Abercrombie Campaign ties six Hannemann operatives to AtomicMonkey
DoE prepares to use furloughs as latest excuse for poor test scores
The annual Hawaii State Assessment scores will be released this week, and many educators are bracing for bad news, saying budget cuts and teacher furloughs are almost certain to have had a negative effect.
Poor scores could mean more public schools will fail to meet progress goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law.
But some are reserving hope that test scores have actually improved.
"This is going to be an interesting year, with furloughs having an impact. Hopefully, it's not too adverse," said Garrett Toguchi, chairman of the Board of Education. "Maybe it will surprise us and have an opposite effect."
The scores, set to be released Thursday, come as Hawaii public schools are asked to meet ever-increasing No Child Left Behind standards while they also are trying to scale back the pricey practice of bringing in consultants to help low-performing schools improve test scores.
About 90,000 public school students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 10 took the annual assessments in April -- a point at which they had lost nearly three weeks of instructional time to teacher furloughs.
SA: Hawaii State Assessment
Last year, 66 percent of the state's 284 public schools did not meet yearly goals under No Child Left Behind requirements, though many saw steady gains in reading and math test scores.
Here are more highlights from last year's scores:
- » 34 percent of schools -- or 97 campuses -- made adequate yearly progress goals under NCLB.
- » 62 percent of third-graders were proficient in reading.
- » 44 percent of sixth-graders were proficient in math.
- » 10th-graders saw big improvements in reading -- with 73 percent proficient, compared with 67 percent the year before -- but 34 percent showed proficiency in math.
CB: On The Hook - Part 1 (Hawaii’s $16B pension liability)
We hear a lot of talk about the ballooning federal deficit.
But what about the financial commitments the Hawaii state government has made to public employees?
The state of Hawaii is required to balance its annual budget. But it's on the hook for pension and health-care costs for retired public employees to the tune of more than $16 billion.
Today Civil Beat begins a two-part series examining how state officials are dealing with these unfunded liabilities.
Audit thrashes Sheriff Division
Lax management and equipment problems have created a state Sheriff Division that could jeopardize public safety, a scathing audit concludes.
"Poor leadership has led to a division that may be a risk to the public it is supposed to protect," said Legislative Auditor Marion Higa's report, which listed problems ranging from a lack of training for the deputy sheriffs to a lack of guidance from the state Department of Public Safety.
LINK TO AUDIT: http://www.state.hi.us/auditor/Categories/Corr.htm
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Opposition hits plan for Maui jail/prison
The project would ultimately provide an estimated 140 new full-time jobs in addition to the existing jobs at MCCC that would be transferred to the new facility.
But officials from the state departments of Public Safety and Accounting and General Services faced an (organized) crowd Thursday that included (the usual anti-Superferry types) many people skeptical that the project will actually get built -- and others who wanted to debate the merits of incarceration versus rehabilitation, the newspaper said.
Some people also said they thought the facility would be oversize and is unnecessary, despite estimates of future prison populations that indicate rapidly growing numbers of inmates.
East Hawaii Ward Heeler George Yokoyama retires after running influential Hawaii County nonprofit
HILO -- George Yokoyama brings millions in government grants to the Big Island, and through his taxpayer-funded transportation service, he literally delivers the votes. Or at least the voters….
"In legislative circles, the name George Yokoyama is a very familiar name," said state Sen. Dwight Takamine, D-Hilo, Honokaa, Waimea, who sits on the HCEOC board. "He's a humble man. But for four decades, he's been the driving force. ... Whenever George asks for help, it's never for himself, it's always for the people he serves."
But even as the community fetes Yokoyama in its first major fundraiser, the HCEOC board is taking a critical look at the nonprofit's financials, launching a national search for a new director and considering dissolving a for-profit corporation Yokoyama controls that shares office space and money with the nonprofit. There's talk among the board, and even from Yokoyama himself, of the need for new blood.
(Old boys are running out of steam)
HCEOC received $8.2 million in federal, state and county funding in the tax year ending Sept. 30, 2008, according to the company's federal 990 form, the most recent tax filing available.
Yokoyama is also president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and director of Hawaii Human Enterprises Corp., a private, for-profit company that shares the same Rainbow Drive, Hilo, address as the nonprofit, according to reports filed with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Like HCEOC, the for-profit's mission statement is "to provide training and employment opportunities for residents of the county of Hawaii."
Unlike those of nonprofit corporations, tax filings of for-profit corporations are not open for public scrutiny. So it's not readily apparent what measures have been taken to prevent commingling of funds from taxpayer-backed county, state and federal grants. (Answer: none.)
Paradise Post: Tribute to Geo Yokoyama
SA: Give alternative balloting a chance
Allowing Hawaii voters to cast their ballots by mail on a permanent basis is important in achieving a greater turnout at lower cost. (And lots of voter fraud.) The system to be used in this year's election should be seen as a possible step toward all vote-by-mail elections.
