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Sunday, January 08, 2012
January 8, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:17 PM :: 10310 Views :: Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Monk Seals Dying in NW Hawaiian Isles Because of Fishing Ban 

Unintended Consequences of Tapping the “Rich”  

Lingle Campaign Launches Mobile App

FTA letter shows Rail financial plan remains Unacceptable to Feds

SA: The chairperson for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, Carrie Okinaga, recently claimed that the Federal Transit Administration has approved the city's financial plan for elevated heavy rail. This implied that the path is clear for receiving $1.55 billion of federal funding requested by the city -- and a recent Star-Advertiser headline suggested the same thing ("Rail project cleared for federal funding," Dec. 30). A more recent headline, however, probably gave readers a different impression ("Federal transit panel puts city on the spot over funding for rail," Star-Advertiser, Jan. 6).

The truth is that Congress has not yet appropriated any of the requested $1.55 billion, and other major hurdles remain to be cleared.

In 2009, the FTA warned that the city's financial plan is inadequate. Since then, the city and HART have submitted several revised plans, each of which has been firmly rejected.

In its most recent letter, the FTA repeated that the latest HART financial plan is still deficient, and stressed that the city will receive none of the requested $1.55 billion in federal funds until the plan is significantly stronger.

First, HART must "demonstrate the availability of additional revenue sources." This could be done by getting the state Legislature, governor and City Council to agree now to extend the rail tax in the future to fund rail construction, and the City Council to agree to raise property taxes, as needed to subsidize rail's operating losses. In addition, the Council would have to amend its ordinance restricting the use of funds that may be used for construction, if it intends to use tax increment financing to fund construction. Good luck with all that.

Second, HART must justify its assumptions that: (1) TheBus and HandiVan operating expenses will level off despite "historical patterns," (2) the City Council will agree to devote an ever-increasing percentage of the city budget to transit, and (3) federal funds currently earmarked for preventative maintenance will instead be used to build the railway system.

We doubt that HART will be able to justify any of these assumptions, much less all of them.

read … Cayetano, Heen, Roth, Slater

After Casting Sole Hawaii Vote Against South Korea Free Trade, Hirono Now pretends to Champion Tourism

"Tourism is probably the first, second or third economic driver in every state in the country," said U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who is running against former congressman Ed Case in the Democratic primary to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Hirono is co-sponsoring a (no hope, dead on arrival) bill (meant solely to fool voters) that would grant Chinese visitors access to five-year multiple entry visas into the United States, up from one year.... Hirono, when she was lieutenant governor, was among the early supporters of admitting South Korea into the visa-waiver program .... 

But, when her vote means something: Ideology Yes, Hawaii No: Hirono Votes Against S. Korea Free Trade

related: VIDEO: Lingle Campaign Focuses on Tourism Job Growth

read … Senate candidates vow to advocate tourism

State Needs Teacher Evaluations to Keep RTTT Funds

Borreca: With any luck, the state will be able to seek the needed concessions from the union to plow ahead with enough teacher evaluations to keep Hawaii on the same Race to the Top race track…. (Not gonna happen.)

Now Hawaii is just days away from the feds' Jan. 23 visit. The state was told the U.S. Department of Education officials would be looking for "clear and compelling evidence that demonstrates that it (the state) has made substantial progress across its Race to the Top plan."

Since the Hawaii State Teachers Association endorsed Abercrombie in the governor's race, the entities have been in what has become a particularly unhappy marriage. He started by telling the public that "I will take personal responsibility to restore public confidence in our schools. And I pledge total commitment to see these initiatives through to completion."

"Neil will take total responsibility for leading all parties in a collaborative effort to improve schools," the Democratic former congressman vowed.

So teachers were stunned to find that their "education governor" also had a state budget to balance -- and when the HSTA proved truculent, he issued a "last and best final offer" and told them to take it or strike, and then implemented his offer.

Abercrombie tried to divorce himself from the fight, claiming it was totally the responsibility of the HSTA.

Even last week, the governor was on Hawaii Public Radio implicitly warning that if the $75 million is lost, he would blame the teachers union.

"They're (federal education officials) going to be out here the third week in January and I expect this to be done. I know everything's in place there. The only thing that's holding this up is this ... the Race to the Top stuff is moving along very, very well. The reason it hasn't come forward is, there are people wanting to drag this back into this question of a collective bargaining contract that they never voted on," Abercrombie said.

If Abercrombie recalled his campaign promise -- "The governor, too, will be evaluated on progress made so that voters and taxpayers can hold him accountable" -- that may have sealed the Friday night deal.

read … In Time???

