1959: Martin Luther King Jr Salutes Hawaii Statehood
Furloughs: Abercrombie Caught in Lie as He Launches First Campaign Ad
Four Bills in House, Senate Democrat Package
OHA Introduces 2014 Legislative Package
Home School Legal Defense Association Legislative Watch List
Bumble Bee CEO to Faleomavaega: You’re a Liar
HSTA Trying to Worm out of Evaluations
Shapiro: Senate Ways and Means Chairman David Ige rained rhetorical bombs on the Department of Education for what he called a "Cadillac" system to evaluate teacher performance, while Luke rudely interrupted a DOE official who tried to respond.
Teacher evaluations are key to improving our schools; they were promised by the DOE when it obtained a $75 million federal Race to the Top grant and were agreed to by the teachers in their last contract.
If by "Cadillac" Ige means a rigorous program to fairly evaluate teachers so DOE can reward the best, help the lagging and weed out the hopeless, that's exactly what needs doing.
Let's hope the legislative carping isn't a sign that teachers are trying to worm out of evaluations they agreed to in order to get pay raises, just as they once before reneged on drug tests they agreed to in order to get pay raises.
Suspicious minds will note that the Hawaii State Teachers Association is one of the biggest donors to Hawaii political campaigns -- and Ige needs its support in his underdog run for governor.
HSTA Member: Teacher evaluations are not the solution
read ... Overbearing legislators are tarnishing their images
Medical Care Spending Jumped 22.72% as Hawaii Residents Rushed to Beat Obamacare Deadline
SA: Medical services, for the first time, was the fastest growing of 16 sectors tracked by the bank. Card transactions at hospitals, clinics and other care facilities rose 22.7 percent to $34.4 million from $28 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. It was the first time since the report began that medical services had a double-digit-percentage increase.
Kalihi-Palama Health Center, which primarily caters to low-income residents, and moderate-income residents who have several dependents, saw a double-digit-percentage increase in health care transactions over the previous year's fourth quarter. Most of the center's patients use cash or checks to make payments, but the center saw its pharmacy transactions spike nearly 30 percent, according to Dr. Emmanuel Kintu, CEO and executive director of the center.
Kintu said increased transactions primarily were due to more patient utilization of services ahead of the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.
"Based on the input we are receiving from patients and clients seeking social services, a significant portion of the increase is attributable to anxiety in the patient population," Kintu said. "Many patients reported that they were uncertain about their health care benefits in 2014. The avalanche of information, for and against the Affordable Care Act, had an impact on our patient population in the fourth quarter."
Several QUEST (Medicaid) patients expressed concerns that based on what they were hearing — most of which was misinformation, (LOL Obamacare is a huge success, LOL!) Kintu said — their health care benefits could be taken away (The HMSA & Kaiser cancellation letters weren't real. Really.) So they made a concerted effort to seek care before Jan. 1, he said.
PDF: Medical Care Jumps 22.72% in 4th Q
read ... Everybody Knows the Quality of care Just Won't be There
Pesticide Bill impacts farmers, but ignores them too
MN: The Maui County Council recently introduced a bill that would mandate additional regulations on farms that are so burdensome that a significant number of stunned farmers called the Maui County Farm Bureau, worried this bill will force them to shut down.
On its surface, the bill is anti-pesticides. But many of our farmers are calling it anti-agriculture. It targets only farmers, conveniently ignores facts, and was introduced without consulting the people who will be most impacted by it - the farmers.
The recent discovery of aggressive little fire ants on Maui is a reminder that pesticides are used to control and prevent the spread of unwanted pests. Pesticides are useful and should be used properly. They are an important tool that enables farmers to provide safe, affordable and reliable agricultural products for the people of Maui.
Farmers, like all licensed users of pesticides, undergo rigorous professional training and we have a tremendous incentive to abide by the numerous state and federal laws governing responsible pesticide usage.
