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Sunday, January 9, 2011
January 9, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:00 PM :: 9104 Views :: Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Djou “Shocked and saddened by shooting of Rep Gifford”

SA Admits: Abercrombie was lying about either transparency, federal funds, furloughs, new departments, no GE Tax hike, or no TAT raid

A month before last year's election, then-gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie asserted that his "immediate task" as governor would be "to supercharge the economy without delay." (And we in the media enthusiastically cheered him on.  But the election is over and you suckers elected him so now we can start telling you some of the truth….)

The new governor now finds (always knew) that is easier to promise than to deliver on time: He says his revisions to next biennium's budget proposal crafted by the outgoing Lingle administration won't be ready until March. The later-than-usual time frame is already causing concern among legislators — and it should, as well, for the public. An already complicated budget operation stands to grow more confused, so stronger vigilance must be paid to an open, timely public hearing process….

Legislators must be provided access to the process to avoid being subjected to a March surprise — they adjourn at the end of April. The same transparency must apply to the general public, many of whom will surely be directly affected by shifting budget priorities….

Campaign promises by Abercrombie limit his choices. He vowed not to raise general excise taxes, dip into the counties' share of hotel-room tax revenues, extend state employee furloughs or invoke layoffs. Finding waste in state government may be difficult to locate following Lingle's cost-cutting attempts.  (Why would he look for waste to eliminate?  He got elected to protect waste.)

Abercrombie has said he will pursue federal money, but that may be difficult.  (Duh.  Why would a bunch of Congressional Republicans give Hawaii Democrats the money they need to get themselves reelected?)

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SA peddles expensive new DoE contractor to Legislature

C-average students are something of a gap group in most schools.  Few programs target them. Often, they just slide by. 

But more and more Hawaii public schools are looking to change that by adopting a pricey national program aimed at helping middle-of-the-road students do better, dream about college and grasp the tools to get there.

the AVID program has seen steep growth over the last six years. The first Hawaii school to adopt the program was Campbell High in 2004. In 2008, 32 schools were offering the program to about 1,420 students. This year, there are 7,008 AVID students in 88 schools. And next school year, 103 public schools will have AVID.

AVID is a program created and licensed to schools by a private nonprofit, similar to Advanced Placement.

For Hawaii schools, the biggest downside to AVID probably is its cost.

AVID requires a weeklong training conference on the mainland for eight teachers, plus licensing fees. Altogether, schools estimate the program costs about $40,000 to adopt in the first year. Some schools also spend that amount in the second and third year as more teachers are trained.

An annual AVID site license costs about $2,000.

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Hawaii has Union political power, but not workers’ rights

Unfortunately, plantation boss mentality still exists in Hawaii, and workers are not protected like they should be.

Take for instance, the break laws that exist in most of the United States. In Hawaii, there is no break law. Workers can be made to endure harsh working conditions, standing on their feet with no breaks all day. Hard to believe this happens? It does. If the company does not have a union to protect its workers, the workers are at the mercy of their bosses in Hawaii. Even if there is a union, there can be still be harsh and unfair treatment of workers.

Take the Department of Education, for instance. Many teachers arrive in Hawaii with high expectations, only to find out they have to wait from six weeks to three months to get their first paycheck. Teachers have been known to live on their credit cards, as they wait to get paid. The stress and financial burden can be a terrible way to start off a new job in a new place. Many teachers coming in from the mainland leave after their first year's contract is up. Some have gone bankrupt before leaving. Many did not know they would have to wait so long to get paid.

The pay in Hawaii is low, and the living expenses are high. Many people in Hawaii work two and three jobs to survive. Those handsome Hawaiian men parking cars at the hotels, may be fire dancers at a luau later in the evening. This harsh strata of existence in Hawaii sets up economic resentments and a vast differential in living standards, which affects the entire population.

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Ethics panel seeks 2 new members

Applications will be reviewed by the Judicial Council, which is made up of Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, judges, lawyers and members of the public.

