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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
June 28, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:28 PM :: 8426 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Abercrombie announces Intent to Veto 23 Bills—including HB1134 which may have endangered Prepaid Health Care Act

Hawaii 8th Annual International Women’s Leadership Conference Sept 20

Abercrombie replaces DHHL official ousted in Treadmill Scandal

Abercrombie appoints former Sandwich Isles Communications Exec to assist Chief Information Officer

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How they voted June 27

Hawaii Reapportionment Commission expected to decide Today on whether to count military

The group tasked with redrawing Hawaii's voting districts is considering whether nonresident members of the military should be included, a decision that could swing a state Senate seat from Oahu to the Big Island—home to 4000 medicated marijuana “patients.”

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission was expected to vote on the issue Tuesday.

Currently, Hawaii and Kansas are the only two states that don't include nonresident troops in district counts.

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DoE’s Last, Best and Final Offer does not provide for 180-day law

SA: it’s unclear how the state will be able to square this settlement with the state mandate for a 180-day academic year, for example. In the final deal, some things need to be sacrosanct — and here’s one: Matayoshi made a firm commitment in her statement that there would be “no reduction in instructional days.” That pledge must be kept; otherwise, the state will be looking at essentially a return to school furloughs that reduce classroom time.

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HSTA shut out: DoE will execute its "last, best" offer to teachers without union approval

The state Department of Education is moving to unilaterally put into effect its "last, best and final" contract offer to 12,700 public school teachers, and says pay and time-off provisions that amount to a 5 percent cut will take effect Friday.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association said it is exploring its legal options to stop the contract from going into effect….

The department took the unusual step Friday of pushing away from the bargaining table and appealing to teachers directly, sending each HSTA member a letter with details on its "last, best and final" offer.

The department's offer is similar to contracts accepted by most units of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, which represents many of the state's white-collar workers.

Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said Monday that negotiations with HSTA "have stopped," but "we are always willing to listen to HSTA if they'd like to come back to the table."

Stuart also said that the department's decision to go directly to teachers was unusual.  "I see this as a raw power play," said Stuart. "They win, the union is going to take a setback."

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On campaign trail, Abercrombie called vetoes “breakdowns in communications”

Abercrombie had said during his campaign last year and after he took office in December that he would keep vetoes to an "absolute minimum." The Democratic governor said he would work with majority Demo­crats at the Legislature to fix problems before bills were passed, and described vetoes as breakdowns in communication.

The governor has vetoed two bills so far and put 23 on his potential veto list on Monday. Former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, issued 50 vetoes after her first session in 2003. Six were overridden. Lawmakers had previously only overridden one bill — an age of consent bill vetoed by Gov. Ben Cayetano in 2001 — since statehood.

`Unacceptable’  “his official proclamations did not include any rationale other than the bills were ‘unacceptable’ to the governor….”

RELATED: Abercrombie announces Intent to Veto 23 Bills

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Abercrombie still campaigning, lying

In Abercrombie's campaign, Hawaii was on the verge of getting a clearing house of federal programs set up in the governor's office, a special "Hawaii Channel" of television and Internet shows to aggressively market Hawaii, an independent energy authority and even state money to pay for homeowners' photovoltaic systems.

Now Abercrombie is governor, but the campaign continues and the resulting promises keep flowing….

According to The Garden Island newspaper, Abercrombie said he would cut Kauai's 8.5 percent unemployment rate in half within 18 months. So next November, just before you go vote, check if Kauai unemployment is 4.25 percent….

Abercrombie… promised that he would build housing to "take a significant number of veterans off the street." He would also rehab "hundreds, if not thousands, of empty apartment units" for new public housing.

"They are going to be growing their own food, we are going to be making an effort, we are going to change their diet around," Abercrombie said of state prisoners.  He then promised, "Very shortly we will be coming out with a new prospectus for you to consider regarding new prison facilities." 

Left unsaid was that while Abercrombie was promising to bring prisoners home, he had just signed a new, three-year contract to house some 1,900 Hawaii prisoners in a private Arizona prison….

