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Thursday, January 05, 2012
January 5, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:47 PM :: 7694 Views :: Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaii GOP Announces Presidential Caucus Polling Places

Reapportionment: Hawaii Supreme Court Rejects One Man-One Vote, Disenfranchises Blacks, Military Personnel

Gates Foundation: Hawaii has "no plans to develop real accountability standards for teacher education"

HTA Projects 3.8% Increase in Air Seats to Hawaii

Nominations for the Aloha Order of Merit Accepted through Jan. 31

Money: Senate Ways and Means Announces Budget Briefing Schedule

Marumoto: After Budget Cuts, Dep’t of Ag Gave Away Snake Sniffer Dogs

January 6 is Last Day to Comment on Federal Takeover of Hawaii Shorelines

Rep Pine Cheers Opening of Pearl City Urgent Care Center

Judge Marks: State Supreme Court Ruling Exposes Hawaii To Federal Lawsuit

SA: Former state Judge Victoria Marks, the commission's chairwoman, said the panel will come up with a new plan, but said it is unclear how many nonpermanent residents will be excluded.

She said if the commission follows two proposals eliminating about 73,000 and 80,000 nonpermanent residents, it could come up with a new plan quickly.

But if the commission cannot adopt those numbers or must consider the figure of 120,000 nonpermanent residents the challengers request, it would be like "starting completely anew" and could pose problems meeting deadlines for this year's election….

One looming deadline is Feb. 1, when nomination papers will be made available for House and Senate seats.

"I wish the lawyer that represented the commission had understood the record better and had responded to some of the questions with better data," she said.

She said the commission understood the constitutional mandate, but had concerns about basing the exclusion on unreliable data.

"I think you're opening yourself up to a federal lawsuit if you exclude (military) dependents on an across-the-board basis," she said, noting that some dependents are licensed nurses and public school teachers here.

The commission excluded about 16,000 nonpermanent residents, active-duty military living in barracks and some out-of-state college students, Marks said.

HFP: Reapportionment: Hawaii Supreme Court Rejects One Man-One Vote, Disenfranchises Blacks, Military Personnel

read … Let the Federal Courts Put an End to this Discrimination

Bob Jones: Hawaii Deserves to Lose Race to The Top, DoE Should Be Burned Down

MW: Our whole public schools mess makes me want to scream, tear out my hair, run downtown and choke somebody, and then set the whole system on fire.

Other than that, no problems.

I feel I’ve been an apologist too long, saying we have too many English-asa-second-language students, too many parents who don’t read to or discipline their kids, too low a pay scale for teachers, and principals insufficiently trained in management.

My excuses have run dry. They were empty ones anyway. The system has been broken as long as I’ve lived here, which is 50 years.

We deserve to lose and should lose Race To The Top funding. We warrant our reputation among Mainlanders as one of the worst-performing public school systems, and the dismay of transient parents who say that when their children transfer to Mainland schools they are behind their peers.

read … Time To Fix Embarrassing Schools

Dela Cruz: Abercrombie Still Doing Nothing to Address Federal Race to the Top Issues

CB: But for all the talk about the recent upbraiding, no one has answered yet who dropped the ball, when, and why. It turns out that most of the key initiatives to fall behind should have been addressed in the contract that Abercrombie unilaterally implemented when bargaining reached an impasse last summer. The Hawaii State Teachers Association has challenged the governor's decision, a protest now being heard by the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

The board meets today, and at its last meeting didn't hear any testimony as it appeared both sides were scurrying to find a resolution to the dispute in response to the threat from the federal department of education….

The unilateral contract made no mention of teacher evaluations or performance-based pay — two key Race to the Top initiatives scheduled to be in the contract, at least in pilot form, for school years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

It also cut in half the $3,000 stipend given to teachers who took jobs at "hard-to-staff" schools — hardly making good on Hawaii's Race to the Top commitment to recruit and place qualified teachers equitably throughout the state.

"It is our understanding that without a revised contract, the State cannot fully implement many initiatives in its approved Race to the Top plans," states the Dec. 21 letter from the U.S. Department of Education.

In November, Matayoshi testified before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board that talk about Race to the Top reforms stopped several months before contract negotiations fell apart.

Matayoshi said that when she realized they wouldn't be able to hash out all the Race to the Top questions before the June 30, 2011 contract deadline, she planned to negotiate a supplemental agreement later. But talks have never resumed because of the legal battle that ensued after the state imposed its "last, best and final" offer on teachers in July.

