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Saturday, December 17, 2011
December 17, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:43 PM :: 19880 Views

Federal Funding Rejection Reveals DoE Scheme to Profit by Labeling More Children “Special Needs”

As Delisting Looms, Material Misrepresentation by Hoku Solar?

Star-Advertiser: Occupy brought “Heady Whiff of Revolution” to a “Self-Important Democracy”

The idea of trying to effect change from the outside was wildly romantic: Could rousting the 99 percent off the treadmill really get the 1 percent to change the centralization of power and money?

The heady whiff of revolution was rightly in the air then — but with each passing month since September, when the U.S. movement started, the answer, increasingly, is turning no. And that's a shame….

The movement mirrored true revolutions worldwide; so successful was people power, in fact, that Time magazine just named "The Protester" its 2011 person of the year. Across countries rejoicing in the Arab Spring — from Tunisia, to Egypt, to Libya, to Syria — to Russia, citizens mobilized against dictatorship and corruption.

To be sure, not all uprisings succeed. Some are quelled by death and violence in authoritarian regimes; others, like Occupy, can atrophy without directed purpose in self-important democracies.

Civil disobedience is important in tapping the collective conscience of a citizenry, mobilizing them en masse to affect dynamic change. How such protest manifests itself — or not — is the ever-present, needed tension in the body politic. Will the status quo be pushed to evolve?

That raises a fundamental flaw in how the Occupy movements have faltered to this point: they've gotten the citizenry's attention, but don't know what to do with it.

The encampments, some of which on the mainland have deteriorated into hubs of criminal and unsavory activity, need to pull up stakes and make change happen. That might mean effecting change from within, by taking the focused message to City Hall; actually fielding viable Occupy candidates in next year's election; or working to get the ears and support of influential allies to hone legislation.

Here’s a better idea: Occupy Grove Farm and ML&P, then we’ll check back to see what Mr Case (and Mr Omidyar) say about the “heady whiff of revolution” ….

Why the media is talking them down after creating them: 2012=1968

read … Occupiers need focus, new strategy


Hawaii Loses Only Organ Transplant Center

Hawaii Medical Center East is the only facility in the state that performs organ transplants. There are currently more than 400 people on the waiting list for pancreas, kidney, liver, and heart transplants….

Dr. Alan Cheung, Director of the Transplant Center at HMC East, said patients waiting for organ transplants are being given two options.

They can ask the hospital to transfer their wait time on transplant lists to medical facilities on the mainland and hope their lifesaving organs can be found there. Or they can wait until the Transplant Center relocates to another hospital on Oahu.

It is possible Queen's may make room for the Transplant Center.

Queen's CEO Art Ushijima said Friday, "…if Hawaii Medical Center is not able to continue this vital program, we will take a strong look at seeing what Queen's can do to preserve it."

Cheung said under a best case scenario the Transplant Center could be relocated and open for business in Early February, but cautioned the transition could take six months.

read … Need a Transplant? Go to California and wait

First complaint filed under new city ordinance against personal property on sidewalks

HNN: "This is about communities taking back their public spaces, their sidewalks, their parks, being able to safely navigate those things," said Cuadra's father, Greg Cuadra, chairman of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board.

The Cuadras said the new law has more teeth than previous ones, and may actually clear the sidewalks. That's something that worries members of the Occupy Honolulu movement, as the law could affect their encampment near Thomas Square. Some of them met with Mayor Peter Carlisle this week, asking that they be exempt from the law because of their First Amendment rights.

"It's unconstitutional what they're doing," said Occupy Honolulu member Michael Vandemark, "and they're saying that they're not targeting the homeless. But who else could they possibly be targeting? Private citizens do not leave their stuff on private property." (So homelessness is now a First Amendment right?)

Greg Cuadra disagrees with that assessment. "It doesn't (target the homeless). This park is for everyone. This sidewalk is for everyone. It's not a camping place. it's not a place to store your stuff."

Christal Cuadra said it took a while before her call was routed to the correct city department, the complaints branch of the city's Department of Customer Services. "I was surprised today when I called and I was told by customer service that I was the first one that they had received a phone call from," she said.