…when Earl Long, the colorful former governor of Louisiana, was asked about an angry group of constituents demanding that he fulfill a campaign promise, he instructed his deputy, "Tell them I lied."

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Rail Platform to built on top of Waiawa Spring

a review assistant with the University of Hawaii Environmental Center is concerned with the Waiawa plan.

"It appears that the station platform will be built directly over the location of the spring. This would block sunlight from getting into the area where the spring and wetland complex exist," David Penn said.

Kalihi Meeting: City touts rail station development opportunities

KHON: City seeks input on transit oriented development

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Honolulu City Council overrides vetoes, changes leadership

The Honolulu City Council decided to override four bills vetoed by Mayor Peter Carlisle during a special meeting Monday….

The council also unanimously voted to change its leadership: Ernest Martin replaces Nestor Garcia as chairman of the council, and Ikaika Anderson replaces Breene Harimoto as vice chairman. Romy Cachola remains as the council’s floor leader. The leadership changes are effective immediately.

Floor Speech: Nestor Garcia Turning Over the Honolulu City Council Chair Reins to New Leaders

REALITY: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman

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NY Gay Marriage will serve as a catalyst for Hawaii

Members of the civil rights organization that led the Hawaii fight for civil unions say the New York Legislature's historic vote to legalize same-sex marriage will "serve as a catalyst" for gay marriage locally.

"Our goal is to achieve full marriage equality in Hawaii for same-sex couples," Alan Spector, Equality Hawaii co-chair, told Civil Beat. "Civil unions are an important step in that process, but they don't represent full social and legal equality."….

"We anticipate that this will serve as a catalyst as we move forward in our quest to achieve full marriage equality in Hawaii," said Valerie Smith, Equality Hawaii co-chair, in a statement.

Meanwhile, a chief opponent of civil unions says a push toward gay marriage comes as no surprise.

"We have always contended that the majority of people don't want gay marriage here, but we have always said one small step leads to another," said Garret Hashimoto, chairman of the Hawaii Christian Coalition. "We would oppose that very strongly."…

It's unclear whether Hawaii lawmakers and leaders will take up the gay marriage issue, in part because it has been a highly divisive issue (until this year, anyway) and also because 2012 is a big election year.

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State-Run Media: Star Advertiser To Collect $1 Million For State Legal Ads

According to paperwork posted on the State Office of Procurement’s website, the state has tentatively agreed to new Star Advertiser legal ad rates which will bump costs from $757,000 now to $1,052,600 by June 30, 2012, a 39 per cent increase.

The new ad rates will be three to five times higher than what was charged before the Honolulu Advertiser closed its doors last year.

But the charges are substantially lower than what the Star Advertiser first proposed collecting last year and are far below what the newspaper assesses the general public.

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EMILY's List backs Rep. Hirono for Senate to fight “War on Women”

"She has consistently championed the rights of women abortion and families gay marriage in Hawaii and we need her strong shrill ultra-leftist voice in the Senate holding the line against the Republican war on women," Schriock continued.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) is also said to be considering running for the seat.

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Progressives’ American Dream: Business Owners on Foodstamps

Lillie Gonzales, a small business owner in Hawaii, and her family rely on food stamps, a program that is at risk due to steep budget cuts in Congress.

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Clean Elections Law is Dirty—Ruled Unconstitutional by Supreme Court

The court, by a 5-4 majority, held that a provision for “matching funds” to publicly funded candidates when their opponents’ fundraising hit certain thresholds is unconstitutional because it inhibits free speech.  The move is going to force a number of states, including Hawaii, to amend public financing systems….

REALITY: ‘Clean Elections’ activist nailed by Campaign Spending Commission

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Lobbyists’ spending escapes disclosure

I’ve complained about the State Ethics Commission’s system of lobbyist disclosure. It’s a system that divides responsibility between lobbyists and their employers or clients, making it easy for both to fail to report their expenditures and, if questioned, claim they thought the other guy was supposed to disclose….

