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Thursday, January 10, 2013
January 10, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:51 PM :: 4527 Views

Calles: Moon Court Favored 'Select Interest Groups and Factions'

Abercrombie, Star-Advertiser Laugh at Union Effort to Save Tesoro, Price Spikes Predicted

State, NOAA Preparing EIS for Humpback Sanctuary

Cayetano Doubts Authenticity of Inouye Letter, Will Appeal Rail Ruling

CB: Cayetano didn’t provide many details about the appeal, only saying that it will go beyond the most recent ruling and encompass previous decisions made by Judge A. Wallace Tashima.

“It’s going to be hard sledding for us, I think,” Cayetano told the audience. “But for the city, the financial plan is a house of cards and I think at some point they’re either going to have to raise taxes or shorten the route or do something.”

He also questioned the authenticity of a letter that the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye sent from his deathbed to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. …

Cayetano said the language used in the letter — specifically the part in which Inouye wrote, “I hope you will grant me my last wish” — did not match the senator’s personality. Although the relationship between Cayetano and Inouye had chilled, the two had known each other for a long time.

“That was not the senator talking,” Cayetano said. “The senator was much more subtle than that. He might have said something like, ‘Please consider Colleen Hanabusa.’ But I don’t think he would ever say anything like that.”

Inouye's staff has been mum about the circumstances surrounding the release of the letter, and has not returned Civil Beat's calls on it.

Cayetano said Inouye’s death might now leave openings for the Republican Party in Hawaii….

“Who from the Democratic side can beat Charles Djou?” Cayetano asked. “Not Mufi Hannemann. They’re going to have to find someone. And if the governor’s seat is open, and if it’s Hanabusa or Abercrombie, would Linda Lingle think about running again?”

VIDEO: Cayetano Pt 1, Cayetano Pt 2, Cayetano Pt 3

read … Cayetano

For Abercrombie Opportunities Abound on Inouye’s Grave

Oi: A thinner Hannemann was less animated than in our previous encounters, perhaps sobered by unsuccessful campaigns of the last couple of years. He was vague about his prospects, saying he was scoping the lay of the land and had set himself in a holding pattern until the election dust cleared a bit. He also talked about unpredictable opportunities in Hawaii’s political structure.

“Things happen, you know, things change,” he said, a remnant of his public ebullience returning at the thought.

He was right. A couple of months later, things really did happen when the venerable Daniel Inouye died.

What has followed the senator’s death can be described as a shift in power in the islands and at the fulcrum is Gov. Neil Abercrombie, whose decision to leave Congress to run for the state’s highest position can be seen as the first spark that fired the change.

Despite Inouye’s wish that U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa complete his term, Abercrombie selected his lieutenant governor, Brian Schatz. He said he made the choice, in part, because it would not require a special election for Hanabusa’s seat, lending a measure of stability to Hawaii’s novice congressional delegation….

Politicos are no doubt busily calculating and maneuvering, speculating about the big picture that will emerge when this frenzied round of musical chairs ends. What is clear is that there has been a changing of the guard, but whether that will be for better or worse for island residents, whether Hawaii will be released from the same-old, same-old grip of certain interest groups cannot be predicted.

For Abercrombie, the death of Inouye, who had backed Hannemann in the gubernatorial primary two years ago, opportunities abound. For Hannemann, not so much. At least for the time being.

Typical Comment: “It's good that he is taking control but he kinda got that ‘because I said' attitude.”

read … The Fulcrum

Construction delay costs for rail project lower than anticipated

KHON: HART says overall delay costs so far for three major rail construction contracts came in 31 percent lower than anticipated….

Work stopped in August following court challenges over archaeological surveys and plan alternatives.

Project officials hope to resume rail construction in West Oahu this fall.

read … Rail Costs?

Solar Goes Supernova, Burns Out

CB: Across the state installed PV capacity in 2011 was up markedly compared to 2010 just as 2010 was up substantially from 2009. Little did I, or anyone else for that matter, expect that the PV systems permitted across the state would come to more in this single past year alone compared to the previous 10+ years combined.1 If 2009-2011 saw the pre-supernova period of the industry, in 2012 we most likely witnessed full-blown supernova status. On O’ahu alone, close to 200 different contractors pulled permits last year for over 15,000 PV systems, well over the 10,000 or so grid-connected solar electric systems installed across all the islands from mid-2001 to the end of 2011.

