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Monday, May 16, 2011
May 16, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:54 PM :: 5172 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaii GOP sets March 13 for GOP Presidential Caucuses

Hawaii Republicans Pass first-ever Resolution Against Akaka Bill

Abercrombie:  Nurses must suffer to pay for Medicaid Expansion 

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state cannot agree to pay more money to Maui Memorial Medical Center nurses because it is in a "fiscal crisis."

"Every public employee is already sacrificing," he said Sunday during a talk-story session for Maui residents at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's McCoy Studio Theater.

Abercrombie was responding to a question posed by a Maui Memorial nurse, who said the nurses need fair wages. The hospital nurses have been rallying to protest terms of a new contract with the state and are concerned about the continuation of pay cuts as well as new cuts in benefits. There's also a concern about a growing pay disparity between what nurses in private hospitals earn versus those in public hospitals.

Abercrombie said 60,000 people have been added to Hawaii's "Medicaid rolls" (reportedly in the past two years) and 18,000 of those are children.

"That needs to be paid for," he said, adding that state government also needs to get people back to work.

"I have to choose the kids, that's the answer," he said.

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Abercrombie: I am right and people are ungrateful

Never, ever expect gratitude is what Gov. Neil Abercrombie told University of Hawaii Maui College graduates on Sunday.

His second rule was: "Never, ever forget the first rule."

He added that especially in politics, people will forgive you if you're wrong but will seldom forgive you for being right.

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CB: Abercrombie Says He Will 'Roll Over' AARP—Pension Tax coming back

Civil Beat: How are you going to counter the AARP if you come back next session with the same bills?

Neil Abercrombie: I'm not going to counter them, I am going to roll over them.

CB: You're going to roll over them?

Yeah. Because "them" is really the hierarchy that's in there — the ones that are getting the salaries and their own pensions and represent the national AARP. This is not a democratic organization. They don't have votes. Who's the president? That's all settled inside with the big shots.

And take a look at their ads — in the small print on TV — they're representing these insurance companies. They made $300 million last year. Check it out. I give the insurance companies credit — they're smart, because they figure, "Why fight them? We'll join up with them, right? We'll collaborate with them and we'll all make money."

CB: But you are still going to bring up the pension tax next year?

Oh, sure! Of course! These are structural changes. People are beginning to get it. They got it here (at the Kauai Chamber of Commerce meeting). We are just in round one. Don't worry, I'm still standing after 40 years. We'll see who's going to win the (next) round. And the winner is going to be the average taxpayer out there.

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Democrat Senate Primary: Hanabusa, Hirono, Hannemann duke it out over chance to defeat Case

Case, the only declared candidate so far, took 26 percent while Hirono drew 25 percent.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann had 17 percent, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa had 15 percent, and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz had 6 percent. Eleven percent were undecided.

All five Democrats were ahead of former Gov. Linda Lingle, a potential Republican candidate, in hypothetical general election pairings.  (Note: As usual, this poll is heavy with Democrats. 74% Obama favorability rating.)

Private polls have shown similar patterns, an early consistency that could influence whether some potential candidates opt for campaigns to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who will not seek re-election next year.

“I think the Hirono and Hanabusa vote is one vote. If one of those people gets into the race, rather than two, that person, I think, immediately goes into the lead of the Democratic primary,” said Dan Boylan, a retired University of Hawaii-West Oahu history professor and political analyst.

HNN: HAWAII POLL: Case, Hirono favored, Lingle trails in senate race

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If She Runs, Lingle Wants 'Strategy for Victory'

..I'd like to make a decision by the end of August. And that's dependent upon feeling that I've done enough due diligence, and by that I mean to gauge support and, if I ran, to determine if there is a strategy I feel I could use to win in a race like this when you know there will be a lot of attention on the other side for a long period of time.

Our primary is not until (next) August in Hawaii. So, it's a year where people are all going to be talking on the other side, a year when the president who is from Hawaii will be on the ballot. So, I just want to make sure there is a strategy for victory in this race before I ask all my supporters and friends to sacrifice again the way they have so many times.

Have you done any internal polling?

No, I haven't done any polling at all.

You talked to your party this weekend about the importance of balance in political representation. What else would you run on besides that issue? What two or three key issues would be important in a Senate campaign?

I think the military presence in Hawaii, its impact on national security, its impact on our society here in Hawaii, economic impacts, will be very important, someone who is very close to the military, able to articulate their issues effectively — that would be important.

Also, I've felt that we haven't taken full advantage of our position vis-à-vis the Asia-Pacific region. And I'd like to become, if I was in the Senate, the go-to person on things in this part of the world. I just don't see anyone like that in the United States Senate, of either party.

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Poll: Concern grows over rail's cost

Most residents surveyed want to see the project completed, but they are put off by the system's rising price tag….

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U.S. Supreme Court declines Kamehameha admissions case

he U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge by four anonymous students to the Kamehameha Schools’ admissions policy giving preference to students with Hawaiian blood.

The court, without comment, announced this morning that it denied the request by the four non-Hawaiian students, who feared they would be subject to racial attacks if their identities were disclosed.

Today’s decision ends the lawsuit by the four challenging the schools’ admissions program, said Kamehameha Chief Executive Officer Dee Jay Mailer and the schools’ trustees.

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HR: Hawaii GOP Resolutions Oppose Rail Project, Akaka Bill and All Tax/Fee Hikes

In the past, with Hawaii GOP Governor Linda Lingle heavily endorsing both rail and the Akaka bill, the party delegates remained neutral on these issues, only voting in favor of native Hawaiian rights (without specifically referring to the Akaka Bill). Nothing about rail was ever in the platform.

