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Saturday, April 24, 2010
April 24, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:48 PM :: 7232 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

LINK>>>Abercrombie: My “emanations” will make DoE serve students first

LINK>>>Legislature shoots down Aerospace Office after Hawaii signs agreement with NASA

LINK>>>House Republican Budget funds clean energy without tax hike

LINK>>>Akaka votes for Federal Value Added Tax-modeled on Hawaii GE Tax (Inouye opposes)

Bill to move up Hawaii’s illegal 2012 primary date

(Hawaii Democrats scheduled the State’s primary elections to be the latest in the nation because obviously the later a primary is, the greater the benefit to the majority party.  Now a federal law is forcing them to move it up 5 weeks—still very late.)

Moving the primary election is being done to satisfy a recently enacted federal law requiring states to distribute absentee ballots to overseas and military voters at least 45 days before the 2010 general election. The law is intended to give those voters more time to complete and return the ballots.

Hawaii's Sept. 18 primary is exactly 45 days before the Nov. 2 general election, which does not allow enough time to certify the primary results and send out general election ballots.

Senate Bill 2397 would move the primary to the second Saturday in August, but the change would not take effect until after this year.

HB 239: Moves the date of the primary election to the second Saturday in August. Requires nomination papers to be filed by 4:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday in June. Effective January 2011.  (This nearly doubles the length of the General Election Campaign season, placing greater focus on the champions of competing parties and less focus on the inter-Democrat Primary competition.)

In the meantime, the state Office of Elections is awaiting a waiver from the Defense Department's Federal Voting Assistance Program to hold the election in September. If the waiver is not granted, officials say the state will likely agree to a judicial order to extend the current deadline for general election absentee ballots for several days beyond Nov. 2.

Moving up the primary also would speed up the candidate filing deadline to June 2 from July 20.

RELATED: Hawaii's 2010 election schedule violates new federal law

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Lawmakers raid the Hurricane Relief Fund to end Furlough Fridays in a frenzy of actions to offset a $1.7 billion shortfall

Tax measures acted on by the state House and Senate last night:

Passed
» Use $67 million from the Hurricane Relief Fund to end Furlough Fridays
» Delay $275 million in state income tax refunds
» Increase the oil barrel tax to $1.05 from 5 cents (adding 2.5 cents to a gallon of gasoline)
» Increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 20 cents.

Failed
» Increase the 4 percent general excise tax to 5 percent

ADV: Hotel-room tax revenue won't be used for state budget deficit

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Lawmakers Approve $67 Million To End Furloughs

(This is a lot closer to Lingle’s $62M than the HSTA/DoE/BoE’s $92M.)

Among them was union shill Marguerite Higa who had been arrested last week for trespassing during a sleep in protest about the furloughs at the governor's office.

"Now it is time to call all the parties back together to work out an agreement and get the kids back to school," said Higa.

(That’s funny, just last week Higa and the other union shills were saying they had settled the furlough issue and that only the Governor and Lt Gov Aiona were standing in the way.  Now suddenly the Legislature has voted to fund the Govs plan and rejected the HSTA/BoE/DoE/shills plan.  And Higa & co expect nobody to notice.)

ADV: Hawaii hurricane fund may be tapped to end teacher furloughs

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Group of union shills urges gov to fund education (debunked)

Lingle wants to spend only $62 million and does not want "nonessential workers" returned to work.

Higa said Lingle officials excluded bus transportation and utilities from their proposal and that the nonessential workers are really needed, including librarians, clinical psychologists and social workers.

"They are not optional employees," Higa said. (lining up 100% with the HSTA position)

Lingle's senior policy adviser, Linda Smith, said there are no funds available to fund the remaining three Furlough Fridays.

Smith said $35 million in federal stimulus money has already been committed to improving education.

