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Friday, May 26, 2017
May 26, 2017 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:13 AM :: 2044 Views

Akina Praises Trustees Unanimous Support for OHA Audit

Fake news is nothing new: 6 pseudo-news websites have colored GMO debate for years

HB209: Tax credit to help poor really helps politicians

Hawaii Visitor Spending Rose 9 Percent in April 2017

Report: Hawaii Shows Little Growth in Preschool Funding

Intermarriage: Honolulu is #1 in USA

Death Tax? Yes Hawaii Has One

Hiding Failure: DOE to stop ranking schools

SA: Hawaii public schools starting this fall will no longer be ranked against each other on how well their students perform on standardized tests and other academic benchmarks.

Under a revised school accountability system the Board of Education approved this week, the Department of Education says it will discontinue its annual ranking and classification of schools, which some viewed as punitive. Officials say the DOE will continue to provide data to help schools make improvements, but low-performing schools will not be labeled as failing under the accountability system known as Strive HI.

In addition to removing the rankings, the revised accountability system — dubbed Strive HI 3.0 — now includes an option for schools to select (cherrypick) additional “local success measures” to be included on their annual school report. For example, a school may choose to measure how well students do on a capstone project or track its progress in reducing suspension rates….

“Schools (Principals) will be able to identify measures that are in alignment with their academic and financial plans (make them look good),” Assistant Superintendent Tammi Chun said Tuesday during a presentation to the BOE….

Fred Murphy, principal of Mililani High School, said Strive HI 3.0 represents compromise and collaboration, following “unprecedented outreach” by the DOE administration. (Translation: We got everything we wanted, LOL!)

Several teachers, however, including Hawaii State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee, criticized the plan for continuing what they see as an over-reliance on standardized testing…. (Translation: The Principals got theirs, what about us?)

He called on the board to hold off on approving a new school accountability system until newly named Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has a chance to weigh in. Rosenlee had argued that Kishimoto, whose three-year term begins Aug. 1, will have her hands tied.

Big Q: Do you agree with the state Department of Education’s decision to stop ranking schools?

read … DOE to stop ranking schools

Rocky Nervousness : Kishimoto Rejected, Downgraded

SA: …taxpayers also should be holding their breath at the sight of the three-year contract at $240,000 annually….

Besides concern over a rocky departure from a previous post, Kishimoto oversaw smaller bailiwicks. A smooth move to the nation’s only statewide public school district can’t be a foregone conclusion….

Kishimoto, 48, arrives only months before another election season gears up, one that will revolve around the gubernatorial campaign….

Kishimoto first must overcome public nervousness here over her assessment as superintendent of Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut, where she worked between July 2011 and June 2014. The school board in that district, which serves a mere 22,000 students, downgraded Kishimoto in her job evaluation and rejected her request for an extended contract. Criticism centered on poor communication and what members perceived as a lack of urgency in addressing student achievement.

…Kishimoto said the high-poverty district required tough decisions and bold action. Hawaii confronts a poverty problem in a number of areas, so the going won’t be any easier here….

She’s not going to be given much room for error, and rightly so….

Reality: Sex, Lies, and Repetitious Badgering: Meet Hawaii’s New Superintendent of Schools

read … Percolation

Revenge Porn: DoE Teacher Sells Photos of Sex Encounter at Hilo School

HTH: …Payne, a substitute teacher, allegedly had consensual sex with the woman, who isn’t a DOE employee, on the grounds of E.B. de Silva Elementary School outside school hours, but purportedly photographed the woman during the encounter without her permission.

Payne also is alleged to have used DOE letterhead and signed the name of a DOE official on a letter purportedly included with the photo or photos to the woman’s associate….

Payne is charged with first-degree violation of privacy, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment upon conviction, first-degree criminal trespassing and impersonating a public servant, both misdemeanors carrying a potential one-year jail term….

read … Just Another Day in the DoE

Kouchi: Tax Sister Isles to pay for Oahu Rail

KGI: …Jim Mayfield asked if Kauai residents should be taxed to help fund a rail project on Oahu.

The answer was yes.

Kouchi explained that Kauai receives 14.5 percent of TAT, most of which is generated on Oahu, where 85 percent of the state’s population lives. Money generated there — taxes paid by Oahu residents — go to schools, highways and hospitals on neighbor Islands.

He said if Kauai residents wanted to keep tax money strictly for island projects, “we’re going to be big losers, and I don’t think that’s the argument we want to be advancing at this time.”

The rail project will have a positive impact not just for some Oahu residents, but for Kauai residents who visit there.

“We want to make sure Oahu is a healthy, thriving economy so they can continue to help subsidize the services and the benefits that we enjoy here,” he said….

read … Good Money After Bad

Hawaii County: We Could of Eliminated Vacant Positions, But We Are Raising Property Taxes Instead

WHT: …Deputy Director of Finance Deanna Sako said the administration considered several options including hiring freezes, layoffs, furloughing state employees not involved in public safety, cutting vacant positions, fee increases, closing transfer stations and reducing maintenance and facilities.

