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Friday, September 18, 2009
September 18, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:20 AM :: 6285 Views :: Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Unemployment fund running dry

By December 2010 the state expects its unemployment trust fund, which is being tapped $31.7 million per month, will run out. The fund, which contained $430 million at the end of 2008, could dip to $118.5 million by year's end.

The state will borrow about $61 million from the federal government and raise employer taxes to keep the fund going, Ching said. Under state law, the deficit triggers a tax increase for employers due in April. Other payments are due in July and October 2010 and January 2011.

Employers, who are paying an average of $90 per employee a year in unemployment insurance taxes, can expect to pay an average of $1,040 to $1,250 per employee — 1,055 to 1,289 percent increases — depending on how low the state coffers drop.

HA: Hawaii businesses to be hit with soaring unemployment tax , Hawaii unemployment rate up slightly to 7.2 percent in August

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Council should sleep on it

The City Council has justifiably initiated ordinances to prohibit overnight camping in city beaches and parks and is tailoring bus stop benches to keep them from being used as beds. It is considering a bill to ban sitting or lying down on sidewalks, but that will not make the homeless disappear, as the Council members would wish. 

(False dichotomy--homeless must either live on sidewalk in front of Waikiki Hotels or 'disappear'?)

While shelters on Oahu have been erected by the state in recent years, many of the homeless have chosen to stay away from them. Nationally, many are suffering from mental illness, and others are addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Councilman Charles Djou introduced the bill because of concerns about how the homeless sleeping on Waikiki sidewalks is affecting tourism. Djou maintains that refusing to allow the chronically homeless to sleep on sidewalks would "put the hammer on people getting the help they need."

Djou needs to cite a precedent where such tough compassion has actually worked.

(Answer: Los Angeles.  And here are the articles which describe it: The Reclamation of Skid Row  and  The LAPD Is Targeting Crime on Skid Row, Not the Homeless)

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Wienert in favor of Kahului international airport

She told a luncheon audience of about 100 people at the Sheraton-Maui Resort & Spa that she was shocked and appalled about negative language about the visitor industry in draft General Plan versions. "I have never seen such negative comments directed at this industry," Wienert said....

Wienert said the state Department of Transportation will soon begin the master plan and environmental impact study that will determine the fate of Kahului Airport for the next 10 to 20 years.

The anti-development groups will be out in force, she predicted. "In the '90s, they stopped us," she said.

The ability of the visitor industry to diversify its clientele will depend on the airport's status, Wienert said.

"Those against it will be very vocal," she said, adding that the anti-tourism language in the General Plan "has to be changed."

In a similar activist vein, she urged association members to study the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. display at the allied members trade show held along with the annual meeting and to consider signing a petition aimed at protecting the plantation's access to the water it needs to grow cane.

RELATED: Hawaiian Air adding California flights , American Airlines' Chicago-Honolulu route restored

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Hawaii County Council looks to keep the peace

"He noted that last year's council discussion over the future of Punaluu Beach park triggered several complaints to police...."  Brenda Ford opposes use of off-duty police at hearings officer claiming "I've never felt under threat from the public."  That's because the goons are working on her side.

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UH professors to vote on "final" contract offer

The faculty union, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, announced today that an online authorization vote among union members will occur Oct. 5 through 7. If approved, a ratification vote among all 4,000 workers covered by the proposal would be held.

The proposed contract contains a 5 percent salary cut, brief delays in paychecks and increased employee health care contributions.

Union leaders are opposing the proposal.

They say administrators warned that if the offer is rejected, it will be unilaterally imposed. But the union says lawsuits and a strike could result from such action.

HA: University of Hawaii wants faculty to take 5% salary cut

TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY RELATED: Furloughs vs Layoffs: The union no-solution strategy

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UH professor arrested in sexual assault

Ling noted that this was not the first time a UH math professor has been arrested.

He referred to the case of a math professor who was indicted for allegedly trying to set fire to his office at the Physical Sciences building on the UH-Manoa campus. David Bleecker, 61, was arrested June 11 and was indicted for arson.

Stegenga's Web page also shows he has been a longtime volunteer with the Honolulu Zoo, working with animals as well as maintaining its Web site. He is a past president of the board of directors of the Honolulu Zoo Society.  http://www.math.hawaii.edu/~dave/ (And a photo of him shaking hands with Mufi)

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Board must step up, make tough decisions

When the political heat is on, the state Board of Education just can't seem to get the job done. The latest case in point is the proposal to increase school bus fares to help offset the gaping (and growing) budget hole. The board deadlocked this week on a proposal for a hefty increase in bus fares. While the large increases may in fact be too steep for parents to absorb all at once during these tough times — one-way trips would jump from 35 to 75 cents and an annual pass would go from $119.60 to $225 — the board could have amended the plan, opting for smaller, more incremental hikes.

Instead, they did nothing, effectively killing the plan....

Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi, who did support the fare increase proposal, said he understands the frustration, but added that the deferrals have been justified. He also says the public has a role to play: "I think the public should be aware of the board's actions. If they're not happy with the decision board members make, then they should use that information and make sure they go out and vote — the public gets what they vote for. The public needs to take responsibility for that, too."

