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Monday, September 19, 2011
September 19, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:37 PM :: 10685 Views

Appointments: Abercrombie lays three eggs, Wings off to Paris

Hawaii GOP Leaders Call for Ouster of Party Chair

Maui News: Lingle run would be welcome

we are quite excited by the prospect of former Gov. Linda Lingle running for the U.S. Senate from Hawaii….

…she is honest and believes in the free enterprise system.

Those are two great attributes in a United States senator.

read … Lingle Run

Panos: Is HART Chair Don Horner Shamelessly Dishonest?

  • Horner is Chair of HART
  • HART has an $1.1 Billion contract with Ansaldo
  • Ansaldo is owned by Finmeccanica
  • Finmeccanica has large debts to BNP Paribas (2nd largest French Bank)
  • BNP Paribas owns 1st Hawaiian Bank
  • Horner is CEO of 1st Hawaiian Bank

read … Dishonest Horner

Royal State Redux: Is HSTA Contract Fight about VEBA?

ILind: But it’s the inter-union fight over health benefits that appears to be the central issue. Teachers are being integrated back into coverage provided by the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, after having a temporary exemption for several years….

I think it’s important to keep in mind that this involves more than teacher benefits and costs. State Auditor Marion Higa reported that in 2009, HSTA’s separate health plan or VEBA (voluntary employees beneficiary association) collected $2.4 million in fees from the state, and racked up an additional $1 million in administrative expenses.

The majority of the HSTA VEBA trust’s administrative expenses were comprised of the costs of its third party administrator, consultant, and attorneys, as well as other expenses such as bank fees, office supplies, postage and printing.

Higa said HSTA administrative costs paralleled those of the EUTF, a situation which she found “unnecessary, costly, and duplicative.”

In addition, experience has shown that these pockets of money within the public employee unions can allow for mischief. It was union insurance contracts that gave former UPW executive director Gary Rodrigues leverage to arrange kickbacks in the form of consulting gigs for his daughter from companies he selected to provide union coverage. And when one of my early articles for the Star-Bulletin called attention to payments she was receiving from PGMA, which provided union health coverage at the time, Rodrigues arranged to have the consulting payments routed through a Royal State Insurance subsidiary. Rodrigues, and other union leaders, had served as directors of various Royal State companies.

The bankruptcy of the HSTA Member Benefits Corporation was another warning of problems behind the scenes involving health insurance premiums and fees (also check their statement of financial affairs filed with bankruptcy court).

ILind: October 24, 2002 (Royal State and VEBAH)

SA: Maybe HSTA is getting ready to politically negotiate a non-bargain-able item; e.g., the public-employee health plan.

read … UHPA again highlights challenge to HSTA, health benefits controversy

Abercrombie’s DHS Secretly returns to Secrecy—No answers to Questions about Death of 9 month Old Child

A 9-month-old Hauula baby taken into custody by child protective services last month died Aug. 26 at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center under circumstances the child's family says have not been explained by the state….

In 2005 then-Human Services Director Lillian Koller released about 2,000 pages of confidential documents regarding Peter Boy Kema, a 6-year-old Hawaii island boy who has not been seen by family members since late 1996 or 1997. Koller said she hoped the public would be outraged by the lack of justice in the case.

And last year Koller posted online the case files of 19-year-old Erwin Viado Celes, who hanged himself six months after "aging out" of Hawaii's foster care system.

But late Friday, DHS spokesman Joe Perez issued a statement saying that current DHS Director Patricia McManaman "reinstituted long-standing departmental policy to maintain confidentiality in all child welfare cases immediately upon assuming her position (in December)."…

David Deal said he pulled back the hospital bedsheet and saw his grandson's face, and said it was covered in dried blood.

"It was coming out his nose and running down his face and neck," David said. "It was all over his mouth and running down his face."

Jayvid also had a perfectly round bruise — about the size of a coffee cup ring — right behind his left ear, David said.

