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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
January 30, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:25 PM :: 4890 Views

HHSC Exec: Hospitals "Being Pushed to Brink of Collapse"

Hawaii Gun Buyback Bill Scheduled to be Heard This Week

Must Read: Leading Activist Apologizes For Starting Anti-GMO Movement

Teo Hoax Created by Homosexual Pretending to be Female

HNN: Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the Manti Te'o dead girlfriend hoax, told Dr. Phil McGraw that he developed romantic feelings for Te'o and asserted that he was the voice of Lennay Kekua during phone conversations with the All-American linebacker, the television host said Wednesday.

With an exclusive interview with Tuiasosopo set to air Thursday, McGraw appeared on NBC's Today Show and revealed some of the things he learned from Tuiasosopo during their discussions.

"Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," said Dr. Phil. "I asked him straight up, 'Was this a romantic relationship with you?' And he says 'Yes.' I said, 'Are you then, therefore, gay?' And he said, 'When you put it that way, yes.'

UPDATE: Te’o Hoaxer Was Turned Gay by Child Molester

read … Gay Blackmail

Sen Donna Mercado Kim Endorses Abercrombie’s Big Fat TAT Tax Hike

HNN: Prompted by the record visitor arrivals, (need to make legislators look good while making temporary tax hikes permanent) Gov. Neil Abercrombie is proposing to raise Hawaii's transient accommodations tax by 2 percentage points.  (Ahem.  You’re not fooled by this are you?)

It would be the third increase in the TAT four years -- increases that were supposed to be temporary hikes. (They have practiced this many times.) But the governor also (really just) wants to make them permanent. (Hence the need for the diversionary tactic.)

The bottom line for hotels, inns and timeshares is the possibility of a (permanent) 11.25 percent tax rate on every room they sell…."It begins to hurt and people take it into consideration because they look at the rate and all of the sudden bingo, aloha there another 13 percent on top of that," said Mark Glen, owner of the Manoa Valley Inn….

(Now watch how this makes Abercrombie’s REAL proposal suddenly seem acceptable.)

(Drumroll please….) State senate president Donna Kim.. wouldn't mind making the increase permanent (clash cymbals) but draws the line at additional hikes….  (See how this works?  She looks like a hero for stopping the nonexistent Abercrombie tax hike—but in actuality she just endorsed a big fat tax increase which will take effect when the scheduled end to the temporary 11.25% TAT rate doesn’t come.)

Lawmakers have less than three weeks to schedule a hearing on the governor's bills or they're likely done until next year.

read … Head Fake

High Electric Rates: They can use Candles

WHT: “Customers using candles at night?” Solomon said, referring to comments from Public Utilities Commissioner Lorraine Akiba earlier in the hearing. “You’ve got to excuse me for sounding angry. I’ve been chasing this for 30 years. Renewables can reduce the cost, the cost can be passed on to the consumer. That’s why I’m saying you’ve all got to take a class in basic economics. (Note: No news article actually carries the quote Solomon is responding to.  When they let the mask slip, the truth is still covered up by their media.)

Frustrations boiled over this morning at the state capitol as lawmakers tried to find answers to the problem of rising electric prices in Hawaii.

Senator Malama Solomon wanted to know why prices keep going up...especially with all the renewable energy projects..and with public consumption of electricity actually going down.

"That is why I am saying that maybe you should all take a class in basic economics," says Senator Solomon.

read … The Future They Have in Mind for You

Alm: Inouye Wanted Jones Act Waiver for LNG

CB: Alm said bringing LNG to Oahu would require finding a way around a decades-old federal shipping law known as the Jones Act, which requires shipping between U.S. ports be done on U.S. ships with American crews.

The late-Sen. Daniel K. Inouye had indicated it's possible to get a waiver to the Jones Act which would allow the importation of LNG, Alm said.

read … Ship Bill

HSTA Focuses on Student Evaluations in Effort to Kill All Evaluations

SA: According to statistics released earlier this month, 40 percent of Hawaii Zone of School Innovation third- to fifth-graders included in the 2011-12 survey responded favorably when asked about whether their teacher adequately controlled their classroom, compared with about 52 percent nationally.

