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Monday, July 13, 2009
July 13, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:28 AM :: 11618 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

SB LIES: Lingle pulls back on scope of (acts to reduce) state's budget gap  (Pollyanna Democrats Act 3--the cover-up)

There is no doubt that Hawaii has to deal with a deep budget hole, but the numbers might not be quite as devastating as thought just a few days ago.

Gov. Linda Lingle's administration now estimates the state's deficit through the next two years totals as little as $744 million, far less than the $900 million gap she warned the state could face Wednesday.

When those savings are subtracted, the $744 million shortage represents a net increase of $15 million this week from the $729 million budget deficit she estimated after the Council on Revenues revised the state's economic forecast at the end of May.

Lingle claimed Wednesday that Hawaii lost an additional $30 million this month because she could not enact furloughs, but her staff acknowledged later that a failure to save money does not increase the shortfall by that amount.  (When, where?)

The Republican governor's initial figures were also inflated because she had expected tax revenue figures to drop off by as much as $150 million instead of a much smaller $57 million actual total reported later Wednesday.  (Sez who?)

The state Tax Department said its efforts in June to increase collections through a tax amnesty program and the settlement of two large tax cases resulted in the lower number. 

(This article is pure propaganda.  It is so obviously slanted that nobody at the SB wanted to put their name on it.  The real news came yesterday when Leg Dems finally acknowledged that the Gov's numbers were right and the Hanabusa plan numbers were "Pollyanna-ish"... )

TOTALLY related: Unions, state negotiator meet today to discuss furloughs, Q&A with Gov. Linda Lingle on Union Negotiations

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FLASHBACK: Revenue drop heightens Lingle's call for labor cuts (Four Days Ago--SB 7-9-09)

The final figures show Hawaii actually lost an extra $56.7 million, which Lingle estimates puts the budget shortfall at $786 million through June 30, 2011. The previous shortfall was estimated at $729 million.  (Anyone see the $900M number here?)

RELATED: State Budget Hole Deepens to $900 Million (KHON 3-12-09) (Before the cuts and the Leg Session tax increases)

(What part of "busted" do the liars at SB not get?)

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SB 'shrooms: It's time to solve budget dilemma

The unions have moved on from the charges and countercharges about whether either side was acting in good faith.  (Read that lie again very slowly.)  Gov. Linda Lingle criticized labor for failing to bring formal proposals to the bargaining table, and the unions countered that it was the governor who had failed to fill in the blanks in the ailing budget.  (And the SB repeats their lies) 

Now, (after 6 months) by openly conveying to their members, the four county mayors and the whole of the state that they're willing to accept a 5 percent pay cut or one furlough day a month, the leadership of the Hawaii Government Employees Association has staked out a clear bargaining position. (As they were ordered to do by the governor)

The governor had sought to impose three furlough days a month for the next two years, which equates to a roughly 14 percent pay cut, but a (hand-picked union owned) Circuit Court judge threw out the order, deeming it an unconstitutional violation of unionized workers' rights to negotiate the issue.

Three furlough days a month versus one day a month leaves clear room for serious, formal negotiations, which should get under way as soon as possible.  (And SB will pretend to be even handed.  BTW has the unions presented a formal, on the record )

(What kind of 'shrooms are the SB Editorial Board eating?)

TOTALLY related: Unions, state negotiator meet today to discuss furloughs, Q&A with Gov. Linda Lingle on Union Negotiations

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Aiona says he opposes 'cap and trade' system

Speaking during a recent radio interview, Aiona said the system "would be devastating for not only the state of Hawai'i but the entire nation." Hawai'i already has implemented programs that will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

The U.S. House passed climate change legislation three weeks ago that contains a national cap-and-trade program. Both Hawai'i representatives, Democrats Neil Abercrombie (running for Governor) and Mazie Hirono, supported it.

He suggested that significant reductions in CO2 emissions will be obtained as a result of a new law backed by he and Gov. Linda Lingle that requires Hawai'i utilities to cut emissions and energy usage by 2030. By then, 40 percent of the electricity that utilities sell must come from renewable sources, and utilities must have reduced energy demand by 30 percent.

"If you had adopted a policy such as we have here in Hawai'i — Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative policy — we would accomplish everything that the cap and trade ultimately wants to accomplish, which is to have a clean environment," Aiona said last Wednesday.

A national cap and trade program will be a "hidden energy tax," Aiona claimed, because it will cause energy prices to spike.

The House version of the energy bill would until 2017 bar states or groups of states from enacting cap-and-trade programs that are stronger than the national system, said a spokesman for Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a lead author of the measure.

RELATED: U.S. gas prices ease; Honolulu tops nation

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Economic slump leaves teenagers without work

(Thanks, Obama)

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Hawaii school scores expected to rise again (fall even further behind NCLB)

Education officials say they expect Hawai'i students to continue to show steady progress in math and reading when state test scores are released this week. However, they predict more schools may face sanctions because of the ever-increasing expectations of the No Child Left Behind law.

