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Sunday, May 30, 2010
May 30, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:56 PM :: 8018 Views




Lingle: Hawaii economy recovering thanks to collaboration and sacrifice

Hawaii Democrats focus on suicide, taxes, and gay marriage

Memorial Day: Residents respond to request for lei donation

Richard Haru, the city's deputy director of Parks and Recreation, said about 32,000 lei had been collected as of this morning, still about 18,000 short of the goal of 50,000 lei.

But he said cars were "continuously lined up" at a drop off point at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

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ADV: Charles Djou Our man in Washington

Since being sworn in, I have had numerous meetings with my colleagues, including positive discussions with the Hawai'i congressional delegation. I am eager to work with both of Hawai'i's senators and Representative Hirono to zealously advocate for the people of Hawai'i.

On Wednesday, my first official act as your congressman was to co-sponsor legislation to mandate that Congress pass a balanced budget. Every family in Hawai'i has to balance its budget and so should the federal government.

The last thing we want to see happen in our nation is the economic chaos occurring in Greece. If we do not take care of our ballooning budget deficit and growing national debt, that's exactly what will happen here. That's why I campaigned on a message of fiscal responsibility and will follow through as your congressman.

On Friday, I was very fortunate to be assigned to the Budget and Armed Services Committees. Coming in midterm through a special election often means that options are few as most committee assignments have already been made. Being assigned to the Budget Committee will allow me to focus on ensuring a more fiscally responsible federal government, while Armed Services will allow me to concentrate on our state's second largest industry, defense, which is critical to Hawai'i's economy.

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Hawaii Democrats facing contentious primary fights

Neal Milner, a University of Hawai'i-Mānoa political science professor, said Democrats have historically benefited from the relative lack of strong Republican opposition.

"The Democrats have had the luxury for so long of having a big cushion," he said. "They could do a lot of things wrong, as long as Republicans didn't put up good candidates."

But when Republicans have had credible candidates — such as Saiki, Lingle and Djou — Democrats have had trouble.

(Never forget these words.)

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Hawaii Democrat Chair: “We were counting our chickens before they hatched”

Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa effectively split the vote in last week's special election.

Republican Charles Djou was able to capitalize on that, winning the congressional seat left behind by Neil Abercrombie.

Meanwhile, Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann are already attacking each other as they vie for the governor's seat.

That brings us to this weekend's Democratic convention, where the big question is, with so much in-fighting already, can the Democrats unite?

The chairman of the Democratic Party certainly thinks so. He admits they've become over-confident…"Were we counting our chickens before they hatched? You bet," Hawaii Democratic Party chairman Dante Carpenter said. "So this has been a sobering moment in the life of being a Democrat."

VIDEO: “Mufi hasn’t changed since kindergarten”—teacher

VIDEO: Bored looking delegates, lots of empty seats as Convention opens

ADV: Majority rules, except in elections (Dems lose an election, try to change rules.)

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Ed Case: No booth at Dem Convention

One Democrat conspicuously missing from the display of candidate booths and tables at the state Democratic convention this weekend at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikïkï: former congressman Ed Case.

Case, who is expected to address the convention today, had no visible presence on Friday and Saturday.

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SB: Hawaii needs bold leadership  (Begging Democrats not to self-destruct)

(Editorial written entirely from the standpoint of how to defeat Republicans.  Just as the Democrat papers begged Case and Hanabusa to focus on issues, this plea to Abercrombie, Hannemann, Case, and Hanabusa to focus on issues will fall flat.)

Already this political season has been rife with anti-establishment ire—originally emanating from "tea party" anger—(not to mention Democrat infighting) which partially helped Charles Djou win Hawaii's 1st Congressional District seat temporarily (see?), the first Republican to do so in 20 years….

The Sept. 18 primary election will pit two seasoned, capable Democratic politicians against one another. Since resigning his congressional seat, Abercrombie has unveiled an education platform to decentralize the statewide schools system and shift more authority to the campus level; Republican Aiona has released similar positions. Hannemann, who will resign his last two years as mayor to run for governor, has yet to articulate specifics on education or other major statewide issues—though he did speak on the "sanctity" of heterosexual marriage in a big legislative rally against the civil unions bill.  (SB still covering up Hannemann’s support for HB444 in an effort to steal votes from Aiona.)

