Hawaii Family Forum: Having Done All Else, Stand!
Seminar Tackles Healthcare Options for Small Businesses in Hawaii
Reforming the Tax Law to Recognize New Efficiencies
Education Committee to Consider Two School Board Nominees
Hearings: 18 Board Nominees to be Considered
Emergency Appropriation for HHSC Hospitals to be Considered Monday
Hearings Set for HGEA Unit 10 & 13 Contract Appropriation
Judiciary Committee to Consider Poelman Nomination
October: 165 Marriages, 2 Civil Unions
SA: Each Sunday, the Star-Advertiser publishes Oahu vital statistics for marriage licenses, civil unions and birth certificates filed with the state Department of Health’s Vital Statistics System....Marriage figures 165, Oct 4-24, Civil Unions 2, Oct 11-24
What's the point? Simple: The invention of a new family structure is 100% about repressing the existing family structure and 0% about gay rights. Learn this.
Meanwhile: SB1 Would Impose New Tax on Churches—Even if they Accept Gay Marriage
Borreca: We're Gonna Score $217M on Gay Marriages, oh yeah! (According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are 3,262 same-sex couples in Hawaii.)
read ... About How little interest there is in gay marriage
McKelvey to Introduce Religious Freedom Bill Monday
MN: "My concern is to see the church has exemptions," Souki said, allowing clergy to conduct marriages for unions of men and women only, as "they've always done."
If the state Legislature doesn't act on gay marriage, then the courts will, he said, and they "won't provide for any exemptions for the church."....
State Sens. Roz Baker (West and South Maui) and J. Kalani English (East Maui, Upcountry, Molokai and Lanai) said that they favor passage of the bill, officially called Senate Bill 1....
Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (Central Maui) said he was leaning in favor of the bill, but he was studying the measure's religious exemptions to ensure they would not allow a commercial wedding business to use a church facility.
"There are a lot of concerns in 'my community' about that," he said. (Smug, aren't they.)
Meanwhile, in the House, Rep. Justin Woodson, who was appointed to his Kahului seat early this year by Abercrombie, said he would vote against the same-sex marriage measure.
"Ultimately, I think every community should vote directly on the issue," he said.
Kahului residents are "not in favor of the measure," he said. "I'm going to do what my district says. And my district's not for it."...
Rep. Angus McKelvey (West Maui) said he was undecided last week, having not seen the bill as it would be presented to the House.
McKelvey said that he would introduce his own bill Monday to seek a way to allow people to have marriage benefits under federal law "while not burdening other people's First Amendment rights."
"The bill would basically separate church and state into their two separate universes," he said. "There should be two separate universes so one doesn't collide with the other."
LINK: McKelvey HB7 Text
MN: Mainland Homosexuals move in, Impose Gay Marriage on Hawaii
read ... Kahului
Star-Adv: We Want Churches to Submit to 'Murkier' Public Accommodations Law
SA: The proponents, however, correctly argue that Hawaii residents already voted to empower the Legislature to define access to marriage. In any case, the rights accorded to all citizens should be a matter of policymaking — a legislative duty — rather than majority rule. If a half-century ago the Civil Rights Act had been left to the electorate, it's doubtful that would have passed.
Of the bills under consideration by the Legislature, the one by the Abercrombie administration sets out the clearest path. Although it will benefit from a broad discussion, it essentially takes the right approach. The proposal strikes a balance between equitable access to federal protections for the couple and the religious liberty of those whose faith does not recognize the union.
It does this by allowing clergy to decline to officiate or to allow use of church facilities at same-sex unions.
The clerical exemption is absolute, but things get murkier when facilities are rented out because the bill also upholds the state's public accommodations law. It is illegal to bar access to a public accommodation — a facility or service that is open to the general public — to one of the protected classes. In 2006, the state added sexual orientation to those characteristics (gender, religion, race) that are protected from discrimination in a public accommodation.
So under the proposed law, a church that enters commerce by renting out its facilities for weddings must do so to all. Churches still can exercise control over use of facilities, legal experts have said, by instituting policies to rent facilities only for ceremonies officiated by their own clergy, who always can refuse services that run contrary to their faith.
In other words, the religious exemption applies in circumstances where the religious practice is actually an issue. If a church is simply renting out facilities without any religious participation, then that is a business transaction, simply put. The same should go for any attendant wedding concession — the baker, the photographer, the florist — because these are not religious practices. They are commercial activities, and under state law, they should not be barred to any of the protected classes.
Church of England: Government Imposed Religion is OK by us
read ... Bow Before your Gay Lords
Hate Crime? Pregnant Woman Alleges Intentionally Hit by Car While Sign-waving
FB: This was posted by Sheri Bren Nozawa. This happened yesterday to Sheri and her husband Jerome Nozawa in Kaneohe as they were sign waving...
