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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
September 16, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:59 PM :: 8773 Views

SB: Follow HSTA's lead

Tentative approval of a labor contract between the state and Hawaii's 13,000 public school teachers is a positive sign that state employees recognize the need for wage reductions to balance the budget during the present recession. Other public employee unions should accept the necessity of taking days off without pay rather than layoffs.

Hawaii is the only state where a judge has ruled that the governor lacks the authority to order furloughs. The Service Employees International Union, which represents 95,000 California state employees, has challenged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to close down the government three Fridays a month, amounting to a 15 percent reduction in wages. Furloughs have been ordered in at least 19 states.

RELATED: Gov. Lingle reviewing HSTA-DoE settlement , HGEA Negotiator rips Speaker Say, Legislators: "Finger pointing, hands-off attitude" , Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy

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Democrat Borreca:  'Third rail' of isle politics (Gay Marriage) looms just over horizon

 

Looms just over horizon??  Does Democrat Borreca mean over the horizon in Delaware, perhaps???  Because Delaware Online---THE source for Hawaii news---is where we found this AP article the SB and HA chose not to run: Gay Marriage: "Hannemann won't divulge positions on hot issues"

When last addressed in May, the swirling, hot-button issue of legalizing civil unions or same-sex marriage or expanding reciprocal benefits was left on the floor of the Senate, which had amended House Bill 444. The bill never made it out of the Senate; it needs another Senate vote, then would head back to the House for another vote.

The bill has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2010, which means if it passes unamended, it will have taken effect before passed into law. Depending on how much you believe in time travel, this is either a fatal flaw or not, but it does give reason to amend the bill and increases the likelihood it will wind up in a conference committee.

To make matters even more interesting, possible candidate for governor Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who is quietly building support within conservative Christian groups, is expected to be on the other side of the issue from U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who says same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue.

(Typical Borreca: Duke Aiona?  Who's that?)

RELATED: Psychologists dump 'Gay Gene' theory

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BOE panel rejects rise in bus fares

Public school students will continue to pay 35 cents for one-way bus fare. The proposal to raise fares to 75 cents will not go to the entire board for consideration. (Maui County subsidizes fares by paying an extra 10 cents, so Maui students will continue to pay 25 cents....

A state Board of Education committee rejected a more than 100 percent increase in school bus fares yesterday, but Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto said she will have to look elsewhere for the money that would have been raised, and "that creates challenges."

(She won't be looking into the bloated DoE bureaucracy, that's what they are trying to protect.)

TESTIMONY: Money is Not More Important Than Our Children's Lives

RELATED: Randall Roth: In Hawaii Education, The Buck Stops Nowhere

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Arguments in report from Kamehameha Schools 'rehash' issues, official says

However, Kamehameha Schools and the American Institute of Architects have raised concerns about the visual impact the approximately 30-foot-wide, 50-foot-high elevated track system and its elevated stations will have on Honolulu's scenery. Kamehameha Schools is also concerned about the effect on its land values and rental income.

Kamehameha Schools owns about 229 acres with 1,000 lessees and sublessees near the rail route. Its holdings include the sites where at least four proposed train stations would be located. That makes Kamehameha Schools one of the biggest private landowners that could be financially affected by rail.

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Broadband grants lure $350M in bids: Rural, under-served areas target of national program to improve online access

Hawaiian Telcom Inc., Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. and the University of Hawai'i are among the local bidders for more than $7.2 billion set aside by the Obama administration to improve broadband networks in rural and underserved areas.

The largest request came from a company called Gold Ivory LLC, which is controlled by Sandwich Isles' parent, Waimana Enterprises Inc.

Gold Ivory is seeking $172.6 million in grant money to build a new fiber optic and microwave network serving Neighbor Island public safety agencies such as police, fire and civil defense.

Sandwich Isles has put in its own request for $64.7 million in grant funding and $67.3 million in low interest loans to complete its statewide fiber optic network.

(Cronies seeking payback for the early-money political support Obama got from Hawaii Democrats.)

RELATED:  Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off

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Adv: Fair Elections Now Act deserves support

The idea is simple enough. Candidates who collect only small donations from large numbers of individuals in their home districts — an authentic grassroots effort — can qualify for limited public funds to run their campaigns. For Big Island candidates, they would need to collect 200 signatures and 200 $5 donations to qualify. Because of the potential cost and logistical concerns, it's a pilot project.  (And a real good candidate for a budget cut)

(And surprise, surprise, the only council race with any real public money available will be Jacobson vs Enriques 2010.  Championed by the 911 troooothers of the UHH Global Hope Club, this would better be called the "Put-the-KPI-drug-dealers-back-in-charge-of-Kau" bill.) 

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Elections chief draws ire of Senate's finance chair

Although she expressed serious concerns and a lack of confidence in the state Office of Elections' ability to carry out next year's elections, the head of the Senate's money committee stopped short of saying the agency's chief should be fired.

His office was seeking an easing of some budget restrictions to free up money, but Kim said that was unlikely because the office has been unresponsive in supplying the Legislature with details on how the money will be spent.

Kim said provisos were placed on some funds specifically because the Elections Office was not more forthcoming while lawmakers crafted the budget last session.

"I have some serious concerns on your knowledge, on your preparation and gathering of information," Kim told Cronin. "This is not just today, but in this past budget cycle. It's like pulling teeth to get information."

Kim questioned some of Cronin's spending, including decisions to provide raises to employees with funds set aside for converting jobs to civil service positions and purchasing expensive electronic voting equipment that has been successfully challenged in court on Maui.

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Kauai: Mayor supports plastic bag ban

LIHU‘E — Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. signaled his support for a stalled bill that would outlaw plastic checkout bags at retail stores across Kaua‘i, sending a letter to the Kaua‘i County Council that counters business community opposition that caused a deferral last week.

“While I do have a concern about the financial burden this measure may place on our businesses during these difficult economic times, I also believe that such a ban is inevitable,” Carvalho wrote in testimony sent to the council on Monday. “Many communities around the country have already taken this step and many more will follow.”

(Inevitability is an argument?  If so it is a false one.)

RELATED: Six Million paper bags

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Maui: Build 'em up and shake 'em down

LINK: Big Island Mayor eyes Deep and Painful Cuts


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