Aiona has begun staking out the anti-big government position (SB defining him as a threat to union workers) that's proven so effective in mainland upset elections, saying that Hawaii "can't afford" Hannemann, based on the mayor's record "of raising taxes and increasing the cost of living for our residents on Oahu."

First, though, comes the Democratic primary—and it promises to be fiery. Abercrombie and Hannemann are both savvy politicians, well-connected, union favorites and sharp-tongued debaters. Their rivalry goes back to 1986, when Abercrombie won the special election to replace Cec Heftel in Congress, but lost the Democratic primary to Hannemann, who then lost to Republican Pat Saiki in the general. It was a bitter Democratic contest that turned votes for the Republican—a fate that could repeat.  (In other words, SB is begging the Democrats not to self-destruct.)

Fiscally fatigued voters are in no mood for empty rhetoric.  (And that is all Case vs Hanabusa offered.  That is all Abercrombie vs Hannemann offers.)  Clearly, government cannot continue with spending as usual. Make us promises, if you must, but give us solutions. (Dear Democrats: Please lie to us and invent false utopias so we can report on them as if they were news.  Signed, your faithful propagandists at the Star-Bulletin)

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Time to ease up on UH tuition increases

If UH is to continue to usher more students through its halls toward academic and career success, a difficult balance must be struck on the revenue side. There must be a rational tuition stepladder, coupled with financial aid for students climbing it. So far, UH is doing very well on the financial aid front, with Pell grants well ahead of goal levels, so that's encouraging.

(Too bad so many UH liberal arts perfessers are anti-military idiots who spout rhetoric instead of teaching class.  If UHM were more military-friendly the university could pull in millions from  military-college tuition benefit packages.  Once again the University’s development is hampered by the Gramscian operatives who masquerade as academics.) 

The UH community and the taxpayers want to see its administration meet another stated objective, though: increased efficiency. The administration knows this and cites various plans for saving energy costs, ramping up online curriculum delivery, modernizing computer systems.

That's all fine, but Hawai'i's public also needs to see firm evidence that the university is maximizing the efficiency of its staff, (Is this a swipe at Greenwood?) the most critical elements of a successful university.

The administration, reeling from steep budget cuts, is hopeful that economic recovery will brighten the university's revenue picture, but we're still not clear how UH plans to pay for the generous pay increases it negotiated with its faculty.  (Another swipe at Greenwood and Freitas’ promotion.)  A 6.7 percent pay cut will be restored about a year from now, and faculty will see 3 percent raises in 2013 and 2014.

REALITY: Greenwood Mafia grabs two power positions in UH system

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Hawaii eases limit on number of new charter schools

The legislation, signed last week by Gov. Linda Lingle, does little to resolve a long-standing debate over equity in funding between public charter schools and their regular public school counterparts.

Lawmakers say it wasn't intended to.

"There is still work to be done in funding. We shouldn't be looking at this (legislation) to address that," said (Dem LG candidate) Sen. Norman Sakamoto, D-15th (Waimalu, Airport, Salt Lake), chairman of the state Senate Education and Housing Committee. "This bill does do some changes, but the discussion regarding funding will be going forward."

Bob Roberts, chief financial officer for the Charter School Administrative Office, said the new law does change the charter school funding formula ever so slightly, but not enough to address the issue of equity.

"The language about the funding formula had said 'all means of financing,' and the change is to 'general funds.' It's more restrictive than what was previously in the law," Roberts said. "It doesn't solve the major problem, and that is that charters are not receiving funding for their facilities costs, which continues to be in our view the major gap between (Department of Education) schools and charter schools."

RELATED: Finnegan: ACT 144 Lifts Charter Cap but reduces Charter funding  (GOP LG Candidate)

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Hawaii's interisland airfares settling down: Hawaiian wielding control of cost after 5 years of volatility

go! airlines set the stage for dramatically lower interisland fares when it entered the market in June 2006 offering limited one-way fares of $19 and $29. Its base fare of $39 was well below the $80 and $90 lowest fares available before go!'s arrival.

