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Friday, November 23, 2012
November 23, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:55 PM :: 5295 Views

UH Community Colleges recognized for ‘Achieving the Dream’

Work to Rule Protests Spread to 25 Schools—Okabe Rejects Three Negotiation Dates Proposed by Abercrombie

HSTA Video: Giving Thanks to Hawaii's Teachers Okabe: “We will not indulge in a hasty agreement” Rejects three negotiation sessions proposed by Abercrombie. Says negotiations can begin in December, not November.

Star-Adv: Teachers at more than 25 public schools statewide have pledged to participate in "work to rule" protests each Thursday for the next three weeks in a bid to bring an end to a protracted labor dispute.

During the protests, teachers will only work the hours they're required to under contract.

Corey Rosenlee, a teacher at Campbell High who helped plan the first "work to rule" protest Nov. 15, said teachers are frustrated at the lack of movement toward a new labor agreement….

Okabe said he expects the "work to rule" protests will continue to spread to other schools in coming weeks.

The first "work to rule" protest at Campbell High attracted about 600 teachers, parents, students and community members.

On upcoming protest days, teachers around the state will wave signs before and after school.

Working to their contracted hours means teachers won't oversee extracurricular clubs for which they are not paid, help organize proms or class trips, reach out to parents or do myriad other activities outside of school hours.

The schools that have committed to participating in the next protest include Farrington High, Kaimuki Middle, Wai­­pahu Intermediate, Kohala High, Wai­akea High and Maili Elementary.

Theresa Schubert, Farrington High school activities coordinator, said she believes the "work to rule" protests help show how much teachers give to students and schools every day.

And she thinks that message is getting out. At Farrington, parents of members of the varsity football team plan to come out for the "work to rule" protest Thursday. A number of students have also expressed interest.

Schubert said at Farrington there are about 20 teachers who serve as advisers to clubs. None of them get paid for the work.

"If we all clocked out at 3 p.m.," she said, "that would be the death of extracurricular activities."

KGI: Wilcox teachers rally for ‘fair deal’

Related: HSTA Protest Video: "Abercrombie Proposal Offers Little Hope", Abercrombie Rushes to Negotiating Table as HSTA Protest Looms

read … Work to Rule

Marumoto to Pen Tell-All about Legislature?

SA: Marumoto mused: Who knows? Maybe there's a book in her future.

"I thought I could do a little writing," she said, "and write down the anecdotes that happen around here. Everybody has these funny stories, but they work here and they don't want to tell them."

Q: It was a different mix when you started out at the Capitol, right?

A: Oh, yeah. I worked in the Senate and there was only one woman who was a senator; that was Eureka Forbes. I remember (Senate President David) McClung was going to put a sauna in the men’s locker room.

Q: What?

A: Yeah, and she spoke up and said, “How about one for the women’s locker room? I don’t think there was a women’s locker room then. But she stopped it. …

Lots of times when I speak out, it’s not like crazy, right-wing rhetoric or socialist philosophy. I think I talk sense as a moderate, mainstream Republican.

Lots of times Democrats come up to me afterwards and say, “You know, I agree with you.” Many times Democrats hide behind Republican skirts. They might agree with us, but they’re passing it because this chairman wants it, or this faction wants it, this union wants it. And they pull the plug later on in a different committee, or amend it.

Q: So the Democrats would like to oppose some things but don’t, and they let the Republicans be the contrarian here?

A: Yes. Like there was a proposed increase in the excise tax. This was a few years ago. And, you know, we have no power; we always have such a small minority. But the bill died, and years later I wanted the endorsement of an entity, and they said, “No, because the Republicans killed the excise tax increase.” How could we with eight, 12, even 17 votes kill anything?

read … Stories to Tell

Boylan: None of the Candidates We Elected are Any Good

Boylan: Mayor-elect Kirk Caldwell has work to do as well. After proclaiming himself ecstatic at the prospect of fixing potholes, scrubbing park restrooms and moving sewage, he’d better dwell first and foremost on his promise “to build rail better.” A good 90 percent of those who voted in the Honolulu mayoral race voted on that issue alone, for or against. Caldwell can leave a restroom or two dirty, but he must “build rail better.”

And John White and those responsible for PRP’s $2.8 million assault on Ben Cayetano had best look hard at what they didn’t do: They didn’t make the case for rail. Anti-rail spokesmen have controlled the narrative on that issue since long before Cayetano announced his candidacy. PRP may have taken Ben down, but it’s doubtful that they’ve sold rail sufficiently to see it through to completion.

Since election day, we’ve spent a fair amount of time congratulating ourselves on electing three women to Hawaii’s four-person delegation. But so what? Mazie Hirono won big, but she offered voters some of the most embarrassing debate moments of the campaign season. Tulsi Gabbard, despite her professed foxhole conversions on key social issues, left many liberal Democrats wondering whether she was sincere about them, and Colleen Hanabusa spent too much of her campaign lecturing voters on how Congress worked.

