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Saturday, December 18, 2010
December 18, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:06 PM :: 5062 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

VIDEO: Slom, Marumoto host community meeting on Kawamoto’s latest scheme

Rail Decision Called 'Hasty': Some Environmentalists Say EIS Is Still Incomplete

But Donna Wong, president of Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, a group opposed to heavy rail transit, said she wonders how the governor can he be so sure the requirements were met I after just 11 days in office.

“From our perspective, it’s incomplete,” said Wong. “There are a lot of pukas.”

Wong's group submitted comments challenging the study’s findings on everything from the project’s affordability to impact on small animal habitats. She said she doesn’t know if those comments were ever reviewed and points out the governor’s new administration did the review without having hired either a transportation director or director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, which administers the environmental review process.

“There has been a hasty approach to this project all along,” Wong said….

FULL TEXT: City Response

KITV: Honolulu Refutes Critical Rail Analysis

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Honolulu Council Committee Assignments announced

Committee assignments for the incoming City Council have been determined. As previously announced by Council Chairman Nestor Garcia, the to-be-determined member representing District 1 will be head of the Committee on Parks and Human Services.  The new Council will be sworn in Jan. 3. (Click link for complete list which apparently comes from Garcia.)

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SA: Congress should help pay for migrants' health care

This editorial is so full of falsehoods it is difficult to know where to begin….

SA: The federal government has ignored its obligation from the beginning.

And yet, the SA editors will, in a few more sentences, admit the Feds have no legal obligation.

Last year, the U.S. State Department notified the Marshalls and Micronesia that it has "no commitment" to provide medical care to their migrants in the U.S. 

Thus demonstrating that the State Dep’t agrees, the Feds have no legal obligation. 

At this point, Hawaii spends $120 million a year on health care for the migrants, while the federal government contributes only $11 million. 

Why?  Because that is what Rep Neil Abercrombie agreed to. 

The Hawaii congressional delegation inserted language into last year's health care reform act that would have made Pacific island migrants eligible for federal Medicaid and increased federal funding to Hawaii for their health care, but it was dropped from the bill's final version. 

Even with the Dems supermajority in both houses, they couldn’t get this?  And we are supposed to believe they will get it now?

"Everyone here would rather see this cost spread around the entire nation than just the state of Hawaii," said U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright in ordering adherence to the obligation forced upon the state.

But the judge cannot tell Congress what it must do.

BECAUSE THE FEDS ARE NOT IGNORING THEIR OBLIGATION.  If there was an obligation written into the treaty, ANY federal judge COULD order the Feds to obey federal law.  The SA Editors are rolling on the floor laughing at their ability to write such a sentence and have nobody call them on the fact that is contradicts statements like.   “The federal government has ignored its obligation from the beginning.”

And of course the one big fact they aren’t talking about?  Nov 2: Abercrombie admits responsibility for costing Hawaii millions under Compact of Free Association

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Tax Compromise rejected by Hirono will put $1000 in your pocket

"The middle class will benefit from the temporary 1 year reduction in the Social Security rate that employees pay.  It will drop from 6.2% to 4.2%," says Lowell Kalapa, Tax Foundation of Hawaii.
     That's about $1,000 for the average family.
"More money in your paycheck, 2% more in your paycheck this coming year if you get no pay raise," says Kalapa.

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Desperate Inouye speaks up for Earmarks

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) forcefully defended the abandoned $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill in a Senate floor speech Friday evening and argued that opponents of the bill were wrong to say the 2010 midterm elections were about ending earmarks….

“If this election was about public distaste for earmarks why did I receive a higher percentage of votes than any other member of this body who had an opponent?  Why is it that virtually all of my colleagues who took credit for earmarks will be coming back next year?” Inouye added. (Because you have used other people’s money to buy  the support of everybody in the state, that’s why.)

Inouye said in his view the November midterms were about “gridlock and partisan gamesmanship.”  (Good.  Hopefully the partisan games will keep Inouye’s pork locked up so Hawaii can be free.  Plombo just doesn’t work without plata.)

