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Sunday, April 03, 2011
April 3, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:27 PM :: 6572 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

City finally 'Sees the Light' on Lunalilo Home Rd

Waialua Robotics wins big in Vegas

Abercrombie Secretly Appoints Kawakami to replace Morita in State House

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Friday chose Kaua‘i County Councilman Derek Kawakami to fill the seat of former state Rep. Mina Morita in District 14, sources said Saturday.

Although Abercrombie has not yet released an official statement on the matter, the decision has been confirmed by Kaua‘i Democratic Party Chair Steven Nishimura and the other two party nominees for the vacancy, Neil Clendeninn and Foster Ducker.

“I’ve got it in an email from District Chair Susan Wilson that Derek Kawakami has been selected by the governor,” Nishimura said Saturday, adding that Wilson had sent the information around noon. “I’m not sure if this is official or not.”

Clendeninn said he learned Friday evening of Kawakami’s appointment after he got a call from Abercrombie.

“I don’t know if he is officially going to announce it, or when,” Clendeninn said of Abercrombie….

Ducker, a Kilauea resident and Realtor, was straight to the point.

“The governor appointed Derek,” he said Saturday. “I got a call from the governor yesterday afternoon, telling me that he was going to choose Derek.”

Hawai‘i Democratic Party Chair Dante Carpenter would not confirm the appointment Saturday.

“I am given the understanding that the governor picked somebody,” he said. “I’m not aware of who he may have picked. But as far as I’m concerned any one of the three would be perfectly fine.”

Kawakami declined to comment Saturday.

Abercrombie’s appointment does not need Senate confirmation. But before an appointed House representative can cast votes he has to be sworn in, said Sen. Ron Kouchi, D-Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau, who went through a similar process last year in the Senate.

If Kawakami’s appointment becomes official, he would have to resign from the council.

Council Chair Jay Furfaro has said that if any member of the council leaves before the end of their term, the council has 30 days to choose a replacement, which would not necessarily be the eighth candidate with the most votes in the last election.

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Hawaii Legislators Dump 180 day school year

Parents blame the Department of Education, principals, labor unions and lawmakers for taking the easy way out instead of raising the number of instructional hours, a move intended to result in smarter kids.

"Our kids aren't getting enough instructional time, so we should work harder. Roll up your sleeves and find a way to make this happen," said Kathy Bryant-Hunter, a parent who advocated for the longer school day.
But state Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said adding instructional time would cost about $55 million the department can't afford as state legislators are already proposing additional education budget cuts. She said the focus will be on improving teaching ability instead of more teaching time.

($55M-that’s the same number they invented as a justification for furloughs on school days.  Coincidence?)

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Brian “I am not a clone” DeLima: BoE Policy Audit to “look at what decisions can be handled by the superintendent and her staff, and reduce our footprint”

"I don't want to suggest that in some way we're capable of implementing some day-to-day solutions for the school system. That isn't really the role of a board member. ... The bottom line is, we're going to have to live within our means," he said. "The governor has established a budget, and the Legislature appropriates the money. The long and short of it is that whatever money we receive needs to be maximized to ensure student achievement."

DeLima explained that maximizing student achievement falls to the teachers, their schools and their administrators. The best thing the board can do is to turn more money and decision-making power over to individual schools, he said.

"As soon as we get in there, we're going to do a policy audit. We're going to look at what decisions can be handled by the superintendent and her staff, and reduce our footprint," he said.

Board members also expect to trim their support staff from 12 employees to five, DeLima said. Each staff member will assist a different standing committee, and they will all answer to the superintendent.

The new board will also consider making their meetings much shorter, and fewer and further between….

As for the board's allegiances, DeLima said he expects members will continue to be receptive to public input. But, he said, the buck stops with the governor.

"Before I got into this, I knew what the governor's education policies were. I've seen him speak a hundred times. I knew who was appointing me, and I respect him," he said. "I don't think I'll be disagreeing with him on many matters."  But, DeLima said, "I'm not a Neil Abercrombie clone....”

