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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
December 14, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:05 PM :: 12033 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, National News, Development

Education Week: If Hawaii Doesn’t Lose its Race to the Top Money, Something is Wrong

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul Register for Hawaii Republican Caucus

Inouye Donors Score $99M in Earmarks with Only $166K in contributions—But He’s not #1 in Pork

$149M: Inouye Makes Hirono #1 Sponsor of Earmarks in US House for 2010

Curtis: HECO has Failed to Look at Alternatives to Big Wind, Should be Denied Rate Hikes to Cover Costs

Predictably, Star-Advertiser Uses DHHL Suit to Argue for Akaka Bill

SA: In April, the Hawaii Supreme Court rejected the argument by five non-Hawaiians who challenged Hawaiian property tax exemptions as race-based civil rights violations — but the case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the high court decides to hear it, then rules in favor of non-Hawaiian residents' attempt to dismantle property tax exemptions to Native Hawaiian lessees, the result could ripple throughout the native community by dashing conditions set by the Hawaiian Homes Act passed by Congress in 1921 and codified in the Hawaii Constitution (Admission Act)

Reality: Supreme Court ruling shields Hawaiian Homelands and ceded lands revenue

read … more propaganda from the machine

Things go Better With Coke: Ernie Martin Holding Another Fundraiser as Mayoral Race Looms

Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin will hold a $500-per-plate fundraiser Wednesday. It’s his fourth of the year — even though his term isn’t up until 2014.

Martin filed notice with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Tuesday. The fundraiser is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Michel’s Restaurant.

Martin has been rumored as a potential mayoral challenger to Peter Carlisle….

One Metric Ton: Convicted Cocaine Dealer replaces Advertiser columnist as Ernie Martin’s Campaign Treasurer

read … Martin for Mayor

DoE/HSTA: No Progress on Key RTTT Proposals Since June 17

CB: The state was in a hurry to finalize the teachers’ contract not just because of the new school year beginning, but also because some Race to the Top promises hung on it, Matayoshi testifies.

Several of those promises are already behind schedule, she tells Takahashi, but the state and HSTA have not met since June 17 to negotiate those items further.

Related: Education Week: If Hawaii Doesn’t Lose its Race to the Top Money, Something is Wrong

read … HLRB Hearings

DoE Exporting Millions in Hawaii Tax Credits to Mainland Company

Photovoltaic systems will be installed at 15 Kauai schools at no cost to the State.

Today Governor Abercrombie announced an agreement that will save the Department of Education $30 million over the next 20 years.

Hawaii Pacific Solar will install the panels and the State will purchase the power generated for around 17 cents per kilowatt hour.

What this is about: Hawaii Wind, Solar projects: Millions for Wall Street, Banks, maybe even Big Tobacco, Solar Tax Credits: Cash from General Fund Lines Pockets of Mainland Companies

read … Worthless Fluff Piece

NYT Rips Parent Company of Hawaii Technology Academy

Agora is one of the largest in a portfolio of similar public schools across the country run by K12. Eight other for-profit companies also run online public elementary and high schools, enrolling a large chunk of the more than 200,000 full-time cyberpupils in the United States.

The pupils work from their homes, in some cases hundreds of miles from their teachers. There is no cafeteria, no gym and no playground. Teachers communicate with students by phone or in simulated classrooms on the Web. But while the notion of an online school evokes cutting-edge methods, much of the work is completed the old-fashioned way, with a pencil and paper while seated at a desk.

Kids mean money. Agora is expecting income of $72 million this school year, accounting for more than 10 percent of the total anticipated revenues of K12, the biggest player in the online-school business. The second-largest, Connections Education, with revenues estimated at $190 million, was bought this year by the education and publishing giant Pearson for $400 million.

The business taps into a formidable coalition of private groups and officials promoting nontraditional forms of public education. The growth of for-profit online schools, one of the more overtly commercial segments of the school choice movement, is rooted in the theory that corporate efficiencies combined with the Internet can revolutionize public education, offering high quality at reduced cost.

The New York Times has spent several months examining this idea, focusing on K12 Inc. A look at the company’s operations, based on interviews and a review of school finances and performance records, raises serious questions about whether K12 schools — and full-time online schools in general — benefit children or taxpayers, particularly as state education budgets are being slashed.

SA: Charter school HTA copes with principal's sudden departure “The school, launched in 2008, has seen enrollment quadruple over the last two years, to nearly 1,000 this school year. Hawaii Tech students come from around the state, and the school has seen particularly high demand among military dependents and home-schoolers.” (This is the DoE’s latest effort to keep 10,000 or so DoD dependents in the system.)

read … NYT Working for Teachers’ Unions?

Failing, Castle Complex Simply Changes Grading System to Make It Look Good

A new standards-based grading policy, which does away with percentages and uses numbers assigned to a letter (a 5 is an "A," a 1 is an "F" and a zero is given only if no work is done).

