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Sunday, October 25, 2009
October 25, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:06 AM :: 6860 Views

Here's the theme of the day: Lingle: DoE Superintendent should be appointed by next Governor 

Hawaii officials say focus should be on budget deficit

(Here is the main message -- from the office of Calvin Say....)

The Lingle administration estimates the state will save about $380 million over two years from new contracts with public-sector labor unions, assuming the United Public Workers and the University of Hawai'i Professional Assembly settle on terms roughly comparable to those agreed to by the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the Hawaii Government Employees Association.

With those savings in hand, the state would still have a $620 million deficit.

State tax collections have fallen lower than projected through the first quarter of the fiscal year, so unless collections improve, the deficit could actually be significantly larger.

State House Speaker Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise), has told colleagues to prepare for a larger deficit.

"Being very honest and sincere, by January, the people of the state of Hawaii, and the state Legislature, and the administration, I feel will be facing a $1.4 billion shortfall," Say said in a telephone interview from Georgia, where he was attending a National Speakers Conference.

State House and Senate leaders said they do not want to give parents or teachers false hope and stress that public education funding would likely be dealt with next session in the larger context of balancing the budget.

(And this is why the HSTA/DoE FAILED yesterday and today to "fill the space" with its tax increase and Hurricane Fund raid message)

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Union chief says Hawaii governor ducking her role in school furor

(Silly finger pointing by a union leader in the DoE circular firing squad who didn't get them memo from Calvin Say.  We now discover the HSTA had absolutely no role in writing its own contract....)

Wil Okabe, the HSTA's president, said it was the governor who originally wanted to furlough state workers.

The governor cannot order furloughs for teachers or workers at the state Department of Education, which is governed by the state Board of Education. Lingle imposed a 14 percent spending restriction on the department.

(see next article for antidote)

RELATED: Lingle: DoE Superintendent should be appointed by next Governor 

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Borreca: Why the furloughs?

(Amidst all the spin, here's the rundown  -- from Borreca, as if ordered by Calvin Say.  Just wait til you get to the part where BoE Chair Toguchi explains why holidays weren't used....)

Gov. Linda Lingle said in a written response to questions that the state's first plan in 2008 was for the unions to take a graduated pay cut. Those earning a lower salary would take a smaller cut of between 1 and 3 percent, while those in higher brackets would take cuts of between 6 and 8 percent.

That was rejected by Dayton Nakanelua, the United Public Workers executive director. Lingle said Nakanelua "first suggested that the state consider furloughs."

(then this summer...)

State chief negotiator Marie Laderta walked out of the meeting to protest that the unions had not come up with a formal proposal, but the other state employers -- the University of Hawaii, the schools, the courts and state hospitals -- remained.

After Laderta left, the federal mediator kept all parties in the building and worked out an agreement, although it was not a settlement.

"It was going to be a furlough plan," Randy Perreira, Hawaii Government Employees Association executive director, said during an interview last week. "Not all the details were worked out, but it was going to be a furlough."

(So the Democrats all got together in a room and came up with furloughs.)

Because of that broad agreement, the issue of furloughs for school teachers represented by the Hawaii State Teachers Association was never really questioned, (PARTY UNITY FIRST!) according to those involved with the teacher talks.

The Board of Education rejected layoffs early on because cutting teachers would mean that class sizes would increase, said Garrett Toguchi, board chairman.

But Toguchi was vague about the decision to furlough versus just cutting worker pay, saying the actual negotiations were confidential.

"I can't tell you why we didn't go for wage reductions or holidays," he said. 

(And that quote is everything you need to know about the BoE.)

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RELATED: Lingle: DoE Superintendent should be appointed by next Governor 

Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy

Hawaii budget crisis: Adult Supervision vs Team Chaos

Furloughs: How Unions and the DoE aim to co-opt protesting parents

SB joins circular firing squad, calls for Chaos: Let teachers vote again

Wil Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said last week that most teachers probably would not have voted for the contract if they had to work the same amount for less pay. But teachers individually have told the Star-Bulletin's Susan Essoyan that they would have preferred ordinary pay reductions to furloughs.

(Here's a better idea.  Let the teachers vote on throwing out their union leadership team and replace them with leaders who see teachers as professionals, not hourly wage slaves.)

As long as the contract requires excessive furlough days, the education of Hawaii's children will be threatened. Teachers should be given an opportunity to amend the labor contract to allow a combination of furloughs on non-school days and hourly wage reductions.

