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Friday, January 15, 2010
January 15, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:36 PM :: 9256 Views

Hanabusa suggests Case is sexist

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa sent out an e-mail blast to supporters last night claiming one of her opponents in the special election to Congress "suggested to reporters that I step down not only as Senate president, but also from the Senate, implying that because I am a woman, I am unable to perform my duties while running for a congressional seat."

RELATED: Full Text Mink letter blasts Case

Shapiro: Inouye, Akaka choose politics over principle

RELATED: Cook Political Report: Djou is "strong candidate" who has "gotten big break" , UPDATE VIDEO: Case vs Hanabusa vs Djou -- first AND SECOND Congressional Debates

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$1.3M sought for special election

Former congressman Ed Case and Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou have said a special election should be held as soon as possible so Hawai'i would have full representation in Congress. State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa has raised doubts about whether the Office of Elections can get the money and voting machines in place by May. She has also said voters should be given adequate time to register and learn about the method of voting if it is an all-mail election.

Case, who has higher name recognition among voters, has said Hanabusa wants a delay to give her more time to build her campaign.

If an emergency appropriation does come before the Legislature, Hanabusa said she would probably recuse herself in "an abundance of caution."

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, D-14th (Hālawa, Moanalua, Kamehameha Heights), the chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, had thought a May timetable may be too ambitious.

But she said lawmakers would likely approve the emergency request. "If we have to have a special election and it's not going to be combined with the primary election, then I think we're forced to," she said.

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Just another union flunkey: Matayoshi claims HSTA, HGEA support RTTT and DoE had no choice on furloughs

SB published a long interview with the DoE's new Sup't today.  Here is the meaty part with Bureaucratese-English translation: 

Q: In exchange for "Race to the Top" (RTTT) funding, the federal government is demanding a lot more accountability from unionized teachers. Is HSTA (the Hawaii State Teachers Association) on board with those reforms?

A: We've had ongoing discussions with HGEA (the Hawaii Government Employees Association, which represents principals) and HSTA on the "Race to the Top." ... As a sign of their support, HGEA and HSTA have both provided letters of support for the application. (Ooops! "letters" should read "fig leaves" -- used to cover the furlough sabotage.  Or for that matter, DoE's Charter School sabotage--both of which kill Hawaii's chances at RTTT.)

Q: It makes the furloughs all the more a shame because in what I've been able to read of the (grant) requirements, in so many other ways Hawaii is well positioned, in having standards, in having funding equity, in having at least stated support from its unions.

A: I think there are some things about Hawaii that are not appreciated locally. For example, our standards are very high. The push from the Obama administration has been for internationally benchmarked standards. We've already done alignments with standards for the American Diploma Project and, in looking at the initial standards that are coming out, we are not far off. And that's very good news.  (Dodges the furlough issue--but then something amazing happens.  The reporter refuses to let her get away with it!)

Q: Getting back to the furloughs: How hard did the DOE try to avoid them? I ask because there's a persistent suspicion among some parents that the DOE, BOE and HSTA wanted parents and schoolchildren to feel the pain, so to speak, so they would support a general excise tax to fund education. Can you address that?

A: I know that certainly the department did not want furloughs. ... In Ways and Means, as we were discussing our budget request, we went through the kinds of reductions the department has gone through the last few years and it is so significant. It's hard to almost imagine how we are going to cope with the coming year, given the magnitude of the reduction.

I think the other thing is that across the nation, all districts are seeing the same kind of economic crisis hitting their schools. California has laid off thousands of teachers. Some states have dramatically raised class sizes. Every school district is facing decisions that nobody wants to make, but the money isn't there. And so we need to make, I guess, the best we can of it, and the decision at the time here, following actually the governor's original suggestion, was the furloughs.

Matayoshi is just another DoE/HSTA hack.  Recipe for hack answer on furloughs:

  • We had no choice on furloughs (well what so you want us to cut?  Waste?  Fraud?  Corruption?  That's our bread and butter!)
  • Other States are doing the same thing (they aren't cutting instructional days)
  • It's all the Governor's fault anyway, we're not responsible

(BTW credit is due to SB's Christine Donnelly for making Matayoshi answer the furlough question and confronting her with the real opinions of DoE parents, not the usual pabulum.) 

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Hawaii schools close again with no deal on furloughs

Lingle announced a new proposal Jan. 8 and emphasized the importance of acting quickly. Yet as of yesterday, Wil Okabe, HSTA president, said the teachers union still has no details of Lingle's new plan.

"We have not received any proposal from the governor 's office. It doesn't seem that the priority is ending the furlough days, so therefore we will have another furlough day this Friday," Okabe said.

Linda Smith, senior adviser to the governor, said the administration is still working with the state budget department and the state Department of Education to hash out details of "nonstaff costs" of opening schools.

"The other issue we're still working out is the school-level personnel and who minimally do we really need to come back to work on those furlough Fridays," Smith said.

Those two details were also sticking points in Lingle's original furlough reduction proposal. It was one of the main reasons the teachers union said it was unwilling to agree to the proposal.