Military Families Demand DoD Set Up Schools in Hawaii

SA: The "last straw" for some military families and their unhappiness with Hawaii public schools came in 2009 with teacher furloughs and the loss of 17 school days, according to a Defense Department study.

"Years of spoken and unspoken concerns about the quality of public primary and secondary education in Hawaii came to a head in the period immediately following the announcement of furloughs during the 2009-2010 school year," the study by the University of Massachusetts reported.

Kathleen Berg, associate director of the Curriculum Research and Development Group at the University of Hawaii, recalls that the civilian community was not happy with the furloughs, but "the military community went ballistic."

Parents asked that the Department of Defense Education Activity -- which runs military-only schools, mostly at overseas bases -- open the schools in Hawaii, Berg said.

PDF file of the full study

Stars and Stripes: Pacific Command studying negative attitudes toward Hawaii's public schools

read … Ire over schools not enough to justify military-only education (That’s not what the report said)

Study: Teacher Observations Most Effective Way To Evaluate

CB: Implementing effective teacher evaluations may not be rocket science, after all, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation study reveals — but it sure won’t be cheap.

It turns out that the old way, of in-class observations, is actually quite good, when done up to six times per year by certified evaluators and paired with other measures. Full story at the L.A. Times.

One of my sources on Hawaii’s Great Teachers, Great Leaders Task Force says that at least one member believes Hawaii’s Professional Evaluation Program for Teachers (PEP-T), which involves in-class observation, is actually quite good — it’s just time-consuming. And this evaluation is done only once every five years.

read … Great Way to Avoid More Objective Types of Evaluation

Emergency backup: The closing of 2 hospitals has Oahu ERs accepting more ambulances and urgent cases

SA: The shutdown of two Hawaii Medical Center hospitals on Oahu has resulted in longer waiting at hospital emergency rooms, longer travel times in ambulances, and the rerouting of noncritical EMS patients away from overcrowded hospitals.

Patricia Jones, a district operations supervisor for the city Division of Emergency Medical Services, said she hasn't seen a situation like this in 30 years as a Hawaii paramedic.

"It's difficult when you have a major hospital that just goes away," Jones said. "That is something I don't think any of us ever thought would occur." …

"We're at capacity," said Don Olden, Wahiawa General chief executive officer. The hospital, before the HMC shutdowns, admitted an average of five acute care patients a day. That rose to about eight daily admissions the week after the closings, he said. This week, it has been admitting an average of 12 a day, he said.

As he was being interviewed Friday morning, Olden said eight patients were in the emergency room area waiting to be placed into acute care beds.

"We need to discharge patients to be able to move our patients from the emergency room to our medical/surgery units," he said, adding that his staff has been able to do that pretty efficiently in recent weeks….

"The Queen's Medical Center is Oahu's only trauma intake center. As a result, Queen's cannot turn away trauma patients, reroute status or not. It also does not turn away acute heart attack patients….

Dr. Matthew Ing, medical director of the Queen's Emergency Department, said emergency room patient volume has increased between 20 percent and 25 percent since HMC closed.

Ing said Queen's began anticipating an HMC shutdown in October and began preparing contingency plans. (Neil Abercrombie did not use his much-vaunted emergency powers to provide state financial support to an HMC buyout which might have kept the hospitals going.)

How? HB 608: Legislators Could Have Saved HMC Organ Transplant Center Last Year—Bill Was Killed at Last Minute, Abercrombie Doubles Down on Policies Which Killed HMC Hospitals

read … Emergency Backup

SA: Homeless need a czar, not just a committee

The most distressing part about Marc Alexander's sudden resignation as Hawaii's homelessness czar had nothing to do with the flap over the personal problem that apparently precipitated his departure. It's the fact that Gov. Neil Abercrombie has placed no priority on appointing a replacement who would have the same influence on addressing one of the state's most troubling crises….

The governor rightly is steering clear of the allegations, but he's indicated that he's not going to fill the position, and that's unsettling.

The function of coordination will be assumed by the 24-member committee with which Alexander worked, the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness. The governor officially chairs that council but Alexander was vice chair; that office now will be held by Lynne Heirakuji, who directs the governor's Hawaii Fair Share Initiative and who worked with Alexander to develop the 90-day homelessness plan.

This is not an acceptable approach. The entire rationale for hiring a full-time coordinator, someone who had the governor's ear on a critical social need, was that Hawaii had been floundering without one. Many separate state agencies, churches and private nonprofits have been working to help the homeless. But the state needs someone freed to focus entirely on this effort and to pull all the different initiatives into a unified campaign.

