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Saturday, May 1, 2010
May 1, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:33 AM :: 9479 Views

Akaka Bill: Aiona still concerned about Abercrombie’s new version

Hannemann Won't Take Position On Civil Unions Bill, Abercrombie calls him wimp  (Aiona is only anti-444 candidate)

Abercrombie said was pleased by the vote.

"I thought it was great," Abercrombie said. "First of all, I think you should vote on things that are in front of you anyway. Why run away from it?"

Despite his appearance at a rally opposing civil unions in January, Hannemann, who is expected to formally declare his candidacy in May, chose middle ground Friday.

"I have never discriminated against anyone who believes in partnerships -- or call it unions or what have you. I never have. I never will, and I draw the line, however, when it comes to marriages," Hannemann said.

When asked if that meant he would support equal rights for couples who are in a civil union, Hannemann said, "I'm just going to state my position, you are not going to get anything more from me, by saying I believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman."

Hannemann would not say if the bill should be vetoed.

DePledge: West coast swing

RELATED: Aiona on HB444: “This bill should not be allowed to become law”

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Hanabusa challenges Case's voting record while Dems target Djou  (Djou is only anti-444 candidate)

(Way down at the bottom of the article…we get to the issue that is moving voters away from Case, and Hanabusa, and to Djou.)

Djou, meanwhile, is seeking to capitalize on Thursday's state House vote to legalize same-sex civil unions. In a statement after the House vote, he said Hanabusa, the state Senate president, had "blatantly ignored the will" of Hawaii residents by supporting civil unions.

Dylan Nonaka, Djou's campaign manager, said the intensity among Djou supporters will rise in the wake of the bill's passage, even though Congress will have no say in whether Hawaii adopts civil unions.

In a statement, Hanabusa said she is proud of her record "on civil rights and equality. It is a shame that Charles Djou has chosen to capitalize on this issue for his own political gain and to further divide our community instead of bringing people together."

She and Case support civil unions, but she backs the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Case has long opposed the prohibition….

Hanabusa’s latest anti-Case ad: "Case voted to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that caused skyrocketing deficits, voted against prescription drug coverage and even considered changing Social Security to reduce benefits," a voice-over says in the TV spot.  (Calling Case a tax-cutter is also aimed at pulling support from Djou to case.)

DePledge: True facts

RELATED: Djou: Hanabusa, Case, legislature ignore will of people on traditional marriage

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SB: Gov holds civil unions' fate

If approved, Hawaii will become one of six states, along with California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, to grant essentially all the rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself. Five other states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage: Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

How Connecticut got gay marriage?  It enacted Civil Unions and then a lawsuit was filed:  Hooser, Hanabusa predict HB444 will bring gay marriage back before Courts

KITV: Lingle's Office Flooded By Civil Union Reaction

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Businesspeople speak up on potential impact of civil unions in Hawaii

"There's a potential for great cost to a business, because we know there's lots of people living together who don't want to get married, but now it gives them all the benefits of marriage , without having to get married," civil unions opponent Dennis Arakaki said.

Arakaki also says people covered under the state's Reciprocal Beneficiary Act, which provides benefits for people in unmarried relationships not covered by civil unions, may sue because of claims they're being discriminated against.

"I guess the troubling thing is that we don't know what the cost will be to employers and given the down economy I'm not sure if they're aware of this coming and it would come soon, it would take effect as soon as the governor signs it," Arakaki said.

The governor has 45 days to veto it, sign it or allow civil unions to become law without her signature.

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SB: Hold line on tax hikes, even past election year

Another bill enacted by this year's Legislature would cap itemized deductions of state income taxes at $50,000 for singles and $100,000 for taxpayers filing joint returns.

Kurt Kawafuchi, the state tax director, opposed the measure, predicting that it would discourage the wealthy from donating large amounts to charitable causes.

A small businessman testified that the cap also would strain small business owners who borrow on the equity of their homes to get through the recession. The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii warned that many struggling companies could risk failure if their deductions are capped.

Most taxpayers will be off the hook for increased taxes for now -- but Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee, ominously said legislators next year "may have to come in with a broad-based tax." Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, running for Congress, said she expects state revenues will rise and the economy will improve, making a round of tax increases unnecessary.

A major factor in avoiding broader tax increases is that this is an election year. Voters should demand from candidates that they will oppose sweeping tax increases during the terms they seek.

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Oahu rail project back on track after airport plan approval

Mayor Mufi Hannemann called the Federal Aviation Administration approval of the airport layout plan a key step in creating much needed jobs. Four Hawaii labor unions who endorsed Hannemann for governor agreed.

"Many of these unions are going to help us build this rail system. At the end of the day we need qualified, certified construction workers and I want to do it with as many local construction workers as possible," said Mayor Hannemann.

Yoshioka is reluctant to give a date as to when they might break ground on the rail project. First, the final environmental impact statement needs to be reviewed by six or seven agencies, then the public will get to weigh in and this could take months.

