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Thursday, January 20, 2011
January 20, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:54 PM :: 6068 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Governor Babblecrombie does it again: Open mouth, insert birther

Full Text: House Minority Leader Opening Day Address

No Fiscal Notes: Hawaii Legislators shopping without price tags

Hanabusa admits failure to get Appropriations Committee seat

Governor Seeking Applicants to Board of Education

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: Hawaii Law still needs Significant Improvement

Abercrombie appoints Georgette Jordan HD 45 Representative

Hawaii Senate delays plan to ban chamber prayer

The Senate opened with a Hawaiian-language invocation by Danny Kaleikini on Wednesday despite previously announced plans to do away with religious speeches.

Senators decided to take up the rule change ending invocations later rather than debate it on a celebratory opening day.

The move away from religious invocations came after a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii that the invocations often included Christian prayers with references to Jesus.

Senate President Shan Tsutsui has said the change was meant to respect all religious beliefs.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that prayers at the start of each legislative day don't violate the U.S. Constitution. (Only atheism is being respected.)

HW: In Mitch we trust?

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Our Magnificent DoE: Teacher arrested for “unlawful imprisonment” after allegedly tying child to toilet

A 32-year-old Kealakehe Intermediate School teacher, recently charged with abuse and unlawful imprisonment of a child, has been put on indefinite leave, school officials said Tuesday.

Principal Don Merwin confirmed Clifford Wade Fabacher, an eighth-grade physical education teacher at the school, was put on "department directed leave" effective Tuesday. He had been teaching students since the alleged Jan. 6 incident, Merwin said….

Gaspar did confirm what "reportedly" occurred during the incident -- including allegations that the boy had been restrained to a toilet with flex ties. Gaspar declined to divulge or confirm further details.

"Police went there and did find a boy in the bathroom," he said. He declined to say where in Kona the incident reportedly occurred.

(We must immediately raise takes to support this kind of extraordinary educational achievement.  Be sure to vote only for candidates endorsed by the HSTA.)

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Former DOE secretary arrested for forgery, theft

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Denise Hayashi, a former elementary school secretary, was arrested at her Waipahu home Wednesday on 99 counts of second-degree forgery, one count of money laundering and one count of first-degree theft.

The 40-year-old woman was a secretary at Pearlridge Elementary School and is accused of using her position as an administrative assistant there to make checks out to herself totaling $69,000….

(As everybody knows, if one is going to steal from the DoE it must be in excess of six digits or you will be subject to arrest.)

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Prisoners jump the line

I don’t know what it is with Hawai‘i Democrats and their prisoners….

The Abercrombie administration proposes to get around the overcrowding problem in local prisons by turning up to 1,000 inmates loose into community-based reentry programs. The problem is that few such programs exist and would have to be funded and built out.

Many Hawai‘i inmates are doing fine in mainland prisons — some have said they prefer it because of better rehabilitation opportunities — and it’s the wrong time to be devoting more state resources to their incarceration when there are far more pressing needs.

The new administration needs to learn that having too many priorities is the same as having no priorities at all.

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Redistricting was part of Settlement with Calvin Say

Calvin Say was reelected speaker today by his House colleagues, ending the stalemate. It was a voice vote. There were no nays. A standing ovation by all members followed the vote, which included all representatives.

GOP leaders Gene Ward and Kymberly Pine had spoken in support of Say before the vote….

Another party insider tells Civil Beat the two sides of House Democrats are still negotiating in advance of their 3 p.m. session.

Among other issues at play are whether to limit the term of a speaker, which committee chairs will change and how to handle the tricky issue of reapportionment (redistricting) — where some lawmakers may be adversely affected because of demographic changes.

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House Dissidents Humbled: Gay atheist Civil Beat mentions assassination, Civil War

by Chad “Hawaii politics is not totally God-free” Blair)

And then there was Say's reading of Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. One of the greatest speeches in history, it was delivered — on March 4, 1865 — just as the Union was set to prevail over the South.

"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away," said Lincoln.

Like the 16th president, Say wanted to "bind up the wounds" and begin the healing of a people torn by civil war.

"We are all here to serve the Lord and the state of Hawaii," he said in closing.

What I say next should not be misconstrued — especially in this time of heightened politic rhetoric and social violence — but it's ironic to recall that John Wilkes Booth was in the audience for Lincoln's address….

Calvin Say remains speaker of a house divided against itself.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand," you will recall, also comes from Lincoln. It was delivered just three years before the shots were fired at Fort Sumter.

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Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Says No Emergency Funding Needed

The operator of state hospitals told the Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday that it doesn’t anticipate making a request if it receives all the funding it’s been promised. But it does see where it will need a budget increase after the current fiscal year ends.

The HHSC, however, said a combination of factors, including $14.5 million of supplemental payments from the Department of Human Services and $16 million in savings from pay cuts and furloughs will help it stay on budget.

The HHSC, however, is joining a number of other departments and agencies that have pitched the legislature on increased budgets for upcoming fiscal years. Department heads have stated their case for increased funding even though the state is facing $771.9 million budget gap over the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.

Chu said the HHSC will be asking for an additional $33.9 million in the upcoming year and another $36.7 million in the following year. He said some of that money will be used to cover increased payroll as pay cuts are restored and furlough days are cut.

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Lingle Workers Fired From Hawaiian Home Lands Department

Seven political appointees in Gov. Lingle Lingle’s administration who had moved to jobs in the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands were fired last week.

