Reps Fontiane, Pine Cheer Passage of Cyber-Crime Package
Thielen Makes Final Push for Local Food Production Mandate
As Final Vote Approaches, Molokai Launches Petition to Stop Big Cable
HB280: Strangled by Bureaucracy, Coffee Farmers Call for Repeal of Mandatory Inspections
CB Poll: Non-Voters Oppose Gay Agenda
|Same Sex Marriage
The obvious conclusion is that churches must conduct more voter registration drives. Hawaii has the lowest voter participation in the nation and the less likely somebody is to participate, the more likely they are to oppose the gay agenda.
Poll: Marriage Marijuana Crosstabs
Related: Church-based voter drive brings 15,000 to polls, powers GOP House gains
read … Civil Beat Poll - Hawaii Opposes Gay Marriage, Marijuana, Rail
Senate resurrects undersea cable bill
SA: The state Senate on Tuesday revived a bill that would create a regulatory framework for an interisland electric transmission cable, a priority for Gov. Neil Abercrombie's energy agenda.
The bill would not authorize an undersea cable to move wind, solar or geothermal energy between the islands, but if a project does proceed, the bill would set a framework for financing and development. Abercrombie had testified in favor of the bill during committee hearings, telling lawmakers that establishing a regulatory process would remove uncertainties — and potentially lower the cost — of a cable project.
The House, at the governor's urging, removed language from the bill in March that implied that Molokai and Lanai could opt out of a cable project.
read … Its Baaaack
Transit-Oriented Development to be Voted Thursday
SA: The House and Senate also agreed Tuesday to amend a bill that could help guide planning around bus and rail transit stations on Oahu, clarifying that it is meant to apply to bus stations in Ewa, Central Oahu and the primary urban center. The bill would cover potential rail transit stations at East Kapolei, the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, West Loch, Waipahu, Leeward Community College and Pearl Highlands.
The bill, which originally contained several environmental and regulatory exemptions, was altered during the session but has still drawn opposition from community members who fear they will lose a voice in development projects. Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe) said she was unconvinced that the bill would not be applied to development in other communities. "So I cannot support this concept, even in the amended bill," she said.
Final votes on the transit-oriented development bill are scheduled for Thursday.
SA: Don’t weaken vision for Kakaako
KITV: HART begins series of meetings on rail transit
read … TOD not Dead
Hawaii Medicaid fee fix up for a final vote
PBN: Hawaii lawmakers have heard the exasperation of local hospital administrators eager for a change in how they’re paid for providing health-care services to Medicaid patients.
Last week, lawmakers hammered out a version of House Bill 2275 that cleared conference committee and now heads to final reading before the full Legislature in two days.
read … Hospital Reimbursements
Video: Secret Amendment Creates Public Land Development Corporation
DN: Do you think that the Hawaii State Legislature is a democratic institution? This video may convince you otherwise.
What you’ll be seeing is secret law being passed. The Senate Water, Land & Housing Committee Chair slides a proposed amendment into HB2398 that no one has seen. And the result has stolen away the people’s power.
The bill creates a Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) that is exempt from all permitting and zoning requirements. It gives the Governor power to transfer land to the PLDC with no public input.
watch … VIDEO
SB2115 Charter School Accountability to Be Voted Thursday
SA: The proposed law would put charter schools on performance contracts and strengthen monitoring of the charter system as a whole. The school contracts would measure academic proficiency and growth as well as governance issues like finances, and set annual targets for performance. A new Public Charter School Commission would authorize and oversee the schools, and would report annually on outcomes at them.
"It's better than what we have going on right now," said Gene Zarro, school board chairman for Kihei Charter School. "The reason I think it's better is there is some clarity, and it does seem to put the focus on the student."
"There are a lot of people who are going to have a lot to do, and a learning curve that is pretty steep, with accountability markers along the way that volunteers are held to," Zarro said. "I think the big workload is going to come when the new commission members have to come up with 32 performance contracts for 32 existing charter schools, plus the 15 charter school applicants that are in the hopper."
