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Monday, December 31, 2012
December 31, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:33 PM :: 3811 Views

Report: State Office of Planning to Become Super-PLDC

$1 Trillion Obamacare Tax Hike Hitting on Jan. 1

WaPo: Last Day Play by Play on ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations

WT: Republicans have conceded that the deal, if it is reached, will not include any new spending cuts. The main issues now are how much tax rates will rise and how much new spending will be added.

 

‘Green’ A&B Now Hawaii’s Largest ‘Renewable’ Energy Profiteer

KGI: Located on a 20-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Port Allen Station power plant, the six-megawatt solar photo-voltaic facility completed construction earlier this month, KIUC and Alexander & Baldwin announced.

“The Port Allen Solar facility, along with our existing hydroelectric facilities at Wainiha and Kalaheo, will generate nearly 40,000 megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy each year, making A&B the leading generator of renewable energy on Kaua‘i,” said Christopher J. Benjamin, president and chief operating officer of A&B.

A&B, the state’s fourth-largest landowner, is a significant provider of renewable energy on the islands of Kaua‘i and Maui.

Expected to generate an average of 10,200 megawatt hours of electricity annually, the facility is expected to provide clean renewable energy for at least the next two decades.

“The Port Allen facility is the first of three utility-scale solar PV projects that will come on-line on Kaua‘i over the next two years,” Bissell said.

The A&B solar facility will supply almost 10 percent of KIUC’s daytime electrical load and annually produce about 3 percent of the total energy used on Kaua‘i, Bissell said.

He added that by 2015, KIUC expects to draw 50 percent of its daytime electrical load from PV systems, “the highest percentage of solar on any grid in the U.S.”

The 6-megawatt polycrystalline panel solar facility is integrated with a 3-megawatt Battery Energy Storage System installed by KIUC at the point of interconnection to the grid.

read … ‘Green’ Energy Lines A&B Pockets

Fiscal Cliff, Loss of Seniority Require “Budget Re-Management”

CB: The so-called fiscal cliff will likely push budget re-management to the top of Caldwell’s to-do list, said John Hart, chair of Hawaii Pacific University’s Communication Department. And the challenge, said Hart, is all the more daunting given the loss of Hawaii’s two longtime senators, both of whom brought home federal funds for the city budget.

“In terms of budget issues, he has to start planning now,” Hart said. “He needs to decide how we’re going to best raise our money and how we’re going to best spend it.”

One boon going into budget season for Caldwell will be the pending sale of 12 affordable housing complexes to a group of private developers.

The sale, slated to close in March, will bring in $142 million, creating a one-time income stream that Caldwell can choose how to spend, said outgoing city managing director Doug Chin….

“I think what you'll end up seeing is an interesting discussion about what the city should be borrowing,” said Chin.

read … No Honeymoon for Mayor Caldwell

Rail at Risk: Abercrombie’s SHPD Set to Lose Federal Certification Due to Incompetence

CB: The National Park Service says it remains concerned about the State Historic Preservation Division's ability to review projects and respond to permits once federal oversight ends.

A November letter from the National Park Service indicates that federal officials continue to have serious concerns about the State Historic Preservation Division’s progress in achieving a two-year improvement plan. Meanwhile, a February deadline for meeting requirements is coming up and Hawaii is at risk of being the only state to lose federal certification.

SHPD, which is responsible for protecting Hawaii's cultural and archaeological resources, has essentially been on federal probation for the past two years. The agency has seen high staff turnover rates and major permitting backlogs.

The letter from the park service contradicts a positive self-assessment SHPD issued in October. Its internal summary said that except for a few hires, it had met all the requirements of the park service’s 2010 corrective action plan.

But the park service noted that while SHPD has made significant strides in some areas, an October report detailing how it had met requirements was "disappointing."

Federal officials “were struck that the report lacked any vision for sustaining SHPD operations after the conclusion of the (corrective action plan)”….

The park service will decide in February whether or not it will decertify the agency, which could cause delays for billions of dollars in projects in Hawaii that require federal funding, licensing or permits. This includes transportation projects, such as highways and airports, and the $5.26 billion Honolulu rail project, as well as military and Department of Defense projects.

read … Doomed

Abercrombie, not Inouye is ‘Relic of Bygone Era’

CB: One of our challenges is how to deal with large corporations that bleed us for basic services, or that circle the islands like sharks, tirelessly lobbying our government to open the gates and give away the store.

Abercrombie shows no ability to meet this challenge. In many ways he remains a self-involved hippie “radical” from the 1960s. He seems to think his “progressive” administration has just outlasted a dying, conservative “establishment,” symbolized by Inouye. Yet it's Abercrombie who is auctioning off what's left of old Hawaii and blessing the bulldozers which destroy it.

