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Friday, January 4, 2013
January 4, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:00 PM :: 4802 Views

Souki Names Luke to Finance Committee after Luke Rejects Speakership Offer from Oshiro Faction

Thanks to Abercrombie, Republican Senators More Racially Diverse than Democrats

Keith-Agaran Among Six Seeking Maui Senate Gig

Audit: 38% of Reimbursements Show ‘Discrepancies’, ‘Honolulu Council Could be Exposed’

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Sierra Club Koa Ridge Challenge

Committee Hearings on Obamacare in Hawaii

Insurance Company Controlled Hawaii Health Connector Approved by Feds

Cabanilla Housing Committee to Discuss Homeless Tent Cities

Senate Transportation Committee Sets Briefing

Abercrombie: Make Tax Hikes Permanent

Private Attorney General? Hawaii ICA Says 'No'

Ethnic Hawaiians Disproportionately Incarcerated? Not!

HR: According to Census 2010 ethnic Hawaiians have a median age of 26, while the rest of Hawaii's people have a median age of 42. Of course young people do more drugs and commit more crimes, with greater violence, than middle-aged people. So they get arrested more often and sentenced to longer terms. And there's nothing unfair about that! It's all about the sins of youth, not about race. That age disparity of 16 years is a major reason why comparing statistics for ethnic Hawaiians as a whole vs. other races makes it look like ethnic Hawaiians are either bad people or are being discriminated against.

The right way to do statistical analysis of alleged disparate outcomes is to compare people of different races but who are within the same age group; for example, the 5-year age cohorts reported by the Census Bureau (15-19, 20-24, etc.) ....

FULL TEXT: Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force Report

read … Ethnic Hawaiians Disproportionately Incarcerated? Not!

Council on Revenues: New Solar Rules Save State $66M

KITV: The state is expected to generate $172.6 million more in tax revenue over the next 18 months if a revised general fund forecast by the Council on Revenues holds true.

In its meeting Thursday, the council increased its forecast for current fiscal year 2013 by 0.2 percent, to 5.1 percent, which translates into another $10.3 million for state coffers.

However, it's fiscal year 2014 where growth really takes off. The council expects tax revenue to increase by 6.8 percent, which is 2.9 percent better than what was forecasted on Sept. 6 of last year.

Before new rules took effect Jan. 1, the renewable energy credit was expected to cost the state as much as $240 million in 2013. But with the new rules now in place, the credit is now projected to cost $174 million.

The revised general fund forecast also provides ammunition to Gov. Neil Abercrombie as he looks to pass his biennium budget through the state House and Senate. Abercrombie's spending plan calls for the state to spend $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2014, and $6.3 billion in fiscal year 2015, an increase of 7.8 percent and 11 percent respectively compared to the current fiscal year budget.

The governor's budget calls for several new initiatives, for example increased spending on early childhood learning and health. But, Ways and Means Chairman Sen. David Ige is taking a more cautious approach.

"After having to struggle with billion-dollar reductions for three straight budget cycles, we don't want to get in that situation again," said Ige. "We don't believe that we should be starting brand new programs, or having the state take on new responsibilities that we don't currently have."

Ige also believes the latest economic forecast doesn't provide ammunition to public worker unions hoping for a pay raise.

"I don't see it," said Ige. "I mean there isn't a whole lot of fat in the budget."

The governor's budget calls for the restoration of a 5-percent pay cut that was accepted by a majority of state worker unions during the height of the Great Recession.

CB: 'Inouye Cliff' Way Bigger Than 'Fiscal Cliff' For Hawaii

News Release: Abercrombie: Make Tax Hikes Permanent

Read … But Abercrombie Wants More

Solar Only 1.5% of Oahu's Grid

CB: Still, solar energy only makes up a small amount — 3 percent — of Oahu’s electric grid, according to Rep. Gene Ward, who spoke Thursday at a joint committee hearing at the Legislature on the governor’s fiscal plan….

Ward says that attacking the credits could hurt a fledgling industry. He challenged what he says is the perception that Hawaii has “been going gangbusters” when it comes to solar.

Noreen Kam, the communications officer at the energy office, said that as of 2011, the year of the latest data, Oahu obtained only .75 percent of its energy from solar photovoltaic panels.

