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Wednesday, July 8, 2009
July 8, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:21 AM :: 9324 Views

Democrat Borreca: Governor needs strategies she can count on in talks

As much as Hawaii loves to embrace the centralized solution to everything from schools to taxes, the state is now watching labor relations divided up into small ineffective units. It started with Gov. Linda Lingle's failure to bring a united management team to the bargaining table. Labor talks stalled and the parties broke like pool balls at the break.  (And this is a problem?)

(Not only is Democrat propagandist Borreca trying to convince us that collectivism is good, but he is also trying to blame Lingle for everything here.) 

I asked several former insiders from previous (DEMOCRAT) administrations and they were just incredulous that a governor would even start bargaining without knowing that she had the management votes already tucked away. (Since the four mayors are Dems then this is tantamount to demanding that Lingle simply not negotiate.)

There must be some parallel universe where management expects labor to tie up the bargaining and nail down the management votes. But today in Hawaii, Lingle can't get agreement either from the unions or the other members of the management team.  (But in this next line Democrat Borreca explains exactly how Lingle is making it happen.  Duh!)

So Monday, the HGEA's Randy Perreira could say the unions made a lot of progress talking to the UH, the mayors and the DOE. In the end, they didn't make any progress because they didn't get the governor.  (So obviously Lingle's strategy is to force all these Democrats to come up with a counterproposal.  And it sounds like it is working.)


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Sources: Unions Propose 1-Day Furlough, Pay Cut  (Here's the REAL news)

HONOLULU -- Public worker unions are willing to agree to pay cuts or a furlough as part of their next contract, KITV has learned.

It was just one of the proposals that was discussed behind closed doors in negotiations on Monday. However, the questions remain: Will the state accept or reject the unions' offer?

The state walked out of negotiations, but we have learned the other employers, including the counties, the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii came close to making an agreement with the state's largest unions.

Sources told KITV that union leaders proposed a one-day a month furlough or a 5 percent pay cut for public employees in discussions held behind closed doors at Honolulu Hale for an hour and a half on Monday. The discussions were unofficial and do not represent a formal proposal so they are subject to change....

Union representatives said they feel Gov. Linda Lingle will reject the proposal because a 5-percent salary cut or a one-day a month furlough will not be enough to solve a state budget shortfall that the governor said has now ballooned to $823 million, sources said.

The governor originally wanted to furlough state workers three days a month, amounting to a pay cut of at least 14 percent. That is three times as much as what the unions proposed Monday.

The unions also want the state to tap into its Rainy Day Fund and the Hurricane Relief Fund and allow early retirement for public employees to help narrow the budget gap and keep pay cuts to a minimum.  (This is the Hanabusa proposal.  The numbers don't add up.)

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Sideshow: UPW files labor complaint

The United Public Workers alleged yesterday that Gov. Linda Lingle and her chief labor negotiator are not bargaining in good faith by canceling and walking out of negotiating sessions...(No, she's forcing the unions and the Dem. mayors, BoE, etal to negotiate in good faith.  This UPW complaint is the basis of Borreca's opinion piece above.)

Last month, UPW filed a prohibited practices complaint against Lingle, Laderta and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann for speaking publicly about potential layoffs and the topics of contract negotiations. The union, which represents blue-collar workers, said public statements and news releases about contract talks should not be issued without mutual consent.  (Clowns.  What part of "Public" do they not understand?)

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Race is on for Council vacancy

At least six community forums have been scheduled over the next month as the candidates present themselves to voters in a short campaign in which observers say name recognition will be a big key to victory.

The winner of the special election would fill the term of Duke Bainum, who died June 9, just seven months into his four-year term.

Today marks the voter-registration deadline to participate in the special mail-in election. Voters who were registered for the most recent election should be receiving a ballot, but those who have moved since then are urged to register again.

Acting City Clerk Bernice Mau says the city expects to mail about 47,000 ballots by the end of next week. Voters have until Aug. 7 to return ballots. Walk-in absentee voting will be held July 23 to Aug. 5.

