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Monday, December 6, 2010
December 6, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:59 PM :: 7568 Views

SA suggests Abercrombie might kill STEM Education

So far the first signals beyond the "New Day" printed page consist of his initial Cabinet appointments. One of the takeaway messages would be Abercrombie's affinity for socially progressive goals.

Two examples: The labor-friendly Big Island Sen. Dwight Takamine as director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and environmental and Hawaiian activist William Aila Jr. as director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Both have alliances that could be helpful in reaching consensus on some contentious fronts: respectively, the next negotiation over public employee contracts, and resolution of conflict over historic preservation and managing limited marine and land resources.

But Abercrombie's challenge is to see that other constituencies have an avenue to participate in the debate, especially the business community. Some of that bridge-building work may fall to merchant banker Richard Lim, named to direct the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, whose connections reach through the isle political and commercial spheres. The real test will be whether his business approach transfers smoothly to the public sector….

Finally, it would be tragic if the state loses steam on some of Lingle's worthiest contributions, including the needed emphasis on science and technology career training and the push for renewable energy development.

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Protestors wear black for Abercrombie inauguration

Not everyone is thrilled about the big event. A group of Hawaiians plans to protest the use of the Iolani Palace grounds for the inauguration, saying it's offensive to those who believe Hawaii is still a sovereign nation.

"This is where our queen resided and was where she was deposed and dethroned from her seat, which actually caused the loss of our whole country to the United States," Leon Siu, Hawaiian Kingdom spokesperson, said. "So for the United States to have a governor being inaugurated here on the grounds would be an insult."

The Hawaiian activists will be wearing black t-shirts and carrying signs. They say their protest will be peaceful.

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ILind: Abercrombie insiders need to be warned against stealin’ 

I felt good about John Waihee’s election back in 1986, but then watched as insiders took more than their share of the spoils.

This morning I was up early to prowl my bookshelf for a copy of Molly Ivins essay, Texas Style Ethics. It’s essential reading for politicians who need to remember how easy it is to find yourself on the wrong side of the ethical tracks. Those lobbyists aren’t really your dear personal friends or, if they are, watch out!  Here’s the advice I would give to Neil, as it appears in Ivins’ essay: “One official with a colorful past felt so honored upon finding himself elected to statewide office that he called his staff together and said, ‘Boys, stealin’s out.’”

So put the word out from Day 1: Stealin’s out. Then make it stick.  We’ll be watching.

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Abercrombie awaits his economic hand

A lot of factors go into judging how well our governors perform, but often it comes down to what the economy does during their terms — and that can be determined far from our shores.  (This is why it is so important to kill earmarks.)

If the economic recovery continues, he could enjoy some happy early years like Waihee and Lingle and be a lock for re-election in 2014. But if the recession proves not to be over, he could be in for a bumpy ride like his friend Cayetano and face  serious challenges in four years.

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Union contracts coming up in June 

Of particular interest are the contracts for the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the United Public Workers, and the Hawaii State Teachers Association that expire at the end of the fiscal year in June.

The HGEA and UPW endorsed Abercrombie rival Mufi Hannemann in the primary election before throwing their support behind him in the general election. The HSTA gave an endorsement to Abercrombie in the primary and general races.

“It’s going to be interesting to see if he can be hard-nosed in (labor) negotiations,” Kalapa said.

The labor talks are going to be among the biggest money issues Abercrombie faces initially. Kawamura, the outgoing budget director, said labor costs make up about 60 percent of the state’s roughly $5.5 billion annual operating budget. The implications of restoring furloughs and the attendant $250 million in pay and benefits are a big, Kawamura said.

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Dear Gov. Abercrombie ...

Commentaries from HSTA, Randy Roth, Grassroot, Kalapa, Sierra Club, FACE

FACE, HSTA, Sierra Club want higher taxes.  The others will be ignored.

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CB: Dissecting Abercrombie's 'New Day'

Now that Day One has arrived, it's time to revisit the New Day.

The principles are fuzzy-sounding bromides that bring applause during speeches but are much harder to translate into policy.

Again, they are no-brainers: "woeful business climate," "people lack financial assets," "not enough good paying jobs."   Reads like a TV ad for Duke Aiona, doesn't it?

Again, the New Day plan is a plan — a template, a blueprint — without precise instructions. Abercrombie has made a point of saying that his Cabinet appointees have enthusiastically embraced the plan's tenets, and they will be the ones presumably charged with making it happen.

(In this sense, Abercrombie's leadership model — as evinced recently with letting Bill Kaneko take care of all the hiring — thus far resembles that of Ronald Reagan's or George W. Bush's: Explain what you want, make others do the heavy lifting and then render a final verdict.)

But it is important to note that there is not a single mention of how much it will cost to implement Abercrombie's plans for the economy and jobs — nor for any other part of the entire plan. (La te-dah)

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Inauguration rite will precede luau

Confirmation Ceremonies

  • Molokai: 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Kalanianaole Hall
  • Lanai: 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Hall
  • Maui: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Lahainaluna High School football field
  • Big Island, Kau: 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Plantation House in Pahala
  • Waimea: 4 to 6 p.m. next Monday, Kuhio Hale (Hawaiian Homes Hall)
  • Kauai: 5 to 6 p.m. Dec. 15, Hikina o ka La Heiau (Wailua)


Rite?  Confirmation?  remember, this is not a religion, really.

