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Tuesday, February 2, 2010
February 2, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:03 PM :: 9352 Views

PRECISELY AS PREDICTED: Civil union backers plan suit for gay marriage in Hawaii

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i yesterday said they would bring the lawsuit after the state House voted on Friday to indefinitely postpone action on civil unions this session.

The lawsuit will be based on a 1993 Hawai'i Supreme Court ruling which held that denying same-sex couples the ability to marry was a violation of their equal-protection rights under the state Constitution.

LAWSUIT EXPECTED HERE: Hooser, Hanabusa predict HB444 will bring gay marriage back before Courts 

KEY LINE from March, 2009 debate:

Hanabusa told fellow senators in private caucus today that the bill could lead to a lawsuit by gay activists claiming an equal protection right to marriage. A lawsuit was filed in Connecticut after that state passed a civil-unions bill. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in October that same-sex partners should have the right to marry.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, University of Hawaii-Manoa constitutional law professor Jon Van Dyke, and former state Supreme Court justice Steven Levinson have told lawmakers that a similar lawsuit would be difficult in Hawaii because the state Constitution gives the Legislature the power to reserve marriage to a man and a woman.

Who in the Legislature was stupid enough to believe the ACLU’s lies last year?

ADV: Civil union backers plan suit

SB: House vote was profile in cowardice

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FTA commits $1.55 billion to pay for Honolulu rail system (Inouye comes thru for his pet Mufi)

The Federal Transit Administration this morning said it plans to sign an agreement before October 2011 that will provide $1.55 billion in federal funds to pay for Honolulu's elevated commuter rail project.

FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff today acknowledged concerns remain with the viability of the financial plan for Honolulu's $5.35 billion project. However, he said those concerns aren't expected prevent the grant agreement from being signed by a Sept. 30, 2011 deadline.

"We would not have included funding in the president's budget for this project if we thought it was falling off the rails," Rogoff said from Washington, D.C., in a conference call with news media this morning. "We expect to continue to work with the city and county to continue to strengthen their financial plan and we will be evaluating a new financial plan when they make an application to go into final design."

(Next question: Will it remain in the President’s budget when the sausage-factory finishes its work?)

Rogoff said he was "perplexed" by Gov. Linda Lingle's concerns that city officials did not adequately study street-level alternatives to an elevated train….etcetcetc (Reading from a sheet written by Inouye’s staff….)

(From his cell at the bottom of Honolulu Hale, Mufi sings hosannas….And somewhere in Kapolei, a bulldozer begins removing the vertisol down to the bedrock.)

RELATED: Good News: A small elite no longer runs Hawaii -- Bad News: Mufi thinks he can

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Senate Committee considers 25% tax hike to feed HSTA, HGEA, UPW

HONOLULU -- A state Senate committee on Monday approved taking $75 million from the state's hurricane relief fund to reduce the number of public school furlough days….

The Hawaii Government Employees Association said the state should not use hurricane money for the schools alone.

"It would be irresponsible for the Legislature to limit its attention to only the (Department of Education) without addressing the loss of services in other vital programs that impact public health and safety throughout the state," said Lei DeSha, of the HGEA….

The Senate committees also heard testimony about raising the excise tax to end furloughs.

Representatives from social services programs said that if the state is raising taxes, some of that money should be used to help non-school services employ HGEA members as well.

Social services advocates were relieved when Senate Education Chairman Norman Sakamoto announced the Senate did not plan to use money from the state's rainy day fund to end furlough Fridays at public schools. That is because social service agencies HGEA and UPW hope to use rainy day money to shore up their programs jobs….

The Senate Education Committee also considered a bill that would raise the excise tax by 1 percentage point, meaning residents would pay about 25 percent more (taxes) for goods and services….  (Will they also seize the rail fund?)

SB:  Senate committees clear 2 bills to reopen schools

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Ten Ways to Cut Hawaii Department of Education Costs While Improving Outcomes

Gov. Linda Lingle says there is no need to raise taxes and that she has already offered $35 million from the "Rainy Day Fund" to restore instructional days, but the Board of Education (BOE) has not presented the offer to the Hawaii State Teachers' union.