Later that year, I suggested using gift disclosures as a starting point for cross-checking whether lobbyists are actually disclosing what they spend influencing public officials.

With the June 30 deadline for gift disclosures looming, I decided to take another stab at the same technique.

The result–immediate questions.

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As APEC Approaches, Superferry still clouds Hawai‘i’s business image

While there’s been a lot of finger-pointing as to who was to blame, it’s troubling that there’s been little thoughtful and objective consideration of all that went wrong and what changes we need to make to prevent such a debacle from happening again.

As we prepare to sell APEC delegates on the idea that Hawai‘i is a good place to do business, the Superferry is an elephant in the room that we’ve yet to adequately explain.

Here’s the explanation: Why Hawaii Lost the Superferry

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Is Abercrombie Anti-sports?

the new governor didn’t look for any information about the Pro Bowl, the NFL and the conditions under which the Hawaii Tourism Authority negotiated its return to Hawaii in 2009. He obviously doesn’t care.

In another opportunity to confront the athletic community, Abercrombie suggested that he would try to take all the money for maintaining Aloha Stadium and use it for education, teachers’ pay and special education programs around the state.

Do you remember him saying, “I’m not your friend, I’m your governor”? It is the final level of conflict between organizations, ethnic groups, feuding families or within splintered fragmented communities.

Hopefully, the governor will not chase away an important part of Hawaii’s history just to remind everyone that there’s a new power at the helm and he favors civil unions and early childhood education. Now that would be really short-sighted.

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Inouye moving ahead with appropriations process despite disagreement on spending levels

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye says he's moving forward with work (pork) on budgeting proposals even though there's no agreement on discretionary spending levels.

Meanwhile: Coalition launches to promote Cut, Cap and Balance pledge

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Assessing University of Hawaii Faculty Research

We examined faculty output at UH; the University of Vermont; the University of California, San Diego; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Wisconsin.

For every 1,000 faculty members on its four-year campuses, the University of Hawaii system has landed 23 publications in Science or Nature during the last 10 years. Comparatively, the University of Vermont landed fewer than five per 1,000 faculty members and UC Davis barely more than three. But the two leading state research universities each have around 30.1  (And how many of those articles were about the global warming scam?)

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Not guilty by reason of insanity in killing of mom—could be out in 3 mos

A state judge declared a 62-year-old woman with a long history of mental illness not guilty by reason of insanity Monday in the fatal stabbing last year of her 88-year-old mother.

However, Claudia Warner-Gonzalez will remain in custody at the Hawaii State Hospital for at least three more months until the judge determines whether she is a danger to herself or others. A hearing is scheduled for September.

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Pastor arrested for punching out alleged drug dealer

“He was selling drugs to my kids,” said Rodelo, adding that this was going on for about a month.

“All the kids confessed to it,” Rodelo said. “It was a known drug dealer right next door to our house.”

Rodelo said Herron had threatened to shoot him earlier in the day, saying he had a gun….

Herron said he has a card that allows him to grow medical marijuana.

“I have a little around for my appetite,” he said. “They give it to me because I’m on medication and it messes up my eating habits.”

Herron could not remember who his doctor was or where he got his card, only that it was somewhere on the South Shore.

“I can’t think of his name,” Herron said of his doctor. “It’s been awhile. I really don’t remember.”

On Monday, Herron said he was waiting to fly to O‘ahu for further surgery on his face.

Rodelo said he is scheduled for a court appearance on July 22 read more

Abercrombie to “get rid of” Texas Company with contract to collect on Hawaii Tickets

Not only will you find a stopper on your drivers license making it impossible to renew your license, not only will you not be able to just pay your ticket at the court, but you will have to send your money to Texas, pay up to 50% in additional fees to a Texas-based collection agency, and add another US$10.00 credit card handling fee for immediate service.

This can easily double the cost of your ticket.

The Hawaii court system, like many other jurisdictions, has contracted with the Texas-based Municipal Service Bureau to collect on Hawaii-issued traffic tickets….

eTN publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz had a chance to directly talk to Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie just a couple of days ago. Abercrombie stated: “I'm aware of this, and we'll get rid of them (Municipal Services).”

