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Sunday, November 1, 2009
November 1, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:23 PM :: 12675 Views

Abercrombie vs Reality: Possible candidates put forth furlough options

(More Neil Abercrombie fantasy money pretending to solve problems.  Abercrombie has never put forward any solution--now he come up with this fakery.)

Abercrombie: Federal economic stimulus money also could be redirected to help eliminate or reduce the furloughs even if the Legislature and the governor have already accounted for those dollars in the state budget, Abercrombie added.

"Well, then, get together and unaccount for it," he said, adding that parents are uninterested in the limitations of the budget process. "The plain fact is that they are going to have to find money ... or reallocate funds with the premise that you keep the schools open." ...

Reality: Linda Smith, a top Lingle adviser, said she is unaware of any federal stimulus money for Hawaii that is not already budgeted for specific purposes.

(Of course, since Abercrombie is in Congress he should be in an excellent position to make federal dollars rain down on the DoE...but he hasn't.  So why would anybody expect him to be able to do so as Governor????)

First time Abercrombie tried to answer this question:  Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy

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Hawaii's class time thin even before cuts

(Buried in paragraph 11) ...In Hawaii, the number of school days in a year and instructional minutes are decided through bargaining with the Hawaii State Teachers Association. In others states, instructional time is set by law or regulation. Some states require a total number of instructional hours per year, others set a minimum of school days and hours per day.

Before the furloughs were imposed, Hawaii's high school instructional time was the fifth shortest in the nation. Four other states -- Arizona, California, New Jersey and Utah -- mandate fewer hours, 720 over the course of an academic year, compared with 771 hours for Hawaii.

(In contrast, Alabama has 1080 hours and Texas has 1260 so--thanks to the HSTA's contractual limits on daily instructional time--Hawaii education time is just 72.2% of Alabama and 61.2% of Texas.  These limits were not changed with the furlough agreement.)

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Overtime expenses at 24-hour facilities one facility could exceed savings, critics say

At the Hawaii State Hospital in Kane'ohe, the only state-run psychiatric hospital in the Islands, some are questioning whether overtime costs to cover for furloughed workers will exceed what the state saves.

The concerns are spurring the Health Department to take another look at staffing at the State Hospital, including whether the Kaneohe facility could be exempted from furloughs.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association represents 114 nurses at the State Hospital whose positions are staffed around the clock.

Those nurses are on a staggered furlough schedule, and their supervisors are trying to keep overtime to a minimum, Health Department officials said.

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More Chaos: UPW members' suit claims layoffs violate rights

Gerald Kaleiki and Norman Lyman yesterday filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in Circuit Court. The motion, filed on behalf of the two guards by labor lawyer Charles Khim, will be heard by Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto on Nov. 13.

Kaleiki and Lyman are among an estimated 1,100 state workers who will be laid off on Nov. 13. The guards are members of the United Public Workers union, which has not agreed to a furlough or layoff plan with the state, Khim said.

RELATED: HGEA vs HSTA: The coming legislative budget crisis

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SB: Make Kaloko dam settlement public

Monetary settlements have ended lawsuits stemming from the deadly 2006 Kauai dam breach but the amounts are being kept confidential. Secret settlements are commonplace in lawsuits pitting private citizens against each other, but the public should not be kept in the dark about tax dollars being used to settle cases against the state and Kauai County.

(Good point!  Oddly the SB or ADV did not editorialize against such secret-ness in another case--the Hokulia decision--which not only affected millions of taxpayer dollars but also directed the Hawaii County government to enact several reforms.)

RELATED: Hokuli`a Settlement Exposed

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Court upholds decision on substitute teachers' pay--DoE owes subs $40M

WAILUKU - The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals has affirmed a Circuit Court ruling that the state Department of Education erred in the way it paid substitute teachers statewide from November 2000 to June 2005.

Unless the case is appealed and overturned by the Hawaii Supreme Court, the ruling means that thousands of people who worked as substitute teachers would be owed between $30 million and $40 million, according to plaintiff attorney Eric Ferrer of Maui.