LINK: Full Text

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Welfare boosts Hawaii personal income

Of the three main personal income categories the biggest increase on a percentage basis was in transfer receipts, which includes unemployment benefits, Medicaid payments, food stamps and other government benefits, according to the report. Transfer payments rose by $124 million, or 1.4 percent in the third quarter. Net earnings, which includes wages and salaries, rose by $343 million, or 0.9 percent. Income from dividends, interest and rent fell by $36 million, or 0.4 percent.

Earnings were higher or unchanged in all industries except for the construction and real estate sectors. Hawaii's 0.19 percent decline in construction earnings was second nationally only to Nevada's 0.22 percent, the bureau reported.

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SA: 'Felix' reforms slow to pay off

(We have adapted this sentence to be truthful.) Successes within Hawaii's public school system and elsewhere in the country indicate that special education should be provided alongside general education students. Such integration, in various degrees depending on the special-needs student, has been proven to work, and BUT Hawaii's Department of Education is wisely NOT encouraging schools to adopt it….

Improving Hawaii's education for its 19,000 special-needs children has been expensive  lucrative, increasing to $542 million in the 2008-09 school year, or 20 percent of the Education Department's budget, mainly to pay teachers and educational assistants. Still, many parents continue to find frustration in how their children are progressing, while others are satisfied. While such disparate experiences are not surprising given the nature of public education for the masses -- one size, indeed, does not fit all -- the sheer amount of dollars poured into special education demands better success. Educators will need to heed closely a $415,000 evaluation expected in June about special education in Hawaii and recommendations for improvements of the system and student performance.

The dearth, too, of preparation for transition for special-needs students aging out of public schools must be improved significantly (this will not come from the existing budget, it will be held hostage to additional funding demands.) Where at all possible, maximizing the student's potential toward self-reliability is a much-preferred societal option over stagnant dependency.

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Review panel extends the probation period for Waters of Life as it struggles to right itself

Waters of Life Public Charter School, a tiny school on the Big Island, got a reprieve yesterday from the Charter School Review Panel, which voted to keep it on probation until June 15 rather than revoke its charter.

"There has been a tremendous amount of hard work and tremendous amount of progress toward creating a viable school," said panel member Usha Kotner. "I feel like the school is at a tipping point, moving toward the viable school rather than climbing out of the hole."

The elementary school, with an enrollment of 89 students, has had a troubled history. Chartered in 2000, it held classes in various locations in the rural Puna district, and was challenged over health, safety and zoning violations as well as financial mismanagement….

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Arakawa names county housing department chief

Ridao will be responsible for managing and overseeing the operations and budgets of seven divisions that handle housing, aging, immigration, grants and early childhood issues.

Arakawa also announced his appointment of Janice Shishido as Ridao's deputy.

A school teacher for nearly 30 years, she currently chairs the (completely dysfunctional) Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, and is a member of the state political action committee for Hawaii State Teachers Association.

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Does founder of Hannemann Front Group Exist?

ILind: A search of public records failed to turn up any record of Harmon owning property in Hawaii, being an officer of any other business or registered organization in Hawaii, or holding any professional or vocational license. Harmon hasn’t been cited for a traffic violation, and doesn’t appear as plaintiff or defendant in any lawsuits.

It’s as if he doesn’t really exist.

Yesterday I noticed this interesting factoid in Wikipedia:  “Lawrence Weiss (January 2, 1925 – July 3, 2008), better known by the stage name Larry Harmon and as his alter-ego Bozo the Clown, was a Jewish American entertainer.”

Maybe the joke’s on us??

If so, this case will lead to further and perhaps more serious questions for the former mayor and his campaign.

RELATED:  Mufi’s venture capitalist to Neil’s: “F*** you”, Mufi’s Atomic Monkey Exposed: Website calls Abercrombie a “flailing gasbag”, wife “a witch”

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Hannemann named president of Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has been named president of the Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association, effective Jan. 1, according to a statement from the trade group.

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UniDev housing dispute ordered into mediation

The county last year sued UniDev, the company originally contracted to build the Kamakoa at Waikoloa project, alleging false claims, intentional misrepresentations, fraudulent inducement and negligence. UniDev, the county charges, failed to obtain third-party funding it promised and submitted invoices for payment not yet due.
UniDev filed a counterclaim and also placed a lis pendins, a cloud on the title to the land, while it fought the lawsuit. UniDev is seeking $7.2 million in restitution and damages for breach of contract, intentional interference with contract and fraudulent transfer.
Strance on Sept. 13 lifted the lis pendins, granting the county a small victory. UniDev has appealed.