In 2012, the amount of solar installed is expected to have about doubled, according to HECO.

But even then, the overall level of penetration on HECO's electric grids remains small, according to Peter Rosegg, a spokesman for HECO.

The utility operates the grids on Oahu, the Big Island and Maui County.

He said that the utility didn’t have official numbers for 2012 yet. But a very preliminary estimate for all three grids, as of November 2012, puts the penetration level at 1.5 percent.

One other Detail: Do Solar Panels Produce as Much Energy as Consumed in their Manufacture? 

And this: Some Solar Panels Produce More Greenhouse Gasses Than Coal

read … But a Big Portion of the Budget

Will Dissidents End Legislative Secrecy?

ADA: At this writing, it appears that the dissident legislators in the House are now the majority and have begun to organize for the coming session. These changes open the opportunity for new leadership to make our Legislature more democratic. We should know, early in the session, whether this will happen, as the House and Senate approve their rules and the committees begin to meet.

Will the rules in both houses require three working days notice for hearings so that neighbor islanders and others who need to make special arrangements can attend?

Will more hearings be broadcast and will all hearings be archived on-line so they can be watched later? Will the rules specify that the Public Access Office designate which of the committee hearings will be broadcast, based on their assessment of public interest, rather than the current House practice of letting chairs block the public from viewing controversial hearings?

Will there be strong language to stop “gut and replace” actions?

Will bill amendments prepared by committee chairs be required to be posted prior to the hearing rather than passed out to committee members after testimony?

And what about the correspondence sent to conference committees—will rules require that they be posted on-line, as is testimony received for hearings?

Will the rules specify that legislators not hold fund-raisers during the session (a rather obvious way of inviting pay-to-play)?

Will the rules require that bills that have changed substantially in conference committee be voted on individually, rather than being subsumed in a lengthy list?

Will the new regime encourage committee chairs to hold public discussion of bills, rather than limiting them to asking questions and voting Yes, No or Maybe (WR)?

Price: Political Chaos Coming

read … Questions, Questions...

‘Babe in the Woods’ Schatz Not a Big league Player

Bob Jones: Schatz has … no track record of promoting or shepherding legislation....

And now he will be our senior U.S. senator, sworn in before elected U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono. He’s appointed for two years, then will stand for election at age 42.

It’s a puzzlement. Not just that he was picked over the late Sen. Dan Inouye’s preferred successor, Colleen Hanabusa, but that he was on the list at all. We’ve sent a babe-in-the-woods to Washington to do a job usually entrusted to someone wise in the ways of Capitol Hill and the White House.

Schatz properly said he was “honored” and “humbled” by the appointment, but I have to guess the folks in the Inouye and Hanabusa camps were “hurt” and “horrified” by the choice.

The only one who knew she was a loser from the start was Mazie Hirono. Because we wanted a senator in on the “fiscal cliff” talks right away, whoever was picked was destined to be sworn in before she was and therefore make her forever “Hawaii’s junior senator” in news stories. If you know Mazie, that hurts!

Junior to a guy who’s barely earned his political chops. Lieutenant governor of Hawaii for two years isn’t the big leagues….

Lingle starts raising money to oppose Schatz in 2014.

read … Schatz Gets The Jump On Mazie

Cal Lee Got Illegal Campaign Loans from Crooks, Geothermal Wannabees

HNN: The commission says Lee committed 25 violations during his unsuccessful run for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board last year.

"There were I believe 25 loans that put him above the $10,000 limit so we consider that 25 different violations of our campaign spending law," said Gary Kam, the commission's general counsel.

(Unity House crooks). Honua GroupAccording to the commission, Lee received about $23,000 in loans from two companies: (wannabee) Geothermal developer Innovations Development Group (Trask) and locally based

State law places a $10,000 limit on such loans.

The commission says that Lee repaid about half of the loans.

"You have a systemic pattern of violations. It's not one or two things. It's quite a few," said Hawaii Pacific University Professor John Hart.

ILind: Geothermal developers aim to unseat OHA trustee Apoliona

2002: Honua Group Fraud Tax Evasion Unity House

read … $2500

Cal Chipchase III, Maryland Lobbyist Control Inouye’s Remaining Campaign cash

CB: "At the end of the day, the folks who were assisting Mr. Inouye in running the committee prior to his death continue to be legally responsible for disposing of the funds and shutting down the committee," Ryan said.