(You elected us, so its your fault that we are bums?)

RELATED: Randall Roth: In Hawaii Education, The Buck Stops Nowhere

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Hilo teacher to be sentenced for selling 'ice'

Dionise was arrested last year after the Hilo Ice Task Force Unit had an informant buy drugs from her at her condominium.

Police say they found the informant’s money in the condo, as well as $13,000 in cash and packets containing 6.8 grams of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice.”

Before her arrest, Dionise was a special education teacher at Keaukaha Elementary School.

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Kauai: Ex-cop Bonachita under arrest for weapons, burglary

He was arrested at 10:50 p.m. Monday and charged with first-degree burglary, two counts of carrying a deadly weapon, two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, illegal transfer of a weapon, and having an unloaded firearm and ammunition in illegal places to have such items, the result of a grand-jury warrant, according to KPD records.
He was released after posting $25,000 bail, including $20,000 bail on the burglary charge, KPD records indicate.

Bonachita was the subject of a temporary restraining order filed by the late Lauren Kagawa, 27, who was found dead in the driveway of her family’s Puhi duplex Aug. 17.
The cause of Kagawa’s death was reported Wednesday by police investigators as a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol.

Police originally suspected foul play in the Kagawa case, and KPD Chief Darryl Perry said in an in-person interview at KPD headquarters Thursday that investigators are still trying to piece together what happened over several hours from Sunday night (Aug. 16) to Monday morning (Aug. 17).

ADV: Former Kauai police officer arrested on burglary, weapons charges

In her hand-written filing of the TRO document, Kagawa said Bonachita had sexually assaulted her and choked her neck to the point where she thought she "was going to die."

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Maui: Medical marijuana front for drug dealers

Kaleikini was among seven Maui men arrested last November as part of "Operation Weedkiller." The arrests followed a two-year police investigation that included the seizure of marijuana plants and clones, a vehicle, cash and drug paraphernalia.

Murphy, 53, of Haiku, was identified as head of the criminal operation, which police said exploited state medical marijuana laws to sell the drug to hundreds of people.

Murphy ran the medical marijuana advocacy group Patients Without Time, which had an office in Paia.

Kaleikini also said he saw Murphy explaining how to grow marijuana for medical purposes on a program aired on Akaku: Maui Community Television.

"When I go to the office for pick up, guys leaving, guys coming. It didn't dawn on me he was illegal," Kaleikini said. "I thought he was a legal man doing things for patients."

Court records show that on Dec. 1, 2007, Kaleikini called Murphy, who reported that 3 pounds of marijuana valued at $15,000 was stolen from his residence in a robbery.

In a phone call to Murphy later the same day, Kaleikini said he had people on the lookout for the stolen marijuana, according to court records.

Tate said Kaleikini was trying to help Murphy get the drugs back and facilitated the contact between Armitage and Murphy so they could "handle this in a strong-arm manner on the street."

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Furloughs begin for public defenders

He said he has had discussions with prosecutors and the state Judiciary to schedule court hearings and conferences around the furlough days he has chosen for this year and next year. All are on Fridays, and all 93 of his deputies will have the same furlough day. Tonaki said he tried to avoid scheduling furlough days on weeks that have holidays so as not to create too many three-day workweeks.

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Ex-Hawaii inmate awarded $932,900 for substandard medical care

Circuit Judge Victoria Marks made the decision this afternoon in a lawsuit against the state by Gregory Slingluffer, who was imprisoned at Halawa in 2003-2004 for a drug offense.

In September 2003, Slingluffer developed an infected scrotum that was treated with the wrong antibiotics and incorrect dosages, according to testimony in a four-day trial earlier this month.

And delays in his treatment caused his scrotum to swell first to the size of a "grapefruit" and then to a "small watermelon," his lawyer, Richard Turbin, said.

(this is what happens when you have no choice in your healthcare)

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AARP to brief public on health care reform pitch Obamacare

AARP executives say they have not endorsed any comprehensive health care reform bill but are advocating for reforms that ensure quality, affordable health coverage for members and their families.  Friday’s meeting is scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol auditorium.  (Note the lack of advance notice designed to avoid protests) 

Previous AARP-Hirono-Abercrombie game playing:

http://bulletin.aarp.org/states/hi/2009/35/articles/abercrombie_hirono_talk_seniors_about_health_care.html

Abercrombie and Hirono also told seniors who participated in the meeting by telephone that opponents of reform have been spreading misinformation intended to scare seniors.  One caller from Kauai scolded the pair for suggesting opponents were "liars."

Hirono Townhall on Kauai: Health care myths busted (our objective media)

Hirono and the AARP, formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, sought to dispel a number of myths that they said had been promulgated by opponents of health care reform. Attending retireers largely adhered to rules posted outside the Aston Kaua‘i Beach at Maka‘iwa’s Paddle Room outlawing signs and disruptions.
The lone exception occurred when attendees shouted down Princeville resident Lynn Call, telling him to ask his question and asking organizers to remove him from the event.

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Abercrombie: F135 Mishap Shows Second JSF Engine a Must

General Electric and Rolls Royce are developing the alternate power plant, the F136.

(That's all you need....  Check for campaign contributions.)

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