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Monday, March 30, 2009
March 30, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:39 AM :: 7857 Views

Gates: US may shoot down missile if headed for Hawaii, says probably not nuclear

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says North Korea will probably test a long-range missile in early April in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, but unless the missile test threatens U.S. territory, the United States is not prepared to do anything to prevent it.

"I think if we had an aberrant missile, one that was headed for Hawaii or something like that, we might consider it, but I do not think we have any plans to do anything like that at this point," said Robert Gates....

"I do not know anyone at a senior level in the American government who does not believe this technology is intended as a mask for the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile," he said.

Gates says senior defense officials believe it is North Korea's "long-term intent" to attach a nuclear warhead on top of a missile, but is skeptical they have the ability to do so.

(This should be comforting to the demonstrators on Kauai who are working so hard to shut down Barking Sands)

RELATED: Japan Deploys Ships Ahead of North Korean Rocket Launch, North Korean rocket could reach Hawaii: US admiral , July, 2006 "Failed North Korean Missile Aimed at Hawaii?" , March 27, 2009 Kauai Enviros point finger at Barking Sands over fish kill

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Lawmakers reluctant to rely on assumed cuts to labor costs (would rather rely on assumed revenues from tax increase)

Gov. Linda Lingle wants to save $278 million over the next two years by cutting the wages and benefits of state workers. But the adjustments depend on negotiations with labor unions, and state lawmakers are increasingly worried the talks will not be completed by the time the session ends in early May.

State House and Senate leaders are reluctant to use Lingle's assumptions about the wage and benefit cuts in the state budget because they are not assured and they will likely have to make firm decisions on the budget by the end of April owned and operated by the HGEA.

The Lingle administration wants to finish collective bargaining with labor unions before the session ends, but if (unions decide to make) negotiations stall, the talks could extend up until the time the contracts expire at the end of June.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers' public safety branch could also take the negotiations to binding arbitration. Meanwhile other parts of the UPW, the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly have the right to strike.

Lingle and Kawamura have said that while the administration's goal is to avoid layoffs and furloughs, the state's 49,000 union workers have to share in the sacrifice to close the budget shortfall. Labor costs are about 70 percent of the state's general fund spending.  (The most efficient transfer of tax dollars to anything in the State)

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Proposal would put drug-sniffing dogs in Hawaii's public schools

McKinley High School principal Ron Okamura wants to bring drug-sniffing dogs into his school but the state Department of Education's current disciplinary policy and concerns over student privacy have prevented it.

But with new amendments to the disciplinary rules — known as Chapter 19 — being considered in public hearings beginning April 6, Okamura believes implementation of a drug-sniffing dog program will soon be easier.

The proposed amendments would allow searches of student lockers on public school campuses solely at the discretion of principals and school administrators. The presence of drug-sniffing dogs on campus would also be allowed as a way of detecting and deterring illegal drugs.

(And if they ever do change the rules, the ACLU will sue to protect the rights of dope pushers.  Because without marijuana, kids just wouldn't be susceptible enough to Gramscian thoughts....) 

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HGEA backing Anderson for Council

HGEA is the state's largest public worker union, with about 40,000 members.

Anderson has picked up endorsements from 21 union organizations, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1186 and the Hawaii State AFL-CIO, according to his Web site.

Anderson is the grandson of former state Sen. Whitney Anderson, the younger brother of former Sen. D.G. "Andy" Anderson.

Anderson also is supported by Cliff Ziems, Marshall's widower.

Earlier this week, candidate John Henry Felix picked up the endorsements of the United Public Workers Oahu Division Political Action Committee, the UPW Private Sector Division Political Action Committee and the UPW Retirees. He also has been endorsed by the Hawaii Carpenters Union.

(These two picks represent the two wings of the Democrat Party whose union base is at nearly 100% voter registration.  Meanwhile Republican voters are scattered between several choices.  The Republicans' church-going political base is only about 50% registered to vote.)

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Fukunaga: Hawaiian Telcom service is vital; it cannot be allowed to fail (old boys still milking it)

Bankruptcy allows a company to set aside its contractual obligations, including those with its employees, in order to preserve cash that it will need to continue operating and successfully emerge from bankruptcy. It is therefore understandable that Gov. Linda Lingle would raise concerns about bonus payments to managers and staff at a time when the company has turned to the court for protection from its creditors during its reorganization efforts (Star-Bulletin, March 21).

Should Hawaiian Telcom fail to successfully emerge from bankruptcy and regain a firm financial footing, the state will have no choice but to become directly involved to assure that uninterrupted service will continue. This obligation to maintain vital communications will fall upon the residents of our state.

The company is paying millions of dollars in legal and consulting fees. These payments and others need to be scrutinized, as conserving every dollar the company has is critical to successfully completing the bankruptcy proceedings.

The activities of the company during the period it is in bankruptcy must be conducted in a transparent manner that instills public trust and confidence and, more importantly, with respect for its obligations to the people of Hawaii.

Anyone who believes otherwise, or attempts to politicize this situation through uninformed and inaccurate statements, fails to understand the significance of the situation in which Hawaiian Telcom finds itself and the cost and impact that the loss of the company would bring to our state.

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Ex-manager: Life is good outside Aloha

Now working as a director of operations and sales at a private company he declined to name, Hazama said he doesn't miss his work at Aloha Airlines, where he was employed part time and full time since the summer of 1970.

RELATED:

Former Aloha Airlines baggage agent makes about 30 percent more working at Maui Hawaiian Auto Body.

Service agent: I am fortunate

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Bills would ax business-related agencies

A number of state agencies are on the chopping block this year as the Hawaii legislature makes an all-out effort to narrow its budget deficit.

Two bills introduced this session propose dismantling the Hawaii Community Development Authority and Aloha Tower Development Corp.

Meanwhile, an overhaul is also proposed for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which has 11 attached agencies, including HCDA and ATDC.

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State's next hurdle is working with Procurement Code

Legislators are wringing their hands over a couple of bills that would allow administrators to sidestep procurement rules if those rules impede the expenditure of funds from the recently approved federal stimulus bill.
Anyone who has dealt with the state's Procurement Code usually will roll their eyes when the subject is mentioned. Although the Procurement Code was drafted in reaction to the way state contract letting was abused before its adoption, the Procurement Code, over the years, has become synonymous with the term "red tape." Reportedly, there are more than $130 million in highway capital improvement projects that have been stuck in the system for over three years. In addition to those funds, there are supposedly more than $100 million in educational facilities repair and maintenance projects stuck in the system.

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