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Saturday, December 11, 2010
December 11, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:27 PM :: 9012 Views

Reward for backing Tax Compromise? Obama Cabinet officials call for passage of Akaka Bill

Rep. Marumoro: $372K is not enough savings to justify closing Liliuokalani School

BoE Approves Committee Leadership Assignments

GOP responds to “bizarre, comical” emails from Eric Ryan

Akaka Bill headed nowhere

The embattled Akaka Bill stands little chance of seeing new life this year, despite two endorsements from the Obama administration.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sent a letter Thursday to Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, endorsing the Akaka Bill.

Jesse Broder Van Dyke, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, said if the bill can be introduced in the Senate first, it would be in the form of the House version that passed 245-164 in February, and it would be amended with compromises reached with former Gov. Linda Lingle.

"However, we're getting toward the end of the year, and the Senate failed to pass a bunch of measures this week," Van Dyke said yesterday.

"The Senate hasn't been able to do much while this tax cut debate is raging," Van Dyke said, referring to President Barack Obama's deal with Republicans to continue Bush-era tax cuts and other provisions….

Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Walter Heen said Thursday's endorsements will likely not matter in the long run, with Republicans taking control of the House and increasing their ranks in the Senate.

"Let me put it succinctly: If they can't get 'don't ask, don't tell' through, how much importance are the Republicans going to place on getting our bill through?" Heen said. "I maintain that the (Akaka) bill has been dead for some time now."

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SA: Pact to boost business ties with Korea would help Hawaii

Outgoing U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, an avid supporter of the agreement, declared on the House floor in May that it "will directly help the tourism industry, the No. 1 sector of my district."

Korea was included in the U.S. visa waiver program in November 2008, allowing Koreans to travel to the U.S. with only a passport, but the global economic recession has dampened the growth in visitors from Korea.

Interest in the pact has been far from parochial. The Obama administration estimates that it will increase American exports to South Korea by at least $10 billion a year, opening Korea to U.S. telecommunications and financial services. Hawaii should benefit from the slashing of tariffs on American farm goods.

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Akaka joins Hirono in attack on “deeply misguided” Obama plan

The letter says a compromise brokered by President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans contains provisions they support.

But it says the accord also includes a ''deeply misguided allocation of resources'' that the U.S. cannot afford.

The senators propose to extend current tax rates to everyone but the highest earners.

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Akaka and allies take new tack on 'don't ask'

WASHINGTON » Advocates of a bill that would overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy say their fight for repeal this year is far from over despite failing to pass the Senate with only days left in the lame-duck session.

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A new era in government arrives with unspoken costs

Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz asked invitees not to bring gifts to the inauguration, but to drop the goodies off at their offices. Or they could save themselves the trip altogether and just make direct deposits to their campaign funds.

Schatz challenged the local citizenry to move beyond the partisan extremes being seen in mainland politics. Golly, 68 Democrats and eight Republicans in the Hawaii Legislature isn't extremely partisan enough for him?

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City responds to Criticism of Rail Finance

The IMG Report paints a picture of two competing forecasts, theirs and the one presented in the August 2009 Financial Plan. Amazingly, the IMG Team, while working for the State of Hawaii, ignored the source of forecasts specifically prepared for the Governor and the Legislature, by the State’s Council on Revenues.

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The Case for Building New Homes

"Part of why our economy is doing so badly is that we're just simply not building enough new homes," Eisenberg said. "You know why housing pays its way here? Because it's fantastically expensive."

The high cost of housing, Eisenberg said, offsets the cost to build and add infrastructure around new homes. Mayor Carlisle told Civil Beat he "really, really liked" Eisenberg's presentation — both for its humor and for the point he made about housing.

SA: Home-building a 'multiplier'

HR: Economist Reports on Economic Impact of Housing in City & County of Honolulu

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Kauai Mayor pushes end to county furloughs

NAWILIWILI — When the Kaua‘i County Council finalized the budget for fiscal year 2011, which started July 1 this year, a two-day-per-month furlough took nearly 10 percent out of the majority of county employees’ wages.

Now, halfway through FY11, county employees may get an extra Christmas gift.

“The mayor just sent a bill to the council that ends furloughs in January,” Councilman Tim Bynum said.

The proposed bill is on the Dec. 15 council meeting agenda, and proposes a $2.3-million appropriation from the surplus and other sources to fund the end of furloughs.

(This is designed to secure the support of HGEA/UPW in the TAT negotiations in the legislature.  If TAT is taken from the Counties, furloughs will return.)

TOTALLY RELATED: Gaming Industry Lobbyist, Progressive activist screen Abercrombie cabinet picks

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Hawaii County Council Bill would require prompt reporting of change orders, transparency

An audit showed the cost of professional service contracts grew by 116 percent, via change orders, in the 2006-07 fiscal year. The original cost for the contracts, which include construction management, architectural services and civil engineering, was $2.9 million; the county paid an additional $3.4 million for those services.

Construction contracts costs that year rose 33 percent, or about $5.3 million, above the original contract price, which was $16.1 million.

"There's no council review and there's no public review," Yagong said. "We're trying to make that process visible."

And so continues Abercrombie supporter Dominic Yagong’s Mayoral campaign against Mufi supporter Billy Kenoi.…

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UH Economists See Oahu-Centric Recovery In 2011

In a report titled "Hawaii's Two-Speed Recovery," the UH Economic Research Organization said tourism has demonstrated a rebound in recent months that rivals the boom times that preceded the current recession.

They said Oahu is the primary beneficiary of a surge in international tourism and a rapid stabilization of the broader economy.

UHERO: State Forecast Update: Hawaii's Two-Speed Recovery

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It's official: University of Hawaii leaving the Western Athletic Conference

The UH football team will become the 10th member of the Mountain West. The school’s other sports programs, with the exception of sailing, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s volleyball, will join the Big West.  The announcement was made Friday…

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More Homeless Seek Shelter During Rains

This proves that increased pressure on homeless will push more of them into shelters.

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Nearly All Foreclosures Driven By Out-Of-State Lenders

FACE is helping Amaral and others like her. The organization decided to take action when its study found 97.5 percent of local foreclosure notices issued between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30 were posted by out-of-state mortgage lenders.

“We were just blown away by how many were out-of-state,” said Kim Harman, the author of the study.

Harman said FACE will push for laws already in place in Nevada, Maryland and Florida, that require face-to-face mediation between mortgage lenders and those who face foreclosure.

“And that’s something that our people don’t have in Hawaii. And I think it’s especially important since we’re so far away,” Harman said.

HNN: Local family and organization fighting mainland bank


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Panel: Ahi catch cuts not working Still, time hasn’t run out on saving fishery by destroying fishermen

KAPOLEI, Oahu - The chairman of an international body that regulates commercial fishing from Indonesia to Hawaii said Friday that steps taken to reduce the bigeye tuna catch in the region aren't working.

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Chairman Satya Nandan said fishing nations must strengthen their efforts to cut the catch so the population of bigeye tuna - also known as ahi - won't collapse.

SA: Nets called biggest threat to bigeye tuna numbers

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Destroyed by union, Symphony calls it quits after 110 years

Symphony leaders previously said that the symphony would continue only if it could find a financially sustainable model for operating. In the release, the society noted the inability of symphony leadership and the union representing symphony musicians to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement that would help the society cut costs by more than half in the first years of reorganization.

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