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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
November 17, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:22 PM :: 9088 Views

(Pushback against furlough settlement)  Hamamoto: Plan May Not Restore All Furlough Days

Storyline: HGEA vs HSTA: The coming legislative budget crisis

HONOLULU -- Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to restore school classroom days may not provide enough cash to eliminate all 27 furlough days she wants, Hawaii Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto said.

Taking $50 million from the rainy day fund will cover basic school salaries, but Hamamoto said she might need more to cover expenses of opening schools. The superintendent also said that because many of the waiver days have already been used, it will not be possible to simply replace them with instructional days in the last six months of the school year.

Hamamoto will have to negotiate any change to the school calendar with the teachers union and the new deal and the Legislature and the governor must approve finances.


Democrat Burris: In Hawaii, a 'Saturday Night Live' moment

Shapiro: Don't forget the poor (HGEA)

HGEA Pres: HGEA favors mix toward solution, not tax hike alone

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Teacher furlough fix may require change in law

The law says the rainy day fund can be used to maintain programs essential to public health, safety, welfare and education, but the law specifically prohibits using the money to pay for cost items in any collective bargaining contract.

Linda Smith, Gov. Linda Lingle's senior policy adviser, said the Lingle administration does not consider the prohibition an obstacle to using $50 million from the rainy day fund to help reduce teacher furlough days.

Smith said lawmakers could either amend the law or the state Department of Education could use the rainy day fund money for education programs and free up other state money to reduce furlough days.

...state House Speaker Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise), said yesterday he would strongly recommend a special session if the state Department of Education, the state Board of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association agree soon on Lingle's proposal.

Eric Seitz, one of the attorneys who has filed a federal lawsuit to block teacher furloughs, said he would be willing to dismiss his suit to help with an agreement.

RELATED: HGEA vs HSTA: The coming legislative budget crisis

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SB: 'Rain' fund raid right choice (but more pushback)

Some legislators have called recently for using some of the money in the rainy day fund to restore monthly payments to poor, temporarily disabled people. Those payments fell last month from $450 to $300 because of the state budget shortfall. The number of recipients has risen from 3,955 in 2007 to 4,458 last year and 5,055 today.

Other needy residents of Hawaii may have similar desires of access to the rainy day fund. And furloughed employees in other offices of state government may resent the lowering of teachers' pay cuts from 7.9 percent to 5.5 percent with the elimination of furloughs.

RELATED: DoE Procurement audit: Millions wasted by "fraudulent unethical behavior"

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"Blatantly political" Abercrombie campaign admits lobbying Ed Sec'y Duncan a weekend news conference Lingle said she thought Duncan was meddling in local politics.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, a candidate for governor, said he lobbied Duncan to comment.  "I felt it was important for him to give a frank assessment of Hawaii's ability to access federal funds if we continued on this path," Abercrombie said in a campaign note to supporters.

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Hawaii's tourism slump has industry looking to China

State tourism liaison Marsha Wienert points to per person per day spending reports from last year: Chinese visitors: $324; Japanese: $288; U.S. East: $183; U.S. West: $146; and Canadian: $153.

Chinese arrivals have been on the rise. In the early 1990s, there were about 10,000 visitors a year from China. That jumped to almost 30,000 by 1998 and closed in on 60,000 last year.

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Rail tax revenue down 30%

$8.9 million collected last month is lowest since February 2007...(so sad)

RELATED: Updated list of Honolulu rail contractors released , Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that , Last-minute donation: Rail contractor gave to Hannemann Campaign

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Police Commission Chair a no-show at City Council meeting

The chairwoman of the police commission spent the day interviewing police chief finalists at the Honolulu Police Department, which is one reason why (excuse which the media is willing to report as if it were serious) she did not show up at a council meeting that she had agreed to attend....

Camp said she would attend, but also asked the commission to reschedule since commissioners were interviewing police chief candidates at the same time.

"So she's asking that we reschedule the meeting on the Thursday, which is one day after their final selection. So, that's really disappointing and I think shocking for all of us," Council Public Safety Chairman Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz said.

ADV: Honolulu council urges delay in selecting police chief

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Final Brief In Maui Councilmember Residency Appeal: What Is "Immediate Forfeiture And Vacancy?"

Today, we filed the Reply Brief in DeJetley v. Kahoohalahala, No. 29929, the appeal now pending in the Hawaii Supreme Court regarding the Lanai member of the Maui Council who is alleged to not be a resident of Lanai as required by the county charter.

Section 3-3 of the Charter provides that "If a council member ... ceases to be a resident of the council member’s residency area during the council member’s term of office, or if a council member is adjudicated guilty of a felony, the council member shall immediately forfeit office and the seat shall thereupon become vacant."

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U.S. senators question TV mergers here, nationwide

In a Nov. 2 letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Kerry, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, and Grassley, R-Iowa, cited the (Honolulu) merger as an example of consolidation that results in "fewer voices on the airwaves and reduced consumer choice."

The letter from Kerry and Grassley follows comments last month by U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who said the KGMB, KHNL and K5 newsroom merger "may lead to the loss of editorial diversity and may violate FCC ownership rules."

And here is the source of the charges they are recycling: Raycom Honolulu TV Deal: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "media control"

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Clock is ticking on Hawaiian pilot deal

The pilots, claiming that contract negotiations are at an impasse, asked the board last month to release ALPA from mediation — a move that eventually could lead to a pilots strike if a subsequent 30-day cooling-off period, binding arbitration and the appointment of a Presidential Emergency Board are exhausted.

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HMSA reports $23M loss thanks to swine flu hype

"We do see it getting worse, unfortunately," he said. "What we're seeing is high utilizations. We think people are concerned about the economy and are seeking more health care services than they otherwise would, such as people who are losing their jobs or are afraid of losing their jobs. We're also seeing a lot of increases in office visits and emergency room visits by people who have symptoms of the flu or who are concerned they may have contracted H1N1."

(And this is a root problem in the American health insurance field--insurers are expected or required by law to cover routine Dr. visits instead of focusing on catastrophic care.)

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