For Inouye, government was still a watchdog. Under Abercrombie's so-called “new day,” government has become a lap dog. Of the two, it's Abercrombie who's the relic of a bygone age….

Perhaps worst of all is Abercrombie's arrogant assumption that Senator Schatz can serve 40 years because we will all dutifully vote for him forever. No matter how well Schatz performs, I now plan to vote against him, just to send a message to our weak, narcissistic Democratic Party. And I suspect that I am not alone….

Despite its name, our Hawaii Democratic Party has again shown itself to be afraid of the people.

Ours is a state with almost no local government, where most officials are appointed by the Governor, and that's just fine with this so-called Democratic Party. Elections, after all, are messy and uncontrollable. The people are fickle and ungrateful. Better to leave them out of the process. The Party's motto should be: “Democracy is great, if we could just get rid of all these pesky citizens!”….

The larger issue here concerns the ability of an isolated and highly centralized state to produce assertive, cosmopolitan leaders who can hold their own in the DC gladiatorial arena. With so much fear of the people, and so much power concentrated in the Governor's Office, Hawaii politics is much more likely to produce glib courtiers than stalwart heroes. Dan Inouye was a great success, but he was not a product of insider back-scratching….

The real successor to Daniel K. Inouye will also have to kick the door open herself.

read … Appointment Blues: Governor's Office Has Too Much Power

Mainland Homosexuals Pledged $750K to Back Blake Oshiro for Senate

CB: When Esther Kiaaina made her pitch to Hawaii Democrats about her qualifications for the U.S. Senate vacancy, she argued that she had more experience in Washington, D.C., than the other 13 applicants.

She also made this provocative statement: "Your decision today is not about who can raise the most money on day one. Trust me — being an incumbent and being effective does wonders. Your decision is about who can be the most effective on day one, and I am that person."

But other applicants chose to stress their fundraising prowess.

"The person appointed must also be able to raise funds, and I have shown that I can do that," state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim told the State Central Committee on Dec. 26. "I have over a quarter million dollars in my war chest."

"I have been in discussions with a few of the mainland organizations that have elected (gay activist) Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, and they've pledged $750,000 should I be the selected person to actually help me in 2014," said Blake Oshiro, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

read … 2014?

Schatz accepting resumes for Washington, isles staff jobs

SA: “We will be receiving resumes of people interested in serving in either our Washington D.C. or Hawai`i offices. We’re looking for talented, energetic and public-minded people who want to serve their State and their Country,” he said.

Resumes should be sent to: senatorschatz.jobs@gmail.com.

The deadline for receipt of resumes is Friday. Applicants should indicate whether they are applying for positions in Hawaii, D.C. or both.

Schatz spoke with Sen.-elect Hirono today and the entire delegation will meet as soon as all members are in Washington. (They will all stare at Hanabusa.)

read … Jobs

Visitors broke tourism records

SA: Data for the full year have yet to be assembled, but industry officials project visitor arrivals will be just about 8 million. That would top the 7.3 million arrivals in 2011 and the prior record of 7.6 million arrivals in 2006. For the first 11 months of the year, 7.3 million people visited the state.

Visitor spending in 2012 is projected to be about $15 billion, eclipsing the $12.8 billion last year that was $50 million shy of the prior high in 2007. This year through November, spending reached $12.9 billion….

Just one example is Hawaiian Airlines, which hired more than 500 employees this year ….

read … Tourism

Star-Adv: State must control commercial uses of public beaches

SA: William Aila, the DLNR director, has notified the three Kona kayak tour companies that their permits would not be renewed until the department's parks division decides to issue them for residents' kayaks and "pre-existing authorized kayak tour operators with established patronage limits." As soon as feasible, the moratorium should be lifted and all vessels at Kealakekua Bay will be required to have permits…..

The potential length of the moratorium has not been announced, as state attorneys are examining the issue, according to Aila. He has said that the freeze will end when lawyers have completed their review of an overall plan that has yet to be put together.

Management response to unpermitted kayak rentals in Kealakekua Bay is understandable. But permitted companies that have acted properly over the years should be advised that they will be allowed to resume operations at the earliest date, with new requirements that assure needed safety.

Related: Kealakekua Kayak Rentals: DLNR Bans Small Businesses From Water

Hawaii is a Suburb of California? Santa Monica residents complain about fitness fanatics clogging up parks...

read … Business Ban

Homeless? Federal Funding Targets Female Vets

PBN: U.S. Vets Hawaii and the YWCA of Oahu will accept the first group of women veterans into the YWCA's Fernhurst Residence in Makiki on Jan. 4.

