Groups vow protests if civil-unions bill advances
"It will create an uproar in the general public," said Dennis Arakaki, interim executive director of Hawaii Family Forum. "People are upset that this was allowed to happen and to come this far." Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser says he will try to force a vote on the measure if no other senators do so by the end of this year's legislative session in May.
SB: Public needs wider view of Isle stimulus spending (argument for Hawaii Tax increase)
One key issue concerns the use of a particular Medicaid-related pot of money known as Federal Medical Assistance Percentage funds. The Lingle administration has directed $320 million in these funds to fill holes in the overall budget, something the stimulus law does not preclude.
But the better policy is to use this money first to make sure all crucial health and social-service obligations can be met, and then apply any excess to more general needs. (That way no HGEA jobs will be trimmed, but taxes will need to be raised to fill the gap)
Legislators revisit tax hikes to help plug gaps in Hawaii budget
State House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan, R-32nd (Lower Pearlridge, 'Aiea, Halawa), said lawmakers should not be thinking about tax increases during a recession. She would rather that state workers donate one day of pay each month to help with the deficit.
"We hear from the people, and they're saying, 'We've already taken our hits. We've taken our blows,' " Finnegan said. "Businesses have closed. People have been laid off. People have had a 10 percent cut in pay, and those are the things we are trying to prevent."
State Rep. Jessica Wooley, D-47th (La'ie, Hau'ula, Punalu'u), who serves on the House Finance Committee, said Lingle herself was the first to propose tax increases this session with a six-year, $4 billion highway modernization plan released in January.
Lingle said that the state liquid fuel tax, the state vehicle registration fee, the state vehicle weight tax, and a rental car surcharge would not go up until the economy improves with 1 percent job growth for two straight quarters.
But when the taxes do go up, the administration estimated that average drivers would pay another $170 a year to help pay for highway improvements.
"The biggest tax increase I've seen is the governor's plan," Wooley said, pointing out that, unlike the House and Senate, Lingle's tax increases would not help balance the budget.
"The reality is she has one of the biggest tax increases that would hit people regressively."
Pork projects won’t come close to offsetting a downturn
WAILUKU - State infrastructure projects, from major highways to new school drinking fountains, will boost the economy - but they won't come close to offsetting a widespread slowdown in the construction industry, according to a top state economist.
Superferry Shutdown Impacts Business
Auto dealers, farmers and the construction industry utilized the Superferry to send their products and equipment faster and for a better price. “Cement contractors for the small builders they relied on us every morning,” Hays
Companies including Love’s Bakery, Fed Ex and Los Angeles based shipping company Commodity Forwarders Inc. will see a significant increase in shipping expenses. “The quality is going to suffer and the price is going to go up,” Commodity Forwarders Inc. President Chris Connell said.
The Hawaii Superferry gave commodity forwarders a competitive rate and an ideal mode of shipment for their perishable goods, which they say should be sent fresh "from field to fork."
(And now its gone. The socialists have achieved their goal.)
Many affected by loss of Hawaii Superferry
General contractor Kamalei Hill was among the people who'd been using the 350-foot Alakai to move equipment, materials and himself between jobs in Honolulu and his home in Wailuku. Over the past 11 months of service, he said, he'd used the ferry at least once a month.
"There was a savings in a monetary sense and then in a time sense," Hill said from the loading dock last week. "The other methods take days, while this is just hours. You're off the ferry and on your way to work.
"I'm all for environmental protection, but what about all the other maritime vessels that use the harbors? The cruise ships and Young Brothers (Ltd.'s) barges and ships carrying gas never had to go through all this. It doesn't seem fair." (The socialists have achieved their goal.)
Advisory panel gives nod to Mauna Kea management plan
Testimony was nearly evenly split. Labor and business representatives supported the plan, while environmentalists and several Native Hawaiians spoke against it.
Tom Anthony called the CMP "crap" that a "bogus" board is trying to shove down people's throats.
"There will be litigation," he shouted. "We're not taking this lightly."
Anthony complained about being charged a $3 UHH parking fee, and the "intimidating" presence of an armed state Department of Land and Natural Resources employee.
He advised a companion who was testifying to "no act up, they might shoot you."
Also dissatisfied with the plan was board member Lisa Hadway, who voted against both the funding amendment and the plan.
"I just feel this plan needs some work," said Hadway, a DLNR administrator.
She did not cite any objectionable provisions, however.
"They're kind of large in scale," Hadway told the Tribune-Herald when asked following the meeting why she didn't offer any amendments.
SB: Don't approve Kapolei housing development?
Political leaders routinely proclaim support for agriculture. At the same time, however, they seem to be unable to create optimal conditions under which home-grown foods can thrive.
