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Friday, November 20, 2009
November 20, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:48 PM :: 9641 Views

ADV: Lingle's rainy day plan earns Senate Democrats' support

Garrett Toguchi, the school board's chairman, said one of the issues under discussion is whether the $50 million out of the rainy day fund will be able to pay for 12 furlough days. He estimated it might be $10 million to $12 million short, since it costs about $5 million a day to operate the school system.

"We're not sure if that is enough," Toguchi said.

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

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SB: Senate ready for special session 

Today the House Democrats are expected meet and also signal they are willing to hold a special session.

House Speaker Calvin Say noted, however, that he still wants to make sure the teachers are able to approve a new contract with the furlough day changes. Hanabusa said she agrees with Say.

"We don't want to be in position to have them say we rammed it down their throats," Hanabusa said.

Sen. Brian Taniguchi (D, Moiliili-Manoa) discussed the furlough issue yesterday with Randy Perreira, Hawaii Government Employees Association executive director, who said the HGEA has some concerns about the Lingle furlough plan.

(Because this is a Democrat Caucus meeting, 23 of 25 Senators are able to meet in private without any public oversight.  Hawaii has a Senate which meets in secret to make deals.)

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

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SB: Inouye urges competition in campaign for governor (backs Mufi)

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is encouraging many people to run for office and is urging "healthy competition" but has not formally endorsed Mayor Mufi Hannemann's expected bid for governor in 2010, according to an Inouye spokesman.

At a $500-per-ticket Sheraton Waikiki fundraiser Wednesday night, Hannemann told supporters Inouye wants him in the 2010 governor's race.

"Sen. Inouye is encouraging us to seek the top seat in Hawaii," Hannemann said.

"The senator encourages lots of candidates to run for office," he said. "Encouraging people to participate in the Democratic process is critical to ensuring healthy competition."

Asked about Inouye's reaction to Hannemann's statement, Boylan said, "Healthy competition is good for the Democratic Party. It strengthens the party's ranks and adds depth to the party's bench."

(Is that why Inouye asked Dwight Takamine to "leave more blood on the floor" of Ed Case supporters in the State House?  To promote healthy competition?)

RELATED: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

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ADV: Inouye says he's staying neutral (backs Mufi)

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye has not endorsed a candidate for governor in 2010, but Inouye's staff yesterday did not dispute Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann's claim that the senator has urged him to run.

Hannemann, who has not officially declared his candidacy but is raising money for a possible campaign, said at a fundraiser in Waikíkí on Wednesday night that Inouye had encouraged him to run in the Democratic primary.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, has declared his candidacy and his aides have been working behind the scenes to tamp down speculation that Inouye, the state's top Democrat, was backing Hannemann.

RELATED: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can change that

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Plan calls for nonprofit HMC

Hawaii Medical Center's shareholders would lose their ownership stake and its two hospitals operated by a nonprofit corporation under a plan being put forth by unsecured creditors of the bankrupt company.

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ADV: Police chief to tackle tough job list at HPD

Wednesday's quick decision came as a relief, following an uproar over selection procedures that threatened to prolong the process needlessly. The commission should have anticipated contingencies early on by first outlining the options for expanding the finalist list beyond the top four candidates chosen by its selection committee. The commission should have such options as long as they rationally advance the top scorers.

That refinement should be made next time.

For now, there is no reason to question the commission's choice, despite the City Council's ridiculous attempt to stir the pot. It's time to move on.

(Yes we should ignore the resignation of two Police Commission members who said "the fix was in" -- good watchdog job Advertiser!)

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Money to ease Hawaii school furloughs may shortchange needy HGEA

Consequence could be less money for the elderly and homeless HGEA.

RELATED: HGEA vs HSTA: The coming legislative budget crisis

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Attorneys trying to hurry furlough case for disabled

The attorneys argue that the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act prohibits the Department of Education from unilaterally changing the services the special-needs students receive.