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Convicted felon Gary Safarik makes bid for Kokubun's state Senate seat

"I'm going to see if I can get up there in the top three," former Honolulu Police officer and convicted felon Gary Safarik said.
Farmer and businessman Richard Ha also is rumored to be considering vying to replace Kokubun, should his Senate seat become vacant.
"I like Richard (Ha)," Kokubun said. "I've worked very closely with him on a number of projects."

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Rail Consultant Defends Report

Carlisle said Friday that a “prominent member” of the IMG team, Thomas Rubin, is “a nationally-known anti-rail activist.”

“It is no surprise the report is a pre-determined anti-rail rant,” the mayor said.

Steckler said Rubin was hired by IMG as a sub-consultant “to review the rail project’s operating plan and the experience of other rail projects.”

Rubin’s work was not part of IMG’s financial analysis, according to Steckler.

CB: IMG Chairman Defends Rail Report Independence

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Council Candidate McDermott Blast’s State’s Rail Analysis

McDermott was clear in his suspicions about the report prepared by Infrastructure Management Group (IMG) and Thomas A. Rubin, “While it is extremely important to closely monitor the financial aspects of the rail project, this sort of politically-motivated manipulation is not helpful.”

“This report appears to be nothing but anti-rail propaganda that has been purchased from a known purveyor of anti-rail propaganda,” said McDermott.

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Latest DoE report blames kindergarteners for schools’ failure

Many keiki "don't know how to color or sit still," says an educator lamenting pupils' lack of skills…

(Blaming the children and their parents is a key characteristic of failed schools systems nationwide.)

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Enviros continue assault on fishing industry

A group of island nations (bought and paid for by the enviros) meeting at a conference in Honolulu starting today says it wants the United States to significantly reduce its use of purse seine nets in the central and western Pacific in light of overfishing of bigeye tuna.

Members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which includes 24 nations and the European Union, are meeting this week at the Marriott Ihilani Resort at Ko Olina.

They include the eight parties to the so-called Nauru Agreement, island nations that want the United States to reduce the number of days its boats fish each year.

While such a reduction is not on the conference agenda, the United States and Pacific island countries are negotiating an extension of the 1987 Multilateral Treaty, which allows the United States 40 vessels and no limit on fishing days. That treaty expires on 2013.

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Water storage benefits everyone, so all should pay

Instead of fighting your ridiculous new requirements for Hawaii dams, we will just make you pay for it.

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Ariyoshi appeals lawsuit dismissal: The former governor and others also fight to avoid attorney fees

Ariyoshi, 84, Hawaii's governor from 1974 to 1986, and Onuma, who founded Pihana in 1999, both declined to comment because the matter is still pending in court, according to their attorney, John Edmunds.

The suit was filed on behalf of the common stock shareholders in Pihana, a data center company that caused a sensation by raising within two years about $240 million, the largest single venture investment in a Hawaii technological company.

Onuma owned about 4 million shares, or 75 percent of the management common stock, according to the suit. Ariyoshi's revocable trust owned about 360,000 shares of common stock. The University of Hawaii held 100,000 shares.

UH was given the stock for its help in Hawaii's first initiative to establish "a neutral network colocation facility" and did not pay for the shares, UH officials said.

Despite its promise and as economic and market conditions worsened, Pihana shut down in 2002 when it merged with Equinix.

In the merger, the common stock shareholders were notified that Pihana's value had tumbled and they would not receive any compensation.

They were told investor companies that poured in millions of dollars in exchange for Pihana preferred stock would get 22.5 percent of Equinix's common stock.

But those investors would still end up losing more than 90 percent of their investments, the shareholders were told.

(Justice has been served, for once.)

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Kaiser raising co-payments New Year's Day

Kaiser will raise co-payments to $15 from $10 per office visit -- the first increase in four years -- for its Senior Advantage Enhanced HMO plan, which covers roughly 8,600 members. The HMO will increase by the same amount co-pays for X-rays, outpatient hospital visits and in-network urgent care, while decreasing out-of-pocket fees for annual physical exams. Office visit co-payments for another 1,400 seniors in its basic Medicare plan rise to $29 next year from $25 this year.

(Isn’t Obamacare wonderful?)

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Small businesses to suffer as Obama comes to Hawaii again

"It's a little concern, of course some of us are doing a little bit better with the economy improving a little bit, but losing half the month of income is very hard to do in a small business," says Mark Jones, President and Chief Flight Instructor of Moore Air.

Last year the Secret Service mandated a 10-mile no-fly zone around the President's Kailua compound.  Including flight restrictions around the entire island of Oahu.

Flight schools and some tour companies were forced to shut-down their operations for almost two weeks.

"I'd say that cut income down about 30% of normal income for that time of year," says Jones.  "Perhaps to the order of a half-million dollars in revenue for all the schools."

Since then, pilots say they have not received any subsidy from the government or repayment for lost wages.

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Atheists attack Hawaii Senate

Supporting separation of church and state can get you beat up in Hawaii.  When Senate President Colleen Hanabusa introduced a reverend to say the invocation, Mitch Kahle stood from his seat in the gallery of the Senate chambers and said, "I object….

(And atheists are gods themselves so how dare we mere mortals challenge them in any way?)

MORE OF THE SAME: Video: Activist Not Guilty After Hawaii Prayer Protest

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