Smith said that contrary to Save Our Schools' assertion, the $62 million Lingle proposed to spend did include bus transportation and utilities.  (Lie busted)

She said Lingle received the list of nonessential workers from the state Department of Education during labor talks with the teachers union last year.

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Legislature advances constitutional amendment for appointed BoE 

The committee also passed a measure that would require the Hawaii State Board of Education to be appointed by Gov. Linda Lingle. The board's appointment has been a contentious issue as the governor and the teachers' union continue to disagree over how to end Furlough Fridays.

House Bill 2377 would give the governor the power to appoint the board of education, whose members are currently elected by voters. The board decides educational policy and puts together the budget for the state department of education.

Both measures still need to be approved by the Legislature. If the amendment is approved, it would go on the ballot in November.

(Who will organize a PAC to defeat the HSTA’s spending against this measure?)

Status: HB2377

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Once Hawaii Was The Educational Leader

And by the 1840s Hawaii was the most literate nation on Earth.  Then we established the DoE . . .

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Advertiser tells Honolulu homeless to move tents onto sidewalks in legal loophole created by ACLU

Yesterday, several advocates and urban Honolulu residents said they had noticed more people living in tents or makeshift shelters on sidewalks recently.  (And the Advertiser is eager to spread the word) But advocates also pointed out that the ban prompted a good number of people to move into homeless shelters or to get on waiting lists for shelters.  (And we’ve got to stop that trend so we can get more grant money.)

Utu Langi, whose nonprofit manages the state-funded Next Step shelter in Kaka'ako, said his outreach workers have helped 10 people who moved onto the sidewalks in Kaka'ako because of the tent ban get into homeless shelters or start the process. Right now, Next Step has no room, he said.

The emergency shelters run by the Institute for Human Services do, though. Yesterday its men's shelter on Sumner Street had space for about 75. Its women's shelter on Ka'aahi Street had space for 25. IHS also has room for one family.

Connie Mitchell, IHS executive director, said more people are coming in for shelter following the tents ban.

"We're trying to get the word out," Mitchell said.

More homeless people setting up on walkways as a result of the bans could reignite a debate on whether to outlaw sleeping on sidewalks. Last year the City Council tabled a measure to ban sleeping or sitting on sidewalks, after hearing concerns from the American Civil Liberties Union and advocates for the homeless.

City Councilman Charles Djou, who introduced the measure, said he still supports a ban and thinks the council should take it up again. He added, though, that council members probably wouldn't reconsider the ban until this summer.

"I think this is something we need to do," he said.

read more

Maui judge tosses charges tied to alleged pot trafficking under cover of medical marijuana

WAILUKU — Saying there was a flaw in the procedure used to obtain a grand jury indictment, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza on Thursday dismissed charges against six defendants in an alleged marijuana trafficking operation tied to a Paia-based medical marijuana advocacy group.

He said the only error was Kamita's testimony that Murphy did not have a valid medical marijuana card at the time.

Because of that testimony, attorney Chris Dunn said his client Murphy was prejudiced by being "portrayed as a complete scofflaw."

Murphy did have an active card, Tate said. But he said that in two raids, police found Murphy with "pounds of marijuana, well in excess of the statutes" limiting the amount of marijuana that a patient can have.

Because the dismissal was without prejudice, the prosecution could again seek an indictment in the case.

Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Tate said that will be done.

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Health officials urge lawmakers to spare anti-smoking programs

Officials fear that lawmakers trying to find every last nickel and dime to fund the state budget may be tempted to tap into tobacco settlement money and cut the tobacco control programs, which are proving effective.

"With the legislative session under way, the threat to the tobacco control programs is real," Weisman said. "Tobacco costs spread throughout our community. Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the state. It's a small investment."

(The State is now senior partner in the tobacco business, expect them to act to enhance revenues.)

read more

Isles hailed for shielding patients from bad doctors

Hawaii's national ranking for "doctor discipline" has jumped from 51st to 10th since 2001-2003, says Public Citizen.

