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Friday, January 1, 2010
January 1, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:52 PM :: 14642 Views

Hamamoto resigned DoE -- FIVE DAYS AGO!  (Resigned same day latest HSTA/DoE furlough offer was rejected)



Hamamoto, who has 10 months left on her four-year contract, informed the state Board of Education in a letter Monday that she would resign effective yesterday.  (Monday was the day that Lingle announced her rejection of the latest version HSTA/DoE furlough scam.  And the news of Hamamoto's resignation was kept secret all week long!) 

Deputy superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi becomes acting superintendent.  (She will need a big success to start her career as Sup't if she wants to keep the job.  This could be good for furlough negotiations.)

Hamamoto could not be reached for comment. She did not give the board a specific reason for stepping down, but sources believe her exit plan was based on the length of time she has been on the job, her long hours, and the fact that she was satisfied with the management team in place to take over. 

The statewide school board did not plan a formal statement until after the New Year's holiday weekend, but word of her resignation quickly spread among educators and the news media last night.

"She has also volunteered to continue being part of the department's negotiating team to assist in reaching a resolution to bring students back to the classroom. We thank her and wish her well."

State Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings, R-25th (Kailua, Waimānalo, Hawai'i Kai), has been a frequent critic of the department because he does not think the roughly $2 billion in state spending on education has produced results.

"I'm sure that Pat Hamamoto did the best she could. But at the end of the day, we all get judged by results," he said. "Superintendent Hamamoto failed to yield to the governor's and our collective efforts to reform the expensive and inefficient DOE."

KITV:  DOE Leader Leaves During Crucial Negotiations

HR: Hawaii Department of Education Procurement Audit Reveals Waste and Potential Fraud

RELATED: Furlough settlement: HSTA-DoE to submit new ransom demands to Legislature, Lingle: HSTA/DoE furlough plan "not credible" (Same day as Hamamoto wrote secret resignation letter)

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Inouye confident Akaka Bill issues will be resolved

"It has been worked out," Inouye told reporters yesterday. "There is a group working on it right now, from the Governor's Office, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the congressional delegation."

Inouye said once agreement is reached, a Senate vote on an amended Akaka Bill could come in February.

"Certain changes had to be made because of constitutionality," said Inouye.

"There was a slight misunderstanding," he said of revisions that included application of the 1968 Indian Civil Rights Bill to the Hawaiian sovereignty issue.

Akaka Bill: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe , Akaka Bill Reading List

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ADV: Inouye implies Abercrombie backers lying (more on Akaka bill)

On Hawai'i issues, Inouye said a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill will likely be amended to reflect concerns from Gov. Linda Lingle and discussions with the Obama administration.

The bill would authorize Native Hawaiians to form their own government, similar to those of American Indians and Alaska natives, and the governor has concerns about whether Hawaiians will be be given sovereign power before or after negotiations with the state and federal governments.

Inouye said a Senate vote on the bill could come by February....

Asked about his preference in the potential Democratic primary for governor between U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, the senator said:

"To suggest to you that I'm a complete blank and I don't prefer one over the other is a lie. Because, we have our preferences. But I have not, and I will not, use the word 'endorse' until primary day is concluded."

Inouye, the state's leading Democrat, has not disputed that he has urged Hannemann to run in the gubernatorial primary.

Akaka Bill: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe , Akaka Bill Reading List

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Economic troubles shroud political races

To date, the only two declared major candidates for governor are U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie on the Democratic side and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona Jr. for the Republicans.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has set up an exploratory committee for the office and is widely expected to join the race against Abercrombie in the Democratic primary.

Once the Democratic race is set, veteran University of Hawaii political scientist (and self-described leftist) Neal Milner says to keep an eye on Aiona.  (The Dems will be 'set' on Sept 18 Primary Day.  This is how Hawaii's illegally late Primary benefits the one party system.)

"Even though there's not going to be a serious primary for him, it's going to be interesting to see how he steps up and tries to become more visible," Milner said.