The notion that coordination could now be handled by a committee is ludicrous….

When Abercrombie appointed Alexander to the job Jan. 20, 2011, he reflected on the persistence of homelessness, despite all the disconnected programs of public and private entities and made even worse by the economic downturn of recent years.

"I thought to myself, I'm not going to be governor and be worthy of the trust and faith that has been placed in me as a result of that vote if I don't deal directly with that, and immediately with that, and see to it that I justify my existence with this role and this institutional position that I occupy.'"

That's right, governor. The job is not finished, not by a long shot. Someone needs to be standing at the helm, full-time, to take it up again.

Related: Atheist Extortion, Blackmail forced Marc Alexander to Resign

Coming Back: Kapiolani Park: Homelessness industry takes Hawaii tourism hostage, Defeating the "homelessness industry" before it gets a grip on Hawaii, Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … Czar

Hawaiian Monk Seals Bludgeoned To Death

AP: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last year proposed two initiatives to give the seals a better shot at surviving.

One would temporarily bring a few seals from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands – where competition for food (from Groupers) and predators (sharks eating seals) mean only a dismal 20 percent of seal pups live to be adults – to the main Hawaiian Islands. (Note: The reason there are so many sharks and Groupers eating pups and stealing their food is because fishing has been banned in the NW Hawaiian Islands. So the so-called ‘protections’ are actually harming the Monk seals. The problem then feeds on itself because bureaucrats are incapable of discerning the difference between good intentions and lousy results. So instead of re-introducing fishing in the NW Isles, the Feds now seek to extend the same failed regimen of controls to the main islands.)

There aren't as many sharks to prey on seal pups, or large fish to compete with seal pups for food, around Kauai, Oahu, Maui and other places in the main Hawaiian Islands. This gives seals in this area, which is also where the state's 1.4 million people live, an 80 percent chance of living to adulthood.

NOAA is also proposing to expand federally protected zones – or critical habitat – for the seal to include parts of the main Hawaiian Islands. Parts of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have been designated critical habitat since the 1980s.

Related: Monk Seals Dying in NW Hawaiian Isles Because of Fishing Ban

read … Hawaiian Monk Seals Bludgeoned To Death

SA Prints more Anti-Plastic Propaganda

So instead of debunking the same old same old, lets skip the article and go to the very first comment:

Mr. Lott is using a technique so well known by liberal environmentalists, it's become a bit tired. There are two issues here he discusses, one not related at all to the other. Plastic bag pollution, caused by lazy, careless people who don't give a hash about the environment and allow plastic bags to go rolling around and being blown anywhere is a problem of behavior and attitude. If more people "had a clue" and made a better effort to be careful about their handling and use of bags, this would result in the dramatic decrease in "bag" pollution everywhere. But his comments about marine life ingesting plastic is another separate issue. Plastic bits and pieces found in the infamous 'Pacific garbage patch' are primarily the remnants of fishing gear used in Asian countries, along with nets and other gear we (Hawaii and other Americans) find in our oceans and coastal waters. Japan, Korea, China, and others are notorious for using a variety of traps, nets, floats, and other associated gear in their coastal and pelagic fishing industries and when they 'break' or are lost, we end up seeing it all later in the rest of the ocean. THIS IS A DIFFERENT PROBLEM, UNRELATED TO PLASTIC BAG USE IN OUR GROCERY STORES. I do NOT disagree that this is a problem. It definitely is and we should do everything to encourage and support those Asian countries to shift away from the use off plastics in their fishing gear. But that is a diplomatic problem that is NOT for our state legislature or county councils to take up. Nor should people be compelled to believe that it will.change if we mandate the use of other types of bags. Lets stay focused on the REAL specific problems and the actual true sources of the the problem creation and then we might actually see tangible change. When environmentalists run around in circles screaming that the sky is falling, they actually do more harm than good in their pursuit of real social behavior changes. Clarity and truth FIRST....then we can discuss and accomplish anything!

read … The column if you’ve got nothing better to do

Solar Contractors Again Look to On Bill Financing

SA: Hawaiian Electric Co. last week gave renters and other residential customers, who might not have the money to buy a solar panel outright, some hope for relief. Under its proposed Simply Solar program, HECO and its subsidiaries, Hawaii Electric Light Co. on Hawaii island and Maui Electric Co., would basically front the costs for installing a solar water-heating panel on the rooftop and have the ratepayers pay off the cost in installments on their electric bills.

