Abercrombie backs renewed Obamacare push
Obama also called for non-partisanship and a coming together on his stalled health care reform plan.
"That is exactly what needed to be said. You do not want the negative force of the great private interests and insurance companies and their allies get away with it," said Abercrombie.
(Then the funniest line of the night….)
Rep. Neil Abercrombie: "There's plenty of room in government right now to get at waste and corruption." (maybe that’s why he is resigning.)
EXPLAINED: Neil Abercrombie 2009: A year of corruption
Abercrombie put on defense: Abercrombie hardly a quitter
Obama's answer for America: more of me
Washington graybeards and pundits have been insisting that Obama needs to "start over," "reboot" and "tack to the middle" after Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts. But Obama's response last night was to recommit himself to the agenda that has gotten him in so much trouble.
In fairness, the president took a French-bath of Clintonism before he took to his beloved TelePrompTer. He doused himself with the scent of the deficit-fighter and trade-promoter. He unveiled a slew of small, easy, applause-gathering proposals and populist appeals that he knows will go nowhere.
He also indulged in a lot of feel-your-pain pathos, trying to connect with the real Americans suffering from the recession and the misdeeds of a "Washington" that Obama seems to think is run by someone other than him.
But the eau-de-Clinton couldn't mask the stench -- and Obama, in his supreme arrogance, didn't really seem to care….
AP FACT CHECK: Obama and a toothless commission
UK Telegraph: State of the Union: Barack Obama gets an F for world leadership
Republicans Hope To Claim Seats In Islands
Statewide, the recruitment class for Republicans so far in 2010 has been top notch in places recently held by Democrats, and of course Democrats with a recruitment class that leaves quite a bit to be desired," RNC spokesman Gene Collins said.
Hawaii is a key target state for us. We've got a very competitive special election coming up in May in the House which, we expect to place successfully in, and we've got what we think is a tough but winnable campaign to hold the governorship," Collins said.
The GOP is hoping Honolulu Councilman Charles Djou might take the seat being vacated by Democrat U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie. Djou is running against Democrats state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case.
Hawaii Democratic Party leader Brian Schatz, an associate of Larry Mehau, agrees the Republicans are eyeing Hawaii.
"No doubt the national GOP is targeting Hawaii," Schatz said. "I believe Hawaii voters are moderate and reject the politics of Karl Rove and Michael Steele, and locally want a change (to keep Mehau associates like me is ‘change’) which is good for Democrats."
Schatz photos: Big Island Rancher Larry Mehau Hosts Community Rally for Sen. Akaka
ADV: GOP sees opportunity in Islands
SB: Republicans envision coup with Djou
Case, a former Hawaii congressman, said his opponents are "locked into the pure partisan politics that has proven so corrosive to our government."
Hanabusa, the state Senate president, said the Republican Party doesn't "really understand Hawaii politics." She said, "What we have here is a strong sense of community and those elected are going with the mandate that they will do what is in the best interests of the state of Hawaii."
Djou said in an e-mail statement: "While I welcome support from the national GOP, it is not something I covet. The support of average Hawaii families is far more important to me."
Governor Lingle Fires Back at “bully” Mayor Hannemann
"I am pro rail, I always have been, I just think right now we can't afford the plan that he's proposed," said Lingle. "I think Mufi Hannemann has had a pattern throughout his time in public life and that is when people don't agree with him he starts to attack them in a personal way, he tries to bully them into seeing it his way."
KHON: Mayor Hannemann on Governor Lingle: "I believe she's anti-rail"
EXPLAINED: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can
HSTA proposes increase in taxes to fund schools
(Because we absolutely, positively, must not cut back on waste, fraud, or corruption!)
The teachers union planned to introduce legislation yesterday to create two new higher tax brackets for Hawaii residents making more than $200,000 a year. (Just barely escaping: Two bureaucrats married to each other, making $100K per year each while accumulating their ‘top three years’ before retirement.) Combined with other proposals that would increase capital gains and corporate taxes, the state would see more than $500 million in additional revenue each year, the HSTA estimates.
"There's no good solution to furloughs, either this year or next year, without additional funding for the Department of Education. And the only way to do that is to increase revenues," said Jim Williams, executive director of the HSTA, which represents about 13,000 public school teachers and librarians.
(Of course, those high earners who bought into ACT 215/221 companies and got 200% tax credits, won’t be affected … until the credits run out.)
SB: HSTA proposes increase in taxes to fund schools
Guards from Hilo jail picket UPW office
"We pay them big money, and they do nothing for us. That's the bottom line," said Jonathan Taum, an HCCC sergeant and former UPW Hawaii (Island) Division treasurer.
Under OHA attack: A&B board expected to make a decision on whether to keep growing sugar on Maui
(The words “Office of Hawaiian Affairs” occur nowhere in this article.)
This week the Alexander & Baldwin board of directors is expected to meet and consider the question: Does it make sense to continue growing sugar on Maui?
It's no secret that financial troubles plague Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., which employs more than 600 residents and has roots going back more than a century to the Hawaiian monarchy.
In A&B's third-quarter results last year, the company said: "A comprehensive review of the company's sugar operations is under way. While improved sugar prices and production levels will influence near-term decisions by the company, a final determination of the future of these operations will be highly dependent on critical rulings by the State of Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management on water allocations for both the West Maui and East Maui water systems, where favorable water rulings are essential to the long-term viability of the plantation. Resolution of the water cases is expected in late 2009 or early 2010."
(The old boys are impotent to save the last plantation from OHA. Pathetic.)
