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Friday, December 14, 2012
December 14, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:15 PM :: 5784 Views

FULL TEXT: Former HSTA President Challenges Okabe on Negotiations

Hawaii Ranks 45th in Business Policy Index

Cyclone Evan Pounds Samoa, Heading for Tonga, Fiji

SunRun, SolarCity: Hawaii Solar Installers Subpoenaed

Intensive Care? Inouye Hospitalized Indefinitely

CB: Boylan, Inouye's deputy chief of staff, said there were no updates to the senator's status. He said it was not known when Inouye might be released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the senator is now a patient.

Indeed, news of Inouye's hospitalization did not surface until four days after he first entered George Washington University Hospital on Dec. 6 after fainting.

What we've learned since that time is that Inouye has been using an "oxygen supplement" for nine months and sometimes using a wheelchair to get around the Capitol for even longer.

These details were not known widely prior to Inouye's hospitalization….

Civil Beat called Walter Reed several times Monday to check on Inouye's condition, and was directed to medical ICU on each occasion.

Subsequent attempts to check on his status were directed to the hospital's public affairs office. A spokeswoman said she was unable to release any information Thursday.

Asked if the senator had been in intensive care, Boylan said, "Not that I know of." He directed inquiries on the matter to hospital public affairs. He also said he didn't know why Civil Beat was referred to ICU….

Inouye is not voting. He was not present Thursday when the Senate confirmed Lorna G. Schofield of New York to be a U.S. District Court judge.

read … Intensive Care?

DHHL: Another Secret Resignation from Abercrombie Administration

CB: The turnover in leadership at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands continues, with the latest departure being its deputy director, Michelle Kauhane.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Kauhane in June, 2011 as a replacement for Bobby Hall, who retired.

Neither the governor’s office or DHHL will comment on the departure.

Darrell Young, a spokesman for DHHL, said that Kauhane ”was” deputy director, but would not say when her last day was or why she left, stressing that it was a confidential personnel matter.

Same with Abercrombie’s office.

“All we can say is that this is a confidential personnel matter, so it would be inappropriate to comment at this time,” said Louise Kim-McCoy, a spokeswoman for the governor.

However, several sources told Civil Beat that she was fired, or forced out of her position.

read … Secret Resignation

KSBE/Mafia-Connected First Wind Switching to Solar Scams

PBN: Wescoatt says that First Wind would like to start by focusing on land it already leases for its 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind farm, which sits on the 6,000 acres of Kawailoa farm lands on the North Shore owned by Kamehameha Schools.

It also is planning to do solar on the 500 acres it owns at its 30-megawatt Kahuku Wind project on the North Shore, which has been offline since August because of a fire in its battery energy storage system warehouse….

“[Plus], from a permitting process, you get a lot less push back for a solar farm, compared to a 150-foot high turbine,” he said.

But Krulewitz also noted that First Wind will face some challenges in this area. For instance, with the high amount of activity going on, the success of pulling it off is largely based on the economics of the system.

“If you can find an in-state tax credit, then it makes sense,” he said.

Meanwhile, Forest City Hawaii’s Wallenstrom says there is often a disconnect in Hawaii between stated policy goals that require long-term thinking and financial commitments and a legislative process that creates uncertainty on an annual basis.

“Large energy projects are good job creators, give Hawaii a unique place in the global business environment, and create lots of nonpolluting energy,” he said. “[But] these projects get done only if a sponsor has a core belief that over the life of the investment there will be a regulatory and economic environment that supports the financial structure of the transaction.”

Wallenstrom noted that there is good economic analysis that indicates these projects create significant benefits that go beyond state-sponsored financing vehicles.

“But our state equivocates annually on our commitment to the industry,” he said. “We need to figure out here in Hawaii if this is an industry that we want, and if the answer is yes, provide certainty and predictability.”

More Criminals: Hawaii will get clean-energy business accelerator program

read … New Solar Scammer looting General Fund

Atheist: AG Louie Helped Me Kill Charity Concert

QUESTION: How did this latest public action of yours (involving the Moanalua High School orchestra and New Hope Oahu) come about? Was that inadvertent or do you go looking for these things?

