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Thursday, November 26, 2009
November 26, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:22 PM :: 7774 Views

Hawaii teachers' union details concerns about furlough plan (suddenly unions don't want to change furloughs)

Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi last week questioned whether the $50 million would cover 12 days, as the governor estimates. Toguchi said it costs about $5 million a day to run the public school system, meaning $50 million would only cover about 10 days.

And now HSTA officials seem unconvinced by a proposal to redistribute 15 nonclassroom planning days to cover part of the furloughs.

(Suddenly all fingers are pointing at HSTA and DoE as the problem.  Good work!)

In the clearest statement yet on the plan, union officials said yesterday they are concerned about teachers having to forgo 15 planning days between January 2010 and June 2011.

Michelle Kay, a sixth-grade science teacher at Dole Middle School, said six of the waiver and professional development days were a result of the teachers' strike in 2001.

"We fought hard for those days...."

PRECISELY AS PREDICTED HERE>>>Furlough negotiations: $50M ransom offered, but unions balk at releasing hostages

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Jobless rate tops 9% on Neighbor Islands

The state's figures show:

• Hawai'i County's nonseasonally adjusted rate slipped to 10.4 percent from September's 10.7 percent.

But it still was almost 4 percentage points higher than the 6.5 percent unemployment registered in October 2008.

• Kaua'i's rate was 9.1 percent, or 0.4 percentage points lower than September. In October 2008, unemployment on Kaua'i was at 5.5 percent.

• Maui's jobless ranks shrank slightly in October to 9.0 percent from 9.4 percent the prior month. In October 2008, Maui's rate was 5.2 percent.

• Moloka'i and Lana'i had double-digit unemployment rates, at 13.5 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. Those levels were down from September's 13.7 percent and 11.0 percent, respectively.

The report showed Moloka'i's rate was 12.2 percent in October 2008 (Thanks, Walter Ritte); on Lana'i, it was 4.5 percent.

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Life of the Land: Proposed oil tax a barrel of trouble for Hawaii

I used to believe that Hawaii should pass an oil tax. This tax would be imposed on the use of fossil fuel and the money raised would be used to establish a renewable energy fund.

Unfortunately, the proposed state oil tax is anti-business, anti-labor and anti-common sense, and might significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.

The oil tax is anti-common sense because products can be made with any fossil fuel, including petroleum oil, coal and tropical biofuels. Clearly oil has the least impact of these three fuels. Yet the oil would be taxed, the coal would not, and the imported biodiesel (unlike imported ethanol) would receive a federal tax credit and also receive favorable treatment under both the Kyoto Protocol and the House Waxman-Markey climate bill. Thus an oil tax would encourage producers to shift their fuel use from petroleum oil to coal and tropical biofuels, both of which are far worse for the planet than petroleum oil.

One could argue that shifting priorities from imported fuels to locally produced renewable energy could produce some net benefit. This, too, is a fallacy. The state does not distinguish between different types of "green" fuels. The state also does not distinguish, with the exception of hydrogen, between different production methods for a given type of "green" fuel. Ethanol is "green" energy regardless of whether the energy used to make it comes from biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal, oil, coal or tropical biofuels; and regardless of how efficient the process was.

RELATED: Furloughs: Advertiser sides with “sustainability” billionaires

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Lawsuit Tackles Tax Break For Hawaiian Homelands  (OHA thrilled)

Attorney Bill Burgess says that race discrimination and unfair.

"It's more than subsidizing. It's giving them a free ride," Burgess said.

The homelands tax breaks have been in place for many years. It is based on the fact that homesteaders cannot resell their land and face other controls and rules.

"It would seem to be unfair to apply the same tax to these property owners who have severe restrictions to the properties that others don't," Deputy Attorney General Girard Lau said.

In court on Monday, the attorney for homeowners like Ewa Beach's Earl Arakaki, argued that during the years of appeals ahead all non-homesteaders should pay the same tax as homesteaders, which the counties said would bankrupt them.

"That amounts to one-third of our budget," Hawaii County attorney Craig Masuda said.

(More fodder for Kau Inoa recruiters to use....)

RELATED: Supreme Court ruling shields Hawaiian Homelands and ceded lands revenue

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Ranch donates 12,000 acres for easement to Maui land trust

ULUPALAKUA - In an effort to keep two-thirds of Ulupalakua Ranch's 18,000 acres preserved forever as agricultural lands, the Erdman family has donated an easement to the Maui Coastal Land Trust.

Pardee and his son, ranch President Sumner Erdman, said they pursued the complex deal with the nonprofit land trust to ensure that nearly 12,000 acres of prime real estate never be developed from a mile of coastline south of Makena to the 6,000-foot elevation of Polipoli Spring State Park.

However, the owners reserve the right to develop renewable energy projects, and agriculturally appropriate commercial and noncommercial ventures, said Maui Coastal Land Trust Executive Director Dale Bonar.

For instance, Sempra Energy recently leased land for a 12- to 15-turbine, 20-megawatt wind energy farm on the Auwahi portion of the ranch.

The transaction involves two parcels of land that form a dog-leg shape on the slopes of Haleakala.

RELATED: Furloughs: Advertiser sides with “sustainability” billionaires

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New Honolulu police chief popular with rank and file

It was another sign that the Honolulu Police Commission's selection of Kealoha, who also received more than 100 letters of support from current and retired officers, is a popular choice with the rank and file.

Tenari Maafala, president of the State of Hawai'i Organization of Police Officers, said Kealoha's outgoing personality makes him popular with officers of different stripes.

"He's genuine, and he recognizes the human side," Maafala said. "That's just how he is. If you go down to the police station, he's 'Mr. Joe Aloha.' It matches his name. He's 'Joe Kealoha.'"

Kealoha, 49, was sworn in by Circuit Judge Michael Town in Mayor Mufi Hannemann's office. His wife, Katherine Puana Kealoha, and 10-year-old daughter, Kristina, were among the family members in attendance.

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Pictures of alleged drunken drivers posted on Web site

Posted every Wednesday for 24 hours, then removed:

No Legislators or OHA trustees this time...stay tuned.

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Rail: Harbor plan would expand waterfront

A state agency is floating an idea to fill in two areas of Honolulu Harbor near Aloha Tower to create new waterfront land for development tied to a nearby transit station planned by the city.

The plan has been in gestation for about three months. It comes after nearly seven years of work by Dallas developer Ken Hughes to develop a $300 million retail, residential and hotel project at Piers 5 and 6 unraveled.

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Settlement reached in Sunetric case

A settlement was reached in U.S. Bankruptcy Court yesterday between a Kailua-based solar company and its creditors.

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Hawaii County renews "Golden Bulldozer" contract


The county sold the 1991 Caterpillar D8 for $52,083 in 2003, as part of a trade-in for a new bulldozer. It's since spent more than $427,025 renting it back.

A recent contract with the 'dozer's owner, C&H Ishii General Contractors, will carry the county through June 30 for another $12,725 a month.

The county is responsible for providing the operator and all required maintenance and repair.

The county Department of Environmental Management then executed "emergency procurement" no-bid contracts with Ishii from March 2005 through December 2006 to temporarily replace bulldozers that were out for repairs.

Ben Ishii, an engineer in the Department of Public Works, is a first cousin to C&H Ishii President Howard Ishii. He told West Hawaii Today on Wednesday that he has no involvement with the company.

"We're related but I don't have anything to do with his company," Ben Ishii said.

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LINK>>>Jihadi murderer of Big Island man captured in Iraq: Navy Seals face prosecution


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