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Monday, January 23, 2012
January 23, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:58 PM :: 9978 Views :: Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

HB127: Will Legislature Vote to Keep HMC Hospitals Closed?

Heritage Foundation to Tour Honolulu, Laie, Kona, Hilo Jan 31-Feb 2

Lingle: Officer Davis Put his Life in Jeopardy to Save Others

FULL TEXT: State of the State Speech

Star-Adv: Second-Time Felony Dope Pushers Should Get Probation, Not Prison

Authors of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative's eight-month study have gained the ear of Abercrombie, state legislators and the judiciary with changes that would reduce the number of prison inmates by paroling prisoners who qualify as low risks for recidivism. It also would limit prison time for violating conditions of parole to six months and give judges discretion in sentencing second-time felony drug possession offenders to either prison or probation. (Instead of mandatory prison sentences.)

Related: Kaneshiro: "These guys don't want supervision. They are dangerous. You've got to keep them incarcerated"

Maui News: Millionaire Meth Addict with 23-year rap sheet Gets Five Years for Multiple Burglaries

read … Stop Prison Overcrowding, Let the Criminals Run Loose

Was Rejected Contract's Performance Pay Really Performance Pay?

CB: Performance pay linked to annual evaluations was often cited by Hawaii teachers as one of the key reasons for rejecting a proposed 6-year contract with the state.

Performance pay and annual evaluations were critical to the state because without them it couldn't live up to the commitments it made to win a $75 million Race to the Top grant from the federal Department of Education.

But what's ironic is that the performance pay schedule in the rejected contract set the bar low and may even have missed the point of performance-based pay altogether, a national expert told Civil Beat.

"It sounds like Hawaii's putting its toe in the water but isn't really trying to make waves by really differentiating between who's effective and who's not," said Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Council on Teacher Quality….

n the contract rejected Thursday, Hawaii promised teachers a 1 percent salary increase for every annual evaluation from 2014 to 2017 in which they received an "effective" rating or better. The annual evaluation had not been developed before the vote, but the tentative agreement with the teachers union stated that half of it would have been based on "teacher practice indicators" and half on teachers' contribution to student learning and growth.

But Jacobs questioned the merits of the approach.

"If it's supposed to be something that everybody gets, why don't you just call it their salary, because that's what it is," Jacobs said.

In most performance pay systems, pay raises are used as an incentive and reward for excellence. However, in the system proposed by Hawaii, all teachers with an effective or higher rating would have received exactly the same raise.

That smacks of being almost identical to a step increase, especially given that it wasn't known how many teachers could receive a rating of "highly effective" or "effective," or the two lower ratings, "marginal" and "unsatisfactory."

read … Was Rejected Contract's Performance Pay Really Performance Pay?

Victory could derail $5.27 billion project

If the former governor wins and refuses to fund rail transit, money and jobs may disappear….

read … Money and Jobs Pitch

Hawaii lawmakers to decide on appropriations for organ transplants

AP: House and Senate leaders will decide this afternoon on details of a measure that could appropriate $3 million to assist Queens Hospital in opening a new transplant center.
Governor Abercrombie is expected to release Emergency appropriation funds to support kidney and liver transplants in the state.

read … Now that HMC is gone

Ed Case Launches First TV Ad

 

Former Rep. Ed Case has released a look at his first TV ad, a positive spot in which he casts himself as an effective leader. Case remains an underdog against Rep. Mazie Hirono, the Democratic frontrunner in the Senate race who had an impressive fourth quarter fundraising period. Case has not yet released his fourth quarter figures.

read … Hotline

Barrel Tax: Billionaire’s Flunkey Complains about Money, Power and Politics Shaping Public Policy

Money, Power, Politics: For instance Pierre Omidyar funds James Koshiba's Kanu Hawaii, Kanu lobbies for a barrel tax to boost the price of all oil imported to Hawaii to $100/barrel. The politicians fortunately don't go along, but the people are made to pay for the billionaire's 'alternative' energy pipe dreams anyway. And finally Pierre Omidyar's Civil Beat helps Kanu and Koshiba burnish their image by publishing this vacuous column. That's a really good example of how Money, Power, and Politics are pushing middle class people out of Hawaii.

