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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
April 28, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:30 AM :: 7853 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, Development

3 Native Hawaiians finalists for trustee of Kamehameha Schools

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Chairman Micah Kane is among three finalists for trustee of Kamehameha Schools.  Anthony Ching, Hawaii Community Development Authority executive director, and former Kamehameha Schools executive, and (Cayetano's) ex-DHHL chairman Ray Soon are the other finalists named by a Probate Court-appointed panel. 

The finalists were picked from a group of 68 candidates reviewed by the Probate Court's Trustee Screening Committee to replace retired Adm. Robert Kihune, whose term ends June 30.  Probate Judge Colleen Hirai will select Kihune's replacement from the list after considering comments from the public.

Randy Roth, co-author of the 2006 book "Broken Trust" that chronicled the 1990s political and ethics scandals at the Kamehameha Schools, said Soon and Kane are "excellent candidates."  Roth, a University of Hawai'i law professor, added that Kane, with whom he worked with in the Lingle administration, has done an impressive job at the DHHL and "would be a terrific trustee."

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Lawmakers restore protect DoE spending cuts from accountability

State House and Senate budget negotiators agreed last night to use federal stimulus money meant for public education to help offset spending cuts to the state Department of Education rather than use the money to help close the state's budget deficit, as Gov. Linda Lingle has suggested.

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State leaders no closer to reducing budget shortfall

State legislative leaders are moving into the last five days of the 2009 Legislature with no clear plans on how they will resolve the state budget shortfall and what funds they will use to fill the budget holes.

While Gov. Linda Lingle insists that the budget gap can be closed with $278 million in state worker takeaways, either in furloughs or benefit cuts, the Legislature is looking instead at a series of budget cuts and tax increases.

The two most drastic budget changes -- either raising the general excise tax or taking the hotel room tax money away from the counties -- are still being discussed, although legislative leaders are not predicting passage of either proposal.

Lawmakers said they were flooded with calls over the weekend from state workers represented by the Hawaii Government Employees Association who want the GET increased instead of pay cuts.

Randy Perreira, HGEA executive director, confirmed yesterday that the union is still lobbying for a GET tax increase, but he says the fate of any major tax increase is murky.

Still, lawmakers said even businesses were advocating a raise in the GET, not the hotel room tax.

Herb Schreiner, assistant to the president of Stars of Paradise Tours, sent a letter to legislators saying increasing the hotel room tax "takes money away from our visitors immediately ."

"Put the increase in the GET, let them spend the money first, then tax it," Schreiner said.

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Maui Panel upholds budget, rises ‘to the occasion’

WAILUKU - The Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee on Monday voted 7-0 to recommend a $549.7 million budget for 2010, with cuts in spending that reflect the county's tight economy.

The council's plan would reduce spending by $11.1 million from the current fiscal year, shrinking the budget by 2 percent after years of rapid expansion when the economy was booming. Now that revenues are lagging, the county would cut programs, reduce grants to nonprofits and increase some fees to balance the books, while avoiding any increases to real property tax rates.

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Young Bros.: Pasha’s aim is cherry-picking (INTER-ISLE BARGE COMPETITION!)

Young Brothers on Monday asked to intervene in the Pasha Hawaii application to the Public Utilities Commission to use its trans-Pacific transporter, MV Jean Anne, to carry vehicles and cargo interisland.

The Jean Anne, with a capacity of about 3,000 automobiles, dwarfs any barge or ocean freighter moving vehicles between the West Coast and the islands, and Pasha Hawaii could use its excess capacity to also move vehicles and palletized freight between islands, if the PUC agrees.

YB President Glenn Hong says Pasha is "cherry-picking" and that its bid does not begin to cover the services that YB is obligated to provide, or all the ports where Young Brothers calls. Competition is fine, Hong said during a visit to Maui on Thursday, if the playing field is level.  (Anyone remember what YB did to the Superferry?)

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Power plant ban splits environmentalists

"My major concern is if we ban fossil fuels while we do not discuss tropical vegetable oils, like palm oil, then we will drive rain forest destruction, and that should not be the way we're going," Curtis said. "There are some things that are far worse than petroleum.

"Of course we believe in getting rid of petroleum, but it should not be done haphazardly, to the point where the solution we bring on is worse."

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Sierra Club: City water moves must respect isle's unique ecosystem

The City and County of Honolulu recently attempted to defend its lobbying efforts to lower our state's water pollution limits ("A matter of standards," Star-Bulletin, April 23). Let's be clear. No one objects to adjusting pollution standards based on hard science.  (Except when there are $ettlement$ to be extracted.) 

Unfortunately, science is not controlling this issue -- politics is. The city would prefer to adopt the lowest possible pollution standards allowed in the nation, rather than spending money to upgrade an outdated and broken sewer system.  (Could you imagine the Sierra Club going this easy on a private developer?  Where are the protests?  The tree huggers?  The turtle worshippers????)

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Kauai County employees get to the heart of customer service

Ka‘ala Souza, the owner of Ka‘ala Souza Training and Consulting from O‘ahu, started a series of five workshops Monday as part of Kaua‘i County’s annual training program with KCC, said Beth Tokioka, the mayor’s executive assistant....During the five sessions, which conclude Tuesday evening, more than 300 county employees will be attending the 3.5-hour course at the War Memorial Convention Hall, Fujii said.

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Hawaii County furloughs gaining traction

 

Councilman says giving nonunion workers unpaid leave would save $700K...Faced with increasingly dismal revenue projections, some on the Hawaii County Council are using the "F" word again.

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Hawaiian Home Lands and County of Hawai‘i Partnership Dedicates Keanalehu Drive

KONA, HAWAI‘I — In a partnership between the state and county governments to improve traffic and access for West Hawai‘i residents, Governor Linda Lingle, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi and Hawaiian Homes Commissioner Micah Kane today dedicated the long-awaited Keanalehu Drive extension in Kealakehe.

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Colleagues fear Inouye may get rolled by Obey

Senators are wondering if Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the new chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has the moxie to stand firm with his House counterpart, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.).  As lawmakers begin drafting the all-too-important spending measures, questions have surfaced as to whether the soft-spoken and humble Inouye, a respected World War II veteran, has what it takes to fill the shadows left by past senators who have wielded the powerful gavel.  (And yet he lords it over Hawaii....)

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No swine flu in Hawaii: DoH issues health alert

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) today issued a medical alert to physicians statewide urging them to be on watch for swine influenza in patients. No cases have been identified in Hawai‘i at this time.

RELATED: PRUDEN: A pandemic of panic -- are we dead yet?

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