ANSWER: We are constantly looking for these things, and we also are constantly being called and being told by people about violations. But we had been aware of Moanalua High School's involvement in this concert for a number of years. ... What really caught our attention this year was the lack of a charity (listed in the promotional materials). ... So we were really suspicious of whether this was a public school endorsing a church fundraiser that was potentially raising money for itself or for a religious mission. That's what really sort of tipped the scale on it for us.

What's interesting is we wrote a letter voicing our concerns to the principal of Moanalua High School, and that letter was essentially ignored. ... So we took it to the next step and contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is out of Madison, Wis. They're a national organization that we've partnered with before, and they provided a lawyer (who) wrote a letter to the Department of Education on our behalf. I can't tell you for sure, but it looks like that letter and our letter got sent over to the attorney general, and I think the attorney general quite rightly recognized the legal entanglement ... of this award-winning orchestra endorsing a church.

read … AG Louie’s Second Offense

 

 

Oshiro to lead Say Faction--Challenge to Dissidents

AP: House Speaker Calvin Say said Thursday he plans to step down from his leadership post on the first day of Hawaii's new legislative session and is endorsing House Finance Committee Chairman Marcus Oshiro to succeed him.

Oshiro, who accompanied Say to the news conference, said the 21 Democrats who supported Say will back him.

The 53-year-old plans to work on winning support of Democrats currently backing Souki. Oshiro believes some of them are concerned about forming a coalition with Republicans.

"I think it sets a terrible precedent. I think they're all fearful of what it means in practical terms of how they can pass legislation that serves the interest of the state of Hawaii," Oshiro said.

Hawaii state House Finance Committee Chairman Marcus Oshiro, left, speaks at a news conference with House Speaker Calvin Say at the state Capitol in Honolulu on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. Say said he plans to step down from his leadership post on the first day of Hawaii's new legislative session and is endorsing Oshiro to succeed him.

Oshiro, D-Wahiawa, said he's opposed to legalizing any form of gambling and raising the general excise tax, unlike Souki….

Republican Rep. Cynthia Thielen countered that Say's close confidants — including Oshiro — negotiated with Republicans two years ago to win their support for his re-election as speaker.

"This isn't the first time that a Democratic majority faction has organized with the Republicans; some people are just more honest and transparent about it. It is time to govern and stop politicking," Thielen said in a statement emailed to media.

CB: Say No More: Hawaii House Speaker Steps Down

read … No Say

Obama’s Asia team caught off guard, partying when NK rocket launched

TC: The Obama administration's Asia team was caught so off guard by North Korea's Dec. 11 rocket launch, several of them actually had to put down their drinks and suddenly leave a holiday party being held in honor of the Japanese emperor's birthday.

Several top U.S. officials dealing with Asia and North Korea from the State Department, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council were relaxing Tuesday night at the Japanese ambassador's Nebraska Avenue residence in Washington when the news came over their blackberries that North Korea had launched another Unha-3 rocket with a "satellite" attached, this time with much more success than a previous attempt in April.

Just minutes before the launch news became known, several officials were overheard remarking how nice it was that North Korea was apparently delaying the launch, giving U.S. North Korea watchers hope that their holiday festivities would not be interrupted.

"Nobody in the U.S. government thought this would happen when it did," said one top Asia expert who attended the party. "A lot of the guys who do the Korea stuff both on the policy and intelligence side were at this thing. They were saying ‘We bought ourselves some time.' People were hoping it didn't happen before Christmas because they wanted to take time off."

read … Partying

 

UH regents seem neutered by 'culture of deference'

ACTA: One might ask whether UH's culture is one in which the board "defers to the president as a high-ranking colleague when, instead, the board should be overseeing the president as an employee."

If that last sentence raises some concern, it should — it is lifted straight from the Pennsylvania Auditor General's report on problems with governance at Penn State.

Unfortunately, a lack of proper board engagement prevails at many institutions of higher education — a culture often reinforced by Hawaii's accreditors, the Western Association of Colleges and Universities, and trade associations like the Association of Governing Boards, of which the university is a member.