This past year was a perfect storm for those of us working in the PV business: the usual highest in the nation electric rates, state and federal tax credits offsetting a big chunk of the purchase price, the door-to-door onslaught from those providers promoting the no-money-down lease option and last but certainly not least the growing perception among the buying public that PV has become mainstream and one had better get on the solar electric bandwagon soon before the electric grid becomes saturated and tax credits go down or disappear entirely.

Can this type of growth rate and volume be maintained? According to my reading of the tea leaves, there’s little to no chance 2013 will see the frenzied number of new sales that we’ve seen this past year because of two principal limiting factors: increasing grid saturation and the reduction in the state’s tax credit for PV system purchases.

SIERRA CLUB AD: Abercrombie is killing Thousands of Clean Energy Jobs

PR: Sonny the Solar Panel

read … Marco Mangelsdorf

Pay-raise award imminent in UPW arbitration

KHON: In the arbitration award, they will hold on to their base pay for the past two years of the disputed contract, plus get a 3.2 percent pay hike covering this month through June 30.

A draft decision has already been circulated, and the final is expected to be received by the parties on Thursday. UPW is holding an Oahu membership meeting Thursday evening.

“They're getting more than what other unions have contributed, like HSTA, like HGEA, and I would actually add like the other units in UPW that have also taken a pay reduction and a reduction in the EUTF," said state Budget & Finance Director Kalbert Young.

The state budget director said the administration will have to ask the legislature for an emergency appropriation of as much as $8 million to pay the award.

"That increase also re-establishes a base (for 2013-15) that is not accounted for in the proposed budget," Young said.

"I think we have to look at this new decision in the totality of everything," said Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland, (D), a member of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. "We have to consider potential (federal) sequestration that will occur maybe in March of this year."

Unit 10 consists of several thousand state corrections, health and institutional workers, plus about 160 Honolulu County paramedics.

"This arbitration award is significant because I think it does mean something where the other unions can look at whether or not it re-establishes a different base," Young said.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, which is not in arbitration, said in its weekly bulletin: "Though this decision will not directly affect our ongoing legal action, it certainly raises basic issues of fairness and equity that must be considered by all parties as we move forward with negotiations for 2013-2015."

HGEA nurse Unit 9 and Honolulu Police have already wrapped up arbitration hearings. Honolulu County firefighters have a March hearing set.

Background: HSTA: Another Union Soon to Win Big Arbitration Award

read … Pay-raise award imminent in UPW arbitration

Souki, Say Spar over Who Gave More to Republicans

PR: At the closed-door meeting in a third-floor conference room at the state Capitol, sources say that several Democrats were critical of Souki’s alliance with Republicans, who have been promised three committee vice chairmanships and potential capital improvement project money for their districts in return for their support. But others pointed out that Republicans were offered greater staff parity and an extra slot on the House Finance Committee when they threw their votes behind Say during a leadership fight two years ago.

After the caucus, Rep. Scott Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully), who would become majority leader under Souki, said the coalition intends to keep the commitment to Republicans. “I did make it clear to the members that we would honor our agreement with the Republican caucus,” he said. “We will not go back on our word on that, and there was disagreement on that point. But I think there was agreement that the Democrats would have to work together over the next two years and find ways to bring the caucus together so that this does not happen again.”

Saiki and Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-Poamoho), Say’s choice as his successor, told reporters that they will meet privately over the next few days to discuss the remaining committee slots to be filled and when lawmakers can move into different offices to reflect their new roles.

Oshiro said he has not conceded the speaker post to Souki but acknowledged that Souki will likely have a majority among Democrats. Oshiro has urged Democrats to organize behind Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuuanu), freezing out Souki and avoiding the need to form a coalition with Republicans.

But Luke, a leading dissident who would become chairwoman of the House Finance Committee under Souki, has rejected Oshiro’s offer and has pledged to back Souki as speaker.