read … Money, Power and Politics Shape Public Policy

Green Energy Scammers: Triple Barrel tax to Pay us to Cook Up More Scams

Blue Planet Foundation: Two years ago the Legislature boldly passed a $1 per barrel tax on most oil imported into Hawaii. The idea was to tax the source of our problem — oil — to fund solutions. More than half of the revenue from the oil tax, however, was diverted to fill a puka in the state budget. It's time for lawmakers to align the tax with the policy's original intent and dedicate the barrel tax to energy and food security programs. The state energy office, tasked with researching, planning, and implementing the transition to clean energy, was solely funded by federal stimulus dollars. As those dollars run out, a new source is needed.

According to three separate surveys (typical push-polls) commissioned by Blue Planet, more than two-thirds of Hawaii residents support paying an additional amount on their energy bills (approximately a $3 per barrel tax) if the revenue was dedicated to clean energy solutions. Our current energy challenges warrant increasing the barrel tax to $2 per barrel or more and expanding the tax to Hawaii's other fossil fuel source, coal. An equivalent carbon tax on coal would yield about $5 million in revenue for the critical efforts to promote energy and food security.

read … Squeeze the Middle class to Pay for the Eco-Elite

House Labor Committee Tightens Secrecy on Public Employees

CB: The committee on Friday still did significant damage to the public interest when it passed a measure that would keep secret a worker's education and training background, previous work experience and state or county employment dates.

This falls in the category of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

The current law requires automatic disclosure of such things as name, job description, length of employment, education, qualifications, previous work experience and type of appointment, among other things.

It’s been on the books since 1988 and came after a blue-ribbon panel called the Governor’s Committee on Public Records and Privacy considered in great depth the proper balance between disclosure of information that greatly affects the public and the privacy rights of state employees. The committee came down on the side of full disclosure of information that would be on anyone’s resume — prior experience and education, for instance — but decided that allowing public inspection of personnel files would be where they would draw the line.

CB: Think Hawaii's Tough on Ethics? Try Iowa

CB: Can Honolulu Council Members Talk in Private About Proposed Laws?

read … Secrecy

Lack of financing stalls high school in South Maui

SA: State Department of Education officials are planning to build a high school on 77 acres of pastureland in South Maui, the island's most populated region, within the next several years. But the department is still looking at ways to meet construction financing — an estimated $120 million in the first phase completed by 2016 and $30 million for the second phase in 2025.

"We're pretty much poised to go … but without the money, we can't do much to get it off the ground," said Robert Purdie, the department's coordinator for the project.

State Sen. Rosalyn Baker said she plans to ask legislators this year to authorize general obligation bonds to provide some money for infrastructure, including grading and utilities.

Baker (D, South Maui-West Maui) said financing the infrastructure now would lower the cost for a future builder that might enter into a private/public partnership with the state to develop the high school. She said in the past, legislators authorized $20 million toward the high school, and some of that money has been spent in the study and design of the project and acquisition of the land.

The department recently submitted a draft environmental impact statement study to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. Written comments about it may be submitted by Feb. 5.

read … Kihei HS 

Human Trafficking Legislation Faces Triple Hearings

Radio Australia: XIAN: We have just started, legislature opened last Wednesday, so right now is the hearing process for the bills and most of the bills have been signed. Three hearings as opposed to two which is a bit of a battle.

Listen: Windows Media

DN: Hawaii shame: Human trafficking bills face triple referrals while problem continues

read … Interview With Kathy Xian

Five Ag Bills Before Legislature

CB: Local Food Targets (bill pending introduction): Farmers are banding together to pressure the state to get serious about local food production. Hawaii imports 85 percent to 90 percent of its food…..

Invasive Species (bills pending introduction): Hawaii is often referred to as the invasive species capital of the world. Out of the 400 species that are classified as endangered or threatened under federal law, about 370 of them are found in Hawaii, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service….

Ag Theft — House Bill 1524: Vandalism and theft cost local farmers about $12 million annually, according to Rep. Clift Tsuji, chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, who is working to increase penalties and tighten enforcement measures for the crimes….

