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Tuesday, January 5, 2010
January 5, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:06 PM :: 14110 Views

The Teamsters Production Unit: Jim Dooley connects dots thru Honolulu underworld to Obama (Must read)

LINK: Driver for 'Lost' pleads guilty

Teamsters film and television driver Philip Asiata, who has worked for the "Lost" series part time ... has a criminal record of more than 125 arrests and 52 convictions....

(Asiata's grandson was Cyrus Belt: Slain toddler laid to rest)

Teamsters drivers hired for film, television and commercial productions are well-paid, earning as much as $3,000 a week. They are hired based on an internal union seniority grouping system that gives producers little say in employment matters.

Men with felony records have been working as movie and television drivers in Hawai'i since the 1960s, when the Teamsters "production unit" was first formed by labor patriarch Arthur Rutledge....

...Harlan Kamekona received a reduced, nine-year sentence in that case after Reynold Kamekona agreed to testify as a prosecution witness in the federal arson trial of fellow Teamsters film and television driver Joseph "Joe Boy" Tavares.

Tavares was convicted of burning movie equipment trucks, served a lengthy prison sentence and rejoined the union when he was released. He is now driving for a film production on the Mainland.

Reynold Kamekona owns and drives an equipment-hauling truck used on the "Lost" show, which is now in its final season of production....

Several men identified by law enforcement here as organized-crime figures have worked as drivers for film productions in the past, most notably confessed professional hit man Ronald K. Ching, who was a driver on the "Magnum P.I." television series while simultaneously feeding a $1,000-a-day heroin habit, according to court records.

Now working as Teamster drivers for the "Lost" show are federal parolees John Joseph "Joe" Griffiths Jr. and Douglas Paahao....

The Teamsters union nationally has been under a federal court order since 1989 that requires the organization to cooperate with and pay for investigations of ties to organized crime or labor racketeering....

The Wall Street Journal reported in May 2008 that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama won the Teamsters' political endorsement after privately telling the union that he supported an end to the decades-long federal oversight.

(Oh, by the way, your ACT 215/221 Tax dollars are paying for LOST and other TV/movie productions in HI) 

LINK>>>Kubo: Governor nominates former Federal prosecutor to First Circuit Bench

WSJ: Obama Says Teamsters Need Less Oversight

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Official wants special election ASAP

New interim Chief Election Officer Scott Nago says his goal is to hold a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie "as soon as possible" — possibly on Saturday, May 1....

Attorney General Mark Bennett said he believes an election to replace Abercrombie cannot legally be held in conjunction with the Sept. 18 primary to save the state money.

Bennett said a decision to hold the special election in September would likely prompt a lawsuit because it would leave Hawaii without representation in Congress for too long. 

LINK>>>Abercrombie resignation effective Feb 28

RELATED: Djou "ready and eager" for early Special Election , Case again implies Hanabusa disrespectful, lacking in knowledge

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New Elections Chief grilled about special election

Then there is some mystery money. More than $1.3 million plus interest that's been sitting in a savings account since 2003. Apparently an accounting error put it there instead of the state's general fund. Nago didn't know for sure if it could be used for the election although an audit is looking into it. (How many more "mystery accounts" are there in the State labyrinth?)

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Hawaii may hold a special congressional election in May

Scott Nago, the interim chief elections officer, told the state Senate Ways and Means Committee at a briefing yesterday that he would try to hold a special election on May 1.

Nago said his preference is for an all-mail special election with some walk-in sites with voting machines accessible for people with disabilities. He said an all-mail special election would cost about $925,000, compared to a traditional election with polling places, which would cost about $1.2 million.

SB: May is earliest for voters to replace Abercrombie

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Matayoshi being pitched as outsider to keep the DoE out of the next Governor's control

ADV: Matayoshi would bring legal, business background to schools as permanent superintendent

Acting Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, an attorney and former executive director of the Hawaii Business Roundtable, said yesterday she hopes to become the permanent chief of Hawai'i's public school system.

Matayoshi — who was also director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from 1995 to 2002 and held positions with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply and Hawaiian Electric Co. — would bring a legal and business background to the state schools.  (Has she ever owned her own business?  Apparently not, but she is a "business leader" of the State corporatist entity.)

"She'd be the first non-educator to run the school system. Before that, it's always been an educator," said Rep. Roy Takumi, chairman of the House Education Committee

(They are trying to peddle her as a change agent, and therefore an argument against the DoE becoming an appointed Department of the State of Hawaii) 

Toguchi said a tentative agreement between the Department of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association to end furlough Fridays for the current school year is still alive. ..."A lot of the work that is being done in negotiations is being handled by our labor relations staff, as well as board members and the superintendent," Toguchi said. "We've heard (the governor's staff) wants to meet again. ... I believe we're meeting on Wednesday."