RELATED: Waikoloa Workforce Housing CEO: How Hawaii County officials sabotaged affordable housing project, Gaming Industry Lobbyist, Progressive activist screen Abercrombie cabinet picks

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City reviews deal with towing firm

Under a month-to-month agreement, Stoneridge pays the city $13,300 for the exclusive rights - nearly $8,000 less than what the company bid when it tried to get the five-year contract in 2002.

The lower monthly premium, set by the city, has enabled Stoneridge to reap what a city attorney described in 2008 as a "tremendous monetary windfall."

So far, the company has saved close to $500,000 in premium payments - even as its service has generated scores of consumer complaints.

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Kauai Council New Year’s resolution: End county furloughs

The objective here is to line up the HGEA, UPW, etal against taking the TAT from the counties.  If the TAT is taken, furloughs will return.

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Maui Council ends term with Attack on Aquarium Fish collectors

WAILUKU - In its last regularly scheduled meeting, Maui County Council members ended their 2009-10 term by advancing a bill for the more humane treatment of fish sought for aquarium collections, approving funding for a long-awaited West Maui skate park and giving unanimous final approval to a water development plan for Central Maui.

The plan is part of a larger effort to identify water sources below and above ground as well as to set priorities for repairs, reservoirs, conservation, recycling and other water development issues.

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Man Proposes For-Profit Honolulu Orchestra

Earlier this week, the Honolulu Symphony announced it would be filing for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy.

City officials told KITV4 News they have never met with Stanton and did not know of his plans to start an orchestra.

Sources told KITV4 News that a group of business people is meeting this week to discuss plans to start a new symphony.

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False Front: Washington Place Falls Into Disrepair

A metaphor for the Corporatist State:  The second floor was closed for this year's event because of emergency repairs. There have been several leaks in the roof, and water stains are evident on the ceiling.

"Now there's another leak when it rains hard that goes into the glass lanai and that's, of course, not acceptable" said Kay Hoffman, special assistant to the governor for Washington Place. "So someone's coming on Monday to try to patch that again. But we really need to do something more than constantly patch little holes."

There are other problems, Hoffman said. The electricity on the second floor flickers from time to time, some floor planks have been removed because of plumbing problems and corroded piping means water in some of Washington Place’s fixtures is not safe to drink.

"This is a very old house and it has not had the attention it needs and deserves because this is the people's house," she said unwittingly blaming socialism for the decay.

The window frames on the glass lanai suffer from wood rot while gaps in the windows let in rain regularly.

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Have jacket, will party: Bakken is back

The co-founder of Fridley-based Medtronic was on hand Friday for the medical device company's 51st annual holiday program, a tradition that Bakken himself started during the pacemaker manufacturer's early years.

At 87, Bakken still returns to the Twin Cities every winter from his home in Hawaii for the event. For the last 37 programs, he's been wearing a loud green and red plaid suit coat that's become his sartorial signature.

"It's pretty bright, but it's comfortable," Bakken said this week. "I wear a red shirt and a green tie. I don't know how to tie a tie anymore because I live in Hawaii."

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LA Times: Samuel P. King dies at 94; longtime federal judge in Hawaii

In 1997, King and four other prominent Hawaiians wrote a detailed report that accused trustees of Bishop Estate — a trust established by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in the late 19th century — of using the charity for personal gain and neglecting its educational mission.

Published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the 6,400-word essay was a scathing critique of greed, mismanagement and political manipulation of the multibillion-dollar trust that ran Kamehameha Schools for students of Hawaiian ancestry.

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Isle brigade to go to Afghanistan

The Pentagon yesterday identified eight major units that will deploy to Afghanistan, including the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of Schofield Barracks, which is headed to one of the most challenging regions of eastern Afghanistan.

The 3rd Brigade's approximately 3,500 soldiers will deploy at the end of March and in April to Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman and Nangarhar provinces on the border with Pakistan, officials said.

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