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Friday, March 19, 2010
March 19, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:19 PM :: 7038 Views

LINK>>>Cook Political Report: Hawaii Congressional Race changed from “lean Dem” to “toss up”

LINK>>>Cadillac Tax is back: Obamacare to tax union workers’ health plans, gut $350M from Hawaii State budget

LINK>>>Overtaxed Hawaii: Protest against GE Tax hike March 23

ADV: Governor's proposal for 5.5% pay cuts draws fire from senator and union

Her outlook shows that delaying tax refunds until July — an initiative starting this year to save $275 million on paper — would continue indefinitely in future years, without any expectation that refunds would ever be paid out faster.

The financial plan also anticipates that government employees, who make up the largest expense in the state budget, would have to take 5.5 percent pay cuts in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.

SB: Hawaii state workers face more pay cuts under 6-year plan--Lingle also is proposing to reduce Quest benefits to help balance state budget

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Hawaii auditor says budget aides may have violated law with investment

(This is part of the budget negotiations)

In a stinging report issued Thursday, Higa also asserted that state Department of Budget and Finance officials may have violated state law by investing state funds in student loan-backed securities that do not mature in five years or less.

Higa says neither department Director Georgina Kawamura nor her top investment administrator were consulted prior to purchases of about $1 billion in auction-rate securities in recent years.

SB: State auditor issues stinging report on Lingle's budget office

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Laupahoehoe Charter school block could trip Race to the Top

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has urged states to encourage conversion to charter schools, but a school on the Big Island's north shore that was headed in that direction with a federal grant in hand is being blocked. Instead, the school appears likely to close and its 200 students sent to another standard school, a move that seems counter to federal preference and related financial incentives….

In a letter this month to state Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi, Pollock said that Alvin Parker, chairman of the state school system's Charter School Review Panel, told him in December and January that he should continue preparing the plan for conversion to a charter school, but the panel was divided, 4-4, on whether to suspend the plan. The school board said the charter school panel has full authority over applications and that its actions are within the law.

The charter school panel has said it would not accept applications until the legislative session ends April 29 due to fiscal constraints. However, Pollock expressed in the letter to Toguchi that the delay "does not guarantee that the suspension will be lifted and we have no assurance that this will be the case."

This all comes at a time when Hawaii, rejected in the first round of federal grants under the Race to the Top competition, purports to be seeking grants in the second round. The snub of the Laupahoehoe effort will not help that effort.  (Which is exactly the intent.)

RELATED: Laupahoehoe Liberation

Groups criticize BOE for lack of Furlough Friday action

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Louisiana Medicaid fix may also help Hawaii (not quite…)

In defending and preserving the special Medicaid fix for Louisiana in the Senate health care bill, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and the White House have asserted that the provision could help any state, not just Louisiana, in which every county or parish has been declared a disaster area.

They have mentioned Hawaii as a second state that could benefit from what has been derisively labeled "the Louisiana Purchase." But what they didn't know is that Hawaii's claim to the fix could be undone by the weirdest of circumstances.

When President George W. Bush issued a disaster declaration for Hawaii after the October 2006 earthquake, it authorized federal relief and recovery efforts in what Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, who requested the declaration, described as "all four counties." But what she and the president neglected was a fifth county so small and obscure that most Hawaiians don't know it exists as a separate political entity.

It's Kalawao County….

RELATED: VIDEO: Obama says “Louisiana Purchase” will help with “Earthquake in Hawaii”

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ADV: Homeless: New laws fine but more pressure needed

Hannemann has 10 days to act on the shopping cart and tent-permit bills and his spokesman says the mayor is taking the time to work out the details of enforcement.

We hope the mayor is also working out the details of a new approach to homelessness that puts pressure on the stubborn and highly visible campers who have taken advantage of the city's confusion and timidity. These people aren't interested in shelters or transitional housing, they simply want to live outside.

And for too long, by refusing to confront them, police and city officials have given them that option.

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3 show interest in Star-Bulletin, so far: Publisher surprised by response, says he doesn't know investors' identities

He said the Star-Bulletin has lost more than $100 million — or more than $40,000 a day — since Black took over the newspaper nine years ago.

The potential investors do not include local car dealer Mike McKenna, who has decided against bidding on the newspaper after earlier expressing an interest.

Prospective buyers have until April 5 to submit a bid for the newspaper.

RELATED: Star-Bulletin annual sales at $17.4 million

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Gene Ward: Massachusetts was a straw in the wind (Hawaii tax hikes could produce Djou victory)

If we examine all that was happening in Massachusetts at the time of Scott Brown's election to the U.S. Senate, we can see that there were some bad policies in motion that conditioned the electorate, and Hawaii seems determined to follow Massachusetts' lead….

Just months before Brown's election, the Massachusetts Legislature increased taxes by more than $1 billion. The state's sales tax was increased to 6.25 percent and extended to the retail sale of alcohol. The Legislature also created a new 0.75 percent local option tax on restaurant meals, and allowed municipalities to raise the room occupancy tax for hotels and motels. After sharp exchanges in each chamber over the tax increases, the House voted 110-46 for the budget and 31-8 in the Senate. All 21 Republicans in the legislature, including Brown, voted against it.