"I am still hopeful we'll move forward on Race to the Top discussions with HSTA at some point," Matayoshi told the union's attorney at a Nov. 16 hearing.

While Abercrombie has indicated that legislative action may be necessary, gubernatorial spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said that nothing is changing yet as a result of the federal concerns. The governor is seeking more guidance from the U.S. Department of Education before he determines a course of action, she explained

read … Abercrombie

After School Bus Collusion Uncovered, DoE Issues Legislative Report Designed to Protect Bus Companies

The Hawaii Department of Education's long-awaited report on how to reduce student transportation costs leaves a lot to be desired, says Senate Education Chairwoman Jill Tokuda.

While the report released earlier this week offers some "a la carte" options for reducing costs, and even recommends saving millions by eliminating regular bus service on Oahu, Tokuda told Civil Beat Wednesday, it fails to address how school bus costs got out of control in the first place.

"I think, given all of the public discussion around that issue, it's a bit of an obvious omission," she said….

While the report offered a number of cost-saving measures for evaluation, Tokuda said, most of them were more "cursory," and almost none of them were actual recommendations. Instead, the department explained in detail why most of them were bad ideas or wouldn't work….

"Should it be promoted for the safety reasons, the fact that it's more efficient, lowers carbon emissions and is more convenient for parents?" DoE shill Randy Moore asked. "Or should the public policy be to let everyone figure out their own transportation to school?"

"Although the dollars triggered these, it raises philosophical issues that are important," Moore said. "Those are not issues, I think, that ought to be settled by bureaucrats in the Department of Education."

read … Hand in Glove

Abercrombie Administration Seeks To Add $334.7 Million In Spending

HR: State departments want to expand the budget by some $334.7 million, Budget and Finance Director Kalbert Young said in the first of a series of money briefings to lawmakers planned for this week and next.

Young said new general fund requests from Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration total nearly $120 million, offset by some $85.2 million in expected savings, bringing the net total to $34.7 million.

And the state wants to spend an extra $300 million on capital improvements projects, Young said….

The (deeply politicized) state Council on Revenues made the (crackpot) 14.5 percent revenue increase prediction last year (in order to give Abercrombie an excuse) and meets again tomorrow to revisit the numbers.

When Rep. Isaac Choy said he has heard the Council may drop its revenue projection as low as eight percent, (in order to create pressure for legalized gambling) Young said the state can accommodate a lower number but not by much.

“Anything south of 13 (percent)” would cause serious problems for the state, he said.

Political Radar: Over/under

Related: Money: Senate Ways and Means Announces Budget Briefing Schedule

read … Tax n Spend

 

Mazie ‘Pay-to-Play’ Hirono Now Pretends to Oppose Corporate Influence in Politics

 

CB: Rep. Mazie Hirono is a strong advocate for a constitutional amendment. She is a co-sponsor of a bill introduced in September by Maryland Democrat Donna Edwards that would give states the authority to impose restrictions on corporate donations.

"What we’re talking about is ensuring fair elections in our country," she said in an email response to questions from Civil Beat. "We now see how corporate economic interests are dominating our campaigns with attack ads against individual candidates and without any transparency or accountability. Now that the Supreme Court has made this decision, I believe a constitutional amendment is the only way to right this wrong."

KGI: More Blind Partisan Rhetoric from Hirono

Reality: Pay to Play Fines Unpaid: Hirono for Governor Campaign Closes Owing State Elections Fund Over $98,000

More Reality: 5-4: Supreme Court rejects FEC bans of books, movies critical of candidates

read … Hirono Spinning

After One Year in Congress, Hanabusa Emphasizes her Anti-Environmental Record, Republican Ties

CB: Hanabusa says her motto in Congress — “one step at a time” — comes from Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young. She described her work on a Republican-controlled business defense panel, and she said she was proud of a vote she made that teamed her up with Republicans and upset environmentalists. (The point she made in this case was that she voted “for Hawaii,” and against EPA regulations that she says could have cost a Maui sugar plant hundreds of jobs).