Teachers would assign a grade by figuring out how many concepts students met in an assignment, rather than simply by counting how many answers they got right.

» Homework or in-class "formative assessments" will be graded but will not count for or against a student. Only "summative assessments," such as midterm and final exams or large reports, will count. Also, students who fail summative assessments may retake them if they have shown understanding of the work in previous formative assessments.

» Small learning communities will be in place starting with the new school year. Freshmen will have one community. Sophomores will opt for one of three, either arts and media, medical and electronic technology or business, culinary or natural resource studies. Students will remain in their communities through graduation.

Maeda said putting students in such groups tailored to their interests and rethinking how they are graded shifts the focus from grades to learning.

"How do you support your child in the realm of learning, not just doing stuff to get paid (by a grade)?" Maeda said. "We're changing the attitude. Our focus is on student learning and joint responsibilities."

He said about 60 percent of teachers already have moved to standards-based grading, and the rest will convert by the end of the school year. With the change, he said, grades at the school have improved.

read … More DoE Smoke n Mirrors Cheerfully Promoted by the Star-Advertiser

Hawaii 47th State to Adopt Anti-Bullying Laws

The Legislature passed an anti-bullying law this year, but it wasn't in time to keep Hawaii out of a federal report that names the state as one of four without such a statute.

The report, from the U.S. Department of Education, was released this month and identifies Hawaii, Michigan, Montana and South Dakota as the only states without anti-bullying legislation.

The report was written before Hawaii legislators passed a law that requires the state Department of Education to institute anti-bullying policies, monitor those efforts and track incidents of bullying on campuses.

US Dept of Ed: "Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies"

read … Nothing to see here, says the Star-Adv

McMackin’s Salary Just the Tip of Greenwood’s Iceberg

President M.R.C. Greenwood gave UH faculty a contract that ended in a pay raise in the middle of a crushing recession when other public workers — including UH support staff — were losing up to 10 percent of their pay to cuts and furloughs.

Greenwood, whose salary is $475,000, padded her own nest in the recession by taking a back-door pay raise in the form of a $5,000 monthly housing allowance because she didn't care to live in the College Hill mansion provided free for her use.

And as UH searches for a replacement for retiring Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, Greenwood has suggested the salary for the job might be increased from the $337,762 Hinshaw makes to $425,000 or more.

Pushing the chancellor's salary that high would likely bring pressure to also raise the president's salary.

As Explained: Executive compensation at UC: MRC Greenwood and the $871 million dollar secret

read … University thinks too big when setting salaries

Abercrombie to Bellow About “Success” on Monday

CB: Cautiously optimistic.

That's the tone Hawaii taxpayers can expect when Gov. Neil Abercrombie releases his budget update Monday. The so-called supplemental budget would lay out any additional expenses, revenues or restrictions to the existing 2012-2013 biennium budget.

The current budget is $11 billion. Whatever Abercrombie requests above that will be a starting point for legislative debate when the session begins Jan. 18.

The state's deputy budget director says his office is encouraged by strong tax revenue growth and savings from the state's recent billion-dollar bond sale.

"We're still holding to a cautious, but optimistic financial picture," Luis Salaveria, deputy director of the Department of Budget and Finance, told Civil Beat. "The most recent tax revenue data shows numbers are higher than last year, but hovering a little lower than what we anticipated."

Tax revenue funneling into the state's general fund was up 6 percent 1 through October, compared to the same time frame last year, according to the Department of Taxation. Preliminary figures for November were not yet available.

The Council on Revenues is projecting 14.5 percent growth in general fund revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The panel said the forecast is made up of three parts: 5.2 percent pure economic growth; 4.3 percent attributed to the lingering effect of delaying tax refunds in July 2010; and 5 percent tied to tax increases approved by lawmakers earlier this year.

read … Can they Bring Him Back from the Abyss?

Oahu's North Shore To Host Hawaii's Largest Wind Farm – Just in time to Collect Federal Tax Credits

CB: This is First Wind's fourth wind farm in Hawaii and will be the state’s largest. It is slated to begin construction this month and be in operation by the end of 2012, according to a statement form Hawaiian Electric. The 30 wind turbines will (would) power approximately 14,500 homes (only if they operated at peak efficiency 24/7/365, which of course they do not).

The PUC approved a rate of 23 cents to 24 cents a kilowatt hour for ratepayers. The Kawailoa project has been in the works for three years.

HECO and First Wind won't disclose the total cost of the project. But the company is seeking a federal grant that would reimburse it for 30 percent of the project cost. The PUC was under pressure to approve the contract by mid-December to ensure that First Wind could take advantage of the grant, which would lower consumer rates.

The cost of energy from the Kawailoa project is in line with other wind farm pricing in Hawaii in recent years. But it is significantly higher than on the mainland, where First Wind also operates projects.

