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Friday, January 11, 2013
January 11, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:00 PM :: 4754 Views

HSTA Survey: "Hawaii teachers welcome an evaluation process"

NRA: White House Meeting Agenda Driven

PEW: Vote-by-Mail Favors Old White Democrats

Cayetano on Akaka Bill: Stop Sending Millions to Washington Lobbyists

Election's Commission investigation results expected 10AM today

Senate Dems Unveil 2013 Legislative Priorities

Medicated Marijuana Activists Release Poll Results

KIUC Board Election Nominations Open

Inouye, Say Gone: Legalized gambling to be key issue when lawmakers convene

PBN: The prospects of legalized gambling in Hawaii will continue to be debated during the 2013 legislative session. The difference heading into this year is that Souki, the leading candidate for speaker of the house, is a big advocate of gaming, unlike his predecessor, Calvin Say.

A source who has seen the actual gambling legislation proposed for 2013 told PBN that plans include the Hawaii Convention Center as one place where gambling could take place, as well as in Waikiki and on ships offshore.

The source also noted that the Neighbor Islands would be included in the plan.

read … Life After Inouye

HSTA to Present Contract Offer Based on UPW Arbitration Award

KHON: Okabe says the proposal will take into account the arbitration award first reported by KHON2 News that some UPW members just won a 3.2 percent raise, on top of not having had to take the 5 percent pay cut many other unions agreed to in negotiations, and UPW retained a better share of health premium costs. CLICK HERE to view more on costs.

"I believe that HSTA wants to have a fair contract, we don't expect anything less than any other public union,” Okabe said.

“We have been eager to get back to the table and continue negotiations with the teachers' union so that we can reach an agreement on a contract that can be put forth for a teacher vote,” Matayoshi said.

The state budget director told KHON2 yesterday that the current state finances cannot afford paying all public employees at the rate UPW was awarded, without more revenue being raised or other programs and expenses cut.

SA: Raises for UPW worry state

July, 2011: Four of a Kind: UPW, UHPA get big Fat Pay Raise—and HSTA suit could give one to HGEA

read … Big Fat Raise

Solar Scammers Grab for ‘Rail Pie’ 

PBN: There are many possibilities for powering rail efficiently and cost-effectively, said Don Horner, chairman of the HART Board of Directors Finance Committee. They include using AC instead of DC motors on the cars (They are laughing at you dear reader.  AC motors have been the default solution for railroads worldwide since the 1950s.  LINK) and keeping tabs on how rail is used by monitoring the fare gates. Having fare gates will help determine, for example, how many trains HART needs to run to get people to and from University of Hawaii football games at Aloha Stadium….

Ansaldo Honolulu JV, which has a $1.4 billion contract to build the rail cars and operating systems, said it is doing simulations for the cars, but has no relevant data on energy use.

However, solar company executives believe photovoltaic power will be a pivotal part of rail, and they are looking forward to the business opportunities the $5.16 billion project presents.

Solar farms could provide power for rail, said Alex Tiller, CEO of Sunetric.

“We would like to get lots of the work [for rail], but it is a big pie and we don’t have to eat the entire pie by ourselves,” he said.

Jim Whitcomb, president of Maui-based Haleakala Solar Inc., said investors would line up to get involved with photovoltaic projects for rail.

CB: Honolulu Rail Delays Cost $6M So Far, Still Less Than Expected

read … Vein of Lucre

Callies: HCDA = PLDC

SA: David Callies is one of Hawaii's leading experts on property law in Hawaii, so it carried some weight when he responded publicly recently to opponents of the state's new Public Land Development Corp., which the Legislature created in 2011 to develop state lands without having to go through the usual regulatory and public hearing processes.

In a letter published in the Star-Advertiser, Callies said the precedent for the PLDC already had been set by the Hawaii Community Development Authority and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and he wondered if he could assume PLDC opponents opposed those agencies, too.

More important, he asked if it could be "that these 'back door' approaches to land development are proliferating because of the long and complicated process to develop land in the normal course of government permitting, estimated to take at least 10 years."

Related: Callies: Moon Court Favored 'Select Interest Groups and Factions'

read … PLDC = HCDA

Cayetano sees Hanabusa rising on political horizon

Borreca: "I don't think Colleen Hanabusa will remain in the House. She is a very talented person," said Cayetano, before the crowd of about 250 at the Ala Moana Hotel on Wednesday….

"She helped us pass the most far-reaching reform of government that has ever been passed," Cayetano said, referring to civil service reforms….

When Cayetano was governor, he tried several times to reform state civil service laws to rein in the power of the public worker unions. He wasn't opposed to the unions, but the state couldn't afford their salary and benefit demands, Cayetano said.

After trying to use his own Cabinet members, including some who were former union leaders, Cayetano found an ally in Hanabusa.

"It was opposed by the unions. … For Colleen to pass that, even with the unions opposed to it and very angry with her, showed another side of her. She has courage to do what she thinks is right," Cayetano said this week.

Hanabusa, Cayetano predicted, "may run for governor or she may run for the U.S. Senate."

read … Hanabusa vs Unions?

Mainland Homosexual Millionaires Push Gay ‘Marriage’ on Hawaii

TE: This week the Human Rights Campaign is highlighting marriage equality campaigns in five states -- Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Rhode Island -- where state legislators could take up the same-sex marriage issue in the next few months, before the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 ban.

read … Redefining the Family is not a Civil Right

Alm: HECO Needs LNG

PBN: “[We will] probably exceed it by a couple of percentage points,” Alm, an executive vice president for the utility, told a wide ranging audience of business leaders, state legislators and other stakeholders at the 9th Annual Hawaii Energy Policy Forum at the state Capitol in Honolulu on Thursday….