(Now we know what the score is.)

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Star-Advertiser: Akaka should submit bill that had Lingle’s support

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka has again introduced his bill to recognize Hawaiian sovereignty, as he has since 1999, but alas, the version he chose is not likely to receive the bipartisan support needed for enactment.

In any version, the Akaka Bill faces an uphill battle in the most partisan Congress in the decade that the proposal has come up short. But its only chance of approval, if any, is a return to the version supported by the Lingle administration.

Gov. Linda Lingle supported the Akaka Bill through most of her two terms but backed away after it was altered at the behest of President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.

The change would give the native governing entity broad power from the outset, before even beginning negotiations with the state.

Lingle wrote letters to all Senate Republicans in March of last year declaring her opposition.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye was irritated that Akaka had not consulted Lingle before making the changes. He was appeased after Lingle and her attorney general, Mark Bennett, were brought into the discussion, noting afterward that “significant modifications” of the bill had been made at Lingle's request, “and I believe that it is stronger because of it.”

After further changes, Lingle endorsed the bill last summer, as did the Obama administration, according to Bennett.

Akaka, though, has chosen to reintroduce the bill that did not include Lingle’s input.

REALITY:

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Hawaii sees travel numbers rise

Hawaii's tourism industry was continuing to rebound from a decline in visitors triggered by the 2008 financial crisis. A surge in Japanese visitors taking advantage of the strong yen - which makes products and services priced in dollars cheaper - was a key factor in the recovery.

The tourism authority said visitor spending surged by 18.7 percent to $1.03 billion in February. The agency said this was especially significant because the total exceeded the amount travelers spent in Hawaii during February 2007 - the year visitor spending in the islands hit an all-time high.

The number of travelers from Canada jumped 19.7 percent and those from the U.S. West climbed 10.9 percent. Japanese travelers grew by 8.2 percent.

Among the islands, the Big Island saw the largest growth with 14 percent more travelers visiting. Oahu followed with 11.7 percent, Kauai with 10.1 percent and Maui with 8.2 percent.

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The drop in tourists from Japan to Hawaii may not be as severe as originally thought

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is projecting an 18 percent decline in arrivals from Japan for the month of March, a smaller dip than the authority's initial 25 percent estimate

The state Council on Revenues downgraded its forecast this week, in part due to the drop in Japanese visitors, to show the state government now has an estimated $1.3 billion shortfall over the next two years.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority also said it's hopeful that April flight reductions by Japan Airlines from Narita to Honolulu will be restored soon.

AP: Hawaii County Council chair wants US tourists

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HTA: Japan Tourism Drop Less Than Expected

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is projecting an 18.3 percent decline in arrivals from Japan for the month of March, less than the 25 percent drop initially projected following the events on March 11.

Returning from Routes Asia 2011 Conference in Korea, David Uchiyama, HTA Vice President of Brand Management, was said to have met with numerous airline executives who discussed the development of new routes, increasing service, and protecting existing airlift.

Good news is that Hawaiian Airlines announced they would not reduce service from Tokyo, while Japan Airlines announced this week that it would temporarily reduce flights. In reference to the mixed bag news this week, the HTA said in a statement, “We are hopeful that this will only be a short-term consolidation of flights and that regular scheduled service will resume when appropriate.”

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GOP hits Garcia on conflict of interest

Garcia has been executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce since early 2009. It is a part-time job that includes taking minutes at chamber meetings and organizing events, according to a report by KITV. Several companies that would benefit from the rail line are members of the chamber.

City ethics law requires disclosure of conflicts, but not recusal from voting on matters in which said conflicts exist.

Garcia, who represents Council District 9, which includes Makakilo, Waipahu, Kunia and Mililani Town, has said he will begin disclosing his association with the chamber whenever rail issues come before the Council.