While wind energy has averaged 3 cents to 7 cents a kilowatt hour on the mainland….

SA: HECO, wind farm reach agreement on kilowatt price

NYT: Tax Policy Blowing in the Wind

read … Mafia Wind

$77K/year and still eligible: Hawaii Gives Away Insurance to Little Rich Kids

The nonprofit foundation ranked states by maximum income limits under their Children’s Health Insurance Programs that would allow children to be eligible for free or low-cost coverage.

Hawaii was ranked third for its Quest and QExA CHIP programs for their maximum income limit of $77,148. New York’s CHIP program was ranked first with a maximum income limit of $89,40 and New Jersey was second with $78,225.

“What we’ve found is most families are surprised at the income level they can make — as much as $78,000 annually in New Jersey — and still qualify their children,”

The other side of same coin: Abercrombie's New Medicaid Plan: 30 Days in Hospital, then you get cut off

read … $77,148

Broken Trustee Sues Pioneer Seed Grower on Behalf of Kauai Luddites

On behalf of more than 150 Waimea residents, attorneys on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Fifth Circuit Court on O‘ahu against Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a DuPont company.

The 58-page lawsuit alleges that Pioneer’s practices in the farming of genetically modified seed crops on fields next to Waimea unlawfully allowed pesticides and pesticide-laden fugitive dust to blow into residents’ homes on almost a daily basis for more than 10 years.

Honolulu attorney Gerard Jervis (Broken Trustee)and Las Vegas attorney Kyle Smith said the amount requested in the lawsuit was not disclosed in the filing, but added that the amount is “substantial” and will redress and remedy the impact to residents and diminished value of more than 100 homes.

Read … The Usual Luddite Stuff

Although Honolulu PD Actively Opposes Legalization of Gambling; Officer’s Wife is Fronting Group Pushing Mainlanders’ Waikiki Casino Schemes

TVT: Last Spring, Elizabeth Hata Watanabe, the wife of a Honolulu Police officer, emerged out of nowhere as the head of the so-called Citizens for a Better Way. Despite denials by Watanabe and lobbyist John Radcliffe, the group is apparently a front for a mainland casino syndicate hoping to get approvals to develop and operate a stand-alone Las Vegas-style casino in Waikiki.

The Honolulu Police Department has historically opposed the legalization of gambling in Hawaii. In fact, during Hawaii’s 2011 Legislative Session, HPD Officers endorsed by Police Chief Louis Kealoha testified against bills to allow: on-board gambling on cruise ships docked in Hawaiian waters, bingo, gambling on Hawaiian Homelands and development of a stand-alone casino in Waikiki. The later being the objective of Mrs. Watanabe’s lobbying efforts and a mainland casino syndicate (see links to testimony in Scribd box below).

In nearly every instance where HPD officials provided testimony in opposition to a gambling measure, lobbyist John Radcliffe provided testimony in favor of gambling. Radcliffe is believed to be the driving force behind the lobbying group for which Mrs. Watanabe fronts.

read … TVT

Memminger Signs up With CCA

ILind: humorist Charley Memminger, my former Star-Bulletin colleague and creator of “Charley’s World” and other gems, is now a pitchman for private prison operator, Corrections Corporation of America.

That’s the company that makes millions annually housing Hawaii inmates in its private mainland facilities.

read … ILind

Occupy Honolulu: Meeting with Mayor Didn't Go Well

CB: One Occupy Honolulu member sitting outside the office, who said he wasn't in on the meeting, told Civil Beat that his compatriots reported that the meeting didn't go well.

The protester said those who were in the meeting left feeling that the city will use the new law banning personal belongings from public spaces to evict the encampment from the sidewalk next to Thomas Square Park at the corner of Beretania Street and Ward Avenue downtown. As the group quickly moved to the elevator, he said the administration has been lying in the media when it's said it has no plans to move in on Occupy protesters.

Fulton declined to comment on the contents of what he said the city promised would be a "private meeting."

Asked specifically about the implications the Occupy encampment in light of Bill 54 (now Ordinance 11-29), Fulton said, "We respect Occupy Honolulu's right to express their freedom of speech and First Amendment rights as long as they're abiding by the law, just like anybody else."

But the new law makes Occupy Honolulu illegal. Fulton wouldn't comment on whether the city planned to evict them.

(This is a backhanded way of suing to make homelessness a First Amendment right. Occupy is part of the Homelessness Industry now.)

read … Why is Carlisle Wasting Time on these Idiots?

Funded by State’s Richest Resident, Progressives Get Together to Complain about Influence of Money in Politics

CB: Common Cause Hawaii, Kanu Hawaii (Omidyar funded) and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii are behind the effort. Their aim: To “explore the connections between money, influence and politics in Hawaii, how it affects all of us, and what we can do about it.”