It is one of five states with the most improvement and one of the top 10 with the highest disciplinary rates to protect health care consumers.

"Before that (ie when Democrats controlled Governor’s office) it was really embarrassing," said Constance Cabral, executive officer of the Board of Medical Examiners, citing concerns from doctors about "other physicians practicing who shouldn't be."

read more

Hawaii had 7 ‘mass layoffs’ in March

The March layoffs resulted in 534 workers losing their jobs, as measured by new claims for unemployment insurance during the month.

That’s up from a year ago, when Hawaii reported 376 new claims for unemployment insurance.

The Labor Department defines a mass layoff as occurring when there are 50 or more initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits from one employer during a five-week period, with at least 50 workers separated for more than 30 days. It does not specify where the layoffs occurred.
read more

Embattled Liquor Commission Admin. Resigns

Kim told KITV that in the four years he has headed the Liquor Commission, employees and others have filed roughly 30 complaints against him. Kim said he has been cleared in all of the cases, but admits several complaints are still being investigated.

Kim said he is the victim of bogus charges brought by employees upset by his reforms, like cracking down on overtime.

"We're in the process of confirming an investigator. It's going to be an independent. I can say that. We want to make sure it's a very fair, fair issue, because we want to be fair to all sides," Enomoto said.

Kim told KITV he "fully intended on leaving (the commission) fairly soon anyway. This stuff is no fun."

Unlike the administrators of the three neighbor island liquor commissions, Kim holds a civil service position, with lots of job protection. So liquor commissioners cannot just decide to fire him.

"As a civil service employee, there's a long, arduous grievance process that's inefficient, and I think is not the most effective way to run an agency. I think it's far better to have the chief administrator hired and fired by the Liquor Commission," Councilman Charles Djou said.

ADV: Liquor agency exec resigns

SB: Liquor Commission administrator resigns

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Inefficiencies found in Maui County’s fleet--$24.3m in waste

WAILUKU - The county has about one vehicle for every two employees and owns an estimated 350 small vehicles that are more than 10 years old, according to a review by the Cost of Government Commission.

The county's fleet totals 1,268 vehicles, according to the commission report. Of that amount, 1,132 are small vehicles like cars, pickup trucks and vans.

Commissioners made no findings about the abuse of take-home vehicles by county employees. But they found that it's "probable" a number of circumstances exist in Maui County that would create the potential for abuse, such as vague policies, lack of centralized control, a relative surplus of vehicles, financially stressed employees and "reluctance on the part of senior management to address abuses because of concerns about 'past practice' issues that might be raised by the union."

The commission proposed a two-year "comprehensive vehicle control and cost-reduction plan," and estimated that it could save the county up to $24.3 million.

read more

Herkes: Why no water for Ocean View?

Hawaii's House of Representatives wants to know what happened to the $6 million the state gave to Hawaii County to build an Ocean View-Kahuku water system.

House members Thursday night adopted a resolution authorizing the creation of a committee to investigate and audit the county's semi-autonomous Department of Water Supply.

Exactly four years ago, the department received the state money to develop a well and storage system large enough to service four water-hauling trucks simultaneously.

Well construction was finished about two years ago.

"I think it's time we got to shake them up and just find out what the hell is going on," said state Rep. Bob Herkes, D-Puna, Ka'u, Kona.

Herkes said he introduced the resolution last week, leaving too little time to seek the Senate's support.

(This is how Bob Herkes launches his campaign for reelection every two years—by finding something to make a fuss about.)

read more

Islands push for Obama library

Which Obama-related Honolulu site should host the library?

  • The Vietnam war deserters' sanctuary church Obama attended while McCain was being tortured in Hanoi?
  • Frank Marshall Davis’ Waikiki dope & poetry pad?
  • Smith Street, home of the hooker bars Gramps took the 10 year old Obama to visit?
  • A favorite hangout of Obama's Punahou “Choom gang”?

read more


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