FULL TEXT: GOP Files Ethics complaint over Nestor Garcia’s $60K side job

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SA:  The HIPA clout

It’s HIPA, however, that has attracted the most attention lately. Most recently, a dispute over whether ethics rules allowed lawmakers to accept invitations to a HIPA fundraiser drew a spotlight that HIPA probably didn’t relish.

(It is sooo disappointing that HIPA will not be able to win support for legalized $200 bribery.  Tragic, just tragic.)

Overall, however, what’s drawn notice is that its staff and board members have strong ties throughout the political and business communities. Most prominently, Kaneko was a key member of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s campaign team.

Sen Sam Slom is only too happy to draw some other distinctions between his group and HIPA. “Organizations like HIPA have no qualms about taking federal money, no qualms about having officers serve in power positions in political organizations,” he said.

Kaneko shrugs this off. The institute tries to tap diversified funding sources for each of its many policy papers, to avoid the appearance that any one entity “bought” it. And in-house connections with government is fairly standard practice throughout the think-tank realm.

Here is the board of the “non-partisan” HIPA:

>> Pete K.G. Thompson, HIPA chairman and director of investments, Smith Barney
>> Robbie Alm, senior vice president for public affairs, Hawaiian Electric Co.
>> Guy K. Fujimura, secretary/treasurer, International Longshoreman’s Workers Union, Local 142
>> Richard C. Keene, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Queen’s Health Systems
>> Richard C. Lim, Sennet Capital co-founder and director of state Department of Business and Economic Development & Tourism
>> Lauren S. Nahme, controller, Kamehameha Schools
>> Alan Oshima, director, Hawaiian Telcom
>> Mark Rossi, vice chairman, Bank of Hawaii
>> Jeanne Schultz Afuvai, HIPA executive vice president
>> Barbara J. Tanabe, president, Hoakea Communications, LLC
>> James C. Tollefson, president and CEO, Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii
>> Hoyt H. Zia, senior vice president and general counsel, Hawaiian Airlines

These old-boy business and labor leaders are now serving under progressive bosses.  The relationship works because the progressives are able to use information warfare to “manufacture consent” in favor of wind farms, bag taxes, and other “sustainability” schemes.

REALITY: Gaming Industry Lobbyist, Progressive activist screen Abercrombie cabinet picks

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Respect citizenry via judicial selection transparency

It’s not going so well for authoritarian figures these days and it’s always good for any politician to listen, i.e., be respectful, to their constituents rather than respond, as the article said, with a flip reply: “If somebody else wants to run on that (issue) for governor, they can.”  In other words: Be my guest, or bug off.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Hawaii Ban on Photographing Human Remains Older Than 50 Years?

That’s what Hawaii Administrative Rules §§ 13–300-1, –32(c) seems to say (though I’m not sure there’s any actual statutory authorization for this). And William Aila, Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, wrote a memo two weeks ago to “[a]ll news agencies” stressing the prohibition. (For some opinionated background on this, see here.)

But I doubt such a prohibition is constitutional. Though the First Amendment rules related to newsgathering and in particular photography are not well-settled, I think there’s enough protection recognized for photographing things (at least in a place where you are legally entitled to be) that such a ban would be struck down. If anyone knows more about what has happened to similar restrictions (if any) elsewhere, I’d love to hear it.

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Success: Homeless Sweeps push families into Shelters

Last week, however, the state’s Next Step shelter in Kakaako didn’t have any more space for families, with all 18 spots taken because of the recent cleanups in the area. It did have room for about 10 more single women and four couples, and the Institute for Human Services’ family shelter in Kalihi did have a few more open beds. That shelter has room for up to 28 families at a time.

There was also space at several shelters in Leeward Oahu.

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Abercrombie's Priest calls on public to ignore child neglect and abuse by homeless

Alexander said homeless children, without a doubt, are a top priority for service providers — and one of the biggest concerns for the state.

The concern among some advocates has led several to call the police or state Child Protective Services in recent months to report cases of neglect after seeing unsheltered children playing near busy streets unsupervised, not going to school regularly or appearing as though they have poor hygiene.

