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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
August 10, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:40 PM :: 9195 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Big Island plans massive salute to LCpl. Camero

V-J Day Kiss Statue to be Unveiled in Waikiki

Wisconsin Holds the Line

President honors Hawaii Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan

Kraig Vickers' wife had to finally break the news of his death to their seven year old son. Says Bob, "Kala'i asks about Dad, and she finally told him that Jesus needed somebody that can tell jokes - so that was hopefully comforting to him, but Kala'i, when he was asked what he wants, he said, "I want my daddy."

Nani Vickers is seven months pregnant with their third child - another little girl. Kraig Vickers was a deeply faithful, born-again Christian. He would have turned 37 on Thursday.

read … President

Duke vs Mufi for CD2?

Esther Kiaaina, a chief advocate for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a veteran congressional aide, is expected to announce on Wednesday that she will run in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District….

Kiaaina, 48, joins Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary in the 2nd District, which covers rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, is giving up the seat to run in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to replace Akaka.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has said he is looking at a potential 2nd District campaign.

On the Republican side, former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona has not ruled out a campaign.

read … IN

Abercrombie heads off on Vacation—will Speak at Vegas Union Convention while giving Shaft to HSTA

On the same day that Hawaii teachers will try to get their pay cuts and health benefits restored, the man who imposed the contract terms will address a politically powerful national labor union in Las Vegas.

The purpose of the union's convention? Protection of the collective bargaining process….

Abercrombie is scheduled to address the United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, and HVAC Service Techs Wednesday afternoon Vegas-time. The governor maintains that implementation of the state's "last, best and final offer" is part of the collective bargaining process.

The union, known as the United Association, or UA, is holding a convention this week at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

As stated in a press release, members will hear resolutions "calling for support of workers fighting to protect the integrity of the collective bargaining process ... anti-union politicians are doing the bidding of ... corporations and special interest groups by initiating legislation aimed at taking away collective bargaining rights," of public and private sector workers.

The timing of Abercrombie's trip is awkward. Here at home, the Hawaii Labor Relations Board will hold a public hearing Wednesday morning on a request by the HSTA to reinstate wages and benefits to pre-July 1 levels.

Asked about the trip — given the ongoing dispute with the HSTA and talk of a strike from the United Public Workers — Abercrombie press secretary Donalyn Dela Cruz said Tuesday in an email, "This was a previously planned vacation trip."

read … Collective Bargaining Convention

DOE had its finger on the scales when reporting special education progress

There has been no further explanation for the low test scores that special education students turned in for this year’s Alternative Assessment. In 2010, 62 percent of students who took the test were rated proficient in math and 70 percent in reading. This year the scores were four and eight percent respectively. This year, teachers were not allowed to prompt and were not scoring the tests themselves.

In the absence of a better theory, it seems clear that when Department of Education teachers were allowed to prompt students and were responsible also for scoring the tests, they over-rated the true proficiency level. “Prompting” is basically whatever the teacher wants it to be. It can go perilously close to providing the actual answer. Of course, the pressure is on to score these and other children as high as possible to meet the increasingly onerous and unrealistic goals of No Child Left Behind.

HFP July 25th: Hawaii DoE Cheating Scandal: Teachers blocked from Prompting Answers, Proficiency drops from 62% to 4%

read … DOE had its finger on the scales

Blame the Test: SA comes up with Lots of New Excuses for DoE Failure

Jack Buckley, commissioner for the National Center for Education Statistics, said the new report "shows that whether a child is considered proficient largely depends on where he or she lives."

Robert Hillier, NAEP state coordinator, said Hawaii had a good showing in the report when compared with the other states. More important, Hawaii's standards were near or above "basic" standards on the NAEP, which he said is a "fairer measure" than comparing proficiency levels for state benchmarks to NAEP "proficiency."

"NAEP proficient is an aspirational standard," he said.

