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Sunday, June 13, 2010
June 13, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:43 PM :: 11599 Views

Jaws drop as Maui TEA Party walks into Abercrombie HQ opening

Hawaii could lose tobacco funds in $1.1B arbitration

Honolulu “peace activist” caught lying about Gaza Flotilla

SA Interview: Hannemann plans to “walk lock-step” with DoE Bureaucracy, again refuses to answer on HB444 

Hannemann, 55, said Hawaii's educational system doesn't need restructuring, it needs top-level support, noting that one of his best skills is bringing people together.

"My plan is to walk lock step with the superintendent. If it means downfield blocking for that person, that is what I will do. If it means getting out there and taking the flak with that person, that's what I will do," Hannemann said, (salivating at the possibility of an HSTA endorsement)…..

He said he has not studied House Bill 444, now before Gov. Linda Lingle, which would give any unrelated couple the right to form a civil union with all the benefits and obligations of marriage.

"If this, 444, is tantamount to institutionalizing marriage, then I can't support it, but I don't know the answer until I actually get in there," Hannemann said.  (Anyone who buys that line should get psychiatric help.)

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(Pretending to) Take on Tenure

Revamping Hawaii's teacher tenure system is emerging as an important issue heading into contract negotiations with the Hawaii State Teachers Association this summer, as mounting pressure on public schools transforms a long-standing concern into a hot topic.

Public school principals have cited flexibility in hiring teachers as the most important tool that would empower them to run their schools….

Teachers achieve tenure after four semesters and one day, and with that job security comes the right to "bump" probationary teachers from schools that might rather keep them….

Farrington High School Principal Catherine Payne said the teacher-transfer process is a vestige of an outdated way of thinking that is holding back the public schools.

"You want immediate improvement in the public school system? Get rid of tenure -- for everybody. The system, the way it works now, fosters a sense of job entitlement among some people. It's not everybody, definitely not. But even if you have one or two people on the staff who act like they have a job for life and don't have to work hard to keep it, it has a very negative effect," said Payne, explaining that while only teachers and principals gain tenure, other school employees gain similar job security known as "permanent status."

Payne said replacing tenure with progressively longer contracts based on fair performance evaluators would make employees less complacent while protecting their rights.

"I tell people this all the time. It would help. A lot. That said, I don't have high hopes that it's going to happen."

SA: Shelters give home to traveling school

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AP: Hawaii gov consults with rabbis on civil unions


HONOLULU — Rabbis Itchel Krasnjansky and Peter Schaktman hail from different branches of Judaism and hold starkly contrasting views on whether same-sex couples should be permitted to form civil unions in Hawaii.

What they have in common is the ear of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, who has until June 21 to announce whether she may veto the only pending civil unions legislation in the nation.

Rabbi vs Rabbi:

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Thielen: Need to be efficient in finding new water sources

The next step for the commission will be to reopen the application process for permit holders in the Na Wai Eha water management area, she said. That was put on hold until the commission ended its Na Wai Eha contested case deliberations, which required about six months worth of weekly meetings before commissioners took a final vote, she said.

The commission will now review each of the dozens of Na Wai Eha permit applications, including those from Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. and Wailuku Water Co., she said.

Maui County Deputy Corporation Counsel Jane Lovell said the commission reaffirmed the county's user permits for more than 19 mgd in groundwater in Na Wai Eha. However, the commission still needs to decide whether to grant the county up to 3.2 mgd in surface-water permits from Iao Stream.

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Na Wai Eha: Decision in but dispute lingers (1 of 2)

PUUNENE - Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. General Manager Chris Benjamin characterized last week's long-awaited state decision on Na Wai Eha stream waters as a reprieve, rather than a victory, for the plantation struggling for survival.

Na Wai Eha: Decision in but dispute lingers (2 of 2)

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Linked: Felix-Hannemann-Donohue

Itinerant Honolulu Council Candidate and HMAA CEO John Henry Felix holds a fundraiser for Donohue’s non-profit.  Hmmmm.

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Veterans Today: Sen. Akaka trying to screw vets on Agent Orange

Why Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) are trying to screw veterans on Agent Orange is in a word: Mystifying.

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Medicare pay cuts worry isle officials

Hawaii health officials, doctors and advocates for seniors are anxiously looking to Congress for a permanent fix to the formula that has triggered repeated Medicare physician payment cuts.

They say Medicare clients are having trouble getting appointments with doctors because of the payment crisis, which is compounded by the state's physician shortage, especially in rural areas.

About 193,333 islanders --15 percent of the population—were enrolled in Medicare in 2008…

George Greene, Healthcare Association of Hawaii president and chief executive officer, said Hawaii already has the nation's lowest Medicare spending rate per beneficiary under formulas developed in the 1980s based on utilization and cost.

"We had low utilization and low cost. Some people would say that means good-quality care. Now ... we're being punished for the fact that we had low utilization and low cost."

Greene said Hawaii annually receives about $5,600 per Medicare beneficiary, compared with $14,000 to $16,000 per beneficiary in Miami and Manhattan. "That means there is less money in the market going to providers—physicians specifically."

