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Sunday, April 18, 2010
April 18, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:29 PM :: 7231 Views

LINK>>>Loyal Democrat? Hanabusa helped GOP against Hirono in ‘06  

Advertiser Endorses Case—says he’s a Democrat and he showed up for votes 

(SECRET: Dan H Case, Ed Case's uncle, sits on the Editorial Board of the Star-Bulletin whose owner is taking over the Advertiser.  Is this a “job security” endorsement by the ADV editors???)

In four years representing the Second District, Case demonstrated a commitment to the work that was nothing short of heroic. Representing a district 5,000 miles from the capital requires stamina and focus, and unlike many members of Congress whose trips to Hawai'i become less frequent after a few years in office, Case returned regularly and held 172 community meetings, an average of four a month.  In Washington, he answered 2,000 House roll call votes, introduced 35 bills and sponsored or cosponsored 700 more….

…the election of Ed Case should send this message: Hawai'i is still more comfortable with Democrats, but not with the status quo. 

(Yup, that’s all you need to get the ADV endorsement, be a Dem and show up for votes. -- Oh yes, and have your uncle on the SB’s Editorial Board.)

RELATED: Ed Case hires advisor tied to Blago impeachment, sale of Obama’s Illinois Senate seat

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TAX HIKES: Hawaii's green efforts not cheap, but will pay off, hucksters say 

A 10-megawatt solar power project that would have boosted the amount of renewable energy on Kaua'i isn't moving ahead at this time.

The reason? The Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative wouldn't agree to pay what the developer wanted for the electricity.

The stalled project provides a glimpse into a not-so-often discussed portion of green energy as the state drives toward adoption of sustainable power projects: Going green could translate into higher electricity prices in the short run for Hawai'i residents….

But Nishina and others say the switch to renewables, even if the initial cost may be higher, is a no-brainer. Advocates say a generation from now people will praise the vision and efforts made today to get the state off oil.

"There will be a tipping point where fossil fuel will continue to increase (because enviros block drilling) and renewable energy will be (seem) more competitive in price (because it si subsidized by your tax dollars)," Nishina said.

HECO hopes contracts it is negotiating now prove to be more favorable over the long run, given the expected increases in crude prices as the world (is presented with the illusion that it is approaching)approaches (the fraudulent concept known as) "peak oil," or the point at which maximum oil production (allowed by eco-obstructionists) is reached and it begins to decline, and as China's and India's economies demand more and more petroleum.

REALITY: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Barrel Tax: Democrat Burris demands State tax gas solely to raise price

Oil experts (sic) such as Feridun Fersharki of the East West Center have argued for years that oil prices will eventually drive prices at the pump to $5 $6 or even more per gallon. The only question who will capture the extra money? Will it go offshore, never to be seen again? Or will we have the courage to capture the gain through higher taxes right here, thus keeping the money at home?

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SB: Taxpayers can't bail out health fund

While the Lingle administration struggles to balance the state's budget, a potential crisis over health care for government employees and retirees lurks in the waiting room. The state and the public employee unions need to find a way to address the issue, even if it eventually departs from a taxpayer-financed health-insurance-for-life system that may be unrealistic to maintain forever.

The state Supreme Court ruled in March that the state must provide health benefits for current state and county retirees on par with active employees. However, the Employee-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, which covers 161,000 employees, retirees and dependents, is losing more than $1 million a month.

Union leaders see the problem as easy to solve: The state should simply keep the fund solvent by pouring about $53 million into the trust fund. As most taxpayers understand, that is not feasible under current fiscal conditions.

"The trust fund is insolvent, its governance is untenable and needed cost-cutting measures are either not being made or in danger of being rescinded," Gov. Linda Lingle wrote in a letter to heads of the House and Senate labor committees. Union members "shoulder the responsibility for the collapse of the health care insurance system," she added.

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CHARTER SCHOOLS: Furlough free  (Amazing what can be done by escaping the system)

Seventeen of the state's 31 public charter schools are taking no furlough days this year, according to the Charter School Administrative Office. Another nine charter schools are taking some furlough days. The remaining five charters are shutting on all 17 furlough days planned for public schools this academic year.

"We decided that keeping as many instructional days as possible was our priority," said Marci Sarsona, principal of Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau charter school in Kaneohe. "We came up with a very good solution for us at the school that saved 12 days."

Most teachers in charter schools are members of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, but the charters can negotiate separate agreements to meet their campuses' individual needs.

Per pupil funding from the state for charter schools has shrunk as enrollment grew 30 percent in the last two years to 8,000 charter school students statewide. The state provided $6,258 per pupil this academic year, including federal stimulus money, down from $7,589 last year and $8,150 the previous one, according to the Charter School Administrative Office.

So charter schools are already strapped for cash. And when the Department of Education decided to close schools for 17 Furlough Fridays this year because of the budget crunch, it withheld funding to pay special education teachers and aides at charter schools as well on those days, costs normally paid directly by the department.

Nonetheless, many charter schools kept their campuses operating.

(Simple lesson: To solve furloughs, make every school a charter school.)

RELATED: Hawaii robotics teams make strong showing at world championships (Done by Gov’s office over the objection of the BoE/DoE.)

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SB: Union Shills defend motives

Lingle and other Republicans said the group should have focused its efforts on all parties involved in the dispute, including the teacher's union and the Board of Education, rather than only the governor.

"The bottom line is you need agreement from all parties," said Republican House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan.

But Save Our Schools garnered support from other (Democrat, union owned) elected officials and a celebrity—bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman, who offered to post bail for those arrested. (OH, I guess that rebuts the point about protesting against the HSTA/BoE/DoE?)

SB: Furlough plan backed by 2 Democrat aspirants, says group (And the SB takes their word as if they are somehow neutral?)

