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Friday, November 19, 2010
November 19, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:43 PM :: 9028 Views

FULL TEXT: State Senate Committee Assignments Finalized

FULL TEXT: New version of Akaka Bill introduced in US Senate

Honolulu Shipper Maersk fined for doing business in Iran

Hawaii DoT sells $201M in bonds

Democrat Borreca: We need Inouye’s earmarks because they are …uh…just symbolism

Some rational thought sly Inouye propaganda alongside the symbolism of the earmarks fight is needed.

According to Politico and The Wall Street Journal, Inouye, at a Washington news conference, chuckled at the earmark fuss, explaining that earmarks are less than 1 percent of the federal government discretionary spending.

Yes, but earmarks are nearly 100% of the one party system and the corruption it breeds.  Inouye’s plata o plombo “symbolism” is destroying Hawaii.

Reality: Inouye becomes useless? House, Senate Republicans place moratorium on Earmarks

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SA: Raise Retirement age for Gov’t employees and cut pension benefits

State and county employees are covered by a pension plan largely funded by taxpayers. Their Employment Retirement System has less than two-thirds of what is needed to make good on retirement payments. Its unfunded liability totals $6.2 billion, highest in the nation. Retirees under the system now number 38,700, and an additional 15,000 active state and county employees are eligible to retire now.

Marcus Oshiro, state House Finance chairman, calls it "an unsustainable situation going forward," and that can also be said about future health care of Hawaii retirees.

Annual payments from Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, for example, are expected to soar from $276.1 million in 2008 to $692.8 million in 2022 in order to pay for entire medical premiums for nearly all 169,000 active and retired state and county employees and their dependents. A consulting firm predicts that unfunded liability over the next three decades will reach $10.8 billion.

However painful, careful reform to government pension plans must happen, as it has in other states. Changes such as raising retirement ages and cutting generous benefits bankrolled by taxpayers must be considered going forward.

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Fate of Civil Unions tied to leadership struggle in House

Calvin Say needs 26 votes to be reelected Speaker, but he is short by two. 

CB: 24 Democrats have aligned themselves with Calvin Say, 16 with Sylvia Luke and three with neither candidate (there are also eight Republicans). Of all 51 members, it's estimated 30 representative — including at least two Republicans — would vote in favor of civil unions, based on voter surveys and past voting records.

Discussion is already underway to introduce a new bill with a new bill number. Changes will include fixing that retroactive clause that so upset members of the Hawaii Business Roundtable and including tax code and benefits language to address the fact that federal law does not recognize civil unions.

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Tokuda pledges to slow walk appointed BoE

The bad news: It doesn't look like the process for appointing Hawaii State Board of Education members is going to be decided overnight.

The worse news: The public Union operatives and corrupt DoE contractor flunkeys will most likely be invited to brainstorm with legislators about the best selection process for education board members.

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CB Publishes list of OHA cronies and their salaries

While payroll typically is an organization's largest expense, salaries make up only about 22 percent of OHA's $40 million annual budget. By comparison, the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Health Systems Corp., two other so-called semi-autonomous state agencies, spend 67 percent and 63 percent, respectively, on payroll. 

(See whose relatives are getting theirs….)

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It begins: Texas firm with Abercrombie ties to take over Big Island development

A Texas real estate development firm active in Hawaii has positioned itself to take over unsold pieces of a luxury home subdivision on the Big Island started by former HBO Chief Executive Michael Fuchs.

An affiliate of El Paso, Texas-based Hunt Cos. has agreed to buy the mortgage on the property from three local lenders that were foreclosing against the firm set up by Fuchs to develop the project at Mauna Lani Resort called Ke Kailani….

Hunt Cos. is a diverse real estate development firm that in Hawaii has been involved mainly with military housing privatization projects. The company also has pursued residential development in Kakaako, and aborted plans to help the University of Hawaii develop its West Oahu campus.

HUNT & ABERCROMBIE: Follow the money: $10B Guam pork project benefits Abercrombie contributor

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Abercrombie won't attend seminar for new governors

Spokesman Jim McCoy said Thursday that Abercrombie needs to give his mother-in-law his immediate attention.

His chief of staff, Amy Asselbaye, and his deputy chief of staff, Andrew Aoki, will travel to the conference instead.

The three-day biennial, bipartisan event features a series of workshops and business sessions led by veteran governors.

The experienced governors will discuss such issues as management of executive budgets, shaping a vision for their administrations, strategic scheduling, communications and emergency preparedness.

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Crony Watch: Governor-elect offers glimpse of hope, change, employment

Some people have been out of work for months. Others have been holding onto jobs they hate because you can't afford to be choosy during a recession. Some are making do with part-time work here, under-the-table there. It's rough.

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Bureaucrats gone Wild: Mayor's craft fair rescheduled just days after its cancellation

A craft fair that was canceled after a state Tax Department crackdown on "cash economy" businesses has been rescheduled for Dec. 4 at the Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall's Hawaii Suites, Mayor Peter Carlisle announced yesterday.  The 36th annual Mayor's Craft and Country Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free

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Moiliili: Homeless Tent City vanishes after police arrest 15 for meth

Families who enjoy Stadium Park are seeing the difference. They say some drug dealers would hang out near the bathrooms, but the area is now clear.

"I hope it stays this way because, you know, we want a safe place for our kids to play," McCoy said.

Patrons of the McCully-Moiliili Public Library say they noticed that the sidewalks right outside are now free of homeless people.

"It's really nice to have so much open space and none of the tents every foot or so," Irene Kanda, library patron, said. "It was totally covered with tents."

