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Sunday, January 31, 2010
January 31, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:45 PM :: 10827 Views

Hawaii's school board needs to be fixed, say three ex-governors and Hamamoto (FAKE REFORMS--HOPING TO TRICK THE ELECTORATE INTO DOING NOTHING)

The former governors' pitch for education reforms comes on the heels of Gov. Linda Lingle's call for an amendment to the state's Constitution to abolish the state Board of Education and make the superintendent of schools a Cabinet-level position appointed by the governor.

While the three former governors say their reasons for wanting to change the system mirror Lingle's concerns, their proposal would not do away with the BOE, but would change the way its 13 voting members are selected.

(And when this is all said and done, the next Gov will be selecting BoE from a list of cronies presented by a “selection commission” and then the unelected crony BoE will select a Superintendent—who will not be controlled by or responsible to the Governor.  The purpose is to place the Governor under control of the next legislature.)

Former superintendent Patricia Hamamoto said a change to the governance structure of the DOE would not necessarily result in improvement in student achievement at the school level. Hama-moto said the school system needs the support of the governor and resources so that principals and teachers can do their work.

"How about a governor that supports education rather than puts down education?" Hamamoto said.  (Blame Lingle for your own failure, eh quitter???)

"Appointed or elected is not the answer," Hamamoto said. "The ability for the governance model to work is based on the relationships , the support, the commitment of our top policymakers. If the governor believes in education and she is going to support education — even if there are limited resources."

Ariyoshi echoed Hamamoto's sentiment about the relationship between the governor and the DOE.  (This sentence tells you everything you need to know)

"I never had the kinds of problems that the current governor has, but I had close communication with the superintendent. I worked closely with the Board of Education," Ariyoshi said.

Overall, Hamamoto said she agrees with the concepts of the former governors' proposals, including their call for principals to be educational leaders of their schools.  (This sentence also tells you everything you need to know)

FULL TEXT OF DEMOCRAT EDUCATION MANIFESTO: Education reform must put kids first   (From the whole document there are ONLY TWO operative phrases—the rest is fluff.)

  1. Make the governor fully accountable for public education in Hawai'i by replacing the elected Board of Education with one that is appointed by the governor.  The board would then choose the superintendent.
  2. Put 90 percent of each school's budget under the principal's control, with support and oversight from a complex-area administrative team.

PRECISELY AS PREDICTED:   Hamamoto's DoE resignation: To block Lingle's constitutional amendment

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Democrat Advertiser: (Not) Time for better way to pick school board   (Don’t put it on the November ballot)

(Here’s why Randy Roth calls the Advertiser “part of the problem” with the DoE.)

It's time to give serious thought to building a smaller, smarter, more cohesive team of education professionals to run our schools. This means three changes:

  1. a school board appointed by the governor;
  2. a superintendent appointed by the board;
  3. and a governor held accountable for those choices.

With numerous proposals on the table and public frustration peaking, the timing seems right for lawmakers in this legislative session to begin debating structural reforms, changes that will require voters to approve an amendment to the state Constitution.  (BUT NOT THIS NOVEMBER)

Gov. Linda Lingle, in her final year in office, has proposed an amendment to make the superintendent a Cabinet-level position appointed by the governor. She also proposed abolishing the Board of Education altogether, although she has said she'd consider an appointed board.

Former Hawai'i governors George R. Ariyoshi (Mehau protectee) , John Waihee (Broken Trust) and Ben Cayetano (backs Abercrombie), in today's Focus section, argue for an appointed board that chooses the superintendent . They believe that the elected school board is a victim of low voter turnout in which interest groups exert too much influence, which means its democratic quality is largely illusory.  (No.  They believe they can sucker the voters into letting this chance for reform go.)

These ideas should be heard at the state Capitol this session. A final decision should involve whoever is elected governor this fall before the details are fleshed out.  (IN OTHER WORDS, PUT THIS OFF TIL NEXT YEAR WHEN IT WON’T HAPPEN)

(Cayetano is backing Abercrombie.  Abercrombie has endorsed the Governor’s proposal.  What will Abercrombie do now?)

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'Clock is ticking' on furloughs: BOE disputes claim it's stonewalling on Lingle's proposal

In a release issued late yesterday afternoon, Lingle accused the BOE and DOE of stonewalling her Jan. 8 proposal to use up to $50 million from the state's rainy day fund to restore 12 furlough Fridays (five this semester and seven in the 2010-11 school year) and convert 12 paid planning days into classroom instruction days (two this semester and 10 in the next school year).

"At this point, the Board of Education and Department of Education are standing in the way of resolving the furlough issue and preventing students from returning to school," Lingle said in the release.

"The BOE and DOE owe parents, students, teachers and the general public an explanation of why they refuse to even present this plan to the teachers," she said.