To see the full report, go to www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard

Related: Coverup: DoE changes tests, surveys to create illusion of progress, SB1282/HB1055: Bills would “repeal norm-referenced testing” in the DoE

read … Wide gap separates standards for math, reading

Kenoi goes 60-40 with HGEA as Election Season Approaches

Under a separate agreement announced last month between Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi and the HGEA, workers in that county have reverted back to a 60-40 split for health insurance premiums. That means Hawaii County’s 876 HGEA members will pay less for their healthcare than the state’s 13,000 public school teachers or the 4,107 county workers in Honolulu (2,880), Kauai (368) and Maui (859).

In announcing the supplemental deal Kenoi said it would save the Big Island $2.1 million per year by reducing the pay of HGEA workers by 4.6 percent. The labor savings are being realized through a furlough program of one day per month that is scheduled to remain in effect until June 30, 2013.

Related: $126M Giveaway: Abercrombie quietly boosts spending on Public Employees’ Insurance

read … Drug Costs

Biofuel Proposal Draws Fire

what was clear was that the biofuel company, which calls itself Aina Koa Pono, has yet to build community consensus behind its proposal. Testimony ran over two to one against the proposed facility.

Aina Koa Pono wants to build a giant microwave facility near Pahala to "nuke" biomass such as Christmas berry and grasses, cooking hydrocarbon vapors out of it that could then be refined into fuels such as biodiesel, with a byproduct of charcoal, euphemistically called "biochar."

read … Biofuel

Soft on Crime Judge orders Return of Fake Police Badge to Anti-Superferry Protester

Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Tuesday upheld her order requiring the state to return a Native Hawaiian sovereignty activist’s law enforcement badge.

The decision stems from a July 26 hearing where Watanabe granted the prosecution’s request to delay an order granting the defendant’s motion to strike an illegal term from a previous plea bargain and for the state to return Dayne Gonsalves’ “Hawai‘i Federal Marshal” badge.

Kaua‘i County Deputy Prosecutor Melinda Mendes said the state would exercise its right to appeal the order and will present its case at a pretrial hearing at 3 p.m., Aug. 17.

read … Fake Badge

Progressives seek Comments against Counting Military personnel

Hawaii residents can learn about the state's political redistricting process during a free workshop at the state Capitol.

Common Cause Hawaii, Kanu Hawaii and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii are holding the educational meeting Wednesday.

read … Hawaii's redistricting process

OHA claims to be exempt from State Law

Last year, OHA claimed its employees were not "public employees" because the bulk of its revenue comes from ceded lands, which it says are not "public funds."

This year, the agency is making the same argument in response to an inquiry from Civil Beat.

"I think the idea is again to get OIP's take on whether or not trust-funded employees are open and accessible to the public," Ernest Kimoto, OHA's corporate counsel, told Civil Beat Tuesday.

Last year, Kimoto posed the same question to then-Acting Director Cathy Takase. She responded that OHA is not exempt from the law.

Takase made clear in a Nov. 3, 2010 opinion: "OHA is a government agency, its employees are 'employees of the agency' whose salary information is thus subject to disclosure under HRS 92F-12."

(OHA is always trying to put criminals above the law.)

read … OHA employees

Trask Opposes Wilhelm as KSBE Trustee

Mililani Trask (took a break from trying to profiteer on geothermal development and…) has told a probate judge that she is "strongly opposed" to the appointment of Aulani Wilhelm as a Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate trustee. (That sounds like an endorsement!)

In a July 25 letter to Derrick H.M. Chan, Trask wrote:

She is not qualified for the position and, in her current capacity as an employee of the USNOAA, has undertaken many actions that are detrimental to the interests of the native Hawaiian and Hawaiian beneficiaries of the ceded land trust money-grubbing activists for hire.

NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — is the federal agency addressing oceans and the atmosphere. Trask says Wilhem opposed Hawaiian fishing rights in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Trask — a Kamehameha Schools graduate and an authority on indigenous people for the United Nations — says Wilhelm is a political appointee connected to the administrations of George W. Bush and Linda Lingle.

