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Tuesday, January 1, 2013
January 1, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:28 PM :: 4256 Views

Schatz, Akaka Vote: $1 in Spending Cuts for Every $41 in Tax Increases

Senate Ways and Means Announces Budget Briefing Schedule

House Finance Committee to Hear from Governor, Lt Governor, DAGS

Governor Appoints Annelle Amaral to Hawaii Paroling Authority

OHA launches Anti-Obesity Marketing Campaign

Kauai Farmers to Boycott OHA Poi Mill

HawaiianTel Completes Acquisition of Wavecom Solutions

Come Support the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team

Arizona Judge too Intelligent to Fall for Claim that it is possible to change Gender

AP: Thomas and Nancy Beatie are eager to end their nine-year marriage, but their divorce plans stalled when Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach said in late June that he was unable to find any legal authority defining a man as someone who can give birth. (Biology 101 -- Amazing!)

"Are we dealing with a same-sex marriage?" Gerlach asked. He noted Arizona has banned such marriages and refuses to accept those performed in other states. The judge added no court here is allowed to declare same-sex unions valid.

A Jan. 31 trial is scheduled, and the judge is expected to rule in early February….

…the failure of the courts to protect traditional marriage has led to chaos and that children are being led into "increasingly bizarre situations."

"Sadly, the deep confusion created by these two women, and the biological father who helped conceive the children, is just a symptom of much greater societal problems," said Campbell, of the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Thomas Beatie, known as "The Pregnant Man," was born Tracy Lehuanani Lagondino on Oahu. He began testosterone treatments in 1997 and underwent double mastectomy and chest reconstruction surgery in 2002. He changed his Hawaii driver's license to say he was a man and had a Hawaii court approve his name change to Thomas.

Thomas Beatie married his partner Nancy in early 2003 in Honolulu and became pregnant because Nancy was unable to have children. Thomas Beatie conceived with donated sperm and gave birth to children who are now 4, 3 and 2 years old. The couple eventually moved to Arizona.

KOS: Hawaii is a puzzle

read … Hawaii Gay 'Marriage'

Gay Mega ‘Churches’ Invade UCC

AP: The common denominator is a belief that Christians can be in a same-sex relationship and still be faithful to Scripture….

The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, a megachurch with about 4,200 members, split off around 2003, and eventually joined the United Church of Christ. Cathedral and MCC officials say the break resulted from disagreements between local church members and local leaders, not a rejection of MCC's mission. The Cathedral maintains its focus on reaching out to gays, lesbians and transgender people.

Still, the United Church of Christ, which has more than 5,000 congregations and roots in colonial New England, can offer much that the MCC cannot, including more resources, greater prominence and a broader reach. In some communities, local churches are affiliating with both the Metropolitan Community Churches and United Church of Christ. But at least one other MCC congregation broke away in recent years: The Columbia, S.C., church became the Garden of Grace United Church of Christ….

Of the mainline Protestant groups, only the United Church of Christ supports gay marriage outright. The Episcopal Church last month released a provisional prayer service for blessing same-sex unions. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have eliminated barriers for gay clergy but allow regional and local church officials to decide their own policies. One of the largest mainline groups, the United Methodist Church, with about 7.8 million U.S. members, still bars ordination for people in same-sex relationships

UCCT: Allegation: UCC "targeting" gay churches

read … Aimed at Hawaii

Star-Adv: Rail, HSTA, Loss of Seniority to be Focus for 2013

SA: A post-Inouye Hawaii, a lingering stalemate with the teachers union and Hawaii's most expensive construction project ever are expected to remain in the headlines this year.

As events unfold in 2013, the effects from each of those fronts will likely be felt by Hawaii residents for years to come….

Hawaii residents will be watching most keenly how well Inouye's newly appointed successor, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, and a reconstituted Hawaii congressional delegation will fare in the funding wars….

One public sign of influence is the committee assignments that each of the four will be able to secure in the 113th Congress, which begins Thursday….

Cayetano and UH law professor Randall Roth, among those who brought the lawsuit against the city, said they will talk to their attorneys about a possible appeal of Tashima's Dec. 27 ruling. Roth told the Star-Advertiser, "There's a lot of litigation yet to go."

But Milner said the rail opponents' best chance for killing the project died with Cayetano's election defeat in November. "My prediction is (the project) will move slowly, have its obstacles, keep going, and be significantly farther ahead a year from now than it is now," Milner said.

Cayetano's defeat not only denied rail opponents an opportunity to put someone in position to stop the project, but also showed that opposition to the project is not as significant as the opponents had hoped. "That to me is the game-changer," Milner said, adding that he thinks the best that rail opponents can hope for now is to delay the project.