Municipal Services in Texas has a multi-year contract, so we’ll have to wait and see how this pans out. Let's hope the Governor will manage to move these jobs home.

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Hawaii TV Examined in New Report on Newsroom Consolidation

In Honolulu, there is a covert consolidation agreement currently being investigated by the FCC. As a result of a series of deals between Raycom Media and MCG Capital, all news operations for the top stations in Hawaii are based out of the same building and collected on the same website, “Hawaii News Now.” While the original stations remain on the air, they do so only as a shell of their former selves. To viewers, all appearances suggest that the stations have become a single entity.

To read the paper and case studies click here: http://www.savethenews.org/sites/savethenews.org/files/Final%20Outsourcing%20the%20News.pdf

What this is really all about: Raycom Honolulu TV Deal: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "media control"

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Affordable Homes will “rot on the hill” if LUC decision not reversed

The…townhouses already built on the DW Aina Lea property in South Kohala will "rot on the hill" if the 3rd Circuit Court does not grant a motion to stay a Land Use Commission decision.

That's what Bruce Voss, the attorney representing Bridge Aina Lea, which still owns more than 1,000 acres of the South Kohala property developer DW Aina Lea began purchasing in 2009, told Judge Elizabeth Strance during a hearing on the motion to stay, or delay, the commission's final decision and order, issued April 25, reverting the property from urban to agricultural.

RELATED:  Developer sues LUC for downzoning affordable homes already built

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Hawaii Council special meeting on budget veto (June 30)

Comm. 111.83 From Vice-Chairperson K. Angel Pilago, dated June 23, 2011, stating that pursuant to Council Rule No. 2, requests that the Council Chair call a special meeting to consider an override of the Mayor’s veto of Bill No. 29, Draft 4, on June 30, 2011.

Copies of this agenda and items listed on the agenda are available on the County Council-Clerk web page at http://co.hawaii.hi.us/council/agendas_and_actions.htm.

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Dark skies likely ahead as Maui fireworks shows fade

Only one fireworks show has been organized for the Fourth this year, the Maui Chamber of Commerce display scheduled for 8 p.m. off Front Street. And with not a single merchant in the county importing firecrackers for sale, county fire officials announced last week that they would not be issuing any firecracker permits for this Fourth.

King's Cathedral used to put on a big fireworks show on the Fourth for crowds at the soccer field at War Memorial. The fireworks were launched from the breakwater at Kahului Harbor.

But the church stopped doing the fireworks several years ago, said Pastor Harold Bacos.

"A lot of it was the expense," he says, adding that tighter restrictions on the part of the county played a role in the decision, too.

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Kaua‘i residents passing up ag opportunities

Kaua‘i’s unemployment level rose to 8.2 percent in May, up from 7.7 percent in April, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relation’s most recent report reveals.

The Garden Isle has the second highest unemployment rate in the state, just after the Big Island’s 9.2 percent. Honolulu has the lowest rate at 4.9 percent and Maui is 7.2 percent.

“We have a significant number of agriculture jobs that are open, but Kaua‘i people don’t want to go out and work in the fields,”Grier said. “You cannot convince a young person to go be an ag worker. The irony is that they pay pretty well.”

Ag jobs pay between $15 and $17 an hour, he said, “but young people would rather go to McDonald’s for $7.25 an hour than have their friends see them as a farm worker.

“I had a fellow in here from Dow Agro the other day. He needed five or six people in the field desperately and was having real trouble finding people to take those jobs,” Grier said.

“It’s a great field, there’s a lot of opportunity,” he said. “I wish we could change the perception. What I always try to tell them is this is not your grandfather’s farm work. This is something different. It’s more high tech, more specialized.”

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Hillary: State Dept. ‘Instrumental in Sealing Deal’ For Lady Gaga’s Gay Pride Gig in Rome

There’s a war going on in Libya and ….

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