But 83 percent of those students responded favorably when asked whether their teacher regularly clarified and explained content, 20 points higher than the national average.

Meanwhile, 65 percent of students in sixth to 12th grade said their course content was rigorous, compared with 49 percent nationally.

And 56 percent responded favorably to questions about whether their teachers care, 11 points lower than the national average.

read … Easier Target

Complete Rundown on Gambling Bills, Including SB124 the Gambling Shell Bill

CB: …at least eight bills that call for casinos in Waikiki and Kapolei, a statewide lottery, gaming on vessels in Hawaii waters, Internet gaming operations, bingo, raffles — even horse racing.

Bills also call for establishing a Hawaii gaming control commission and directing a chunk of revenue from gaming operations into state coffers.

At least one bill, regarding a stand-alone casino in Waikiki, would levy a 15 percent wagering tax on gross receipts — a revenue stream for the state — and fund a compulsive gambler program. The proposal for the casino (which would not be housed in a hotel) is detailed enough to include the types of gambling that would be allowed: baccarat, 21, poker, craps, slots, video gaming, roulette and Klondike tables.

But there are also a number of anti-gambling proposals, suggesting that it may be challenging to garner large support for either pro-gambling or anti-gambling measures.

At least eight bills target electronic game machines, like those offering sweepstakes, the kind that have confused retailers, customers and police as to whether they actually constitute gambling. Some legislators believe that the machines do; one bill, introduced by House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke, would make clear that use of sweepstakes machines is a misdemeanor.

Meanwhile, several others bills like this one would make the use of a building or place to commit a gambling offense fall under the state's nuisance abatement law.

There is also at least one measure that calls for a gambling task force to perform a social and financial analysis of the different types of gambling and their impact.

Actually, there is a recent study concerning gambling. The Hawaii Tax Review Commission paid a consultant last year to study the state's tax system.

Among other things, the study advised that Hawaii not pursue a lottery or gambling, and for a variety of reasons. One reason: Lotteries and other forms of gaming tend to be regressive….

Souki himself introduced the Waikiki casino bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Scott Saiki. It's now waiting a hearing in Rep. Karl Rhoads' Judiciary Committee.

Lobbyist John Radcliffe, whose many clients include gaming interests, thinks legislators may be receptive to Souki's bill and a similar measure, Senate Bill 769.

In spite of his anti-gambling views, Mizuno is the co-introducer along with Souki of HB 1425, which creates a state lottery commission and authorizes it to establish lottery gaming.

One possible tactic: Senate Bill 124, a short-form bill on gambling introduced by Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. Essentially, SB 124 is a blank bill that can later be filled out as long as the bill has something to do with gambling.

read … Now that Inouye's dead, Gambling lives?

Star-Adv on Bags: Taxes & Fines-- the Peasants will Learn to Live with it

SA: The use of paper sacks has been frowned upon for decades because of the destruction of trees. However, reckless disposal of both paper and plastic is known to pollute Hawaii streams and coral reefs and strangle endangered marine animals, as pointed out by sponsors of the broad 10-cent fee.

Hawaii's counties were right in their focus on banning plastic bags, but there can be an offshoot toward paper bags at an environmental cost. That can be answered with the dime-per-bag fee: It continues offering shoppers a checkout choice but at a cost; ideally, it should prompt a change in habits toward bringing along one's own recycled bags.

The industry also has maintained that tourists are unlikely to have packed a reusable bag, but the onus should be on the retailer. Stores that cater to tourism are smart enough to make inexpensive cloth bags available to their customers.

Encouragingly, the proposed 10-cent bag fee is embraced by both the environmental and retail communities.

Plastic costs retailers a penny per bag but a dime for paper — so imposing the fee for both types at checkout keeps expenses in check for businesses.