"It's like H-3," he said, recalling the series of lawsuits against the controversial freeway. "As screwy as that process was, it kept stumbling forward and eventually it got built."

an HSTA strike authorization vote, and a strike, are possible developments in 2013…A complaint filed by the union before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board alleging the state violated the rights of teachers by imposing a contract without having it ratified is "hanging over the bargaining like a dark cloud" and needs to be acted on by the board soon, Husted said.

Once that is cleared, the parties will likely want to reach a settlement before the state Legislature closes its budget, because the state, the union, teachers and the community don't want the impasse to drag into another year, she said.

Key issues for settlement include wage and medical benefits, and the amount of input teachers will be able to have in the development of evaluation criteria…

read … Eyes on Congress, rail transit, teachers

Strong Foundation? Carlisle Points to Roads, Sewers, IT, Homelessness

SA: … the city established a foundation for the future in many other ways. Since I became mayor, more than one-third of the 3,400 lane-miles of city-owned roadway have been repaved, are currently under repair, have been successfully bid for work starting soon, or are under design. A strong, multiyear commitment to road repairs and management will pay dividends later. Through critical sewer system upgrades, Honolulu is in compliance with a federal wastewater consent decree.

Better management of long-term debt to reduce interest costs was a major financial priority for the administration. Borrowing for capital improvement projects was scrutinized. This fiscal year — for the first time in eight years — the city will spend less on debt service than in the previous year. Also, the city socked away an unprecedented $100 million during this administration to save for the future, $20 million to the rainy day fund and $80 million to address unfunded liabilities for employees’ retirement health benefits.

The city firmly embraced new technology to enhance public services, provide timely access to important information and improve government efficiency. These efforts resulted in Honolulu being named the No. 1 Digital City by the Center for Digital Government and a “Sunny Award” for maintaining one of the most transparent government websites in America.

We carefully implemented a new stored-property ordinance to clear public spaces of debris and squalid encampments while helping street-dwellers access appropriate services. We also transitioned 12 subsidized housing complexes to private management through a one-time $146 million sale. These changes are attracting more than $40 million in private investment for housing upgrades while maintaining affordable rents.

Finally, after four decades of talking about it, the rail project is being built. A new non-political board, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, is making sure the project is completed expeditiously and within budget.

read … Carlisle

Solar Credits, Obamacare Head into 2013

SA: The state estimates the amount of tax revenue foregone as a result of the wind and solar tax credits grew to $173.8 million in 2012 from $34.7 million in 2010.

Starting today, new rules imposed by the state Department of Taxation will reduce the tax credit many homeowners get for installing a solar system.

It is up to lawmakers to decide whether they want those rules to remain in place, be rolled back or be tightened even further.

Lawmakers failed to pass bills during the two previous legislative sessions that would have reduced the amount of the tax credit, which allows owners of renewable energy systems to directly reduce their tax liability by up to 35 percent, subject to limits.

This is the year the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will really begin to take shape. Hawaii will set up a health insurance exchange — the Hawaii Health Connector — that will allow individuals to buy health coverage at group rates but also require most residents to get coverage or face a tax penalty.

The Health Connector is supposed to give residents access to affordable coverage as a one-stop shop where individuals and businesses can purchase insurance through a variety of competing health plans.

The system is expected to be up and running by the fall for health policies that are effective Jan. 1, 2014.

The formation of the Hawaii Health Connector, established as a nonprofit by the state to match uninsured individuals to subsidized health care plans, was mired in controversy in 2012 because of the perceived conflict of interest in having health insurance representatives on a governing board appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and approved by the Legislature.

read … Solar Credits

 

 

Airport taxi service criticized by local traveler

ILind: At HNL people were asked to walk a considerable distance (with their luggage), and stand in line for taxis. But you should have seen it. There were only two or three available taxis in the designated pick-up area. A couple or rows over though were taxi’s like the the Cab that were picking up people. I got in one and the driver explained that they are only picking up people that called.

Anyway, long story short is, why can’t HNL do a better job of organizing its taxi’s for travelers. When you need one at the airport they are never around.

Of course, political battles over the airport taxi contract seem to have been ongoing for decades….

read … Taxi Dance

Hokulia to be sold

HTH: SunChase President William Pope is affiliated with the Walton family, of WalMart fame. Shaw said Rob Walton, Sam Walton’s son, is involved with SunChase’s Hokulia purchase. According to Forbes magazine, Rob Walton’s net worth is roughly $23.1 billion.

Shaw said he was “terribly excited” about the upcoming purchase. “SunChase came in and they want to finish off the whole project.”

The sale of the 52 lots from The Club and owner’s association will fund improvements to the amenities there, Shaw said. He expected that sale to close within a month. He did not yet know the final sale price.

One of the biggest issues facing the project for the last several years has been the completion of the Mamalahoa bypass…Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said a new buyer would still be subject to the original development agreement.

read … Hokulia

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