"It was a perfect circle, a perfect circle," David said. "It looked like someone hit him with one bat. But they told us (at the hospital) it could have been caused by someone holding the baby while they was working on him."…

Perez could not immediately say how many children have died while under the care of Child Welfare Services, which in Hawaii is commonly called child protective services.

read … DHS Secretly returns to Secrecy

KSBE’s Kakaako development will not include Affordable Housing

There is reason for optimism about the process under which Honolulu is privatizing its low- to moderate-income rentals. While it may be well into 2012 before any papers are signed, the city seems to be doing its due diligence, for the benefit of the tenants and the taxpayers who have been underwriting a money-losing enterprise for years….

Fewer prospects are on the horizon for affordable housing — meaning units priced for those earning median income or less. For example, the redevelopment of Kakaako now is unlikely to cater to this group. So the city's current search for someone capable to take custody and tend its apartment inventory is more important than ever….

Totally Related: Ka Pua Makaha: Multi-million dollar giveaway of DHHL assets disguised as “gift”

read … Kakaako

Hawaii GOP Plans to Field CD2 Candidate?

CB: Jonah Kaauwai, chair of the local GOP, told Civil Beat that his party would field a candidate for CD2, but he declined to say who that might be or when they would announce.

(In a Sept. 15 guest column, Kaauwai said Hawaii Republicans have an "enormous opportunity" in the CD1 and Senate races, but said nothing about CD2.)

Civil Beat granted anonymity to a party strategist with inside knowledge of the GOP because the person would not talk about the "super top secret" candidate otherwise. (NOTE TO PEOPLE WHO NEED TO LEARN ABCs of POLITICS: A candidate should be putting out feelers, not trying to keep his consideration of running top secret. Duh.)

An announcement, the strategist said, will likely come before the end of the year, because the candidate will need sufficient time to mount a serious campaign. There is also still the unsettled matter of exactly how the 2011 Reapportionment Commission will redraw the Oahu boundary between CD1 and CD2.

(After public hearings, the commission has until Sept. 26 to file final proposals with the chief elections officer, who then has until Oct. 10 to publish the plans.)

The GOP's CD2 candidate is described as having name recognition and being a resident of the 2nd District, which covers the neighbor islands and the parts of Oahu that are not Honolulu.

The GOP thinking is that Hannemann is the "anointed candidate" of Democrats. They consider him strong candidate, yet one with deep flaws. The former Honolulu mayor was also crushed in his bid for governor last year, and he lost two previous contests for the U.S. House of Representatives.

read … CD2?

DoE Leaves UH History as an Elective, Gramscians sense Opportunity

Volcanic Ash: the Department of Education drew the ire of the social sciences community (Gramscian operatives) by reducing the social studies credits needed to graduate from four to three in order to give students more flexibility to pursue their interests through electives.

Opponents argued that the critical thinking skills (Marxism) taught by the social sciences are as important as the analytical skills taught by the hard sciences.

The DOE responded with a broad and inclusive process (all the Manoa liberals were invited) to review the matter, which ended up with a recommendation that social studies credits hold at four.

It seemed the right call, but it’s not the end of the issue; there’s some concern that while social studies credits remain at four, there are no requirements for taking specific courses such as U.S. history. (Yup, the DoE doesn’t have a US History requirement.)

Said educator and former state Rep. Lyla “Islam Day” Berg, “My biggest worry is it just completely ignores the civic mission of schools. When U.S. history becomes an option, we need to ask ourselves, what is the purpose of schools?”…

It’ll be interesting to hear what members of the Board of Education think when they take up the diploma requirements tomorrow. (This becomes an excuse for moving Soc Studies up to 5 classes.)

Reality: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

read … Not Enough Brainwashing

UK Independent: America's homeless crisis washes up in Obama's birthplace

Some live in tents, others in cars – but Hawaii would rather their extreme poor lived on the mainland. Guy Adams reports from Honolulu on a crackdown the US doesn't want the world to see….

(This is just the beginning of two months of negative press which is coming thanks to APEC.)

read … Homeless

State works to finish beautification projects ahead of APEC

It's been touted for years, now it's less than two months until November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii. 7 weeks to be exact. That's why road repairs are ramping up to beautify the busiest transportation corridor in the entire state, Nimitz highway.