The formula used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) to set physician reimbursement rates—based partly on growth in the gross domestic product—has caused a series of pay cuts. Congress has always frozen the reimbursements or slightly increased them….

Greene noted that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will hold a summit this fall on an $800 million provision in the health reform law to address geographic variations in Medicare payments.

"You have to believe, given we are dead last out of 50 states, we're going to be at the front of the line in receiving some improved Medicare spending," Greene said.

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Queen's and HMSA working to improve quality, lower costs

We believe that the biggest opportunity for solving the cost issue won't come from Washington. Instead, it will stem from a shared vision and collaborative work effort between health care stakeholders in our own community, working to change the way health care is delivered and financed.

The Queen's Health Systems and Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) are working together to make that happen. Our organizations recently entered into a new contract that bases increases in HMSA payments to Queen's on how well hospital patients are cared for and on successful outcomes. This is a profound shift from the current payment model, which pays health care providers based on volume. Under the current model, the more procedures and services are rendered, the bigger the payment, no matter what the outcome.

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Korean Visitors to Hawaii Up 91% in 1st Quarter

"This first quarter we're up 91% in visitors, so for all first quarter 20,000 visitors, last year there were 54,000 visitors, we're expecting over 80,000 visitors this year," says Mike McCartney, Hawaii Tourism Authority President & CEO.
Korean Air will now bring 10 flights a week from Seoul to Honolulu - Japan Airlines is also increasing their air seats from Korea to Hawaii via Japan by over 100% due to growth in the Korean market.
"Every business from hotels, to retailers, to restaurants will gear up and be able to service Korean visitors," says McCartney.

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Kalapa: Economic future depends on improved business climate

Unfortunately, the high cost of doing business in Hawai‘i is attributable to either costs imposed directly or indirectly by state and county governments in Hawai‘i. For example, site costs are exacerbated by the land use policies that have strangled the state over the years. People are surprised when they are told that less than 5% of the state’s land mass is zoned for urban use. And upgrading land into urban use is a long and costly road, usually taking years of applications, hearings, and bureaucratic paperwork. Of course, for those in government time means nothing as a civil servant’s workday is dictated by a clock that begins running at 8:30 am and ends exactly on the dot at 4:30 pm. Work either before or after that window requires overtime pay.

To get all the zoning changes and building permits to construct a simple subdivision can take a minimum of five-years in Hawai‘i. Meanwhile the developer is holding the bag on the interest cost on the money borrowed to initiate the development process. In recent years, new laws and court decisions have complicated the situation even more. For the guy who wants to open a retail store, there are certainly health and safety regulations that are there for his employees and customers, but government regulations governing the size of the shop’s sign and its placement, and what the facade of the building should look like borders on overkill.

And while taxes are an obvious burdensome cost, there are also the costs of energy, transportation, compliance with labor regulations, proximity to markets and licensing depending on the type of business. There are compliance costs with respect to the numerous environmental laws, in the case of a restaurant the necessity of installing a grease-trap or in the case of a farmer, the need to provide proper facilities for workers.

While many of these rules and regulations and inspections and licensing requirements appear for the health and safety of workers and consumers, one has to wonder how dysfunctional each of these requirements are when viewed as a whole. Often times businesses have complained that they are required to do something that is in direct contradiction with what some other regulating officer demanded.

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Anti-Superferry protester Joan “Cow Pies” Conrow fired by MidWeek 

Typical progressive: She wrote a blog calling the Star-Advertiser “cow pie” and “manure” and is now surprised that the Star-Advertiser’s company—which also owns Midweek—fired her.

Remember: They are enlightened, conscious, and progressive.  They are smarter than you are and are therefore ordained to rule over you.  That’s why only they have the erudition necessary to come up with incisive critiques like “manure” and “cow pie.”

Who fired her: More Case family media manipulation

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U.S. under pressure in Asia-Pacific trade talks


Although starting with just eight countries, the United States hopes the pact will eventually cover all members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, including China.

That would address concerns about "a line being drawn down the Pacific" with the United States on the outside of regional integration efforts that center around China.

The proposed deal builds on bilateral agreements the United States already has around the Pacific with Singapore, Chile, Peru and Australia to create a bigger free trade zone.

U.S. business groups, frustrated with Obama's failure to push for congressional approval of free-trade agreements his predecessor negotiated with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, are attempting to hold his feet to the fire.

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Free Speech: Smart Business Hawaii  joins protest against HR5175 “Disclose Act”


The DISCLOSE Act, while cleverly named, aims to silence political speech by intimidation and onerous regulation. Such efforts should be rejected swiftly. Thus, on behalf of the millions of Americans we represent, we urge you to reject this assault on free speech and to vote against H.R. 5175.

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Hawaii Ballot access lawsuit to be heard June 17

Ralph Nader’s challenge to the number of signatures needed for an independent presidential candidate will be heard in the 9th circuit in Honolulu on June 17.

(Democrats had excluded Nader from the Hawaii ballot in a failed 2004 effort to elect J. Forbes Kerry President.)

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Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites

Summary: Israel gets more support from Saudi Arabia than from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii “peace activists.”

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