“I suspected it might be coming when I couldn’t get onto my computer,” one of the dismissed workers, Celyn Chong Kee, said.

Another of the terminated employees, Carla Morioka, said she and Chong Kee were given letters of termination by Zablan and were told to leave the premises.

“The letter said it was effective Jan. 31, but she (Zablan) said she had to walk us out of the building right away,” Morioka said.

“We couldn’t even pack our things. I had to go back on the weekend to get my stuff,” Morioka continued.

Morioka said she’s a retired federal employee who has worked for DHHL as a part-time personnel clerk since 2007.

Morioka is the aunt of former Lingle cabinet official Brennan Morioka and said she is convinced she was fired “because my last name is Morioka.”

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Telemarketing Fraudster among top Carlisle Donors

A quick scan, and you’ll see a donor base heavy with development and visitor industry sources. Draw your own conclusions.

One contribution caught my eye: $2,500 from Mary Jean Castillo-Barkley, CEO of something called MJ888M Productions. I was curious about the company. Google turned up a May 20, 2009 press release by Attorney General Mark Bennett about Hawaii’s participation in a nationwide crackdown on fraudulent charitable solicitors and those claiming to support police, firefighters, and veterans. MJ888M Productions was listed as one of two solicitors found to have violated state law.

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Inouye Wants an Office at City Hall to shepherd Rail

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye stopped by Honolulu Hale this morning with a special request for City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia. The senior senator wants an office at City Hall.

"Not for him, personally, but a liaison," Garcia told Civil Beat. "That way if someone comes here with a question and it turns about to be a federal issue, someone can help them."

Garcia said he plans to work with the mayor to follow up on the request. He said he hopes to be able to set up a small office with a telephone line and a computer.

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Hanabusa appointed to armed services and natural resources committees

A statement from her office Wednesday said she is the lone freshman Democrat to be named to the armed services panel. (MILITARY PORK)

Hanabusa also will sit on the House Natural Resources Committee, which handles environmental, public lands and Native Americans issues. (OVERSEES AKAKA BILL)

Three-term Democratic Rep. Mazie Hirono of the 2nd Congressional District remains a member of committees that oversee education and labor (DoE CORUPTION), and transportation issues.  (RAIL)

GOP: Hanabusa admits failure to get Appropriations Committee seat

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Loophole Limits Disclosure of Lawmakers' Income

Hawaii's ethics code is too loose, some lawmakers say. So loose, that a politician can receive income from a firm or lobbyist doing business before the Legislature without disclosing the financial relationship.

It's a problem that new Senate President Shan Tsutsui wants to fix.

"That is definitely something we'll be looking at," Tsutsui told Civil Beat recently. "We want to make sure there's as much transparency as possible. To make sure that there isn't a potential conflict or a conflict that's not known by other members as well as the general public."

Each year, elected and appointed officials are required to file a financial disclosure with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. The disclosure lists all of a public figure's major assets and affords voters a means to ensure their representative is acting in the public's best interest.

But while the Hawaii Constitution calls for all "sources and amounts of income," to be disclosed, public officials are not required to disclose the individual clients supplying the income. For example, politicians who are also lawyers must say they received income from their law firm, but can leave out the names of their clients, some of whom have issues before the Legislature.

The same goes for Realtors, certified personal accountants, consultants, etc

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Hawaii scores #5 in Gay/Atheist tolerance

Tolerance score: 71 out of 100

Hate crime score: 34 out of 40

Discrimination score: 27 out of 40

Gay rights score: 4 out of 10

Religious Tolerance Score: 6 out of 10

Hate crime incidents per 100,000 residents: 0.1 (1 out of 50 states)

Discrimination cases filed per 100,000 residents: 20.3 (35 out of 50 states)

Population in support of same-sex marriage: 54% (not a civil right)

Population that believes many religions lead to eternal life: 66%  (tolerance advocates are intolerant of most religions)

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Big Isle Councilman Recovers From Heart Attack

Big Island County Councilman Pete Hoffmann is expected to leave a hospital Wednesday night after suffering an apparent heart attack Sunday.

Hoffmann's legislative assistant told KITV4 News that the doctors in Honolulu put a stent in one of his arteries.

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Residents to Army: NO -- Testifiers oppose Pohakuloa training plans

An army has to train if it wants to avoid unnecessary casualties. And American troops stationed in Hawai'i face a narrowing set of options for training. Kaho'olawe has been returned, much the worse for wear, to the native Hawaiians. And last week, the Army bowed to public pressure and announced that it would no longer pursue live-fire training in O'ahu's Makua Valley.

That leaves Hawai'i Island's 133,000-acre Pohakuloa Training Area to absorb much of the burden. Last year, the Army announced that it would shift its artillery heavy weapons practice from Makua to Pohakuloa. And last week, island residents got a glimpse of some of the specifics of that plan, as the Army held two "scoping sessions" for its "Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement" on the Army's proposal to modernize PTA's aged buildings and firing range. But at the two sessions, it appeared that the Army had no more support for training here than it did at Makua Valley.

SA: Army wants helicopter training on the Big Island

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Breakdown causes propane shortage

LIHU‘E — Residents have been turned away at the propane pump in recent weeks, left without needed fuel for stoves and other home appliances.

An island-wide propane shortage has been in effect since the end of December, the result of a breakdown at Chevron’s Campbell Industrial Park refinery in Honolulu, Chevron spokesman Albert Chee said.

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