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August 1, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:09 PM :: 8829 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

 

Hirono, Hanabusa, Inouye, Akaka line up behind Massive Military Cuts

1,000 Hear David Barton at events on Oahu, Maui, Big Isle

HFF: Over a thousand people attended the David Barton (and Tim Barton) educational events combined on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu.

Related: Featured on Glen Beck: Wallbuilders’ David Barton to speak at Hilo, Maui, Oahu events

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HART, Council Primed to Dump Ansaldo—No Contract Signed Yet

Last week's announcement from the parent company of Ansaldo Honolulu that it faces "urgent restructuring" or might be sold because of financial and managerial problems prompted Martin to say Sunday, "Common sense would lead you to believe that the bid they submitted may be understated. … Time delays are always a concern. They've admitted that they've had difficulty adhering to those requirements.

"There's always the potential for increases in costs," Martin told the Star-Advertiser. "It's premature but the likelihood is there. … I hope the (city) administration and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation are going to look into this matter with a fine-tooth comb and make the decision as to whether it's in the best interest of the city to move forward with Ansaldo or to look at other alternatives."

HART's board likely will take up the issue Thursday, but probably in executive session because Italian company Finmeccanica made its announcement in a London investors' webcast on Thursday before HART could put the matter on its agenda, HART Chairwoman Carrie Okinaga said.

"I've reviewed the webcast, and the CEO's comments raise more questions than answers at this point for me," Okinaga said.

Toru Hamayasu, HART's interim executive director, emphasized Sunday that no contract has been signed with Ansaldo Honolulu and that any agreement likely would require a performance bond, possibly from a third party.

"The city has built-in protections," Hamayasu said. "But we haven't executed a contract yet."

Empty Words: Ansaldo reaffirms commitment to Honolulu rail project

Background: After years of losses, slush fund investigation, Honolulu Rail Contractor Ansaldo may be closed down or sold

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Rail Suit: Enviros Win 66% of EA Cases in 9th Circuit

In litigation over a recent nine-year period, NEPA was used to stop nearly 100 projects. In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, federal records show that 97 NEPA-related cases were filed, with hundreds more pending from previous years. Fifteen projects were permanently halted in 2009, with two others temporarily stopped.

That same year, dozens of environmental assessments and environmental impact statements were determined to have been inadequate.

Those who aim to stop the long-planned Honolulu rail line argue that the environmental assessment related to that project was flawed, and they deliberately found a NEPA expert — an attorney who actually helped craft NEPA statutes— to back them up.

"We did our own count of what the disposition of NEPA cases was over a 10-year period in the ninth-circuit," Yost said. "And in the ninth circuit, which is regarded as the most environmentally friendly of all the circuits, two out of every three environmental assessments were invalidated. One out of three environmental impact statements was invalidated. Those are high numbers."

And yet, they didn’t go here: Enviros win 90% in Hawaii Supreme Court

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Former Gov. Lingle moving toward Hawaii Senate run

Hawaii's Republican former governor Linda Lingle said she would get along well with a group of former governors in the Senate should she run for and win the seat being vacated by Sen. Daniel Akaka's (D) retirement, the latest sign that she is seriously considering a race.

"Governors bring a particularly different approach in the United States Senate than those people who have come just from the legislative side," Lingle told members of the conservative Grassroot Institute of Hawaii at the Japanese Cultural Center on Friday. "They are less ideological. They are more practical. They are more agenda-driven. They are able to put forth something they'd like to achieve and then move to do it because as governor you have to. You can't hide behind a lot of other people."

Lingle would likely be the only Republican who could seriously contest the seat in the strongly Democratic state, especially in a year when President Obama, a Hawaii native, will be on the ballot. Lingle won reelection in 2006 with 63 percent of the vote, and there are almost no other well-known Republicans in the state.

Shapiro: A peek at Lingle’s Senate strategy

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Lingle: University System is Example of School Choice

Lingle … said there already is choice in the university system here in Hawaii, and that “school choice is important in giving each student the best education and the best future.”

“The most glaring example of how school choice works is how we choose universities,” she said. “If you live by Kapiolani Community College, you don’t have to go there. And you can live in Manoa without going to University of Hawaii. You go where it is best for you. And free choice has developed our university system into the best in the world.”