Terrible experience that ended with an ER visit. My heartbreaks because of the hate & anger that we experienced yesterday. Our message is being misunderstood. We are standing up, hoping that as rights are granted to some, we can preserve the rights of others. We love, not hate. I ask you this, who are the "bigots" & "haters"?
A man ripped down & stole our banner, intentionally banged my husband's truck (twice), and tried to run us over as we were getting his license number. He continued to step on his gas & hit us with his car as I yelled for him to stop & that I was pregnant (yes, baby #9) he drug us both for a distance and only stopped because my husband smashed his windshield & stopped him.
You hear about this kind of anger & hate, but to experience it first hand is the worst thing ever. I thank the Lord for protecting us with injuries that will soon heal. The baby is ok. We pray this man will understand that we are filled with love, even for him.
read ... Facebook Post
Tokioka: My Constituents Don't Want Same Sex Marriage
KGI: Rep. Jimmy Tokioka, who represents voters from Wailua, Lihue and parts of Koloa, also said his vote will be no. But it has nothing to do with his religious views, it’s his constituents who don’t want it, he said.
Earlier this year, Tokioka’s staff surveyed voters in his district, through email and regular mail, and the responses they got were overwhelmingly against same-sex marriage, he said. Additionally, since Abercrombie announced the special session, Tokioka said his office received several calls and emails against the proposal.
He said he sees no urgency in calling the House and the Senate for a special session.
Tokioka said Abercrombie’s reasoning is that he feels a same-sex marriage bill should be passed before the end of the year, so it can benefit Hawaii residents next fiscal year.
“Does it rise to the occasion of just coming in for that one session, that one item? I don’t think so,” Tokioka said.
read ... Kauai
Fundraisers keep Gov warm during the federal freeze
Shapiro: » While anxiety gripped Hawaii during the three-week federal shutdown, Gov. Neil Abercrombie vacationed in France, then headed for lucrative campaign fundraisers in New York and Florida. To assure constituents he felt our pain, he sent back an old French saying he learned: "Let zem eat cake."
» In Abercrombie's absence, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui declared a hiring freeze on nonessential state jobs until the federal crisis passed. It was a gutsy call by the guy who holds the least essential job in state government.
» Hawaii was the first state to embrace Obamacare, but the last to let consumers buy health insurance because of a botched $200 million state website. So what's worse, a national government that isn't working because it's closed or a local government that isn't working because it's open?
» Between fundraisers, Abercrombie stopped in Washington for briefings on the congressional standoff. His meetings with fellow Democrats kept getting interrupted by Republicans patting his back for delaying Obamacare when they couldn't.
read ... Fundraisers
AARP: Health Connector Must not become State Agency
SA: After more than $200 million in federal dollars, the Hawaii Health Connector was last in the nation to provide medical-insurance plan information. It has a long way to go to become the reliable and consumer-friendly organization that Hawaii deserves. Equally important, it must be able to sustain operations without federal funds in 2015 — just 14 months away....
But as a private entity, it is not subject to the Hawaii Sunshine Law. In an attempt to remedy this lack of openness, Sen. Les Ihara introduced Senate Bill 830 that would have required the Connector to comply with open meeting and notice provisions. The bill was held in the Consumer Protection Committee chaired by Baker, and it never saw the light of day.
The public deserves more than "a glitch" as the reason for missing the Oct. 1 deadline. Was the board aware of the situation? When? Who was accountable? What were the consequences? Where was the Legislature as the deadline neared?
Other questions remain. Of the 34 assister organizations announced by the Connector, only 12 are on the website. Where are the rest and what are they doing in terms of enrollment? During the informational briefing to the Legislature on Oct. 9, there were lots of outreach anecdotes. They need to be replaced with hard enrollment numbers. Standardized weekly reports need to be created to chart progress toward that goal of enrolling the 100,000 uninsured and they need to be public.
In spite of assertions by Connector staff that there is "lots of time," there is little in the race to 100,000 enrollments.
AARP wants the Connector to succeed, but the 2015 deadline for all exchanges to be self-sustaining is rapidly approaching, and the Connector needs to deal with that quickly. An early estimate put its annual costs at nearly $16 million. Like any other private entity, it must generate enough revenue and contain costs to be sustainable. Revenue is tied directly to its success in enrolling people. The Connector has to come through. After a huge investment in our federal tax dollars, Hawaii's taxpayers must not be asked to pay the difference in 2015 or — worse yet— bail out the Connector by making it a state agency.
read ... Hawaii Connector must improve
Solar saturation proves costly
SA: North Kohala resident Patrick Mervin said he submitted paperwork to HELCO in January seeking approval for a planned 3-kilowatt PV system. He borrowed about $20,000 to finance the project and paid a Hilo-based PV company $1,000 to design the system.