Here are some ties she doesn’t want to emphasize: Everything you need to know about Abercrombie and Hanabusa

read … Hanabusa Emphasizes Anti-Environmental Record, Republican Ties

Cayetano candidacy would open deeper debate on rail

Oi: A Cayetano campaign, even with a late start, would be a big deal, a distinct benefit for city residents because a major challenger would oblige the current mayor to become more engaged with the public.

Since his election last year, Carlisle has tendered few initiatives, bold or otherwise. His administration has seemed to be more reactive than enterprising, allowing the City Council to take the lead on many of the city’s persistent problems, such as homelessness, a new landfill site and property taxes. Though these issues have been farmed out to commissions and advisory groups, Carlisle’s hands-off role seems too distant, too detached for an executive who will eventually have to make some of the tough calls.

Part of this may be perception. His predecessor’s vast appetite for publicity would overshadow anyone who followed, and Carlisle’s mayoral style since leaving the prosecutor’s office, where he big-shouldered high-profile criminal cases, hasn’t been very aggressive.

It is curious that his crime-fighter persona hasn’t been revived by the questionable activities of a city employee who was compelled to resign last month because of ethics violations. If for nothing else than to serve as warning to other government employees, Carlisle should be taking a hard look at the situation, how it evolved and how to prevent similar conduct. This would also reassure the public and businesses that want to work with the city that cronyism has no place in his administration.

read … Cayetano

OIP Releases Annual Report

Full Text: OIP Annual Report 2011 (pdf)

read … Doing More With Less?

Long-Term Care Commission to hold public hearing Friday

SA: The Commission, established by the Legislature in 2008, is recommending long-term care financing options, including a limited mandatory public insurance program.

The public hearing is at 2-4 p.m. at the State Capitol, Conference Room 229. The report can be found at www.publicpolicycenter.hawaii.edu/ltcc.

(Abercrombie’s 30-and-out Medicaid hospitalization cutoff policy puts LTC on the front burner. Many patients are pushed back into Acute care or even emergency room beds because the hospitals need the extra revenue and keeping a grip on LTC beds is the way to get that revenue. Of course it would be better to just raise Medicaid reimbursement rates, but Abercrombie had 20 years in Congress to do that and he didn’t. Neither did Dan, or Mazie.)

read … Crisis Focal Point

Water Latest Sticking Point for Hoopili

CB: The Ewa region currently consumes 16 million gallons per day of potable water. The city now says it has identified an additional 17.6 million gallons of water per day, said Kurt Tsue, an information officer for the Board of Water Supply.

Meantime, Hoopili is expected to increase potable water demand by 4 million gallons a day, according to Lee Tokuhara, a spokeswoman for D.R. Horton. The development is expected to use 1.8 million gallons per day of non-potable water, for such things as irrigation.

read … Desalination?

Hawaii bankruptcies fall in 2011 for first time in five years

SA: The number of bankruptcy cases filed in Hawaii fell in 2011 for the first time in five years, according to data compiled by U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

There were 3,325 cases filed during the year, down 15.9 percent from the 3,954 filings in 2010. The decline followed double-digit increases from 2007 through 2010. However, the number of filings in 2011 was still relatively high compared with the annual average of 3,260 cases over the past decade.

(Most of this is due to the de-facto quasi foreclosure moratorium created by the Legislature. It will be undone this session now that the crisis seems to be easing. The purpose was to keep home prices high in support of KSBE, A&B and the other large landowners who depend on profits from development.)

read … BK

Officials seek information on monk seal killing on Kauai

SA: Federal and state officials are seeking information on who killed another endangered Hawaiian monk seal on Kauai Monday.

A necropsy is being performed today on the juvenile, male monk seal that was found with a "suspicious" object in its head, officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said today.

DLNR and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have set up separate hotlines for tips on what led to the monk seal's death.

Anyone with information about the latest death — or the deaths of three monk seals on Molokai in the last several weeks — is asked to call NOAA's OLE hotline at 800-853-1964 or DLNR's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 873-3990 or 643-DLNR (643-3567).

KGI: Injured monk seal recovering

MN: VIDEO: Pet Shop Protesters on Maui Return

read … Kauai

Keoki Kerr to join Hawaii News Now

HNN: Long-time investigative reporter Keoki Kerr will be joining Hawaii News Now on Jan. 16.

Kerr, who has worked for KITV4 for the past 21 years, brings a wealth of investigative and enterprise experience to Hawaii News Now. He has also covered politics, government and law enforcement.

read … Kerr


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