"The clock is ticking. The longer the BOE and DOE stonewall, the more our students will lose out on classroom time. In addition, the longer the BOE and DOE wait, the more likely it will be that the rainy day funds will be used to fill other needs in the community."


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SB vs HSTA: Tax hike not the solution

The teachers now propose that the rates be increased to 10.55 percent for those making $200,000 to $400,0000, and 12.85 percent for those earning more than that. Legislators should reject the proposal for the same reasons Lingle gave for vetoing last year's tax increases. The reasons are even more valid today.

"Although there is the misconception that only wealthy people will be affected," Lingle explained in her veto message, "this bill will adversely impact almost 37,000 persons, of which about 27,000 are sole proprietors, partnerships or subchapter 'S' corporations whose owners report their business income through personal income tax returns. ... This could mean more business closures, layoffs and fewer job opportunities."

Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, said a further income tax hike on the wealthy today would "drive them out of the state ... When we lose all of the people who have the money to start our businesses, what are they (teachers) going to say to their students when there are no jobs?"

Jim Williams, the teachers union's interim executive director, has made clear that he has no concern about business and job losses in the private sector, as long as teachers are made immune from wage reductions.

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Say what! To close a widening budget gap, the House leader asks for an array of tax hikes, benefit cuts and even a casino  (and a health insurance tax)

In past years, Say has been a roadblock to legislative attempts to raise taxes, but now he says there is no other choice.

Say has introduced a bill to raise the general excise tax to 5 percent from 4 percent (4.5 percent on Oahu) and increase some food tax credits, but also scrap the tax credits for many groups.

He also wants to increase the tax on wholesale manufacturing and producing to 1 percent from 0.5 percent (House Bill 2880) and increase the tax on insurance commissions from 0.15 percent to 4 percent (HB 2881).

Say estimates the GET tax increase (HB 2876) would bring in an extra $488 million and repeal of tax exemptions for nonprofits (HB 2878) is estimated to be worth an extra $422 million by 2011.

Say also has introduced a bill to permit a casino in Waikiki (HB 2396), but he doubts that it could be enacted in time to help ease this year's budget crisis….

Say wants to lower retirement costs (HB 2893) by saying that a worker's pay for retirement calculations does not include overtime, bonus or pay differentials.

The state could collect an extra $105 million if it adopted Say's plan (HB 2873) to take the hotel room tax money now given to the counties. Another Say proposal (HB 2852) would raise $71 million next year and $142 million by 2012 by imposing a tax on nonprofit health insurers like the Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente.

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Lingle: Lawmakers Hid Votes On Civil Unions

HONOLULU -- On Saturday, Gov. Linda Lingle was shaking her head at the way House members, wary in an election year, hid their votes on a civil unions bill.

House members voted Friday by voice instead of roll call vote, which would have recorded a vote for each member and let the public know where each lawmaker stood on the issue.

Civil union supporters in the audience were furious, storming out of the chamber.

"Shame on you guys, shame. Disgraceful," one said.

Another said, "Cowards. Cowards. Animals."

COMPLETE LIST OF PREVIOUS 444 VOTES:  Hawaii Family Forum urges continued voter registration effort

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Herkes comes out against HHSC privitization

Herkes said recent changes to the HHSC's structure, followed by the replacement of both the president and chief operating officer, should solve most of the problems. But the system will probably continue to need infusions of state funds, he said.

(This is the anti-reform position, keep it in the State and keep paying for the decaying system as it decays further.)

New proposals for HHSC will be considered in the current legislative session that started in mid-January. State Sen. Josh Green, D-Kohala, Kona, Ka'u, a medical doctor and vice chairman of the Senate Health Committee, wants HHSC to be reconstituted as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, ending the system's status as a state agency, allowing philanthropists to donate to a specific hospital and moving employees from the current civil service system to a traditional benefits package.

(Being out of civil service means being out of HGEA which is why this belated, but necessary proposal is being quietly strangled in exchange for more of the status quo.)

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Rep. Morita reaches out online to tax your breath  (Shows what is at stake in Gubernatorial election)

Here’s what Neil Abercrombie would be unleashing if he is elected Governor:

— Pay Now Or Lose Control Over Our Future. “Expectedly, the focus of the Kaua‘i Energy Sustainability Plan is the recommendation for a fifty cent increase in the county fuel tax. I have been advocating for carbon taxes (breath taxes) on a state level as a way to fund the transition to a clean energy economy. It is going to cost money and we (YOU) are going to have to pay for it somehow.”  (YES, SHE WANTS TO TAX YOUR BREATH—then everybody would literally be ha ‘ole.)

