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Saturday, June 26, 2010
June 26, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:30 AM :: 12258 Views

Biting the bullet: DoE cuts 400 vacant positions

(Wow, what a concept.  This sure could have helped during the Furlough crisis, eh?)

About 400 Department of Education positions -- most of which are vacant -- will be eliminated under a proposal expected to save about $15 million.

The Board of Education will consider the DOE plan Monday in a special meeting to discuss the budget for the coming school year.

The bulk of the positions -- about 230 -- are in special-education programs at schools.

DOE officials could not immediately say how many of the positions set to be cut are filled, but said they expect few layoffs.

They did say employees could be shifted to other programs.

($15M/400=$37,500 per position)

REALITY: Hawaii DoE: Cost of waste, fraud, and corruption between $191M and $431M per year

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Hanabusa: Senate ready to override any vetoes by governor -- House unsure

The state Senate is prepared to come back for a special session to override any vetoes by Gov. Linda Lingle, while House members expect to decide next week on whether to return.

In a memo dated Thursday, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa informed members she had met with House Speaker Calvin Say, "and despite the Senate's apparent desire to override potential vetoed measures identified in the governor's recent message, the House remains divided."

House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro said members plan to meet next week to discuss the vetoes and decide whether support is there for a special session.

"My sense is it's kind of half and half," said Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa).

Members of both chambers have been told to be ready to report for a special one-day session on July 6.

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Aiona opens Kona HQ -- dozens attend

No matter how successful some of the Republican candidates for state offices are, however, Aiona conceded Democrats will likely continue to control the state House of Representatives. He said continuing to have a Republican in the governor's office is important because of that.

"For the last eight years, we've had a semblance of balance in the state of Hawaii," Aiona said. "If it changes, if it goes back to a Democratic executive branch, the Democrats will still dominate the Legislative branch. That's not how a representative democracy should be."

Aiona said he will represent small business owners, bringing their business acumen and financial sensibilities to the governor's office. Business owners want the state to spend more wisely, to stop spending more money than is generated in revenues and fees, and to stop increasing taxes and fees, he added.

RELATED: Poll: Aiona beats Hannemann in one-on-one matchup

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Maui Chamber helping candidates create business-friendly agenda

Time is ticking, and prospective candidates for office will need to decide soon whether they are going to run, so they can file their papers by the July 20 deadline. The elections promise to be interesting.

The Maui Chamber of Commerce recognizes the tremendous commitment and investment needed to run for office. It is not a light undertaking, and we appreciate all who choose to run, giving our community more leadership choices, whether the candidates agree with our positions or not. While acknowledging the efforts of all who run, we endorse and throw our backing behind only "business-friendly" candidates.

The good news is that more and more candidates realize the importance of supporting businesses and improving the business climate on Maui and throughout Hawaii. They see the negative impacts of an "unfriendly" environment and of a high cost of doing business, and know things have to change. Whether these realizations are the result of our current economy or not, we are glad that increasing numbers identify with the challenges the business sector faces, and we are eager to assist them.

Many candidates already are reaching out and contacting us to learn from the chamber. We are happy to connect with them, and want to work with all candidates to develop a business-friendly platform. We encourage candidates to call the chamber at 244-0081 to build a meaningful business agenda.

ALSO: As Legislature considers override of HB444: Republicans push candidate recruitment

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2 large firms oppose duck responsibility for request to veto civil unions

From the Case Family Star-Advertiser: Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Airlines, sent Lingle a letter Thursday saying the airline was not consulted about the Roundtable's veto request and does not endorse it.

And Constance Lau, Hawaiian Electric Industries' president and chief executive officer, wrote Thursday in a letter to Equality Hawaii, "Our HEI companies remain firmly committed to the principle that all people must be treated with fairness, respect and aloha."  (Whatever that means.)

CB: UPDATE: HEI Breaks with Roundtable on Civil Unions  (From case family ally, Pierre Omidyar’s Civil Beat)

Maui News: Another tiny rally shows lack of public support--40 demand ‘equal’ rights to change marriage into something it has never been


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McCain introduces bill to repeal the Jones Act

U.S. Sen. John McCain has introduced legislation to repeal a 90-year-old maritime law that requires vessels transporting goods between states to have been built in the United States, be crewed and owned by U.S. citizens and fly the U.S. flag.

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Tourism upswing brings in an extra $127 million

Visitor spending in May increased 17.4% or $127.7 million, from May 2009, to $860.7 million.

The increase in visitor expenditures for May 2010 resulted from higher average daily visitor spending ($176 per person, up from $160 per person in May 2009) and a 6.5 percent increase in visitor arrivals by air.

Among the top four visitor markets, arrivals by air from Japan (+25.6%), Canada (+14.6%) and U.S. West (+2.4%) rose but arrivals from U.S. East (-2.9%) declined compared to May 2009.