Some retailers might regard a dime fee as a nuisance, but a stiff fine — the legislation calls for at least $1,000 — should get their attention, and their compliance.

read … More Harassment of the People

Foster care bills ask for increased reimbursement for caregivers, extending age for foster children

KITV: The $529 a month she receives for each of the two little ones barely covers their needs.

"The pre-school cost is $450 and that comes out of the $529, so the balance is what you are using for diapers, wipes car seats. You cut corners. We don't go to movies we don't go out," said Keola.

And there is little left for outside sports for her 9-year-old adopted son.

"I like to play football and baseball,” said Keolanui.

Lawmakers are being asked to consider increasing the aid, because the state stipend hasn't been raised in twenty-two years.

The low reimbursement makes it hard to find new families willing to take needy children in.

Hawaii has an estimated 1,200 youngsters in foster care.

Another idea gaining momentum is raising the age that a child can continue

in the foster program--from 18 to 21. 

Wilahoite said 13 other states have raised the age-out ceiling to 21.

Read … Foster Care

HB426: Dozens Testify Against Measure to Eliminate Liability Protection for Gun Safety Training

CB: Person after person told Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads that the bill would actually make Hawaii less safe. They said NRA gun-safety trainers would quit if they weren’t exempt from liability in the case of injury resulting from a gun going off during a training session.

There’s a mountain of testimony available here. Read the legislation here.

read … NRA Flexes

Enviros Crushed by Support for Fishermen

SA: Fishermen crowded a Senate hearing this afternoon to protest a proposal to end the use of synthetic gill nets….

The Sierra Club, the Conservation Council of Hawaii and several other environmental groups testified in favor of the initiative.

Environmental advocates say the nets pose a risk to monk seals and other ocean wildlife.

Sen. Mike Gabbard, who co-sponsored the bill, said the committee decided to kill the bill because the opposition was overwhelming.

Gabbard said nearly 200 people opposed the bill.

read … How to Defeat an Enviro Snob

Aquarium fish collecting bill deferred indefinitely

HTH: A controversial bill to require holders of aquarium fish permits to specify all species collected, and in what collection areas, has been deferred indefinitely.

During Tuesday’s hearing in Honolulu, members of the Committee on Water and Land and Committee on Energy and Environment voted to hold Senate Bill 26, of which the testimony for and against was nearly equal. More than 208 people submitted written and in-person comments….

Opponents claimed the bill is not based on science and undermines decades of work, including that done collaboratively between DLNR, those in the industry and community-based marine advisory organizations like the West Hawaii Fisheries Council. Instead of helping maintain a well-regulated, sustainable fishery, they said the bill would result in an outright ban of aquarium collecting since nearly all of Hawaii’s fish are indigenous. They also touched on the dozens of jobs potentially lost and possible economic hardship.

In his written testimony, Scott Brien, an aquarium fisherman and West Hawaii Fisheries Council member, urged lawmakers to review the years of data from DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources and state aquatic biologist Bill Walsh before making any decisions regarding the bill. He also asked them to “take with a grain of salt the passionate testimony made with exaggerations and false statements.”

“We have data to show our fishery is sustainable,” he wrote. “Banning or overburden regulations are foolish and unwarranted.”

read … Anti-Aquarium Hypesters Crushed

Increasing Tip Credit Would Raise Wages in Hawaii Restaurant Industry

HR: I and my fellow restaurateurs would have been paying all our dishwashers and kitchen help well over $9 per hour years ago if the state minimum wage law allowed for a reasonable tip credit. The Hawaii State Legislature's failure to consider tip income as part of a tipped employee's full wages is the reason so many restaurant industry back of the house employees wages are so low. The Hawaii Restaurant Association has submitted realistic tip credit bills to the legislature year after year with no results….

The Governor stated that 19 other states have higher minimum wages. Well, 28 states have the same $7.25 per hour minimum wage. So we are currently in the majority on that point. Interestingly however, 19 states have per hour tip credits of $5.12 to $5.48, 5 states have tip credits of between $4.36 to $4.98, 13 states have tip credits of $3.00 to $3.99, 5 states have tip credits of $2.25 to 2.90; while Hawaii's tip credit is 25 cents….