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Democrat Borreca, Eric Ryan team up to attack GOP (again)

This does not mean that it is without interest. Party gadfly Eric Ryan last week delivered another blast against the establishment running the Hawaii GOP, saying Lingle's troops have frittered away party money and failed to lead.  (Didn’t we read this story last month?)

"It is going to be a bruising fight for leadership," vows Ryan.  (Who often does not even attend GOP conventions.)

He says the "card-carrying Republicans are disgusted," and there is little movement by the old guard to increase membership.  (Actually Kaauwai has recruited 1000s of new members.  And Ryan wants them to sit down and shut up because too many are Christians.)

"It is going to come down to who can register new members and energize the old ones," says Ryan (who has shown no ability to do either.). 

Hawaii Republicans hold district caucus meetings between Jan. 25 and Feb. 7 to elect district and precinct chairs and delegates to the county and state convention. At the convention, delegates will select the new GOP leaders.

(Apparently Borreca couldn’t even get Willes Lee to chime in this time.  So sad.)

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Priorities: Foie Gras back on Legislative Agenda for 2011

When the Hawaii legislative session opens on Jan. 19, Rep. Angus McKelvey and Sens. Mike Gabbard, Chun Oakland and Clayton Hee will co-introduce a humane bill to prevent unspeakable cruelty to ducks and geese.  (Even though nobody in Hawaii is producing Foie Gras.)

More than 15 countries and the state of California have outlawed the cruel (generous) force-feeding of (hungry) ducks and geese to enlarge their livers to more than 10 times their normal size in the production of foie gras, a fatty (fabulous) liver appetizer. Only a few countries in the world still produce this diseased (delicious) liver. 

Hawaii Democrats will take Foie Gras seriously while refusing to (insert serious issue here)

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TIMBER! Kauai Businesses gear up for bag ban, switch to paper

Kaua‘i’s Plastic Bag Reduction and Prohibition Law goes into effect Tuesday, forcing all for-profit businesses to end distribution of all plastic checkout bags to customers.

Some businesses, like Big Save supermarkets, ran out of supplies of plastic bags last week and had already made the switch to paper. (Thus proving that tree huggers can be manipulated into becoming tree-choppers if the right invocations are used.) Others, like Safeway, Longs and Foodland, had supplies of paper bags at the ready but were still primarily using plastic. 

Walmart will not be offering paper sacks, only reusable shopping bags for 25 cents each.  (Obvious question: What is the environmental impact of producing these bags?  How many will pile up in closets and eventually be thrown away?)

SA: 2 islands institute plastic-bag bans Tuesday

REALITY: Calif. EIS shows plastic bag ban harms environment

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Kauai Council forms committee to stop it from breaking its own rules

Yukimura took the opportunity to criticize the 2009 approval of a controversial pay raise for County Clerk Peter Yukimura.

“I just want to confirm what Mr. Rapozo says, that the council doesn’t always follow its rules,” Yukimura said. “It does appear that rule two, requiring a physical majority of the entire membership to take action, was not followed during the 2009 pay raise for the county clerk.”

Rapozo immediately interjected, arguing that Yukimura was taking the discussion out of context. “We’re talking about a resolution.”

When taking the floor after Yukimura, Bynum added more fuel to the discussion.

“One rule that was routinely — almost every single agenda item — violated since I’ve been on council, is that when one member has the floor, that member should keep the floor,” he said. “Interjections, interruptions, people stealing the floor, in essence, is inappropriate.”

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Another attack on affordable housing: Enviros demand ban on gas water heaters, require $6000 solar water heaters

The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, making Hawaii the first state in the nation to approve a solar water heating mandate. Through the first 11 months of 2010, the state granted 390 variances, or exceptions, to the law, representing 22.5 percent of the 1,733 building permits issued for single-family homes during the same period.

