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Monday, July 02, 2012
July 2, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:41 PM :: 9508 Views :: Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Pay to Play: Will Cayetano Retaliate Against Hirono?

DoE to Face Larger Bus Shortfall Next Year

CB: "Our concern is it's easy, relatively speaking, to cover the shortfall this year, but what do we do the following year? These one-time sources may not be available," DOE Assistant Superintendent Randy Moore said Saturday.

Indeed, Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi told the board earlier this month that the district has been advised there will be a significant drop in Impact Aid money next year.

Last board meeting, the department proposed a plan that would have impacted 3,849 students. The number has steadily dropped since February when school officials projected 17,000 kids would be scrambling to find other transportation….

The DOE expects a $10.5 million shortfall next year for student transportation services, Moore said.

Discussions have been underway to address it with a three-pronged approach, he said. This plan involves hiring a consultant to eke out more efficiencies and continue to look at further route consolidations; stagger school start times to reduce the number of buses needed; and change the solicitation for bus contracts to give companies the option of leasing buses from the state.

"I'm reasonably confident we can squeeze that $10.5 million out by doing this," Moore said. "But whether we can do it in one year, I'm less confident."

read … Collusion rewarded and protected

CB: Council District 1 Candidates Answer Survey

Retired Marine will oversee DOE facilities, support services

SA: L'Heureux steps into the position at a time of big changes for his office: The DOE recently announced it would conduct a comprehensive master plan of school facilities, and cuts to school bus service will go into effect in the coming school year.

"I love challenges," L'Heureux said. "And I love being part of a process and a system that's really, at the end of the day, bringing on a transformation for Hawaii public schools."

His first order of business, he said, will be talking to the directors of divisions in his office to understand their biggest obstacles. L'Heureux said he also sat down with Moore several times over the past week to find out "what keeps him up at night" and what initiatives are under way.

L'Heureux, 51, said while still in the military he had been stationed in the islands off and on for more than a decade and decided to retire here. His two children both attended public schools and graduated from Kalaheo High.

From May 2010 to August 2011, L'Heureux (pronounced LaRue) served as special envoy for the commanding general, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and previously was chief of staff at Marine Forces Pacific at Camp Smith.

read … Retired Marine will oversee DOE facilities, support services

Visa waivers Likely to Boost tourism from Taiwan

SA: Tourism to the United States from this country of 23 million people will take off next year when the Taiwanese no longer need visas, a Foreign Ministry official told a group of visiting journalists.

Taiwan and U.S. officials said the country will likely be granted visa waiver status by the end of this year.

Hawaii Tourism Authority marketing vice president David Uchiyama said that if that happens, Taiwanese airlines may resume direct flights between Honolulu and Taipei.

About 20,000 tourists from Taiwan visit Hawaii annually, Uchiyama said.

He expects the growth in visitors from Taiwan to be similar to South Korea, which received visa waiver status in October 2008.

The number of South Korean tourists to Hawaii has more than tripled since then. About 40,000 South Koreans a year visited Hawaii when visas were required. Now, Hawaii gets about 145,000 South Korean visitors a year.

read … Visa Waivers

Obama’s RIMPAC Slap at China Could Hurt Tourism

SA: A record number of nations are participating in the Rim of the Pacific war game, as the Obama administration embarks on a new policy to increase the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Not invited in the exercise is China, a snub that some observers regard as escalation of tensions in Asia. The administration should be careful not to be seen as entering a new cold war.

Asian experts in the U.S. disagree about the new policy. While Charles E. Morrison, president of the East-West Center based in Honolulu, says U.S.-China economic relations are "flourishing," Mark J. Valencia, for 26 years a senior fellow at the center, sees Obama's new policy as "aggressive, very assertive and kind of our-way-or-the-highway type of situation."

The military front, however, is not the only broach in China's direction. The Obama administration also has formed an aggressive policy economically, saying the U.S. wants more visitors from China: "We want them spending money here. It's good for the economy, and it will help provide the boost more businesses need to grow and hire."

The question is whether the administration can have it both ways. Combining the increase in U.S. military presence in Asia while excluding China from a free-trade block the U.S. is negotiating in the region carries a deeper economic risk that the Obama administration should avoid.

read … Another Obama Failure

22 nations assemble for military exercise

SAS: Participating nations in the biennial RIMPAC totaled eight in 2002; seven in 2004; eight in 2006; 10 in 2008; 14 in 2010; and 22 this year. Exercises started Friday and run through Aug. 3 in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

The 25,000 personnel, 40 ships, six submarines and more than 200 aircraft that will participate in RIMPAC are largely in place. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is expected to arrive today.

Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, Singapore and the United States are among the nations in this year's RIMPAC.

Military personnel from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and the United Kingdom also will be taking part.

Russia, long the United States' Cold War adversary, is participating this year for the first time. So are India, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, Norway and Tonga, said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charlie Brown, a RIMPAC spokesman.

A small Chinese contingent did observe RIMPAC in 1998, the Navy said. But certain direct military-to-military contact with China is prohibited under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2000.

read … RIMPAC

Former police chief revived law enforcement collaboration

SA: Correa said Gibb's leadership was instrumental in improving the relationship between local, state and federal agencies.

"He rejuvenated that whole structure and brought it back," he said. "That was one of his key things that he did."

Former Police Chief Lee Donohue said that as a captain, Gibb was a key figure in the department's 1977 Operation Hukilau, a sting aided by the FBI in which the department set up a false storefront to buy back stolen goods and put an end to petty theft.

According to the FBI's website, the operation went on for a year and a half and led to the resolution of more than 500 burglary, theft and robbery cases, 22 indictments on federal charges and 108 local arrests.

read … Gibb

A&B, Matson Split Complete

News Release: …shareholders as of 5:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, as of the record date of June 18, 2012, received one share of common stock of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. for every share of Alexander & Baldwin Holdings, Inc.

Matson also announced that its Board of Directors declared a third quarter 2012 dividend of $0.15 per common share. The dividend is payable on September 6, 2012 to Matson shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 2, 2012.

read … Split

Japan Begins Restating Nukes

AP: Crowds of tens of thousands of people have gathered on Friday evenings around Noda’s official residence, chanting, “Saikado hantai,” or “No to nuclear restarts.” Protests drawing such numbers are extremely rare in this nation, often known for orderly conformity. A demonstration in Tokyo protesting the restart and demanding Noda resign was planned in a major park Sunday.

Although initially ignored by mainstream local media, demonstrations across the country have grown as word spread through social media, sometimes drawing Japanese celebrities including Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe and Ryuichi Sakamoto, who composed the score for the movie “The Last Emperor.”

All 50 of Japan’s working reactors were gradually turned off in the wake of last year’s massive earthquake and tsunami, which sent the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into multiple meltdowns, setting off the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

But worries about a power crunch over the hot summer months have been growing. Oil imports are soaring. Officials have warned about blackouts in some regions.

read … They’re Actors and singers, they are smarter than nuclear engineers

Hawaii The Most Expensive Places To Build A Luxury Vacation Home

In Hawaii, the job would cost $1,300 per square foot. In Malibu, Calif. it would cost $1,170, followed by Palm Beach where the construction would cost $1,105 per square foot.

The study looked at overall project costs, including construction, building materials, architectural and consultant fees and even permitting.

The cheapest places to build a luxury summer home are Lake Geneva, WI ($618 per square foot) and Kiawah Island, SC ($585 per square foot).

Read …..$1300 psf


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