That's because growing foods requires land, and land owners, as is their prerogative, prefer housing or commercial development for maximum profit. Prime agriculture acreage in West Oahu, for example, could soon sprout nearly 12,000 housing units instead of potatoes, onions, melons, peppers and Asian greens if a state agency approves a land-use change.
WRONG: Agriculture is small in Hawaii because the legislature taxes and regulates small businesses (such as dairies and egg farms) to death. There is not a shortage of available land, there is a shortage of people willing to farm under the business conditions created by the socialist state. Destroying the Superferry didn't help either, in fact several Big island ag operations were looking forward to being able to produce for the Oahu marker....bur not anymore. To be clear, the editors of the Star-Bulletin and their friends in the Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow, etc are not stupid. They are socialists working hard to destroy capitalism. Every step is perfectly logical from that standpoint.
Stakes high for Hawaii schools as No Child tests start soon
Education officials stress that the exam, known as the Hawaii State Assessment, is critical because its results are used to determine whether a school will face sanctions under No Child Left Behind. (And this means the HSTA could lose its deathgrip over these schools' staffing decisions. Oh and it also means that the students aren't learning much in school.....)
Last year, education officials said the spike in the number of schools that did not meet their goals reflected the increasingly unrealistic expectations of the federal No Child Left Behind law. (What excuse will they use this year?)
Property manager gone, along with many thousands of dollars
"He closed the office, laid everybody off and off he went," said Christine Giron, whose vacation rental at Kona Pacific condominium in Kailua-Kona had been managed by Property Network since 2006. "He's definitely off of the island. Possibly he's left the country. Nobody really knows where he is."
Bottling plant wins initial OK
A proposed Keaau bottling plant has received unanimous endorsement from a County Council committee even though one lawmaker was initially opposed to the developer's rezoning request. The cost of the facility "could be greater than $30 million," landowner Shikwan Sung said recently in estimating what may be needed to develop the 10.4-acre site located at Railroad Avenue and East Milo Street. Sung said he chose to invest in Keaau because he believes it has the world's best water quality and also to help the community. (Wait till he finds out that OHA thinks it owns the water.)
His Hawaiian Rainforest Water Co. would bottle water, health drinks, fruit juices and alcohol. Plans call for renovating old warehouses previously used for sugar cane processing, and using fruit grown in adjacent orchards. But first, he needs the land's zoning changed from 20-acre agricultural to one-acre light industrial. Also, the state-designated agricultural land must be reclassified as an urban district. (Hmmmm jobs, agriculture, private enterprise. How will the enviros stop this? Stay tuned....)
Kaiser Permanente buys new clinic site in Kona
The clinic now provides primary care, obstetrics and gynecology, optometry, pediatrics and surgery. There are also 22 specialists from O'ahu who visit patients regularly on the Big Island. (This is good because the HHSC is running Kona Hospital into the ground and the HGEA is suggesting it be closed rather than privatized.)
Chinatown Community Rallies to Clean-Up Streets
"Now they urinate in the streets, it's terrible its unhealthy," says Tam. "You see this here, this human waste, everyday it's like that," said Roland Loui, Chinatown resident.
"We need to make a commitment to do something this minute," says Rosa. Dressed in red, dozens took to the streets to prove they're ready to change Chinatown.And ward off criminals. The U.S. Attorney says they're behind them....Ready to prosecute.
"This is gonna work and this is why we're here to tell you we support you," says Ed Kubo. "The Chinese community has never unified like this before," says Tam.
(US Attorneys don't deal with vagrancy cases...but they DO deal with organized crime....)
Progress in Iraq pleases Schofield brigade leader
Much has changed since the Tropic Lightning soldiers patrolled the streets of the town of Samarra two years ago.
"Now you see markets are opened up. ... But not only is it being reconstructed and there's some normalcy returning to Samarra, pilgrims are returning. And we see thousands of pilgrims from other countries coming into Iraq to visit the shrine, and they're not having any security incidents."
ACLU attorney discusses 'barbaric cruelty'
Wizner described President Barack Obama’s promise to move forward instead of looking back as a “false choice.” He said the investigation and prosecution of members of the Bush Administration for torture — the “infliction of barbaric cruelty” against those in U.S. custody — and other war crimes is consistent with the rule of law and is critical to our nation’s long-term strength and security. (Rather than uh 'loosing his head' over this, Wizner should immediately fly to S. Waziristan to apologize to al-Qaeda in person.)
North Korea to Close Air Routes for Rocket Launch
North Korea will close two routes in its airspace April 4-8 for a scheduled rocket launch, South Korea’s transportation ministry said.
The air routes off North Korea’s east coast will be closed daily between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the period for the launch of a rocket carrying a communications satellite, South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement. (Last time NK tried to launch, it may have been aimed at Hawaii....)