Some BOE and DOE officials say that any additional funds will only provide a temporary fix to the DOE's budget shortfalls. They say the department must also streamline operations.

These are the suggestions from those within the system as well as from external analysis. . .

SB: DOE crisis not due to lack of revenues

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Furloughs further dim military's view of schools

Commanders are so concerned about the overall health of isle schools that the military is paying researchers from Johns Hopkins University $1.5 million to study military attitudes toward Hawaii public education over a three-year period to see whether there is any concrete data to support the unhappy anecdotes.

The study, now in its first year, will track families who have received assignments to Hawaii, those who are here and those who have left the islands. It will examine whether the education their children received in Hawaii put them at a disadvantage or prepared them well for their next school….

The study will also document how many troops choose public schools and how many choose alternatives like home-schooling, private schools or even leaving their children with family on the mainland.

Military statistics indicate there should be about 23,000 school-age dependents in the islands, home to several major installations including Pearl Harbor. But there are only 13,000 to 14,000 military dependents enrolled in public schools, indicating thousands of parents are choosing to educate their children elsewhere.

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Infusion of federal money has saved or created thousands of jobs (or is it 54 jobs? hilarious)

More Obamajobs roulette.  Spin the wheel and learn how many jobs the administration is claiming to have created today….

created 3,015 jobs during the last three months of 2009.

includes 2,065 jobs retained in Hawai'i's public education system via one-time grants

the stimulus program created a total of 8,000 direct and indirect jobs in Hawai'i in the fourth quarter.

create or save 15,000 jobs during the two-year period ending in 2011

Then they get to specifics:

The second-largest job generator during the fourth quarter was a $13.6 million contract with Bulltrack-Watts to repave runway aprons at the Pacific Missile Range on Kaua'i. That project created 54 jobs. Another 53 jobs were created in the AmeriCorps community volunteer program.

Despite the federal infusion, Hawai'i continues to suffer high unemployment . There were 44,300 unemployed statewide during December. Additionally, there were 23,000 fewer jobs statewide in December compared with the prior year, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial relations.  (oops!)

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ADV: Streamlining construction can speed jobs

Among the recommendations:

• Shorten the public notification period for bidding on "simple projects" — a term not yet defined — to 15 days at most.

• Require all state departments to award contracts on bids within 30 days.

• Limit to 60 days the period state agencies have for final contract certification with the Department of Accounting and General Services.

• Exempt state airports and highways division projects from county requirements for special management area permits.

(Keynesianism Hawaii style.  When the economy is roaring -- unleash the green-mailers.  When the economy tanks, put them back in the doghouse.)

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Shapiro: Leg opens door to more contributions from State Contractors

This year, less than two weeks into the session, Karamatsu has already pushed a bill through the Judiciary Committee to ease restrictions on campaign donations to candidates and political parties by government contractors — opening the door anew to the pay-to-play ethic that has fed charges of bribery and corruption in local government contracting.

HB2249 passed the Judiciary Committee by a 9 to 1 vote with only Rep. Della Au Belatti objecting, and could come up for a floor vote as early as this week despite opposition from the state Campaign Spending Commission, Common Cause Hawai'i and Americans for Democratic Action. Nobody testified in favor of the measure….

But Karamatsu, who may run for lieutenant governor, has tied it to legislators' rights to have more corporate money — and for uses other than campaigning, such as making charitable contributions out of their campaign funds instead of out of their own pockets like everybody else.

He chastised critics last year that "costs have gone up extraordinarily ... you're tying our hands on what we can do here."

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Money Woes Could Threaten High-Speed Rail: Stimulus Awards Not Enough To Finish Major Rail Projects

CHICAGO -- The $8 billion in stimulus cash awarded to 13 high-speed rail corridors across the country may seem like a windfall for advocates, but there's a catch: The money isn't enough to finish any of the major projects.

State coffers are dry and federal spending is being cut back, so it's unclear who, if anyone, will pay the rest of the multi-billion dollar bill.

(Just ignore this.  Mufi sez its a sure deal.)

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Record military budget proposed by Obama important for Hawaii

The budget and the QDR draw together major factors that will play heavily in Hawaii during the coming fiscal year and beyond.

