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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
September 21, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:00 PM :: 9388 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Parent Company of Honolulu Rail Contractor Ansaldo tied to Prostitution Ring

UPDATE: Hawaii GOP Leaders Call for Ouster of Party Chair

Perreira: Abercrombie Worse than Lingle

In a strongly worded article in the HGEA newsletter, Randy Perreira, HGEA executive director, says Abercrombie is out of touch and HGEA relations with the governor are worsening.

"Sadly, not much has changed since the past administration (of former Gov. Linda Lingle). In fact, in some ways, things have gotten worse," Perreira said….

Perreira now sees the Abercrombie administration forgetting about labor. He says Abercrombie has abandoned labor, while pursuing a balanced budget.

He says that the union rank and file is no longer able to afford the increased medical insurance payments and some have had to put their children on a MedQuest program.

"It is unthinkable and shameful that full-time government employees would be put into such a dilemma to consider public assistance to make ends meet," Perreira wrote.

According to Perreira, next year Abercrombie's budget-balancing plans "will continue to target cuts to public employee benefits."

"He continues to prove how out of touch with reality he is about the economic demands on government employees."

To be fair, there is a bit of a disconnect in Perreira's reasoning as he says, "We thought the governor would recognize the need for increased revenue and would not resort to draconian cost-cutting. We were wrong."

Abercrombie actually was equally at home with attempts to raise taxes as he was with cutting costs. In fact, he was quick to blame the unions for not doing more to help during the legislative session.

(Yes, but Abercrombie was a fool to expect the unions to back him on the Pension Tax. Hello?)

read … Buyer’s Remorse

Shapiro Misses Lingle Too: Abercrombie right at home with his scepter and throne

The big concern about Gov. Neil Abercrombie isn’t that he makes mistakes — anybody new to a job does — but that he doesn’t learn from them.

The flap over his secret emergency declaration suspending some two dozen environmental and land use laws for military ordnance removal seems a repeat of the pointless controversy he ignited early in his administration by shrouding his judicial appointments in secrecy….

Abercrombie expressed contempt for the value of public input, sniffing, “The public doesn’t pick the judge — I do.”

When critics complained to the Office of Information Practices and got a favorable ruling, Abercrombie refused to abide by it. He replaced the acting director of the agency, and his appointee punted to the courts, resulting in a lawsuit by the Star-Advertiser to force a resolution.

The secret emergency proclamation on ordnance removal reflects more of the “I’m governor and you’re not” attitude and the same penchant for high-handedness and secrecy.

There was a legitimate need to speed up the process for removing unexploded ordnance that threatens public safety, and the Lingle administration left behind a plan to do so without overriding any laws.

Abercrombie inflated it into a full-blown emergency declaration….

read … King Neil

Lingle Predicts More Women Leaders

"We know that in 2008, when the financial collapse came to America and the rest of the world, pretty much men controlled every point in the economic and financial world," the former governor said at the Sheraton Waikiki. "In this country they control the SEC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rating agencies, the presidency. We know that — those are just facts."

The governor paused for effect, and then said this: "And we would also have to conclude that they're not doing too great."

That remark, delivered to a ballroom packed with mostly women and female teens, was met with hearty applause.

Lingle, of course, is expected to decide this fall whether she will run for the U.S. Senate next year….

If she runs and is elected in 2012, Lingle would be the first female senator from the state of Hawaii.

read … Lingle

KITV: Opponents Trying to Starve Kaauwai Out, Have no Replacement

A Republican source said Lingle supporters stopped contributing to the Hawaii GOP earlier this year, trying to “starve Jonah out.” But at the time, a source said, Kaauwai’s detractors did not have a candidate standing by to replace him as chair. (Note: Kaauwai ran unopposed for reelection as chair at the Hawaii Republican convention in May.)

It’s unclear if there is anyone eager to replace him. The Republican state committee, made up of about 70 members, is scheduled to meeting Oct. 15 to discuss whether to replace Kaauwai.

Read … Jonah Kaauwai Is Being Targeted For Replacement

SA: Who is behind effort to Oust Kaauwai?

Kaauwai said Lingle wanted him to step down before the party's state convention in May. He believes the former governor, who is considering a Republican campaign for U.S. Senate next year, is behind the effort to remove him.

"From conversations with the eight on the list, she is encouraging them to ask me to step down," he said of the committee members behind the email. "No doubt."

Lenny Klompus, a former spokesman for Lingle, said Lingle did discuss the party's future with Kaauwai before the party's state convention, but he said Lingle did not initiate the executive committee's actions.

"She is not behind it," Klompus said.

read … They all are responsible

Rail At Risk: US House May Cut 37% from Hawaii Transit Spending

the U.S. House of Representatives, which is seeking to cut government spending, wants to limit funding for the nation’s highways and rail systems over the next 6 years to levels sustainable by Highway Trust Fund revenues.

If this proposal passes for fiscal year 2012, Hawaii would see a 37.31 percent drop in funding from $161,399,324 to $101,173,351 – or a decrease of $60,225,973.
Other states would see similar declines in funding of between 35 percent and 37 percent.

