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Saturday, August 29, 2009
August 29, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:41 AM :: 11052 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development, World News, Hawaii History

Why Hawaii Offers Free Health Care for Compacts of Free Association Migrants

Many COFA migrants are concerned about possibly receiving less comprehensive medical coverage, and we are working closely with providers to ensure that their critical health care needs, such as kidney dialysis and chemotherapy, continue to be met.

That said, it is undeniably a federal – not a state – responsibility to compensate COFA migrants for the extensive harm caused to their islands in the 1940s and 1950s by the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons testing program.

RELATED:

Department of Human Services Moving Non-Citizen Adults Into New Medical Assistance Program on September 1 

Micronesians sit in Lingle's office waiting for meeting

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Lingle, HGEA Spar Over Negotiations

Gov. Linda Lingle on Friday called the Hawaii Government Employees Association's latest negotiating position "unrealistic."

The latest jab comes a day after the Council on Revenues added nearly $100 million to the state's budget shortfall.

The governor said she will be looking to combine elements of some state departments to save money.

"They have personnel officers, they have financial officers, they have IT teams in each of the departments, and that will likely be looked at as well. Things that can be combined will have to be combined," Lingle said.

LINK: State begins to identify additional spending reductions , Hawaii governor looks for more cuts, layoffs as union talks stall

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Furloughs delayed 2 weeks after contract talks stall

“It will be a two-week delay because we missed a deadline of getting it into the payroll system,” she said. “We were waiting -- hoping -- the negotiations would be successful.”

The furloughs will start on Sept. 16.

According to a memo posted last night on the Web site of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state and the union have exchanged new contract proposals that include furloughs.

But Lingle called the HGEA’s offer “unrealistic” and “unacceptable.”

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Hawaii Courts Cut Drug Treatment Funding

The state's financial crisis will mean less drug treatment for addicted criminals because the state courts system has cut money for drug treatment by one-third.  Treatment organizations say that could mean more crime and cost taxpayers more money for incarceration.  (Judiciary finds way to make budget cuts as painful as possible.)

RELATED: Sweeps destroy 5K pot plants

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US Commission on Civil Rights to Congress: We Still Oppose the Akaka Bill

Congress does not have the authority to 'reorganize' racial or ethnic groups Into dependent sovereign nations unless those groups have a long and continuous history of separate self-governance.

To see the letter in pdf format, click here: Akaka Civil Rights Commission letter

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Actor-turned-aide reaffirms Obama's support of Akaka Bill

Penn, who goes by his real name of Kalpen Suresh Modi when representing the president, embraced the theme of this year's Native Hawaiian Convention, "Making Our Future Now," noting that it's similar to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign theme....  (Always campaigning, never governing)

"There will be no magic light switch that fixes the problems that took so long to create," Modi told the gathering at the Hawai'i Convention Center. "But it's the tireless work that each of you do that makes this real change possible — the community organizing, the letter writing, the passionate dialogue, the discussion and the direct action that yields results." (Community organizers...see next paragraph for the payout)

Also yesterday, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, released a statement announcing that he will push to make more federal resources available to Native Hawaiian groups in the same way that such money is made available to Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Inouye, who left Honolulu yesterday to attend funeral services for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, in Boston today, said he intends to keep his promise not take away from resources available to those groups, but to seek more funding for Hawaiians.

Inouye said he also wants to establish new "set asides" for Native American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians in the areas of renewable energy and broadband technology. (RELATED: Sandwich Isles Communications: Political Connections Pay Off )

"The message he brought to us was that President Barack Obama wants to make sure that people out in Hawai'i and the Native Hawaiian community are heard," Kauanoe said. "He really wants to know what's going on." (That's the closest we're going to get to a comment on the debate over Akaka Bill amendments.)

TOTALLY RELATED:

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Land Use Commission rejects 12,000-home project in Ewa

(Anybody think this might have something to do with Hawaii's bad economy?)

“Hallelujah!” declared Kioni Dudley, president of Friends of Makakilo, who has led the opposition. “It’s a great victory. It’s a victory for the aina.”
Dudley had some powerful support at today’s hearing, including the state Office of Planning, which argued forcefully against the project....The Land Use Commission said the developer could come back and try again, once it fixed its petition. Horton’s President Mike Jones vowed to do just that.

(Jobs?  Affordable housing?  No need.  Bad economy?  What's that?  BTW Take a look at the next story about one of the farms the protesters allegedly want to "save.")

RELATED: State does about-face on Kohala project , Hoopili proposed housing project hits snag in land-use law

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Aloun Farms Owners, Thai Recruiter, Indicted on 'Engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labor and visa fraud'

Hawaii Reporter first investigated Aloun Farms back in September 2007 for reportedly misrepresenting to 44 workers in Thailand what their working conditions, housing conditions and compensation would be when they came to Hawaii in 2004.

Before the workers came to Hawaii, the Sou brothers reportedly took $20,000 from each worker as “recruitment fees”, which the workers had to borrow from banks by mortgaging their farms or borrowing from family back home. When the workers arrived, they were forced to live in crowded and unsanitary conditions, were not compensated as promised, and threatened with deportation and other forms of retaliation if they told anyone.

SB: Farm owners face visa counts  HA: Aloun Farms owners indicted in forced labor of Thai workers

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National group advises stabilizing Waikiki natatorium

The city put together the natatorium task force following years of back-and-forth over the natatorium's future. A consultant for the city has estimated that it would take $20 million to $30 million to refurbish the historic site, while the price of demolition would range from $1.2 million to $8 million.

Those estimates, though, do not include costs for environmental assessments and permits.

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Where's the Cash for Clunkers?

Honolulu Ford sold 36 vehicles and made nearly $1 million in additional sales. But it hasn't collected a cent from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"We're still waiting on about $150,000 that's outstanding with the government right now," Caliri said. "We haven't seen anything come in yet."

It's like that for dealers everywhere.

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Mokulele denies analyst report that it may close

Mokulele Airlines' chief executive officer says majority investor Republic Airways has not discussed leaving the Hawaii market, despite a published analyst's report that the interisland carrier could close within the next 90 days. 

Bob McAdoo, a senior research analyst who covers Republic Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and other carriers for Kansas-based Avondale Partners LLC, wrote in an investors report yesterday that Mokulele is losing $6 million a quarter and that Republic could use the three Embraer 170s in Hawaii to help fill a need with recently acquired Midwest Air.

read more

Sierra Club might appeal Land Board's denial of hearing on Mauna Kea management plan

(Anybody think this might have something to do with Hawaii's bad economy?)

Approved by the Land Board in April, the plan is meant to ensure the protection of Mauna Kea's cultural and natural resources.  (And so the Sierra Club is fighting tooth and nail to block it.)

Three universities on the mainland and Canada have selected Mauna Kea for the Thirty Meter Telescope, which would be the world's largest if built. Native Hawaiian groups, who believe the extinct volcano is sacred, argue the telescope would defile it.  (Unless TMT pays $50M/year rent to OHA.)

The board rejected the special hearing request because the plan is only a guide and not a proposal for specific activity, said Chairwoman Laura Thielen.

(The key question is whether this suit over the contested case is necessary to prepare arguments for the REAL lawsuit which under the Hokulia model of attack would come at the point of maximum leverage--just as TMT construction begins.  The activists may need the State Contested Case as a trial run in order to figure out how to attack TMT under PASH law in future actions.)  

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