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Saturday, October 31, 2009
October 31, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:12 AM :: 5930 Views

Judge Ezra to handle settlement talks on furloughs, removes self from cases

"Over the course of the past few days, the court has participated in meetings with the parties in an effort to facilitate discussions on the issues raised," Ezra said in a recusal order filed this afternoon.

Ezra said in the order that he "believes recusal is a prudent action here because it would be improper for the court to both work on amicable out-of-court resolution and rule on the merits of the case."

SB: 9th Circuit judge replacing Ezra in Furlough Friday suit

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BOE chair addressing legislators' concerns on Hawaii furloughs, budget

Sen. Fred Hemmings asked why education cuts could not have been made to the Department of Education bureaucracy, instead of the classroom. He also urged a management audit of the DOE.

Sen. Clarence Nishihara asked why increasing classroom instruction time or using waiver days were not considered earlier as alternatives to the furlough days. Toguchi said that he was not in on contract talks with the Hawaii State Teachers Association.  (So the BoE is useless.  Abolish it!)

Kim Coco Iwamoto, a BOE member, said lawmakers allowed a GET increase for the Honolulu rail-transit project and could do the same for education.

(How about a tax on elective surgery?)

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NYT: Hawaii’s Children, Left Behind

Hawaii’s political leaders and school officials are now standing in a circle of blame, pointing at one another. The governor, who had ordered the Department of Education to cut its $1.8 billion budget by 14 percent, now says she had not expected the union to take its furlough days from instruction time....For now, they are learning a terrible lesson in how little their government and teachers think an education is worth.

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Check out Frank DeLima's parody 'Furlough Friday' tune

"We go to class on Monday and on Tuesday,

"Friday come and we gotta stay home.

"Wednesday, Thursday, but Friday is a cruise day,

"Friday come and we gotta stay home."

Audio: Frank Delima's Furlough Song

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Parents, keiki protest on second 'Furlough Friday'

More than 50 people, including many elementary schoolchildren, gathered at Kahala Elementary School this morning to protest "Furlough Friday II -- the sequel."

ADV: Students fill Hawaii's 'furlough Friday' with field trips, projects

RELATED: DoE/HSTA try to silence Kihei PTA furlough solution

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High court affirms Bennett for dam trial

The issue should be taken up on appeal if Pflueger is convicted, the court said in a 3-2 decision. Chief Justice Ronald Moon and Justices Paula Nakayama and James Duffy were in the majority. Justices Simeon Acoba and Eden Hifo dissented....

"It escapes me how it makes more sense to determine whether somebody's disqualified after a case is tried rather than before the case is tried," said Pflueger's attorney William McCorriston. "I guess Justice Acoba and Justice Hifo were similarly confused by that logic, and both dissented, making it a very close decision."

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ADV: Council's revised B&B bill shows promise

The problem is, as always, enforcement. Bill 7 now includes language to require permit numbers to be included in any advertising for the units. It no longer includes the street address — a legitimate concern of the property owners, for security reasons — and city staffers say this does not impede enforcement.

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Maui County faces $45M budget deficit

That's down about 10 percent from this year's operating budget. Declining property tax assessments are expected to drive the decline, and contract-negotiated increases in medical premiums for employees will add to the gap, said Finance Director Kalbert Young.

And Maui County could lose another $17 million to $20 million if the Legislature tries again next year to take the counties' share of transient accommodations tax revenues - something Council Budget Chairman Joe Pontanilla said he expects.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares said she asked her department heads to prepare operating budgets that are reduced by 8 to 10 percent....

Tavares said it was too soon to say if she would propose an increase in property tax rates when she submits her budget to the Maui County Council on March 15.

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Mayors seeking restoration of state’s agricultural inspectors

The state Department of Agriculture initially planned to cut 52 employees from its Plant Quarantine Branch, which handles agricultural inspections, as part of the state's sweeping effort to close a projected nearly $900 million revenue shortfall.

In September, the department announced it was restoring 22 of those positions by tapping funds that had been earmarked for other invasive species protection programs and money from cargo inspection fees. All six of the agricultural inspectors that had been flagged for layoffs on Maui had their jobs restored.

But two positions in the Maui Plant Pest Control Branch, an entomologist and a noxious weed specialist, are still flagged to be eliminated in layoffs scheduled for November.

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National health reform bills would exempt Hawaii

The Senate version preserves a waiver under the Federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act that allowed the state law, enacted Sept. 2, 1974. It requires businesses to provide health insurance to employees working more than 20 hours a week.

The provision to maintain the exemption, requested in the Senate draft by Hawaii's Democratic U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel Akaka, "acknowledges that Hawaii is way ahead of the game in legislating employer-mandated health care," said Jennifer Sabas, Hawaii chief of staff for Inouye.

(Meaning that Hawaii health care is the future envisioned under Obamacare.  That alone should be enough to scuttle the bills.)

EXPLAINED: Trillion Dollar Pelosi Blueprint for Government Run Health Care

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SB Headline: "1,545 jobs made or saved under stimulus"

REALITY: Stimulating unemployment: Hawaii loses 17,000 jobs

BTW, last Monday this appeared: 250 positions in Hawaii saved or created by 'stimulus', data show

So which is it?

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