“In the end, it was a combination of all (that),” she said. “But mostly, it ended up being raising real property taxes.”

The tax hikes prompted several questions from community members in attendance, some of which were aimed specifically at proposed tax breaks for seniors, one when they hit the age of 75 and another at 80. Breaks already exist at the ages of 60 and 70. Sako said the proposed tax exemptions cost the county roughly $450,000 in lost revenue….

read … Mayor, cabinet members discuss budget at forum

New GOP Hawaii head Ostrov sees strength in core beliefs, diversity

SA: …Succeeding outgoing GOP state chairman Fritz Rohlfing, Ostrov is tasked with guiding a party operating at a severe disadvantage in the Hawaii Legislature, with just five House Republicans and zero representation in the Senate.

Reflecting on how her career in the military informs her post, Ostrov said:

“Every experience I’ve had taught me some valuable lessons. But the thread that I kept seeing, over and over again, was the need for diverse people to work toward a common goal. Whether I agreed with them or not, when it came time to get the mission done, we all pulled together. I know that’s how the Republican Party of Hawaii will enjoy its future success, as we listen to the people of our state and begin pulling together to implement the best ideas.” ….

The party is full of energy, especially after the last election. President Trump motivated voters to come out in force and his momentum paid off big time for the Republican Party of Hawaii. Our ranks of registered Republicans swelled by 40 percent, which was just amazing. Clearly, voters are looking for an alternative to the status quo.

I want to seize the moment and run hard. My team is diverse — we are almost all women and minorities— and we’re proudly conservative. That’s our binding element, what will keep us focused. Even as we have a variety of opinions, we realize that is the true strength of our party, offering a way for differing viewpoints to find common ground. When we do that, we build the party and advance the concerns and solutions the people of Hawaii, which they so desperately need right now.

Yes, we have some who want to lower taxes, others who want to shrink the size and scope of government, vigorous Second Amendment defenders and more. We have even attracted non-traditional Republicans, like those who may be considered more socially liberal.

In the coming months, we’ll bring all those perspectives and voices into a single room and build on our current platform. … I know that those core conservative principles — keeping government lean and effective, keeping our taxes as low as possible and pushing for every family to be able to make and manifest the best decisions for their future — will not only shape the discussion but bring a much-needed contrast to lawmakers in Honolulu…..

Q: Back in June, when you were a candidate for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District seat, you said you fully supported then-presumptive presidential nominee Trump. Is that still the case?

A: I do. He’s my president, and he’s the leader of the Republican Party. Many of the things we’re reading about need to be fully vetted before any of us can make an informed decision. … The people elected him and I stand by his administration. While people will read the news and make up their own minds, my goal is to be laser-focused on the issues in this state…..

read … Strength

Hawaii Anti-GMO Organic Farms Based on Slave Labor?

HNN: …A locally-managed website dedicated to the program lists roughly 300 of the popular farms in Hawaii; 190 of them are on the Big Island, 50 are on Maui, and about 24 are located on Oahu.

Using the internet, interested WWOOFers can make contact with Hawaii farmers who utilize the program, drawing up agreements that allow people to live rent-free while working on the organic farms.

"I'm providing them a place to stay in paradise, and in return, I hope to get some work out of that," said Sandison.

But some members of Hawaii's legislature are worried about abuses within the program. During the 2017 session, Rep. Cindy Evans authored a resolution that asks the state's labor and agricultural departments to look into the program's alleged issues, including poor living conditions, long working hours and rampant drug use.

Evans says she simply wants to make sure the program is following safe labor laws. While there have been no official complaints, Evans says, she's heard troubling stories of people being victimized.

"There was a young woman who came up to me and she said there's many WWOOFers here, and some of them are in dangerous, not very safe situations," Rep. Evans said…..

read … Concern grows over allegations of abuse within farm-exchange program

SquatThePlanet: Website Directs Mainland and Foreign Homeless to Maui

MN: …I recently became aware of the website squattheplanet.com, which offers advice and information for people who want to roam the planet and live on the resources they find there — literally living a squatter’s lifestyle. Information about Maui is on this website as well as other websites like it.

It is not always easy to identify the difference between a homeless person and a traveler, but with the compassionate response of outreach workers and Maui Police Department’s community policing, trust is developing and people are sharing their stories. When people are willing to share stories about their lives, it becomes much easier to find out if the individual needs or even wants help finding a home.

With the recent news coverage about Baldwin Beach Park, I think it is important to point out, that for years, months and weeks, outreach workers as well as community police have been compassionately reaching out to the people living at the park, offering relevant information as well as help finding homes. Of those who were residing at Baldwin Beach, less than 20 percent actually wanted to live in a home….

In the last year, over 671 homeless people were moved into a permanent home on Maui…..

read … Squat the Planet

TMT is slipping away, and we should all be sorry

WHT: While the contested case hearings on the Thirty Meter Telescope state permits have been dragging on interminably, TMT management has been seeking an alternative site in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. It is pretty apparent now that the protests, delays and lack of enthusiasm by the state government will continue on past a final date in April 2018 that has been set by TMT to start construction.

