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Saturday, December 5, 2009
December 5, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:20 PM :: 9596 Views


SB: HSTA is accused of blocking deal by Seitz

"The only obstacle at this point is the teachers union," attorney Eric Seitz said yesterday at a press conference. "The public needs to know and teachers need to know how badly the teachers union is acting in this matter."

Seitz said he plans to add the HSTA as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit seeking to end Furlough Fridays....

Lingle called on union leadership to let members vote on whether they like her plan.

"We have a fair offer on the table," Lingle said. "It's doable. It puts the kids back in the classroom when January rolls around, through the entire rest of the contract period.

"I just think it's a commonsense solution that the community is behind — everybody wants to have it happen — and you just have a small group unwilling to let people vote on this."

RELATED: Lingle Administration: Special Session unlikely, HSTA furlough negotiations "unproductive" , Kaauwai: "Failure Fridays"

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ADV: Teachers' Union staking out hard-line position over planning days

Okabe also said the teachers union would not reopen the base contract, which contains the planning days, raising doubt about whether planning days can be part of a deal. The furlough days are contained in a supplemental agreement between the state and the union, which can be amended by written consent of the parties without another ratification vote.

"There will be no reopening of the contract and therefore no second ratification vote," Okabe said. "The governor signed the contract with much fanfare. Only when she saw how angry the public was at the furloughs, which have been her preferred solution to dealing with state labor contracts, did she begin singing a different tune." ....

Sensing a public-relations problem, the teachers union has launched radio and newspaper advertisements defending the value of planning days. Union leaders have said many teachers are reluctant to give up all of their planning days, which teachers use to prepare for classroom instruction or work on school improvement plans....

Lingle ridiculed the ad campaign.

"I think it's ridiculous at this point in the process to be explaining why we won't go back in the class and teach children," the governor said. "The entire community believes this is a fair offer, it's one that the legislators, I think, feel the same way about, and to spend their members' money now running these commercials that's going to bring further ridicule on their members, I think is ridiculous."

RELATED: Lingle Administration: Special Session unlikely, HSTA furlough negotiations "unproductive" , Kaauwai: "Failure Fridays"

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Hawaii hosts VEX Robotics Pan-Pacific Championship

That's just what the competition is designed to do, said Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona. It's all part of the governor's push for so-called STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math. This year's competition will qualify top teams to compete in the international championship in April.

"The event promotes these skills at the same time as encouraging the students in a sports-like event," Aiona said. "We need to achieve that sport support for education. It's very important."

McKinley High coach Osa Tui said the robotics competition gives students a real-world approach to learning.

"They have to be able to put up with adversity and think on the fly," Tui said. "They have to come up with solutions to problems they can't foresee."

In Hawai'i, the interest in robotic programs has increased at schools around the state, from four teams from public and private schools in 2006 to 334 today, Aiona said.

(The DoE had almost nothing to do with this, hence its success)

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Memminger: Did scientists trade science for faith when global warming became a religion?

1987: Jonathan Schell in Discovery Magazine: "We need to act on theory alone, which is to say on prediction alone. It follows that the reputation of scientific prediction needs to be enhanced. But that can happen, paradoxically, only if scientists disavow the certainty and precision they normally insist on ... We must take action, in a manner of speaking, to preserve our ignorance."

1987: Stephen Schneider (quoted in Discover magazine): "We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."

1992 - Al Gore from his book "Earth In The Balance" and various other statements:

- "The insistence on complete certainty about the full details of global warming ... is actually an effort to avoid facing  that we must act boldly, decisively, comprehensively and quickly before we know every last detail of the crisis."

- "If, when the remaining unknowns about the environmental challenge enter the public debate, they are presented as signs that the crisis may not be real after all, it undermines the effort to build a solid base of public support for the difficult actions we much soon take."

RELATED: Greenhouse Gas Observatories Downwind from Erupting Volcanoes

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Shapiro: Abercrombie called on pork spending

Abercrombie is one of the strongest defenders in Congress of earmarks, also known as porkbarrel spending. In March, he was fourth in the House in earmarks attached to President Barack Obama's $410 billion stopgap spending  bill at $111.4 million.

Hawai'i Congresswoman Mazie Hirono was first at $138 million, mostly because she hitchhiked on earmarks proposed in the Senate by Hawai'i's senior senator and Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel Inouye, who has drawn criticism and praise for being the Senate's second most prolific porker in 2009 with $220.7 million.

Taxpayers for Common Sense said 18 Inouye earmarks totaling more than $68 million went to donors who have given more than $300,000 to Inouye’s campaign since 2007.

Hawai'i delegates defend earmarks, which don't get the scrutiny of regular appropriations, on the grounds that senators and congressmen are closer to their communities than administrative agencies and better know the needs.

Obviously, they're also closer to the needs and desires of their campaign contributors.