“For me, the same criteria applies (whether) you’re sheltered or unsheltered: are you taking care of your children?” said Darlene Hein, director of community services at the Waikiki Health Center, which handles intake services for the state’s Next Step shelter in Kakaako and provides outreach to homeless islandwide.

But Alexander said it is important for onlookers to “check” their emotions (emotions?) when it comes to making assumptions about homeless families. “We can’t simply take children away from people because we don’t like their lifestyle,” (lifestyle?) Alexander said. “If the parents are being responsible and taking advantage of resources, what are we to do? All we can do is keep reaching out to them.”  (In other words, do not report child neglect or abuse.)

(Wrong.  We can apply pressure until they accept space in shelters.  And children’s safety is more important than using the homeless to guilt-bait everybody else into giving money to the homelessness industry.)

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Progressives launch attack on MRC Greenwood spending

Check out the manini stuff they are using to attack:

President M.R.C. Greenwood sent out slightly more than 1,000 holiday cards to UH supporters, donors and friends.  The tab: $1,750, including envelopes and postage.

About a month later, despite having a staff of writers and public relations specialists, Greenwood hired a freelancer for $2,000 to help with her first “state of the university” speech.

…she used $1,000 to cover the cost of 10 guests attending a Sheraton Waikiki dinner in 2009 honoring the centennial anniversary of UH football, or $600 to cover a dinner meeting at Ruth’s Chris Steak House….

“It’s unimaginable in my mind how she can spend money like this,” said Emanuel Drechsel, an interdisciplinary studies professor at the Manoa campus. “It sets a bad tone, it’s demoralizing and it certainly will discourage faculty and students to commit themselves further to the institution.”  (Unimaginable?  And this is a perfesser.)

Ethnic studies professor Noel Kent added: “It’s absolutely outrageous. The message we’re getting is she’s using this as her private bank.”

Law professor Randy Roth said a CEO who is tasked with raising money for a major institution at times needs to go to an exclusive country club or expensive restaurant to talk to potential donors.  “If one of your job requirements is to help raise money, it’s nice that you can hang out with rich people,” Roth said.

ILind: Thoughts on the UH President’s protocol fund

The real action: Greenwood Mafia grabs two power positions in UH system

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Widely implemented ‘food safety’ program hurts local farmers

The existing third-party food-safety certification program, also known as Good Agricultural Practices, is a mainland process designed by the California Leafy Greens folks in reaction to the big E. coli outbreak in packaged spinach among some of their members.

These are the folks who run the many huge 40,000-plus-acre farms of monoculture that input leafy greens directly into centralized processors for packaging and distribution.

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DDT being used to wipe out Mosquitoes in Kaiula

APRIL 3, 1951: The program started early this morning with power-driven sprays shooting DDT insecticide solutions on ponds, swamps and puddles.

The spray crews will be out every day through Friday to reduce the number of night mosquitoes, which breed in outside water areas.

These mosquitoes are possible carriers of Japanese B encephalitis and filariasis or elephantiasis of the legs.

Thursday morning an airplane will spray Kawainui swamp with a 5 per cent DDT solution. It is being paid for by the Windward Oahu Community Association, according to Dr. Hu.

In the evenings for the rest of the week, open water areas will be sprayed by “fog machines.”

These machines spray DDT solutions in a fog-like blanket and are effective against adult mosquitoes.

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HPD’s pitch for more funds: “Budget cuts slashing DARE program on Oahu”

The cuts will also drastically reduce the program's visibility, especially at the annual DARE Rally held at the end of the school year. This year's event may be the last one.

"The rally that we have at the end of the year is the largest in the nation," Kealoha said. "It's unfortunate, but if we can get the money to do that, then we'll do it.

(Ever notice how bureaucracies lack imagination?  Is their ANY trick they have BESIDES the Washington Monument Gambit?)

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