In the months and years ahead, Hirono, Gabbard and Hanabusa need to speak more clearly, more definitively and more productively. If we hurtle over the fiscal cliff, if Washington’s gridlock prevails, it doesn’t matter the gender of those casting the votes.

At home, the Legislature is going through post-election reorganization. The Senate’s leadership looks almost exactly as it did last session. The House, as I write, remains unorganized. Speaker Calvin Say’s leadership is being challenged by former Speaker Joe Souki.

That’s right, 79-year-old Joe Souki. In the narrow defeats of 72-year-old mayoral candidates Cayetano on Oahu and Harry Kim on Hawaii Island, the state’s geezer government took a couple of hits. But give Joe a chance; he’ll take us back to the future.

(This is what you get when your message is based on demonization of the opposition.)

read … Wishful Thinking

Kim Committee Goes After Torkildson, Telescope PR Firm

SA: The committee report notes that the UH Human Resources Department, not lawyers from Torkildson, actually redacted documents, deleting the names of Stevie Wonder and UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw from the fact-finders report, along with the names of some UH employees and promoter Bob Peyton.

The committee asked why Torkildson didn’t correct erroneous redactions or advise the university of potential violations of the state’s open-records law.

The committee also took issue with testimony from Torkildson attorney Jeffrey S. Harris during an Oct. 2 hearing.

In a testy exchange, senators tried unsuccessfully to get Harris to explain why the university didn’t answer the committee’s request for a breakdown of costs associated with the concert.

Harris’ evasiveness “raises the possibility that the Torkildson firm was instead withholding information” from the committee and the public, the report said.

Kim accused Barbara Tanabe of Hoakea Communications of asking business leaders and other community members to request that the Senate not hold committee hearings on the concert fiasco.

Senators questioned whether the hiring of Cades Schutte and Hoakea Communications followed the state procurement law, citing advice from the state Procurement Office that hiring Cades Schutte may not have qualified under the “expert witness exemption” used by the university.

The report said Hoakea is supposed to be consulting with the university for research projects, such as the 30 Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Senators questioned whether broadening the contract to include the Stevie Wonder concert aftermath was appropriate.

The committee said the hiring of the law firms and Hoakea Communications under procurement exemptions raises larger issues about university spending on outside law and public relations firms when the university has in-house lawyers and public relations staff.

Related: Greenwood: I’ve Been too Busy to Read Senate Accountability Report

read ... Panel doubts value of legal, PR services hired by UH

Nago’s Incompetence is Borreca’s Latest Excuse for Vote-by Mail

Borreca: All the evidence needed to show that our elections must improve could be found in Hawaii's 2012 primary and general elections. (One hand washes the other.)

First in the primary, Gov. Neil Abercrombie was forced to order Hawaii island polling stations to remain open after normal voting hours, because some voters there were faced with shuttered polling places when they went to vote.

The state voting system became more of a mess in the general election when scores of Oahu polling places ran out of ballots.

Scott Nago, state elections chief, said they miscalculated and applied the wrong formula for how many ballots to send out to the precincts.

It doesn't really matter. Running out of ballots for any reason means you are not running the election right.

Instead we should mail ballots to voters. Ask that voters complete the ballot and mail it back. Companies mail bills to customers, who then mail back payments. No new wheels need be invented.

In a post on the liberal blog FireDogLake.com, David Daven, wrote: "It's impossible to envision a better system for voting than just doing it by mail. It's so intuitive that you would wonder why we would ever do it another way."

"Our geographical challenges will be overcome for statewide elections, and it is becoming more and more difficult to staff polling places. We know absentee mail has a great percentage of return," Hanabusa said in an interview.

She added that a mail system could be "a lot cheaper, with greater return, and I did not hear of any allegations of voter fraud. The Legislature should look into it."

Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz is also thinking good thoughts about vote by mail.

"All mail-in ballots could be the wave of the future. If we can address the security concerns, this is something that the Legislature ought to consider seriously," said Schatz.

Security Concerns: Vote by Mail Fraud: Romy Cachola Barged In, Wanted Ballots

Reality: Vote By Mail: “Tool of choice for voter fraud”

read … Whoever Bangs on Your Door First Gets Your Votes

Scaled-back tower plans welcome

SA: A tower rising to 650 feet was suggested by Gov. Neil Abercrombie last year with the understanding that it would make it easier to allow more affordable housing to qualify for federal assistance.

The Rev. Bob Nakata, a representative of Faith Action for Community Equity, expressed concern at an HCDA public hearing on Tuesday that "many of our friends — maybe ourselves — will not be able to live in Hawaii" in the absence of such assistance.

