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Saturday, March 28, 2009
March 28, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:32 AM :: 8164 Views :: Agriculture, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Hawaii Card Check Bill Advancing

Hawaii state lawmakers are moving a measure forward (SB1621 SD1 HD1) that would deny workers a secret ballot when voting whether or not to unionize a place of business.

Known as card check, any business could be unionized if more than fifty percent of workers agree to sign a card indicating their support. A worker’s choice would be visible for anyone to see.

(The mafia will come and shake down employers by threatening to card-check them....)

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Lingle: ‘No possibility' of public schools shutting down early  (Liar Hamamoto busted second day in a row)

Earlier in the week, Superintendent Hamamoto expressed concerns that public schools may be forced to shut down a month early.

"As a responsible person, I need to let people know what are the different consequences and choices that are facing the department and all our schools and our students," she said.

But Gov. Lingle says that is not even an option.

"Can you assure the public that school's aren't going to close?" asked KHNL.

"Oh, yes," she said.  "There's no possibility that schools will close.  Again that was just, I guess she just panicked.  We need to just get back to calmness and let parents have the assurance that schools will not end early. There's no possibility of that happening. We wouldn't let it happen."

The governor says federal stimulus money fill the entire gap, which means public schools will not lose a single penny.

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Superferry workers, supporters hold rally in Kahului

About 40 people, including some former employees, held signs with messages such as "Save The Hawaii Superferry" along Kaahumanu Avenue. Motorists honked as they passed supporters lined up near Puunene Avenue, within sight of Kahului Harbor, where Superferry once docked.  "We have been kind of a silent majority," said Kula resident Traci Giordano Silva, who helped organize the rally. "We want the Alakai back."

With an online petition growing from about 90 to nearly 3,000 in the days since the high court decision was handed down, "we're going to keep the momentum going," Giordano Silva said.  Her mother was among 39 Maui employees, most of them hourly workers, who lost their jobs when the Superferry stopped its operations last week.

"We'll continue to have rallies and try to do some lobbying," Giordano Silva said. "We want people to know we're out there."

Maui News: Photos of Rally "Superferry is wheelchair-friendly"  (Quite a contrast to the anti-Superferry protesters' slogan: "stupid ferry, stupid riders.")

Link to: SIGN PETITION

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Alakai heading for Alabama

The company would not comment yesterday on whether the Alakai will return to Hawai'i.

Hawaii Superferry earlier said it planned to retrofit the vessel with a vehicle loading ramp. A Honolulu Harbor shipping schedule shows the Alakai departing tomorrow, but the company said the vessel will leave "as soon as preparations are completed," which could be as early as today.  (Note: A ramp would mean the barge is unnecessary.  And without the barge there is no 'harbor improvement' to trigger an EIS.)

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Hawaii joblessness at 30-year high: 6.5%

Hawai'i's unemployment rate climbed to its highest level in more than three decades last month as 6.5 percent of the state's workforce was idled.  Figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows unemployment more than doubled from the 3.1 percent seasonally adjusted rate a year earlier.  The jobless rate was the highest since October 1978, when unemployment hit 6.6 percent as high inflation dampened state and national economies.

Hawai'i's unemployment rate has been steadily rising since the second half of last year as a troublesome economic downturn took a toll on jobs. In February, Maui Land & Pineapple Co. announced 98 layoffs, and several well-known restaurants closed, including Nick's Fishmarket, E&O Trading Co. and Brew Moon.

 

  • Hawai'i and Kaua'i counties had the worst unemployment of the state's major islands at 9.1 percent. Kaua'i's rate has more than tripled during the past year.
  • Maui's unemployment more than doubled to 7.7 percent.
  • Moloka'i continued to have the worst unemployment at 12.9 percent (thanks Walter Ritte and Colette Machado), while Lana'i came in at 7.7 percent.

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    OHA, Enviros vs Water for Maui residents

    WAILUKU - A draft environmental impact statement lays out A&B Properties' plans to develop a $30 million water treatment plant in Wailuku that would draw 9 million gallons per day from Waihee Ditch and turn it into safe drinking water for Central and South Maui residents.