This culture of deference undermines a governing board's very purpose of providing accountability.

If our universities are to be well managed, we need trustees who ask tough, challenging questions, and realize that boards are more than booster clubs.

Sadly, what is happening in Hawaii is representative of a governance crisis nationwide. Whether it's Penn State or the University of Hawaii, governing boards are under increasing criticism for failing to keep higher education affordable, accessible and accountable.

SA: UH athletics worth defending

read … Pandemic in Hawaii

27% Pay Cut for MDs: Health-care providers plan for fiscal cliff

PBN: If such a deal fails to materialize, the biggest impact on health care would be cuts for Medicare reimbursements, said Rick Keene, chief financial officer and senior vice president at The Queen’s Medical Center….

Emmanuel Kintu, CEO of the Kalihi-Palama Medical Center, said not only would the cuts impact Medicare, but many of the low-income Medicaid patients served by his community health center would feel the fiscal cliff fallout as well. His clinic is a federally qualified community center that receives a higher level of Medicaid reimbursement than many other health-care providers.

“About 45 percent of our revenues come from Medicare and Medicaid,” Kintu said. “Nobody knows how much the cuts will be. It would reduce our ability to provide access to care.”

The cuts could mean layoffs and turning away up to 5,000 of the medical center’s 21,000 patients, Kintu said.

“It’s going to have an impact on the uninsured and the homeless,” he added.

Janet Liang, Hawaii Region president for Kaiser Permanente, echoed Kintu’s and Keene’s views that predicting the full impact on the health-care industry is a guessing game.

Officials with the Healthcare Association of Hawaii said the plan calls for a 2 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements, but how that will be applied is an unknown. The more profitable providers could suffer larger cuts in Medicare reimbursements, or it could be across the board, said Paul Young, director of public policy and reimbursement for HAH.

Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals already have been cut 2 percent the past two years as part of the initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Physicians, meanwhile, are facing a 27 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements, and that could mean they would end up turning away patients who receive those benefits, Young said.

read … Fiscal Cliff

Hawaii Among Only 15 States Opting to Run Obamacare Exchanges

CNBC: Cohen said that while 15 states have told the administration they will operate exchanges, 11 others have opted for versions that will require major involvement by the federal government.

Experts say the number of states planning to operate their own exchanges could reach 18, plus the District of Columbia, by the time the deadline arrives Friday.

But the administration would still be left to set up exchanges in at least 30 states, a challenge that is raising questions about how successfully U.S. officials can implement a key provision of the health care reform law.

read … No Exchange

Hawaii’s Tallest Building to be Tower of Landlord Slavery

PBN: The Hawaii Community Development Authority on Thursday voted unanimously to select Forest City Hawaii to develop the $500 million 690 Pohukaina mixed-use project in Honolulu, which would include 800 affordable rental housing units.

The nine-member board said it chose Forest City Hawaii’s plan because it presented less of a financial risk to the state by keeping the units as workforce rentals instead of selling them as condominiums, which is what the other finalist, Lend Lease, had proposed.

read … Renters not Owners

Hippie Charter Schools Approved, Serious Ones Denied

SA: The Public Charter School Commission voted Thursday to approve the opening of two new charter schools next year on Oahu: an elementary school that would partner with the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a secondary school focused on sustainability.

Robert Witt, executive director of the Hawaiian Educational Council, teamed up with Nai­noa Thompson, president of the Voyaging Society, to propose the Malama Honua Learning Center. The Wai­ma­nalo school plans to open with 125 students in kindergarten through fourth grade and add another grade each year through eighth grade….

The commission also approved a charter for the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability, or SEEQS, which is seeking a location in central Hono­lulu for its campus. It plans to start with about 60 students in grades 6 and 7, and build up to 350 students in grades 6 to 12 over several years.

"We are so excited because we know that we have a great idea and a really capable team," said Buffy Cushman-Patz, founder of SEEQS.

