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Monday, November 3, 2014
November 3, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:58 PM :: 3527 Views

Kanaiolowalu: Broken Trust on Steroids

HMSA 19% Rate Hike -- Family Plan $2073/month

HBO Video: In Hawaii 'Conflict of Interest' Means 'Not a Conflict of Interest'

Hawaii taxpayers would spend millions on private preschools if amendment passes

New Jersey Has Therapists, Hawaii Has Tour Guides

State DOE considers deferral of Teacher Rating System

AP: In a memo to teachers last week, schools Superintendent Kathryn Mata­yo­shi said the department is "exploring the feasibility" of delaying until 2016-17 the use of Smarter Balance scores to formally evaluate teachers.

Students for the first time will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is aligned to the more rigorous Common Core standards, in March. It replaces the Hawaii State Assessment in language arts and math for grades 3 to 8 and grade 11.

Some educators anticipate test scores will drop dramatically because of the higher expectations. The assessments have been designed "to go beyond multiple-choice questions to include extended response items, as well as performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills," according to the Smarter Balanced website.

Under current plans tied to Hawaii's federal accountability waiver, the spring test scores are supposed to be used to help determine whether teachers are eligible for pay raises, granted tenure or fired.

"This request is meant to allow for more support for our educators," Mata­yo­shi said in a statement. "We need more time to transition to the new student assessments."

Nearly 40 states have adopted policies that tie teacher evaluations in part to the performance of their students on standardized tests. And more than three dozen states have agreed to administer Common Core-aligned standardized tests by this school year.

read ... Teacher Evaluations?

Chad Blair: Who Is Andrew Walden?

CB: Walden is not shy about expressing his opinions, and with Hawaii Free Press they have gained a sizable audience.

Sometimes, Walden reports on things before reporters in the mainstream press have, albeit in a manner that suits his political agenda. But even people who might be expected to have similar political views are not happy with Walden’s work.  (So sad.)

Walden comes across as an intelligent, complex, principled person who pays close attention to politics local and national, and then writes or aggregates aggressively about them on his website and using social media.

(Later on readers find out that Chad Blair is the only person in Hawaii who didn't know about George Ariyoshi smuggling jewelry.  Oh well....)

Meanwhile in New York ... NYT: Omidyar In Waaaay Over His Head in Journalism Endeavors  (Just a coincidence.  Really.)

read ... Who?

Omidyar makes the national news this week, but not so much locally

ILind: Pierre Omidyar, Hawaii’s resident billionaire, co-founder of eBay, owner of Honolulu Civil Beat, and founder of the national online news startup, First Look Media, has been very much in the news in the past week or so. It’s been uncomfortable attention, triggered by the sudden departure of high profile journalist Matt Taibbi, who had been hired to create one of First Look’s initial online magazines.

Here’s a sampling of the stories about Taibbi’s departure.

And a long Omidyar profile appears in the upcoming issue of New York Magazine, and is already available online (“The Pierre Omidyar Insurgency”).

Here in Hawaii, though, Omidyar remains largely under the media radar.

A striking example is Omidyar’s role as virtually the sole financial backer of a campaign to pass one of five constitutional amendments on the general election ballot, and a major contributor to the group pushing another of the proposed amendments.

This certainly has put Civil Beat in an awkward position. CB has been reporting on the increased spending by Super PACs and ballot issue committees in this year’s election, and its editorial board has come out in favor of at least one of the amendments. But Omidyar’s prominent role in bankrolling the campaigns has been mentioned obliquely, if at all.

Related: NYT: Omidyar In Waaaay Over His Head in Journalism Endeavors

read ... Awkward Omidyar

Hanabusa defends limited introduction of bills

TH: Outgoing Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) defended not prioritizing bill introductions during her time in the House, saying they often amounted to "photo ops and big pronouncements."

In an interview published Monday, Hanabusa said she had been asked "over and over again" why she didn't introduce bills even just for the sake of it.

"I’ve never been one for photo ops and big pronouncements. I’ve been asked over and over again why I don’t introduce bills just so I can say I introduced them, no matter whether they can pass or not. I let other people do that. I try to demonstrate that I care and I understand people’s needs by doing the work. That hasn’t changed," Hanabusa said.

