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Friday, May 21, 2010
May 21, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:00 PM :: 8743 Views

WSJ: Paradise Lost? A Project in Hawaii Stumbles (Hokulia to be auctioned)

Hawaii Week in Shanghai: Governor to lead delegation to China, Japan

Special Election Polls close Saturday: Djou pushes voter turnout

AtomicMonkey responds: “Some of us work for the City…we proudly stand by description of Abercrombie as ‘flailing gasbag’” 

Hawaii's state tax refunds will start going out today

But the nearly $125 million in state tax refunds that start going out today will provide a welcome psychological lift as businesses try to come back from an exhausting economic downturn….

While state tax refunds usually start arriving well before May, this year Gov. Linda Lingle and the state Legislature decided to delay sending checks out until July to help balance the budget. But with tax collections improving in recent months, Lingle decided she could release some of the refunds now.

SB: State jobless rate dips to 6.7 percent

read more hits Djou ad

The ad, which first ran May 14, makes this claim: “Case said he’s against higher taxes, but in Congress he voted to raise taxes. Taxes that kill 3,000 local jobs a year.” It cites a Jan. 5, 2006, "web memo" from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, to back up its figure of 3,000 jobs per year….the Heritage memo fails to back up Djou’s claim that Case’s tax votes were draining thousands of jobs from his state. 

(Really?  See for yourself.) Heritage: Hawaii to gain 3,426 jobs/year from Bush tax cuts

RELATED: Case “voted for the Bush tax cuts before he voted against them”

SB: Djou's attack ad is false, Case says, KHON: Djou ad attacking Case in Hawaii race called false, KGI: Djou ad attacking Case in Hawaii race called false

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UH Professors Guaranteed Raises Despite Economy / UH considers tuition hike

"It is unusual to have a six-year contract," said Chris Tilly, Director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California Los Angeles. "I've never heard of a six-year university contract.

"If we're dealt a bad economic hand, it could be something everyone regrets later on," he said.

With the state not out of the economic woods, locking expenditures into coming years this way could have unanticipated consequences. It could force the state to make cuts in other areas even while professors are getting raises. It could also mean further tuition increases.

Hmmmm…is there anything in the personal history of MRC Greenwood that suggests she would loot a school to line the pockets of the faculty?

SB: UH considers raising tuition

Untold story: Executive compensation at UC: MRC Greenwood and the $871 million secret

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Half Of Lawmakers' Children Attend Private Schools

(Find out where your state representatives sends his/her children.)

Say's wife is a third grade teacher at Lanakila Elementary School, a public school. He said their son, who graduated from Moanalua High School, would routinely quiz him about public school problems.

"You know, Daddy, what's wrong? What's happening? Why are you cutting back in the utilities? Why are you cutting back in the school lunch program?" he said.  (HSTA lobbying tactic—plant questions on students)

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Hawaii could get $91M for school jobs under bill now in Congress

A bill making its way through Congress could provide Hawai'i with an estimated $91 million to save education jobs and potentially help eliminate furlough Fridays next school year, according to U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's office….

According to the "Keep Our Educators Working Act of 2010," legislation written by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, some $23 billion would be distributed among the states in fiscal year 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education to preserve education jobs across the country. The measure comes as states face dramatic cuts to public education and hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs nationwide….

The bill is likely to receive consideration in the U.S. Senate sometime after the Memorial Day recess, said Peter Boylan, Inouye's press secretary. The House already has approved a measure that provides similar funding to states.

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CB: 2 million acres of windmills for Hawaii?

We know that Hawaii consumed about 53 million barrels — more than 2 billion gallons — of petroleum products in 2007, which provided nearly 90 percent of the state's 343 trillion BTU energy usage, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It would take three to five acres of solar photovoltaic to generate one gigawatt-hour of energy each year (enough to power 100 homes). To put that into perspective, the state would need to cover 300,000 to 500,000 acres with solar panels to meet its energy needs.

Wind energy generally requires more land, and might need on the scale of 1 or 2 million acres devoted to windmills to accomplish the same task. Hawaii's landmass is just over 4 million acres, with 95 percent in the agricultural and conservation districts.

