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Sunday, October 02, 2011
October 2, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:18 PM :: 7465 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Truth In Accounting Coming to Hawaii Oct 10-12

US Supreme Court Asked to Decide: Is Hawaiian Homes Property Tax Exemption Racial Discrimination? 

Obama’s Low Approval Ratings in Hawaii Create opening for Lingle

Obama's job approval rating nationally is at 41 percent, according to Gallup, near the lowest since he took office, yet in Hawaii he remains a favored son. The president's job approval in the islands was 56 percent through the first six months of the year, Gallup found, a dip from the 66 percent rating he averaged in 2010….

Political strategists calculate that if the president gets somewhere around 60 percent to 65 percent of the island vote, the math becomes complicated for Lingle, who must draw from moderate Democrats and independents to win. If moderate Democrats and independents are part of another Obama landslide, they would likely have little incentive to split their votes and choose Lingle over U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono or former congressman Ed Case, the Democratic contenders….

Comments that GOP Legislative Candidates and 2014 Gubernatorial Candidate should take to heart:

  • “Neil isn't doing a good job either! He's lucky the Republican candidates are only so so!”
  • “When will Republicans learn that talking trash and avoiding the issues is a poor strategy to convince voters?”

read … Isle vote still likely Obama's, but fever has cooled

Fukumoto: Hawaii GOP Significantly Ahead

…the new interim GOP chairwoman, Beth Fukumoto, reports that a GOP goal is to compete in all 76.

"We are significantly ahead of where we were at this time during the past election cycle," she reports….

The Democratic winner is expected to go on to battle it out with former GOP Gov. Linda Lingle, who is expected to finally announce sometime this month. The only surprise would be if she didn't declare for the Senate.

Lingle has already been busy in the background. Today she will be at a Manoa fundraiser for former Rep. Charles Djou. While the Hawaii Kai Republican is serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan, his wife, Stacey, is helping out.

"I plan to give an update on Charles' activities in Afghanistan, and we'll get to hear from Gov. Lingle, whose comments are always thought-provoking and inspirational," she said in an email appeal, asking supporters to show up today….

Still, the greatest mystery is what became of the race for mayor. We hold one every four years and usually are able to attract someone to oppose the incumbent. So far there has been some tentative temperature-taking by state Sen. Clayton Hee and some even less-than-tentative rumblings from City Council chairman Ernest Martin. (Whose Campaign Treasurer is a former multi-kilo Cocaine Dealer.)

Neal Milner, University of Hawaii professor of political science, says it isn't a disinterest in politics; it is a lack of competition.

"If you think about low turnout in Hawaii, it's not low because people hate politics. It's low because things that mobilize people in other states, like regularly competitive elections, do not happen here," said Milner. (Exactly right. Expansion of the Hawaii electorate can only come from the Republican side.)

read … GOP Significantly Ahead

Nurses: Stop Union Political Endorsements

Nurses, stop union political endorsements - SUPE.

Our union should not endorse anyone, especially with the public assumption that we, the members, are behind the candidate.

It is pure folly and obviously not an effective tactic otherwise we would not be in arbitration. The union should be behind the scenes where the real work needs to be done, just ask any political action committee.

Our step movements (pay for experience) were lost in the state Legislature due to lack of union action, not the U.S. Senate campaign trail.

read … S.U.P.E.

Report: Hawaii Charter Schools Should be allowed to Dump HSTA, HGEA

Among NACSA's most controversial recommendation for union-heavy Hawaii might well be one to let charter schools decide whether their staffs will be state employees; that is sure to draw debate. But for now, the NACSA evaluation, paid for by a $7,500 grant, is being embraced by local education decision-makers, and that's a good sign.

"They did a wonderful job," said Carl Takamura, chairman of Hawaii's Charter School Review Panel. "I think it's fair to say the panel is almost 100 percent in agreement with their findings."

Lynn Finnegan, executive director of the Hawaii Charter Schools Network, said the focus on clarity and quality that outcome contracts would provide should be welcome.

