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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
October 7, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:13 PM :: 10844 Views

HGEA talks: Hawaii state employees face 42 furlough days this year, next (Mufi delaying settlement)

Most of the HGEA workers covered by the potential settlement work for the state, yet, under state labor law, the counties have a voice in the process. The law also gives the governor a say over county police and firefighter contracts even though most police officers and firefighters work for the counties.

"We've learned the hard way about the complications and the impact those complications can have," Lingle said. "Not being able to move forward right now because the mayors aren't in sync with us is causing us to take much longer than it needs to be.

"We should have had this finished by now, but it's just the way the law is written."

Bill Brennan, a spokesman for Hannemann, who is in Japan, said the mayors are "not quite there" on contract language. "The mayors are continuing to work on contract language and issues that involve the counties," he said.

(How can Mufi get an edge for 2010 here?  Think...then think some more...then go to Japan and think some more....)

 

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State duties may go to counties

In a Web address to Hawai'i residents last month, Lingle said one way she intends to reduce the state's budget deficit is to "eliminate some programs and services that can be effectively administered at the federal or county level, or that can be handled by volunteers."

That statement prompted Garcia to send a letter to Lingle seeking clarification: "As you are well aware, the City and County of Honolulu also faces serious budget challenges and I am very concerned that an unintended consequence of your actions will result in unfunded mandates to the counties."

Lingle, in a response dated Sept. 17, told Garcia she wants to meet with the HSAC executive committee "to identify areas where we can maintain or improve service delivery while minimizing the financial costs to state and county taxpayers."

While the letter does not propose any specific transfer of functions, Lingle wrote that areas of discussion could include "maintenance of our parks and roadways, providing services to the homeless and those seeking private rental housing, and revenue collection activities."

...The bleak financial situation has caused Garcia to shift his position on Hannemann's plan to create a new owner-occupant property tax classification....

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Democrat Borreca: Lingle on a good day still the Great Communicator

So it is a wonder that Gov. Linda Lingle can on some days be the pitch-perfect one-on-one communicator, while on other days she is channeling Big Brother in the famous Macintosh television commercial "1984."  (This column is a litany of insults looking for an excuse to be written.  It focuses on the Gov's web address referenced in the article above this one and is therefore a stalking horse for the upcoming County vs State negotiations on budget.)

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Kaiser HS considers furloughs on planning days

Many teachers, parents and principals are concerned that the loss of instructional days will hurt student achievement. At least one school — Kaiser High — is considering using three of its six teacher planning days to add more instructional days back to the calendar.

"After those furlough days were announced, our teachers started talking immediately about possibly using the waiver (planning) days as school days," said Kaiser High School principal John Sosa.

Teachers will still have to vote on whether to give up those days, and Kaiser's School Community Council would have to approve the plan. If that happens, the school would submit a formal request to the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state Board of Education.

(So clearly those at the bottom of the DoE ladder are the ones with educational quality in mind -- and the ones from whom they must request permission have the 2010 elections in mind.)

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Cutbacks squeeze schedules of Hawaii special-needs kids

The contracts, (Hmmm, that's a legal term)   known as IEPs, are drawn up on an individual basis for some 17,000 special-education students, and typically specify the number of hours a student should receive therapeutic services, such as speech therapy, skills training, occupational therapy or counseling.

Special-needs students fall under the protection of the federal Felix consent decree (another legal reference), which was issued in 1994 after the state's treatment of those children was deemed inadequate.

"This whole 'Furlough Friday' thing, in my mind — I'm not an attorney  (did she say 'attorney'? — is definitely going against the law (oooh, there it is again)," said Naomi Grossman, vice president of the Autism Society of Hawaii. "Any change has to be based on a child's needs. Even if a new calendar arises, it doesn't change the need of the child."

(This is going to court just like the last HSTA contract--thanks the the DoE/HSTA choice to place furloughs on Fridays)

SB: State, HGEA going 'back and forth' on contract

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UH faculty voting on 'final offer'

The UH faculty union is urging members to vote no on the administration's "last, best, final offer," which calls for a 5 percent pay cut, a payroll lag and higher health insurance payments for faculty.

University of Hawaii Professional Assembly members have until midnight tonight to vote on the offer.

Faculty members are also planning a "teach-in" today at the UH-Manoa campus to talk about the contract and the budget crisis at the university.

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Health costs frozen for state workers

"They're aware that the consultant is projecting a loss of about $2.7 million a month beginning in January," said Jim Williams, EUTF administrator.

"But the EUTF has the cash to pay for that. It will affect our balance sheet but we do have the cash."

(Run it into the ground to keep everybody happy for now.  But don't expect to see EUTF demand tort reform anytime soon.  They gotta stick with their political partner, the trial lawyers even if it makes them BK.  New slogan: "Ration lawsuits, not healthcare")

TOTALLY RELATED: Competition, Not Price-Controls, Will Save Medicare

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Hawaii Sen. Inouye going to Afghanistan to study war needs

(How many F22s do they need over there?  And will he support Neil Abercrombie D-Hamas or Sec'y Gates?  And how many of our boys will be killed while these idiot Democrats dither when the surge provides the only path to peace????)

RELATED:  Inouye's DoD Pork: "Paid for by raiding Iraq and Afghan maintenance, food, & fuel" , Indecision in Afghanistan Costs Lives

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'Person of interest' got out of prison day before visitor's body was found

Susa, 31, is a native of San Diego and has a criminal record.

He served a three-year prison term in Missouri after he was convicted on burglary charges, according to an online database of criminal convictions.

In March 2005, he pleaded guilty to drug charges in Honolulu Circuit Court after he was arrested in Waikiki for possessing crystal methamphetamine.

He was sentenced to five years of probation.

State court records show that Susa violated the terms of his probation several times over the years for failing to report to his probation officer and for being arrested for public drunkenness.

In June, Deputy Prosecutor Rochelle Vidinha asked Circuit Judge Richard Pollack to revoke his probation for harassment. Pollack instead sentenced him to four months in prison.

That prison term ended last Thursday.

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State film office cuts impact Kaua‘i (More HGEA agit-prop)

“There are times when you need their support,” Kaua‘i Film Commissioner Art Umezu said last month of his state colleagues. “I’m just livid ... how could it be considered that their office may no longer be there?” 

He speculated that the positions slated to be cut would be filled later by people who are “not in the film world,” adding that those individuals would “have a hard time.”  (And that speculation is now recycled into 'news' as if it were fact.)

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Stalinist Honolulu Media council fights TV merger

Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division will meet this week with a local consumer group opposing the merger of news and business operations at KGMB9, KHNL and K5 television stations.

The meeting comes as the group, Media Council Hawaii, is filing a complaint today asking the Federal Communications Commission to put an immediate halt to the merger, which will go into effect later this month.

"We are going to be challenging this at both the FCC and the Justice Department," said Chris Conybeare, the council's president.

KGMB, KHNL and K5 announced in August that they plan to merge newsrooms, simulcast some news programs and cut about a third of their staff.

RELATED: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "media control"

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Pope Benedict XVI greets Hawaii's 'miracle woman' in Rome

ROME — Aiea resident Audrey Toguchi, the woman at the heart of the second miracle attributed to Father Damien, met Pope Benedict XVI today during a general audience in St. Peter's Square.

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