(A nuclear power station can solve the problem with about 100 acres total.  But the word “nuclear” appears nowhere in this article.)

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Special-election turnout at 48% as deadline looms

An estimated 152,000 ballots had been collected from out of 317,337 eligible voters in the winner-take-all election, said Rex Quidilla, the office's voter services coordinator. Ballots were sent to the households of eligible voters in what's been billed as the largest all-mail vote ever conducted in Hawai'i.

With two days left to go, the 48 percent turnout is considered substantial compared with recent special elections:

HFP: Special Election Polls close Saturday: Djou pushes voter turnout

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It's punishment that doesn't fit the crime

Waste Management built a berm supporting a wall of its Waimānalo Gulch landfill, but the builders deviated from the design approved in its permit. Because of space constraints, the company said, the excavated fill was heaped into a berm that turned out bigger than designed, and with a different liner material on the bottom.

State health officials said the failure to report the changes when they happened three years ago, and the failure to turn in final reports until recently, produced fines that piled up over time. Officials wanted to send the message that waving off the state permit rules won't be tolerated.

That's fine in theory, but in practice the Health Department sent a message it probably didn't intend: "We in the state are needlessly punitive."

read more

Secrecy: State won’t release name of isle school in H1N1 outbreak

WAILUKU - The state Department of Health has said it will not release the name of a Maui elementary school where officials responded to an outbreak of H1N1 flu earlier this year, citing of state and federal medical privacy laws.

State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said her office was restricted from identifying the school under state law covering epidemiological investigations, as well as the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects patient privacy.

Officials from the school reported in March that more than 20 percent of the students in one kindergarten class had flulike symptoms. A second wave was reported last month in a 1st-grade classroom. Five of the ill students initially tested positive for H1N1, and two others were confirmed to have seasonal flu.

Health officials at the time said they would not disclose the name of the school because they did not want to scare others or put the school in a negative light.

The Maui News filed a written request with the state Department of Health on April 21, asking that the name of the school be released under state open-records laws.

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Aina Lea wants 2,722 units, lodge and commercial OK

About half a dozen community members responded to a preparation notice issued in November 2007, citing concerns about water use, the land's history of being upzoned and sold and more general worries about development of the island, according to letters included with the document.

Previous developers -- the land has been owned and sold by a series of developers during the last two decades, during which time the number of affordable housing units to be built has been cut significantly -- received several land-use approvals, including state Land Use approval and county zoning and subdivision approvals.

WSJ: Paradise Lost? A Project in Hawaii Stumbles

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Kauai: New increased fees take toll

County Council members are planning to propose a tax of six-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline to support adding Sunday services for The Kaua‘i Bus.

When Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. presented his proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 on March 15, he said the administration would be soon requesting the council to introduce bills to increase driver’s license fees and implement a county motor-vehicle-registration fee.

Taxes and Insurance make Hawaii most expensive State to own a car

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Hawaii surf reserves proposal may be revived by governor

Hawai'i Republicans have not forgiven Democrats for scuttling a bill designed as a farewell for a retiring GOP senator on the last day of the legislative session, and now the measure may be revived by executive order, Gov. Linda Lingle's senior policy adviser told a cheering party convention.

read more

Tea Party stir over remarks on civil rights by Rand Paul

Democrats quickly mobilized to draw attention to what they cast as out-of-the-mainstream positions espoused by Paul—from raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 to questioning the legality of the Americans with Disabilities Act—as they sought to discredit what Jack Conway, the Democratic Senate candidate in Kentucky, described in interview as Paul's "narrow and rigid philosophy."

The Tea Party phenomenon has provided a bolt of energy for the Republican Party. But the case of Paul also shows the risks that have emerged as new figures move to the forefront of conservative politics, as candidates with little experience and sometimes unorthodox policy positions face the kind of scrutiny and pressure that could trip up even the most experienced politicians.

(Kentucky voters get suckered by a Ron Paul candidate, and of course instantly the liberals use the Ron Paul movement to tar the TEA Party and all Republicans.  None of this is a surprise, as explained here in 2007: The Ron Paul Campaign and its Neo-Nazi Supporters)

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