Lingle also blasted the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the union that represents all public school teachers. The union is battling with this current administration over contract negotiations and has opposed more choice in education. “We all know about the HSTA and how their biggest priority is maintaining the status quo - they don’t support school vouchers, for instance,” Lingle said. “But this isn’t true of the teachers.

“If the [HSTA] didn’t have all the money to influence legislators, we would see more change and better improvements. They take money and use if for contributions to legislators who will keep the system and the spending the same.”

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Already failing, Schools start setting higher goals

The Department of Education is holding off on buying new textbooks for the common core standards and instead is asking teachers to use the materials they have and to pull from new sources.

(Somewhere there is a bureaucrat waiting to retire. And when he does, he will get the gig as a textbook vendor’s Hawaii salesman and collect a big fat commission, hence the delay.)

In math the common core standards stress fewer concepts but delve deeper into the remaining ones, requiring a better understanding of "bigger ideas," said Dewey Gottlieb, a DOE math educational specialist.

"We want kids to develop efficient strategies," he said. "Kids aren't just (going to be) doing memorization."

(Thus bringing even more failure.)

HNN: Teacher pleads no contest to injuring student with hammer

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New Student Tracking System For Teachers

Hawaii's new digital tracking system for students could revolutionize the way teachers prepare for school.

The only things standing in the way are training and a confidentiality agreement.

Principals already have access to the Longitudinal Data System, which was promised in the state's Race to the Top application. Civil Beat first reported about it last year. Teachers will get to use it once the Department of Education has established clear information privacy expectations for them….

Giving teachers access is one of six actions the state must take before its system is considered effective, according to the Data Quality Campaign, a national collaborative effort to improve the availability and quality of education data.

Another step is to link the Department of Education data system with one at the University of Hawaii. The result will be a comprehensive collection of information that follows students from preschool through college and beyond — the P-20 pipeline.

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Hawaii’s high rank for federal funds means greater risk from debt ceiling disruptions

Senator Inouye’s clout in Washington, and the state’s strategic location, have added up to higher than average federal expenditures in the state. Usually that’s a plus, but if the checkbook runs dry, it seems to mean we’re up there among the states that could feel the greatest impact.

The Northeast-Midwest Institute, using federal data for FY 2008, calculated Hawaii ranked #6 among the 50 states in per-capita federally expenditures.

The Consolidated Federal Funds Report for Fiscal Year 2009 prepared by the U.S. Commerce Department and the Census Bureau ranks Hawaii #3 among the states in per-capita federal spending

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Full Financial Disclosure: Abercrombie's Cabinet

David Louie and Richard Lim made the most money.

Bruce Coppa, Glenn Okimoto and Kalbert Young owe the most money.

Darryll Wong, Alapaki Nahale-a, Sunshine Topping and Pat McManaman owe nothing above $3,000.

And Lim has the most assets and served on the most boards — by far.

The public disclosures, filed with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission, also show that Kealii Lopez, Dwight Takamine and William Aila did not report their primary income for 2010.

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Obamacare Preview: Patients pack health centers As doctors winnow their client lists

Hawaii's 14 community health centers have seen a spike in clients in recent years as fewer private doctors accept Medicaid and Medicare patients because of low reimbursements and increasingly burdensome paperwork.

The nonprofit centers welcome the growth and see it as part of their mission to help those who can't get help elsewhere push for more burdens and more paperwork.

The Medicaid population at community health centers soared 35 percent between 2009 and 2010 to 58,971.

"If no one else takes care of these Medicaid patients and they end up in the emergency rooms for care, that hurts all of us," said Matthew Nagato, spokesman for the Hawaii Primary Care Association, which represent health centers statewide. (And now the head of the HCPA is Abercrombie’s Obamacare Czar…ca-ching!)

Their numbers are likely to grow in 2012 once Medicaid cuts about 4,500 Hawaii residents from the government-funded program on Jan. 1.

Overall last year, the 14 centers, governed by community boards, served 125,442 patients — a 7 percent gain from the previous year, a 48 percent increase over five years and a 105 percent jump from more than a decade ago.

