Lingle vows veto on taxes
Gov. Linda Lingle, in her most specific warning to lawmakers this session, said yesterday she would veto any increases in income, hotel-room and general-excise taxes that lawmakers have kept alive as options to close the state's budget deficit.
Lingle also said she has asked county mayors to back her suggestion for $278 million in labor savings through collective bargaining. In return, she will urge lawmakers not to withhold hotel-room taxes for counties to help close the deficit.
RELATED: Governor Highlights Top Priorities at Hawai`i Island Chamber Meeting
SB March 26--Randy Perreira, Hawaii Government Employees Association executive director, said the state cannot "cut its way to prosperity." (That's funny, when faced with the possibility of privatizing HHSC hospitals his suggestion was to close them. Is that a cut which leads to prosperity?)
Senators aim to cut pay from top
Legislators had been criticized for taking a pay raise that brought their salaries to $48,708 from $35,900 this year. If the new proposal goes into effect, it would reduce their salaries to $46,272 a year. (And they deserve that pay because they have shown the ability to package a 29% pay hike as if it were a 5% pay cut. Now THAT'S skill!)
Bertram, GOP spar over child abuse ad
Bertram, a Democrat from Makena-Kihei, fired back that the ads were "un-American" because his comments at a court hearing on the case were made as a private citizen and not as a legislator.
"I was speaking strictly on my own behalf and not representing myself in any other sense or way," he said. "Now we have the Republican Party saying I should be punished for my own personal opinion, and I find that reprehensible."
He stressed he does not condone enticement of minors for sex, or actually having sex with minors.
What he objected to was a law that he said penalizes people for potential rather than actual behavior.
"As citizens of these United States, nobody gives up the right to speak their mind and their own personal opinion, no matter what the job is," Bertram added.
(Note how Bertram conflates any criticism of his ideas with an attempt to silence him. Any idiot knows that the GOP is fully committed to defending Joe Bertram's free speech and in fact is working hard to make sure that Bertram's words reach the broadest possible audience in Maui HD 11.)
Idiot Bertram: Veganism solution to global warming "methane is very dangerous it is put out by cows--both ends" Question: How dangerous are child molesters?
Another video: Registering 10,000 Marijuana voters on Maui (and more ... )
SB: Maui legislator has entrapped himself in online sex issue
A legislator's reasoning in asking for leniency in the sentencing of a friend convicted of sexually soliciting a 14-year-old girl should give pause to his Maui constituents. Democratic Rep. Joe Bertram III's explanation so far has only worsened his predicament.
Bertram was the only member of the Legislature last year who voted against increased penalties for breaking the law against soliciting sex with children on the Internet. His friend Mark Marcantonio, 52, had been arrested five months earlier after showing up at the Maui Mall in Kahului to meet the girl he had enticed online but who turned out to be an undercover Maui police detective.
(Once again the SB Editorial Board is providing free political consulting services to the Hawaii Democratic Party as they try to extricate themselves from yet another molester scandal. The key here is to preserve the one-party system.)
Mauna Kea plan draws mixed reactions: OHA backs CMP
Testimony on Wednesday was virtually split down the middle. By the 5:30 p.m. break, more than eight hours after the meeting was called to order, the tally was 14 in favor of passing the plan, versus 12 against. More than 70 people signed up to testify, and board members prepared to go until 10 p.m., which was after press time.
The public testimony was preceded by presentations from UH President David McClain, Mauna Kea Management Board Chairman Barry Taniguchi, University of Hawaii at Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng and others, all in support of the plan.
Representatives of Sierra Club, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and KAHEA all requested the board grant a contested-case hearing for a variety of reasons.
Opponents argued that the BLNR had the responsibility to develop a management plan, not UH, which they said had an interest in developing the mountain.
"If you can't do your job, give it to us. We'll do it," said Paul Neves, alii ai moku of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I. He charged that the board was not fulfilling a 2007 order by 3rd Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.
Supporters of the CMP included the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which passed a resolution on March 25 "to support the Comprehensive Management Plan to assure the protection of our cultural resources and the preservation of our customary and historical practices; and that OHA stands ready to participate in the process to enhance the CMP as drafted."
(Like Molokai: OHA vs the Sovereignty Activists & Ecos--how did that end up for Molokai Ranch?)
Hawaii Tribune Herald: The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs also supports the management plan, saying in a letter that it "builds on strategies for the diverse range of activities and uses ... and includes comprehensive components to manage the cultural and historical resources and the natural resources" on Mauna Kea. Supporters included labor unions, business organizations and members of the astronomy community, who were easily distinguishable by their black shirts and yellow pins urging passage of the plan.
HB 444 - Civil Unions Bill- Dead for The 2009 Legislative Session
Senate Democrats considered reviving a revised version of HB 444 in their caucus today, but they failed to get the support from Senate president Colleen Hanabusa and other Senate leaders who prefer, at this point, to focus their efforts on the balancing the state budget.
Dennis Arakaki, a former state Representative who is a spokeperson for the Hawaii Family Forum against civil unions, says it was "good news" that nothing happened today during the Senate session.
While Senators say the issue is dead for this year, Arakaki warns "the bill is still alive and can be pulled from the Committee anytime from tomorrow until May 5. (This was tried once before but failed, so it is unlikely that it will happen again, but we cannot take that for granted."