Hawaii GOP delegates, this weekend, also opposed the Jones Act, which mandates American ships with American crew transport goods within American borders. The law hurts Hawaii consumers, opponents say, by limiting competition and increasing the cost of goods shipped to Hawaii by an estimated 30 percent. Those who support it, including Hawaii’s all Democrat Congressional delegation, say the shipping act protects ports and American jobs.

In total, 14 resolutions passed at the convention. Two other resolutions support Hawaii’s small business and oppose all tax and fee increases.

Hawaii GOP delegates also voted to change the way they select presidential delegates so they can make their preferences known about their favorite presidential candidates in time for it to matter. Voting is set for March 2012.

“This change will put us in the thick of things and Hawaii will not be irrelevant any more because of the process. We will be given opportunity to participate,” said Dylan Nonaka, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Hawaii.

The Hawaii GOP also launched a capital campaign to raise $200,000 to pay of its mortgage for its campaign offices at its Kapiolani headquarters and is working to pay off a $70,000 debt from the last campaign.

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Calvin Say:  ERS Reform is most important accomplishment

House Bill No. 1038 comprehensively reforms the public employees' retirement system benefit, contribution, and service provisions for public employees hired after June 30, 2012. HB 1038 has immediate beneficial impacts, resulting in cost savings to public employers of $54 million in fiscal year 2011-12 and $92 million in fiscal year 2012-13. More importantly, HB 1038 is intended to limit future increases of public employer contributions for the system and prevent such contributions from assuming greater and greater portions of the State's and counties' operating budgets. Because of the bill, Hawaii should be able to avoid public employee pension crises such as those currently experienced by California and other states. Future taxpayers will gain the most benefit from HB 1038, a far reaching piece of legislation.

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Medicaid Cuts to affect 50% of Molokai

The new Medicaid proposals, tentatively set to begin Jan. 2, 2012, will affect Quest-Ace and Quest-Net users – specific packages under Hawaii’s Medicaid system. The proposals will reduce the eligibility to 133 percent – meaning a family of four would need to survive on $34,194 or less each year to quality. Families making in the $40,000 range will no longer qualify for Medicaid. Those in the proposed gap will be automatically dis-enrolled when the changes take place.

“We’re worried about our patients,” said Desiree Puhi, executive director of the Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC). “What’s going to happen to [those in] these gaps, and how do we educate the community?”

Zessica Apiki, controller at Molokai General Hospital (MGH), said at least a third of their patients receive some sort of assistance from Medicaid, while Puhi estimated about half of MCHC’s patients are enrolled.

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Survey: 93% of Molokai Residents say no to Wind Farm

Pattern Energy, in collaboration with development company Bio-Logical Capital, is meeting with individuals on Molokai to discuss “visions and goals” as well as concerns about the project.  

`Aha Ki`ole conducted a survey on Molokai in March, asking residents whether or not they supported wind development. Ninety-three percent said were against a wind farm on the island.

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The rise in the cost of petroleum will not stop the recovery, Hawaii experts say

Although oil prices were in the $112-to-$114 range when UHERO published its forecast, it is predicting prices to drop to $90 a barrel by the second quarter of 2012.

"At these prices we expect any falloff in U.S. consumer spending to be relatively mild and not large enough to significantly undermine the ongoing recovery of travel to Hawaii," according to the UHERO report. "But forecasting oil prices during a period of political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East is clearly a risky business, and any significant further move upward in energy prices has the potential to take all of the wind out of Hawaii's sails."

Outside of food and energy prices, inflationary pressures remain subdued, said Paul Brewbaker, principal of TZ Economics and chairman of the state Council on Revenues.

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Local Psychiatrist Says Hawaii ready for APEC

While security will be vastly tighter around Waikiki in November, Jeff Akaka, president of the Hawaii Psychiatric Medical Association and medical director of the state Health Department's Diamond Head Health Center, believes the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting shows that Hawaii is ready for APEC.

"This is an excellent start," Akaka said. "If the APEC people get treated anywhere near how I was treated by the convention center staff, we're going to be in great shape."

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Crisis? State peddles program for renting of bicycles

There are 12 cruiser-style bikes and two stations: one at the Davis Building, 767 Kailua Road, and the other at Hahani Plaza, 515 Kailua Road. Each bike is equipped with a radio- frequency identification and global positioning system to track the number of miles the user traveled and calories burned. An additional feature shows the amount of carbon emissions being prevented.

(Article complete with a photo of the bike racks showing that not a single bicycle has been rented.)

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Traceability expert leaves Hawaii

John Ryan, a pioneer in fresh produce food safety, quality and traceability systems, has resigned as quality assurance administrator for the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture.

His last day on the job was May 13.

The state agency has begun a search for his successor, Ryan said.

“I’m not retiring,” he said. “I’m relocating to California where I will continue to work on projects.”

Among his current projects for Ryan Systems, the company he has founded, is a website that will register companies that have been safety certified and will help market the companies, he said. He also is working with a software company to develop further a Ryan designed computer system that will collect traceability, risk assessment and compliance data and help to speed up recalls.

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Meda Chesney-Lind chosen as commencement speaker

This year, the Whitman administration has picked Meda Chesney-Lind, professor of women’s studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, where she also earned her doctorate in sociology and has been a member of the faculty since 1986.

Chesney-Lind graduated from Whitman in 1969 summa cum laude and has since become one of the nation’s leading experts in feminist criminology, a field in which she has authored and co-authored numerous books on the connections between women, crime, and violence. Chesney-Lind is also a fellow of the American Society of Criminology and the Western Society of Criminology.

Chesney-Lind is the first woman commencement speaker the college has had since three years ago. (Those chauvinist pigs!)

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Gingrich endorses Obamacare

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ABC: Trump Not Running for President

Having helped Obama to taint his opponents with birtherism, I will now return to The Apprentice.

My work here is done.

Signed, The Donald, Obamacare advocate

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