SB: FAA will approve shift in rail route

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Advertiser Editor Mark Platte moves to TV, ADV terminations begin Monday

Platte joined the Advertiser in late 2000 as the assistant managing editor for news, and was named senior vice president and editor in May 2006. Before coming to Honolulu, he was an investigative reporter and newsroom manager at the Los Angeles Times for 10 years, and had worked at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Miami Herald and the Orange County Register before that. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina.

Meanwhile, employees at the Advertiser were told Friday that only those who have accepted employment with an outside management firm, HA Management Inc., should report for work on Monday. The Advertiser and Star-Bulletin will merge operations in the next 30 to 60 days to become the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, at which time many layoffs are expected.

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Psycho Obama Birth Certificate Critic Visits Hawaii

KITV4 (played right into his hands by asking) him if the child of an immigrant should not be the president of United States. "If his parents didn't meet the natural-born test when he was born, personally, I would enforce the constitution, yes,” he said.

Asked if that position is racist and xenophobic, Martin responded, “No, not at all, that's what the founding fathers intended. That you have some long-standing ties."

"You can't say we're just not going to obey the constitution because it's out of date," he said, when a (really dumb, PC) reporter pointed out that requirement came about more than 200 years ago when Americans feared that royalty from Germany or other countries might try to become President of the fledgling United States, undermining its independence. 

REALITY: 9/11 Truthers Meet the Birth Certificate Brigade

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State stepping in to help Naalehu school (Failure rewarded with $11M)

Naalehu Elementary School has been identified as one of the lowest achieving schools in the state -- but this is not necessarily a bad thing, according to many school officials.

In its bid for a school improvement grant that can bring in up to $11 million of federal money, the state identified six schools that fall into the lowest 5 percent of achievement ratings, based on Adequate Yearly Progress results and the school's No Child Left Behind status, said Carol Shikada, Department of Education's student support branch.

This designation will not only provide for additional resources to be funneled into the schools, but also allows the department to "build a cohesive and coherent system that identifies and addresses the root causes for lack of performance," she said.

(The DoE should just look in the mirror.)

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Mayor ‘upset’ with handling of ’11 budget, termination of vacant positions

Tavares said her administration has been preparing for three years to face dramatically lower property tax valuations - cutting county spending by 8 to 10 percent each year and not filling positions.

But when council members saw those vacancies, they moved to cut them for cost savings, she said, adding that her administration's strategy is "turning and biting us." Eliminating the positions doesn't allow the county departments to fill them later, if necessary, she said.  (The horor!  The unmitigated horror!  Firing vacant positions, leaving those poor vacancies on the street with no way to care for their vacant families.)

Contacted for comment later, Budget Committee Chairman Joe Pontanilla said some of the vacant positions had not been filled for five years.

Keeping those unfilled positions in the budget increases government costs, he said. "We did away with that."

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Union asks Legislature to probe worker's death

Al Lardizabal, government relations director for AFL-CIO Local 368, said yesterday that the "measly" fines imposed on each of two contractors for separate violations are "utterly laughable."

Lardizabal's request for an investigation follows a Star-Bulletin report yesterday disclosing the findings of the state Labor Department probe and the fines.

State Department of Labor Director Darwin Ching imposed a fine of $750 on Nov. 13 on co-contractor AG Transport for failing to have a written engineering survey. General contractor San Construction LLC of Hawaii, which also received a $750 fine, was cited as the co-contractor for failing to do its prime contractor responsibility in ensuring compliance with Hawaii industrial safety standards.

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Oahu moves into final phase of curbside recycling expansion

The fifth and final phase of islandwide curbside recycling begins Monday when roughly 36,000 West O'ahu households will start needing to keep track of which of their three bins to take out on rubbish day….

Hannemann is credited with making curbside recycling a reality after hammering out an agreement with United Public Workers, the union that represents refuse workers.

That will make about 160,000 O'ahu homes with the service.

About 123,000 households already separate their trash under the automated curbside recycling program launched in October 2007.

The city has collected more than 19,000 tons of recyclables to date.

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Housing discrimination exists on Kaua‘i

Each April, all county housing agencies in Hawai‘i organize fair-housing workshops, said Fay Rapozo, loan officer at the Kaua‘i County Housing Agency.

Friday was Kaua‘i’s turn to host the day-long workshop, attracting more than 40 people, most of them property owners and managers, but also a few renters seeking to learn more about their rights.

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Union to hold rallies in Hana next week

When Amstar representatives announced their intent to buy Hotel Hana-Maui in April, they said they would revamp the current operations, which would include the loss of some jobs and a fresh start in hiring employees.

UNITE HERE Local 5 issued a news release Friday afternoon saying that workers still have hope that they can persuade Amstar to change its hiring policy and give hiring preference to current employees.

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