Although Aiona may have expanded the socially conservative voting base through his stand against gay marriage and civil unions, "he's got a problem on his hands because a Republican always starts at a disadvantage because of the voting habits here," Milner said.  (And because of leftists like Milner constantly telling SB readers that Republicans are at a disadvantage)

RELATED: Hawaii's 2010 election schedule violates new federal law

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TSA lapse helps gain not guilty verdicts

"Defense attorneys for two Oahu farm managers charged with employment fraud asked how their clients are supposed to spot counterfeit ID cards for illegal immigrants when Transportation Security Authority workers could not."

All seven employees, facing deportation back to Mexico, testified they used fake permanent resident cards to enter airports in California to travel to Hawaii. They also said they used the cards to gain employment at the farms.

The backs of the cards contained numerous spelling and typographical errors.

The errors include "Deparment," "Departament," "Adminstration," "identifield," "punishible," "ins't," "Homel and Security" and "United State of America."

The front of one card said it was newly issued by the Department of Homeland Security while the back of the card said it had been issued by the Department of Justice.

And not a single card presented as evidence in the trial had a hologram on its face like a real permanent resident card.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra, who presided over the trial, said he found it disturbing that nearly 100 immigrants were able to go through U.S. airports with what he calls "extremely suspect documents."

The government said Jefts Farms and its affiliates hired 111 workers from California between August 2006 and March 2008. Ninety-six of them presented permanent resident cards to qualify for employment. Eighty-six of the cards were counterfeit.

ADV: Two acquitted of charge they brought in undocumented workers

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No rail work 'til May--then lawsuit

The hurdles at the moment appear to be caused by the City’s failure to follow all the legal requirements of the environmental laws as enumerated below in our December 24 post.

If the City and FTA are able to overcome these hurdles and get all the necessary signatures they need then the paperwork, we are told, will take at least a month before they can produce a Draft Final EIS. That takes us to February.

Presumably they will then present it to Governor Lingle for her examination, hearings and, in the end, her signature. That takes us to, say, mid-March.

Then the Final EIS, assumedly with modifications made by Governor Lingle, issues within two weeks. That takes us to April.

Then it takes about 35 days from when the FEIS issues to when the FTA is allowed to issue a Record of Decision, which is the first time that litigation can take place against the FTA on this matter. That will be early May.

Of course, all of this assumes that everything goes smoothly.

(That's getting closer and closer to Mufi's deadline to file papers.)

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ADV: Reshaping government a key goal for 2010

To that end, all viable options should be a priority for lawmakers this year. Here are just a few to consider:

  • • Reduce overlapping responsibilities of state and county governments, especially in infrastructure areas such as roads.
  • • Give the public schools superintendent a seat on the governor's Cabinet, so essential policy discussions won't take place as they do now — at a hostile, unproductive distance.
  • • Support creative solutions to pay for desired services, such as the Department of Land and Natural Resources' bond-financed Recreational Renaissance Plan.
  • • Take a hard look at so-called "special funds" that siphon off revenue, too often under the public radar, for less-than-essential purposes.

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Hawaii taxpayers on hook for $1.5M in Kaloko Dam settlement

LĪHU'E, Kaua'i — The state has agreed to pay $1.5 million of a reported $25 million global settlement of lawsuits related to the 2006 Kaloko Dam failure, the attorney general's office reported yesterday....The Advertiser asked state Attorney General Mark Bennett in a Nov. 2 letter to make public the amount the state agreed to pay, citing the state's open records law....Kaua'i County was also to make a payment to settle the case. Kaua'i attorney Al Castillo couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

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Crime on Oahu surges 6 percent

Property crimes accounted for much of the increase here, led by an 18 percent rise in auto thefts. But violent crime also was up, new FBI figures show.

Nevertheless, crime during the period is still down when compared with 2007.

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Hawaii first in nation to require home solar water heaters (tax credit gone, replaced by mandate)

For a new house, a system would cost roughly $5,000 to $6,000....  some concerns about the mandate have been raised by those in the solar heating and building industries.

Ron Richmond, a manager at Inter-Island Solar Supply, said that individual homebuilders had already begun moving to solar water heating, largely because of rebates offered by HECO and tax credits by the state.

But those rebates and tax credits go away starting today, Richmond said.

the law that allows homebuilders to receive a variance if they choose to install a tankless gas water heater, in combination with another gas appliance. 

