only weight added to the ceiling is an aluminum truss Cordeiro says weighed about 200 pounds which fell in the collapse. Speakers were also added which are still hanging.

Pastor Cordeiro says any work done had to be approved by the state and says the church had no impact on the collapse.

Cordeiro has his own theories as to why someone would blame the church.

"People always look for someone to pin the blame on so we can say that's it and have something for lunch time conversation," said Cordeiro. "The human tendency to say are you to blame or maybe he's to blame, because we love to do that somehow. We understand that's humanity and human tendency, but we're going to keep doing our best to help that school."

read … Church denies auditorium improvements impacted collapse

Star-Adv: Community Should Play Turtle Bay Against Other Developers

SA: …the community — including the North Shore neighborhoods, environmental groups and government agencies with oversight of the project — now should advocate for moderating the pace of growth in the larger Koolauloa region — growth that will result from this project and others in the pipeline. The Turtle Bay developers have left the door open to discussions about options for increased preservation, especially around the prized asset of Kawela Bay.

The public should take them up on the chance to explore these options, even with the expectation that it would be costly. Besides outright acquisition, easements limiting the use of select parcels could be negotiated, and partners who could pursue this should be sought.

Comments on the Draft Supplemental EIS will be taken through Jan. 18. The SEIS is accessible online (turtlebaySEIS.com)….

Two other major projects — Envision Laie, in the Laie-Malaekahana area to the south, and Kamehameha Schools, redeveloping the Kawailoa-Haleiwa areas up north — have to be considered. Turtle Bay developers may not have to factor them into their own plans, but all the other stakeholders do. Change is cumulative, and it's permanent.

read … Rope a dope

Hawaii County installs 1000 LED streetlights

WHT: Hundreds of new, lime-green LED streetlights in Waimea and Hilo are the vanguard of an islandwide conversion from the low-pressure sodium lights that have been an island staple for decades.

To date, the county has installed 100 streetlights in Waimea and 500 in Hilo, with plans to install the remaining 400 in Kailua-Kona. The lights have been purchased with a $500,000 federal grant.

The county Department of Public Works’ Traffic Division is drafting an amendment to the lighting code that would allow the conversion of streetlights to continue on all county roads, with energy savings of around 60 percent compared to low-pressure sodium lights.

If the new code is approved, the county will replace nearly 9,000 streetlights at a cost between $3 million and $4 million….

Low-pressure sodium lamps are favored by the astronomy community because their light emissions fall within a very narrow region of the amber-orange visible spectrum, leaving most of the other visible light frequencies untouched.

read … LEDs

Solar Tops Agenda At HECO Hearing

KITV: "Over the past three years, we've doubled our clean energy capacity," said Lt. Governor Brian Schatz.

More solar and wind projects are helping the state get closer to its goal of using 70 percent clean energy by the year 2030.

There are other new and tantalizing technologies, like wave energy, fuel cells and algae farms, being discussed, but don't expect them to be a big part of our energy future, at least for the short term.

"We're not depending on some imaginary tech breakthrough to get us to the finish line. We're using technology and projects that can been done right away," said Schatz.

"Certainly I see more solar, not just on rooftops but also fields of solar; solar farms if you will," said Hawaiian Electric Company Vice President Robbie Alm.

Erika Brooksby's vision of tomorrow also includes more solar. …

Related:  Hawaiian Electric Seeks Public Comment on ‘Integrated Resource Planning’

Read … Solar

Biomass producer Big Island Carbon files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

PBN: Big Island Carbon LLC, which spent some $50 million to build a biomass plant to turn Hawaii-grown macadamia nut shells into granulated activated carbon, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The company, which has not started commercial operations at the Kawaihae plant, has laid off all 25 employees, including CEO Rick Vidgen, who was let go on Oct. 9 along with Chief Operating Officer Fred Baker and Controller Gerald Gruber, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, where the bankruptcy was filed on Nov. 5.

Denham Capital has invested about $45 million in the project, both in the form of investment equity and a secured subordinate loan, Carte said.

The plant is nearly complete, and the company needs about $5 million more to finish it, along with funding for startup operations, he said.

A trustee appointed by the court likely will seek a buyer for the company’s assets.

“We expect a buyer may continue to build the plant,” Carte told PBN.

read … ‘Green’ Energy

PUC Rejects Complaint vs Smart Meters

PBN: The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has dismissed a complaint against Kauai Island Utility Cooperative filed by a Kauai resident over the utility’s rollout of smart meters.

The complaint filed on June 19 by Mark Naea alleged that the utility was discriminating among its members. Naea sought to apply the settlement of a federal lawsuit with taro farmer Adam Asquith — in which KIUC agreed not to install a smart meter on Asquith’s property — to each cooperative member.

read … Smart Meters

Restore ‘warm line’ as adjunct to ACCESS crisis line

SA: …the state's Adult Mental Health Division funded, then closed, a "warm line" — a telephone service for troubled people who needed to talk with someone who could lend a helpful and compassionate ear.

Dr. Tom Hester, then director of Adult Mental Health, wanted a warm line created because he'd received many requests from citizens who needed a phone-in support service for times when they were troubled and depressed. As you know, depression can lead to suicide — in fact, it's estimated that 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffered from depression.

The state chose United Self Help (USH) to operate the warm line, which USH did at a cost of only $31,340 a year to the state.

Then, after three years of funding the warm line, the state dropped the service to save money.

read … Budget Request

Agent labeled as aggressor in shooting

SA: State Department agent Christopher Deedy spent the night drinking and bar-hopping before going to a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant where he shot and killed a 23-year-old Kailua man, city prosecutors said in court papers filed in Deedy's murder case.

Deedy appeared "intoxicated" before firing three shots from his 9 mm Glock — the first narrowly missing a customer, another lodging in the restaurant wall and the third fatally wounding Kollin Elderts in the chest, prosecutors said.

Deedy was not heard identifying himself as a law enforcement officer, but told Elderts he had a gun and would shoot him in the face, according to prosecutors.

City Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa filed the papers Friday in opposing Deedy's request for dismissal of the murder charge.

read … Deedy appeared to be "intoxicated" before the Waikiki McDonald's fight, city prosecutors say in a court filing

Council committee votes to prohibit puffing on tobacco at four Waikiki spots and at Sandy Beach

SA: A bill to ban smoking at five of the island's most popular beach parks got a favorable nod Tuesday from a key City Council committee.

The Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee voted 4-1 to advance Bill 72. Councilman Tom Berg cast the "no" vote.

The bill, introduced by Councilman Stanley Chang, would ban lighting up at Kapiolani Park and its surrounding areas, Kuhio Beach Park, Duke Kahanamoku Beach Park, the beach portion of Ala Moana Park and Sandy Beach Park.

The Council will hold a public hearing on the measure Dec. 5.

read … Smoking ban at beaches clears hurdle

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