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Thursday, December 10, 2009
December 10, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:43 AM :: 6303 Views

State of OHA: Money, power top agenda

In OHA's annual State of OHA address, Apoliona said she'll petition lawmakers for a process for the state to pay back money it owes for making money off ceded lands.

It's estimated the state owes about $200 million.

"What I need to do is work with leadership in the House and the Senate to craft language that will enable us to be able to pay on that debt," said Rep. Mele Carroll, chair of the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee.  (Third time's the charm)

Apoliona said the agency is embarking on a strategic plan that calls for advancing OHA's (Crony controlled) limited liability corporations.

"The LLC's will serve as incubators for new OHA Crony Hawaiian businesses and non- profits," she said.

This year OHA awarded over $13 million in grants for projects benefiting native Hawaiians OHA Cronies.

READ: Download a PDF of the 2009 State of OHA Address

RELATED: It's September--Do you know where your Akaka Bill is? , Akaka Bill Reading list

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SB: Hawaii leaders must lead: End Furlough Fridays now

Although legislators prefer that this be considered Lingle's fight, the fact is that they play a powerful role. By failing to signal support for a special session, they will be seen as bowing to the teachers' union, which has been accused of obstruction.

Any failure to restore class time by next semester would reflect a lack of leadership as much as it would reflect a lack of state funding.

READ MORE: HSTA using furloughs to keep “Race to the Top” dollars—and reform--out of Hawaii schools

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Shapiro: HSTA can't expect to sacrifice nothing

House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro said last month it would be unfair to make teachers whole while other state workers take 8 percent pay cuts and social services are slashed.

"I want to nip it in the bud already," Oshiro said. "It would create problems in the work force. Can you imagine us making teachers whole but not doing the same for social workers, professors, lifeguards, custodians, the whole nine yards?"

But now, HSTA is quoting Oshiro as saying Lingle should end the furloughs by rescinding her $134 million reduction of the DOE budget — nearly three times more than the current offer and enough to make the teachers whole.

Oshiro had it right the first time, and if this is ever going to be settled to the benefit of students, legislators must impress on HSTA that there's no better deal to be had in January.

(Hmmmm quite a turnaround in just one day...guess that knee-jerk Lingle bashing just doesn't cut it any more....)

READ MORE: HSTA using furloughs to keep “Race to the Top” dollars—and reform--out of Hawaii schools

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Honolulu prepares to slash funds for programs

Honolulu's $140M deficit could slash everything from arts to pet spaying....

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State proposes major revision of election rules (anti-Superferry protesters in driver's seat)

The state Office of Elections hopes to complete as early as next month the first major revision since 2000 of the rules governing how elections are held in Hawaii.

The proposed rules cover new voting systems and electronic voting, mail-in elections, absentee voting and even the process to make election rules.

The rule changes were prompted in part by a Maui lawsuit challenging the use of electronic voting machines and the sending of election results through the Internet or telephone lines.  (Lawyer is Maui "progressive" Democrat and anti-Superferry protester Lance Collins)

Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza decided that the state needs to hold a public hearing to come up with administrative rules governing electronic voting before new voting machines can be used in next year's elections.

As a result, the Office of Elections suspended the selection of a company to supply voting machines for the 2010 elections.

Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin, who is resigning at the end of the month, hopes the rules can be finalized in January or February, which would allow the state to sign a contract for the new machines this spring.

Bob Babson, the lead plaintiff in the Maui lawsuit, said he is opposed to sending any election results via the Internet or telephone lines.

"It's not secure," Babson said. "They could easily just put it on a jet and fly it over."

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Chinatown rats: Manufactured chaos (Homelessness Industry at work)

Leaving one of my favorite restaurants in Chinatown, I was appalled at what the owners must contend with outside their doors: neighboring markets leaving their rubbish, people sleeping with their pets nearby, etc. Complaints to the Sanitation Branch have met with unsuccessful results.

Homelessness industry takes Hawaii tourism hostage, Defeating the 'homelessness industry' before it gets a grip on Hawaii

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Foreclosures on neighbor isles continue to fuel statewide rate

Last month, RealtyTrac moved Hawaii's rank up two spots to 15th among states for foreclosures. Foreclosures in Hawaii fell nearly 6 percent from October, but grew about 122 percent from the year before.