(And now they are going for the kill)

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Hawaii Regulations prevent use of Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners

Hawaii is "more restrictive" than other states in how it defines the roles of different health care professionals. He said such restrictions should be reconsidered to allow physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and other health care providers to practice the full range of their abilities, thereby freeing primary care physicians from tasks that do not necessarily require their expertise.

Hawaii's rural population — approximately 30 percent of the total state population — has less access to health care than residents in urban and suburban areas, according to a new study.

Dr. Lewis Sandy, UnitedHealth senior vice president, said Hawaii is one of a few states in which physician shortage levels are not distributed throughout the high, medium and low levels used for the report. All 390,000 rural Hawaii residents are listed in the "low" shortage category, which might be due to the state's unique geography and the shorter distances rural residents would have to drive to get access to health care relative to other states.

However, Sandy said, the situation could be complicated by the need for interisland travel should neighbor island patients need to receive care on Oahu.

According to the study, there are 93 primary care physicians per 100,000 rural residents, versus 128 per 100,000 urban and suburban residents.

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HECO wants to tax ratepayers to pay HELCO $21M/yr

HECO has asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to add a tax on each kWh sold to subsidize HELCO’s purchase of biofuels from the politically connect Aina Koa Pono (AKP).

AKP would sell 16 million gallons of biodiesel to HELCO to power the HELCO Keahole Generation Station. The problem is that AKP’s biofuels are not economical.

HECO’s solution: Impose a tax on all kWh sold by HECO and HELCO to pay the differential between the cost of diesel and biodiesel.

This tax would raise $26M/yr to subsidize 16M gallons of biodiesel. The subsidy is $1.66/gallon or $69/barrel.

Price (Barrel Biodiesel) = Price (Diesel) + $69.

ILind: Public hearings tomorrow on HECO biodiesel project

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Democrats register 75% of Base Female Voters, trying to get the other 25%

Honolulu-based QMark Research conducted the poll for the Patsy T. Mink Political Action Committee, which helps elect Democratic pro-choice women to state office.

The telephone and Internet survey quizzed 671 Hawaii women ages 18 to 44 from July to August 2010. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.78 percentage points.

The survey revealed 75 percent of Hawaii women were registered voters. Why did the other 25 percent not register?

Precisely as explained back in 2007: Churches Are Key to Creating Two-Party Political System for Hawaii

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The Star-Advertiser's Feeble Circulation Boast

The latest audited figures for the Star-Advertiser are for the three-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010. They show the paper's Sunday circulation as 130,757 and its daily circulation as 117,885.

Those figures are an increase of 6,090 Sunday and 6,165 daily over the Honolulu Advertiser's final audited numbers.

But let's put that into some context.

To start, we'll discount the Star-Bulletin's circulation numbers to 30,000, much lower than the 37,000 and the 55,000 figures that were used publicly. That gives the new paper the benefit of the doubt when looking at how the market has shaped up.

Using the 30,000 number for the Star-Bulletin's circulation, the Star-Advertiser would have retained about 20 percent of the paper's customers. Worst case for the Star-Advertiser, if the 55,000 figure used by the authoritative Associated Press were correct, the paper would have retained about 11 percent of the Star-Bulletin's customers.

The bottom line is this: Two titles that had a combined Sunday circulation of somewhere between 148,000 and 173,000 and a combined daily circulation of 141,000 and 166,000 have been replaced by a single publication with circulation that is at best 13 percent lower than the two on Sundays and 16 percent lower daily.

But it could be as bad as 24 percent lower on Sunday and 29 percent lower on weekdays.

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East-West Center is valuable asset to Hawaii and the United States

Several months ago, Republican freshman Congressman Kevin Yoder, an alumnus of the Center's New Generation Seminar for younger leaders, told me that, compared to other exchanges he had participated in, the East-West Center's was the most valuable because of its rich mixture of nationalities and spirit of give and take….

As a national program, the Center is steadfastly nonpartisan and has been supported by Democratic and Republican administrations. In Hawaii, governors of both parties and their appointees on the EWC Board have been strong advocates of the Center, as have all the members of our congressional delegation.

