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Saturday, November 21, 2009
November 21, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:43 PM :: 14355 Views

Hostage Drama Continues: Hawaii Legislature accepts $50M ransom offer, HSTA, HGEA, UPW balk

State Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings, R-25th (Kailua, Waimanalo, Hawai'i Kai), said the teachers union and the state Department of Education have "extorted the people of Hawai'i into throwing more money at public education."

Hemmings said draining the rainy day fund is a "formula for disaster" that could leave the state vulnerable if the economy continues to decline....

Wil Okabe, the HSTA's president, asked lawmakers yesterday to respect the collective bargaining process.

"As seasoned lawmakers, the Speaker of the House and the Senate President know how the process works," Okabe said in a statement. "When a formal proposal is made, we will evaluate the proposal and respond accordingly."

Okabe also dismissed concerns by state House Speaker Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise), that many teachers did not fully understand that furlough days would be taken away from classroom instruction when they ratified the two-year contract in September....

Several teachers, and some of their allies at the state Legislature, believe the public does not appreciate how important planning and collaboration days are when preparing for classroom instruction. The debate over furloughs has focused on the value of restoring the amount of classroom time for students rather than the quality of instruction.

School principals and other school staff — represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers — may also have objections once it becomes known how they fit into a potential agreement. The HGEA has a two-year contract that includes furloughs, while the UPW is still in contract talks.

With these potential obstacles, the negotiations could leave more teacher furlough days in place, or break down altogether.

SB: Labor agreements (hope) to be redrawn

ADV: Federal court moves up 'furlough Friday' appeal

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Increase in public school bus fares OK'd

(This is part of the $50M ransom deal.  BoE had to agree to raise bus fares or leg would not agree to special session.)

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Akaka Bill: Hawaiian Homelands to become federal property?

Trisha Watson, He Hawai`i Au: Above all else, I’m now seriously worried about our land. I got into a very interesting conversation with one of the tribal officials. Here, the tribal land is held in trust by the federal government, so it’s actually federal land. So we got into a conversation about Hawaiian Homelands, and he said to me, “Well, the first thing you would want to do is turn that over to the federal government.” At which point, I nearly choked on my tongue.

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Officer faces felony drug charge in Vegas

One of two Honolulu police officers arrested Aug. 15 for allegedly smoking marijuana in a van at a city park (and running from police) in Las Vegas will be facing a felony charge and could face up to four years in prison, according to Nevada law.

(Amazing what happens when one goes before a REAL court)

Souza and Fujioka have been stripped of their police powers and put on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of an internal Honolulu Police Department investigation.

Souza is a 20-year veteran of the department, and Fujioka has been with HPD for 13 years.

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Hawaii may cut back preschool tuition subsidies to families

The state is considering drastic cuts in subsidies for preschool care for thousands of children from low- to moderate-income families, which in some cases would result in parents having to quadruple what they pay for care.

Some families could have to pay upward of $450 more per month for care or be forced to take their kids out of preschool.

State Department of Human Services spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said DHS does not have a targeted date for starting the subsidy change, since it is still being considered. Schwartz said she could not comment further on the proposed changes until after the public hearing.

But in a statement, DHS Director Lillian Koller said she has received "a lot" of comments from parents and providers. "We look forward to addressing all concerns starting Tuesday," after the comment period is finished, Koller said.

SB: Low-income parents worry about child care crunch

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Mauna Kea CMP takes step ahead

Meanwhile, a group of Hawaiian and environmental advocates are hoping to derail final approval of the management plan by filing a lawsuit in Third Circuit Court.

To be heard at 9AM Dec. 9 Judge Glen Hara.

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Kauai residents rip county plan for new landfill in Kalaheo

Tom Shigemoto, of Kaua'i Coffee Company parent company Alexander & Baldwin (Big funding source for Sierra Club), said A&B allowed a Maui landfill in the middle of its cane fields there, but is not willing to part with productive coffee land for a new county landfill on Kaua'i.

Due to "rampant consumerism," (yawn) all Kauaians own a piece of the existing landfill, said Ben Sullivan of Kalaheo, a Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative board member who thanked Carvalho for "forcing the issue."  (Carvalho: A Mini Mufi???)

Letz said nearly everything related to the landfill site-selection process is posted on the county Web site,

KGI: Carvalho: ‘No choice but to act’, Residents decry new landfill in coffee fields

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Special Session: Nacino elevated to Circuit Court judge

The Senate vote was 21-0, with four senators excused.

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Hawaii jobless rate stays at 7.2 percent

A total of 598,824 were employed and 46,656 unemployed out of a labor force of 645,480.

While those numbers might seem encouraging, an estimated 650 state workers (0.1%) who are expected to leave their jobs by the end of the year -- some due to retirement and others due to layoffs -- have yet to be counted.

(Look at chart.  While federal numbers continue to suffer from Obamanomics, Hawaii under Lingle has steadied since cracking the 7% mark in March.)

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Hawaii House cutting staff salaries by piddling 5%, Senate refuses to make cuts

While everybody else in public and private sector is tightening their belt, the Legislature continues to enrich itself at taxpayer expense.

Here is one of the Legislative staffers who isn't making the same sacrifices being asked of teachers...

Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

HR: House of Representatives Announces House Budget Reductions

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Maui: Small store creates big controversy

Some of the neighbors who oppose the project say they aren't ready to accept a compromise that's been proposed, and store owner Matt Daniells said he's exhausted and near the end of his rope after spending five years and more than $100,000 on his zoning application so far. Both sides say they're sad that the dispute has led to angry words and hurt feelings between neighbors in this small, rainy corner of Haiku.

Matt and Sandy Daniells, who is a descendant of the store's founder, had proposed an 800-foot expansion of the store and the construction of three small commercial buildings nearby. The Daniellses applied for rezoning and state land-use district boundary amendments on 2 acres for the project.

(And some still wonder why Hawaii has an anti-business reputation) 

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LINK: Mufi's secret rail push-poll released

LINK: Obamacare: A Senate Bill nobody believes goes to vote Saturday


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