"I asked when I would see some action taking place, and they said within ten working days, they would have addressed the complaint," Christal Cuadra added.

The city said anyone who wants to file a similar complaint can call 768-4381 during normal business hours.

Shapiro: Property on sidewalk, bad; taxes on property, good

read … Test Case

Hawaii high court will hear reapportionment challenge on Jan. 4

SA: The state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on Jan. 4 to hear from the parties in two lawsuits challenging new political districts drawn up by the state Reapportionment Commission.

Lawsuits contend the nine-member commission included too many nonresident military members, spouses and students in the permanent resident population base when drawing new political boundaries.

Doing so prevents Hawaii island from gaining a fourth Senate seat in the state Legislature, they argue. Oahu would lose a Senate seat.

The exclusion of the military members, most of whom live on Oahu, also would shift state House district lines.

read … High Court Challenge

Moribund Politics: Hawaii’s Legislative Candidates Fundraising Totals Stable over 2 decades

SA: Good government groups have warned about the increasing influence of money in state House and Senate campaigns — at one point referring to the potential for a “tsunami” of campaign contributions — but state campaign-finance statistics continue to tell a more stable story….

The statistics show that fundraising and campaign spending have not increased substantially in state House and Senate races since the mid-1990s. While political insiders who work on campaigns say money is important, it has much less weight than in gubernatorial or federal elections. Other factors, such as party and labor union endorsements and grassroots organization, can have significant influence on campaigns.

read … Stillwater

Federal Judge Overturns LUC Theft of Bridge Aina Lea Zoning

CB: Late this afternoon, in a rather historic decision, Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Strance reversed the Land Use Commission, and ordered the LUC to void both its Order to Show Cause and its Final Order reclassifying the Aina Lea property to agricultural use. Judge Strance found that the LUC violated its governing statute, HRS 205, violated due process, and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Strance stated that the LUC had lost sight of its mission in this case. Assuming the Project can still get financing after the delays caused by the LUC’s action, the Project can now resume. The LUC’s illegal action had created a dark cloud not just over the Aina Lea Project, but all major development projects in Hawaii.


read … Historic

Planted? 1 Ounce Of Drugs At Police Major's House, Not Half-Pound

The amount of illegal methamphetamines seized by federal agents at Honolulu Police Major Carlton Nishimura’s house last month was far less than originally alleged by FBI agents, drug tests have shown.

According to court records and testimony delivered today, only about one ounce of nearly a half-pound of suspected illegal substances seized by FBI agents turned out to be methamphetamines.

The ounce of methamphetamines was of such impure quality that it could not have been sold on the street, said U.S Public Defender Peter Wolff, Nishimura’s lawyer.

Nishimura “knows nothing about” how the illegal drugs got into his house, Wolff said, although the lawyer hinted that they may have been planted by Nishimura’s sometime girlfriend, convicted drug dealer Doni Imose….

Puglisi initially ordered that $50,000 of the new bond be posted in cash and the rest secured by property.

After Wolff protested that Nishimura couldn’t raise $50,000, Puglisi lowered the cash requirement to $25,000, to be posted by Nishimura’s elderly parents.

read … More Weirdness In This Case

Doper trying to Reduce Sentence in Grow-Op Murder, Dismemberment

SA: Joshua Williams said he feels terrible and has extreme remorse for killing Jamil Khan, his partner in an indoor marijuana-growing operation, and for dismembering Khan's body and disposing it in the trash.

"Very hard to bear, the guilt I still hold every day," he said Friday.

A state jury found Williams, 27, guilty of second-degree murder in the April 7, 2010, disappearance of Khan, 24. Police have not recovered Khan's body.

The same jury that convicted Williams on Sept. 1 returned to state court Friday to determine whether Williams should be imprisoned for the rest of his life without the opportunity for parole.

read … Marijuana is not harmful, really

Charter school dismisses state audit

SA: About 500 students attend Thompson Academy, which offers online classes. (Now the DoE has targeted two online charters. There is a pattern and it is likely related to preventing large numbers of military children from jumping to online charters.)