READ: Lingle calls for constitutional amendment: DoE Superintendent to be appointed by next Governor

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SB: Interim schools chief to enter fray

Matayoshi told reporters yesterday that her focus since she came to the Department of Education has been working up the state's application for federal education stimulus funds. Hawaii is competing with other states for part of $4 billion in Race to the Top funding that will be given for programs to improve schools and raise teacher standards.

Her work on the application "has shown me that the department is positioned to take advantage of the changes and reforms (Hamamoto) has made over these last many years, to take our children into the 21st century," she told reporters at a news conference.

(That statement shows she is delusional.)

REALITY Hawaii won't get any RTTT:  HSTA using furloughs to keep “Race to the Top” dollars—and reform out of Hawaii 

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ADV: Hearings need strict environmental focus

The city has a chance to start work on the project at an opportune moment, from the standpoint of both low construction costs and a dire need for economic stimulus (but that window of opportunity closes on the last day to file papers to run for Governor).

That should be the state's interests as well, and that's what should be pursued (Because Uncle Dan didn't work for all those years to let the Abercrombie become Gov.)

(With the Mufi's campaign hanging by a single rail, the Advertiser suddenly becomes deeply and profoundly concerned that public hearings in Hawaii would become circuses.) 

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Median sale price of Honolulu homes fell by 7.9 percent in 2009

Transactions were down 5.7 percent to 2,585 last year, from 2,741 a year earlier, though sales activity has been on an upswing since September.

"2009 was a heck of a correction year," said Jim Wright, president and CEO of Century 21 All Islands. "We're still correcting. We're not out of the woods on housing."

Last month, the median sales price for single-family homes was $550,000, down 12.2 percent from $626,500 in December 2008.

(Poor Mufi, every time he opens the newspaper, he sees his empire and campaign crumbling.)

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UH faculty's union files class grievance against Greenwood

"We filed this class grievance on behalf of the UH faculty because of UH President Greenwood's clear breach of contract," said J.N. Musto, the union's executive director and chief negotiator. "We believe it is only fair to ask for immediate arbitration and to hold UH President Greenwood's unilateral imposition of salary reductions for UH faculty until we can have an arbitration decision."

"The substance of the grievance is being reviewed by counsel, and we will reply to UHPA by tomorrow afternoon," she said. "Our preference remains to reach a negotiated settlement, but such a settlement must address the university's significant budget shortfalls this year and next."

ADV: University of Hawaii faces union pay-cut grievance

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Schools open new year with fee increases

Lunch & busses take a hit.  The only things not being cut are bureaucracy, waste, and fraud.

read more

Mesa Air Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Go! Mokulele is not part of the reorganization. . .

(Hawaiian sure did a good job, allowing a nearly bankrupt mini-competitor to come in and help Hawaiian drive its maxi-competitor Aloha into bankruptcy.)

read more

Kalapa on Special Funds: Yes, the state has money to pay its bills 

Over the years, the slice of the state's operating budget pie financed through special funds other than the transportation special funds has grown steadily, rising from 11.7 percent of the operating budget in the 1995-1997 fiscal biennium to more than 17 percent for the fiscal biennium that ended in June. That 17 percent translates into just more than $3.6 billion, more than twice the estimated shortfall for the current biennial budget.

Lawmakers should consider putting all of that money on the table for discussion.

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Big Isle bovines getting waterbeds

The company said the pampered cow approach has produced measurable results.They cited reports from the Mainland that cows with waterbeds installed in their barns are producing 10 to 20 percent more milk.

Island Dairy is on the Hāmākua Coast of the Big Island, in 'O'ōkala. General manager Kyle Christensen said the footing for the new barn has been poured and construction will be going strong beginning next week.

That means the cows could be snoozing in comfort by March, he said.

The dairy's continued growth is welcome news to the state's agricultural community after decades of decline and the end of O'ahu-produced milk.

The dairy's plans mean that O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i residents may be able to buy local milk in stores for the first time in years. The fresh milk is currently distributed to Whole Foods, Foodland and Sack-N-Save.

Over the past two years, the company has more than doubled its herd, and milks about 600 cows, Christensen said.

He and the dairy's owner saw the waterbeds in action at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.

"We saw it there and read about it in Progressive Dairy Magazine," Christensen said. "It looks like it will work well for our situation."

(Somewhere an environmentalist is scheming to stop this.)

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Hawaii County Plastic bag ban

Whatever spirit of rebirth or hope for we had a better new year was crushed by the Christmas Day "present" of the announcement in the Tribune-Herald from Councilman (Pete) Hoffmann, with endorsement from the mayor's officials, of their push for a plastic bag ban.

REALITY: Save The Plastic Bag

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Iran, Cuba buying influence in Solomon Islands

AUCKLAND, New Zealand—Twenty-five students from the Solomon Islands joined other students from that country to attend medical school in Cuba in November. They lost a month of study, however, after the ANZ Bank sent back money donated by the Iranian government to pay their airfares.

The students were able to fly to Cuba after Iranian government representatives handed over the aid money directly to their Solomons counterparts. The students join 50 others from the Solomons already studying medicine in Cuba.

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