Hanabusa has introduced 11 bills in the 113th Congress and only five in her first term, according to Congress.gov.

read ... Limited

Maui County Council Puts Hemp at top of Legislative Wish-List

MN: The first bill would authorize expanded industrial hemp research at four testing sites - one

in each county. While industrial hemp is already being tested as a phyto-remediator and biofuel, the proposed measure would authorize additional research on the plant as oil for human and livestock consumption, and fiber for clothing and building materials.

The second bill would amend the state's Sunshine Law to allow all members of a county council to jointly attend and speak at a community, educational or informational meeting or presentation.

Current law limits the number of council members who may attend a meeting. The legislation would promote greater transparency in county government and ease of accessibility to all council members who wish to attend community meetings.

The PIA Committee also recommended four state bills to be included in the 2015 Hawaii State Association of Counties Legislative Package. Proposals before the council attach the following bills:

  • A bill to appropriate funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Primary Care Training Program
  • A bill to allow victims of family violence additional time to get help and legal protection before the order for period of separation expires.
  • A bill to authorize nonresident property crime victims to testify in criminal proceedings via video connection.
  • A bill relating to zoning to distinguish single-family residential use from single-family vacation rental use.

Bills to be included in the HSAC package require approval from all four Hawaii counties.

The council has already approved for inclusion in the HSAC package another bill concerning the counties' share of the transient accommodations tax revenue.

read ... HSAC Package

100 Mainland Homeless Contact IHS to Inquire About Being Homeless in Hawaii

CB: The Institute for Human Services is embarking on a $1.3 million effort that includes plans to fly 120 homeless people back to the mainland....

Carvalho said that IHS receives about 50 phone calls and 50 emails a year from individuals on the mainland inquiring about homeless services or trying to reserve shelter space.

“We are trying to do an aggressive public relations effort, trying to water down misinformation, basically not making Hawaii be an attractive destination to come and be homeless” said Carvalho, who said that the PR effort will stress how expensive it is to make it in Hawaii.

Carvalho said that the PR campaign will also target media organizations. He said news coverage of the city’s new law that bans sitting and lying on sidewalks in Waikiki is a good example of getting the message out that Hawaii isn’t an easy or hospitable place if you are homeless.

read ... Discourage

Star-Adv: Tools in place to help homeless

SA: Here are the numbers: The census, taken statewide on a single night in January, tallied 6,918 people, up from 5,834 four years earlier. Elsewhere, counts have averaged a drop by more than 9 percent since 2010.

Almost in perfect counterpoint to those depressing statistics, the city last week announced some hopeful news: implementation of its $2 million Housing First contract starts Monday, to place 115 chronically homeless households in Waikiki, downtown Hono­lulu and Leeward Oahu.

In tandem with its contract, service provider the Institute for Human Services has received a $100,000 grant from the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association to start a full-time outreach program in Waikiki, delivering stabilizing health and social services to the homeless as they are placed in permanent housing.

In some cases, the money can help IHS teams reconnect the homeless person with families on the mainland, then provide the means to return them to their care....

Among these is the need to slash away at the deficit of housing units affordable for Hawaii's poorest residents. The government must maximize opportunities to encourage projects similar to the Villages of Moa‘e Ku, the Ewa Villages rentals aimed at tenants earning 30-60 percent of the area median income.

TP: Hawaii Will Give 120 Homeless People A One-Way Plane Ticket Out Of The State

read ... Tools

Will Anti-GMO Ordinance be Overturned by Kauai Council?

KE: It looks like some political drama will persist past tomorrow's election.

The “red shirts” who endorsed the GMO/pesticide regulatory Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, which was killed by a federal judge before it took effect, are making a last gasp effort to salvage that piece of crap. They'll be rallying at Wednesday's Council meeting to protest proposed Bill 2562, which would repeal the invalidated law from the books.

This time, though, they'll be wearing black arm bands to mourn their defeated champions — informal polls show Councilmen Mason Chock and Tim Bynum are out, and Gary Hooser is barely hanging on by his fingernails — and chanting DON'T PASS THE BILL.