Hawaii's November foreclosure rate, one in 581 households, was better than the nation's rate of one per 417 households.

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Kenoi looking to freeze county execs' pay (no cuts here)

 

Kenoi's action follows his cost-cutting measures earlier this year of one unpaid workday per month for himself and his appointed office staff. He also eliminated 55 funded vacant positions, for a savings of more than $1.3 million.

(This lack of sacrifice at the top will come back to haunt Hawaii Co when labor/budget negotiations begin)

But Kenoi is also filling positions. Since mid-October, the administration has approved filling 21 of the 193 current vacancies in county government, primarily police and fire positions. The administration has also created positions -- nine new positions have been added since Kenoi took office last December.

The County Council is weighing in on the workforce as well.

Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong is sponsoring two resolutions to be considered by the council at its meetings Dec. 15 and 16 in Kona. One would institute a hiring freeze until June 30, and the other would eliminate the county's current vacant positions and put the money in the county's rainy day fund.

South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford has a resolution seeking early retirement as an option for cutting the budget.

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Hawaii Co. Property taxes could be on the rise

Property tax increases aren't out of the picture for Hawaii County residents, Mayor Billy Kenoi said Tuesday evening.

"That's certainly an option that's on the table," Kenoi told a group of about 50 West Hawaii residents at the Old Kona Airport Park for the Kona Town Meeting.

He said his administration is making as many budget cuts as possible, (but not the Golden Bulldozer) but the county faces a deficit of up to $44.8 million next year, and that the county's two main revenue sources are property taxes and the Transient Accommodations Tax, or TAT. The state may withhold each county's TAT, which would increase Hawaii County's deficit by about $17 million.

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Saddle Road western route up for public review (DU again not found in soil samples)

The potential cancer risk for construction workers and recreational road users was below the Environmental Protection Agency's acceptable risk level of concern, the report concluded.  (i.e. zero)
"Based on the available surface soil data collected in June 2008 at five locations along the proposed alignment, it has been determined that uranium detected at the site originates from natural sources," the report, prepared by AMEC Earth and Environmental of Honolulu, said. (precisely as HFP readers have known for years now)

(This won't stop the activists, they're not interested in DU, they're interested in driving the military out of Hawaii)

RELATED: Council denounces depleted uranium, Bananas More Radioactive than Depleted Uranium, Depleted Uranium: Radioactive Propaganda, The Depleted Uranium Scam

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Power plants make top 10 polluters list

The EPA is reporting 3.2 million pounds of toxic chemicals released into the environment by industrial facilities in Hawaii in 2008, a 5 percent increase over 2007.

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Sashimi Christmas canceled? International quota could halt U.S. bigeye catch this month

The bigeye quota, based on a catch 10 percent less than the amount during 2004, remains in effect through 2011. The quota is the first international limit established for bigeye in the world, officials said.

Government and fishing industry officials say they won't know until near the end of the month if the quota will have any impact on demand and prices, because the catches are still rolling in and haven't reached the limit.

With about 120 to 140 commercial vessels, the Hawaii longline fishing industry brings in an estimated $50 million to $60 million in revenues annually, industry officials said.

Scott Barrows, general manager of the Hawaii Longline Association, said imposing a quota on U.S. vessels will cure nothing and that their members are among the most regulated in the world.

Barrows said if longline fishing is closed toward the end of the year, foreign countries will start air-shipping bigeye.

"The fish wouldn't be as high grade," he said. "We bring ours off the docks."

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Mayor Defends Magic Island Name Change (public rejects cult of personality 92%-8% in online poll)

Hannemann sent council members a proposal to rename Aina Moana Beach Park (Magic Island) to President Barack Obama Beach Park.

"If I were to go on polls, there is no way that rail would have been built, no way I would have been mayor. I trailed in every poll. I just think we need more understanding...."  (I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, I'M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE THE OBAMA.)

The mayor wants city law changed to have Magic Island renamed in honor of the Hawaii-born president. Under current law, a person must be deceased to have a city park or facility named after them.

Poll: Link to >>>  Results

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