The free meetings will be held the second Wednesday of each month, starting this Wednesday. More info on Common Cause’s site.

read … Omidyar tries to beat back the Competition

Inouye Pushes to Featherbed Nursing Staffs

A proposed bill making it's way through Washington, D.C. right now is being closely watched by our hospitals here in the basin.

It's called the Senate Bill 58, Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2011 was introduced by a Senator Daniel Inouye from Hawaii and if passed would mandate a certain number of registered nurses be on duty at all times.

read … Just wait ‘til HHSC starts paying overtime

Marriott Says Waikiki Edition Takeover Product of Conspiracy by Aqua

CN: Marriott Hotels claims a competitor executed a "forceful and hostile takeover" of the Marriott's new luxury hotel in Honolulu, hacking into its computers and sending "dozens of hired security guards" to commandeer the hotel and "ransack" it for proprietary information.

Marriott claims its rival went so far as to cut off Marriott labels from hotel towels and paste over the trade name on the little toiletry bottles.

Marriott Hotel Services sues Aqua Hotels and Resorts and W. Christian Oles, Marriot's own head of security at the Waikiki Edition Hotel, who allegedly cooperated with Aqua.

Marriott says it was managing the hotel for its owner under a 30-year contract. It was the first Marriott Hotel to open under the new Edition brand. Marriott says it expected to collect $65 million in management fees over the 30 years, with the right to two 10-year extensions.

However, "It had been publicly reported that Marriott was at odds with the hotel's owner and that their disputes would be decided by a New York Court," according to the federal complaint. "After learning of the dispute between Marriott and the owner, Aqua saw a multimillion-dollar opportunity."

In its alarming 55-page complaint, Marriott claims Aqua, which manages 17 "midlevel" hotels in Hawaii, felt that it could not compete with the luxury Waikiki Edition, which opened in September 2010.

"Aqua commended a takeover plan," according to the federal complaint.

Full Text of Suit: Marriott.pdf

read … Another page in the Saga

Hawaiian Air unveils neighbor isle travel program with lower fares

SA: Hawaiian Airlines has launched a neighbor island travel program that allows customers to lock in fares over a one-year period and save up to 14 percent off the current lowest prices.

Related: Petition hits Hawaiian Airlines 'Price Fixing', seeks return of Superferry

read … Ticket Book

APEC - Representatives Gene Ward and Aaron Ling Johanson discuss Hawaii's Premier Event  

APEC - Representatives Gene Ward and Aaron Ling Johanson discuss Hawaii's Premier Event.

VIDEO … YouTube

Hannemann Picks Up Labor Backing

CB: Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has long enjoyed support from Hawaii’s labor unions. His campaign for Congress announced on Tuesday that six more private-sector labor organizations are supporting his campaign.

Among them: The International Association of Reinforcing, Structural, and Ornamental Iron Workers Union; the Sheet Metal Workers Union; the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades Union; The Glaziers, Architectural Metal and Glassworkers Union; the Floor Layers Union; and the Drywall Tapers and Finishers Union.

read … As Predicable as …

Small businesses should be supported, not taxed

MN: I resent being taxed for the sweat off my back or for triple taxation. I pay my state and federal taxes, my liability insurance, my whole 14 percent Social Security, my own health insurance and, of course, my car insurance. Then out of what little I have left, I have to pay 4 percent on my gross income to the state for the privilege of doing business in Hawaii.

read … Kalapa Wrong

$30K Reward Offered In Papaya Destruction Case

KITV: The reward is being jointly funded by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association and the Hawaii County Office of the Mayor.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Detective Brandon Konanui at 961-2340 or the Police Department's non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

Citizens may call the Police Department's Kuleana Hotline at 961-2219 if they have information that this crime might have been an act by any organized group.

read … Papaya

Hawaii AG Joins California in Supporting Genocide Insurance Law

In an unprecedented move, California Attorney General Kamala Harris was joined by her counterparts from Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada and Rhode Island, supporting the constitutionality of California’s Armenian Genocide Life Insurance Recovery Act and reaffirming an earlier ruling by a 3-member panel of the same court. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday.

read … Armenian Genocide

Republicans push payroll tax cut bill through House, despite White House veto threat

Republicans pushed legislation through the House Tuesday night that would keep alive Social Security payroll tax cuts for some 160 million Americans at President Barack Obama’s request — but also would require construction of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline that has sparked a White House veto threat.

read … WaPo 

Obama, Terrorists Cheer US Withdrawal from Iraq

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina >> President Barack Obama saluted returning troops Wednesday, applauding their "extraordinary achievement" and declaring that the nearly nine-year conflict in Iraq is ending "not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home."

Meanwhile, the Islamists are cheering, too as the inevitable result of total withdrawal begins: Iraqis burn US flags to celebrate troop pullout

read … Obama


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