Not necessarily. Forest City's latest plan includes 390 of 840 rental apartments that would meet federal requirements that they be affordable to residents earning no more than about $80,000 for a single person or $114,240 for a family of four, regardless of whether the towers are no taller than 400 feet.

More than half of the 1,002 fee-simple condos proposed by Lend Lease in two towers 400 and 650 feet would meet the federal standards.

read … Kakaako

Kauai Council Factions Line Up

KGI: The next Kaua‘i County Council has yet to be sworn in, but its composition is already taking place. At a special council-elect meeting Tuesday, several roles were decided through a straw vote.

If the non-binding decision stays when Dec. 3 rolls in, Chair Jay Furfaro will retain the gavel, but Vice Chair JoAnn Yukimura will likely lose her second-in-command post to sophomore Councilwoman Nadine Nakamura.

The council was stuck in 3-3 tie between Yukimura and Nakamura — Councilman Mel Rapozo was absent due to missing a standby flight back to Kaua‘i Monday night, according to Councilman-elect Ross Kagawa.

However, Nakamura will likely be the next council’s vice chair, because Kagawa gave the spoiler alert by disclosing that Rapozo had already said he would support Nakamura for the position and would vote for her if the council’s decision Tuesday came to a tie.

Kagawa nominated Nakamura, and Councilman Tim Bynum nominated Yukimura.

read … Council Factions

Potheads Thrilled as DEA Abandons Hilo Office

WHT: DEA Special Agent Sarah Pullen, a media contact in the agency’s Los Angeles office, said last week that the “(t)he closure of the Hilo office was part of a DOJ mandate to reduce DEA’s footprint by closing some offices and saving money. All DOJ components had to identify some offices for closure.”

“With the closure of DEA’s enforcement office in Hilo … the Aviation Division, which principally supports DEA offices and investigations, closed down its aviation component there,” Pullen said. “The Aviation Division will continue to provide aviation support with resources from Honolulu (and) … will continue to conduct investigations and to assist local law enforcement throughout Hawaii using resources from our Honolulu District Office.”

The DEA website for its Los Angeles office still lists Hilo as a “post of duty” and lists a telephone number that is no longer in service. A Google search also indicates that the DEA has an office at 349 Kapiolani St., Hilo, the location of the Police Department. However, a source in the Police Department said that while office space is available for the DEA in both the Hilo and Kona offices of the department, no DEA agents have been assigned to the offices.

Meanwhile, a local medical marijuana activist bid good riddance to the agency.

“Joy, joy,” said Wolf Daniel Braun upon learning the news. Braun is former president of the Peaceful Sky Alliance, a now-disbanded marijuana advocacy group.

“The DEA has been no friend of mine,” Braun said, “or of the medical marijuana community.”

read … Fiscal Cliff

Another Alleged Homosexual Child Rapist Arraigned

KGI: Chad Vaughn Kealohapauole Weigle, 46, of Kekaha, was arraigned Monday on multiple first-degree sexual assault charges against a mentally disabled juvenile in 2010….

Weigle was indicted on Nov. 14 on one count of third-degree sexual assault and 10 counts of first-degree sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1, 2010. The juvenile is listed as “mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless,” according to the indictment.

The charges include sexual contact by touching, anal, oral and finger penetration of the youth. One first-degree charge accuses the defendant of using sex toys on the boy.

read … About something they don’t show you on ‘New Normal’

Hilo Begs for Money to Hire Doctors as Fiscal Cliff, Obamacare Wipe out Funds

HTH: Hilo Medical Center officials will be heading to the state Legislature next year, hat in hand, hoping for a solution to Hawaii Island’s physician shortage problem.

Howard Ainsley, Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Regional CEO, pressed his case Tuesday before a committee meeting of the County Council, in an effort to enlist isle lawmakers’ support for a bill that would fund the HHSC Primary Care Training Program.

State Sen. Gil Kahele and Rep. Clift Tsuji have agreed to introduce the bill, which appropriates $2.8 million for each of the two fiscal years beginning July 1, 2013….

In addition to raising funds through civic organizations like the Hilo Rotary Club, as well as the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, the HHSC’s family practice residency program has stayed afloat thanks to a grant provided by TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

But with TriWest losing the federal Department of Defense grant, (FISCAL CLIFF) and its successor United Healthcare evaluating its level of commitment for the program, medical residency efforts remain on shaky ground. The residency program is in the process of being nationally accredited and will begin training physicians in 2014….

“It is really, really hard, particularly in East Hawaii, to find a physician,” said Kristine McCoy, HMC’s residency director, to lawmakers Tuesday. “We really see this problem as getting worse instead of better.”….

In response to a question by Councilman Pete Hoffmann about reimbursement rates, Ainsley said the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” would likely result in lower reimbursements for the future, and the hospital would need to keep costs down.

read … Hospital seeks solution to isle’s doctor shortage

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