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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
November 3, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:44 PM :: 9762 Views


ADV: Leaders must set priorities in budget plan (HGEA vs HSTA)

It's abundantly clear that the interests of Hawaii school children HSTA — at least in terms of recouping some of their lost classroom time — will be represented when the state Legislature convenes in January....

Those who are poor and need social services, those who are working toward a rejuvenation of Hawaii's industries and its preferred future, The HGEA, the environmentalists, the contractors, and the ACT 215/221 cronies also need representation.

The Legislature has convened a "reinventing government" task force to search for solutions aimed at preserving core services within current budgetary constraints. Its second meeting is set for Friday.  (So this useless commission is going to be the arbiter of "consensus" needed to maintain all of these competing forces within the Democratic Party.)

Consensus explained:  Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that, HGEA vs HSTA: The coming legislative budget crisis

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95 Hawaii schools ask for more class days: Board expected to OK requests for more instruction time

(Proving that in the DoE, those at the bottom are infinitely more committed to education than those at the top whose priority is creating pressure for a tax increase...) Ninety-five public schools have applied to turn teacher training days into instructional days and restore some of the class time students are losing to furloughs.

The state Board of Education must approve the requests and is expected to do so on Thursday, education officials said.

"Any request that adds instructional days back to the calendar will be looked upon favorably," said state Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi.


Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto has extended the deadline for schools to submit requests for exemption from their waiver days to Nov. 13 because dozens of schools were unable to meet the initial deadline in October.

So far, conversion of waiver and professional development days to instructional days has been the only option available to schools to add school days back to their pared-down calendar.

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

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HR: Hawaii Public High School Experience - An Inside Look from a Hawaii Teen

(THIS is the DoE we are supposed to save???)

Before the first bell even rang, I came across a group of about ten teens, who appeared to be smoking cigarettes. A boy from the group said “Hey! You like one smoke?”

I ignored him and kept my head low, but then I felt someone grab my arm. I whipped around and there he was gripping my arm. He said firmly, “Come on, all new kids don’t like try, but it good kine fun.” I was in shock, so I unconsciously ripped my arm from his grip and ran off. Drugs have been offered to me before, which I have always refused, but the fact that these teens were doing drugs on campus with no secrecy stumped me.

I knew going into a public school that the social environment would be extremely different then what I was accustomed to, but I didn’t expect to see so many teens doing drugs, making out in the hallways, and grappling with other students. Honestly, the “school” seemed more like a hang out spot, since the “learning” in the regular Ed classes seemed absent. For example, in my first class the teacher gave out what appeared to be middle school basic math calculations.

The classroom environment was horrendous and appalling! A student said to the teacher to “Get the F**k over here and tell me the damn answers to this stupid s**t!” I was speechless. Never had I seen a student disrespect a teacher like that. At my school, I have always enjoyed having engaging class discussions about current events to give students the opportunity to think independently. Those debates were always educated not just simply yelling at the teacher.

My next few classes were just the same, except most teens were sleeping or texting under their jackets.

(Just another day in the DoE...think this is exaggerated?  See next story...)

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17 students arrested after series of fights at Keaau High

(DoE's $75M Keaau HS -- In 2004 it was pipe bombs, this year it is fights...THIS is the DoE we are supposed to save!)

"This school is getting out of hand, and they're letting these kids come back to school after they're suspended, and this is after (injuring others)," said the mother of a 15-year-old Keaau sophomore whose son witnessed one of the altercations. "My son's friend lost teeth, broken nose, I mean, everything. It was major lockdown. They wouldn't let me go get my son, and I threw a fit: 'I want my son now!'"

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her son, said her son was not physically assaulted "in this particular incident" but was threatened verbally.

"I'm not gonna send him to school (today) 'cause word is out they're going to retaliate," she said.

The woman said her son had been assaulted in previous incidents at the school.

"He's gotten mobbed; he's gotten stabbed with pencils. It's just ridiculous," she said.

Her son said that his friend, another 15-year-old boy, was ganged up on Wednesday morning by a number of other students between the school gym and the cafeteria.

"Morning recess, had this bunch of kids come up to my friend and they started mobbing him and stuff, and a couple of kids went to help him and stuff," he said. "My friend had, like, bloody nose. He was all bus' up. One other guy come from the side, kick him. His teeth flew out and stuff."

(OH and check this out...)

Thursday was a professional development day at Keaau High, while Friday was a furlough day for teachers due to statewide budget cuts. Students did not report to campus either day.

(Does it sound like anybody is developing any professionalism there?)

AP: Big Island high school melee leads to charges against 11 students

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Hawaii Senate Committee Hearing: Teachers' Union Agreement on Furloughs Questioned

Parents attending the Hawaii Senate Special Committee to Consider Approaches to Teacher Furloughs at the State Capitol auditorium on Friday, Oct. 30 discovered that the loss of instruction on 2 Fridays per month for up to 17 days this school year could have been avoided if the Hawaii State Teachers’ Union (HSTA) and the Department of Education (DOE) had just followed the School Community Council (SCC) process....

But Sen. Mike Gabbard stated that one-third of all schools have applied for furlough waivers through their SCCs, but 112 schools haven’t made requests. “Parents can get involved and talk to their SCC,” said Gabbard

According to the Board of Education (BOE) Nov. 5 agenda, over 90 schools, including Aikahi Elementary, now have made an exception request to the board. Other schools are requesting a change to their schools’ bell schedules, so that instructional time lost on Fridays may be moved to the 4 remaining days of the school week.