“Everyone knew the reauthorization of the federal surface transportation programs … would be the most difficult transportation bill in decades. As it turns out, this assess­ment may have been optimistic,” the American Road and Transportation Builders Association said in its report, which also asked its members to lobby for additional funding….

Hawaii’s U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, who is the Senate’s appropriations chair, has pledged to get Hawaii the $1.5 billion for the rail, but Prevedouros points out that there is nothing allocated in the federal budget for Hawaii’s rail system until October 2012.

“Things will be much worse at that time (in 2012). And since the current president has Hawaii in his pocket, there is little chance that precious federal monies will be diverted here prior to a critical election for him,” Prevedouros said.

CB: Rail Opponents Rebut Civil Beat Editorial on Congestion Deception

Panos: Jade Moon Wants Louder Support for Her Honolulu Train

read … When Obama goes, Rail goes

Return to Secrecy: State unable to give count of children who die in foster care

Two children died while in Hawaii's foster care system in 2006, and another in 2008, but the grandparents of a 9-month-old Hauula boy who died last month under unexplained circumstances after he was taken by state officials say Hawaii's fatality statistics are too high.

"One death is too many," said Sheila Deal.

Deal and her husband, David, are trying to get information from Child Protective Services and the state Department of Human Services about what happened to their grandson, Jayvid Waa-Ili, after he was taken from a relative's Hauula home on Aug. 10 and ended up dead on Aug. 26 at the Wai­anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center….

The previous head of the Department of Human Services released case files in other high-profile deaths. But current Director Patricia McManaman "reinstituted long-standing departmental policy to maintain confidentiality in all child welfare cases immediately upon assuming her position" in December, then-department spokesman Joe Perez said last week. (Perez left the job Friday.)

Murray worries about widespread release of confidential records in CPS cases but does not understand why Waa-Ili's legal guardians are not privy to what happened to him.

"I don't know why McManaman chose to rescind that policy and make these cases confidential again," Murray said. "There should be a reasonable way for the parents — or legal guardians — to get pertinent information when a child dies."

read … More Secrecy from Abercrombie

DoE to Cut Alternative Learning Centers?

Many of the roughly 1,700 teens who are assigned to the 31 alternative learning centers get the combination of tough love and specialized attention they need to earn the credits required for graduation.

Today the state Board of Education will vote on whether to delete the $2.9 million line item from the Department of Education budget underwriting these centers, under pressure to help the state close its fiscal gap. Instead, the DOE proposes to leave it up to schools to find the money for their centers from the per-pupil allotment they get, a calculation bases on the state's weighted student formula.

What they’re NOT cutting: Hawaii DoE: Cost of waste, fraud, and corruption between $191M and $431M per year

read … DoE Balances Budget on Students’ Backs

Tougher isle graduation standards will start with Class of 2016

Under the changes, every public high school student will have to pass geometry, biology and two other lab sciences. Students will continue to be required to complete at least four social studies credits.

Dozens of people testified today on the new requirements, and many were concerned that the new policy does not spell out that students must take U.S. history and world history. The current policy also does not say students must pass those courses….

CB: POSSE Challenges Ed Board on Sunshine Law Compliance

CB: Board Unfazed by Ed Department's Reversal on Grad Requirements

read … 2016

Josh Green Freaks out because Malama Solomon has been drawn into his district

In public testimony at the meeting, Big Island Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat, accused Nonaka of carving out a new Senate district on the Big Island for himself or his mother to run in. Green also claimed that Nonaka has drawn political lines in a way that would allow former Big Island Mayor Lorraine Inouye to run for a Big Island Senate seat and not have to face an incumbent. (This means that Malama Solomon has been drawn into Green’s district.) He threatened "immediate legal action taken against those committee members who conspire to gerrymander the Big Island districts."

Green's arguments are odd considering Nonaka has always supported a plan that includes counting all residents, even though that could cost the Big Island a fourth Senate seat. On top of that, Nonaka — as with all members of the Reapportionment Commission — is banned from running for a seat in the Legislature until two elections have passed. The accusation about helping Inouye is also odd — considering she's a Democrat. Nonaka's mother did run for Hawaii County Council in 2008…. (Green has always been paranoid about facing an opponent—any opponent. If Solomon enters the race Green might have an aneurism.)

Nonaka called Green's claims "egregious inaccuracies." He offered to pay Green $1 million if his mother runs for the Senate. That is, if Green would be willing to in turn pay Nonaka $1 million if she doesn't run. (Green, unfortunately, missed that offer and said he was in the bathroom at the time.)

WHT: Nonaka discounted Green's comments as a "conspiracy theory built on his paranoia." "My response is, Josh Green is insane," Nonaka said.

read … Million Dollar Dylan

DoE: Laupahoehoe school may again face closure if Charter Conversion Halted

Laupahoehoe High and Elementary will once again face the possibility of closure if efforts by community members to block its conversion to a charter school are successful, a Department of Education official said Tuesday.

Should the community reject the charter and opt for its school to remain under the control of the DOE, the Laupahoehoe school would return to an informal list of state schools to be studied for possible consolidation or closure, said Randy Moore, assistant superintendent for the DOE's Office of School Facilities and Support Services….