As a consequence, the TMT will very likely be located under the jurisdiction of Spain on an inferior site rather than in the United States. It seems shameful that a high tech scientific project that was originated and the technology developed in the US would be relegated to a foreign country with a second class site. The loss of high quality jobs, educational opportunity and prestige it would bring to Hawaii is very substantial. While the observing quality of the Spanish site is not comparable to Mauna Kea, the tremendous Spanish government interest and cooperation is a stark contrast to the tepid government support and the cultural protesters here in Hawaii. The implications of this outcome for Hawaii as a location for major projects is also profoundly negative.

The TMT has been actively working to get permits to build on Mauna Kea for nearly nine years. The corresponding process in Spain has taken less than a year and the TMT recently signed an agreement with Spain to build the observatory on the site in the Canary Islands. This still remains officially a backup plan, if permitting is not approved in time for Mauna Kea. However as time goes by with minimal progress in Hawaii, it is becoming more and more the inevitable outcome. Unfortunately, it seems that Hawaii is just not competitive enough to get things done on a reasonable time scale anymore.

Even so, we should remember that in the era before the naysayers, the UH and the state cooperated in the development of a great asset in the astronomical facilities currently on Mauna Kea….

Related: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

read … Greenmail

Coco Palms Shakedown: Affordable Houses are $500K Hint, Hint

KGI: …Assured by legislators they were discussing improvements to Kuhio Highway fronting Coco Palms, not the disputed ownership of the hotel property, Kapule O Kamehameha said, “Everything I’ve heard so far is about money, money and more money.”

He said affordable homes were mentioned in the $500,000 range.

“Are you guys really serious?” he said.

He said they are feeding the homeless with the taro and sweet potatoes they are growing on their land, yet, his people are being harassed by police and others.

“I want know, how is this still happening on our homeland?” Kapule O Kamehameha said….

read … Shakedown

Simple Solution to Traffic—Add a Lane!

KITV: …The Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it will add a new freeway lane on Moanalua Freeway from Red Hill to the Aiea Heights drive overpass, making more use of the current space by re-striping the area and preserving the amount of road space.

"Just before the H3 on ramp, that lane that merges left - is not going to merge anymore. That right lane will continue through the Halawa interchange and will connect to the H1 as it is right now," Sniffen said.

The DOT estimates the added lane will increase traffic flow by 20 percent, allowing an additional 40,000 vehicles to flow through during peak hours.

The price tag will run approximately $4 million. But if executed correctly - the benefits could be priceless…..

HNN: Work on the project is set to start June 5 and wrap up in August

read … Simple Solution, Could've Done it Years Ago but needed to keep traffic jammed to build support for Rail

TOD: Council Makes a Hash out of Affordable Housing Rules

HPR: …Waipahu has a building height limit of 60 feet, West Loch, 90 feet.  Adding even more to the confusion are preliminary affordable housing rules that are contained in two separate bills.  These rules could then be consolidated in a 3rd bill once the affordable housing plan is finalized.   Land Use Research Foundation executive director, Dave Arakawa, describes the dilemma.

“Bill 74 provisions might be inconsistent with Bill 15.  So we need to make Bill 74 consistent with Bill 15.  But, then, several months later we’re gonna have the overall affordable housing policy requirements done and that will supersede and overrule Bills 74 and 15. …

read … TOD Legislation: Confusion at the City Council

One News Story, a Few Protesters and Hawaii Begins Importing Sand from Canada

KHON: …After we started asking questions, one of Hawaii’s biggest cement companies — and the only one still taking sand off the Valley Isle — told us it was stopping the inter-island shipments and shifting to a new source instead.

Formerly known as Ameron, HC&D makes most of the cement for big projects like Honolulu’s rail project starting from its yard at Oahu’s Sand Island, where two islands of sand sit piled noticeably different: golden dune sand from Central Maui, and now new gray sand from British Columbia.

It has just arrived and will now be the source of the key cement ingredient. The Maui sand once used up will likely be the last for Oahu with HC&D saying it has no plans for further shipments from Maui to Oahu.

Last month, Always Investigating revealed how a developer of Central Maui’s Maui Lani, the excavator that carves out its sand dunes, the concrete company, even the barge that for years has taken the sand off the Valley Isle, all have a common ownership partner.

Maui’s mayor called for a moratorium on sand shipments, which the county council is now saying may be more stringent regulation instead to control or limit exports, but HC&D is already voluntarily moving in a different direction….

read … Another Import

Aloha Stadium reviews security procedures

SA: Aloha Stadium officials said they are re-examining security plans in the wake of the Manchester concert bombing and other terrorist attacks.

Chairman Ross Yamasaki told the Stadium Authority on Thursday, “The unfortunate situation in Manchester (England) highlights how different the times are and how we operate as a venue for a large gathering. That is something that we have to consider.” …..

SA: AG: Even Trump Must Bow to Islam

read … Destroy the Caliphate



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