Alex Da Silva, spokesman for the state Board of Education, said negotiators from the board have requested answers from the administration regarding those details.

(So the BoE needs the Governor to tell them how to run their own DoE?  This is why the BoE should be abolished and the DoE placed under control of the next Governor.)

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Will school reform talk bring action?

Gov. Linda Lingle says she'll spend her final year pushing a constitutional amendment to improve accountability in the schools by making the superintendent part of the governor's Cabinet, subject to legislative confirmation.

Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the likely Republican candidate to replace Lingle, says he supports this and would also take another look at an earlier administration plan to break up the statewide school system into six local boards of education.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, the major announced Democratic candidate for governor, cited the crisis in the schools as one of his reasons for resigning from Congress to work full-time on his campaign.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, the other likely Democratic candidate, has taken great interest in the state's labor talks with the teachers, even though they don't involve the city.  (And union-allied Mufi hasn't said a word about his position.)

Of course it is up to the Legislature to place this on the ballot.  Wonder what THEY are going to do. 

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Hawaii Laborers' Union election under scrutiny (again)

In a filing in U.S. District Court last month, Labor Department attorney Leon Pasker said the department is investigating whether certain union members were "using union funds to promote a particular slate of candidates" in violation of federal law.

During the July rerun election, the laborers elected Alphonso Oliver as president and Peter Ganaban as business manager.

Lawyers for the laborers union have asked Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren to quash the subpoenas, saying the request for members' phone records violates their rights to privacy....

The new election controversy comes three years after the local union's international parent placed the Hawai'i laborers union under the control of a trustee.

The international alleged that local union officials spent more than $450,000 on trips to the Philippines and gave preference to friends and relatives for construction jobs.

The trusteeship was lifted in 2008. (and they immediately reverted to form)

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Honolulu council shelves plan to rename park for Obama (another blow to Mufi's canpaign)

"The significance is he is a local boy, one of 44 (presidents) in the history of the United States, born in Hawai'i," Chang said, noting that he also spent a majority of his formulative (Freudian slip?) years in Honolulu.

(Here are suggestions for historical markers at several of Obama's childhood hangouts in Chinatown:  Hey Obama, Who's Freddy?)

But council members Charles Djou, Romy Cachola and Todd Apo said there's a good reason why facilities are usually named only after deceased people.

Djou noted that Alaska named its international airport after former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens — just as he was seeking re-election and just before he was convicted on corruption charges.

"(Mufi) wants to name it the Magic Barack Obama Memorial I-want-your-endorsement-so-I-can-become-governor-this-year Park," Lum Lee said.

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Pflueger trial to remain on Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — State Attorney General Mark Bennett was three for four in state court Wednesday, prevailing on all but one defense pre-trial motion in the James Pflueger manslaughter case.

Pflueger’s jury trial is scheduled for mid-April before 5th Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano, but an expected appeal on one of his rulings may delay the start of the trial, said attorney David Minkin, representing Pflueger.

Valenciano denied defense motions requesting: change of venue, dismissal of charges due to double jeopardy, and dismissal of charges due to insufficiency of evidence or vagueness.

The judge granted Minkin’s motion to drop the first-degree reckless endangering charge against Pflueger, but the seven manslaughter charges remain.

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In tough times, Maui council aims for more affordable housing

Developer and Maui Contractors Association President David Goode lobbied council members on Wednesday to lower the affordable housing threshold to 15 percent, saying the county needs to be doing whatever it can these days to get people back to work.

By contrast, Stan Franco of the nonprofit organization, Faith Action for Community Equity Maui, said members of his group would be more comfortable with lowering the rate to 30 percent.

Council Member and Public Services Committee Vice Chairman Joe Pontanilla called 25 percent a good compromise.

Franco also asked council members to take a stronger stand to ensure that developers don't take advantage of legal language that allows them to create neighborhoods that do not have mixed-income levels of residents living within them.

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Ka'u could get emergency evacuation shelter

Hawaii County may get $18.1 million for a Ka'u emergency evacuation shelter that would double as a public school gymnasium -- provided Gov. Linda Lingle approves spending the state money.

The Legislature last year appropriated $1.8 million to design and $16.3 million to build a Civil Defense shelter and gym on the grounds of the Ka'u High School and Pahala Elementary School complex.

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Top 10 Outrageous Facts About the Hawaii State Teachers’ Association

Hawaii’s public schools employ 6,300 classroom teachers, but there are 13,048 HSTA members....Class II entry-level certified teacher pay has increased only $4,000 per year in 11 years.

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Hawaii medical care system: Hilo Doctor Autopsies Still Living, Bleeding To Death, Patient

Calling both the present Hawaii and proposed National healthcare system unsustainable, Dr. Edward Gutteling, a Hilo orthopedic surgeon, recently spoke to the non-partisan Conservative Forum of Hawaii. For Gutteling, predicting what’s wrong with the upcoming national system is seeing what’s already playing out in the healthcare debacle in Hawaii.  Not wanting to be only autopsying a bleeding to death patient, Dr. Gutteling also offered workable cures. 

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