Hawaiian and Aloha were forced to match go!'s pricing, which forced all three to offer the discounted tickets at below cost — a major factor in Aloha's collapse.

While go! called the shots in ticket pricing back then, Hawaiian is in the driver's seat today, said Peter Forman, a local aviation historian and author.

go! Mokulele tried to raise the minimum fare to $63 in January. But when Hawaiian didn't match the fare after one week, go! Mokulele was forced to roll back to $58.

"Hawaiian has been showing the constraint not to raise ticket prices. One reason is that Hawaiian is flying fuller planes so they don't need to raise their fares," Forman said.

(In review: Hawaiian allowed Go! to enter the market.  Hawaiian conspired with Go! to drive down prices knowing Aloha would be destroyed.  When Aloha collapsed, Hawaiian blamed Go!.  Now Hawaiian has much less competition, but still just enough to avoid anti-trust issues.)

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Honolulu furloughs may hit Hanauma Bay, park programs

City employee furloughs could mean big cuts in programs and hours at city parks, including Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, which would open later and close earlier under a draft proposal that's raising concern among those who frequent the popular attraction.

RELATED: Hanauma Dec 29: Did Mufi threaten retaliation against Obama?

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Courts Move To Collect Unpaid Bail

One tragic example is the case of Siaosi Feleunga. He was a fugitive from the courts, and had skipped on a $1,000 bail bond, when prosecutors said he ran motorcyclist Lindsey Kane off the road in 2008. Kane died and Feleunga was convicted of manslaughter.

State records show Feleunga's bail was put up by Ace Bail Bonds, but the state never collected its $1,000. It’s also not clear whether Ace ever made an effort to find the fugitive before he committed manslaughter. A call to Ace today was answered by an answering service and our call was not returned.

Feleunga is one of scores of defendants whose bail has not been paid after they absconded.

Duane "Dog" Chapman and his wife Beth are the fugitive hunters for their bail bond company -- Da Kine Bail Bonds. Beth told KITV4 she believes other Hawaii bail companies owe the state millions of dollars in unpaid bail forfeitures. The Chapmans lobbied for a new law making it easier to pressure bonding companies to pay, and now the state court system is responding.

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State seeks stimulus fund accounting from County

The Legislative Federal Economic Stimulus Program Oversight Commission, a state agency established last year, has summoned the county to give a July 13 presentation in the state Capitol, according to a May 17 letter to Mayor Billy Kenoi from commission Chairwoman Kate Stanley.
The mayor's office earlier identified about $107 million in stimulus funding coming into the county from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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Pahoa: Chalk graffiti spurs suspensions

The students began by drawing hopscotch boxes on the sidewalk with chalk, Principal Dean Cevallos said, but the writing soon made its way onto various walls on two floors of the building.

RELATED: Bullying up and down the DoE Chain of Command

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Civil Beat is too civil

So when I heard about Pierre Omidyar's plans for a "new approach" to journalism called, I was hopeful it would be getting back to the roots of small town reporting: walking the beat. I thought maybe they'd hire writers with an intimate understanding of the people and places they were covering. Instead, they hired an editor from Denver, and some of the CB reporters had just moved here. Okay, I get the outsider's perspective thing... but is that what locals really want?

I also figured since Civil Beat would be free of the deadline constraints that daily newspapers and TV newscasts have, they could report on issues that have been getting scant public attention. You know -- the small town stuff we all have to deal with on a daily basis, but doesn't warrant coverage because it's not on fire, or doesn't involve a vehicle crashing or someone being killed.

So far, Civil Beat has been mostly focused on the same stories the dailies and TV news have been covering. Granted, they are looking for new angles, and I like the idea of not allowing "anonymous" commenters to flame each other on their site... but if you ask me, the reporters are being a tad TOO civil over there.

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Sarcasm leads Djou to claim political attack  (SB covers for Barney Frank)

According to The Hill newspaper, which covers Washington, Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts on Tuesday urged reporters to demand Djou's birth certificate as Djou was sworn in to represent Hawaii's 1st Congressional District.

(Does Barney Frank have all the birth certificates for the gay prostitutes his boyfriend was pimping out of their Capitol Hill apartment?)

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