EXPLAINED: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water
Maui News: Loan plan helps sugar prices stay above world levels
Justice and safety at risk, Moon warns
Last year, the judiciary eliminated 79 vacant positions; cut salaries for state judges and justices, saving $11.5 million; and implemented two furlough days a month that close all courts statewide and save $4.8 million this year.
"Trials will take longer and are already being set further down the road simply due to the shortened workweek," Moon said.
He said the branch also cut contracts for treatment services that, if further reduced, would lead to increased domestic violence, higher recidivism rates, prison overcrowding and increased concerns over public safety.
Moon did discuss some bright spots in the state court system, including the success of Girls Court, the breadth of the court interpreter program and the opening of the Kapolei Court Complex this spring.
Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he felt it was a good use of Moon's speech to explain why certain programs are needed in the administration of justice.
Council bills are aimed at homeless in parks
Proposals would ban use of shopping carts and camping-style tents…
"I think it's a good move," said the committee's chairman, Councilman Charles Djou. "We have a major problem with vagrants all around the island, but particularly in Kapiolani Park. I'm happy that we're finally seeing some action to address this serious problem in our community."
Daniel Gluck, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, opposed the measures, saying there were more "productive, proactive" steps the Council could take to address homelessness. (Is that a constitutional issue, Gluck? Or is that a piece of policy advice?)
EXPLAINED: Kapiolani Park: Homelessness industry takes Hawaii tourism hostage , Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii
Foreclosures running high
Last year, 3,985 properties, or one in every 84 Honolulu households, was in foreclosure, according to a report released today by RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure market. The activity represented a 142 percent increase from 2008 and a 672 percent rise from 2007.
In comparison, there were 2.82 million foreclosure filings in the United States, or one per every 45 households. Nationally, foreclosures increased 21 percent from 2008 and 120 percent from 2007….
Honolulu moved up in the foreclosure rankings to No. 128 from No. 198 in 2008, he said.
SB: Civil unions bill deserves decision now
(SB’s gay desperation) Thirty-four votes are needed to overcome a veto, and Say claims that support may have dwindled to 31. He has not revealed those who have changed their minds during an election year; voters should know.
Asked about the issue, Lingle has said, "My thought is they should not discuss it. I don't want to discuss it. I want to discuss job creation." That ambiguity falls far short of a veto threat and could mean that she would let it become law without her signature.
(Anyone who thinks 444 will not be vetoed is fooling them self. Lingle has maintained creative ambiguity, but will not let Duke down in that way. She might take a day off and fly to Palmyra or Midway so Duke can be governor and issue the veto. Looks like the gay lobby--which controls the SB editorial board--doesn’t care about all those poor little Democrat
Legislators who will be handing their opponents issues in a year which is trending Republican already.)
Just ignore this: Hooser, Hanabusa predict HB444 will bring gay marriage back before Courts
Hawaii needs commission to attract sports events, Aiona says
Panel would recruit revenue-generating events like Pro Bowl….
In Miami, Marshall said, "there is so much to do, so many pro teams in the area. They have the Dolphins, the Heat they had LeBron James one week and will have the Super Bowl next week. In between is the Pro Bowl."
Dolphins linebacker John Offerdahl told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that Hawai'i "rolled out the red carpet; they made it a big thing. (In) Miami, it's just another game."....
City spokesman Bill Brennan said Mayor Mufi Hannemann had not been consulted on Aiona's proposal but would support it.
"The mayor would tell you that anytime the top elected officials in the state get behind sports marketing and sports promotion, it's a good thing. This could help service the Neighbor Islands more than the Honolulu County Sports Commission could."
But Brennan said Aiona's idea was overdue at the state level.
"It's too bad that in the last several months of the Lingle-Aiona administration they're finally bringing this kind of idea to the table," Brennan said. "You wonder what opportunities we may have missed that the city and state could have collaborated on."
(So, even though Mufi never proposed this idea, he criticizes Duke for being late. Amazing.)
Aiona defends likely County TAT cut -- Legislature backing away from more tax increases
"That's something the counties knew was coming," he said. "Last year they made it perfectly clear they didn't need labor savings. I hope they can deal with it."
Further, he said, answering a question from a meeting attendee, raising other taxes is not the answer. Residents and legislators talk about raising the General Excise Tax, but no one knows how much of a raise is needed to keep the budget balanced, because the Council on Revenues continues to adjust the deficit projections, he said.
Also, Aiona said, the Legislature raised four taxes, including the TAT, last year. That didn't make up the deficit the state's facing, he said.
"That's why we see the Legislature is backing away from that," he said.
Maui News polls Tax Increases
Should the state Legislature raise taxes, cut spending or do both to close the $1 billon-plus budget gap? Raise taxes Cut spending Combination of both Neither one Some option other than those listed above
- Raise taxes --5%
- Cut spending -- 55%
- Combination of both -- 31%
- Neither one -- 2%
- Some option other than those listed above -- 6%
EBay Founder Talks To UH
Omidyar talks about his double-bottom line scam without actually explaining what he has in mind.
ADV: Advertiser sides with “sustainability” billionaires
County eyeing water rate increases
The Board of Water Supply also wants its consultant to look into phasing out preferential rates for agriculture, a move that is sure to spark debate as the county tries to increase agricultural productivity as a step toward greater self-sufficiency. Agriculture accounts for about 5 percent of county potable water use.
Agriculture rates would have to be raised a whopping 62 percent to keep pace with residential rates….
Electrical costs are the biggest driver of the average 3 percent annual increase in costs. They're expected to go up 5.6 percent a year.
(Triple taxed: GET hits oil, GET hits electricity, GET hits water bill)