— Upholding the Constitution. “Some people forget that elected officials not only get to make policy but in doing so we actually have to uphold the federal and state constitutions. And, sometimes it means not succumbing to the tyranny of a “perceived” majority. At the State Capitol today, two events touch on issues that circle back to fundamental rights and protections in our Hawai‘i State Constitution.”  THOSE ISSUES?  GAY MARIAGE AND ABORTION.

Morita’s blog:

(Gov Lingle has been protecting Hawaii against Morita and her ilk for 8 years.  Who will take the Gov’s seat in 2010?  Abercrombie or Aiona?)

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Honolulu rail would be safer at ground level, AIA contends

Overall, automated trains running on an exclusive right of way — a system planned for Honolulu — were involved in seven fatalities in the United States from 1998 to 2007, according to the Federal Transit Administration. That's far fewer than the 211 fatalities associated with street-level, or at-grade, rail cars during that period. Both figures exclude suicides and trespassing-related deaths.

However, when the statistics are adjusted to account for the far greater passenger miles carried by street-level rail lines, the safety record for at-grade trains appears to improve. That's because trains that operate on an exclusive right of way logged just 12.6 million passenger miles in 2007, versus nearly 1.9 billion passenger miles generated by at-grade trains.

On a passenger-mile-basis, street-level rail had fewer reported injury incidents than elevated rail in all but one year between 1998 and 2007, based on FTA data.

The AIA and the city are on opposing sides of another rail safety issue. The architects have criticized the city for not planning to include automatic safety doors at stations to keep people from accidentally or deliberately falling onto the partially electrified train track. The doors are not included in current station designs and are not a requirement in the current train system and control contract bidding process.

The Vancouver SkyTrain, which is a model for Honolulu's planned train, also does not have such platform safety barriers. Overall, 54 people have died on SkyTrain tracks and platforms since 1985 — a figure that includes 10 people who died after accidentally falling onto the tracks, according to a November 2008 story in the Vancouver newspaper "24 Hours."

A 1994 SkyTrain safety review found that the $40 million to $50 million cost of installing safety barriers systemwide was too prohibitive, according to the newspaper.

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Big isle Car, truck sales on fumes in '09

Hanley and Rolf both mentioned furloughs for government workers as well as announced increases in unemployment taxes for business owners from $90 to $1,100 a year per employee.

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Lanaians looking for a means of survival: Economy on edge with employment limited and construction stopped

the island's largest employer has laid off or furloughed 20 percent of its work force and cut hours for the employees that remain….

And many decide to leave the island. Residents estimate between 300 and 500 people have moved away over the past 18 months - more than 10 percent of the island's population of 3,196, as recorded in the 2000 U.S. Census….

One resort worker, who asked that his name not be used, said he didn't know what to do when he was laid off a year ago.

He'd worked for Castle & Cooke for more than 20 years and had wanted to retire on Lanai but found himself planning a move to Oahu so he could find work.

"We were struggling," he said. "It was pretty scary for me."

The family, which includes three children, survived on his unemployment benefits and his wife's salary from a part-time job. He felt lucky to find another job on Lanai after being out of work for seven months.

The experience left him feeling bitter and upset at his former employer and Castle & Cooke's billionaire owner, David Murdock.

"Twenty-two years I was loyal to the company," he said. "A lot of the people laid off were like me - born and raised on Lanai."

And while he sees his neighbors leaving the island and facing foreclosure, the former resort worker felt angry that the Four Seasons continued to employ and bring in workers from the Mainland and foreign countries.

That's led to "a lot of bad feeling" in the community that has contributed to a lack of support for other Castle & Cooke projects like the massive wind farm it is proposing to develop on the northwest end of the island.

(as it should, the big eco-plan is to drive all the locals out and then sell their homes to rich, politically correct, mainland retirees.)

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FEEL-GOOD: Hawaii County to consider new bid to ban plastic shopping bags

The latest version, Bill 193, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2011, bans only plastic bags at checkout. Included in the ban are plastic checkout bags of … compostable plastic that are not specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse. Paper bags would not be prohibited.

(feel good Enviro-idiots killing trees)

Nonprofits and unincorporated community booster groups would be exempted from the ordinance. In addition, businesses will be allowed to make plastic checkout bags available for purchase until Jan. 1, 2012.

Businesses in violation face fines of $100 to $500. The measure is similar to bills passed by Maui and Kauai counties.

Complete debunk of feel good plastic bag bans here:  Save the Plastic Bag 

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Oahu crime up 6%; increase mostly in property crime

Recent FBI figures show crime on O'ahu rose nearly 6 percent in the first half of 2009, with property crimes accounting for much of the increase.

The figures come on the heels of warnings from authorities that the economic crisis could trigger a spike in crime, and follows a long period of decline in crime islandwide.

Officials are quick to point out that though crime rose during the first half of 2009, it's down when compared to 2007

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