After not hearing anything for several months, Mervin said he called the utility and was told the delay was the result of "an engineering problem" stemming from high PV saturation in his area. Several more months passed, and Mervin had still not been told whether his project would be allowed to proceed. Mervin said he called HELCO last week and learned the utility plans to conduct a "pilot study" sometime next summer or fall that will determine whether his area will be opened to more solar.
"It is pretty clear that solving this is not a priority and if they slow it down enough, maybe everyone will forget about it," Mervin said. "It seems to me to be a straightforward engineering problem that they are vigorously avoiding."
When Big Island resident Jeff Thacher told HELCO he plans to install a 2.6-kilowatt PV system on his home in Naalehu, the utility told him he would have to pay $2,700 on top of the roughly $17,000 he paid for the system itself.
read ... Solar saturation proves costly
HSTA Rep: Standardized Testing is not Fair
SA: "Teachers aren't against testing. Teachers invented testing."
The person quoted is Jesse Hagopian, a nationally recognized Seattle teacher who led a boycott against standardized testing. He made the remark recently as keynote speaker in Kahului during Hawaii State Teachers Association's Institute Day.
Hagopian has been traveling the nation to draw attention to the growing movement against standardized testing that is including teachers, students and parents. He also is crusading against teacher evaluation that is tied to standardized test results. His passionate plea for reason led to a rare standing ovation by Maui HSTA members....
Do not be fooled by claims that Hawaii teacher evaluation reflects the Charlotte Danielson method that is the latest thing in many districts across the country. The author has stated that it was not meant for teacher evaluation, and has warned that "cherry-picking" aspects of it to suit a local school board, just as Hawaii has done, would be to invite lawsuits.
Nor was it collaborative. The model in use now was rolled out long before teacher contract negotiations called for collaboration.
Already, it is underfunded, by at least an estimated $34 million, because there are not enough administrators for teacher observation.
Is it politically correct to throw money at anything that is being ballyhooed as educational reform?
read ... Education boondoggle may cost dearly
Paradise found: A history of pineapple, sugar and seeds in Hawaii
PBS: There's 100 million acres of corn planted in the United States, about 88 percent of it had traits in it -- genetic traits. And there's about 75 million acres of soybean planted this year in the U.S., and about 95 percent of that had traits in it.
Mark Phillipson is president of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, a local trade group that counts many major seed companies as members. After sugar dropped off in the 90s, seed companies slowly started to acquire land, labor and resources to develop the growing demand for genetically modified crops.
Today, seeds are Hawaii's most valuable agricultural product, contributing $240 million to the Hawaiian economy and providing jobs to hundreds here in Kauai...including many former sugarcane workers.
read ... Paradise found: A history of pineapple, sugar and seeds in Hawaii
OCCC: Another Day, Another Escape
HNN: Honolulu Police and State Sheriffs are looking for an inmate who failed to return to OCCC at 5 p.m. Friday.
Charles Abellana, 51, was allowed out for 5 hours to look for a job, but was not on a work furlough program yet.
read ... OCCC inmate escapes while out on 5-hour pass
Sanitarians feel ‘lot of pressure’ with shortage of food inspectors
MN: On Maui, two sanitarians are in charge of conducting routine inspections on nearly 1,700 food establishments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends one inspector assigned for every 150 eateries, which means Maui alone would need about 11 sanitarians on staff to comply with FDA standards.
It may not come as a surprise then that the staff shortage has caused a backlog in inspection schedules. While the FDA recommends that high-risk establishments be checked every four to six months, on Maui it may take up to two years between inspections, Kitkowski said.
"We are also dealing with a lot of illegal vendors, and we cannot be there 24 hours a day," Kitkowski said. "Lots of things happen at night or over the weekend. We hope the public will help by calling it in. . . . If someone comes to your door to sell laulau, the first thing you should ask is about the permit."
read ... Short Handed
Farmers Lose 9% of Crop to Theft
SA: That report pegged the total cost of theft and vandalism at Hawaii farms in 2004 at $11.4 million, or 9 percent of net farm income that year; the total included $7.4 million spent on security upgrades to deter repeat incidents. Statewide, 17 percent of all Hawaii farms were robbed or vandalized that year; Honolulu County had by far the highest rate, at 27 percent. Of 39,632 farm trespassing incidents statewide, only 1,247 were reported to police; 119 resulted in arrests, and 34 in convictions. Looking at enforcement only in Honolulu County, 206 farm crimes were reported, resulting in 10 arrests and six convictions, according to the report.
An HPD spokeswoman was unable to provide up-to-date enforcement figures, noting that agricultural thefts would not generally be distinguished within broader robbery statistics.
SA: Student farmers learn hard lessons on theft
read ... Thieving off the land