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Monday, November 23, 2009
November 23, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:34 AM :: 11870 Views

Day TWO of ZERO coverage on Furlough negotiations: $50M ransom offered, but unions balk at releasing hostages

(the biggest news today is the story that ISN'T in the news)

Hawaii counties see budget crunch ahead (adventures of the three mini-Mufis)

Maui and Hawai'i counties anticipate budget shortfalls of roughly $45 million in fiscal year 2011, which starts July 1, 2010. On Kaua'i, the expected shortfall is $8 million.

Neighbor Island mayors fear they may find themselves in an even deeper hole if the state makes a grab for the counties' share of revenue from the transient accommodations tax to offset a portion of its $1 billion shortfall projected through fiscal year 2011.

Maui anticipates $17 million in TAT funds this year, down 23 percent from 2009 because of the slump in tourism. The Big Island budgeted for $17.4 million in TAT money, down 13.5 percent; and Kaua'i, $11.2 million, a 15.5 percent drop from the previous year.

the three Neighbor Island counties are in far better shape than the City & County of Honolulu, which is facing a $147 million budget shortfall this year, or the cash-strapped state, which is using layoffs and employee furloughs to save money.  (No wonder Mufi wants out)

Hawai'i County plans twice-a-month furloughs for 1,300 of its 2,700 workers starting July 1, but Maui and Kaua'i are holding off for now.

(That's what comes of not tightening belts in 2009....)

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UCOMP: Hawaii May Back Off Big Business Tax Hike

Businesses will have to pay an average of about $1,000 more per employee in annual taxes to help keep unemployment payments flowing to laid-off workers.

House Labor Committee Chairman Rep. Karl Rhoads said he's evaluating proposals that would change the calculation used to set the tax rate, which would decrease the average annual tax hike to about $700.

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Honolulu officials faulted for rejecting ground-level trains (KS wants train out of Kakaako KS re-development area)

The AIA, Kamehameha Schools and others contend a rail system built at least partially at grade would cost less and have less visual impact.

(Just ignore this.  Its only Kam Schools.  They don't have any pull around here.)

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Publicly Financed Elections Bolster Big Government

An "A" grade describes a legislator that would make Barry Goldwater proud; an "F" grade describes a state legislator in the mold of Nancy Pelosi:  As shown in the Institute's report, publicly-financed candidates in both the State Senate and House disproportionately receive failing grades....

(And that is exactly why this proposal has traction in Hawaii)

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Lawmakers to examine use of federal stimulus money

A joint panel of the state Legislature will examine the use of federal economic stimulus money in the state departments of health and human services....The commission is headed by Rep. Michael (shake down charities) Magaoay (D,Schofield-Kahuku) and Sen. Shan Tsutsui (D, Wailuku-Kahului).

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Troubled bridges over island waters

About 38 percent of highway and road bridges in Hawaii are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, according to the magazine read by government and construction industry officials. It s the fourth-highest percentage in the country, behind the District of Columbia (55 percent), Rhode Island (53 percent) and Pennsylvania (39 percent).

The national average is 24 percent, with Nevada having the fewest structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges at 11 percent.

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Swine flu vaccine gets hogged

I catch grief from the city administration when I josh about the outsized egos and general sense of self-importance over at Honolulu Hale, but sometimes they make it too easy.

Last week, an Advertiser report said the state has designated 7,174 of its 50,000 employees as essential to keeping the government operating, putting them on a priority list to receive swine flu shots as the scarce supply of the vaccine comes into Hawai'i.

(Obamacare preview: Vaccines distributed according to one's importance to government, not medical risk)

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Hawaii Department of Education - Cutting Necessary Services Before Cutting the Fat

When any bureaucracy faces a budget cut, it typically cuts services before it cuts fat. When a bureaucracy cuts services, it enlists the public as an ally in defence of its budget.

Further, the high-paid, do-nothing jobs in a bureaucracy typically go to politically-connected insiders, who can best defend their positions. Furlough Friday has Hawaii parents scrambling for day-care and screaming for higher taxes. Unasked and unanswered is the question: "How much money is enough?"

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Lawyers' magazine rates UH law school 166th of 180

The University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law was ranked among the nation’s top 180 law schools whose graduates go on to be among the top-rated lawyers in their respective states.

(This is the source of the Akaka Bill, the Ceded Lands Case, and all of Hawaii's environmental legislation.  Will Hawaii continue to be bulldozed by 166th raters?)

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Tread carefully with Web site of DUI shame

New York's Nassau County launched its Web site, titled "Wall of Shame," in May of last year but it was temporarily halted by a state judge five months later for denying due process of law to those pictured. Unlike Honolulu's planned site, the names and photos of those arrested in the Long Island county were posted on the Internet for an unlimited period.

The New York judge cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in concluding that "something more than simple defamation" by a government official or agency is necessary to reach what he called "stigma plus."

(Geee.  Maybe we should stop listing the names of arrested people.  We could go to a system of secret detention for drunk drivers while letting alQaeda run free.)

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Environmental Council needs better support

On July 23, after months of struggling to do its job with inadequate resources, the Council voted to cease future meetings until the administration provided adequate meeting facilities for video conferencing, staff support, financial support for an annual report, and prompt approval of long-overdue appointments to bring the Council up to full membership.

We are faced with the fact that the administrative rules for environmental review have not been updated since 1996, (the year after PASH) despite years of effort by the Council to revise them.

(Do we want these eco-nuts to revise EIS rules to impose even more rules-based eco-lies under which we are supposed to live?)

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OHA appoints 4 new directors

OHA announced earlier this year that it was launching a new strategic plan to better serve rob Hawaiians, while transforming OHA into a more streamlined, performance-based organization. Under the plan, OHA is shifting its focus from serving individual needs to applying resources to programs and activities that will lead to systemic change theft, maximizing their impact for on all Hawaiians.

Related: OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii

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Hawaii man sought for two killings in Philippines (victims both tied to Arroyo)

Jason Ivler, 28, from Hawaii, was identified by witnesses as a driver involved in a traffic accident in Manila on Wednesday. It led to a heated argument during which Ivler allegedly chased and shot to death another driver, Renato Victor Ebarle Jr., said police Chief Superintendent Elmo G. San Diego.

Ebarle's father, an official at the Office of President Gloria Mapacagal Arroyo, filed a murder complaint against Ivler. The prosecutor will review the complaint before filing formal charges.

FLASHBACK 2004: HPU student charged in Philippine official's death  (Same suspect: another traffic accident followed by fleeing from police, victim was another official of Arroyo's government.)

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Kekaha’s Aipoalani says now is time to restore (Kauaian) kingdom

Whole article is written as if this clown were real.  Amazing.

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Kauai: Expert panel downplays need for county manager

LIHU‘E — A trio of experts on the workings of local government say while the existing “strong mayor” system has its faults, those problems can be addressed through elections, downplaying the need for a proposed switch to a council-county manager system.

("If a professional manager ran the County, how would we get contracts?") 

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