Livestock Feed — House Bill 1540: The bill would subsidize feed costs by up to $250,000 for qualified producers….

Food Safety — Senate Bill 2096: Many of the large supermarkets require farmers to obtain costly food safety certifications. For smaller operations the cost can be prohibitive. A bill is being proposed that would cut the costs by enabling the Department of Agriculture to process the certifications for farmers….

HR: DO “LOCALS” BELONG IN HAWAII: How Invasive Species Control is Threatening Local Culture

read … Ag Bills

As Foreclosure Bills Propose Amendment, Lawyers Suddenly Say They’re Ready to Mediate

SA: Mediators trained in foreclosure issues were supposed to be a key element in a solution to help struggling Hawaii homeowners avoid foreclosure through a program state lawmakers created last year via a new law.

The plan, however, had flaws, and to date no one has been able to seek mediation under the law enacted eight months ago.

But two initiatives being advanced outside the Legislature could help accomplish the goal of resolving significant numbers of foreclosures through mediation in Hawaii.

The initiatives also stand to ease a swelling caseload of foreclosures in state court, which was generated by adverse reaction to the new law and threatens to bog down the judicial system.

“I’m real hopeful,” said George Zweibel, a former legal aid consumer lawyer now representing borrowers in foreclosure. “If (mediation) gets adopted it’ll do real good.”

read … Lawyers

U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet changes command

Adm. Cecil D. Haney took command of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet from Adm. Patrick Walsh during a ceremony, Jan. 20, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert presided over the ceremony. He welcomed Haney and praised Walsh for his leadership during his time as the Pacific Fleet commander.

read … Pacific Fleet

Monsanto Responds as Maui Occupy Group Launches Demonstration

MN: Monsanto Hawaii Community Affairs Director, Paul Koehler responded to the planned demonstrations saying that while the company respects everyone’s right to voice their opinion, he said, “It’s unfortunate that a number of misleading and factually incorrect statements about Monsanto and genetically engineered crops continue to circulate.”

Related: The Future of Fraud

read … Occupy Attacks Progress

Eco Religion Still Claiming Ocean is Becoming Acidic

Scientists looked at changes in the saturation level of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate used to measure ocean acidification. As seawater acidity rises, the saturation level of aragonite falls.

In several key coral reef regions aragonite saturation is already five times below its lowest pre-industrial range, according to the model. (Model??? In other words, none of this is based on any actual measurements. What a surprise!)

read … Emissions link to ocean acid levels

Geothermal test will pour water into volcano to make power

AP: Geothermal energy developers plan to pump 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in central Oregon this summer to demonstrate technology they hope will give a boost to a green energy sector that has yet to live up to its promise.

read … Geothermal

Anahola DHHL Land is Home of Hawaii’s Largest Industrial Solar development

Work on the largest Hawaiian solar project has now been launched by KIUC and REC Solar. The 12-megawatt solar project is to be located on Hawaiian Homelands in Anahola on the northeast side of Kauai.

Originally formed in August of 2011, the partnership between the Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC) — the tax exempt development arm of the Anahola Hawaiian Homes Association of Kauai — and KIUC originally explored the feasibility of such a project to see if it would be mutually beneficial to the co-op, the people of Kauai, and the Hawaiian Home Land Trust.

Apparently, it was determined that it was. December saw REC Solar awarded the contract, which will, upon completion, bring KIUC’s integrated solar capacity to nearly 20 MW and provide the two their second opportunity to work together — previously, they collaborated on a 1.21-MW system in Kapaa.

read … Hawaiʻi’s Largest Solar Project Awarded Go-Ahead

JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines sign partnership; lets passengers fly on both carriers on 1 ticket

JetBlue Airways Corp. and Hawaiian Airlines have formed a partnership that will allow passengers to fly on both carriers’ flights on a single ticket.

The deal, which is expected to be formally announced later Monday, follows Hawaiian Airlines’ announcement of plans to add New York service direct from its home base in Honolulu starting in June.

read … Nonstop to JFK


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