Fun Idea: Drop fire ants off at the next anti-GMO protest, videotape what happens and put it on YouTube.
read ... Maui County Farm Bureau
Kalaeloa Raceway Park Violates DHHL Lease Terms, Behind $121K on Payments--Hanabusa Can't Save Them Now
KITV: After decades of racing in Kapolei, the brakes were put on at Hawaii Raceway Park permanently back in 2006. That left Oahu drag racers in the dust with nowhere to go.
But there was a surprise Friday at the state capitol. A benefactor has offered to match donations of up to $200,000 dollars in an effort to rebuild a track. The pavement would be put in at the Kalaeloa Raceway Park, but it's owner knows there's a lot that has to be done before getting the green light. (This is a scam to get GG3 off the hook.)
"He's sincere and he's ready but I got to resolve my problem with Hawaiian Homes because what's the sense of putting asphalt down if I cannot come to some kind of agreement," said George "Jr" Grace, Kalaeloa Raceway Park. (uh-huh)
The raceway is on a month-to-month permit to use the land owned by the Department of Hawaii Homelands, which says the track's owner is behind more than $20,000 in rent, $5,000 in utilities, and faces fines from the city for $121,000. (no kidding)
"It was rent delinquency, utility delinquency, curing the violations that they have with the city and obtaining mass grade and stock piling permits for the activities that they do," said Darrell Young, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. (None of this is new news.)
To build a track the DHHL says the raceway would have to become compliant with it's permit. But the parks owner says the DHHL has changed it's policies since he first started renting and broke its promises. (Yep. GG3 is above the law.)
"The new policies shouldn't apply to me because I was from the administration prior. I had promises made, I had documents to prove that I could do certain things," said Grace. (Sure.)
Those things include construction without certain city permits that Grace says DHHL told him they would waive, but he says they've since changed their tune.
"We've lost credibility from this agency slandering me in the news, slandering me all over town. We've lost supporters because of this fight, nobody wants to fight," said Grace....
A meeting between the two sides is still up in the air. The owner of the raceway says they'll be waiting on DHHL to return their messages. DHHL says it'll be waiting on the raceway to comply before any meeting happens.
Reality: Fireworks, dirt, and stolen trucks: Colleen Hanabusa and the Honolulu Raceway Deal
read ... Last Desperate Gambit
State of State Speech to renew call for wage hike, preschool aid
SA: Gov. Neil Abercrombie will use the State of the State address on Tuesday to trace Hawaii's economic recovery, a turnaround essential to the narrative of the governor's re-election campaign....
Abercrombie has been cautioned by his allies not to boast or overreach, because many state lawmakers, business executives and labor leaders are still skittish about the recovery and the state's direction. The governor's low job approval ratings are also warning signs that many voters remain unconvinced about his leadership ability.
"We are on solid financial footing, and we want to continue with that into the future," said Blake Oshiro....
The state's economic recovery should put Abercrombie in a strong position for re-election this year to another four-year term. The last time the state enjoyed such a large budget surplus, Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican who defied the state's Democratic tradition, cruised to re-election. No governor has lost re-election since William Quinn, a Republican, in 1962.
But Abercrombie does not have the high job approval ratings that Lingle did in 2006. His fundraising -- $3.3 million through last June -- has not scared off challengers who are convinced that he is unpopular and vulnerable.
State Sen. David Ige (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea), the chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, has challenged Abercrombie with an insurgent campaign in the Democratic primary.
Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, a Republican who lost badly to Abercrombie in 2010, said on Friday that he intends to run again. Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who was beaten easily by Abercrombie in the primary in 2010, has considered switching political parties and running as a Republican.
The Abercrombie campaign is scheduled to debut television advertisements on Tuesday to coincide with the governor's State of the State address.
Reality: Furloughs: Abercrombie Caught in Lie as He Launches First Campaign Ad
read ... Grab your wallet
Poor stewardship by UH leadership has turned into an embarrassment
SA: in spite of 20-plus grievances filed against the director (all of which have vindicated the faculty), it appears Carbone is worthy to continue receiving an annual salary of $412,000 — but is unworthy to receive an employment contract and must now take on two additional administrators? ...