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Lawmakers advocate renegotiating teacher contract to restore cut days

"They can go back in, resolve it amongst themselves, and we can wait for that," Oshiro said. "There's no need for a special session. The parties to the contract need to get back in, rewrite the contract, ratify it and take care of the problem."

Oshiro was responding to calls by House Republicans at a news conference yesterday.

"It's just morally wrong that the children of Hawaii should bear the brunt of the current economic crisis," said Rep. Corinne Ching (R, Nuuanu-Liliha-Alewa Heights). "We know that there is a better way."

VIDEO OF News Conference:  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

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More Fantasy Money: Federal funds considered to help fill in furlough gaps

A group of state Senate and House members plans to meet with staff members of the Lingle administration to discuss reducing the number of days public schools are closed due to budget cuts.

One aspect of the discussion will focus on using some of the $35 million in federal stabilization funds to reduce the number of Furlough Fridays, said state Sen. Will Espero.

Espero, vice chairman of a Senate special committee examining Furlough Fridays, said if some of the $35 million is applied, the state would not have to take as much for education out of the Hurricane Relief Fund. "We certainly want to reach out and work with the administration," Espero said. "We must work together."

Linda Smith, Lingle senior policy adviser, said the $35 million was not new money and had already been appropriated as part of the budget.

She said funds have not been drawn down, but the administration was going to use them to meet federal standards in education, such as helping struggling schools that have failed to meet their annual yearly progress.

(But instead the Dems. want Lingle to use the money to subsidize the DoE's failure.)

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SB's Obamacare FEAR: Isle residents need more details about health reform

Hawaii's 35-year-old health care law should remain intact in the event of enactment of federal health care reform, Hawaii's congressional delegation has assured. The particulars of how the federal legislation would affect Hawaii around the edges remain questionable, and the state's delegates should be more informative.

SB Fantasy: The islands have deserved praise as home of the nation's most comprehensive and effective health care plan. Hawaii's health insurance premiums are among the lowest in the country, Medicare costs per beneficiary are the lowest and residents live longer than people in mainland states.

REALITY: Hawaii Hospitals: Not Quite Catching Up To Africa

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Honolulu rail project raises company's profile

For Kiewit, the Honolulu transit deal is the company's biggest Hawaii contract. It's also likely to significantly raise the company's profile in the community.

"We've actually been kind of under the radar, which is OK," Wilhelm said. "I guess that's over for the time being."

TRANSLATION: Last-minute donation: Rail contractor gave to Hannemann Campaign

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

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Kalapa: Vital for Hawaii Taxpayers to Support Spending Reductions

Over the past few weeks it has become increasingly clear that many public sector unions, as well as lawmakers, are in denial that Hawaii has an economic crisis as evidenced in their refusal to make any concessions in wages and benefits.

This unwillingness to acknowledge the fact that there is no money in the public trough stalled contract settlements and as each day passed, the situation got worse. Not only was the state’s tank running dry, but the moneys coming into the treasury also trailed expectations.

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Maui Land & Pine to quit pineapple operations, lay off 285

Maui Land & Pineapple said today it will immediately stop planting pineapple and will cease its pineapple operations by the end of the year.

(Thanks, Obama!)

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Honolulu Symphony could file for Chapter 11 this week

City officials say the symphony is current on rent payments through January 2010 for its use of the Blaisdell Concert Hall but owes about $10,000 in other miscellaneous charges.

The symphony's 84 full-time and part-time musicians went several months this year without receiving their regular paychecks. They later agreed to a 15 percent pay cut in September for the current season.

The symphony at one point experienced a turnover of more than a quarter of its musicians as a result of the back pay issue, according to Local 677 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents orchestra members.

The 2009-2010 season was saved after the Honolulu Symphony Foundation agreed to provide $1.8 million to cover the symphony's operating expenses.

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Rate of BK filings slowed in October (up 39% from last October)

Statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu show there were 274 filings in October as people seeking relief from creditors continued at relatively high levels. October's total was down from September's 283 filings, which was the most since Hawaii's economic downturn began last year.

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Inouye's bank: Central Pacific continues spiral down down down

(If you have over $250,000 in this bank -- run.)

Central Pacific Financial Corp's stock lost more than 20 percent of its value yesterday as it continued to free-fall on the heels of last week's announcement that it lost $183.1 million in the third quarter and that it was anticipating enforcement action to be taken against it by federal and state regulators due to the bank's financial condition.

Fitch Ratings downgraded the long-term issuer default rating of the bank to "CCC" from "B," and Standard & Poor's said, effective Monday, it will replace Central Pacific in the SmallCap 600 Index....

(This article does not mention Dan Inouye even once:  Here is what you are missing:

RELATED INFORMATION: After Call From Senator Inouye’s Office, Small Hawaii Bank Got U.S. Aid

CPF Stock Chart: LINK  (Did Inouye sell his shares when CPF stock ran up after obtaining the TARP loan?)

TARP Lobbying, new regs: New Treasury Guidelines Prohibit Congressional Lobbying on TARP

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NYT: Al Gore rakes in millions from global warming scam

The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.

(Wait until HFP details the Hawaii version of this money-making scam and how it is related to the collapse of Molokai Ranch...stay tuned.)

REALITY: "95% water vapour" Global warming debunked , (and read thru this for a hint of things to come....) Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

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