The audit is expected to further turn up the heat on the school, whose administrators have been under fire for their spending, employment and procurement practices. Charter school officials said some concerns have been sent to the state attorney general's office, which is investigating.

The audit said Thompson Academy "excessively" increased salaries, leading to $133,000 in overpayments in one year to employees, who also "benefited from irregular employment and procurement practices."

In some cases, the audit said, overpayments resulted in Thompson employees being paid two to three times what they should have been earning. The audit notes the school's registrar, listed as part time, got a "differential" that boosted his salary 212 percent to $55,200 annually.

Myron K. Thompson said the audit failed to point out that the registrar, though listed as part time, actually worked full time but was paid from different funding sources. He said the same was true for the part-time school administrative services assistant, who was earning $69,599 a year.

read … More Pabulum from the DoE Advertiser

After Oahu Farm Workers Fall Ill, State Inspectors Look Into Workers' Safety, Food Security

HR: The Hawaii state Department of Agriculture will inspect a Kahuku farm where undocumented workers from Laos said they were sickened by exposure to toxic pesticides.

“Our enforcement field inspector has made contact with the farmer in question and has scheduled to meet with and conduct an Agricultural Use Inspection with him,” said Thomas Matsuda, manager of the Ag Department’s pesticides program office….

Law visited Alay several times at Castle Medical Center and continuously tried to get him discharged. With two other male farm workers, they pulled Alay out of bed, unhooked his monitors and walked him in a wheelchair down the hall to the elevator twice. Law said he was not trying to forcefully take Alay out of the hospital. Both times the conspicuous group was stopped and turned back before getting into the elevator – once by a nurse and another by a friend of Alay.

Law maintains workers at his farm are not covered by health insurance because they float from farm to farm and are not regular employees.

read … Farm Workers

Mokulele: Non-Stop to Chicago, One Stop to London

A Hawaiian airline known for island flights is wants to leap between continents, connecting Rockford, Il with Honolulu in March and London in May.

read … Mokulele

Young Brothers gets OK to raise interisland shipping rates

State regulators today approved a rate hike of 16.58 percent for Young Brothers that will raise the cost of shipping goods interisland.

The increase, which will generate $10.6 million in revenue for Young Brothers, is less than the 23.97 percent hike originally sought by the company.

The hike approved by the Public Utilities Commission will result in higher prices for some goods on the Neighbor Islands and mean higher costs for farmers shipping refrigerated produce to Honolulu.

Young Brothers said it needed to raise rates because it otherwise would not have been able to sustain its ability to serve customers in the face of falling cargo volumes. (Here’s another solution, restructure inter-island freight by introducing something like … a Superferry!)

read … A Monopoly, thanks to the Anti-Superferry Protesters

Abercrombie refusing to Release Funds for Kauai Emergency Bypass Road

KGI: In the meantime, each time that an accident occurs on Kuhio Highway in the Wailua Corridor, drivers can use the existing emergency bypass, but only during daylight hours and after someone comes to unlock the gates. The road, partly paved, has many potholes and is only drivable at low speeds.

read … Hey Neil, where’s the money?


Romney's $10,000 wager was right

HTH: Americans with lives may have missed the Saturday night debate. To recap: Perry accused Romney of supporting a national health care plan like the one he helped create as governor of Massachusetts and claimed that Romney changed his book, "No Apology," to conceal that support.

This is demonstrably and substantially false.

Romney did edit his book between editions, as writers often do, but he didn't change the substance of what he had written. And, given that Romney, unlike most politicians, actually wrote his own book, he was familiar with its contents.

As Glenn Kessler wrote in his Washington Post fact-check column in September: "Romney has long said he did not view his plan as a model for the nation, and he has not wavered on that stance." And, Perry "is simply making up the claim that Romney advocated his health care plan as a model for the rest of the country. ... He chose to manufacture a phony issue."

Another fact-checking entity, the St. Petersburg Times', further explained Romney's edits: "Among other things, a line that advocated the Massachusetts model as a strong option for other states was replaced by a shorter, more generic sentence. But Perry exaggerates by making it sound as though Romney had advocated his state's plan as national health care policy -- a potentially damaging position in a Republican primary."

read … Romney's $10,000 wager was right


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