"It's definitely an improvement we're happy to get done before APEC, but the most important thing is this is something that should have been done for all of us a long time ago," says Lt. Governor Brian Schatz. (That’s the line in case they don’t get it done on time.)

The state DOT is installing 165 new trees as part of a median makeover along a - mile stretch of the Nimitz corridor. That includes 76 coconut trees, 89 Fiji palms and 2 acres of St. Augustine grass. But, there's still a lot to do.

"November 6th is the drop dead date, but we're really thinking that we're going to finish the last week of October," says Dan Meisenzahal, DOT spokesman.

DN: Why show this to APEC visitors?

read … Too Little, Too Late

With Politics so Lucrative, Oahu crime rate lowest since '75

Oahu's total crime rate in seven categories dropped in 2010 to its lowest level since Hawaii began using the federal standard 35 years ago.

The data were made available Friday by the Honolulu Police Department and the state Attorney General.

The rate reported for the City and County of Honolulu in 2010 was 3,601 crimes per 100,000 residents, according to data extrapolated by the Attorney General's Research and Statistics Division from its upcoming statewide crime report. That's down from the 3,962 per 100,000 recorded in 2009 and the lowest recorded since statewide data collection began in 1975, said Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics for the Attorney General.

Who needs Crime?

read … Crime

Clean Energy Summit Devolves into Kuokoa Sales Pitch for Hostile Takeover of Hawaiian Electric

Taking control of Hawaiian Electric Co. is financially feasible, according to TJ Glauthier, a national leader in the renewable energy sector and board member of Kuokoa, a start-up company hoping to take the publicly traded utility private and implement a new vision of Hawaii's clean energy future.

"I think that the financing is definitely achievable," said Glauthier. "I've talked already with some investment banks in New York on a preliminary basis and I think that this is exactly the kind of thing investment banking people would really go out and raise money for."

(Anybody stupid enough to support this deserves to pay a higher electric bill.)

read … Abercrombie’s Show?

Parental discipline defense upheld in alleged child abuse case

The Intermediate Court of Appeals set aside the misdemeanor conviction of Richard D. Dowling Jr., who had been found guilty on Aug. 30 of abusing his 11-year-old son….

Dowling's son testified the door became stuck when he tried to close it but that he lied to his father by denying he caused the door to become stuck.

The boy said his father pushed him down and punched him twice in his left leg, causing some bruising.

Dowling said he spanked his son because the youth repeatedly lied to him about the door.

read … Parental Rights

Shellfish show promise in Hawaii

The ranch and operators of at least three other fishponds have begun to raise Pacific oysters in hopes they will someday be able to sell them in Hawaii and ship them to other states.

It's a business with great potential for Hawaii.

Washington state's oyster industry generates $200 million a year. Hawaii, so far, generates zero.

The problem has been government bureaucracy. (This means that the enviros haven’t found out yet.)

"From our research we know if you grow it in a (Hawaii) fishpond, you get a market-size oyster in five to six months. On the mainland it takes two to three years," Haws said. "And most of the mainland areas have (anything from) disease to ocean acidification making it to harder to grow."

At Molii Pond the oysters have grown twice as fast as most growing areas on the West Coast, according to Anderson, who launched the oyster trials for Kualoa.

read … Shellfish for Hawaii?

Kauai Council Slyly arranges Pay Hikes for Elected Officials, Department Heads

The Kaua‘i County Council plans to reconsider its decision on a resolution that would have frozen the salaries of most county officials for the next two years when it meets Wednesday morning.

Using the argument of illegality due in part to a blown deadline, the council on Sept. 7 rejected by a 6-1 vote a resolution put forward by the county Salary Commission.

The salary resolution currently in effect was adopted in November. It took effect July 1, raising the salaries of most elected officials and county department heads. Those salaries had been frozen since Dec. 1, 2008.

Resolution 2011-1 proposes freezing the salaries of county officials until July 1, 2013.

read … Salaries

Kauai County names sustainability czar

(Or is that High Priest?)

read … Sustainability


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