HGEA BU 10, 13 Contracts Detail ‘Huge Payout to Union’
Samoa News Continues to Deceive Public on Faleomavaega; credibility sinking
Taxing Tourists Politically Popular
$14.3M CIP for Harbors, Highways Statewide
Jean King Memorial Reminisces About Her Communist Party Days
SA: Kimi Matsuda, who also spoke during the service, remembered becoming close friends with King through Hawaii Youth for Democracy, a group formed during their college years at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. (HYD was the local branch of the AYD--youth group of the Communist Party, USA during the Browder days of WW2.)....
After attending UH, King went on to earn master's degrees in history from New York University and in drama and theater from UH. She also worked with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in San Francisco in the office of (Communist Party member) Harry Bridges, a widely known union leader, and even transcribed an interview between Bridges and the FBI because she was known for her attention to detail, her grandson said.
Matsuda remembered hanging around with King in New York and serving as the maid of honor in her New York City apartment wedding to the late James King, (also a CPer) whom she later divorced.
read ... About another ex-CPer
Justice Reinvestment: Loosen School Discipline Even More so Future Criminals Will be Less Likely to Drop Out
SA: Our adult prisoners have an average sixth-grade level of education....
Changing school policies, including eliminating zero tolerance policies, especially for substance abuse, can help youth to develop academically and socially. Most students who use drugs need treatment and are not helped by being punished or school suspension.
School districts in other states have seen the failure of zero tolerance, including one of the largest, Broward County, Fla., which has disbanded this failed approach.
Public schools should also reconsider the 2.0 grade point average required for extracurricular activities, which hurts economically and socially disadvantaged students the most. We should be doing everything possible to keep struggling students engaged in school because the alternative is what we have today: a prison population of about 5,000 people with the education of 12-year-olds.
read ... Improving school disciplinary policies would improve juvenile justice system
Biofuel Scheme Wanted $1.08 per Ratepayer per Month for 20 Years
Star-Adv Dec 29, 2013: Last week the commission filed its decision rejecting, for the second time, a proposed biodiesel supply contract between the producer, Aina Koa Pono-Ka'u LLC, and two sibling utilities, Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawaiian Electric Light Co. A similar deal got the thumbs-down from the PUC two years ago.
Both utilities were parties because the cost of producing the annual load of 16 million gallons of liquid biofuel would have been borne in part by ratepayers on Hawaii island, where HELCO is the power company, and Oahu.
The price to be paid by the utilities was withheld as proprietary information, but the surcharge that would be added to each customer's monthly bill was estimated at 90 cents for Hawaii island accounts and $1.08 on a typical Oahu residential bill.
That may not sound like a huge tab, but over the course of the 20-year contract, that adds up to a substantial tab.
Background: Excessive Price: PUC Rejects AKP Biofuel Scheme (again)
read ... Green power is goal but at sensible cost
Abercrombie Reelection slogan? "2 x 0 = 0"
Shapiro: Gov. Neil Abercrombie called the Legislature into special session to pass same-sex marriage, saying it was best done quickly and away from the hubbub of a regular session. It was the political equivalent of getting drunk and eloping.
» The governor launched his 2014 re-election bid, promising to build on his accomplishments in a second term. It was an expansive speech, but can be summarized as a simple mathematical formula: 2 x 0 = 0.
» Abercrombie suggested planting a vegetable garden on the Capitol rooftop. Finally, a good use for all the manure produced in that building.
read ... 2 x 0 = 0
What to look for in the next UH president? Nudity
SA: The new University of Hawaii president must be like Hans Christian Andersen's emperor in new clothes — transparent....
read ... What to look for in the next UH president
Trade UHWO land for fiscal aid, lawmaker proposes
SA: The campus is seeking about $3.5 million more from the Legislature for operations next year and $30 million for capital improvement projects. The $3.5 million would be on top of $8.5 million in general funds lawmakers approved last session for the upcoming 2014-2015 year.
The Legislature, which enacts two-year budgets, will take up the so-called supplemental state budget next month.
Donna Kiyosaki, UH-West Oahu's vice chancellor for administration, told lawmakers at a budget briefing at the Capitol on Dec. 20 that the school has no reserve funds and is "operating day to day."
State Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, suggested making the $3.5 million request contingent on UH transferring the excess land to the state.
read ... Trade land for fiscal aid, lawmaker proposes
Naturopathic Quacks Face backlash after Baby Suffers Brain Damage
SA: The state requires barbers, plumbers, massage therapists, electricians, auto mechanics, pest control operators, dental hygienists, physicians, and a host of other professional and vocational job holders to meet minimum standards before they can get licenses to serve customers.
But Hawaii has no such requirements for those who help women give birth at home.
Unlike the majority of other states, Hawaii does not have minimum qualifications for licensing or certifying midwives and others who perform home deliveries....
For each of the past six years, home births have increased in Hawaii, hitting a peak of 345 in 2012, up 64 percent since 2007, state data show.
The 345 cases represented less than 2 percent of overall births statewide in 2012.
Even as the home-birth trend shows signs of slowing this year, with the total expected to decline for the first time since 2007...
The lack of state oversight was raised publicly earlier this year when a mother who had given birth at her Oahu home sued the naturopathic physician who delivered the baby, alleging that the physician's negligence contributed to her baby suffering severe brain damage.
The physician denied the allegations. The lawsuit is pending.