Perhaps the most important factor in how Hawaii fares in the budget process is the role of Sen. Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Appropriations Committee and its defense subcommittee. He will play a leading role in how the QDR is implemented through the budget, as well as in the budget negotiations that steer money toward Hawaii and other locales.

"I look forward to closely reviewing the president's budget in the coming days," Inouye said Monday. "The Appropriations Committee has a responsibility to address the immediate challenges facing the American people during these difficult economic times while also recognizing the long-term economic threat posed by the national debt. We must all redouble our efforts to put Americans back to work and begin digging out of the enormous fiscal hole that has resulted from nearly a decade of reckless policies that brought our economy to the brink of collapse."  (by spending even more money so we are no longer on the brink, but over the cliff)

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Regents seek rise in revenue: Propose lift the limit on nonresident students who pay higher tuition

In a memo, the task group of five regents suggests the board consider raising the enrollment cap on nonresident undergraduate students to 35 percent from 30 percent at the Manoa campus and a three-year pilot project at UH-Hilo that allows for 40 percent of undergraduate students to be from out of state.

Nonresident undergraduate tuition at UH-Manoa is $18,816, compared with resident tuition of $6,768 for an academic year.

ADV: University of Hawaii hits record enrollment for spring semester

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Hawaii Feels Loss Of Pro Bowl: Losing 'Lost' Also Hurts State's Economy

"The Pro Bowl usually brings in $28 million into our economy," said Mike McCartney of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Fortunately for the state, the National Football League has agreed to bring the Pro Bowl back to Hawaii in 2011 and 2012.

Aiona proposes Hawaii Sports Commission to boost athletics, tourism

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City mishandling effort to take Hau'ula land from owner, critics say (Lawsuit is Rail Preview?)

(After 10 years, rush, rush to meet April 30 deadline.)

She said the condemnation process was poorly handled and that other options are available. "I'm going to make this into a test case because if this is so badly done and the city is going to approve condemnation, what's going to happen to all the rail condemnation?"

(Next Neighborhood Board meeting will be Feb 11th)

RELATED: Victims of Honolulu City's Condemnation Plans Don't Want to Give Up Their Land


Country Talk Story
Olelo TV Channel 52
Every Tuesday 10:30 pm to 11:30 pm
2nd & 4th Friday of each month 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm

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Mayor in financial lead in race for gov (Aiona 2nd , followed by some hippie)

Hannemann's fundraising was nearly matched by Republican candidate Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who has raised $2 million and spent $1.3 million.

In third place in fundraising is U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hezbollah), who reports raising $1.3 million and spending $577,000.

(Somebody must have been sleeping over at the SB.  How did they allow this article to get through with a mention of Aiona?  They’re under strict instructions not to mention Aiona.)

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It begins: 35 take papers to run in coming elections

Election officials report brisk business across the state with potential candidates taking out nomination papers to run in the 2010 election.

Two candidates filed papers: Hawaii County Councilman Donald Ikeda and former Kauai Council member Mel Rapozo, who is seeking his old seat.

Adding to the mix is state Rep. Lyla Berg (D, Hahaione Valley-Aina Haina), who took out papers to run for lieutenant governor. If she files, Berg will join fellow Democrats state Sens. Robert Bunda, Gary Hooser and Norman Sakamoto, state Rep. Jon Karamatsu and former Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz in seeking the state's No. 2 post….

On the GOP side, Adrienne King is running for lieutenant governor.

Filing deadline is July 20.  Rail EIS will be decided July 21. ;-)

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Kalapa:  Yet another lesson we should learn from California

What should be truly scary for Hawaii residents is that the 50th state is headed down the same slippery slope as California, with a rising tax burden, an increasing maze of government regulations and plethora of new programs, all of which need to be fed with taxpayer dollars. Like California, public policymakers have so muddled the public finance picture that no one truly knows how much public programs are costing taxpayers either at the state or county level….

Here in Hawaii, lawmakers just keep on promising their constituents more because they are unwilling to say "no." But the time has come to pay the piper.

Will lawmakers be able to say "no" or will they resort to the tried and true habits of the past and just raise more taxes and fees?

This is a "watershed" year that will determine whether or not Hawaii will sink into oblivion like its sister California.

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