(Judge Ezra is about to force this anyway, so just sit tight....)

read more

RELATED: Lingle: DoE Superintendent should be appointed by next Governor 

Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy

Hawaii budget crisis: Adult Supervision vs Team Chaos

Furloughs: How Unions and the DoE aim to co-opt protesting parents

ADV: Students still Hawaii teachers' top concern amid budget crunch

(More finger-pointing, HSTA apologetics....)

Compounding teachers' frustrations is the perception in some circles that the teachers themselves are to blame for negotiating for furloughs instead of a straight pay cut or furloughs that would have overlapped with holidays.

"It always seems like we're the ones who are blamed because we're on the front lines," Soekias said....

(Right, throw out your union leadership so you won't get blamed anymore.)

"Initially, our negotiation team wanted zero furlough days, but that fact seems to get lost in the overall pictures," Yasuda said. "(The state) at first proposed a much higher pay cut through furloughs, and eventually it got down to 17 days, (the equivalent of) a 7.94 percent cut. The governor backed us into a corner. We knew that we had to help with the deficit and a lot of us felt that if we waited any longer, she'd ask for more.

"We got a deal, but a lot of us felt bad that we got a pay cut and had to take furloughs," he said. "There's a widespread perception that we wanted days off, but that's not true. We want kids in school. We want to be back at work."

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Radford HS Teachers Arrested In Prostitution Bust

(This kind of blows the meme, eh?)

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Hawaii joins worldwide rally to stop global warming

Thousands of Hawaii students across the state, including a group at Stadium Park in Honolulu, took part in the 'Blue Line Project' on Saturday.

(News flash: Global Warming ended in 1998 but furloughs or no, the enviros still have time to brainwash children.)

REALITY: "95% water vapour" Global warming debunked by New Zealand Meteorologist

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Grumbling about rail isn't going to go away (Even Oi sees what is coming)

To guard against lawsuits, the mayor should have all his ducks lined up properly, his EIS properly vetted, his outreach to interest groups snugly wrapped.

Hannemann needs to alleviate fears that rail won't end up being a 6.5-mile run of high-and-dry track with good mauka-makai views not through one-upsmanship or denying them but by resolution. Muting monku isn't the answer.

RELATED: Last-minute donation: Rail contractor gave to Hannemann Campaign , Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

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Enriques: Big Island 'Transparency' Legislation Not Needed

I am whole-heartedly in favor of transparency in all government affairs, however I believe Bill 132 is not about transparency but rather it is an attempt to give final say on sales of County lands back to our legislative body for an unnecessary, redundant, additional review.

While this might sound like a good idea on the surface, it actually will threaten any sales transfer procedure by initiating considerable delay after the bidding is concluded. It may lead to legal contests, no matter how the Council might vote at that stage.

Bill 132 doesn't provide for procedures should a winning bidder be rejected by Council. And we have heard Bill 132 will discourage bidders from entering into the bid process because there is a good chance their deposits will be tied up for months and their good faith intentions may be tossed out by what may be a fickle Council vote, after the close of bidding.

(GRIH fell for the false "transparency" in 132 which is just a scheme to block a county land sale.  The real issue here is getting government land into private hands.  See GRIH: Hawaii Island Councilman Yagong Upholds Accountable Government)

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Flashback: Remains of 466 moved out from high-rise site

Of the 466 exhumed remains, 206 have been identified. The rest will remain unknown.

"We have made a considerable effort to trace the origins of those buried in the Kamoiliili Cemetery," said William Kea, a member of the board of trustees of Kawaiahao Church, to which the cemetery lot belonged.

"For four or five months, through legal notices, ads in Honolulu papers and word-of-mouth we had tried to reach relatives of those buried in the old cemetery.

"We followed all leads, and even stationed personnel at Kamoiliili for the convenience of those who worked weekdays.

"Only 15 persons came forth to claim their dead and had them re-interred in cemeteries of their choice."

(This is the way it was before burials could be used to leverage money from developers.)

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First bigeye tuna farm approved off Big Island (Shakedown next?)

Several critics told the board they're worried diseased farm fish (wild fish don't ever get sick, you see) would escape and contaminate (SIC!) wild stocks, and others said they're worried about where Hawaii Oceanic would obtain its fish feed (as if it is any of their business).

The project won't be sustainable if it imports its feed (so what?) and exports about 90 percent of its product (so what?), said (anti-Superferry protester) Rob Parsons, a board member of the environmentalist (SIC!) group Maui Tomorrow. The venture looks like it will suffer from the same pollution and disease problems as cattle farms, (which are good enough to supply all of our beef, pork, and poultry) he said.

"This is not a farm," Parsons said. "It's an industrial feed lot."

(Maui Tomorrow is not an environmentalist group.  It's an outlet for trust fund babies to impose their feeel-good policies on those of us who work for a living.)

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