But although the state is well on its way to reaching its renewable energy goal, Alm cautioned that there’s not much left in the pipeline for projects, other than planned biofuels projects from Aina Koa Pono and Hawaii BioEnergy, as well as the proposed 200 megawatts of wind energy from Lanai and OTEC International’s 100-megawatt ocean thermal energy conversion planned project….

“We’ve got to go to bid again,” Alm said, noting that there are currently only four more bids on the table, including additional geothermal on the Big Island, 200 megawatts of wind energy on Molokai and firm energy from Oahu and Maui….

But there are a few “game changers” that Alm said could really help push the state further and faster towards its clean energy goal.

These include the planned undersea cable that would pipe energy from Lanai and Molokai to energy starved Oahu, as well as importing liquefied natural gas, the development of wave energy, changes to the competitive bidding process and environmental compliance.

CB: HECO: We Need Liquefied Natural Gas

read … Hawaii will exceed 15% clean energy mandate by 2015

Solar Scammers Unveil Two Schemes to Keep Money Flowing into Their Pockets

CB: The Hawaii Solar Energy Association, the state's major solar lobby, is pushing a bill that will allow residential photovoltaic customers to claim a 35 percent tax credit for systems up to about 6 kilowatts in size. Leslie Cole-Brooks, executive director of the trade group, said that a 6 kilowatt system costs about $38,000 — so the maximum credit that could be claimed on residential systems would be about $12,500.

There is no sunset date for the credits, but Cole-Brooks said that the credits would be reevaluated in 2016. She said this strategy would reduce the impact on the state budget because customers wouldn't be allowed to take more than one tax credit. About 70 percent of systems going online have been claiming more than one tax credit, she said.

The association isn't currently proposing anything for commercial properties or large utlity solar projects.

Blue Planet Foundation, a Honolulu-based clean energy advocacy group, and Mark Duda, head of the PV Coalition, are both supporting policies that ramp down the solar tax credits.

Duda said that he is working on a bill that will reduce the tax credit for residential and commercial rooftop solar systems by 5 percent a year, stopping at 10 percent. At that time a study would be performed to assess the future.

read … Laissez les Bontemps Rouler!

Ex-HPD Officer Sentenced for Exposing Undercover Officer to Drug Dealers

KITV: Former Honolulu Police Department Officer Richard Wayne Raquino, 41, of Ewa Beach, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi to four months in prison for three counts of making false statements to federal investigators.

Raquino, who resigned last year from HPD after a 20-year career, (is he getting his pension?) previously pleaded guilty to those charges on Sept. 19, 2012.

SA: Miscalculation means ex-officer will serve 1 fewer month in pot case

read … Former HPD officer sentenced for lying to FBI 

Parker Ranch’ Theo Lani Bell Arrested for Looting California Homeless Shelter

SJMN: Theo Lani Bell, 62, is scheduled to enter a plea Monday to charges of felony grand theft and multiple tax violations in connection with an alleged five-year scheme where she falsified repair orders for an Oakland homeless shelter and pocketed the money reimbursed to her by Housing for Independent People, a nonprofit headquartered in Milpitas. (Attention Hawaii non-profit crooks. Read on to see what happens when you do this in another state where nobody cares who you think you are.)

According to prosecutors, Bell "systematically defrauded" the agency by submitting fake repair orders for the building and phony materials purchases from a local hardware store. The ploy unraveled in 2009 when another staffer evaluated the building and deemed the "repairs" unnecessary, and soon learned that the hardware store Bell supposedly used had never done business with her.

Bell resigned a short time later, and after prosecutors built their case an investigator for the District Attorney's Office traveled to Bell's family horse and cattle ranch on the island of Hawaii late last year and brought her back to Santa Clara County, where she remains in custody. The charges against Bell carry a maximum penalty of nine years in prison.

Theo Lani Bell: Loyal to the Land

read … Ooops, this happened in California!

$13.4M Oceanside mortgage foreclosed, Greenmailers Missed Vein of Lucre

WHT: The same day plaintiffs in a lawsuit against 1250 Oceanside Partners announced they had reached an impasse after several years of negotiations, a South Kona property owner signed a $13 million complaint against the developer.

Charles Flaherty was one of those three plaintiffs from the 2003 lawsuit.

He said the revelation, through court documents, that Oceanside owed on yet another mortgage has prompted him to reconsider his acceptance of a settlement agreement in 2006. (Too late now, sucka!)

“Why in the world did Ackerman Ranch finance a $13 million mortgage for Hokulia two years after the project had been shut down as an illegal use of agricultural land?” Flaherty asked. “Why Hokulia and Ackerman Ranch did not disclose this obligation during the hundreds of hours of settlement negotiations and court hearings that have occurred since October 2005? It is now clear to me that I made a huge mistake signing the 2006 settlement agreement.” (I could have been rich, Rich RICH! It’s all about the ‘aina, you know.)

He said Thursday he now wishes he had let the Hawaii State Supreme Court rule on the case rather than settle.

“Instead, the public could have benefited immensely through major legal precedent, such as the ‘private attorney general doctrine’ whereby government must pay for citizens’ attorneys’ fees when they are forced to sue because government is not following its own laws, rules and regulations,” Flaherty said.

Now, he added, the settlement agreement “has been basically ignored.”

read … Too Bad, So Sad

Group lobbies to prevent Turtle Bay development

SA:  Members of Defend Oahu Coalition gathered at City Hall on Thursday to urge state and city government leaders to stop the planned expansion of Turtle Bay Resort.

Specifically, the group is asking the city Department of Planning and Permitting to reject a supplemental environmental impact statement submitted by the owner of the North Shore resort on 880 acres of mostly undeveloped land….

The public has until Jan. 18 to comment on the environmental report, which is available online at www.turtlebayseis.com.

read … Shocking, Just Shocking

 

 

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