Applications for three other proposed charter schools were denied by the commission in unanimous votes:

  • » Hawaii International Charter School, which would have offered Chinese language immersion during part of the school day.
  • » Imipono Academy, which was geared toward English language learners on the Leeward Coast.
  • » Kaimuki Community Adult Public Charter School, proposed after budget cuts threatened adult education programs.

read … Charter Schools

Hirono, Lingle Debts Remain After Campaign

PR: Hirono had more than $238,950 in debt in late November, including $90,000 remaining in personal loans she had made to her 2006 campaign for Congress….

Lingle carried more than $209,800 in debt in late November, including a $100,000 personal loan she made in November for campaign expenses.

read … Debts

Lawmakers: HCDA Should Postpone 690 Pohukaina Decision-Making

CB: Five area lawmakers have asked the Hawaii Community Development Authority to put off for a month decision-making on the 690 Pohukaina project.

Sens. Brickwood Galuteria and Suzanne Chun Oakland, Reps. Scott Saiki and Tom Brower and City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga say HCDA should decide in January 2013 “to assure broader public review/comment than is likely in likely in the midst of the holiday season.”

HCDA has scheduled a public hearing Thursday morning (Dec. 13 — that’s today) to review proposals.

SA: Forest City selected to build Super Tower in Kakaako

read … Abercrombie Megalith

Queen's finalizes acquisition of defunct Ewa hospital

SA: “Transferring the ownership of the West Oahu hospital assets to Queen’s is an important milestone for St. Francis,” Jerry Correa, St. Francis president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We recognize the critical need to reopen hospital and emergency services in West Oahu.”

The land and hospital acquisition, as well as planned improvements, will exceed $70 million.

Queen's plans to expand and improve emergency, surgical and imaging services. Further terms of the agreement are confidential.

Queen's had said earlier it planned to hire approximately 400 employees to resume emergency room and hospital operations.

read … Hospital

Donovan Accepts AD Position at CSUF

HNN: "I am very honored to have been offered the position of Athletic Director of California State University Fullerton. As I begin a new chapter in my life, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunities provided to me by the University of Hawai‘i – as a student athlete, a graduate and, most recently, as athletic director.

UH is a great institution with an athletic department that means so much to our state and I want to thank the people of Hawai‘i for their support and encouragement over the years.

I would also like to thank the Governor, legislators, donors, season ticket holders, staff and coaches for their commitment to UH Athletics. And I sincerely hope that everyone will continue to support the efforts of UH's new athletic director, Ben Jay, because UH athletics and its student athletes deserve the unwavering support of the Hawai‘i community.

Mahalo and all my best wishes to UH, UH Athletics and the State of Hawai‘i. A hui hou."

read … Donovan Leaving

Massive Property Tax Hikes on Tap for East Hawaii

WHT: An independent study of Hawaii County’s property tax policies found evidence of what some West Hawaii residents have been complaining about for years —there are big differences in how much tax people pay for what appear to be similar properties.

The County Council is about to tackle some of the perceived inequities as it addresses 40 recommendations made in a 99-page report by the International Association of Assessing Officers. The council Finance Committee takes the first step Tuesday when it hears a presentation from a working group of two former council members, top Finance Department officials and representatives from the public.

The meeting begins at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center. The public can also participate through videoconference from council chambers in Hilo, the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Community Center and the Pahoa and Waimea council offices.

read … Tax Hikes

Turtle Bay Resort pitches new expansion plans

HNN: "It's a tremendous improvement," said Sarah Cadiz of the Kuilima-North Shore Strategy Committee, which has been working with the resort since the original plans were drafted. "Downscaled 60 percent in density. It's a tremendous difference."

But opponents said the resort should go back to the drawing board.

"They say there's a great reduction on what they're legally entitled to build, which is true," said Mark Cunningham of the Save Oahu Coalition. "But what I think most residents have to realize is that what they're proposing to build is two to three times what's existing here already."

Opponents are also concerned that any new development will have a negative impact on traffic on Kamehameha Highway, which is already congested along many parts of the North Shore. The resort said it will spend $18 million dollars on traffic improvements, including turn lanes and highway widening. it also said it would work with state and city transportation officials to manage and improve traffic flow.

read … Dead on Arrival

Drug-Free Coalition in contract dispute with city

HNN: The city said it will pay about $72,000, but not $8,000 for expenses it says are not covered under the contract.