ADV: Court affirms ruling that state of Hawaii underpaid substitute teachers

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SB Oi: Isle task force unlikely to 'reinvent government'

Leaders also "task force" stuff so they can appear to be doing something, but often what panels produce — at the cost of millions of tax dollars doled out to consultants, experts and interest groups — are sheaves of dead trees to be waved around at news conferences, then put on a shelf. (Remember the Hawaii "sustainability" task force?)

(Good editorial, but the word "Democrats" does not appear here even once.)

TOTALLY RELATED: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

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State wants tourists to pay fees at 8 parks

The state has proposed raising small boat harbor mooring rates and charging nonresidents to get into eight parks as part of a plan to pay for repair and maintenance at recreational facilities.

"We have facilities that are literally falling apart," said Laura Thielen, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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$36M in federal money means little more than two dozen Big isle jobs so far

HILO -- Big Island companies and government agencies have been awarded $36.48 million in federal stimulus funds so far, but have reported only 26.36 new jobs to show for it.
That's according to a West Hawaii Today analysis of data released Friday by the federal government. The first quarterly release of data includes money awarded to for-profit and nonprofit businesses, universities and county and state government.  (Obamanomics at work)

RELATED: Stimulating unemployment: Hawaii loses 17,000 jobs

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Maui streets paved in gold: $10M for an intersection

MAKAWAO - Some of the 40 people who attended an informational meeting about the $10 million rebuilding of the Makani Road-Makawao Avenue intersection Thursday thought the solution was too much.

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Lanai council member’s registration to vote OK’d

WAILUKU - After supplying evidence to support his claim that he really lives on Lanai, Council Member Sol Kaho'ohalahala received approval Friday to register to vote as a Lanai resident.

SB:  Councilman ruled a resident of Lanai

ADV: Maui council member wins a round in residency flap

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A one-man protest

Kaua‘i Board of Ethics Member Rolf Bieber stands alone in protest Thursday. Bieber, who was among those present when Charter Review Commissioner Barbara Bennett likened persistent county manager proponents to the ‘Ku Klux Klan’ Monday evening....

RELATED: Charter Commission still mulling manager plan

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Samoa Democrats' Disaster warning funds 'spent on TVs'

A former director of the territory's Homeland Security office says millions of dollars in grants were awarded in 2007 to prepare for a disaster, including building an island-wide siren warning system.

But the funding was frozen after the American Samoa government was found to be using it for other purposes.

An audit found that of $US2.3 million given to American Samoa in homeland security grants, $1.7 million was determined to be ineligible, unallowable or unsupported.

Some of the questionable allocations include the purchase of six flat-screen television sets for more than $25,000, $4,000 on leather chairs and $328,000 spent on vehicles not fitted with agreed equipment.

The vice-president of Common Cause, Ben Te'o, told Radio Australia the loss of life and devastation may have been avoided.

"I know for a fact if the siren warning system was in place, we probably wouldn't have this many casualties as a result of the tsunami," he said.

The CNN report described American Samoa's tsunami disaster as "a man-made tragedy".

RELATED: Common Cause calls for public input on emergency alert system , http://www.commoncause-as.org/index.html

Common Cause issues call to ASG: “Stop playing politics with our lives”

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Where Do State and Local Governments Concentrate Their Spending?

See how Hawaii compares...

RELATED: Hawaii Pays Highest Percentage of Budget in Nation on Debt Interest, Environment and Housing

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Poll: US belief in global warming is cooling

RELATED: Searching For Clues in the Global Warming Puzzle

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6 Guantanamo detainees resettle in Palau

Overnight, about 10 policemen stood outside the home where the men will live, on a side street in the heart of Koror, where most of Palau's 20,000 residents live and work. Their building, which has a bank on the ground floor, has undergone construction in recent weeks to accommodate the men. It is a five-minute walk from Koror's only mosque, one of two in the country.

Palau has a Muslim population of about 500, mostly migrant workers from Bangladesh.

Toribiong's statement said the Uighurs would be provided medical care, housing and education, including English lessons and instruction in skills that will help them find a job.

(They were captured in the battle of Tora Bora, 2001.)

RELATED: Hawaii County Councilman: Release Guantanamo detainees in Hawaii, Blackmailed? Palau reportedly to take 17 Guantanamo detainees

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