The recent spike in the number of schools that did not achieve their NCLB goals — only 42 percent of schools achieved AYP last year, down from 65 percent a year before — has been attributed to what school officials call the increasingly unrealistic expectations of the federal No Child Left Behind law.  (And the DoE and HSTA make it clear that expecting them to teach is "unrealistic".) 

NCLB requires that schools show increasing proficiency each year until 2014, when 100 percent of students are expected to demonstrate a high level of skill in core subjects.  (And DoE/HSTA NEVER expect to meet this goal.  Time for vouchers.  Hawaii private schools meet these goals.)

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New school schedule boosts summer break

Students in Hawaii's public schools will head back to their classrooms as early as July 30 and finish school May 26 under a new calendar that shortens winter and spring breaks to lengthen summer vacation.

But the board voted 10-1 last year to revise the calendar. Board member Breene Harimoto opposed the move, noting that many principals favored the previous calendar for academic reasons.

"We should have let it run its course until evidence showed otherwise," he said last week.

(Back and forth, back and forth...why?  For the convenience of union members, of course.)

Lahainaluna High School teacher Ashley Olson told the school board. That makes it harder for teachers to attend summer session courses and conferences (go on multi-week exotic vacations), she said.

She also pleaded with the board to "keep us out of the sweltering classrooms in July and August."

RELATED:  Alternatives crucial to fill library needs

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State sends team to Kentucky to check into prison-rape claims

"It's a very serious issue, a serious charge," Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday. "We have a very large contract with this company, and we're going to have to sit with them when we get the report."

The Community Alliance on Prisons, which pushes for humane treatment of Hawaii prisoners, held a protest at the state Capitol on Friday, demanding that the state bring back female inmates held in mainland prisons. They cited the alleged sexual assaults of five women at the Otter Creek Correctional Facility in Wheelwright, Ky.

But Lingle noted the costs involved in housing the prisoners in Hawaii.

"It's a concern because there's no where to put them," she said. "If there's a desire to bring prisoners home -- whether they're male or female prisoners -- we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that we don't have right now. ... We don't have a facility right now where we can house them."

Protesters alleged that five Hawaii women and 21 Kentucky women have been sexually assaulted at Otter Creek.

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Hawaii condotel unit owners feel pinch as tourism continues to fall

Condotel conversions — deals where developers acquired hotels and sold units individually as condominiums — transferred ownership of properties, including the Ala Moana Hotel, Kauai Beach Resort and Luana Waikiki, to working-class people outside the tourism industry.

Several thousand rooms were sold this way in recent years, and were attractive in part because of prices often between $100,000 and $200,000. But now owners are realizing some of the downside risk of such deals.

Typically, condotel owners receive close to 50 percent of revenue from their units under contracts with professional management firms that market and maintain the property. But some owners have seen their take fall to between 25 percent and 40 percent.

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Hawaii County pouring $41.5 million into stalled affordable housing project

Hawaii County is spending at least $41.5 million on an affordable housing project that wasn't supposed to cost taxpayers a dime.
Kamakoa at Waikoloa was touted as the county's largest affordable housing development. Instead, it's the most expensive infrastructure project in county history.
Everything from streets and waterlines to ballfields and storm basins are now being built to service a 279-acre area where no one lives.

Meanwhile, the county has severed its deal with its chosen developer and is suing the company, which has threatened a multimillion-dollar countersuit of its own.
Still, county leaders bracing for another budget crisis remain committed to completing the effort started five years ago, even if they don't know exactly how that will occur.  (Lets raise taxes!!!)

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Clean record eases sentence

LIHU‘E — The list of crimes on Joseph K. Rapozo’s rap sheet is long, including harassment, criminal property damage, family abuse, resisting arrest and more, (is the headline a joke?) with jail time and probation served, and fines levied, said 5th Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe.

Watanabe fined Rapozo $500 Wednesday, of which Rapozo said he could pay $280 immediately and the remainder in five weeks.
“Learn from this and move on,” Watanabe said. “Take care of your family. Keep them out of court.”

(Just another day in the soft-on-crime judicial system.)

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Q&A on Duke Bainum's Death and the Foundation His Wife Jennifer Founded to Collect Donations After His Death

Honolulu City Council Member Duke Bainum died suddenly on June 9, 2009, at the age of 56 and his memorial was a two-day event held on June 26 and 27.

Several readers wrote in with questions about his death and the Duke and Jennifer Bainum Foundation, which his wife Jennifer announced after he died. She collected donations for the foundation at the funeral in lieu of flowers.

Despite high profile promotion in the media through full page printed ads in the daily papers, and announcements on nightly newscasts, no media explored where the money was going and what the foundation was about. Hawaii Reporter checked into the foundation the day it was announced, and could not find any paper trail, so asked Duke's office for clarification and details.

After several days delay, on Monday, June 22, our questions were directed by the Council member's office to local attorney and prominent Democratic Party member Andy Winer, the designated spokesman for his wife Jennifer....

If you don't know what this is about, you haven't been paying attention:

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