The city said the disallowed reimbursements include some questionable requests. One was a $233.37 bill for food and games at a bowling alley. Disallowances for the entire contract total $16,271.49.

The city said the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii violated the contract by not submitting invoices and documentation monthly, and invoices exceeded the $200,000 contract limit by $13,669.74.

read … Dispute

More Gambling Raids, Distributor Sues HPD

KHON: The machines allow users to get discounts on products offered at a redemption center, like jewelry, clothing and electronics.

Since the September raid, the distributor has filed a suit against the city, claiming the machines are not illegal. They also filed for a temporary restraining order, but it wasn't granted in time for Thursday's seizure.

Their attorney issued a statement saying, "I think it is extremely unfortunate that the Honolulu Police Department has chosen this time to do this seizure." He adds, "We think this and other actions taken by the city smacks of strong-arm tactics intended to close down my clients business [PJY enterprises]."

Honolulu police have opened multiple cases of second-degree promotion of gambling.

read … Gambling Raids?

Mass Hypnosis: Paradise Converted to Superfund Site

HuffPo: At first glance the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are a tropical paradise. Designated a national marine monument in 2006, this 1,200-mile chain of scattered islands and atolls is home to more than 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

ICT: Great Pacific Garbage Patch Nominated for Superfund Status

read … An IQ Test

Undersea Cable May Run Afoul Of WWII Munitions Dump

KGI: Two years ago, the state energy office identified Kaneohe and Pearl Harbor as the prime sites for bringing cables into Oahu. Those spots were picked based on cost, distance, environmental impacts and the locations of undersea telecommunication cables.

But the Pearl Harbor route may not work anymore because thousands of mustard gas bombs are laying on the seafloor in the path of the cable.

read … Another Reason to reject Big Cable

Hawaii Non-Profits Merge

CB: Child & Family Service (CFS) is Hawaii’s oldest and most comprehensive private nonprofit human service organization. Each year CFS impacts the lives of 40,000 people throughout the state. Founded in 1899, CFS addresses the most serious life issues affecting Hawaii families and has programs in domestic violence, child abuse, foster care, employment readiness, refugee assistance, Healthy Start, Head Start, sex abuse prevention and treatment, crisis counseling, school dropout prevention and others. CFS Gerontology Programs also serve more than 1,000 elderly individuals and their families through caregiver support, case management and wellness programs.

CFS provides hope to those we serve. The commitment to care of CFS professionals gives our clients the courage to change. Now we are proud that over the past few months we have expanded the CFS family to include two valued partners: The Institute for Family Enrichment with programs on Oahu, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai; and Neighborhood Place of Wailuku on Maui.

The Institute for Family Enrichment (TIFFE) was formed 30 years ago to provide innovative responses to the needs of families and children in Hawaii. TIFFE and Child & Family Service share compatible missions and programs that will serve to strengthen both organizations. For example, CFS offers trauma informed care training and TIFFE has an exceptional professional training program. Together these will strengthen professional development for all levels of service providers.

TIFFE and CFS provide behavioral health services. The levels of service vary between organizations, allowing both to refer clients between programs according to the level of care needed, ultimately increasing the continuum of care offered to clients. TIFFE community and home-based services are now a bridge for CFS clients as they transition out of the higher level of care offered by CFS.

read … Profitable 

DUI: $1000 or One Year

EX: According to Mike Allwer, a seller of the device, told Hawaii News Now, "We're seeing a lot of people coming in but a lot of people are paying attention that this is very serious," he said. The service isn't cheap. It costs about $1,000 to install and monitor these devices for a year."