Police confirm many of the people arrested were homeless.

PRECISELY AS EXPLAINED HERE: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

MORE REALITY:

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How Edison turned DoE’s biggest failure into a huge success

Eight years ago, only 1 percent of Palolo Elementary School students met federal math standards. The percentage of students who met reading standards was significantly better, but 11 percent proficiency is not even a dubious accomplishment.

"We were one of the worst elementary schools in the state," said principal Ruth Silberstein.

Today her school is a model for success….

Before Palolo entered good standing status, its faculty first went through three external audits and then put the suggestions to use. The first audit, or needs assessment, was performed by Price Waterhouse Coopers, which is now Accuity, a public accounting firm. The faculty was skeptical about the findings.

(Did they say “AUDITS”???  Amazing.)

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Federal Suit Says U.H. Security Breaches Harmed 100,000

In the suit, plaintiff Philippe Gross claims he was personally damaged by a security breach in June 2009 and another security breach in October 2010.

Attorney Grande said after the breaches, Gross had critical personal information stolen.

"He had his credit cards compromised. They were being used to make gas purchases on the mainland. He was also informed that four other individuals are using his Social Security number so for someone who has had their identity breached, it is very stressful," said Grande.

RELATED: FULL TEXT: Report on Hawaii Personal Information Breaches -- 479,000 victims in state

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Hawaii's economic forecast for 2011: Growth in Tourism, Government

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism says it expects increasing tourism arrivals and spending will help speed the recovery of Hawaii's economy.

The director says most economic indicators showed positive growth during the third quarter, including the two largest industries, tourism and the federal government.

SA: The state forecasts a speedier recovery, thanks to strong visitor numbers

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Weak economy inhibits charitable giving

So obviously we must hike property tax rates paid by non-profits. 

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Foreclosure Alternative: Hand over deed, walk away, and get $3000

When saving the mortgage proves impossible, the federal government is now offering the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program. (MakingHomeAffordable.gov)

It offers incentives to lenders to streamline short sales, when the homeowner works with the lender to sell the home for less than the mortgage balance.

Similar incentives would also encourage lenders to accept a homeowner even handing over the deed to the lender instead of foreclosure.

Under HAFA, a qualified homeowner can escape responsibility for the unpaid balance of the mortgage and get $3,000 for relocation.

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Kukui phases in rent rises

Developer Carmel Partners, however, is taking a gradual approach to raising rent and will keep the increases through April 2012 considerably below maximum levels allowed by the state.

Drew Astolfi, lead organizer for a group called Faith Action for Community Equity, or FACE, that helped tenants save Kukui Gardens from redevelopment, said San Francisco-based Carmel has gone "beyond the call" in adjusting rents.

"I think they've come full circle from being our opponent to doing more than expected," he said. "I'm really happy about it."

For instance, monthly rent for one-bedroom units will rise from $503 presently to $700. On four-bedroom units, rent will rise to $1,200 from $927.

Additional increases will follow every three months, with rents topping out at $1,000 for one-bedroom units and $1,650 for four-bedroom units in the February-April 2012 period.  (FACE thinks this is “affordable”???)

Between April 2011 and April 2012, total increases depending on unit size range from about 75 percent to 100 percent. But Carmel notes that the average increase over the 12-month period is considerably less -- between 54 percent and 69 percent.

The state had approved maximum rents of $1,491 for one-bedroom units and $2,304 for four-bedroom units, representing increases of 149 percent to 196 percent.

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Kaua‘i homeless rate drops, state figure rises

LIHU‘E — The homeless rate for the state rose 3 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, but on Kaua‘i the homeless rate declined 7 percent, to 625 people.

That is the biggest decline in the state, according to a Homeless Service Utilization Report produced by the University of Hawai‘i Center on the Family.

FULL REPORT: http://uhfamily.hawaii.edu/publications/brochures/HomelessServiceUtilization2010.pdf

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Kauai: Asing’s lengthy council career ready to sunset

LIHU‘E — If Kaua‘i County Council Chair William U. “Kaipo” Asing had his way, there would be no story, no council certificate honoring his three decades of public service, no fanfare, period.

In fact, he repeatedly and respectfully declined participation in this story.

So The Garden Island had to turn to peers to get the full impact of Asing’s body of work….

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Time Magazine/PEW: Marriage: What's It Good For? (yes, this is a warm-up for civil unions)

When an institution so central to human experience suddenly changes shape in the space of a generation or two, it's worth trying to figure out why (how we the elite did it). (Knowing that some people actually trust polls,) This fall the Pew Research Center, in association with TIME, conducted a nationwide poll exploring the contours of modern marriage and the new American family, posing questions about what (we have conditioned our peasants to) people want and expect out of marriage and family life, why they enter into committed relationships and what they gain from them. What we found is that (This is a great opportunity for we the elite to once again assert that) marriage, whatever its social, spiritual or symbolic appeal, is in purely practical terms just not as necessary as it used to be.  (This is a great opportunity for we the elite to once again assert that) Neither men nor women need to be married to have sex or companionship or professional success or respect or even children — yet (some peasants have not been remolded into Marcusian Man and for them) marriage remains revered and desired (but we will keep pecking away at it.)

PEW: The Decline of Marriage And Rise of New Families

PRECISELY AS PREDICTED: Beyond Marriage The Confession: Hawaii Gay marriage advocates let the polyamorous cat out of the bag

The local Marcusian Project: http://uhfamily.hawaii.edu/

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