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Monday, March 8, 2010
March 8, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:20 PM :: 9179 Views

LINK>>>Answer to bag bans, tax hikes: Big Island group launches Charter amendment petition

LINK>>>“Poi Pounder” smashes competition: Waialua HS wins big in San Diego Robotics meet

House hopefuls to debate issues

A public debate between three candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District seat recently vacated by Neil Abercrombie will be held next Monday.  The event will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Hawaii Public Radio's Atherton Studio, 738 Kaheka St.  Candidates will debate before a studio audience in a live broadcast on KIPO 89.3 and streamed on  Admission is free. However, seats are limited. To reserve a seat, call HPR at 955-8821.  Questions from the audience will be allowed if time permits.

RELATED: In Congress, Hawaii now represented by Lorraine C. Miller

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SB: Hawaii's failure in 'Race to Top' self-inflicted

Hawaii's failure to be chosen as a finalist in the U.S. Department of Education's $4 billion "Race to the Top" competition came as no surprise. Education Secretary Arne Duncan had criticized Hawaii's furlough days taken from this and next school year and the state's cap on the number of charter schools. Hawaii will continue to be a long shot so long as it keeps school days to the minimum and limits charter schools….

(Lifting the charter school cap) supported by the Lingle administration, was given a quick death in the Hawaii Legislature after Kathryn Matayoshi, the new interim schools superintendent, testified against it.

"The issue of equity funding is very complex and requires in-depth analysis," Matayoshi said, favoring instead legislation calling for a task force to complete such an analysis; that bill also failed in the current session.

The inexcusable Furlough Fridays had to be a major factor in Hawaii being lapped by other states in the Race to the Top. The refusal to allow expansion of charter schools seems to have been another self-inflicted fatal blow in the first round -- and probably round two.

Precisely as Explained:

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DoE Propaganda--Hawaii officials tout online school testing: Quicker feedback allows teachers to adjust lessons; new version also cheaper

The online version of the Hawai'i State Assessment is also being touted as a tool that will reduce the chance for errors in scoring, save money — potentially 40 percent from the present $10.1 million annual cost for the paper test — and give teachers immediate feedback on how their students are comprehending math, reading and science concepts….

The state now spends an estimated $10.1 million a year to develop and administer the assessment to 92,000 students. By the 2012-13 school year, the state DOE estimates that the cost will drop to about $6 million.

REALITY:  DoE spends $50M for free software

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Unions rally employees: Six labor groups want deal in place before sale of Advertiser happens

Workers from six unions at the two-hour meeting heard their leaders exhort them to press hard for a contract by the time the deal is consummated, and to take a strong stand to preserve their jobs.

"Our major goal so far is to save as many jobs as possible," said Wayne Cahill, spokesman for the six-union Hawaii Newspaper and Printing Trades Council, and administrative officer of the Hawai'i Newspaper Guild, which represents some employees of both The Advertiser and Star-Bulletin. "Our ultimate goal is that no one loses their job."

Cahill said the Communications Workers of America, parent union of The Newspaper Guild, has hired the Washington law firm of Baker and Miller to look into the transaction, especially in light of last week's report that Gannett Co. Inc. — which owns The Advertiser — is helping Star-Bulletin owner David Black finance the purchase.

Baker and Miller specializes in antitrust cases and represented the Hawai'i newspaper unions 10 years ago when Gannett unsuccessfully attempted to shut down the Star-Bulletin without offering it for sale. Black emerged as the eventual buyer of the Star-Bulletin.

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Take back Honolulu: City must reclaim its parks, public spaces from the homeless

Action by the police and parks workers is sporadic and ineffective. We're still not clear why it's permissible for people to stack and store personal belongings on public property for weeks, sometimes months, and why being in possession of a shopping cart from Safeway or Longs doesn't constitute receiving stolen property.

Do we really need further refinement of laws to take action?

It's too bad it's come to this, but too much is at stake to allow the city, and especially Waikīkī, to turn into a tattered squatters' village.

The city, with assistance from state or nonprofit agencies, needs to establish an enforcement squad to go into the parks every day and nudge the homeless to get moving. If that means confiscating stolen shopping carts, running warrant checks and writing citations, so be it.