    The additional supply of water would reduce the need to tap as much underground water from the Iao aquifer, which supplies most of the fresh water for the Central Maui system. And the water treatment plant would pave the way for more real estate development.

    But the review of the proposed facility's environmental impacts comes as there's an ongoing dispute over the fate of the stream water being sought to supply the plant. The state Commission on Water Resource Management is considering a petition to set instream flow standards in Na Wai Eha, the four streams (Waihee, Waiehu, Iao and Waikapu) that flow out of the West Maui watershed. In 2003, the commission approved a petition to designate the surface waters as a state water management district. The designation requires all existing users to apply for permits to take water from the streams. Currently, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., a subsidiary of A&B, uses West Maui ditch water to irrigate its sugar cane fields.

    Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake, who represents groups seeking instream flow standards for West Maui, was critical this week of A&B's continued work on planning for the water treatment facility.

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    Hawaii mayors oppose proposal to divert all hotel tax to state

    A bill authored by state House Speaker Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise) would suspend the distribution of transient accommodations tax, or TAT, revenues to the counties starting July 1.

    (This is Calvin Say's game to make somebody, either State or County, raise taxes....)

    Honolulu receives an average of $48 million a year in TAT revenue, and the possibility of losing a total of $300 million over the proposed six-year period is unacceptable, officials said.

    Related: West Hawaii Today editorial

    Legislature is poised to raid county funds and drive your taxes higher....This measure deserves a quick death at the hands of senators who can see the folly in creating financial misery for the counties -- and its ensuing hardship upon all state residents -- through this lazy approach to balancing state budgetary needs at the expense of county budgets. Raiding one of their primary revenue sources and driving up deficits is not governing.
    Speak out against HB1744 now, submit testimony online (
    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony/) or call Sen. Russell Kokubun (586-6760, fax 586-6689), who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, where this bill will be heard Friday.

    read more

    Experts Gather to Save (take control of) the Ocean

    Over 150 marine experts from 30 countries around the world have gathered in Maui, Hawaii, this week to build plans for networks of protected areas....

    The world ocean occupies three times the surface area of the land and, including its great depth, contains the vast majority of Earth's wildlife habitats. Yet the sea has far less protection than the land. Compared to 12% of the land in protected areas and parks only 0.65% of the sea surface has some form of even modest protection, and only 0.08% is highly protected.

    WDCS is now calling for 12 large Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and MPA Networks, to be set aside by law by 2012....

    Five of the outstanding Pacific MPAs, the largest MPAs on Earth (ranging in size from 246,624 sq km to 410,500 sq km) are each larger than the total land area of Great Britain (244,820 sq km).

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    Molokai Dispatch: On health and safety, GM foods’ record speaks for itself

    Genetically engineered foods, also known as biotech foods, were first commercialized in the mid-1990s, well over a decade ago. Since that time, people have eaten billions of servings of food containing one or more biotech ingredients, and there has not been a single substantiated instance of illness or harm associated with the research and technology that went into developing those foods – not one.  (But that isn't stopping the enviros from trying to shut down Monsanto, Molokai's last major private employer....)

    RELATED: The Future of Fraud

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    Shuttle astronauts stimulate students

    Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery inspired more than a dozen Hawaii students yesterday to study science, including some who said they now want to work in space themselves.

    The seven-person Discovery crew answered questions from 20 public- and private-school students via video link from 200 miles above Earth on their way back from the International Space Station.

    The students took time away from their spring break vacations to talk with the astronauts from an auditorium at Punahou's middle school. Punahou is President Barack Obama's alma mater. Students could see a video image of the astronauts on a giant screen, but the astronauts could only hear audio of the students.

    read more

    Case's email to disclose his plans

    Congress or governor or something else? 

    Former congressman Ed Case said he will announce today in an e-mail his political intentions for 2010.

    Like U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, who made his formal announcement that he would run for governor earlier this month on his campaign Web site and the social-media site Twitter, Case is doing his statement via electronic media. But unlike Abercrombie, Case has not scheduled a traditional news conference.

    Friends and former aides to Case said last night they did not know his plans. Democratic Party of Hawai'i officials were also left out of the loop.

    read more

     


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