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Waianae ER may be closed Sunday nights

Retiree Jackie Watson said she worries about a potential shutdown of the emergency room of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center because she has asthma and might need to go elsewhere, such as the Queen's Medical Center.  "I could die from there to Queen's," she said.

A number of people spoke during a meeting last night on the Waianae Coast, as its major medical center is considering closing its emergency room services for an eight-hour shift each week from Sunday at midnight through 8 a.m. Monday due to state budget cutbacks.

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City of Honolulu fights challenge to plans for landfill (Hanabusa specious)

Sen. Colleen Hanabusa filed a motion last week seeking to have the city's permit application dismissed on the basis that only a partial environmental study of the potential impact was performed.

The motion is expected to be considered by the Planning Commission today, as Hanabusa's contested-case hearing on the permit continues.

Attorneys for the city Department of Environmental Services contend Hanabusa's motion "is quite simply, specious, as it is redundant and without basis, and serves to further delay resolution of (the department's) application for the land use approvals necessary to expand the only permitted municipal solid waste landfill on Oahu."

A dismissal of the application would likely force the city to go to court to keep the landfill open past Nov. 1.

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Maui: Occupancy at record low

After hitting an all-time low of 59 percent in April, Maui’s hotel occupancy rate fell another 3.1 percentage points, or 5 percent, in May to 55.9 percent.

(State employees get 42 paid days off every year.  Maybe they could all go to Maui on vacation so the TAT take will increase so we can continue to pay them.)

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Queen Kaahumanu bid protest rejected

A state hearings officer affirmed the state Department of Transportation's denial of a bid protest for the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project.
The hearings officer, in the opinion issued late Tuesday, said the department did not act improperly when it denied Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company's April protest of the bid awarded for the widening project's second phase.
"It justifies our decision, that we made the right decision," DOT Director Brennon Morioka said.

But Morioka said in April that all three companies that submitted bids -- Hawaiian Dredging, Kiewit Pacific and bid recipient Goodfellow Bros. Inc. -- had design deficiencies.
That prompted the department to reject all three bids, he said.
The department is moving ahead with a new request for proposals that Morioka intends to advertise at about the same time as a ruling from the 1st Circuit Court on Oahu on a related appeal might be expected, he said.
The DOT filed an appeal to an April ruling by the state hearings officer that required the department to rescind its bid award to Goodfellow Bros. The new request for proposals will include an option to not use the bids if the court rules that the DOT properly awarded the bid to Goodfellow Bros., Morioka said.
A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 9.
The DOT initially awarded the project to Goodfellow Bros. in July 2008. Another bidder, Kiewit Pacific, filed a protest and the department agreed to request revised bids, though Morioka said at the time that was not an admission of any flaw in the initial process.
Goodfellow Bros. again won the contract in October, but Hawaiian Dredging filed a protest. That company and the department attended a hearing in February on that protest, and the hearings office issued its ruling agreeing with Hawaiian Dredging that Goodfellow's bid was not responsive, but did not order the department to award the bid to Hawaiian Dredging.

(How did it come about that all 3 had design deficiencies?  Failure to perfect the bid.  How many $millions are wasted due to stifled competition and repeat RFPs???)

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Council keeping 22% raise

"I feel like I deserve every penny," Naeole said.

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Naturopathic "doctors" upset

A bill to expand the powers of naturopathic doctors in Hawaii is poised for a veto at the governor's office.
Senate Bill 420 authorizes naturopaths -- doctors who use a system of therapy that relies on natural remedies to treat illnesses -- to prescribe certain drugs, give injections and perform minor surgeries.

(sound of angry duck...QUACK-ing)

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Times to take over Star Markets

QSI Inc., the parent company of Times Supermarkets, will purchase Star Markets' seven locations, including stores on Maui in Kihei and Honokowai.

The financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in early September.

Times, founded in 1949, has not previously operated on the Neighbor Islands. With the addition of the Star locations, it will have 17 stores on three islands, and its work force will grow from 1,100 to 1,600.

SB: Times reaches for Star in supermarket merger

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