Some women prefer giving birth in the comfort of their home and under the supervision of a qualified provider. Proponents cite data indicating that home births result in fewer medical interventions for mothers and fewer instances of premature and low-birth-weight babies.
But others cite studies showing higher infant mortality rates linked to home births.
The local section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is among those calling for state oversight.
"We are very concerned about home birth safety in Hawaii," Dr. Lori Kamemoto, chairwoman of the local section, said in an email to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "Deaths of newborns associated with a planned home birth in Hawaii appear to be on the rise. Nationally, when compared with hospital births, planned home births are associated with a twofold to threefold increase in newborn deaths."
read ... Planned bill would regulate midwives in isles
Hotels vs Timeshares?
SA: Whether the trend toward timeshare sales and condo-hotel conversions represents a blessing or a curse depends upon whom you ask.
Defenders of the increase in tourists buying a piece of paradise rather than renting it say that timeshare units, for example, enjoy a higher occupancy rate ensuring more visitors even during down economic times.
Critics — and labor leader Eric Gill may be the most outspoken — say that hotel owners are relying increasingly on a real-estate "flip" for a return on investment, and that all this buying and selling will lead to thinner margins and worsening prospects for the workforce.
"We're talking fewer jobs here, many fewer jobs," said Gill, financial secretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE! Local 5, which is the union representing hotel workers. "Few timeshares have a food-and-beverage component; they are limited-service by definition.
read ... Who needs a hotel?
Kauai Co Audit raises more red flags about Overtime Records
KGI: A trio of annual, independent audit reports released last week found that Kauai County officials should do more to address several recurring financial and record keeping deficiencies.
Those audits, conducted by Honolulu-based accounting firm N&K CPAs, Inc. on transactions made during the 2013 fiscal year, found a total of five countywide issues, ranging from inaccuracies in county purchasing procedures to inaccurate vacation and sick leave records.
Two of those findings, according to the reports, date back to 2012, when an audit by the same firm raised three times as many red flags....
Each county department uses a different manual process to maintain and report vacation and sick leave records, which “resulted in errors in the amount of hours and dollars reported to the Department of Finance,” according to the reports.
Out of the 60 random samples tested by auditors, there were four instances where vacation or sick leave hours from the employees leave log did not agree with the department’s summary sheet. An estimate of how many hours or pay that differed between the two wasn’t available.
Although this issue first surfaced in last year’s audit, Yukimura said it has been an ongoing issue for about five to six years.
“It’s a longstanding problem that I think has huge consequences when you think about payroll over the years and how that factors into pension funds,” Yukimura said. “If there are errors either way by penalizing the employee or making improper use of county money, it’s a serious problem.”
read ... Audit raises more red flags
Geothermal Fund Buys out Protesters then Auctions Homes to New Protesters
HTH: A purchase would be made if a homeowner accepts the county’s offer, which can be up to 130 percent of assessed value.
Delfin said the large amount of paperwork that goes with processing the requests and the transition to new ownership have hindered progress.
“Everything, right now, is a work in progress,” she said.
So far, the county purchased five homes through the relocation program, all at 130 percent of their assessed value. The purchase costs all together totaled $646,407.
Four were re-sold through auction for a total amount of $216,100.
Joaquin Gamiao, planning administrative officer, said homes in good condition will likely continue to be purchased at 130 percent of their assessment.
“That’s what the ordinance allows for,” he said.
Relocation applicants said the higher purchase price helps them cover what’s remaining on their mortgages, particularly if more is owed than the homes are worth.
After being purchased, each home would then be auctioned, with proceeds going back into the fund to cover additional acquisitions.
Google: "Geothermal Evacuation Plan" Did you know that Puna is the only place on Earth stupid enough to believe that an evacuation plan is needed around a geothermal plant? Yes, its true.
read ... Recycling
West Maui taxpayer group to meet
MN: State and county officials, including Mayor Alan Arakawa and state Sen. Roz Baker, will be speaking at the West Maui Taxpayers Association annual meeting Jan. 9 at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Other speakers will include state Rep. Angus McKelvey and Council Member Elle Cochran, who holds the West Maui residency seat....
The public is invited to the event, which will begin at 5 p.m. with food service from Paradise Grill, followed by a short business meeting at 5:30 p.m.
Akaku will tape the event for rebroadcast. For more information, go to www.westmaui.org.
read ... Meeting
Homeless man had sought public office
SA: The strange, sad life of Anthony Montero — a would-be journalist who ran a series of unsuccessful campaigns for public office under his alias, Paul A. Manner — apparently came to a tragic end in an alley just steps away from the South King Street storefront where he lived for the past several months.
Montero, 62, is believed to be the homeless man who was beaten to death by at least three young men early Friday morning near the corner of South King and Punahou streets....
Veteran print and broadcast reporters recalled Montero as a quiet, seemingly angry young man who would take the bus to news conferences, place his tape recorder next to the speaker, then stand silently in the back of the room. Usually dressed in black T-shirt and black jeans, Montero would not ask questions or speak to anyone else.
Identifying himself as a freelance journalist, Montero occasionally produced handwritten news releases and reports that he would copy and distribute.....
As Manner, Montero ran for U.S. Senate in 1998 and 2000, Honolulu mayor in 2004, governor in 2006 and 2010, and U.S. Senate again in 2012.
read ... Homeless man had sought public office