Inouye's campaign treasurer has for years been Calvert G. Chipchase III, a well-known Honolulu attorney.

(A mix of Blue Dogs and Republicans) in Bethesda, Maryland. Snape is a lobbyist whose web page begins with a laudatory quote from Inouye. Wexler & Walker Public Policy GroupThe campaign finance director is Dale Snape, the CEO and general manager of

Chipchase said Thursday it's not yet been decided exactly where the money will go.

"It's really too early to tell," he said. "No decisions have been made."

Chipchase said Snape is really the guy who will make the decisions but that "certainly some of the money is going to be used to wind down the senator’s office and packing things up and sending them back to where they belong."

As of Sept. 30, the latest report on file with the FEC, Inouye had $268,454 left in his main campaign account. There were no loans outstanding.

read … Control

Largest Mortgage Fraud Scheme: Former Filipino Chamber of Commerce President Pleads Guilty

SA: Former Filipino Chamber of Commerce President Stephen Callo pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to wire fraud for lying about his income to secure a $553,501 loan to buy a Makakilo home in 2006.

In exchange for the guilty plea, the federal prosecutor promises to drop 13 other charges against Callo for his alleged participation in the largest mortgage fraud scheme uncovered in Hawaii….

Callo is among 14 people named in two August 2010 indictments charging them with conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements on loan applications involving 46 residential properties on Oahu….

The government says the 14 people, as well as 10 others charged separately, bought, refinanced, sold and resold more than 90 properties on Oahu from 2003 to 2008 using false information on loan applications to defraud subprime mortgage lenders out of millions of dollars.

read … Mortgage Fraud

Jones Act: Industry-Wide Strategy Session Needed?

Colton: If the Jones Act were to be repealed today, those operators who have not built any ships lately would be free to buy Chinese-built ships and would then be in an advantageous competitive position relative to those operators who bit the bullet and renewed their fleets with US-built ships. So, any transition to this hypothetical competitive world must be structured in some way that protects the companies with the high-cost assets. It's not hard to postulate ways of doing this, and yes, it may require different approaches for the different industry sectors, some being significantly less competitive than others, but I don't hear anyone talking about it. I imagine that the position of the various industry sectors is basically "Forget it: the Jones Act ain't going away", as they've been saying for years, but the walls may be closing in and it's better to be prepared than otherwise. How about an industry-wide strategy session?

read … Strategy Session?

HPU in dispute over remake of Aloha Tower

SA: Hawaii Pacific University’s attempt to proceed with a $32 million makeover of Aloha Tower Marketplace with a blend of retail, student housing and school facilities remains in limbo after a state agency deferred action today on recognizing the university as the project developer.

HPU needs approval from the Aloha Tower Development Corp. to assume management and redevelopment control of the 165,000-square-foot open-air retail center fronting Honolulu Harbor from a private developer that started the project about a year ago.

But the developer, Hawaii Lifestyle Retail Properties LLC led by Ed Bushor, is attempting to retain control of the project and has alleged that HPU, his financing partner, stole control from him.

The dispute between Bushor’s company and the university is in arbitration.

Aloha Tower Development Corp., a state agency that owns the land under the marketplace, deferred action on a request by HPU to recognize it as the owner and developer of the project.

KITV: Downtown residents weigh in on HPU Aloha Tower plans

read … ATDC Does it Again?

Hilo Shooter Has Previous Record, Natch

SA: Upon the arrival of a team of 20 county police, sheriffs and FBI agents at the home on East Palai Street, they announced their presence and heard a single gunshot fired inside. A relative emerged saying the man had shot himself…. (That makes three people allegedly shot by somebody who didn’t get enough punishment in two previous convictions.)

Martin has a conviction record. In 2007 he was convicted of misdemeanor assault on a police officer, for which he was sentenced to 45 days in jail. In 2009 he was convicted of possession of a prohibited weapon.

Police said there is no indication the case is related to a fatal shooting Saturday night in Hilo, in which the suspect remains at large.

Tom Fedenuik, owner of Just Cruisin Coffee, whose parking lot adjoins The Pono Place's lot, said a lot of drug addicts hang out in the area and that "it's a good place for them to hide."

read … Soft on Crime

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