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New company to take over Maui pineapple operations

The newly formed Haliimaile Pineapple Co. Ltd. announced today it would immediately take over 1,000 acres and related facilities from Maui Pineapple Co., under an agreement signed Thursday with Maui Land & Pineapple Co.

The new company's first day of work will be Saturday, when employees will start picking Maui Gold fruit, said Doug Schenk, one of the six local partners in the venture.

Maui Pine's last harvest was Dec. 23. The company had announced it was leaving the business earlier this year after recording continuous, large losses.

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Rejected amendment has no impact on Kauai County Charter, legal opinion says

LIHU‘E — The voters’ rejection in 2008 of a proposed charter amendment that would have loosened ethical restrictions does not impact how the law is interpreted, county officials have determined.

“It would be mere speculation to impute a specific motive to an electorate which could have many motivations,” Deputy County Attorney Mona Clark wrote in a September opinion that was released to the public by the county Board of Ethics at its December meeting. “As the process is speculative, it cannot be relied upon.”

The proposal was rejected by voters 15,229 to 7,835, making it the only one of six proposed amendments that failed to pass in the 2008 General Election. The proposal would have amended controversial Charter Section 20.02D.

The section currently states, “No officer or employee of the county shall ... appear in behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency.”

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Big Isle's pot pulse is sought

In November 2008, more than 35,000 voters approved making marijuana possession by adults the Police Department's lowest enforcement priority.

(Marijuana causes liberalism.  It is a VERY dangerous drug.)

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Hearing set for proposed Kona project

The state Land Use Commission has scheduled a hearing March 3-4 on a request by a developer to reclassify 181 acres in Kona from conservation to urban as part of a plan to build 1,000 homes on the parcel.

(It'll be rejected.)

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New beach land is public, court says

In a ruling Wednesday, the court upheld provisions of a 2003 law that declared that future land formed through accretion belonged to the state. The judges said, however, that oceanfront private property owners could claim land formed before the law took effect on May 19, 2003.

The split nature of the decision gave each side something to celebrate.

"This is wonderful news," said state Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe Bay), who pushed for the law in response to concerns from local residents that they were losing precious beach land to private homeowners. The legislation, Act 73, passed unanimously and was signed by Gov. Linda Lingle.

Paul Alston, attorney for the landowners, welcomed the court's decision regarding existing accreted land and said yesterday he planned to appeal the portion of the ruling that focused on future land formation.

"We were very pleased that the court agreed with us that the state illegally took private property when it passed the statute," he said. "The ball is really in the state's court. The state can either pay for the land, or they can abandon the statute."

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Snob Advertiser: Public must rally against illegal fireworks (another excuse to raise taxes)

Espero and other lawmakers, including state Rep. Marilyn Lee, intend to press on with legislation, so people will have a chance to support other proposals, including boosts in fees paid for permits and a new tax at the point of sale. This would yield additional revenue needed to finance increased police enforcement operations.

While Lee and others favor a statewide ban on all private fireworks, there's little political will for such a "nuclear option" in an election year. A ban would be most effective if enforcement hurdles are surmounted first.  (Thus a tax increse is portrayed as the "moderate" "compromise" solution.

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Enviro Activist: Close UH for whole year to gauge its usefulness

(This sounds like satire, but it isn't.)  If the entire system of "higher education" were to close down for a whole year, I do not think the world in which we live would suddenly collapse. In fact, I think closing the entire UH system down for a whole year would be a good thing—it would be an unprecedented opportunity for many of us to look at just whether university "education" is all that people like Mr. Madey claims that it is cracked up to be.  (This is the 'logic' they apply to developers and other businesses all the time.)

Just imagine how much money would be saved if the entire UH system were closed for a year. Thousands of students would be freed from the shackles having to take boring courses from boring professors, and might teach themselves a lot that they might not otherwise have learned. And the sight of hundreds of university faculty and staff standing in line to collect unemployment benefits would cut these people down to the size of ordinary mortals—if just for a while.

(How about a compromise: Lets just close Ethnic Studies, anti-American Studies and the Richardson Enviro Law Dept.  Use the savings to give the rest of the professors a raise.)

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