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Effect of lost funding on Quest unknown: A rejected federal bill would have given $86 million to the state

(This is one of those Democrat-think-tank generated non-stories. It is being fed to an eager media in all 50 states by “Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank”.)

State Budget Director Georgina Kawamura said the state budget balances without the $86 million, but also noted that the state's Medicaid program, known as Quest, is one of the government's largest expenses each year.

Those costs could grow if the economy worsens, increasing the need to provide health insurance for low-income residents.

"It will still depend on enrollment, obviously, and the expenses as they move forward with the Medicaid program," Kawamura said.

Maui News: Economist: Recovery will start ‘next week’

The Democrat-controlled US Senate couldn’t pass this borrow n spend bill.  But the Democrat media want YOU to worry about it.  A lot.

REALITY: The total cost of the bill was $16B.  Here’s the math:

$16B / 300M Americans = $53.33 per person x 1.2M people in Hawaii = $64M in tax dollars needed to pay for the spending.  And that does not count the cost of financing the borrowing of the $64M.  Worst case: Hawaii only ‘loses’ $22M.  Best case Hawaii has actually come out ahead because of the tax dollars which will not be spent on these ‘free’ benefits.

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Fired, Mollway speaks out on Ethics

I also introduced legislation in the early nineties to rid our ethics statute of a law that made it a felony for a member of the public to comment publicly on a charge he or she had filed with the State Ethics Commission. Ironically, no matter the seriousness of the violation of the ethics code at the time, it was not even a crime–not even a petty misdemeanor–but a citizen’s public statement about the filing of a charge was a felony.

The bill did not become law, but our office was sued later in regard to the statute, and the federal district court struck down the law as unconstitutional.

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Lingle vetoes bill calling for audit of prison contract

"The bill is ineffective because it proposes no solutions to the problems previously identified over many years regarding the lack of funds and facilities to house prisoners in Hawaii," the governor said.

Hawaii sends prisoners to the mainland because of the lack of prison space in the Islands and because it is less expensive.

State House and Senate leaders have not decided whether to return for a one-day veto override session in July.

Lingle Vetoes Bill To Audit Prisons

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New Law Beefs Up Health Inspections

Gov. Linda Lingle on Friday signed a bill into law that will allow the state Department of Health to hire more restaurant health inspectors and create a Web-based inspection system in the face of a drastic shortage of health inspectors last fall.

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Hawai'i Physician Workforce Summit to address doctor shortage

Hawai‘i is at least 500 doctors below national averages, given its population, and the deficit may double or triple in the next decade.

·        The state has roughly 20 percent fewer doctors than it should when compared to physician-to-population ratios nationally.

·        Only about 2,900 doctors were practicing here, with some of those working less than part time. (Previously it was thought that as many as 8,000 physicians might be practicing here, but the study has determined that half of the licenses were held by physicians with mainland addresses, likely people who either are retired in Hawai‘i, practice with the military, or who work in other states but have kept their licenses hoping to return to Hawai‘i.)

·        County by county: O‘ahu has 17 percent fewer physicians than warranted by its population, Hawai‘i County’s shortfall is 38 percent, Maui County has 33 percent too few doctors, and Kaua‘i County’s workforce is 30 percent below the average for its population.

·        Forty-three percent of doctors practicing in Hawai‘i will be 65 or older by the year 2020. (The average age of Hawai‘i physicians, 52.5 years, is older than the national age of 48, and may lead to an estimated 1,100 retirements during the next decade.)

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Hawaii Fisheries OK'd For Humpback Harm

WASHINGTON (CN) - Hawaii-based longline fisheries will be allowed to catch and kill endangered Central North Pacific humpback whales for three years, incidental to their work, according to new permits.

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Big Island launching publicly funding elections

Public funding could spread to more county or statewide elections, depending on the success of the Big Island's trial.

Any expansion of the program would require more money because the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund is shrinking and Campaign Spending Commission employees are working long hours and on furlough days without additional pay, Wong said.

"They need large amounts of money to run the program. The money has to come from somewhere," she said.

(And go to airhead candidates who couldn’t raise money on their own because nobody supports them.)

RELATED: 'Clean Elections' activist nailed by Campaign Spending Commission

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Report: Mystery vagrant in Hawaii is high-ranking Maori

Wellington - A homeless old woman who cannot remember her own name and has lived on the streets of Honolulu for a decade has been identified as a high-ranking Maori who owns land in New Zealand, a newspaper reported Saturday.

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Vets, dignitaries recall Korean War

Exactly 60 years after North Korean troops launched a surprise attack into the south, Hawaii's Korean War veterans sat side by side with Korean diplomats and cultural groups yesterday to remember the "Forgotten War."

HTH: Veterans gather to remember 'The Forgotten War'


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