The vast majority of the variances — 383 — were filed by homeowners who chose to install a tankless gas water heater in combination with another gas appliance in lieu of a solar water heater.

The gas water heater option is one of three "justifications" allowed by the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism for homeowners seeking a variance under the law. Homeowners also can opt out if they are installing a photovoltaic solar power system, or if the installation of a solar water heating system would be impractical because the home is being built in a "poor solar resource" area or the system is too expensive based on a 15-year-life cost-benefit analysis.

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Maui Anti-Superferry Protesters attack Affordable Housing Development

WAILUKU - Maui Tomorrow Foundation and the Maalaea Community Association have sued in 2nd Circuit Court to declare the final environmental impact statement for the Ohana Kai Village affordable housing project inadequate and out of date….

Although his land has been designated as a project district since 1998, the administration of former Mayor Charmaine Tavares did not support including Ohana Kai in the revised county General Plan….

(So now that she’s out, her supporters in Maui Tomorrow are suing.)

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“Any Interested Person” could make Maui Planning Department revoke permits

WAILUKU - Fines for special management area permit violations would increase tenfold, and members of the public would have more power to challenge developers who have already received their permits, under rule changes proposed by the county Planning Department.

Under the proposed changes, any "interested person" who believes a developer is not complying with the conditions of their permit could file a petition triggering an investigation and possibly a hearing by the Maui Planning Commission. The commission would also receive new powers to revoke a permit if it determines that conditions are not being met.

(That’s OK as long as any homes thus rendered non-permitted are immediately bulldozed and the cost of demolition is billed to the complainant.)

That's a significant change from the current system, in which only Planning Department staff have the power to enforce SMA permit violations by investigating complaints and imposing fines on violators. Currently, the county must seek a court injunction to stop a project that's already under way….

Kahului attorney Tom Welch, who has represented numerous developers before the planning commission, said the rule changes would give people who objected to a project earlier in the process another chance to stop the development after work has already begun.

"The project will be disrupted, but there is no penalty on the complainant for bringing a false claim," he said in an e-mail.

He said that would create a significant risk for developers that could deter construction lending and new projects within the special management area district.

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People blamed for lack of Hawaii agriculture

This piece was signed by the 15 agricultural industry groups listed at the end.

We, too, need to eat. We need to feed our families, educate our keiki, care for our kupuna, maintain our homes and equipment and invest in our communities. We must earn a living. If we can't survive, we won't.

Our needs are straightforward. We require land, water, labor, transportation and markets. We require science and technology to manage today's problems and pests. We need these elements at rates that allow us to be profitable. Without these things, there is no agriculture.

All the arguments for food security have been made. The warning signs are evident. We must move toward sustainability by producing safe and healthy food, flowers, foliage, fiber and fuel for our fellow citizens.

The economics of the food supply have favored imports, causing our local food system to atrophy. The solution is up to you. If you eat, you have a stake in agriculture.

If you value food security, you must create the demand. You must buy local, demand local of your grocer, and dine in restaurants that do.  (Not a word about tax cuts, utility rates, or the Superferry.  Kinda pathetic.)

SA: Beekeepers blame dead hives on state

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Mauna Loa Observatory admits Volcano affects CO2 readings

"We just try and do our job, and make sure the data is solid," he said.

That means plenty of repetition and occasionally throwing out bad data. One example is when winds shift and vog from the island's active volcanoes mingles with the air being sampled.

"It's pretty obvious when it happens," said Steve Ryan, the carbon dioxide project's lead scientist. "There's a big blip in the data, you can see it with your eyes on the graph as its coming off the machine. We just have to throw that out."

"I'm incredulous that they (global warming deniers) don't buy the concept that gases in the atmosphere can trap heat," he said.

REALITY: "95% water vapour" Global warming debunked by New Zealand Meteorologist

MORE REALITY: Greenhouse Gas Observatories Downwind from Erupting Volcanoes

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