"Many of (the schools) say this has been the missing piece. … I don't think they like operating in the gray."

read … More Freedom

DoE Trying to Grab Money from Federally Funded Tutoring for Students in Failing Schools

Spending on federally mandated tutoring offered at no cost to disadvantaged children has doubled over the past five years in Hawaii, reaching $6.6 million last school year, as more families take advantage….

Nearly 9,000 students participated last school year in the program, which is paid for with federal dollars and aimed at boosting reading and math proficiency for low-income kids. That's up from 4,822 kids in 2007.

But a recently released report (by the Hawaii DoE) shows that the effect of tutoring on student proficiency was "minimal" in the 2009-10 school year, as it was in previous years. The "best predictor" of a student's performance remains the score a child received on the previous year's test, the report said. (Question: What is the effect of giving the DoE more money? Sub-minimal?)

For more information on free tutoring, go to doe.k12.hi.us/nclb/vendors.

The DoE wants to use this money to fund its system-wide test cheating system: DoE Boosts Test Scores by Giving Answers to Students

read … Some officials think opening the mandated funds to wider use will better help students

Wise Prosecutors drop Topless Protesters Case, Keep Powder Dry for APEC

From Disappeared News: Of course the Meiers won, after expending unnecessary resources. And good job, ACLU and attorney Matthew Winter, from Davis Levin Livingston.

But the real winners were HPD. They stopped the protest, didn’t they? Mission accomplished.

There will be no consequences for their actions.

So they can do it again.

Even (especially?) during APEC.

read … Charges dismissed against two Waikiki protestors, but of course the police won anyway

As Occupy Wall Street Riots Spread, Groups worried officials will limit ability to Riot during APEC summit

Federal and city officials insist the public will be allowed to demonstrate and protest peacefully when President Barack Obama and the leaders of 20 other nations gather in Waikiki next month for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

But a leader of at least one organization is raising concerns about the ability to do so effectively.

(Maoist) Carolyn Hadfield, of the organization World Can't Wait-Hawaii Revolutionary Communist Party said her group applied for a permit several weeks ago to gather at the Ala Wai Promenade, behind the Hawai‘i Convention Center, where a number of APEC events are to be held.

… however, city Department of Parks and Recreation officials told World Can't Wait-Hawaii that the space is not available, Hadfield said.

She said she was told the Honolulu Police Department reserved the space months ago, as well as all of Ala Moana Park, all of Ala Wai Community Park and part of Kapiolani Park. (No problem. The Maoists can protest in Waimanalo Gulch—Great view of KoOlina.)

Kona “Occupy Wall Street”! Rally Monday

Twitter Sites: Occupy APEC, Occupy Waikiki

Related: VIDEO: Occupy Wall Street–Preview of APEC Protests?

read … Its Coming

Chuck Prentiss asks: Will Hawaii Environmentalists Riot over Water Well Drilling?

Watching the Arab Spring revolutions on TV, I was fearfully reminded of the streets of Newark and Plainfield, N.J., in 1967 as a young man working with leaders of that state to try to calm the folks who had let their frustrations turn to riot.

Law and order broke down, people died, the National Guard responded with tanks, cooler heads responded with offers to sit and talk….

Our frustrations may be running higher than it appears. Take water supply as one example. I remember public debate in the 1970s about our finite water supply. John Mink (Patsy's husband), a water expert, explained there's only so much we can pump out at any time. How did government respond?

"New developments must provide their own source of water."

Hello! New wells, more pumping. Is the source really there? Is there surplus water in Ewa, Laie or Turtle Bay?

Also, what happens to the water we use? Yes, it sustains us. But human and animal waste, chemicals, diseases, drugs and all manner of contaminants go into most of the water. Then we dump it in our ocean, with little more than removing things that float. The EPA said it is bad for our health (not to mention tourism) to do that without more treatment. Local government response: What does the EPA know? Get a waiver!

Frustration mounted. Along came those pesky environmental organizations — you know, those annoying people without special economic interests. (LOL! He actually wrote this with a straight face. See next article.) They sued. Honolulu mayors and City Councils spent more years and about $5 million on lawyers. But then the bubble burst when the Waikiki pipe burst sending shock waves throughout the state and the tourism world. Busted! The lawsuit was settled almost immediately.

