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Tuesday, June 29, 2010
June 29, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:35 PM :: 9361 Views

Jones Act: McCain proposes abolishing U.S. shipping restriction

Part of McCain's motivation is to allow foreign oil skimmers to join the cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. But the senator argued that the entire 90-year-old law should be permanently removed from the books.

In a statement, Senator McCain said: "I am pleased to introduce legislation that would fully repeal the Jones Act, a 1920s law that hinders free trade and favors labor unions over consumers. Specifically, the Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans. This restriction only serves to raise shipping costs, thereby making U.S. farmers less competitive and increasing costs for American consumers.

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Gay Union:  Local 5 endorses Abercrombie for governor

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie has received an endorsement from Unite Here Local 5, one of Hawaii’s largest hotel workers unions, in his campaign to become Hawaii’s next governor.

Local 5 made its endorsement on Tuesday, a day before labor contracts covering approximately 6,500 workers at 12 of Hawaii’s major hotels expire. Abercrombie is running for governor in the Democratic primary election.

TOTALLY RELATED: Neil Abercrombie (& Local 5) struts his Gay Pride in Waikiki Parade

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Honolulu sewage treatment Deal agreed with EPA

Honolulu is the largest city in the country that hasn't required its wastewater treatment plants to handle secondary treatment, said Hannemann, who maintains that the city's water is safe even without it.

The agreement calls for improved wastewater collection pipes called force mains, as well as upgrades to pump stations. It also sets an extended timeline for the city's two largest wastewater treatment plants, at Sand Island and Honouliuli, to begin handling secondary treatment of sewage that contains pesticides, toxins and pathogens found in water tests, Blumenfeld said.

"I'm confident that once we upgrade the system and we take care of our structural deficits that we're no longer going to be seeing these type of problems," said city Environmental Services Director Timothy Steinberger, referring to spills like those in Waikiki.

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UH Regents Approve World's Largest Telescope

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Monday approved a plan to build the world's largest telescope at Mauna Kea's summit.

The 14 board members voted unanimously Monday in favor of the Thirty Meter Telescope project led by a consortium of Canadian and California universities.

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Hawaii per-pupil spending above average

The Hawaii public school system spent an average of $11,800 per pupil for the 2007-2008 school year, according to a report released Monday.

Hawaii spent $1,541 more per pupil, 15 percent, than the national average of $10,259 according to the U.S. Census report on public school funding. New York ranked the highest with $17,173 per student, and Utah was the lowest with $5,765.

CB: BoE 'Lessens' Special Ed Cuts, Shares $15M Cut With Other Programs

CB: Principals Without Power

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DoE Rejects Information Request, Won't Say How Many Teachers Fired


That's what the Hawaii Department of Education told Civil Beat in response to a request for the number of teachers who have been fired over the last five years.


Because it says the law does not require it to meet a Freedom of Information Request "unless the information is readily retrievable by the agency in the form in which it is requested, an agency shall not be required to prepare a compilation or summary of its records."

That's about as bureaucratic as it can get. How could an agency not have such records? They're fundamental. And by not trying to meet the request, they're giving the impression that they want to stonewall.

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US and Chinese schools talk ties

"We want to have partnerships with Chinese schools to get our Chinese language programs started so that we could attract more students," said Lucinda Giorgis, principal of Haha'ione Elementary School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

She told the Global Times Monday at a seminar in Beijing that was organized by the Office of Chinese Language Council International, or Hanban, that Chinese language courses are more popular now in the US.

More than 400 principals from public schools of the US attended the seminar to share ideas about running Chinese language learning programs at their schools.

Brendan Burns, principal of Aina Haina Elementary School also in Honolulu, recently talked with the principal of Nanping Experimental Elementary School in Chongqing to discuss a potential partnership.

