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Sunday, February 14, 2010
February 14, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:35 PM :: 7649 Views

SB: Mandate school days

The teachers union warned legislators that it cannot "impinge on the constitutional rights of public employees" in the negotiation of wages, hours and other job conditions.  Indeed, state Attorney General Mark Bennett noted that the original bill, which was to take effect July 1, would conflict with labor contracts that run through the 2010-2011 school year.  The committee agreed to change the bill's startup school year to 2011-2012.

Even without the furloughs, public high school students in Hawaii received 1,285 instructional minutes per week, about 4 hours and 17 minutes a day, fifth lowest in the country and nearly an hour shorter than the national average, according to the state Department of Education.  Hawaii's 771 instructional hours a year, without the furloughs, were far below the national average of 996 hours.

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Hawaii lawmaker again debating legal gambling

John Radcliffe, a lobbyist who works with Marketing Resource Group, a Michigan consulting firm with gambling industry clients, said he plans to update the study to focus on a single casino.

Unlike a decade ago, when gambling interests were ready with specific projects, investors are waiting to see whether lawmakers are serious.

Money for lobbying and outreach has apparently not been pouring into Hawai'i, according to Radcliffe and recent lobbying reports filed with the state Ethics Commission, but that could change if the House moves out a bill.

"There are people calling me from all over the country at the moment," Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe said gambling is not an immediate answer to the deficit but should be one of many tools lawmakers consider.

"The only thing that this is is a revenue stream that you didn't have before," he said.

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ADV: A desperate, losing wager for Hawaii

Voting to make gambling legal in Hawai'i would be the dumbest thing legislators could do this year.

The smartest thing would be for legislators this week to put all of the gambling legalization bills in a drawer and stop wasting time discussing moneymaking schemes that only a loser could love.

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Musibigate: HRPT rent law may be extended

The law, Act 189, is slated to expire June 30.

Two bills advancing in the Legislature propose extending the law to June 30, 2015. No changes to the substance of the law are proposed in the bills, Senate Bill 2020 and House Bill 2284.

The law is being challenged in federal court by the industrial property owner, Massachusetts-based HRPT Properties Trust, which calls it an unconstitutional amendment to leases it acquired from longtime local landowner Damon Estate in 2003. The lawsuit is pending.

(In the typical style of Hawaii’s so-called media, the entire article is written without once mentioning Calvin Say or the $1000/mo he receives from an HRPT subtenant.

RELATED: House speaker’s tie to firm cited in lawsuit

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Isles on way to becoming model for green energy: Isolation, lack of crude production combination of high taxes and tax credits force state to embrace ambitious goals

"We really are the canary in the coal mine," said Jeff Kissel, chief executive of the Gas Company of Hawaii. "What's happening to us with oil is going to happen to the rest of the country as supplies diminish."  (Oil supplies are not diminishing.  What’s happening in Hawaii is entirely due to the use of high taxes to punish consumers and tax credits to reward enviro-cronies.)   

More worrisome still is (non-existent) global warming. The threat of rising seas and pounding storms linked to climate change has put Hawai'i on a collision course with Mother Nature.

While Hawai'i's efforts to green itself won't make much of dent in the world's total carbon emissions, environmentalists hope the state can prove what's possible. The goal is to transform the nation's most energy dependent state into its cleanest and most sustainable.

(And if nobody notices the taxes and the subsidies, then the enviro-scammers will be able to use Hawaii as an unsinkable propaganda carrier)

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Target Lanai: OHA prepares to shakedown wind farm

A nearly $90,000 grant from the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs will support efforts by a group working to protect a Lanai forest and watershed and its native plants and animals - including a colony of endangered uau, or petrel seabirds, discovered in 2006.

(Since wind farms are big killers of birds, this will position OHA to make demand$ on any Lanai wind farm project)

Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development, which is a nonprofit as well as a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, received the $89,770 from OHA to put toward its Lana'i Native Species Recovery Program. The money will be used to protect the Lanai watershed and the uau and support public outreach and education about the uau and the watershed habitat the bird relies on for nesting, according to a news release about the grant.

(Water usage issues present another OHA shakedown opportunity since there is already a dispute over the resorts’ use of groundwater.)

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Gabbard gains 3-year TRO against gay activist after assault 

A District Court judge Feb 12 granted a three-year restraining order against a gay activist for punching state Sen. Mike Gabbard, D-19th (Kapolei, Makakilo, Waikele), at a traditional values rally in January.

RELATED: Rallies on Oahu, Maui, Kauai: 15,000 against Gay Civil Unions

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Parents push for rural Maui charter school

The state Board of Education is scheduled on Thursday to decide whether to give a parents group until December to start a charter school at the Keanae School campus, which has not had students since 2005. Or the board could decide to formally close the school and transfer the property to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The board's Committee on Administrative Services has recommended closing the one-room schoolhouse.

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Funding snags risk UH-West Oahu: Construction must start next year or ownership of the land will revert

The other measure would exempt UH-West Oahu and other state properties that are not ceded lands from Act 176, which requires the approval of the Legislature to sell state land.

Proceeds from the sale of 55 acres of state land next to the campus along Kualakai Parkway (formerly known as North-South Road) are a major part of the financing for the campus construction.

The sale would require the Legislature's approval next year, unless the measure, House Bill 2561, passes this year, UH-West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni said

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More Hawaii seniors financially exploited: Lawmakers considering ways to guard against exploitation

The Legislature is considering a measure that would establish additional protections for individuals giving away control over their personal and financial decisions. House Bill 2979 requires that a power of attorney be witnessed by two people who are not related to the "attorney of fact" — the "agent" who is receiving the power of attorney — and acknowledged by a notary public.

"Right now, you can get a notary, and that's good enough to go with, and we just feel there are not enough safeguards in place when working with our elderly," said Rep. John Mizuno, D-30th (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Fort Shafter), who introduced HB 2979.


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Coqui: 'Second invasion' threatens nurseries (latest scam to restore ag inspectors)

(Plagues of rats and frogs blamed on lack of ag inspectors)

Meanwhile, efforts to prevent the spread of coqui frogs have been thwarted by recent reductions in the ranks of Agriculture Department inspectors due to state budget cuts, Hee said. Such cuts have reduced the number of inspectors from 112 to 81.

"Of all the state departments," Hee said, "the Department of Agriculture has been cut the most — 43 percent."

Legislative bills aimed at restoring the money to pay for additional agriculture inspectors will be heard this week, Hee said.

(There is no amount of gov’t inspectors who can protect Oahu from the coqui.  Buy lots of hungry chickens and let them roam wild.)

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Kenoi's proposals panned by Ethics Board: Administration to pursue tougher rules before council

Kenoi's most significant proposal is an attempt to curtail cronyism in county contracting. He's recommending a ban on companies holding contracts with county government where county employees, their spouses or dependent children have a controlling interest….

Kenoi also proposes a prohibition on any employee or officer appearing on behalf of private interests before any county agency, except as otherwise provided for by law.

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Commission calls for 1% land fund: Compromise could become part of county charter


HILO -- The county Charter Commission on Friday advanced a compromise reducing the 2 percent land fund to a minimum of 1 percent, but giving it the permanency of a charter amendment instead of the current county ordinance.

The proposed amendment gets one more hearing by the Charter Commission before proceeding to the County Council and then to the November ballot.

The new version is modeled after one in Maui County's charter. Hawaii County is the only county without a land fund designated in its charter.

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