This squad would also include social workers and other professionals who could help assess individual needs and suggest alternatives.

This may seem extreme but there isn't any other way to give direction to people who need it and deter the more opportunistic types who take advantage of lax law enforcement. Including social service on these sweeps should help police officers, who shouldn't be expected to resolve legitimate problems homeless people have.

Simply, the city needs to remove the option of camping out on public property.


Precisely as Explained:

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Hawaii Unemployment Insurance Tax Relief Bill Proposed by Legislature Falls Short of What Businesses Need

Under HB 2169 employers will still pay an average of $630 per employee in annual UI taxes this year. Next year that cost will be $970 and annually climb to $1,600 in 2013, despite the U.I. tax relief provided in the bill….Only employers pay for the UI tax and Hawaii is 3rd highest.

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$16.2M in Hawaii film, TV tax credits created 4,000-plus jobs (we only know because of FOIA)

Critics contend the credits subsidize activity that would have occurred without credits. Local TV commercials and that shows such as the Merrie Monarch Festival would occur without the credits, said Lowell Kalapa, head of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

"That's stuff that would have been done anyway," he said. "Now, you're just subsidizing that cost."

Just how many jobs were created and how much each production got in tax credits is being withheld by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which administers the tax credit program.

However, productions seeking the credits hired 3,662 residents and 613 non-residents overall (figures based on production registration forms). The state does not track how many of those jobs were permanent, though many people in the industry are typically employed on a project-by-project basis.

ABC's "Lost" alone created 1,305 jobs last year, according to Erin Felentzer, an ABC spokeswoman.

Somebody who got a job: The Teamsters Production Unit: Jim Dooley connects dots thru Honolulu underworld to Obama  (Must read)

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Ribbons outline ahupua'a boundaries

Windward O'ahu's majestic Ko'olau mountains have a new adornment. Bright pink ribbons tied along roadsides serve as temporary boundary markers for the 11 ahupua'a of the Ko'olaupoko district. The Ko'olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club put in most of the markers from Kualoa to Maunalua Bay in Hawai'i Kai, and members recently took a driving tour with city and state officials for approval to replace the ribbons with permanent markers.

(Then OHA will assert claims over your property based on the theory that whatever you do on your property affects their holdings in the ahupua'a.  All could be amelorated by an appropriate payment, of course.)

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Amount of Pacific debris understated, study finds

(The Pacific Gyre is emerging as the environmentalists’ next big lie.)


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Environmental groups threaten legal action against St. Regis

PRINCEVILLE — In an attempt to help rare native seabird populations recover on Kaua‘i, the same conservationist and cultural practitioners who threatened legal action against Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative in January are now targeting the St. Regis Princeville Resort for their alleged “failure to prevent ... ongoing deaths,” according to a press release Wednesday morning.

David Henkin, is the Earthjustice staff attorney representing the four citizen’s groups threatening suit. The four groups are: The Center for Biological Diversity and American Bird Conservancy, Hui Ho‘omalu i Ka ‘Aina and Conservation Council for Hawai‘i.

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Small biofuel farm bears fruit

…last summer they were able to harvest their first, small crop -- enough to make a few gallons of biodiesel and run some tests on the oil they produced.

"At this point it's looking promising, but we don't know for certain if it will work yet," Christian Twigg-Smith said.

It takes about 100 pounds of nuts to make one gallon of biodiesel, Christian Twigg-Smith said.

(Meanwhile this “environmentally friendly” biofuel scam is the leading cause of deforestation in Borneo.)

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Supreme Court will hear case about vaccine side effects

The justices on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from parents in Pittsburgh who want to sue Wyeth over the serious side effects their daughter, six months old at the time, allegedly suffered as a result of the company's diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled against Robalee and Russell Bruesewitz, saying a 1986 federal law bars their claims.

That law set up a special vaccine court to handle disputes as part of its aim of insuring a stable vaccine supply by shielding companies from most lawsuits.

Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer, Inc., prevailed at the appeals court but also joined in asking the court to hear the case, saying it presents an important and recurring legal issue that should be resolved.

The Obama administration joined the parties in calling for high court review, although the government takes the side of the manufacturers.

RELATED: Thimerosal Veto: Saving Vaccines from Trial Lawyers

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