The commission's nine members would be appointed by the Board of Education and chosen based on qualifications, such as commitment to education and experience governing complex organizations, rather than selected to represent specific constituencies, such as teachers, as is now the case.
read … SB2115
Teacher: Interference, Retaliation by Principals Prevents Improvement in Student Achievement
SA: While it's worthwhile to evaluate teachers' job performance, I think it's a bad idea to include student achievement as a benchmark. That is because individual teachers have almost no control over student achievement. It is a myth that teachers work independently and "do their own thing."
For instance, when I was a special-education teacher for the state Department of Education several years ago, most of my recommendations for remediation and accommodations for my students were vetoed by the principal. I was compelled to implement the school's usual way of doing things. A teacher in that position should not be blamed for his students' lack of progress.
Many exceptional teachers have come here from the mainland, under special contract, only to leave in disillusionment after one or two years. Indeed, half of all new teachers leave within three years. That is because they run into the hard reality that everything they do is under control of the school, not their own professional judgment.
To understand the internal dynamics of a school, you have to start by realizing that a school is a workplace. As such, it has the same office politics and cronyism as any workplace. Principals do favors and give assistance to those teachers who "play ball" with them. And the flip side is that principals make the job difficult for those teachers who try to improve on the school's usual way of doing things. The result is that our state schools remain mediocre in general, but the teachers who play politics successfully are the ones who end up with reputations as good teachers.
read … Retaliation? At the DoE? No say it isn’t so!
No Bus Cuts for Elementary Kids?
CB: The Hawaii Department of Education and its governing board are laying out an array of bandages to dress the wounds they anticipate after making severe cuts to student transportation services.
There will be no impact on elementary school children, however, if Board of Education Chair Don Horner gets his wish.
The board on Tuesday held its first meeting since the Legislature voted to provide $25 million for the school bus budget next year. Department officials were relieved the shortfall was less than expected, but they still face a $17 million hole with limited ways to fill it.
Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi will be working with school officials and a third-party consultant on specific recommendations for the board to consider at a special meeting in two weeks. A whole "matrix" of options is on the table, she said.
(Cutting bus services for Elementary kids would be the way to maximize the disruption in order to push back against the possibility of further cuts, thus it is the logical step for the DoE. But then there is not a gubernatorial election for the DoE to win.)
SA: DOE examines options facing school buses
DoE Asst Sup’t: U.S. has embraced Patsy Mink's legacy of gender equity
read … No Bus Cuts for Elementary Kids?
Job cuts will not affect adult education services, schools superintendent says
SA: An estimated 17 leadership and other positions at adult community schools will be eliminated when state funding for the campuses is halved next school year, but education officials pledged the range of adult education services offered by the state will remain the same.
Under a tentative plan, the Department of Education is looking to retain two community schools with the highest enrollments — McKinley and Waipahu — and convert the remaining eight to satellite campuses.
The satellites would not have principals, but would instead be led by vice principals or site coordinators.
Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi told Board of Education members Tuesday, in a presentation on the DOE's budget for the 2012-13 school year, that the goal is to lower costs without cutting program offerings.
read … Then these were just make-work jobs all along
DOE tries to crack down on employee theft
HNN: Kunz said the DOE has increased training for school employees who deal with cash and is conducting more financial audits.
"Some of them are surprise audits. But we've also looked entire audits on the local school accounts, on who they're writing their checks to. Just a very comprehensive audit on every school," Kunz said.
(The big crooks demand audits for the little crooks.)
The DOE also plans to add new technology allowing cashless transactions when parents and kids pay for all kinds of small expenses, such as excursion and bus fees.
"Our systems are very old and we are looking at replacements of those to bring us up to date on some of the electronic processes that are available out there," Kunz said.
Kunz hopes to have new electronic payment systems installed in all public schools by the end of next school year.
"It helps give the state oversight. Right now we can't see into the systems and we can't monitor what's going on," Kunz said.
She said people will still be allowed to pay for incidental expenses at public schools with cash, but offering a cash-free alternative will cut down on the amount of cash school employees deal with and the temptation that cash creates.
The DOE also has setup an email address and a phone line to report fraud or possible criminal activity by employees. The phone number is 808-586-3587 or email email@example.com.
SA: Fern worker to plead guilty in $14,000 theft from school
read … DOE tries to crack down on employee theft
HB2175: Restricting OIP Passes House, Heads for Governor’s Desk
CB: There’s the bill diluting the power of Hawaii’s open records agency (oddly, proposed and pushed by OIP itself). It sailed through the Senate and House, though a number of lawmakers lodged their opposition and reservations. And then there’s the ethics code exemption for task force members. It’s House Bill 2175.
