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Friday, March 5, 2010
March 5, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:06 AM :: 7432 Views

LINK>>>Djou: Tam should resign and be prosecuted

LINK>>>Mess Cleaned Up: After 10 years Hawaii public housing passes HUD inspection

LINK>>>HSTA WINS ROUND ONE! Hawaii denied “Race to the Top” funds, reform, accountability blocked

LINK>>>Will Hawaii take TWO House votes away from Senate Obamacare?

LINK>>>Rep Gene Ward: 15 job killers advancing in House

Panel cuts gov's budget by $41M: “We’re half a billion short”

Contractors cut to save unions:

  • DoE -- $45M Purchase of Service contracts
  • DoH -- $30.9M Purchase of Service contracts
  • Dept of Human Svcs -- $18.5M Purchase of Service Contracts

Details of the budget bill, HB 2200, are not yet finalized, but Oshiro said yesterday that the House version of the budget will restore 819 jobs valued at nearly $12 million that Lingle had cut. An additional 235 state positions worth $4.2 million that were vacant were also restored.

"Nearly 60 percent of the child care subsidies are made to relatives or family members of these children being watched," Oshiro said. "This is one area where we will find some real savings."

State Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Finance Committee chairman, concluded yesterday's meeting by warning that although the budget is cut, there is about $500 million more in looming state debt not accounted for.

The warning, according to Oshiro, means that the bare-bones state budget may have to be trimmed even further.

"The administration has not paid its bills on time," Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Poamoho) said. "When I add it all up, we are about a half a billion short."

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ADV: The cure may be worse than disease (Hawaii Environmental law revisions)

Senate Bill 2818, the culmination of two years of study by a University of Hawai'i panel, was greeted with almost universal criticism after it was introduced in January.

Environmentalists, developers, government agencies and business groups all complained about various aspects of the bill, which would rewrite the laws governing environmental impact reviews. Since then, SB 2818 has gone through substantial revisions. It cleared the Senate Tuesday and crossed over to the House.

Even so, it's far from ready for prime time. Negotiations are continuing, through a working group of stakeholders huddled behind closed doors, trying to craft compromise language that would be included in any final version of the bill.  (And a complete absence of media coverage)

It's this lack of consensus on nearly every aspect of the bill that is worrisome.

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Residents appeal Lepeuli fence approval

21 paragraphs describing what a Kauai ranch as to go through to put up a cattle fence to keep cows off the beach and vandals off its property.

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SB: HMSA, Kaiser woes reinforce case for PAWLENTY’S health care reform (Not Obama’s)

"We experienced reduced revenues as more of our members lost employer-sponsored coverage and enrolled in Quest," said Thomas Risse, Kaiser's chief financial officer.  Quest (Medicaid) reimburses Kaiser or HMSA at a lower cost, causing them to absorb unpaid costs.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said his state has begun changing its system, which "encourages unnecessary tests that increase costs," to one designed "to measure and set performance metrics for providers and make the results public." In an op-ed piece in Sunday's Washington Post, the Republican governor wrote, "We are changing our payment system to reward quality rather than quantity."

Minnesota's pilot program is commendable, but deeper changes are needed in the nation's health care system. HMSA has five such programs in various stages — two on Oahu and one each on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai.

(Election 2012 could be Pawlenty vs Obama, and here is an early endorsement for Pawlenty on Obama’s key issue—in fact the editorial does not mention Obama even once.)

WP: Five ways to reform health care

RELATED: Progressives target Akaka to back socialist medicine like Inouye  (and the only way that can happen is if the House rejects or amends the Senate Bill, Mazie?)

RELATED: Will Hawaii take TWO House votes away from Senate Obamacare?

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Lingle aide, BOE chair meet, share data

Linda Smith, the governor's senior policy adviser, met for about an hour with Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi and Department of Education officials in what was characterized as a "working session." The meeting involved the "employers" of the teachers and did not include the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

(Oh, that’s right, the BoE are employers, not HSTA reps.  Good thing they reminded us of this.)

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Ending education furloughs prioritized

Hawaii State Teachers Association information officer John Williamson said later yesterday that an informational meeting is set for today between union representatives and the Board of Education.

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Joan Husted: Former HSTA boss backs Charter schools, calls for education czar

But it was Husted who dropped some bombshells, proposing that the statewide, elected Board of Education be suspended for six years, during which time the governor would appoint an "education czar" to overhaul the DOE, which would enjoy a set budget rather than the Legislature's fiscal micromanagement.

She said that education deserves more money, but also asserted that individual schools should control up to 90 percent of the money — a model akin to charter schools and reminiscent of then-superintendent Charles Toguchi's attempts to decentralize the DOE in the 1990s….

Q: And you think we should continue charter schools?

A: Yes. I think charter schools prove what HSTA had been saying for years: small schools, small class size, involved parents and community. That's why charter schools are succeeding. Parents are very involved in charter schools, and that's the way it ought to be.

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UH works to assure more students graduate

Only seven out of 100 high school freshmen in Hawaii actually go on to get a college degree, the nonprofit group Complete College America said.

The group estimates that roughly 32 students will drop out of high school; 28 will not go on to college; 16 will not return for their sophomore year; and 17 will not finish their community college or four-year college degree.

Less than half the students who start college in Hawaii actually graduate within six years, according to Complete College America.

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Global Cooling: Parts Of State Drop To Worst Drought Classification

Dry weather sparked by an ongoing El Nino event has intensified drought conditions in many areas of Hawaii.

Portions of the North and South Kohala Districts on the Big Island are now in D4, or exceptional drought classification for the U.S. Drought Monitor Map kept by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This marks the first time anywhere in Hawaii has been at the D4 level since the U.S. Drought Monitor began in 1999.

More than three-quarters of Hawaii is suffering from drought conditions and the state is the only one in the country with D3 (extreme) or D4 (exceptional) classification.

With the El Nino expected to continue into spring and the normal dry season to follow, drought relief may not come for several more months.

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Snobs on Hawaii County Council seeking fireworks veto

State law is clear that counties have little to no authority when it comes to fireworks: "Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no county shall enact ordinances or adopt any rules regulating fireworks or articles pyrotechnic, except as required in this chapter, that is inconsistent with or more restrictive than, the provisions of this chapter."

GTMO Greenwell wants to invite alQaeda to live on the Big Island, but thinks fireworks are too dangerous.  The snobs won 6-3 with only Yagong, Ikeda, Onishi voting against.

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