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has spoken with pride that he worked in the restaurant industry as a waiter in his youth. Therefore, he knows first hand how much tip income servers can make. It would be really something if the Governor could explain this to the State House and Senate members and help restaurateurs pay more than his proposed $8.75 to kitchen workers without increasing the minimum wage. The HRA has been trying since the 1980's to get the legislature to help its members pay their kitchen employees a maximum wage.

We really would not need a minimum wage if the legislature would stop monkeying around with the economy.

read … Restaurant

 

Hawaii couple behind 'Super Bowl of Cockfighting' sentenced to prison

KBND: An FBI official called Marshall's cockfighting operation "brazen," saying Marshall had even made up T-shirts for the "Super Bowl of Cockfighting." Additionally, Marshall had lobbied for legislature to relax restrictions on cockfighting in the state of Hawaii, though he was unsuccessful….

The Marshalls acquired over $239,000 in proceeds from their illegal gambling business over the course of one year, and were also found with $170,578 in cash at the time of the raid, authorities said.

2011: Honolulu Cockfighter paid by City: $480K to ‘Investigate Rooster Complaints’

read … Super Bowl

Students, teachers, parents rally for Hawaiian language tests

SA: Hundreds of Hawaiian immersion students, parents and teachers gathered in front of the Department of Education's headquarters today to call for the creation of standardized tests in the Hawaiian language….

Holding signs that read “No more unfair testing” and “No more pidgin Hawaiian test,” the attendees chanted, heard speeches and invited schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi to address the crowd. She did, telling attendees that she understood their message and would work toward an equitable solution….

After the rally at the DOE building, the demonstrators moved to the state Capitol to hold signs and meet with state legislators.

read … Language?

Mafia First Wind Fences Off 10 acres Calls It License to Keep Killing Lots of Birds

PR: The Makamaka'ole seabird mitigation project is part of an extensive program undertaken by the company to provide conservation benefits to mitigate potential impacts of the Kaheawa Wind projects several miles away. As part of the company’s innovative Habitat Conservation Plan for its two Kaheawa Wind projects on Maui, First Wind is constructing two fenced enclosures to protect the federally endangered Hawaiian Petrel and threatened Newell’s Shearwater, two native Hawaiian seabirds. The enclosures are located about ten miles west of Wailuku.

Once completed, the enclosures will each encompass between four and five acres and will feature barriers intended to keep non-native predators, such as rats, mongoose and cats, out of the habitat. In addition, each enclosure will contain specific features designed to attract shearwaters and petrels to nest, including artificial burrows, custom decoys and a sound system that broadcasts shearwater and petrel calls.

“We are very hopeful that this program will help promote the recovery of these rare native species in West Maui,” (after we killed so many)

The first Kaheawa Wind project went online in 2006 (and 7 years later, we’re getting around to carrying out our mitigation requirements)

2011: Hawaii Windfarms killing endangered Birds: After five years Mitigation Lags

2011: Conservation Plan: Mafia connected Oahu Windfarm to kill Cats and Endangered Birds

read … Their Press Release

 

State taking a proactive approach to possible Boeing strike

KHON: The SPEEA, which represents the personnel involved in the labor dispute, and Boeing are at odds over a new wage and benefits package. Boeing's first offer was overwhelmingly rejected and the SPEEA has expressed significant concerns with the latest proposal. The next vote will be on February 15th and if the two sides do not agree, the SPEEA could possibly go on its third strike in history.
Among some of the possible issues discussed at the briefing were what effects, if any, the disruption could have on Aircraft On Ground support services, the impact the strike in 2000 actually had on the visitor industry, as well as the percentage of Boeing aircraft in the airline fleets that serve the state.

CB: Does Hawaii Have a Plan to Keep Airplanes Aloft if Boeing Employees Strike?

News Release: State Prepares for Possible Boeing Strike

read … State taking a proactive approach to possible Boeing strike

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