ADV: Aiona opposed to parent plan to end furloughs (And this is precisely the intervention into the Gov’s race which the HSTA has intended all along.)

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Kalapa: Bluff needs to be called in teachers contract

What the protesting parents don't seem to recognize is that in their protest of the governor's stand, they have, in essence, taken sides with the teachers' union and the Board of Education. The problem is, like the teachers' union and the Board of Education, the parents don't realize that somehow that proposal has to be funded. The focus is very narrow without consideration for what is happening across the board in state and county governments….

…their protests reflect they are ignoring the fact the state's economy is in the tank and there is no money to be had to pay all the state's bills. If parents are going to occupy the governor's office, why not the health and human service providers or the prison guards at the Halawa facility or those who were laid off from Kulani Camp, or the doctors who have seen their Medicaid reimbursements delayed or cut?

Pointing the finger at only one side of the negotiating table is taking sides with the other side of the table. Parents should instead demand both sides return to the table to find a solution that will resolve furlough Fridays using what limited resources are available.

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WHT Polls Union Shills’ Furlough Circus

Protesters have conducted a sit-in at Gov. Lingle's office over the last week. Several have been cited for misdemeanor trespassing; at least two have been arrested. Are their efforts helping end school furloughs?

  • Absolutely. We need to hold Lingle responsible for getting kids back to school.
  • I think so. They're keeping the spotlight on the problem and making politicians uncomfortable -- maybe enough to actually do something.
  • Probably not. The protest is just giving Lingle, the school board and teachers another chance to shift the blame.
  • Not at all. Lingle offered the teachers' union ways to end furloughs, and the union and board rejected them. This isn't the governor's fault.

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UH Regents: Female leaders laud Gov. Lingle's record

Recent criticism of Gov. Linda Lingle's record of appointing women is completely off base, misinformed and political.

When Gov. Lingle appoints an individual, she does not use a quota system as some such as the Hawaii Democratic Women's Caucus and Democratic legislators appear to be advocating. Instead, she evaluates each candidate based on his or her expertise, qualifications, overall experience, and above all what that person can contribute to improving our state….

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UHM vs UHWO over bonds

Manoa folks say with their campus crumbling and in bad need of repair and upgrade, how  could anyone justify spending money on a brand new campus somewhere else? And even if the money was in hand to build the new campus, does the UH really have the resources to manage it, keep it up, pay salaries and the like? Good point.

West Oahu backers point out that Manoa today is trying to be all things to too many people. It should, they say, focus on upper class and graduate education and research.  Besides, they point out, the population epicenter of Oahu is much closer to the proposed West Oahu campus than it is to Manoa.  Why shouldn't education go to where the people are?

(This is the consensus method—decision making by interest groups whose decisions are then rubber stamped by legislators who just want a job and a title.)

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After years, plans for old Navy station on Oahu taking shape

It's taken eight drafts and more than four years, but the state is close to finalizing zoning and infrastructure plans that will stimulate and shape redevelopment of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station at Kalaeloa.

The sprawling 3,700-acre base was closed by the military in 1999 and largely turned over to the state. Plans in place since 2005 have envisioned up to 6,350 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial space.

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Senators’ Proposed DLNR cuts would run deep 

While the Senate budget proposal would impact a wide range of DLNR operations, department officials said cuts to the Division of Aquatic Resources could have an especially severe effect for Maui.

Under the proposal, Aquatic Resources would be cut by $1.2 million, or 60 percent, Thielen said. The cut would result in the loss of more than $4 million in federal funding that requires a state match, she said.

With a reduction of that size, the division would have to lay off more than a dozen employees and shut down its offices on all Neighbor Islands, she said.

"This would be it for Maui," said Russell Sparks, education specialist in the Division of Aquatic Resources Maui office. "For Maui, the Big Island and Kauai, the offices would close completely. All the staff would be laid off."

RELATED: DLNR chief takes renewed criticism over reef damage

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Kauai: Don’t furlough county public safety officers

Assuming the county has exhausted its ability to slash any deeper into its plethora of programs, services and positions, furloughs seem the lesser of all the evils sitting around the budget table this year.

As department heads took turns this week before the Kaua‘i County Council, each fighting for their piece of the $146 million overall operating budget, we didn’t envy the lawmakers charged with making these difficult decisions.

($146M / 63,688 population = $2292/year per person or $9169.70/year for a family of four just to pay for County Government.  Are you getting your money’s worth?)

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Kauai: Trash collection fee on the horizon ($144/year or more fee increase)

“We are considering charging a Solid Waste Assessment surcharge for collection services, as allowed in the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes,” Program Coordinator Allison Fraley said during a budget review session for Fiscal Year 2011.

The surcharge, if approved, would come into effect in July 2012. It would be added to the Real Property billing division, saving on administration and start-up costs.

Solid Waste proposed a baseline collection service of $6 per month for each serviceable residential unit. A curbside collection service charge of $6 would be added, bringing the total fee to $12. But it could go higher depending on the number of trash bins per household.

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Food Fight: Hawaii Food Bank muscles its way onto Kauai Food Bank’s territory

LIHU‘E — After a 16-year absence on island due to financial instability, the Hawai‘i Food Bank will be resuming “responsibility for Kaua‘i once again” starting June 30, said Kaua‘i Food Bank Board President John Sydney Yamane.

Rising up “like the Phoenix from the ashes,” HFB sent a notification of its intent to terminate its contract with the Kaua‘i Food Bank last month for “no apparent reason whatsoever,” said KFB Executive Director Judy Lenthall.

HFB “left us with debt” and “no food,” Lenthall said. “And that’s how the KFB was born.”

(Just like the homelessness industry, HFB fights for territory and contributions.  Empire-building bureaucrats on a sacred mission.) 

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