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Monday, August 15, 2011
August 15, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:47 PM :: 4686 Views

Waimanalo Gulch Cover-up: Hannemann, Martin fingered in Ethics Commission Report

Lawsuit: Adult counselor engaged in questionable activities with students at Blind, Deaf School

Micronesians: “Its just better in Arkansas”

Hawaii residents work 216 days to pay full cost of government

Abercrombie: 90-Day Homelessness Plan Comes to End

Kalapa: Running Afoul of Credit Risks due to Lack of Leadership

Abercrombie on APEC: “So what?”

Abercrombie snapped back Sunday when a reporter pointed out that Oahu's homeless situation will not be resolved in time for APEC.

"So what?" Abercrombie said. "The kind of speculation that's out there about APEC and homelessness only detracts from — and is dysfunctional — in terms of the game plan that we have operating. To the degree APEC benefits or doesn't benefit from whatever we're doing here, all well and good. Our focus is on homelessness and ending it."

Reality: Abercrombie’s 90-Day Plan: Take Credit for Homeless Shelters “doing the work they always have done”

read … 3-month effort removes hundreds

State Rejects Sumitomo Appeal, Clears Path for Honolulu Rail

The state has dismissed a contract appeal filed against Honolulu's rail system, clearing an important hurdle for the $5.3 billion project.

Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Senior Hearings Officer David Karlen on Saturday issued his findings of fact and conclusions of law, ruling that the city can award the billion-dollar design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM) contract to Ansaldo Honolulu.

The ruling, which rejected claims from Sumitomo Corporation of America, was published to the DCCA website Sunday.

Full Text: http://hawaii.gov/dcca/oah/oah_decisions/procurement/PCX-2011-005_Sumitomo_Corporation.pdf

read … State Rejects Sumitomo

Financial Disclosures show Alleged Conflicts of Interest for Carlisle Cabinet

Department of Design and Construction Director Collins Lam disclosed that he has an interest in R.M. Towill Corp. valued at between $100,000 and $149,999.

Department of Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka disclosed that his wife, Jovalene, was an accounting supervisor for PB Americas, Inc. Parsons Brinckerhoff is the city's contracted engineering firm for the $5.3 billion rail project.

Managing Director Doug Chin's wife Kathleen became a senior project manager for Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company in April 2010. Among the projects the company touts on its website are major hotels across the state.

read … Full Disclosure: Mayor Peter Carlisle's Cabinet

Djou: HART Must be Accountable to City Officials

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a Republican and former city councilman, said although he opposes the rail system, he pushed for a rail authority separate from local politics. He said he's also glad the rail board deferred budget authority to the City Council.

"The voters voted in favor of rail, and I still don't like it, but if we're going to do it, let's make sure we do it right," he said. "I still believe (the authority) should be accountable to city officials."

…Moore of the Reason Foundation said he believes boards made up of private-sector individuals and elected officials are the most effective.

"The rail board, it's not supposed to be political, it's supposed to be an oversight body," he said. "There's no political practice out there that says the best oversight members are political officials. Rather, the best oversight members should not be running for office."

Djou said he believes other jurisdictions have a political board because of the number of cities their systems run through.

"It's because you have all these municipal governments," said Djou. "It would be administratively cumbersome. Every time a rail system would need an approval, you'd need approval from several different city councils. A rail transit authority makes things more efficient."

read … Honolulu strikes own path with rail board

Djou to make Announcement later this week

Since the last election, our economy continues to languish, unemployment remains high, and for the first time in U.S. history, our country's bond rating has been downgraded. Hawaii has become isolated in the U.S. House by the lack of bipartisan representation in our Congressional delegation.

Look for an announcement from Charles later this week as to his future plans.

more … www.Djou.com

CB: Duke Aiona Considering Run for CD2

Keep an eye on Kiaaina, however. In addition to extensive experience working in government both here and in D.C., she's a relative fresh face to most voters. She also knows a lot of connected people.

Kiaaina is also Native Hawaiian. With Akaka's retirement, there will be no Hawaiians in Congress unless Hawaii sends one there.

Two other Hawaiians — Democrat Hee and Republican James "Duke" Aiona — might be thinking about running, too.

read … CD2 Anybody

Case: DSCC believes fiction, hits Hirono for Being Invisible in District

As for the DSCC attack on his polling, Case said the national organization doesn't like to think that a Republican can beat a Democrat in Hawaii.

"And that's not the case," he said. "I've said that to them directly. Common wisdom is that Lingle could do very well against Hirono. So, from my perspective, the poll just said what everybody thinks. But they prefer to maintain the fiction, and I think it's better to put things on the table from the get-go."

…By his count, he held 175 "talk story" sessions in the largely rural district.

"But here's the really important thing about having done that — it's a direct contrast with Hirono," he said. "Because people know that I did it, and they know she hasn't done it. I hear that repeatedly."

read … Case Makes His Case As He Opens Campaign HQ

Hanabusa supporter goes after Hirono over residency

Shapiro: I got a note from a supporter of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa asking why her fellow Rep. Mazie Hirono hasn’t gotten as much scrutiny as Hanabusa over whether she moved into the district she represents.

read … An issue of congressional residency

Plans advance for teacher ratings pilot project

The state hopes to launch a pilot program aimed at incorporating student growth data into teacher evaluations as early as October in 20 schools, according to procurement documents….

The procurement documents provide new detail on the planned evaluation, which officials hope to launch in "zones of school innovation" on the Waianae Coast and Hawaii island.

Education officials envision the new evaluation system expanding to 60 public schools in 2012 and all schools in 2013.

Under the pilot program, the documents say, 35 percent of a teacher's rating would be based on student academic growth data.