Frustrations may indeed be high. How high?

read … Truly Bizarre

Mililani Trask tries to score as “Community Advisor”, Geothermal Energy on Hawaii Island

Communicating effectively, preserving human rights under globalization, and facilitating development progress within the constructs of cultural protocols that ensure respect for indigenous peoples payment to race hustlers throughout the world and, in particular, within the Pacific region characterize the role Mililani Trask plays for IDG.

Audio Interview … Who could be fooled by this?

More from the anti-Geothermal Protesters Cashing In

Innovations Development Group (IDG), established in 1998, is a strategic planning and development company that conducts business in a socially responsible, globally green manner that is respectful of Native cultures….

With expertise originally in real estate property development and, now, renewable alternative energy resource development, IDG’s team leverages the extensive background of its principals in creating new opportunities for business expansion and development. The company works closely with Native communities throughout the Pacific and its investment partners to create projects that serve multiple stakeholders.

Audio Interview … Ca-Ching!

Latest Bum Removal Bill Inspired by Failure to Enforce Last Bum Removal Bill

Last year Honolulu city council passed the sidewalk ban for Waikiki and urban Honolulu.

But residents say the law is not being enforced, and that's why bill 54 is being introduced.

"Basically this bill just provides the mechanism for any personal property that stored in a public area or public space whether it's a bus or a sidewalk, a street or a park it provides a way for the city to get those items out of the public area," says Tulsi Gabbard, Honolulu City councilwoman.

If passed, bill 54 would allow city employees to post a notice on the personal item found.

The owner of the item would then have 24 hours to remove it, if it's not moved within that time, it will either be thrown away, stored or become public property.

"It's about a fairness issue that we have such limited open green spaces such limited public spaces that we want to make sure everyone's able to access them," says Gabbard.

Residents worry the new bill will get passed like the sidewalk ban but not get enforced.

Bill 54 will have its first reading next Wednesday, October 5th at the city council meeting.

AP: Homeless grant will put psychiatrists on streets

read … Sloth Reduction Measure

Probation experiment takes cue from Hawaii

The same theory of "focused deterrence" that police elsewhere have used to break up their cities' open-air drug markets is being applied to Delaware's probation system.

"Decide Your Time" is an experiment by the Delaware Department of Correction to give probationers clear and consistent rules about drug testing. Those who stay clean for 90 days get reduced supervision, but those who test positive are immediately locked up for four days and given more intensive supervision.

"If we can address the drug use early and upfront, we think we have a better chance of being successful," said Alan Grinstead, deputy bureau chief of community corrections.

Related: Judge Steven Alm: Justice Reinvestment and the future of HOPE Probation

read … HOPE Probation

Judge tells Peeping Tom ex-policeman to leave neighbor alone

A district judge has ordered a convicted peeping Tom, who is a retired police officer and a child care provider, to stay away from a neighbor who claims he peered into his home late one night.

Retired Honolulu police Lt. Craig Clissold agreed Sept. 15 to a three-year injunction that prohibits him from entering or visiting neighbor Robert Tinsley's Kalanipuu Street home, yard, garage or workplace. It also prohibits him from contacting, threatening or harassing Tinsley.

Tinsley said that on Sept. 3 at 11:03 p.m., he was alone in his living room watching­ television when he saw a large man looking into his window. He said he waited three minutes, turned the television off, then headed for the front door and saw Clissold running from his yard through the driveway and darting across the street to his own house.

"Thank God my wife wasn't there," he said. "She's just scared to be in the house. It's not home anymore."

read … Peeping Tom

Diabetes? Federal Funds go to Plant Garden

World leaders at the summit pledged to fight chronic disease and set reachable targets by 2012 to reduce mortality related to diabetes, cancer and heart and lung disease, which are projected to cost the global economy $47 trillion by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum.

The state's Chronic Disease Disparities Report 2011, released last month, highlights the social determinants of chronic diseases: poverty, lack of education, employment and health insurance. 