What's that old saying? Oh, yeah: “Karma's a bitch.”

read ... Musings: Lingering Drama

GMOs or no GMOs?

MN: ...the initiative to impose a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Maui County has become one of the most divisive issues the county has ever seen. It's driven thousands of residents to become more politically engaged this election season by marching in rallies, offering testimony before the Maui County Council or sitting down to analyze the piece of proposed legislation.

But the initiative also has brought out combative behavior and vandalism that seldom characterize Hawaii elections. Extreme advocates have been caught on video removing campaign signs from private property and stopping in the middle of a roadway to yell at sign-wavers. In Lahaina, trees and buildings were spray-painted.

For a county that has drawn the lowest voter turnout in the state in the past few elections, this singular initiative has driven more residents to get involved than ever before. It's uncertain what effects the surge of one-issue voters might have on other ballot measures or candidates....

A spokesman for the Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban cited 1,700 studies, including long-term animal feeding trials that have affirmed the safety of genetically engineered crops.

"Without any scientific evidence pointing to health risks among animals, clinical study on humans is unwarranted," spokesman Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez said in an email.

Advocates also argue that biotechnology helps fill a critical need for food in the world, even for smaller groups outside of the large global seed giants. The Gates and Warren foundations, both private humanitarian organizations, partnered with Monsanto to fund an effort on a seed farm in Kihei to develop drought-resistant maize that could be grown in the poorest, driest areas of Africa.

"The goal of all the work is to help small family farmers in Africa to improve their food security," University of Hawaii Maui College genetics professor Sally Irwin said. "It would be a shame if the work were to be halted."

read ... GMOs or no GMOs?

Honolulu Airplane Bomber Seeks Home Among Palestinians

AP: A Jordanian-born Palestinian responsible for a deadly 1982 airline bombing sought to be deported to the West Bank upon completing his prison sentence last year, but the Israeli government denied the request, citing problems with his identity documents, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Since then there have been "confidential diplomatic dealings" aimed at moving Mohammed Rashed out of the U.S. and fulfilling an earlier commitment to deport him, court filings show.

Rashed was released from federal prison in March 2013 for the bombing of Pan Am 830, which killed a Japanese teenager and injured more than a dozen passengers aboard the Hawaii-bound plane. A onetime lieutenant of a Palestinian bomb maker featured on the FBI's list of most-wanted terrorists, Rashed remains at a federal immigration detention facility in upstate New York that houses those awaiting deportation....

Issa Karake, head of the Palestinian government's prisoner affairs department, told the AP that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was "contacting the Israeli side and other countries to ... bring him back to the country."  (Yes.  It goes to the top.)

read ... Cozy Home for Terrorist

Self-Defense? Shooter wins his appeal of 2011 conviction

SA: According to the appellate court's opinion, Deputy Prosecutor Rodney Veary twice misstated the self-defense law, saying in various ways that a person cannot use self-defense as a defense if he has an opportunity to retreat and doesn't take it.

The first time Veary misstated the law, the judge struck that comment from the record. The second time, the judge let the comment stand.

According to state Public Defender John Tonaki, who represented Silva in the criminal case, the self-defense law does apply to Silva because it requires that a defendant knows he can retreat in complete safety. Silva could not retreat safely, Tonaki said, because a group of people had chased him in vehicles to a park after a confrontation.

The court's opinion said there "is a reasonable possibility that the (prosecutor's) misstatement of the law of self-defense contributed to Silva's convictions."

read ... Self Defense?

Only 5% of Kauai Residents Would Recommend the Island to Friends

KGI: To the question, “Would you recommend to friends that they move to Kauai?” 349 people answered, “No. It’s too crowded and expensive and it’s difficult to get used to living on an island,” while 325 said “Maybe. If they’re financially stable and have the aloha spirit.” Only 36 said “Yes, it’s a wonderful, welcoming place to live. We need more people.”

To put that in perspective, only 5 percent of those who responded to the poll said they would recommend, without any reservations, a friend move to Kauai. Nearly 50 percent said they wouldn’t.

read ... 5%

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