Though many private middle schools in their area offer Putonghua courses, no private elementary school offers such courses. He said schools offering them are popular with parents who believe that Chinese-speaking students will have more chances

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Hawaii House Members to Look Into Investments 

Last month, Civil Beat reported on estimates that more than $333 million of general fund money is trapped in these frozen investments.

The story now continues with the new appointment of three members to a committee to look into the state's controversial failed investments.

Reps. Marcus Oshiro, James Kunane Tokioka and Gene Ward will sit on the joint legislative committee created by Senate Resolution 78 in reaction to a critical report by the state auditor.

RELATED: UH Manoa activist sold Hawaii controversial Student Loan Bonds

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Health care leaders meet to discuss doctor shortage in Hawaii

The Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment concludes that the state has about 20 percent fewer doctors than it should when compared to physician-to-population ratios nationally.

The report is scheduled to be presented to the state Legislature next year.

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Ilind: Move to dismantle the Clean Water and Natural Lands Commission on City Council committee agenda

A City Council committee will consider a resolution this week calling for disbanding the Clean Water and Natural Lands Commission, which was set up after voters approved a 2006 change to the City Charter setting aside funds for protection for “still undeveloped and important environmental and aesthetic assets…vulnerable to ongoing development, commercial interests, and urban sprawl.”

Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who publicly opposed the 2006 charter amendment, has refused to follow the process previously established by the council, apparently because the independent commission is outside of his direct control….

Resolution 149, introduced on June 17 by council chair Todd Apo, would replace the independent commission with a committee that would “advise the city administration on the expenditure of moneys in the Fund.” It is scheduled to be considered by the council’s Budget Committee at its meeting beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30..

RELATED: Nanakuli Park: Hannemann pounds Hanabusa in proxy fight

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Snobs snubbed: New poll shows majority of Hawaii residents against fireworks ban 

Ward Research conducted the survey of 402 Hawaii residents.

Thirty-eight percent strongly oppose a fireworks ban.

Twenty-four percent somewhat oppose it.

So a total of 62 percent oppose it to some degree.

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Lawmakers Want State Money To Ship Out Homeless (Democrat campaign commercial)

(Pretending to do something,) Rep. Rida Cabanilla said homeless men from the mainland come to Hawaii to take advantage of the state's generous welfare programs.

(And why do pedophiles come here, Rep Cabanilla?  Is it to take advantage of Hawaii’s generous legislative staff compensation packages?)

Rep. John Mizuno said he's chipping in $100 of his own money to buy Gregory a ticket, and said it would make sense to use state funds to send others home.

(Its a two-fer.  An ad for Cabanilla and an ad for Mizuno.  KITV doing its part to keep the legislature unchanged.)

HR: Mayor Hannemann’s City Homelessness Forum Comes Four Years Late

WHT: Hawaii County breaks ground for first phase of transitional housing

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Hawaii agency to make disclosure reports available

The state Campaign Spending Commission is now collecting copies of personal financial disclosure reports that Hawaii's congressional delegation files in Washington.

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Water agency might leak cash

Despite having an employee steal $78,000, the Hawaii County Department of Water Supply still lacks sufficient safeguards to prevent more fraud, a Hawaii County audit has found.

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Fishpond Bill in Jeopardy  (OHA fishpond grab)

In explaining the veto, Lingle’s office said in a release that that the bill “inadvertently results in the Department of Transportation [DOT] caring for fish ponds that were intended to be made available to other organizations after being acquired as part of the Kalanianaole Highway widening project” on east Oahu.

But Cramer rejects this reasoning, pointing out that the bill does not bar the government from transferring management from the DOT to another agency like the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. “There’s no language at all that prohibits a transfer,” Cramer said.

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DOE Sees Long Road Ahead for Algae Fuels 

DOE's "National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap" was released in final form yesterday after a year of public comment and revisions on a draft.

…the Cellana LLC Consortium, to be based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and led by Cellana LLC, will use up to $9 million in DOE funds for work with microalgae grown at large scales in seawater.

Click here (pdf) to read the technology road map document.

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