Over the history of the institution, there has been no stronger and stauncher supporter than U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who understands its value for the nation and state.

(Gee, what’s going to happen at the end of Dan’s last term?)

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Social Studies needed to Brainwash little Gramscians

Hawai’i is quite special, and so is a social studies education in Hawai’i. In Hawai’i social studies educators capitalize on Hawai’i’s unique multicultural setting, and deliver a cutting edge curriculum that puts our students ahead in an increasingly diverse and global society.

I was born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands and did not gain this perspective until I went away to college in the late 1990’s. Attending school in California, my peers and university professors were surprised to hear that I had been able to take courses like Global Studies, Asian Studies, and Ethnic Studies in high school.

More Gramsci: Aloha POSSE forms to defend Hawaii social studies curriculum (includes position paper)

You better find out: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

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Public schools drop cursive requirement

Soon they won’t teach writing at all.

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After lifetime of shaking down Resort Operators, Charlie Maxwell to sick to continue collecting payoffs

One of Maui's well-known Hawaiian community members, Kahu Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr., ordained a grandson as a kahu, or minister, on Sunday, saying it was time to pass the spiritual torch after falling gravely ill two weeks ago.

"I feel really happy. I feel relieved," Maxwell said after the ceremony at the Hale Makua Kahului grounds, where he is recovering from an infection in his left arm. "The legacy is being carried on, that's the comforting feeling I have."

In a short ceremony, with song, chant and purification done with special saltwater and ti leaves, Dane Kiyoshi Uluwehiokalani Maxwell was ordained a kahu, which allows the 27-year-old Kahului resident to perform Hawaiian spiritual duties such as officially blessing homes and land, performing weddings and bringing people together and especially in times of crisis performing hooponopono, the formal process to correct or amend a situation.

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After decades of screaming, Luddites win shutdown of most Hanalei Bay Commercial Activities

Priority will be given to the companies that held a commercial permit and operated under such permit in November 2000. But the number of allowable permits could drop to three, through attrition of the initial permittees.

The amendment also limits the permits to passenger vessels certified by the U.S. Coast Guard that can carry up to 25 passengers. Permits shall authorize the carrying of no more than 30 passengers daily.

Kayak tours will be limited to two commercial use permits for the Hanalei launch ramp. The maximum number of passengers per trip per permit will be limited to eight, and no more than 30 passengers per day. Priority for kayak tour permits would also be given to those who operated under a permit in November 2000.

Surfing instruction will also be regulated. The DLNR will issue up to eight permits for commercial water sports instruction within Hanalei Bay ocean waters, including surfing and stand-up paddling.

Each water sports instruction permit will authorize one instructor per day to have no more than four students at any given time. The DLNR may designate the site of instruction and hours of operation.

Additionally, the instructor must have at least three year surfing experience and possess a current Red Cross advanced life-saving certificate.

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Ordnance Reef technology demonstration reaches halfway point

Since the demonstration began, July 1, the remotely operated underwater munitions recovery system, or ROUMRS, has recovered 32 munitions -- 12 of which have been processed through the energetic hazards demilitarization system, or EHDS, resulting in the treatment and destruction of 73 pounds of explosives.

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Obama Sr, drunken wife beater

Most afternoons he retreated to the bar at Sans Chique or Brunner's and stayed there well into evening, railing against the failures of the government and the injustices that had befallen him.

By the time he returned to the house, he was often stumbling and barely coherent.

 

The children, cowering in their beds, listened as he crashed into furniture and cursed at his own clumsiness.

Auma heard the shouting too. As she told her brother Barack many years later, "The Old Man never spoke to Roy or myself except to scold us. He would come home very late, drunk, and I could hear him shouting at Ruth telling her to cook him food," Barack [US President] recounted in Dreams from My Father.

"Sometimes, when he wasn't home, she would tell Roy and myself that our father was crazy and that she pitied us for having such a father. I didn't blame her for this-I probably agreed."

Obama had long vented his anger on Ruth with verbal onslaughts and a hail of blows to her head.

But as he grew increasingly despondent in the months after he lost his job, his assaults on her grew more violent. Ruth took out a restraining order and worried constantly about what to do next.

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