Settlement proposed in battle over Hawaii ceded lands
Under a settlement proposal, the lawsuit over the sale of ceded lands would be dropped in exchange for an agreement by the Lingle administration to obtain a two-thirds vote of approval in both houses of the Legislature before it could move forward with any sale of the lands.
Under the settlement, detailed by Attorney General Mark Bennett and attorney William Meheula at a House Hawaiian Affairs briefing yesterday:
• All parties would agree to have the current lawsuit, which was remanded to the state courts by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 31, dismissed with prejudice, meaning other parties could choose to raise the issue in the future.
• Gov. Linda Lingle would sign a bill requiring that any sale of ceded lands first obtain a two-thirds approval from each house of the Legislature. The bill would allow for continuance of the existing law on the exchange of ceded lands, which allows for a transfer to be disapproved if 50 percent of both houses, or two-thirds of one house, votes to reject it.
ERROR: DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE - When a case is dismissed for good reason and the plaintiff is barred from bringing an action on the same claim. (This error makes a mess of the entire article.)
Bennett believes the Hawai'i Supreme Court now needs to lift the moratorium. But Meheula and Broder feel the Hawai'i court could choose to once again allow a moratorium, except this time using other state laws and actions as proof there is a need for a moratorium.
Bennett and Meheula made it clear that the clients — OHA and the four individuals in particular — had not yet agreed to the settlement.
Bennett, however, said, "It's my belief the governor would sign the bill I described for you."
The two attorneys also acknowledged the plan would need to be approved by the Legislature, which appears to be split on the subject of ceded lands.
RELATED: Hawaiian Affairs Committee discusses Supreme Court ruling
HMSA seeks major rate hike
Hawaii Medical Service Association is seeking an average rate increase of 12.7 percent for small-business members enrolled in its most popular Preferred Provider Plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
In addition, HMSA has requested a 4.5 percent increase for those enrolled in its Health Plan Hawaii Plus, and a 12.7 percent increase for those enrolled in its CompMED plan.
SB: Sonar's effect on dolphins minimal
But that won't keep anti-American military activists from continuing to lie about this phony issue as they have for the last 20 years....for instance see Advertiser headline:
Loud sonar deafens isle dolphin in study
Water rate hikes on Molokai
Before last summer's emergency rate increase, a Wai'ola O Molokai customer paid $1.85 per 1,000 gallons of water. But prices jumped in September to $5.15 per 1,000 gallons. That meant an average Wai'ola customer's monthly water bill went from $33.30 to $92.70 - a 178 percent increase.
Molokai Public Utilities rates went up almost 90 percent last year. Consumers getting water from that utility saw their rate per 1,000 gallons go from $3.18 to $6.04 and the average bill from $57.24 to $108.72.
Just that bump was enough for Mayor Charmaine Tavares to set aside emergency funding to assist Molokai residents pay their water bills. Hundreds of Molokai residents protested the rate hikes at public hearings and meetings.
But Molokai Properties officials have said the increases would allow them to make a small profit as well as much-needed capital improvements to the utilities.
Under the latest Molokai Public Utilities proposal, rates would climb to $192.42 a month for an average family. Molokai Properties is asking for per 1,000 gallon rates to go up to $10.69 a month by sometime in 2010.
Laupahoehoe considers Charter School status
Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School is edging toward the idea of converting to a charter school, but the overall level of community support is not yet clear.
That will have to be nailed down before any decision is made to apply for charter status. About 60 people attended a panel discussion at the school's band room Tuesday evening.
"It's going to be challenging; we've been holding these meetings for four months and the amount of people hasn't changed," said Niki Hubbard, one of the organizers for the group Save/Improve Our School.
Laupahoehoe, with 211 students, has struggled with declining enrollment over the years, and residents fear the school may be placed on a list for possible closure.
Parents urge panel to save small school
Nozoe told a reporter that if the school were shut down, some of the options include renting it out to a private school or turning it into a school of choice that is thematically organized, for example having a focus in science, engineering, math or dramatic arts.
He said there have been school closure threats over the past 20 years. He said the school has been the lowest performing academically in the complex from Aina Haina to Hawaii Kai.
But alumnus Lance Morita testified that still put Wailupe among the best in the state -- among the top 22 percent, according to a ranking by Honolulu magazine.
Hawaii County Council delays action on GMO bill
The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday failed to advance a resolution opposing HB 1226, which preempts any county regulatory action restricting activities relating to genetically modified plant organisms.
Because the resolution failed to muster the six votes required to suspend the rules to take action on an amended measure, it will be placed on the April 22 council agenda in Kona.
Kona: Target expects flood of applicants
"From all indications and certainly the economy being what it is now, we expect to have 300 to 500 people coming each day for the interviews," said Roger Thomas, store manager for the Kona Target. "We certainly don't expect the crowd to be the same as the mass hiring event for the two Oahu stores, but we do expect to have a good turnout."
Maui: Off-duty detective was struck 19 times with baseball bats
WAILUKU - Maui police Detective Jamie Becraft was pinned down in a concrete planter in his yard, being struck multiple times with a baseball bat and other objects Saturday night, when he realized he was in trouble.
"I'm getting hit everywhere. There's shots coming from every angle. I was taking shots to my head," he testified Wednesday afternoon. "I knew if I didn't get out of that planter, there was a chance I was going to die."