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Thursday, December 24, 2009
December 24, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:02 AM :: 9456 Views

Lawmakers, Governor await details on tentative agreement to reduce furlough days

HSTA President Wil Okabe said the agreement reached yesterday would restore some of the furlough days, but he would not say how many.

Okabe also said the agreement would return children to the classroom "safely," a hint to the union's concerns about Lingle's original plan, which would have only paid for "essential" teachers to return and not additional workers, such as school nurses....  (HGEA gets a cut, fewer furlough days restored)

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said it remains unclear how many furlough days will get restored and how much money the state Legislature will be asked to set aside. Hanabusa said she will be briefed Monday by state Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi.

"At this point we are not quite sure what is being asked of the Legislature," Hanabusa said. "The other unanswerable in this is the governor and how she will feel about whatever that agreement is. If the governor doesn't like the deal, she could veto the bill, she could restrict money."

Hanabusa said she would need to know the details of the plan before answering whether a special session of the state Legislature is necessary. A special session would need to occur before the opening of the regular session on Jan. 20....

Russell Pang, spokesman for the governor, said the administration attempted unsuccessfully yesterday to get details from the state Board of Education and state Department of Education about the agreement.

"We don't know what the tentative agreement entails, so it is difficult to say what might be required" from the governor or the Legislature, Pang said.

EXPLAINED: Furlough settlement: HSTA-DoE to submit new ransom demands to Legislature

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ADV: Hawaiian rights in bill must be negotiated (rejects new version Akaka Bill)

The congressional delegation is on the precipice of losing support — both locally and in Washington — if they persist in a recent push to amend the bill. The legislation, which would give Native Hawaiians the federal recognition as a sovereign political entity that they deserve, now includes several major changes that never were discussed in hearings held earlier this year by House and Senate committees.  (If true, then Akaka should continue with his new Akaka Bill so that the entire project will be scuttled.)

RELATED: Akaka Bill: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe

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Musubigate: HRPT rent dispute fight will continue

Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a new law giving 180 businesses that lease land from HRPT more leverage in lease rent renegotiations.

The law requires that a unique phrase in HRPT's Hawai'i leases referring to "fair and reasonable" rent be construed as being fair and reasonable to the lessor and the lessee....

(Not mentioned in article: Calvin Say gets $1000/month "retainer" from an HRPT tenant.  Oooops.)

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Hoku completes stock sale to Chinese investor (Your ACT 215/221 tax dollars at work)

The transaction, which was announced in September but closed yesterday, resulted in Hoku handing nearly 33.4 million newly issued shares of common stock to Tianwei New Energy Holdings Co., as well as a warrant that will enable Tianwei to buy an additional 10 million shares of Hoku's common stock at a price per share equal to $2.52....

The company, which had slowed production at the plant to preserve cash, previously had said it was on the brink of Chapter 7 liquidation for its polysilicon subsidiary. Polysilicon is the raw material used to make solar panels.

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Maui News Polls State TAT grab (blames Calvin Say's Legislative proposal on Lingle)

Do you agree with Gov. Linda Lingle's proposal for the state to take back the counties' share of the hotel room tax, including at least $17 million from Maui County, to help close the budget deficit? Yes -- 14%  No -- 80%  More information needed -- 6%

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Isle lawmakers mull TAT plan

Herkes, Evans, Coffman, Kokoubun do not denounce (ie favor) Calvin Say's TAT plan.  Reps with high concentration of County workers in their district: Chaig, Tsuji claim to oppose it.

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Kenoi defends hiring; claims 77 positions removed (and wants to keep TAT so he can hire more)

Filled positions this year included 54 employees for public safety positions, including but not limited to police and fire, 11 employees "to operate or maintain essential infrastructure," 20 employees to provide "essential county support rolls (sic) or positions that generate revenue for the county, such as water meter readers," and 36 employees hired with federal or state funding. Kenoi provided that list of hires to the County Council, according to a prepared statement.

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Hawaii County tries third approach to provide homes for low-income residents (after losing $40M on failed project)

HILO -- Hawaii County government, having batted 0 for 2 on two different approaches to providing affordable housing, remains mired in litigation, is contemplating a drastic revision of county code and is preparing to try yet a third approach.

Using county-owned property to develop housing, the land trust model, has culminated in a multimillion dollar lawsuit, as the county tries to recoup $40 million it's pumped into the Waikoloa Workforce Housing project.  (ooops!)

Requiring private developers to pony up affordable units as a condition of rezoning, as occurred with the Aina Lea development mauka of Mauna Lani Resort, is ending up with $325,000 townhouses, meeting the county's legal requirements but hardly considered affordable for most lower-income would-be homeowners.

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Extend council terms? Voters will decide, again

LIHU‘E — The county Charter Review Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a ballot measure that would, if approved by voters next year, extend the term for Kaua‘i County Council members from two years to four.  (surprise, surprise: the politicians want to face the voters less often)

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