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Earthjustice: Solar Energy Foes Try to 'Block' Sun

In Hawaii, for example, Earthjustice is taking on a blatant effort by the state's largest utility to block homes and businesses from installing rooftop solar panels, a move that could strangle Hawaii's burgeoning homegrown solar industry, prevent residents and businesses from saving money, and keep the state addicted to imported oil.

Totally Related: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Crash sparks calls to ban truck-bed riders

Every year since 1998, state Rep. Barbara Marumoto has introduced legislation to ban passengers from riding in the back of pickup trucks.

And every year, the bill has died without getting a hearing, mostly because of opposition from neighbor island lawmakers.

The bills are unlikely to advance this year, but Wednesday night's fatal crash involving a 13-year-old boy riding in a pickup truck bed is reviving calls for tougher laws.

Inst for Highway Safety: http://www.iihs.org/laws/cargoAreas.aspx

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Businesses Hit Hard by Costly Jones Act Regulations

Big Island small business owner Jim O'Keefe found out the hard way that his American dream, owning his own business, was too difficult to maintain in Hawaii. He closed down his 13-year-old extensive bakery wholesale and retail operation, O’Keefe & Sons Bread Bakers, in 2008 because it was too costly to maintain….

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The Senate's proud porkers

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), a self-avowed “king of earmarks,” led the battle last week by fiercely pushing back at any suggestions that he restrict earmarks, insisting that the process is now being done in a transparent fashion and has been limited significantly in recent years. He reiterated those views in a private lunch with Senate Democrats Tuesday.

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New details emerge in firing of former commander of Pearl Harbor-based sub

Around 7 p.m. March 10, Cima and an unidentified lieutenant junior grade who accompanied him joined a dozen midshipmen for dinner at a local pizza place, Olsen said. This was typical of the host unit, he added, as it offers a "less formal" environment where the midshipmen can talk about the Navy or the subject that was earlier briefed.

Olsen said alcohol was consumed at the event, and sometime after 11 p.m., the midshipmen were ready go back because "they have a busy week before spring and have tests coming up." But by that time, Cima and the junior officer were drunk and the midshipmen didn't know what to do, he said. They called a lieutenant from the NROTC unit, who took the pair back to their hotel.

(And THAT cost him his command???)

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St. Damien Film to Screen at Honolulu Film Festival in April

Honolulu International Film Festival has announced that the independent film, Damien making a Difference, God making a Saint, will screen during their festival on April 25, 2010 at 1:15 p.m. The film is one of only 41 films that were selected for this year's film festival. All official selections are presented with the Gold Kahuna Award in Filmmaking. All other awards are announced at the Closing Awards Ceremony at the Festival.

The Festival is being held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa located at 2005 Kalia Road in Honolulu, Hawaii. Information about obtaining tickets to the screening is available at the festival website, http://www.honolulufilmfestival.com

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Hawaii wants Obama presidential library

Two resolutions before the 2010 Hawaii Legislature, House Concurrent Resolution 174 and House Resolution 109, urge Obama to select Hawaii….HCR 174 and HR 109 have hearings scheduled at the Capitol in Honolulu on Monday.

(Should we put it on Smith St at the site of the Green Goose?  Or on Kuhio at Frank Marshall Davis’ former party house?)

RELATED: Hey Obama, Who's Freddy?

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Budgetary impasse: Hawaii Co. Council committee finds no way to slice budget

An ad hoc committee formed last year to study possible ways of cutting the county budget brought no recommendations to the County Council Wednesday, raising some council members' ire.

(Here’s an idea.  Lets get “Billy K live and direct” and 17 bands to headline a fundraiser for the County.  At $100 a head in Nani Mau gardens.  Should raise more than $100K for the budget—unless the County Government is less popular than a mafia double murderer.)

RELATED: Ka'u clamors for cops

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Maui County and DOE sued over ballfields

The suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii Foundation seeks a court order to give the team equal access to playing fields before the season ends in May.

The ACLU says that while boys on the school's baseball team practice and compete in Iron Maehara Stadium - a 1,500-seat facility with a manicured field - the girls are relegated to a rock-strewn dirt field a mile away.

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Former MPD officer arrested on theft and drug charges

Moore was indicted on Feb. 19 by a grand jury on one count of first-degree attempted theft, two counts of second-degree attempted theft, seven counts of promoting a dangerous drug in the third degree, seven counts of tampering with physical evidence, seven counts of second-degree forgery and one count of fixing tickets, according to a news release from the Maui Police Department….Moore served with MPD from Aug. 16, 2004, until she resigned Sept. 16, 2009.

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Prospective buyers tour county's Hamakua land

Enviros have been desperately trying every trick in the book to stop or sabotage this sale, but buyers are looking.  Looks like 719 more acres will be liberated from the government any put in private hands, thus hastening the day Hawaii is free from the corporatist entity.

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