This is a form of "on-bill financing" that consumer groups and boosters of renewable energy have been seeking for years. And while they recognize the proposal as a step in the right direction, advocates say a much better program could be in the offing, with a little more study, possibly extending to more people and for a whole range of energy-saving systems and appliances.

The enactment of House Bill 1520 last spring directed the Public Utilities Commission to "investigate the viability of an on-bill financing program to allow electric utility company customers to finance purchases of renewable energy systems or energy efficient devices."

read … On Bill Financing

Luddites Gather at Legislature, scheme to Dispossess the People

"I'm here to help educate people about the need transition into a world in which growth is no longer going to occur. People need to re-skill themselves, learn how to grown their own food, take care of their own medical needs, provide their own energy, interact economically among themselves," said Lucas Wheeler of Transition Hawaii. (That’s what Pol Pot tried to do.)

Read … They will be Lords, We will be Peasants

OIP report Targets Kauai County information practices

KGI: The state Office of Information Practices states on its annual report released Wednesday that the county attorney should not have denied having records for an easement agreement and that a Kaua‘i County Council member should have been able to pose questions at a council meeting….

read … Kauai County

Church of Crossroads Gives Award to Funder of Anti-Semites, 9-11 Conspiracy Movement

Church of the Crossroads has selected Nancy Aleck, executive director of the Hawaii People’s Fund, as the recipient of its Peacemaker Award for 2011….

The fund supports organizations that might be too small, too new or too controversial (anti-Semites, 9-11 trooothers) for more traditional funding sources, and has disbursed grants of more than $425,000 to many organizations and projects.

Related: Conspiracy Nuts Pass Out Cash (Aleck gave money to group which claims Israelis carried out the 9-11 attacks)

read … Anti-Semitism is becoming Trendy

Hawaii Robotics teams kick off the 2012 season

KHON: It's Saturday afternoon, and students with the Farrington High school robotics team are hard at work.
Each team received a kit which included wheels, fasteners, wires and cables to build their robot.
"We also got something new this year we got the kinect for the xbox but what we're going to do with it is move the robot. If our robot's arm has to go up all we do hopefully is just put our arm up and the robot's arm will go up" says Travis Takashima, Farrington Robotics Coach.
This year's game is basketball.

News Release: Presidents Bush, Clinton to Address Opening of 2012 Hawaii Robotics Season

read … Robotics

 

 

Hawaiian Airlines inks deal with Orbitz

 

Orbitz Worldwide, Inc today announced that Hawaiian Airlines has entered into a multi-year partnership with Orbitz Worldwide Distribution, launching a private label solution to power both hotel and dynamic package bookings on the airline’s website, www.hawaiianairlines.com.

KGI: Hawaiian Air to offer two daily Kaua‘i-Maui flights

read … Hawaiian Orbitz

Isles rank No. 5 on list of top cruise destinations

SA: The state ranks fifth among early 2012 bookings with 2.78 percent of cruise-goers booking Hawaii for 2012, according to the Cruise Holidays 2012 Cruise Trends survey released Wednesday. That's an improvement over a seventh-place ranking in 2011 and a No. 8 ranking in 2010.

Still, the overwhelming favorite for cruise destinations is the Caribbean, with 59.88 percent of those surveyed picking that region, which also includes the Bahamas. The Caribbean also was first in the previous two years.

Europe, which includes the Mediterranean, Baltic, Scandinavia and Greek isles, ranks second for 2012 with 11.47 percent of bookings, followed by Alaska at 6.7 percent and Bermuda at 4.7 percent.

read … Food for the Corporatist State

Seminary grads led Hawaiian missions

Rebecca Howard, age 28, from Melrose Road and Baptist Corners, must have heard a missionary lecture preached at the Owasco Reformed Church. She was baptized and received as a member of the church in October of 1828. It was possibly here in the church in Owasco that she met Harvey Rexford Hitchcock, who several years later became her husband.

The year 1831 was an important year for the couple. Harvey graduated from Auburn Theological Seminary in 1831, married Howard on Aug. 26, and he was ordained a minister on Sept. 30. The newlyweds of three months left family and home to sail with the fifth company to Hawaii from New Bedford, Mass. on Nov. 26 on the whaler Averick.

They arrived at Honolulu on May 17, 1832, after a voyage of 173 days. The Hitchcocks began their ministry on the island of Molokai, and were stationed at Kaluaaha. The church Harvey Rexford Hitchcock established is now a historic landmark, and the first church on the island of Molokai. You can visit the website for the church he built and his grave site at the Kaluaaha church …. LINK

Read ... Seminary


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