"Native Hawaiians and P<t-5>acific Islanders and immigrant populations — people who make up the fabric of this state — are doing worse in their own land," said Maile Taualii, founding director of Native Hawaiian Epidemiology Center. "There's something unsettling about that."

Diabetes accounted for $52.2 million in state Medicaid costs, or $3,190 per Medicaid beneficiary in 2007, according to the Chronic Disease Disparities Report.

Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, a federally funded community health center that caters to low-income Asian and Pacific Island immigrants living in Kalihi, is integrating diabetes care with cultural practices, growing traditional foods and building social relationships within the community. About 20 diabetes patients meet once a month at the center's 1.5-acre organic garden at the back of Kalihi Valley to learn about healthy living, nutrition, exercise and growing fresh food.

read … Gardening?

Living with mold: Severe infestations forced two military families to move

"It (the mold) was terrible. It was growing on my walls and the floor and tile. It was so bad that they gave me three hours to get out," said 25-year-old Raquel Garcia, whose husband is a staff sergeant in the Army.

Garcia said she was put on steroids and takes medication for itching; her youngest child was vomiting, and her husband had breathing problems.

She said their health started to improve about a month after leaving the four-bedroom duplex on Plumeria Loop, which was built in 2009 by one of the biggest military housing developers on the island, Australia-based Lend Lease. The Garcias were the first tenants….

read … Mold

HHFDC plans sale of Kama'aina Hale

It's clear that HHFDC has not been a good landlord with regard to Kama'aina Hale. The Kailua-Kona property is more than half empty because rehabilitation work planned in 2003 that included removing floor and ceiling coverings containing asbestos was completed on only 60 of the project's 128 units at a cost of $600,000.

Presently, 68 units are empty. To rehabilitate these for occupancy would cost an estimated $1.7 million, according to the agency.

HHFDC has raised monthly rent from a below-market rate of $340 in 2003 to between $885 and $1,178 today for one and two-bedroom units. Still, project expenses exceed revenues by about $290,000 a year, up from about $50,000 in 2003.

One big expense has been a lease for the land owned by Kamehameha Schools. Annual lease payments that had been $57,600 jumped to $350,000 in 2006 and will reach $420,000 in five years, at which time new rates would be negotiated.

Because the ground lease expires in about 20 years, agency officials say they expect any interested buyers to fix up vacant units and maximize occupancy as opposed to redeveloping the property or converting units to condominiums for sale.

read … Privatization

News about Mayor Wright Homes — good and bad — puts spotlight anew on public housing challenges

Mayor Wright Homes — its collection of institutional gray and tan structures a Palama landmark for nearly 60 years — has been one of the poster children of bad public housing stewardship. Its deterioration has accelerated further in the last decade or two.

Apartments that are broken down, infested with pests, inaccessible to the disabled … the symptoms are familiar to residents of another poster-child project, a mile or so away. That's the Kuhio Park Terrace (KPT) and Kuhio Homes complex, which more recently has been getting the overhaul that it so desperately needed.

Some housing advocates — including the attorney behind the class-action federal and state lawsuits that helped to prompt action at KPT — hope that this reversal of fortunes can spread to Mayor Wright. Litigation is being employed again as a tool to compel overall improvements in the project's physical condition and security: Class-action federal and state complaints were filed in April, naming Mayor Wright residents.

read … No Privatization

First CNMI prevailing wage survey results now out

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce, which initiated the project, starts releasing today the results of the “2011 Survey of Wages and Salaries Among Specified Jobs and Organizations in the CNMI.”
A total of 8,675 jobs are represented in the survey results.
Because of the Chamber's copyright policies, the wages covered in the survey could not be released at this time.
But one of the most popular job titles-accountants/auditors-would show that the lowest salary rate is $5.05 an hour, which is the CNMI's current minimum wage, while the highest rate is $37.50 an hour. The average rate is $11.35 an hour, and the median wage is $9.62 an hour.
Of the 452 survey forms distributed, 218 or nearly 50 percent were returned.
A number of companies did not participate because they were not going to ever apply for H1B visas or other types of work visas for their employees.

read … CNMI


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