If the DUI offender can't afford to pay the fee for the device, he or she is subject to a "mandatory" one year period of having their driver's licence revoked.
If the DUI offender can afford to pay the fee, their driver's licence is not revoked. This insinuates a pay to play double standard (lawyers want drunks to get free ride.)

read … Drunk

Anti-GMO Hypesters to Face off with Forces of Reason, Science

CB: Scheduled to appear: Mark Fergusson, Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer at Down to Earth food store chain; Richard Manshardt, Horticulturist at UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; Mark Phillipson, President of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association; and Hector Valenzuela, Vegetable Crops Extension Specialist at UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

read … Lunatics Get Platform

Alaska, Korea Talk Natural Gas

News Release: KOGAS is the world’s largest LNG buyer, operating three LNG terminals and pipelines to supply gas to power plants, gas utilities and other buyers. The company has partnerships in LNG projects and producing fields around the world.

Today’s meeting furthers the Parnell administration’s ongoing effort to generate interest from Asian utilities and governments in a large-scale Alaska LNG project. Alaska’s major energy companies and TransCanada Corp. are working on such a project to commercialize the North Slope’s vast gas reserves, focusing on LNG exports from tidewater in Southcentral Alaska.

GC: Teekay LNG Pounces on U.S. Natural Gas Study, Orders Two LNG Carriers on Spec

USDoE: Energy Department Releases Study on Natural Gas Exports, Invites Public Comment

read … About what they’re doing in the real world

All 50 States Allow Concealed Carry, Hawaii, Alabama Among only 10 With ‘May-Issue’

WT: Although 49 states offer concealed carry in some capacity — all 50 states if the Illinois decision holds up — a state-by-state look at the permitting process reveals a patchwork of restrictions on whether guns can be carried in bars, churches and other specified places. Ten states employ a “may issue” or discretionary system in which the permit applicant must demonstrate a need for the gun or the issuer decides who can have a permit, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The conference says 39 states have a “shall-issue” system, by which the applicant does not have to demonstrate a need or the issuer has to provide a permit if the requesting person meets certain criteria. People in Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming do not require permits to carry concealed weapons, according to the conference and the GAO.

On Capitol Hill, the House last year approved a reciprocity act that would allow states to recognize one another’s concealed-carry permits when a qualified person crosses state lines, unless that jurisdiction expressly prohibits the practice. In November 2011, Wisconsin became the 49th state to enact a concealed-carry provision, leaving only Illinois as the only one banning it.

Read … Hawaii Reactionary

Homosexual Rapist Pleads Guilty

AP: Kwajalein Hospital nurse Dennis Henry, accused of drugging and raping a drunk Coast Guardsman who was on shore leave, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Thursday to sexually assaulting the incapacitated sailor.

"I had sex with (the victim) without his consent because he was intoxicated," Henry said.

Henry, 38, pleaded guilty in a deal with the prosecutor in exchange for a two-year prison term. The prosecutor also promised to drop a second charge accusing Henry of drugging, then sexually assaulting the guardsman. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison….

The FBI said Henry spiked the guardsman's beer with Ambien, then sexually assaulted him March 25 on Kwajalein island.

read … Its Genetic, Really

Kauai Council Still Considering 500% Property Tax Hike for Disabled Veterans, DHHL, Nonprofits

KGI:  A proposal to raise the minimum real property tax by 500 percent on Kaua‘i died in the hands of the Kaua‘i County Council’s Finance and Economic Development Committee Wednesday.

The bill would have raised the minimum real property tax paid on Kaua‘i to $150 from $25. But after a lengthy discussion, the committee opted to receive the bill, which means it was shelved without action, effectively killing it.

Though the proposal will likely resurface with a different structure next month, whatever comes out of it may not affect taxpayers in the next fiscal year, starting July 1, because there is limited time to work on it, according to Committee Chair Tim Bynum.

Bill 2444, first introduced Aug. 22 by request of the Cost Control Commission, went through several deferrals until reaching a flatline Wednesday….

Besides raising taxes for some 447 Hawaiian homestead families and some 22 residents of kuleana lands, the bill would target other categories of taxpayers, including disabled veterans, owners of properties with low value and nonprofit organizations. The total number of affected properties would be nearly 2,500, according to Steve Hunt, from the county Real Property Division.

read … Committee shelves proposal to increase RPT

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