(Maybe Trask would like Chan to appoint fake Indian 9-11 trooother, Ward Churchill? I hear he needs a job.)

read … Trask Opposes

Large Rail Landowners Give to Pro-Rail Campaigns

Major private landowners along Honolulu's proposed rail line donated more than $75,000 to pro-rail campaigns in the last two elections, a Civil Beat analysis found.

read … Large Rail Landowners

Waimanalo Gulch: Planning Commissioner Fined For Ethics Violations

A member of the Honolulu Planning Commission has been rebuked for repeated violations of the city's ethics code and fined $650.

Andrew Jamila Jr. continued to vote on matters related to the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill without disclosing a conflict even after he was warned by the city's Ethics Commission to recuse himself. Jamila is president of a nonprofit that accepted some of the money distributed to the Leeward Coast as compensation for hosting the landfill. (MONEY DISTRIBUTED BY ERNIE MARTIN)

"Mr. Jamila's violations are numerous (over a dozen) and are exacerbated given the fact that Mr. Jamila failed to follow the Ethics Commission's instructions to him," the commission wrote in an advisory opinion published on its website Tuesday afternoon. "The evidence is strong as the facts are not contested."

Jamila's organization, Waimanalo Construction Coalition (WCC), helps find Oahu residents construction jobs. Since Fiscal Year 2007, the organization received a total of $120,000 from the Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program (LCCBP).

Related: Resignation call after Audit reveals “ward heeler’s slush fund” overseen by Honolulu Councilman

read … Planning Commissioner

No Confidence in Abercrombie’s Pipe Dreams: Arizona Prison Expanding to House More Inmates

Hawaii News Now's sister station in Arizona is reporting that the Saguaro facility is expanding to house more inmates from Arizona.
"The state of Hawaii just entered into a new contract with CCA following a competitive procurement process there to continue housing inmates here," CCA Director of Public Affairs Steven Owen said. "And the facility they're housed in was designed primarily for Hawaiian inmates. There would be some changing of inmate population to accommodate Arizona should the state choose to partner with CCA."

HTH: Kulani eyed by officials

read … Abercrombie planning

Civil Beat tries to do Partisan hatchet Job on Lingle’s Int’l Women’s Conference—and blows it

But no prominent female Democrat has spoken at the conference (WRONG)— including U.S. Reps. Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa, (who wants to listen to them?) state Senate Vice President Donna Mercado Kim and Honolulu City Council member Ann Kobayashi.

UPDATE (Oooops! Time for 7 corrections.)

1) Tammy Duckworth, who is leaving her position as Assistant Secretary for Department of Veterans Affairs under President Obama to run for Congress as a Democrat from Illinois, was a speaker during the 2006 conference.

And 2) Connie Mariano, the first Filipino American to become rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, the first female director of the White House Medical Unit and the first military woman to be appointed as the White House physician under President Clinton, addressed the conference in 2010….

Corrie Heck, who is the conference's producer this year, says conference organizer have always taken a "neutral stance" on politics.

She says well-known Democrats who have been invited to attend include 3) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, 4) blogger Arianna Huffington, 5) Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and 6) Maria Shriver, former first lady of California. But they chose not to attend.

And, Heck adds, 7) Oprah Winfrey — arguably Barack Obama's biggest supporter — delivered a conference video message in 2006.

Reality: Local leaders step up to support Hawaii International Women’s Conference

read … Lingle, Women and Leadership

Academic Marxists using Social Studies to Brainwash DoE Students

Hawai`ians (SIC) decided some years ago that “Education must do no less than advance the endowment of human culture itself, so that each succeeding generation finds itself further along the road towards peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability in a society guided by creativity, compassion, and curiosity,” as stated in Act 51, SB3238, SD2, HD2, CD.

The current social studies requirements support this laudable, difficult, and complex goal with a mandatory course in “Participation in Democracy” (usually called “civics” by other states) and additional courses in other areas of social studies, including required national and state history, and electives in economics, psychology, ethics and other areas of philosophy, women’s studies, geography, psychology, etc.

