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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
March 31, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:44 PM :: 7478 Views

LINK>>>April 15 No New Taxes Five Rallies on Four Islands: Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Maui, Kauai

LINK>>>Victims of DoE “embezzlement”: Substitute Teachers want their back pay

Election of BOE may go on Hawaii ballot

Voters would be asked in a state constitutional amendment in November whether to replace the elected state Board of Education with a board appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state Senate.

The appointed school board would be similar to the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents, where regents are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate….

Lingle has asked lawmakers to give future governors the power over the superintendent by placing the position in the governor's Cabinet like other department directors. She prefers the school board be abolished.

Lingle, who believes the change would establish a clear line of accountability over education, has said she would not release state money to end teacher furloughs unless lawmakers put her idea before voters.

"The governor should not tie anything dealing with the furloughs to legislation," Takumi said, calling the governor's ultimatum "odd."

Takumi said Lingle's idea is essentially dead for the session. But state Sen. Brian Taniguchi, D-10th (Mānoa, McCully), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee, said it is "technically possible, although remote," that Lingle's proposal could be added in negotiations between the House and Senate.

Lingle also told reporters yesterday that she believes her idea is still possible.

"I've been around long enough to know that what may seem the case today, may not be in a week or so," she said. "So I think there is enough time left in the legislative session to do the right thing, which is to let the people decide whether the next governor should be held accountable for education in Hawai'i."…

State House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan, R-32nd (Lower Pearlridge, 'Aiea, Hālawa), said an appointed board does not go far enough.

PDF: Senate Bill 2570 PDF: Senate Bill 2571

SB: Bill to abolish elected BOE OK'd

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Private Sector Feels the Pinch as the Hawaii Legislature Moves $10 Billion State Budget Forward

Some departments, like the Hawaii state Department of Education, lost funding and positions, while others, such as the Department of Business and Economic Development and Budget & Finance, gained.

The current draft budget reduces 187 government full-time equivalent positions and is $74.8 million less than the 2009-10 budget.

The Hawaii Government Employees’ Association (HGEA), which represents the majority of the state’s public employees, is protesting any budget cuts, sending “ebulletins” to members, asking them to write to their legislators to request a 25 percent increase in the General Excise Tax.

RELATED: Department of Human Services Begins Implementing Plan to Modernize Processing of Applications for Public Assistance Benefit

HGEA Panics because leg set principals on 10 month schedule (and pay) again: Educators: Reform isle schools now  “its unfair’  “Its not our fault”  Blablablabla….

SB: Changes are needed within our island schools (This is a setup for a long series of articles which the HGEA and HSTA will use to roll back reform.  Hence the headline indicating exactly the opposite.  Doubtful the SB will be around to finish the series.)

REALITY: Hawaii DoE: Cost of waste, fraud, and corruption between $191M and $431M per year

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Isles 22nd in Race to the Top  (DoE plays with numbers to make it look like they’re #22 instead of dead last)

Hawaii got high marks for articulating an education reform agenda and building broad support for it, getting 61 out of 65 points. Its application included backing from private foundations and community groups. The state also received 67 out of 70 points for its standards and assessments.  (In other words, the DoE scored well for empty, meaningless talk—which to be fair is something it excels at.)

Hawaii's worst scores came in the category "ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers," where it got zero points out of 25. But that was because those few pages inadvertently were left out of the voluminous application….  (Typical DoE)

Ironically, Hawaii's decision to shut down schools for Furlough Fridays for nearly 10 percent of the academic year did not count against it. The state got a nearly perfect score in "making education funding a priority," 9.8 out of 10 points. This year's budget cuts came too late to be a factor. The application criteria compare 2008-09 education funding to previous years, and actually showed an increase.  (So the DoE scored well for its past ability at raking in the bucks, something that pleases its crony contractors immensely.  In the next application, the DoE will get whacked for this one.)

Hawaii scored low in the charter school category, getting 19 points out of 40 for "ensuring successful conditions for charter schools." Bills in the Legislature to lift the cap on charter schools, ensure equitable funding and hold them accountable for their performance could address those concerns before the next round of applications.  (Key word: “could”.)

RTTT Report:

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Democrat Borreca: Latest poll offers little to reassure isle GOP

According to Democrat Borreca everybody loves Obama, everybody loves their government controlled colonoscopy, and every body wants to be a Democrat just like him--so give up.  Of course if any of this were true, it wouldn’t be necessary for the soon-to-be-unemployed Democrat Borreca to write it.)

Finally, if you were planning to RSVP early for the Hawaii Tea Party demonstration on April 15, don't bother - there is likely to be plenty of room, as 43 percent of Hawaii voters view it unfavorably.  (Yawn, stretch)

This poll shows the weakness of the present GOP position…(which is to say that the GOP exists, and for Democrats like Borreca, that is a problem which must be corrected.)

(News flash: latest poll offers little to reassure Star-Bulletin tick, tick, tick, tick…  Poll says 43% of Hawaii readers don’t read it, so don’t bother….  Hey, maybe Sam Slom will ride to the resuce>  That would be pretty amusing.)

WHAT THEY FEAR: April 15 No New Taxes Five Rallies on Four Islands: Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Maui, Kauai

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Democrat Burris: Layoffs can cost us more, long term

(HGEA Propaganda on defense…)

Thus, one cannot get too huhu about the decision by Lillian Koller of the Department of Human Services to whack 228 workers and 31 regional offices out of her department's massive budget. Do more with less. Work smarter. That's the drill these days.