RELATED: Neil Abercrombie 2009: A year of corruption

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Mehau associate Brian Schatz stepping down as Democratic Party chief to run for LG

Schatz has not publicly disclosed his future plans but he is widely expected to run for lieutenant governor.

Schatz would join a Democratic primary for lieutenant governor already crowded with state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, state Sen. Robert Bunda, state Sen. Norman Sakamoto, state Rep. Lyla Berg and state Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu.

The party's state central committee is expected to name an interim chairman. Democrats will elect a permanent replacement for Schatz at the party's state convention next May.

SB: Schatz to quit as Dems' leader

Big Island Rancher Larry Mehau Hosts Community Rally for Sen. Akaka (Great photo of a pallid and sweaty looking Brian Schatz in Larry Mehau's barn.)

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Tam to run in mayoral race

City Councilman Rod Tam, whose second and final term ends next year, plans to enter the 2010 race for Honolulu mayor, if there is one.

Carlisle and Caldwell say that if Hannemann does not run in 2010, they will seek the office in 2012, when the term is up.

Tam, who represents District 6 (Downtown-Kalihi), had previously declared his intent to seek the office of lieutenant governor. His City Council term ends in 2010, and he is not eligible to run for re-election.

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Oceanic vs. Raycom?

Gerald Kato, board member of Media Council Hawaii which is opposing the KHNL-KGMB pact, said controlling three stations gives Alabama-based Raycom considerable  leverage on Oceanic when it comes to setting its retransmission fees.

Raycom and Time Warner officials had no immediate comment when asked about retransmission fees.

"This is one of the concerns of consolidation," said Kato, a University of Hawaii-Manoa journalism professor.

(And this is an opportunity for the Stalinist Media Council Hawaii to get its hooks into Cable TV as well as broadcast TV.)

RELATED: Raycom Honolulu TV Deal: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "media control"

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Democrat Burris: Elections system in turmoil so put it back in control of next LG

It may be time to reconsider the wisdom of taking supervision of the election system out of the hands of the lieutenant governor. Yes, there were doubts about political meddling....

(Always with the trick, this one....)

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SB flacks for Homelessness industry: "Better 'homeless' policy needed"

There are beds available on Oahu. The Institute for Human Services alone says it could accommodate about 50 more men and 40 more women at its shelters in Iwilei every night.

It seems the desperate individuals so visible on the streets and in the parks mainly represent a small but growing subset of the overall homeless population: chronic street people who resist shelters and may be mentally ill, drug addicted or otherwise impaired.

A census last January counted 390 chronically homeless people on Oahu, up from 111 in 2007.  (And by keeping them that way, we can drive $$$ to our favorite "non-profits".)  The highest concentration — a total of 250 people sleeping in cars, parks, on the streets or in emergency shelters — was in the region encompassing Chinatown and Waikiki.  (Which would be great places to keep them because high visibility=big grants!)

RELATED: Kapiolani Park: Homelessness industry takes Hawaii tourism hostage

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Maui Council will weigh in on streams case (OHA vs A&B)

Mateo introduced at Friday's regular County Council meeting a nonbinding resolution that would urge the state Commission on Water Resource Management to side primarily with small farmers as well as Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., saying both are in dire jeopardy.

About 40 people testified for and against Mateo's mostly symbolic gesture "urging the Commission on Water Resource Management to consider the importance of agricultural uses when setting instream flow standards for East Maui streams and the four (Central Maui) streams of Na Wai Eha."

RELATED: OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water

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Ocean activity businesses seek right to sell permits

WAILUKU - Owners of Maui's commercial ocean recreation activities pleaded with the Maui County Council this week to change a single sentence on the books and allow them to sell county-issued permits along with their surf schools and kayak tours.

Their financial security is at risk, they said. Their equipment, trucks and shop leases are nearly worthless, some argued, without long-term guarantees that they will have county parks to take their customers.

On the other side, county officials and some residents said business owners should not be able to buy and sell what is a public commodity. The county also doesn't afford the same permanent permit ownership privilege to any other license holders, such as bars or bed-and-breakfasts, they noted.

And on Oahu, a commercial ocean activities permit is treated like a concession and goes out to the highest bidder, noted Parks and Recreations Department Director Tamara Horcajo.

RELATED: Hawaii 42nd in Small Business Survival

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Hamakua plan seems to be stuck in mud

But once they found out the county is "hell bent" on selling some of its former sugar lands, interest plummeted "'cause in the end it's not going to matter what we think as a community," Yagong said at the November meeting.

(Good!  The kind of people who are 'hell bent' on keeping agricultural lands in government hands should stay away from CDP.)

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Sergeant saves lives of four soldiers by stopping suicide bomber

The Army unit was on patrol in the Bati Kot district east of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, when it came upon the burning vehicle's shell. On the side of the road, lying face up on the ground, was a man in an Afghan police uniform, apparently wounded.

Sgt. Michael Espejo rushed to pull him away from the wreckage.....

(This is the latest in the "American Valor" series running in HTH and WHT.  Great read!)



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