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Sunday, November 27, 2011
November 27, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:32 PM :: 8397 Views :: Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Forced by JSC, Abercrombie Grudgingly Releases Names of Judicial Nominees

Hawaii Supreme Court to Consider Limit of Parental Discipline

Kalapa: Ubiquitous General Excise Insures Accountability

UPW Contract Triggers ‘Favored Nation’ HGEA to Reopen Negotiations, fight for Furloughs

"We are extremely serious and we will pursue this as far as we have to," said Randy Perreira, HGEA executive director.

Perreira said there are substantive differences in the two contracts that favor UPW. The most significant, he said, is between a pay cut and unpaid days of leave. A pay cut reduces a worker's pay scale for all hours worked, including overtime hours, while an unpaid day of leave reduces salary only during the time off.

Perreira said the union is frustrated because he said the Abercrombie administration rejected unpaid days off -- essentially furloughs -- during negotiations with the HGEA.

Multiple sources familiar with the private labor talks this year said Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state negotiators were insistent on not using the word "furloughs" because of the stigma of the Furlough Fridays that closed public schools and state offices over the past two years. (It was a key part of his election campaign plan implemented by his allies in the HSTA/BoE/DoE and a handful of Manoa liberals from the Oahu Democratic Party org.)

In the UPW contract, the term is "directed leave without pay," but unpaid days off are the functional equivalent of furloughs. Abercrombie has said that there will be no interruption to public services when workers take their unpaid days off.

"Call it whatever you want," Perreira said. "We know what it is." (And while we appreciate its use for campaign propaganda, at the end of the day, we really like furlough days.)

The HGEA demanded that contract negotiations be reopened in a Nov. 18 letter to Neil Dietz, the state's chief negotiator.

Donalyn Dela Cruz, an Abercrombie spokeswoman, said the administration is waiting to receive official notice from the UPW that the union ratified the new contract before formally responding to the HGEA's demand.

"We're open to talking with HGEA," she said.

Related: Four of a Kind: UPW, UHPA get big Fat Pay Raise—and HSTA suit could give one to HGEA

Related: Abercrombie: From now on Furloughs will be Referred to as “Dil-Wops”

read … Union demands the state return to talks

Governor Abercrombie pissy to the end in judicial disclosure case

ILind: So Neil continues to say he’s opposed to transparency and hasn’t changed his view in that regard despite the disclosure of these judicial nominees.

Just think politics. Isn’t anyone on the 5th floor doing that these days? Who’s happy with Neil’s position? It certainly isn’t something that will turn Neil-bashers into fans. But it certainly has already undermined the enthusiasm of progressive Dems who have been Neil’s fans, and by stubbornly pushing on, the governor risks losing a significant chunk of his base.

Remember the last time a Democratic governor left a big chunk of the political base with a bitter aftertaste? It was the dynamic that opened the door for Linda Lingle to claim the governorship for the Republican Party for the first time in more than 40 years after Gov. Cayetano left former political allies feeling burned. With that big U.S. Senate seat up for grabs next year, the governor now needs to avoid unnecessary instances of “friendly fire.” This was an opportunity, and he’s blown it big time….

Neil chose to be recalcitrant and pissy to the end….

Related: Forced by JSC, Abercrombie Grudgingly Releases Names of Judicial Nominees

read … Pissy to the End

Atheists Planned Disruption of Windward City Lights Celebration Thwarted

HNN: A First Amendment battle almost disrupted a city-sponsored family event. A group planned to protest a pastor's prayer at Saturday night's Windward City Lights celebration. Pastor Tom Landeza of Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay was slated to do the invocation at the festival, but that did not happen. Members of the group Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church blame Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle. They claim the mayor knew about their planned protest ahead of time and decided to cancel the pastor's prayer. Carlisle, however, said he did not cut anything. (So the atheists are pissed because there was no invocation?)

"They're entitled to their opinion and we're entitled to ours, and that's straightforward, and if they want to believe what they believe, they have the right to do that," said Carlisle.

"The mayor of the city and county of Honolulu has decided to inject his own personal religion into these programs, and that violates the constitutional separation of church and state," said activist Mitch Kahle. "We've warned Mayor Carlisle that religion and public events should not be mixed and that we will not tolerate religion in government activities."

(Kahle is demanding that his own Atheist religion be the State religion. How has that plan worked out in other countries?)

read … Windward City Lights celebration controversy

Illiterate Occupy Honolulu Protesters Instruct 99% to “Think”

Check out the sign on the far left of the photo: “Don’t buy gifts, make memuries” and the back: “$ is not free spent”. This from a group so arrogant that it grants itself the authority to command the people: “Buy books, not video games” and “Think B4 You Buy.” Who do these clowns think they are? Maybe they should think before they spell. This is the group which is so ”significant” to all the nation’s editorial socialists. They truly do see themselves as “enlightened, conscious, and progressive” elite ordained by their own sense of superiority to rule over you. The video was produced by somebody calling herself “Tethys”, a Greek goddess. This is who they think they are. There were eleven of them. Eleven.

read … a bunch of morons magnified by their media comrades

Ritte Didn’t get Paid: Lawless Thugs Block Cruise Ship from Molokai

Protestors on Molokai successfully blocked a tour ship from entering Kaunakakai Harbor Saturday morning.

