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Monday, October 5, 2009
October 5, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:40 AM :: 9214 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Hawaii hotels post weakest summer ever

Hotels in Hawai'i had their weakest summer on record — an average of 68.1 percent occupancy — according to a report released today.

Occupancy for June, July and August was the lowest since Hospitality Advisors began conducting its survey in 1987, and compares with rates in the mid-80 percent range in the summer just three years ago.

The hotel industry lost an estimated $238 million in total revenue — including revenue from rooms, food and beverage and retail sales — this summer compared with 2008, Toy said. And the drop is even more dramatic — $374 million when compared with the boom tourism summer of 2006.

SB: Hotels suffer summer slide in rates

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State talks with HGEA continue

The two sides are working on specifics of contract language over the weekend, with a tentative agreement expected to be offered soon to the HGEA's 23,000 state and county workers for a ratification vote.

The state and HGEA have been in binding arbitration, scheduled to continue until December. Both sides have said they would prefer to settle the issue outside of the arbitration process.

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ADV: Sniping puts jail in limbo

Nonetheless, the governor's frustration is understandable. In the article, Tsutsui argued that because of fundamental disagreements, "it's optimistic to say we are 10 years away" and that the state "needs to go back to the drawing board."

These comments suggest a stubborn refusal to find a workable compromise to move the project ahead expeditiously.

The state has already spent $9 million of a budgeted $16 million for environmental assessment, design and survey work.

(Lingle spanks one of the squabbling children of the legislature and the Democrat Advertiser tries to blame both sides.  Aiona campaign slogan: "Adult Leadership for 2010")

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Kulani prison closed out of fiscal necessity  (HGEA/UPW lies busted)

Kat Brady ("What are the real reasons for closing Kulani?," Star-Bulletin, Sept. 30) implies that Kulani inmates will be sent to medium-security prisons on the mainland instead of minimum-security prisons in the state. Ms. Brady is well aware that all of the Kulani inmates went to other facilities in Hawaii, including the Federal Detention Center on Oahu. None has gone to the mainland.

While Kulani was the site of the department's largest sex offender treatment program, it was also the most expensive prison to operate. The daily cost per inmate was $101, not $90.24 as stated by Ms. Brady. The cost to house an inmate at the Federal Detention Center is $86.90 per day, not $90.90, as cited by Ms. Brady. And when Kulani closed, it had 127 inmates, not 210 as she claimed.

With the closure of Kulani and the expansion of our existing sex offender treatment program on Oahu, inmates may complete the program in half the time. At Kulani, a therapist had to travel from Oahu to the Big Island for at least one session per week; on Oahu we can conduct more sessions. Sex offenders can complete the program in 12 months instead of 24.

The state lacks the capacity to house all Hawaii inmates currently on the mainland. The cost for inmates held in Arizona is $64.44 per day, per inmate, far less than the $101 daily cost of a minimum-security bed at Kulani. The cost to maintain the facility also was a factor. Given the state's economic situation, it was fiscally irresponsible to continue to operate the Kulani facility.

The Department of Public Safety welcomes real solutions, constructive feedback, and the opportunity to answer any concern.

It is our hope that in the future, Ms. Brady and others will work with the department, rather than issue misleading statements and inaccurate information....

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Reorganization again on Hawaii County council agenda

Deja vu all over again. The council voted June 16 to consolidate power to an East Hawaii bloc. Now that a judge has given the OK to try again after being sued for Sunshine Law violations, the issue is back on the agenda.

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Parker Ranch lost millions in '08

HILO -- Parker Ranch is quietly selling 3,509 acres of its North Kohala property following two consecutive years of multimillion-dollar losses by its parent organization.

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Kauai: Property values, home sales slipping

Residential median sales prices fell over 25 percent and sales are off by approximately 26 percent, according to September’s year-to-date statistics released last week by Multiple Listing Services.
Already anticipating that next year will be down, the county has been “frugal” with its spending, Kaua‘i County Councilman Tim Bynum said Sunday.

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Aloha wear retailer emerges from bankruptcy

It's a new beginning for Hilo Hattie after filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy about a year ago. It emerged from bankruptcy on Sunday, which is the beginning of its new fiscal year.

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Obama faces jet engine discord

Abercrombie is chairman of the House air and land forces subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the F-35, known as the Joint Strike Fighter, and its engines. The full House voted to continue funding the alternative engine at $560 million next year. None of the parts for the alternative engine are made in Hawaii. 

(But which of the parts are made by Abercrombie contributors?  Note that Inouye's involvement in this boondoggle is not mentioned, instead he receives whitewash articles which portray him as fighting for home-state pork rather than contributor pork.)

REALITY:   Inouye's DoD Pork: "Paid for by raiding Iraq and Afghan maintenance, food, & fuel"

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SB: Military's mission of aid

Adm. Timothy "Timbo" Keating called it a "normal day," but last Thursday and the days since have been a humanitarian marvel following a multi-venue disaster in Asia and the Pacific. With each hurricane, earthquake and tsunami comes improvement in response by nations and organizations with the purpose and ability to help in profound ways.

As chief of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, Keating has been a key player in responding to the deadly tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, helping the Philippines cope with a tropical storm and "super typhoon" and sending assistance to Indonesia in the wake of a 7.6-magnitude earthquake -- all at the same time.

(Meanwhile, the anti-military protesters are doing ... what?)

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