REALITY: Vote By Mail: “Tool of choice for voter fraud”
Honolulu mayor bases leadership on Mormon principles (That’s a terrible thing to say about Mormons)
"One of the things I'm most proud of in my administration is that we've had the cleanest city audits. (Wow. That’s a whopper.) We have had the highest bond ratings of any entity in the State of Hawaii," Hannemann said, explaining that civic governments often need good bond ratings to finance capital improvement projects.
"When we manage the city...we always ask three questions: Do we need it? Can we afford it? And can we maintain it? Then, we're very open and transparent. When we collect a fee for a service, it goes back to the service." (Via the campaign contributors.)
Hannemann compared this to the law of tithing
"When you look at your tithing as the Lord's money, and pay that and your fast offerings faithfully, good things happen. You may not see the benefits right in the beginning, just like when we tear up the roads to fix the infrastructure...but they will come if you're faithful and conscientious."
(So raising taxes is a moral obligation mandated by God.)
"Rail Is So Ridiculous"
CB interviews Cliff Slater of www.HonoluluTraffic.com.
SA: Rail stations to have 1 restroom apiece
ILind: Richardson-era court authorized improper lobbying and campaign activities, rejected complaints about Bishop Estate appointments
(Finally some truth.)
An additional bit of perspective on the late Chief Justice William Richardson is in order.
As I recall, the judiciary created its own political arm under the direction of Tom “Fat Boy” Okuda during Richardson’s term as Chief Justice, and apparently with Richardson’s approval or perhaps at his direction.
Okuda later complained he was a scapegoat and that responsibility for the political activities of the courts really rested on the chief justice’s shoulders. Of course, then Chief Justice Herman Lum had inherited the system his predecessor, Richardson.
As I recall, many of Fat Boy’s friends in the legislature agreed with his complaints about his treatment by the judiciary, and punished the courts for years by trimming budgets and withholding salary increases for judges.
Remember that my Common Cause newspaper clippings from 1985, including the “Fat Boy” scandal, are available online.
The best stuff is>>>HERE
Child killer goes before parole board
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Convicted child killer Matthew Higa goes before the Hawaii Paroling Authority today.
Prosecutor Peter Carlisle wants the board to sentence him to 200 years in prison.
In May, a judge sentenced Higa to life with the possibility of parole for killing one-year-old Cyrus Belt.
He threw the child off a pedestrian overpass and onto the H-1 freeway in 2008.
ILind: Hawaii Department of Defense admits to “exorbitant” payments for laundry services
A state’s Department of Defense contract for laundry services apparently had it paying $107 for the once-a-week washing of the two sheets, pillow case, and blanket from each bed at its Youth Challenge Academy. Multiply that by 98 beds and it comes to a hefty $10,500 per week laundry bill.
DOD says it was a mistake caused by ambiguity in the contract language. …
The contract for laundry services was originally awarded on February 19, 2010. But the state thought the $10,500 bid was for a year of laundry….
Hawaii stops drug discount card program
Residents using Hawaii Rx Plus fell off from 6,900 before the launch of Medicare Part D to 2,500 last year.
Department Director Lillian Koller says residents have many more and better choices to help reduce the cost of prescription medications.
Hawaii Rx Plus will end Aug. 1.
Maui News Polls Civil Unions
What do you think of Gov. Linda Lingle's veto of the same-sex civil unions bill?
Equality Hawaii: The governor who vetoed equality
Everybody has an equal right to marry a member of the opposite sex. Deal with it.
Typical reaction from gay lobby: Stupid Bitches Club: Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle
More typical reaction: Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle's Tired Hate Rant
And more: Lingle Likens Gay Marriage to Incest
Minority rights never advanced by popular vote
We refuse to yield to the tyranny of the majority “behind the curtain of the voting booth” or to forfeit our claim to the principle of equality enshrined in both our federal and state constitutions.
(This might make sense if you accept the idea that people are defined by sex acts. Or that changing marriage into something it has never been is a ‘right’.)
TOTALLY UNRELATED: Police: Transgender woman arrested in ID bomb plot
Did Pioneering Pro-Homosexual Judge Have a Conflict of Interest?
The author of the very first court decision in American history that was supportive of same-sex “marriage”—has a lesbian daughter? Doesn’t that suggest a little problem of judicial ethics known as a “conflict of interest?”
12 linked to medical marijuana arrested
SAN DIEGO — A dozen members of a Southern California ring that illegally sold millions of dollars of pot through medical marijuana dispensaries are facing federal charges, authorities said yesterday….
Last week, federal marijuana charges were filed against the founder and director of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry and 13 associates. Federal authorities said Roger Christie led a major marijuana growing, processing, and distribution ring.
Also last week, the Montana Caregivers Network said it was shutting down its traveling medical marijuana clinics amid criticism that they have added thousands of people to the state’s legal marijuana registry without conducting thorough patient screenings.
(Imagine that. “Medical” marijuana is just the same old dope pushers. What a surprise.)
Lifelong driver finds his destiny at dump
"I was always told by my father to get a government job, so at age 49 I finally decided to try," he says.