Many Republicans and House dissident Democrats either opposed or voted with reservations on the measure, which previously passed the Senate. It now heads to the governor for his consideration.
CB: Open Records Agency Does Public No Favors
read … Rough Day at the Hawaii Legislature For Open Government Advocates
Kona airport, Palamanui campus and NELHA get big CIPs Nearly $50.4M for West Hawaii projects from Legislature
WHT: The state budget set to be be finalized Thursday contains $50.4 million in capital improvement projects for West Hawaii, two state representatives said Tuesday.
The budget cleared a conference committee of legislators early Saturday morning, Reps. Denny Coffman, D-North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau, and Cindy Evans, D-North Kona, South Kohala, said in a news release.
Some $7.5 million for the West Hawaii Community College at Palamanui is especially welcome, the representatives said.
read … Palamanui
Services for soldier killed in Black Hawk crash will be May 10
SA: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Don C. Viray, 25, of Waipahu was one of four Schofield Barracks soldiers who died when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in bad weather April 19 on a night flight in southern Afghanistan.
He joined the Hawaii Army National Guard at 17 and most recently was an active-duty Army helicopter pilot.
Visitation for Viray will be at 9 a.m. May 10 at Borthwick Mortuary, 1330 Maunakea St., the mortuary said. A service will be held at 10 a.m., and burial will be at 1 p.m. at Punchbowl.
The service for Viray is open to the public, Borthwick said.
Viray's awards and decorations include the Air Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Air Assault Badge and the Aviator Badge. Posthumous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
read … Services
Cash Call! Fundraisers for Sens. Baker, Ige During Session
CB: They are both set for Tuesday evening (May 1) at the Plaza Club — Day 59 of the 2012 Hawaii Legislature. The suggested donation for each candidate is $100.
Those giving to Sen. David Ige in 2011 include Anheuser Busch, Hawaii Realtors PAC, John Radcliffe and Red Morris, Bob Toyofuku, Watanabe Ing State PAC, Hawaiian Telcom Good Government Club, Hawaii Auto Dealer Election Action Committee, Alexander & Baldwin, HMSA, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Pfizer and Outrigger Enterprises.
Those giving to Sen. Roz Baker include many of the same folks who gave to Ige but also GlaxoSmithKline, Tim Johns, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Pacific Resources Partnership PAC, Maui Land and Pineapple Co., Ken Hiraki, Melissa Pavlicek, HEMIC, Healthcare Association of Hawaii and Monsanto.
read … Cash Call! Fundraisers for Sens. Baker, Ige During Session
Free Speech protocol required by a court order 10 years ago is moving through the Council
SA: The City Council is considering rules governing First Amendment activities at parks more than 10 years after protesters filed a lawsuit because there was no process to determine where and how they could demonstrate against the 2001 Asian Development Bank conference.
The Council's Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee voted 4-1 Tuesday to give preliminary approval to Bill 38, which allows groups convening at a city park for what is defined as "expressive activity" to gather without a permit if there are less than 75 people. Gatherings for up to 150 people would be allowed without permit at Ala Moana Beach Park and Kapiolani Park because they are larger.
Expressive activity is defined as speech or conduct used to express, disseminate or communicate "political, religious, philosophical or ideological opinions, views or ideas" by verbal, visual, literary or auditory means, provided there is no fee charged or required. Sports events, fundraisers, beauty contests, commercial events, cultural celebrations or other entertainment-focused gatherings are not considered expressive activity under the bill, nor are art fairs or open markets.
The bill says those nonpermit limits can be waived altogether when any group gathers for expressive activity "due to a spontaneous event occasioned by news or affairs coming into public knowledge within 48 hours of such expressive activity," provided written notice is provided to the city "as soon as practicable."
read … Expressive Activity
Occupy Moron Arrested Disrupting Lei Day Ceremonies at Kapiolani Park Bandstand
Watch: VIDEO (the stupidity really gets going about 4:00)
KHON: Occupy Honolulu member arrested during Lei Day event
CB: Occupy Honolulu Protesters Mark May Day
State crews clear out homeless camps under Nimitz highway
KHON: Officials say homeless people who set up camp off Nimitz highway received two weeks notice that the area would be cleared.