But by 2013 at least half of a teacher's evaluation would be tied to academic growth. The other half would be based on information from observations and "stakeholder surveys."

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi told the Hawaii State Teachers Association recently that the pilot did not need union approval because the revamped evaluations would not be part of a teacher's personnel record — or used against them.

The pilot program, she said, would provide teachers with new data aimed at helping them "in reviewing and improving upon their teaching skills." In an Aug. 2 letter to HSTA, Matayoshi also said that the department is not "implementing a new teacher evaluation system that bypasses" collective bargaining.

But HSTA President Wil Okabe said he believes the pilot requires union agreement, like previous evaluation systems.

read … Plans advance for teacher ratings pilot

SA: Micronesians are great excuse to get More Federal Funds

Abercrombie (who created the COFA funding mechanism in the first place) is now calling for legislative changes that would (undo his previous stupidity and) allow Pacific migrants to directly receive federal Medicaid, welfare, food stamps and other benefits; that would reduce the states' role in fronting such costs. (And we at the Star-Advertiser are always happy to help out with any grab for federal money.)

Reality: Micronesians: “Its just better in Arkansas”

read … Feds should help Pacific migrants

Abercrombie Admin Confiscated Weapons from Harbor Police Over Paperwork Issues

"We put all the firearms in lockers and we put them in a situation where they're still patrolling,” said Dan Meisenzahl, DOT spokesman.

The move came after the Abercrombie administration reviewed policies and procedures for its law enforcement agencies, Meisenzahl said. (And just in time for APEC!)

"The policies and procedures that were in place, they weren't done properly,” Meisenzahl said.

The 10-year-old system lacked proper record keeping and documentation of things like firearms training and qualifications, Meisenzahl said.

read … Harbor Police Working Without Firearms

HSTA Files Ethics Charge against Abercrombie, Horner, Matayoshi

"Last week the Governor sent a private letter on his official letterhead to the HLRB members outlining to his appointees and prospective appointee the Governor's preferred outcome of the Board's deliberations. Board of Education Chair Horner and Superintendent Matayoshi also signed off on the private letter. When we were given a copy of the letter by the Governor's negotiator we immediately drafted our ethics complaint and delivered it to the Governor on Friday along with a formal request asking that the Governor, and the two other signatories, immediately withdraw their inappropriate letter to the Board. We thought it only fair to give the Governor the benefit of the doubt; perhaps he did not realize that he is prohibited from such ex parte communications. Our request for withdrawal was ignored. We are left with no choice but to proceed with an ethics charge. The irony of all this is that it comes right after the Governor rejected HSTA’s offer to accept a neutral third-party arbitrator to resolve our contract dispute. Instead, the Governor insisted on having the same HLRB he is now trying to inappropriately influence serve as "mediators”. The Governor’s letter taints the HLRB process in a manner that will leave open to question the inherent ability of the Board to make decisions based on public hearings instead of private communications."

LINK: download HSTA ethics filing

LINK: download State letter


Read … HSTA to file ethics violation charge

SHOPO Brings in Federal Mediator

Perhaps the closest to reaching a new contract with the state and the four county governments is the HFFA.

"Actually, I think it's going quite well," HFFA President Robert "Bobby" Lee said this week regarding the latest labor negotiations. "We're moving along and making progress."

That contrasts with SHOPO, which last week used the services of a federal mediator in hopes of reaching an agreement with the government employers.

" ... Negotiations for a new contract continue, and rest assured that SHOPO President Tenari Ma'afala and the negotiating team will seek the best contract they can for all our members," John Stewart, a Hawaii County police officer and chairman of SHOPO's Hawaii Island Chapter, wrote in the organization's July newsletter.

SHOPO spokeswoman Crystal Akana said she is barred from discussing what occurs during the confidential talks.

read … Three other unions still seek new deal

Kenoi’s Side deal with HGEA costly

Hawaii County would save $1.46 million on insurance and avoid monthly shutdowns if Mayor Billy Kenoi had accepted the two-year contract the state negotiated with Hawaii's largest labor union.

Instead, Kenoi cut a side deal with the Hawaii Government Employees Association. The terms leave Hawaii County as Hawaii's only public employer still furloughing HGEA members and paying 60 percent of their health insurance premiums….

Yagong said he feels the only reason Kenoi offered the contract terms was to try to maintain union support for Kenoi's 2012 re-election bid.

"Absolutely not," Kenoi said….

(he then burst out in uncontrollable laughter and his handlers hurriedly ushered him out of the interview)

read … Side deal with HGEA costly

Hawaii Biofuels Option Could Prove Costly

Two contracts for locally-produced biofuels, aimed at supplying a portion of the state’s electricity needs, are under consideration by the Public Utilities Commission, and more are expected. But the cost of the energy to ratepayers could be significant.

The recent contracts have touched off a stormy public policy debate about whether biofuel is in the best interest of the state and its ratepayers, or whether the benefits will ultimately be reaped by Hawaiian Electric Co.’s shareholders.

Fueling the controversy is what some critics see as a lack of transparency on the part of the utility about biofuels’ cost.

read … Hawaii Biofuels Option Could Prove Costly

Land Trusts to get their Tax Cuts and Eat them Too

Landowners would be able to preserve tax breaks on large parcels dedicated for agricultural use, even when portions are rezoned for industrial or commercial use, under a proposal up for a final vote Wednesday before the City Council.

The land would have to be dedicated for a five-year period — as opposed to one-year dedications that occur now — and the tax breaks would continue only on land that remains in agriculture.

Currently, if any part of the parcel is taken out of agriculture use during the commitment period, landowners must pay back taxes for the entire parcel for the entire period.

read … Bill would spare ag-land tax aid if parcel shrinks


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