The school's status on the consolidation and closure study list has been a source of confusion lately. At a meeting in Laupahoehoe earlier this month, parents, teachers and community members who are opposed to the charter conversion said that charter proponents had overstated Laupahoehoe's possibility of closure before a pivotal, community-wide election that saw voters overwhelmingly support pursual of a charter from the state.

read … Laupahoehoe

Kauai Food bank loses federal support

state Office of Community Services (OCS) Executive Director Mila Ka‘ahanui wrote that it will no longer provide U.S. Department of Agriculture food to KIFB, amounting to more than 200,000 pounds annually.

According to Lenthall, KIFB moved 657,000 pounds of food at an operational cost of $2.35 per pound in 2009. That figure includes the food bank’s costs to operate the SNAP Outreach Program, which qualifies low-income residents for state food stamps. (So they raked in $1.5M.)

read … Profitable Non-Profit

Horizon Lines troubles show need for reform of US build requirement

Contributing to their financial problems is the poor performance of Horizon’s restructured Guam/Far East service – often referred to as their China Service – which at its inception was envisioned as a partial solution to their vessel replacement issues. Before 2006, Horizon operated a string of U.S.-built U.S.-flag containerships from the U.S. West Coast to Honolulu, Guam and the Far East – as did Seatrain and all of its successors. Horizon replaced their aging U.S.-built containerships with a string of five new foreign-built (South Korea) U.S.-flag 2,824 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) containerships and eliminated the Westbound call at Honolulu.

The employment of foreign-built ships is allowed because the domestic Guam trade is exempt from the U.S.-build requirement of the Jones Act – but foreign-built ships can’t carry cargo from the U.S. West Coast to Honolulu and that Jones Act prohibition lead to the elimination of the Honolulu port call on this route.

Although switching to a lot younger, more efficient and much cheaper foreign-built ships in the Guam/Far East trade route meant that Horizon could retire their oldest, least efficient U.S.-built ships, they had to forgo the lucrative Jones Act cargo previously carried by this service on the U.S. West Coast-Honolulu leg. It also means that their competitor, Matson, who operates fully Jones Act U.S.-built U.S.-flag containerships on the U.S. West Coast/Guam trade lane, will carry most of the military preference cargo to Guam and the Far East as their ships enjoy a higher Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) priority rating. These Jones Act cabotage restrictions on Horizon’s restructured foreign-built U.S.-flag Guam/Far East service operation have lead directly to their losses on the route.

Horizon’s situation points out the real and immediate need for Jones Act reform, especially in respect of the U.S. build requirement in the domestic noncontiguous trades – i.e. in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico trades – to allow larger deep draft self-propelled foreign-built U.S.-flag ships in those trades. This modest reform would not affect the other key requirements of the Jones Act: U.S.-flag, U.S.-ownership and U.S.-crew.

Guam PDN: Horizon shows need for Jones Act reform

read … Marianas Variety

Foodland, Times Supermarkets cut out Hawaii meatpackers to satisfy Animal Liberation Nuts

Foodland Super Market Ltd. and Times Supermarkets have agreed to stop purchasing pork products from pigs that are transported live to Hawaii for slaughter.

The two grocery chains agreed to purchase pork products from other sources in light of a report by the animal rights group World Society for the Protection of Animals, which also lobbied against the passage of a bill that would have allowed the state of Hawaii to purchase a slaughterhouse on Oahu, the group said in a news release.

read … Victory for Nuts

Hawaii Government Approves Destruction of Rare Bird and Endangered Bat Habitat

Rare, Black-Crowned Night Herons, estimated at about 400 individuals throughout the state, are about to become even more rare as an entire rookery is destroyed. Also threatened are endangered Hawaiian hoary bats.

The cause of the problem? Is it invasive feral cats? Invasive rats? Invasive mongoose?

No. It's an Invasive Species Committee.

Related: Economist: Hawaii Wilderness Cult pursues Impossible Return to Pre-Human Existence

read … Anti-Invasive Invasion

DoE Springs for Blackboard Software

The Hawaii Department of Education's Extended Learning Opportunities and Student Support section has chosen Blackboard Learn(TM) 9.1 to replace an open source learning management system (LMS) Blackboard Inc. announced today. The platform provides online courses for over 1,200 students through the Hawaii Virtual Learning Network-ESchool (HVLN-ESchool) and over 500 teachers annually through the HVLN-Project Inspire program.

HLVN formed a selection committee to evaluate several LMS options to find the best fit to support student and teacher needs.

(Obvious question: Which retired DoE Administrator is the commissioned Hawaii sales rep for Blackboard?)

read … DoE Blackboard

 

Hawaii Seeks 1 Gbps Statewide Broadband Access by 2018

Being an island state, geographic and cultural concerns are also a concern, which makes the delivery of 1 Gbps broadband a little more challenging.
As a result, Bhagowalia said that a “mixed media” delivery of broadband is likely. While cable will be an option, he envisioned a suite of broadband services, including cable and wireless, particularly when it comes to areas that are sacred lands or rural sites where laying cable wouldn’t be practical.

read … 1Gbps


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