The new initiative is designed to assist women veterans who are already living on the streets or are "on the verge" of becoming homeless. It claims to offer the only transitional housing in Hawaii designed specifically for female veterans.

According to U.S. Vets' Hawaii office, about 1,100 veterans experienced homelessness in Hawaii in 2011, of which 5 percent were women. (55 per year or approx. 1 per week—How many ‘administrative positions’ to manage this program?)

The Department of Veterans Affairs has allocated $28.4 million to fund 38 projects in five states designed to address the problem of veterans' homelessness. The Fernhurst Residence is only such project in Hawaii to receive a part of this funding

read … About a highly specific target group

OHA ‘Stab in the Back’ to Poi Mill Workers

HNN: Sunday is the last day of work for more than a dozen of the mill's workers before a new group takes over operations.

Earlier this week, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs announced it is transferring the mill to a nonprofit group, (Poi is not profitable? No wonder they’re going broke.) which consists of the Lehua Poi Company. However, an organization in Waimea that formed specifically to save the mill calls OHA's decision a "stab in the back."

Since May, OHA has been looking for someone to take over the mill and recently announced a group that includes the Lehua Poi Company will be managing operations.

But a separate group, Ka Piko O Waimea, made up of some of the mill's current workers say OHA promised them management.

"A lot of the poi mill workers have been here 20 plus years," said Kauakea Mata, president of Ka Piko O Waimea. "A lot of the farmers have been providing to this poi mill 20 plus years and we felt that it was our kuleana to stand by them and to do right."

OHA released a statement saying it has been working with Ka Piko O Waimea since May and "recently began accepting business proposals from other nonprofit community groups."

read … Waimea group 'disappointed' with OHA's transfer of Makaweli Poi Mill

Soft-on-Crime Policies Cause Death of Criminal

WHT: According to Tribune-Herald records, Fiu had been arrested and charged at least four times this year: in June for violating a protective order; on Aug. 16 for harassment; in early October for domestic abuse, DUI, driving after license suspended and for no child restraint in vehicle and later in October for assault.

On Sept. 20, Fiu was sentenced to five years probation and a year in jail for first-degree terroristic threatening and promoting a dangerous drug. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped domestic abuse and drug paraphernalia charges. Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara allowed Fui to remain free provided he complied with the terms and conditions of his probation.

Fiu could have received a 10-year prison term on the terroristic threatening charge. (Instead, he was let back onto the streets. If he had been sentenced to prison, he would be alive today.)

Fiu’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Melody Parker, noted in open court that Fiu was homeless at the time. (And these bleeding heart liberals refused him a home.)

read … About the price criminals pay for a soft-on-crime Judiciary

Am Samoa Scrambles to Save US Banking Presence

SA: First Hawaiian and Bank of Hawaii are the only Hawaii-based banks with branches outside the state. Bankoh has six branches on Guam, two on Saipan and one on Palau.

"I can't believe why they would leave American Samoa unless they were losing money," Hannemann said of Bank of Hawaii. "We want to find out if there's anything the government can do to get them to stay. That's our first goal. If we can't get them to change their mind, we want them to tell us what we need to change and tell us why they left."

Bank of Hawaii Vice Chairman Wayne Hamano said last month the bank decided to withdraw from American Samoa because its geographic isolation made it too difficult to manage.

"We weren't losing money there," Hamano said at the time. "It was just trying to balance the resources you have available with the return that you're getting, the effort and the activity."

Related: The Tsunami and Mufi’s Samoan Connection

read … American Samoa courting Hawaii bankers

Isle soldiers prepare for Afghan mission

SA: Both the 2nd Stryker Brigade and 3rd Bronco Brigade are prepping for duty in an evolving overseas mission that could see up to 2,000 soldiers from each unit deploy just a few months apart as part of two separate security force assistance brigades, officials said.

The nine-month deployments are being planned as the United States and NATO look to end combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 — more than 13 years after the war began.

The Pentagon hasn't yet officially announced the deployments of the Schofield units, but the soldiers have been told and are training for the upcoming mission.

Rather than the entire brigades deploying, it is more likely that contingents of fewer than 2,000 soldiers will be selected from each of the two, officials said.

read … Afghanistan

QUICK HITS:

New Years Eve starring Rapper Lil John and Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz

Craigslist sperm donor forced to pay child support to lesbian couple despite giving up parental rights to daughter before birth

Solar panels empowering and cut bill to minimum


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