While top-heavy management grows, more than 50 percent of the instructors at the community colleges are part-time employees with no hope of full-time employment (about $60,000), let alone tenure. Interestingly, if only Carbone's salary were parceled out to community college students, it would allow an additional 137 students to attend school for the full year.
Not surprisingly, while 86 percent of Cancer Center faculty deemed Carbone unqualified for the directorship, it was Hinshaw (and presumably others) who removed him from the unranked bottom of the pile and placed him as head of the center.
It appears that good deeds come full circle though, because Hinshaw, a (nonactive) flu expert with no proven track record in cancer research or grants, now has her golden parachute in the tenured form of overseeing a cancer center and Carbone's work.
As we enter a new legislative session, the manifestation of these frustrations will no doubt play out in the appropriations for UH, of which the faculty and students will ultimately bear the brunt for the missteps of the Board of Regents and UH administrators. Most likely, resultant budgetary shortfalls will then require the faculty to write even more grants (on top of their saturated schedules) in order to subsidize and shore up UH resources removed by the Legislature, all the while pushing student teaching and training further to the margins.
read ... A Letter from a JABSOM Faculty Member
Star-Adv: Homelessness needs to be dealt with now
SA: » Lawmakers must move to expand funding for the Housing First program now underway by USVETS and IHS, a program targeting the chronically homeless, veterans and non-veterans alike. This funding could be provided through House Bill 519, held over from the last legislative session. Housing First helps the chronically homeless by providing subsidized housing first and then working with the person to resolve his or her other problems through counseling and treatment....
The strength of this approach has been proven in many cities. For example: Phoenix has successfully worked through its population of homeless veterans, which in 2011 were tallied at 222, placing all of them in its specially built "Victory House" complex....
» Because the need is so critical now, it's time to implement a quicker solution to house the homeless not accommodated by existing shelters. A coalition of government agencies and community groups has been surveying prospects in warehouses and other properties that could become available. There are also other adaptive strategies, converting containers and other structures for use as shelters. These ideas need to be enacted.
» The city should step up its enforcement of laws barring sleeping and camping on sidewalks, beyond the current "sweeps." That means, as suggested in a bill now before the City Council, police should be directed to help with the removal of items when they reappear on sidewalks after other city crews have left for the day.
read ... Homelessness needs to be dealt with now
Bums Demand Return to Street Peddling
SA: Vancouver, British Columbia, tourist Dennis Ihaksi and his wife, Penny, have visited Waikiki off and on since 1977, but navigating the growing gauntlet of panhandlers and homeless people occupying the district's public sidewalks has left them unsure about making a return visit.
"We'll probably take next year off," Ihaksi said last week. "We'd like to come back, but we just don't feel safe anymore. And it's not just us that feel that way. We have friends that have been coming here for years and we all are having the same discussion."
There have always been homeless people and panhandlers in Waikiki. However, area residents and business owners say the visibility and aggression of some of these individuals have increased since the crackdown on street peddling and the nighttime closure of city parks, where the homeless were less visible....
As he readied a cardboard sign with the plea, "Dog and I Hungry. Anything Helps Blessed Be," Yoshi said he'd rather be street performing than panhandling.
"It's easier to make money street performing, but they make it so hard. I got kicked out for disturbing the peace," said Yoshi, who acknowledged that he recently did time for assaulting a police officer. "They've given me tickets for the dog. They've arrested me. They've taken my drum." ...
"It's horrible," Brown said. "We see rich people -- really fat ones walk by with a pizza and they won't even give us a piece.... (And I have to save my money for Meth 'cause the dealer won't give that to me for free either.)
The ACLU has established a “Know your Rights” line to help bums stop themselves from being forced into shelters....