At the crack of dawn, more than a dozen protestors took to the water using surfboards and small vessels to physically block the path of the American Safari Explorer.

They say they were excluded from the decision-making process (didn’t get their payoff) and don't want their island to turn into another Waikiki. (unless they get a cut of the action)

"So this was like the beginning of the cruise industry coming to Molokai," said Walter Ritte, a 50-year resident of Molokai and protestor. "So we tried to ask them to go through a process so we could be involved, but they refused. So we had no choice but to do a protest."

And more than two hours, the stalemate was broken when the 36-passenger boat turned around to continue its tour around Lanai and skip its visit to Molokai. (And Molokai remains mired in depression and unemployment. Thanks Wally.)

A community meeting is planned for Wednesday. Blanchard hopes to sit down with protesters to discuss their concerns. (Here’s a better idea. Arrest them. Charge them with obstructing maritime commerce and try them in a Federal Court. Stop being such weenies.)

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday November 30th at 6 p.m. at Mitchell Pauole Hall.

The boat for now is scheduled to arrive on Dec. 2nd and 3rd, an arrival protestors say will be met with a similar response.

KHON: Tour diverted after protesters take to water

Long History of Self-Interested Protest: Molokai activists seek control of ranch, Molokai Ranch: Protesters to Cash in with Takeover Plan?, Wind? Ritte Wants his long list of Benefits Met

read … Protestors Block Tour Boat From Entering Kaunakakai Harbor

SA Editors: Better to Cut People off Medicaid After 30 Days than to Limit Eligibility

Hawaii's residents have come to expect the safety net of government health insurance spread wide beneath them so that most people would have entree to the health care system. It's one reason why, for the past quarter-century, Hawaii has had the distinction of being one of only a few states with nearly universal access to medical care. (In other words, the political support for Obamacare depends on the largest possible number of people having the illusion of state-supported medical care coverage)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie administration surely doesn't want that assurance ending on his watch, notwithstanding its current struggles to deal with the state's fiscal condition. Nor should anyone. So it was gratifying to see the state Department of Human Services take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to QUEST, the state's health plan for the poor.

(In other words, the SA prefers to limit medical care to 30 days in hospital and keep more people on rather than keeping coverage for all medically necessary care and reducing the eligibility requirements to cover only the truly poor. Only a small number of people stay in hospital over 30 days. They are expendable to maintain the political consensus.)

…enrollment in QUEST has skyrocketed by 34 percent since June 2008 -- which could be expected in the wake of a steep economic downturn. As a result, the state's tab is rising faster than tax receipts can pay, so cuts, to the tune of $150 million over the next two years, had to be made.

after consultation with social service advocates and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, DHS backed off an earlier plan to cap inpatient hospital stays for medical reasons at 10 days a year. That would have made Hawaii the nation's most restrictive state on that score. The current plan, to set the hospital limit at 30 days form medical and surgical services and 30 days for behavioral-health stays, seems at least reasonable.

Patricia McManaman, the department's director, expressed confidence that the changes will satisfy "99-plus percent of the needs of the community." (See? Now you know why they are so hostile to any pro-life cause.)

Plenty of Money for THESE Insurance Payments: $126M Giveaway: Abercrombie quietly boosts spending on Public Employees’ Insurance

read … Scaleback of QUEST Looks Reasonable

Automated Trash Trucks increase UPW Productivity 5-fold

In the old system there were two collectors and a driver. In the new system there is only one driver. Fraley said the new system saves the county money despite taking three hours more than the old system to complete a route.

“The automated collection system has also allowed the county to avoid overtime costs by transitioning from a labor contract limit of 600 collection units (200 per worker) per manual collection route to 1,000 refuse cart limit routes (1000 per worker) for the automated collection truck,” she said.“Also, improved/safer working conditions under the automated system will lower the county’s workman’s compensation cost over time by reducing new injury claims under the operation.”

Fraley said many other municipalities which have transitioned to automated collection systems have realized reduced workman’s compensation claims.

“We, therefore, anticipate the same results on Kaua‘i,” she said.

read … Automated trash trucks rile some residents

Freshwater Pool for Natatorium?

I worked next door to the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial for 27 years while I was employed at the Waikiki Aquarium, and I recall endless hours, days, and years of arguments on what to do with the Natatorium.

I moved to the mainland in 2002 and recently relocated back to Hawaii. I am not surprised that the fate of the Natatorium is still being argued….

Here's a brand new idea: If the pool is the memorial but a saltwater pool is not operationally feasible, and if filling in the existing pool is the least expensive option, then fill in the saltwater pool and construct a smaller, conventional freshwater swimming pool inside. Managing a municipal freshwater swimming pool may be the least expensive pool option and the costs can easily be calculated for construction and maintenance.

read … Freshwater


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