Today crews moved in to remove the trash left behind.
Cleanups like this take place in the area about every six months.
read … Bum Removal
Federal Raid Targeting 'Queens of Lottery', Chinatown Gambling Ring
HR: Prior to the law enforcement raid, Hawaii Reporter conducted a six-month investigation of the lottery business, including the use of undercover video cameras, determining that the gambling proceeds were delivered to a pair of Laotian sisters, Khemma Pannga Xoumanivong, 63, and Bounkouam Khamphilavanh, 47.
The alleged masterminds of this illegal foreign lottery scheme operating in Chinatown and other areas of the island are known around town as the “Queens of lottery.”
They are longtime residents of the Palolo Valley Homes project and their units are just steps away from the manager’s office….
Details of the Hawaii Reporter investigation, including hidden camera purchases of illegal lottery tickets, were broadcast at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday by our news partner, Hawaii News Now….
On Tuesday, search warrants were also served at three small businesses in Mauna Kea Marketplace in Chinatown, a privately operated complex that sits on land leased from the City and County of Honolulu. Gibraltar Maunakea LLC, a company based out of Santa Barbara, California, holds the master lease.
The businesses that were targeted including Adam’s Mini-Market, a fresh food vendor; Siamese Monster, which sells music and videos; and a third unnamed food stall that is marked by the numbers 110-C.
Agents also served a search warrant at Hong Fa Market, a fresh food outlet on Maunakea Street near the Marketplace.
The owner of Hong Fa just so happens to work for the non-profit Pacific Gateway Center where interestingly enough he was hired to help Asian immigrants.
The way the lottery works is this: You buy a ticket with either two or three numbers on it. If those same numbers you bought here in Hawaii match the numbers that are drawn back in Thailand on the 15th and 30th of the month, you win. A $10 bet on two matching numbers gets you $700; match three, you win $5,000. Lottery tickets are sold primary to Laotian and Thai immigrants and residents. Not every business selling these lottery numbers were raided.
read … Queens of Lottery
Star-Advertiser’s print circulation grows by 6%
PBN: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s total average circulation for its weekday newspaper grew by 6 percent since last year, according to semiannual circulation data released in the Audit Bureau of Circulation on Tuesday.
However, when the newspaper’s paid online subscriptions and branded editions are factored in, the growth in average total circulation was 76 percent, according to the ABC’s circulation data.
The newspaper’s Sunday circulation also grew by 6 percent for the print product, but that jumped to 24 percent when the paid online data was factored in….
According to the ABC, the Star-Advertiser’s total Sunday digital circulation as of March 31 was 23,760, which included 1,505 digital replicas of the newspaper. The weekday digital circulation was slightly higher at 23,824.
read … Star-Advertiser’s print circulation grows by 6%
Larger newspapers to lose monopoly on publication of foreclosure notices
ILind: It looks like the larger newspapers are losing their monopoly on publication of foreclosure notices.
Last year’s amendments to the state’s foreclosure process, known as Act 48 but referred to by the Star-Advertiser as “the troubled law,” contained a goodie for newspapers….
But yesterday the Legislature passed another round of amendments packaged in HB1875 HD2, SD2, CD1, including new publication requirements that appear to expand the range of newspapers that will qualify to publish foreclosure notices.
read … Monopoly
Newt Gingrich ends his presidential campaign
RNN: Strapped for cash and delegates with no viable path to the Republican nomination for president, Newt Gingrich announced he is dropping out of the race today after "reevaluating" his standing in the race in light of the results of the Delaware primary.
"Today I'm suspending the campaign," he said at a news conference.
He told reporters that the end of his political campaign would not be the end of his political activity.
"I've been an active citizen since August of 1958," he said.
He is now set to turn his focus onto the issues of religious liberty, energy independence, health initiatives related to regenerative health, strengthening American work ethic, national security, social security education - and of course, space….
The Federal Election Commission reports that the campaign ended March more than $4.3 million in debt - a jump from February when the campaign spent $200,000 more in February than it raised.
Read … Newt Gingrich ends his presidential campaign