(If you fall for this argument, you deserve to have Waikiki overrun.)
read ... Need to Force them into Shelters
Turtle Bay Development Scheme Hinges on How Much State will give
SA: The prospective Turtle Bay easement was outlined in a report to the Legislature recently and endorsed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Yet major details still need to be ironed out, including the price and the restrictions on use of the property.
By law the state can't pay more for an easement than the property's appraised value, which in this case is preliminarily $31.3 million to $38.3 million. The state has a $40 million target price to purchase the easement. Turtle Bay's owners have said that's too low but have not said what price they would accept.
If a negotiated price is more than the state's appraised value, conservation organizations and other sources could be enlisted to chip in....
The easement being negotiated doesn't include the area surrounding the existing hotel, where the resort's owners intend to build two additional beachfront hotels with a combined 625 rooms.
The easement would allow the resort to continue using its land for golf...several major issues still need to be addressed, including the extent of public access, whether public parks will be created on portions of the easement land and if the developer will be exempted from certain required road improvements.
read ... They tell you this is preservation
SB2012 Would Eliminate Party Labels from Ballot
Borreca: ...veteran state legislator Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland has come up with a bill to take politics out of elections.
Well, not completely — the state would still have primary elections under her proposal in SB 2012, but the ballot would have only candidates' names, and no political party identification, on the ballot.
In other words: When you get a ballot it would have a list of people running for governor, lieutenant governor, or the state House and Senate.
Voters would not get a Democrat or Republican ballot; they would get a ballot that said "choose one." ...
Dante Carpenter, the state chairman of the Hawaii Democratic Party, was not excited by the Chun Oakland idea.
"It doesn't seem like the right step to take at this time. It would take party out of the picture," said Carpenter.
"I suppose the next step would be to just not hold a primary election."
The idea of "no labels" elections is also a direct challenge to the renewed effort by Carpenter and others to force voters to join a political party before they could vote in a primary election.
Last November, the Hawaii Democratic Party sued in federal court for the state to close the primary election for the Democrats. The suit was rejected with the federal judge saying the party failed to show that the present open primary hurt the Democratic Party.
Carpenter said Democrats are working on an appeal.
read ... The Chosen Ones
Former Maui Mayor Apana Announces Bid for Woodson’s House Seat
MN: Longtime politician and former Maui County Mayor James “Kimo” Apana has announced his intent to run for the state House District 9 seat, which covers parts of Central Maui and is now occupied by political newcomer Justin Woodson.
read ... Apana vs Woodson
'Naughty' Non-Profit Takes Money, Leaves Handicapped High and Dry
MN: When the Hawaii Center of Independent Living shuttered all five of its Neighbor Island offices in July, Nani Watanabe, an independent living specialist working at the Wailuku office, thought, "Here we go again."...
After the nonprofit's administration announced it would be shutting down again last year starting June 28, Watanabe had assumed operations would resume when the nonprofit received its federal funding at the start of the new fiscal year in October - but it remained closed....
According to a statement from the RSA this month, the administration placed HCIL on "reimbursement" last year, a sort of probation that requires an organization to report and justify all expenses to the federal government.
"We placed the center on reimbursement since last year due to financial mismanagement; provided extensive technical assistance; issued a letter at the end of September requesting a corrective action plan within 90 days," the statement said. "The center did not submit the corrective action plan. At the end of December, we issued the final termination notice."
The state Department of Human Services administers about $200,000 in federal grant money to an independent living services provider in Hawaii every year. It also pulled its funding for HCIL last year after consulting with the RSA.
"Pretty much, they (HCIL) were naughty. Their parents up in D.C. told them what to do, and they didn't do it," said Albert Perez, administrator for the department's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Perez said that even before the nonprofit was put on reimbursement status, there were "irregularities" in how HCIL was drawing out money....
There are more than 200 disabled residents on Maui who rely on HCIL's services, she said.
"I saw one of my clients who's diabetic at the beach last month, he looked so sick," Watanabe said. "I took it upon myself to take him to the doctor. His sugar level was more than 700. The doctor said he would've died within a few days."
read ... Profitable Nonprofit