Such courses teach more than their content information. They also teach skills that are crucial for successful functioning in the 21st century—critical thinking, empathy, how to become engaged with our/ their society. Teaching them in public high schools helps ensure that everyone benefits by living in a culture with an engaged citizenry.

Related:

read … Engaged or Enraged?

What Hawaii Education Laws Are Most Ineffectual?

Here are four:

  • A principal performance contract, established by the Reinventing Education Act of 2004. We reported last year that it has not been implemented yet because of budget cuts.
  • An 11-year-old sexual education policy, enforcement of which is spotty throughout the Department of Education.
  • A nearly 30-year-old Department of Education anti-harassment and anti-bullying policy that has no accompanying program to ensure it is implemented. Legislators passed an additional statute this year to hold the department accountable for enforcing the department's own policy, which will only work if the legislation is enforced.
  • A mandatory five-year license renewal policy for teachers that the Legislative Reference Bureau reported is being poorly enforced, and that Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi told lawmakers earlier this year teachers "are not aware of or following through with."

If the Department of Education struggles to enforce these five policies, some of which are decades old, it is difficult to believe it will be able to meet all of its Race to the Top, Common Core State Standards and other commitments.

Bullying? The transsexual agenda for Hawaii schools

read … Ineffectual

Federal Shipbuilding Loan Guarantees may be Casualty of Superferry Debacle

The unwanted ferries are reminders of the defaults and oversight problems reported as recently as December in the so-called Title XI program as vessel owners have won $798 million in new loan guarantees this year, the most since 2001. As it considers two applications for an additional $712 million in guarantees, the maritime agency is trying to recover what it can on $311 million paid out to cover six defaults since 2008.

The program has survived elimination attempts because supporters in Congress “logroll” to keep funding it, said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute. “Some of these ships are built in their districts, and they’ll fight to the death for it,” Edwards said in an interview. His Washington-based group advocates reducing government spending and lower taxes.

Title XI has the funding to expand its loan balance to $4 billion, according to government data. Its loan balance was more than $2 billion in fiscal 2010, according to the agency.

The program’s bipartisan supporters, such as former Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, and Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, credit Title XI with creating jobs and supporting national defense and the U.S. commercial fleet. The U.S. fleet shrank from 17 percent of the world’s oceangoing merchant ships in 1960 to less than 1 percent in 2008, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

(Can’t get your pork? Be sure to thank the Maui Co and Kauai Co Democratic Party organizations for stopping the Superferry.)

read … Taxpayers Stuck

 

New flights from China may provide big boost to Hawaii economy

The first regularly scheduled direct flight from China arrived in Honolulu on Tuesday.

Tourism officials see it as a gateway to more potential visitors in the years ahead.

Nearly 300 passengers from China Eastern Airlines arrived in Honolulu with plenty of fanfare. They were greeted with flower lei by dignitaries, among them, Hawaii's chief executive.

read … new flights

APEC picks finalists for Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase

Among them are the Imiloa Astronomy Center, the Big Island Abalone Corporation, the Queen's Medical Center, Hoku Scientific, Navatek, Oceanit, and Outrigger Hotels…and Pacific Biodiesel.

(Hoku will demonstrate how to get Act 221 tax Credits. Pacific Biodiesel will talk about the importance of making the right campaign contributions.)

read … APEC

Special 9/11 Event Planned In Hawaii

Stephen Siller was one of the firefighters who rushed in to help, running three miles on foot after traffic blocked a tunnel to the towers.

"Stephen was off-duty at the time but felt the compelling need to help his company that was already there at the World Trade Center. Stephen ran through the tunnel with all his gear on, which weighed 60 pounds," said Battalion Chief John Carroll.

Siller died when one of the towers collapsed.

In his honor, each year a 5K run is held along the same route Siller took. This year, on 9/11, there will also be a run on Pearl Harbor's Ford Island Bridge.

read … 9/11


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