“Scott and I have committed to work, even through the weekend, to have this thing resolved as soon as possible,” Oshiro said. “There are some questions on the practical aspects of working with Republicans, but I think we’re willing to try and work through those things and have a unified caucus.”

SA: 'I will be speaker,' Souki says

ILind: Hawaii Legislature has changed for the better since 1985

CB: Hawaii House Democrats: We Want Souki

read … Republicans

Counties, LWV, Abercrombie, Push Same Day Registration, Vote by Mail

CB: HSAC is also proposing a bill that would allow people to register to vote on the same day as an election.

Mason said the LWVH strongly supports the measure as a means of enhancing voter participation.

“We have a longer-term agenda of modernizing voting practices,” she said. Mason pointed out that the Legislature last session passed a bill that is expected to enable online voter registration by 2016.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said that he will push for an all-mail voting system this session. And Mason's group is echoing that idea.

Mason cited states like Washington and Oregon as examples of the system’s success. Both states have reported relatively high voter turnout in recent years.

“Frankly, we think doing this will be more effective and efficient than the current hybrid system — vote-by-mail and vote-in-person — we have right now," Mason said.

But, she said, since more responsibility would be shifted to the counties, a new system would need to be carefully planned.

Onishi said he opposes those voter modernization measures because they could lead to unanticipated problems.

For instance, same-day registration, he said, would require the county elections officials to hire a new staff that would need to be properly trained, which has been a problem in the past.

And mail-in voting could pose a range of problems, including the late delivery of ballots, he said.

read … Wide open for Fraud

Post-Inouye Reality: Navy Prepares to Cut Two Hawaii-Based Cruisers

SA: “You are talking about a billion-dollar asset. I mean, what would it cost to fix the ship? Or, what are the issues that are unrepairable?” said Wes Battle, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., who fights to save cruisers the Navy wants to retire early to save money.

The $633 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, signed by President Barack Obama Jan. 2, preserves, for now, four of those cruisers.

The Vicksburg, Anzio, Cowpens and Port Royal were scheduled to be inactivated on March 31. Only the Port Royal is based in Hawaii.

Three other cruisers, including the Pearl Harbor-based USS Chosin, are on the chopping block for fiscal 2014.

Most Interesting Comment: “The ship needs a lot more repairs. The grounding in 2000 and 2009 took it's toll on the keel and aft section of the ship after frame 260, main engine room number 2. It will take more then 60 million dollars to fix her correctly. She also need to have the electrical modification install another 10 million dollars.”

read … Don’t Worry, Dan Inouye will fix this

Ewa Field Runway to be solar -- project gets OK from Navy command

SA: The solar park will comprise 21,000 photovoltaic panels on 20 acres near Ewa Field, a former World War II-era Marine Corps airstrip….

The park is to be developed by Scatec Solar North America Inc. and Hunt Companies, while Hanwha SolarEnergy America is providing financing and will operate the facility for 20 years….

Construction is to begin this month.

S Korean Company With Chinese Solar Manufacturing

read … Obama Wastes Military Budget

 

Daily Tourist Spending by Island

PBN: Oahu is well ahead of other islands with about $20 million in daily visitor spending. Maui, the second most popular island for visitors, brings in about $10 million per day. The Big Island brings in about $4.6 million per day, while Kauai brings in about $3.8 million in daily visitor spending.

Trailing the four major islands are Lanai, which brings in about $219,000, and Molokai, which brings in about $80,000 in daily visitor spending.

read … Inflow

Waikiki 20/20 supports big events and significant funding for improvements

SA: Major events such as the Aloha Festivals, the Honolulu Marathon and the Pro Bowl Block Party are good for Waikiki because they attract visitors and improve quality of life for kamaaina, according to 85.6 percent of respondents in a recent survey.

The survey was taken by more than 400 attendees at the Waikiki 20/20 Conference at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in October and will be used to help come up with goals for the next 20 years for the state's largest tourist destination.

About 7 percent of survey respondents said major events in Waikiki that cause road closures lead to more disruption to commerce and daily life than they are worth.

read … Waikiki 20/20

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