In a ruling Nov. 9, federal Judge Wallace Tashima said he believes the "plaintiffs are suffering irreparable harm," but denied an injunction. He reasoned that state officials implemented furloughs to cut the budget and that it was not a decision specific to the individual education programs for special-needs students.

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Kona campus project moves forward

A longtime dream of a Hawaii Community College campus at Kona took a step forward yesterday with the Board of Regents' approval of a development plan for the new campus.

Palamanui's developers will give the university $5 million to help complete the first building of the new campus, said Hawaii Community College Chancellor Rockne Freitas. But Freitas said the governor has not released about $15 million that will pay for the completion of infrastructure and a second campus building. Another $6 million in funds appropriated by the Legislature will go toward renovations and a new development plan for the Hawaii Community College Hilo campus.

(Would YOU give Lokelani Lindsey and Larry Mehau's Broken Trust point man $15M to play with?  Bet a Governor Mufi would!)

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Abercrombie's ILLEGAL questions in TV merger rejected

The Federal Communications Commission has notified U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie that his Oct. 16 letter to Chairman Julius Genachowski will not be considered in the commission's review of the shared services agreement between KGMB-TV, KHNL-TV and KFVE-TV.

Attorney John Griffith Johnson Jr., representing HITV License Subsidiary Inc., a unit of MCG Capital Corp. and the KFVE licensee, wrote to the FCC on Nov. 9 that Abercrombie's letter was a "possible violation" of rules governing communication with the commission.

HITV suggests that Media Council Hawaii, which opposes the agreement, influenced Abercrombie to write the letter, which would have to be disclosed under FCC rules.

The FCC deemed Abercrombie's letter as an ex parte communication in a "restricted proceeding," since he had not served Raycom Media Inc., HITV License Subsidiary Inc. or Media Council with copies of his letter.

RELATED: Abercrombie, Press Club ask review of TV deal 

RELATED: Raycom Honolulu TV Deal: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "Media Control"
A look at the majestic Big Island press club:  “From Hack to Flack”: the Big Island newspaper-Democrat revolving door

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Burgess Petitions Ninth Circuit for Panel or En Banc Review

On November 18th Aloha for All founder H. William Burgess petitioned the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Kuroiwa v Lingle for panel or “en banc” reversal of 1)the rejection of plaintiffs claims of unlawful distributions by the State to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and 2)sanctions against Burgess personally.

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Hawaii County Planning director: Say no to concurrency (rezoning moratorium)

The County Council in September approved a resolution asking for recommendations from Leithead-Todd and the two planning commissions for an ordinance that would prohibit rezoning requests unless developers helped offset a lack of public park space and fire stations, particularly in Puna and Ka'u, where subdivisions approved in the 1950s and 1960s have yet to be built.

"Because the county does not currently meet the proposed standard (which created a ratio of park space for a specific number of residents), the bill would create a moratorium on rezoning in the county," she said.

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Maui: Work force housing bill compromise considered (development moratorium)

As for the ordinance change, Housing and Human Concerns Department Deputy Director Jo-Ann Ridao told the committee Wednesday that the proposed 10 percent reduction for lower-priced projects is intended to help small developers. This is the second time this year the committee has looked at revising the ordinance to jump-start the local housing industry. Another list of recommendations apparently remains under committee consideration.

The existing legislation is "tying a noose" around the local home-building industry, said Dave DeLeon of the Realtors Association of Maui. And when committee members suggested expanding the ordinance to apply to commercial developments - such as shops, offices and restaurants, DeLeon said, he was appalled by the idea.

Many developers, contractors and even nonprofit leaders have argued that the work force housing ordinance, along with the county's new law that requires developers to come up with their own sustainable water source, is poisoning Maui's real estate well....

The Department of Housing and Human Concerns has operated with the interpretation that the requirements can be satisfied by building affordable homes in addition to the main project. But (Republican) Council Member Jo Anne Johnson disagreed and said developers must include the affordable homes as part of the total number of homes in the original project....Johnson countered that her understanding of the law and new proposal was: Out of 100 homes built, 30 of those must be affordable, and 70 must be sold market rate.

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