But there should be more of a long-range analysis of such decisions. Sure, there is "waste, fraud and abuse" in just about any system. Management experts will tell you it's possible to cut 10 to 20 percent out of almost any organization with no appreciable loss of productivity.  (Just ignore that extra 10-20% that is sucked out of the economy and out of your pocket….)

(Insert red herring here, then ask….)

It may be in some cases that the cost far exceeds the gain.  (But only if one does not consider the complete ineffectiveness of the program in the first place.)

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SB: New health law a boon to Hawaii small businesses

10 paragraphs of Obama care agit-prop.  This newspaper loses $0,000 a day and will close soon.  Its editors and owners are unable to see the interrelationship between these two phenomenon.

Key point: Obamacare provides tax credits to companies with fewer than 50 employees providing insurance.  Since the Hawaii Pre-paid health care Act requires them to do so already, its free money from Godobama. 

Not mentioned: Obamacare triggers a clause in the Pre-Paid Health Care Act which strikes it from the books.  The legislature is not acting to correct this simple matter.  Who will file the lawsuit and strike it down?     

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Honolulu still tops list of costliest U.S. cities

"It's really a mix of things," Mair said, adding that other factors included the cost of real estate, energy and state taxes.

Hawai'i's gasoline and electricity costs are the highest in the country, while Honolulu has the third-most expensive home prices in the nation and second-highest rental rates.

(Real estate is tight because the large landowning trusts use environmentalists and the NHLC to suppress competitors and keep prices high.  Gas and electric are high because of taxes.)

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Kenoi proposes property tax increase to offset declining property values

HILO -- Hawaii County administration plans to plug a $24 million hole in property tax revenues by raising tax rates on average 11 percent, but a corresponding decline in property values is supposed to make it a wash for property owners.

(So your property has lost value and now your wallet will lose value also.  That’s a washout, not a wash.)3

HTH: Landowners, band members will be asked to 'sacrifice,' Kenoi says

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Six month spent trying to get action--ongoing sex abuse of minor (Your government at work)

A West Hawaii resident is questioning police and other state and county officials' inaction after he spent six months trying to report alleged, ongoing sexual abuse of a minor….

He contacted Child Protective Services within days of first learning of the incident in October. He contacted a personal friend who worked for CPS more than six times, called the Hilo office and left multiple messages. No one responded to those calls; his friend never informed him of any action her department took regarding the incident. He tried to call a Big Island sex assault hotline, but never reached a counselor. He did not want to report to police, initially, because he felt the officers assigned to the Ka'u area were unseasoned. He did try, however, to speak with a Hilo officer who works in the Juvenile Aid Section. That officer was on vacation or unavailable for several months; when they finally spoke by phone, he was not receptive to the man's concerns.

Earlier this month, after no one responded to his messages and requests, he called a different district and police initiated a case. He said he contacted the department March 17, with a follow-up on March 20; Tavares said department records showed the case was initiated March 22.

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Increased Travel From Canada and Asia Cities Boosts Hawaii's Visitors Arrivals

Overall visitor arrivals increased slightly by .7 percent, spurred by a 27.3 percent increase in arrivals from outside of our top four geographic markets (U.S. West and East, Japan and Canada). There was also a 42.4 percent increase in total expenditures from these visitors.

As was the case last month, increased air seats especially from Canada (37.6%) and “other Asia” cities (21%) helped boost arrivals. It is clear that the strengthening of international economies has resulted in increased demand for travel and Hawai‘i has certainly benefited from this improvement.

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Capitol Round Up: Bad Bills Still Alive as Hawaii Legislature Heads for 2nd Crossover

16 bad bills detailed.

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Hemmings: Undersea Cable a Multibillion Boondoggle

The proposed undersea cable that is supposed to connect Lanai, Molokai, Maui, and Oahu is economic lunacy and larceny. According to the Jan. 4 edition of "Engineering News Record," a most respected publication, the cable and wind farms could eventually cost up to $6 billion and take 10 years to complete. The cable would strengthen Hawaiian Electric's monopoly grids and cost the tax- and ratepayers billions to fund this project. Millions have already been spent on studying the ocean floor, the grid, marketing and more. It seems that none of the parties involved have done the basic math.

RELATED: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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ADV: A creative way to pay for that solar heater

Massive projects to tap renewable energy, like a billion-dollar undersea cable connected to windmills on Lāna'i, are years away. Most Hawai'i homes and businesses are lagging in adopting green-energy solutions, even with tax incentives and rebates; it's been estimated that about 70 percent of homes don't have solar water heaters. We're still 90-percent dependent on fossil fuels.

These are reasons to support House Bill 2643, which tackles the biggest challenge faced by consumers who want to get into renewable energy: the upfront cost. Times are tough as it is; who's got extra cash to buy a $6,000 solar hot water heater, even it it pays for itself in the long run and makes your home more valuable?

The bill addresses this problem by creating a loan program, financed by state-issued bonds….

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Mixon won't be reprimanded (or fired)

General started off by urging military personnel to speak up against changing the current don’t ask don’t tell policy.  Now, after being bent, folded, and mutilated by the media the general is reduced to accepting that he will not be fired and not be reprimanded.  As for the discussion of the original question?  It has been deemed effectively illegal, and we are to be grateful for having escaped punishment.

EXPLAINED: Antonio Gramsci Reading List

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