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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
May 6, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:40 AM :: 6639 Views

Lingle warns unions to bargain now

Gov. Linda Lingle is warning public employee unions that those who bargain with the state now will get a better settlement than those who stall.

During a news conference yesterday at the Capitol, Lingle said she hopes to conclude talks with at least one of the four public worker unions next week.

She also warned union members that if they have not approved a new contract by July 1, when their old contracts expire, they will be without significant labor protections.

"Those who come in and help on the front end will get a preferred package compared to those who either challenge us down the road at some time or simply hold out for more," Lingle warned. "The people who come now to be part of the solution will get the best opportunities for their members."

Advertiser: Lingle says Democrats tax increase aimed at unions

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OHA, 3 of 4 plaintiffs agree to settle dispute over ceded lands

According to a release issued this afternoon by OHA and Attorney General Mark Bennett, the agency and all of the private plaintiffs except University of Hawaii professor Jonathan Osorio have reached an agreement with the state on "a set of steps that will resolve all or almost all of the lawsuit filed by OHA and the private plaintiffs in 1994. ..."

The state, meanwhile, gets a dismissal of the lawsuit with all the plaintiffs except Osorio, who last week told supporters that he did not expect to be part of a settlement between the state, OHA and attorney Bill Meheula, who represents Osorio and the other three individuals.

"If Professor Jonathan Osorio chooses to proceed with this case, both OHA and the State believe it likely that his claims will also be dismissed without prejudice," the OHA release said. "In the event that that does not occur, however, and his claims go forward, OHA and the other private plaintiffs will not participate further in the lawsuit."

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona and Bennett said in a joint statement: "There is no question that OHA and the State had significant differences with regard to this lawsuit. This settlement resolves those differences in a way we believe is beneficial to all citizens of Hawaii. We can now concentrate on working together on matters we all believe are crucially important to Hawaii, including the Akaka Bill. We look forward to doing so."

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Healthcare taking bigger and bigger bite out of Hawaii pockets

"We found some fairly startling numbers," said Kathleen Stoll, deputy executive director for Families USA, a Washington-based group that advocates affordable healthcare for all. "Many Americans with insurance are struggling to afford their own out-of-pocket costs."

(And this is in Hawaii--the model for Obama's healthcare reform.  Maybe its the airline tickets for all the sister isle residents who have to fly to Oahu for care their HHSC hospital doesn't provide.)

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Borreca: Legislature winds down with promises unmet

There once was a band of monkeys, Rudyard Kipling wrote, that would pick up sticks in the morning and spend the day waving them around.

The monkeys' day was devoted to telling each other what wonderful and glorious things they would do with the sticks: They would vanquish foes, build bridges and find new ways of getting the best food.

Then exhausted from a day of promises, the monkeys would toss the sticks, find something to eat and await the morning, when they would find new sticks to wave.

Kipling never visited Hawaii or saw the state Legislature....

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SB: Karen's Bill wisely shelved (shills for trial lawyers)

PUBLIC outrage about the rape and killing of a 51-year-old Ewa Beach woman and the arrest of a 15-year-old neighbor resulted in a plea to state legislators to make it easier to try juveniles for murder. Making such a change in the law in such an emotional climate would be unwise, and legislators prudently put the issue aside during the session nearing an end.

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Candidate for UH system President interviewed

Greenwood, in an editorial board meeting with the Star-Bulletin yesterday, also addressed her resignation in 2005 from her position as University of California provost, the top academic officer in the UC system.

Her resignation came amid an investigation of her role in hiring and approving compensation for a friend and former business partner for a job in the UC system office.

Greenwood, 66, a former chancellor at UC-Santa Cruz and now director of the Foods for Health Initiative at UC-Davis, is the first finalist to visit Hawaii for meetings before the Board of Regents chooses a replacement for David McClain, who will step down July 31.

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Visitor industry is ‘fast train going wrong way’

Despite what Maui Visitors Bureau Chairman Craig Anderson calls "rampant discounting," hotel occupancy levels fell to record lows in the first quarter....That was when the national uproar over fallen AIG's hosting of conferences (thanks, Obama!) at luxury Mainland resorts made "luxury" into a bad word. "There have been a lot of cancellations," Donovan said.  And since Hawaii has always been viewed as a luxury destination, the islands felt the backlash.

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Kauai and Big Isle home sales fall, but Kauai prices rise

Only 90 single-family homes and 21 condominiums changed hands on the Big Island in April, resulting in a 22.4 percent drop in single-family home sales and a staggering 53.3 percent drop in condominium sales.

Big Island prices have come down so much from their 2004 peak that it's possible for buyers to get a three-bedroom, two-bath home on an acre for $250,000

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Japan Airlines fires 130 pilots based in Hawaii

The nonunion pilots, who were on individual contracts, had been hired by JALways Co. Ltd. from three leasing companies that provide pilots to foreign carriers. The pilots had been flying Boeing 747s from Hawaii to Japan and other Asian countries.

Most of the pilots' contracts were for three years, but JALways ceased the pilots' flying on March 31. JALways will continue to pay the pilots' wages and full benefits through June.

JALways, which will close its Honolulu office at the end of June, also is laying off five local employees from that office.

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Hawaiian Electric earnings fall 40 percent

electric sales declined and subsidiary American Savings Bank increased its provision for loan losses.

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CDC confirms three cases of flu in Islands

"All three of them have recovered from the illness," Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.

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