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Wednesday, December 12, 2012
December 12, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:54 PM :: 5834 Views

Effects on a State After Loss of Senior Senator

Sierra Club Sues, Demands DoTax Continue to Defy Legislature, Give Money to Solar Scammers

TPL, OHA Gain Control of Galbraith Estate

Economist: Visa Waivers Behind Hawaii Tourism Boom

Study: Hawaii 2nd Healthiest State in USA

North Korea Threatens with Successful Missile Launch

North Korea Missile Launch Successful

OHA installs five trustees to new four-year terms

Enviros: NW Hawaiian Isles Should be Superfund Site

Wooley: PLDC Repeal at top of Souki’s Agenda

WT: Speaker Souki has made clear that the first bill he will introduce at the very beginning of session will be to repeal Act 55. With his commitment, key House members have pledged their support for Souki as Speaker. You could say the very leadership of the House will change because of Act 55.

Read … Repeal PLDC

HSTA Walks Away from Negotiations over Evaluations

SA: Okabe said there have been complaints from teachers about a pilot program of the evaluation system, and growing questions about whether the new ratings can be implemented well in such a short amount of time.

He said the use of test scores in the evaluation is also concerning.

"It is not only about the test scores," he said. "It's about multiple measures within the evaluation process."

The state is experimenting with new evaluations for teachers and principals at 82 schools, and by next school year plans to take the system statewide. Ratings would officially take effect in the 2014-15 school year.

Under the terms of the offer the union rejected, teachers would have needed an "effective" rating or better in the 2014-15 school year (the second year of the contract) to receive any pay increases put in place in 2015-16 or later.

Ronn Nozoe, deputy superintendent at the state Department of Education, said HSTA has participated in work to develop the evaluation system from the start and will participate in implementing the rating systems.

"It's not accurate to be saying that the evaluation is all about test scores," he said. "The whole design of the system is based on multiple measures of student performance."

Asked whether the state is ready to put the evaluation system into full practice, he said, "Absolutely. We can do this."

Revising teacher evaluations has been a contentious debate nationally, as more states have moved to performance pay.

About 20 states now require student achievement to be a significant factor in judging teacher performance, up from four in 2009, according to the National Center for Teacher Quality, a Washington, D.C.-based research and policy group.

CB: Hawaii Teacher Evaluation Concerns Keep State, Union From Agreement

read … All About Evaluations

Federal Judge to Review Arguments in Rail Lawsuit Today

HR: HonoluluTraffic.com and seven other plaintiffs will take their case to U.S. District Court on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to ask Ninth Circuit Judge Wallace Tashima to grant an injunction against the city to stop the controversial $5.2 billion steel rail project from moving forward….

On Wednesday, Tashima could decide to stop the project all together, at least until the city corrects the problems that violate federal law.

He could order the city to redo much of its paperwork, which could delay the project and add to its cost substantially.

Or he could let the city continue preparing for the rail project while redoing the portions of the rail project or Environmental Impact Statement that violate federal law.

read … Today

TOD: HCDA to Choose Developer for Kakaako Mega-Tower Thursday

PBN: A state agency expects to select a developer Thursday for the $500 million 690 Pohukaina mixed-use project in Honolulu, which could include Hawaii’s tallest building at 650 feet.

“We are positioned to select a developer with which to negotiate a development agreement,” Hawaii Community Development Authority Executive Director Anthony Ching told PBN.

Affiliates of Forest City Hawaii and Lend Lease were chosen as the two finalists to build the public-private project in Kakaako. Both firms have extensive experience in developing residential projects in Hawaii.

Once a developer is chosen, it will start the clock on an 18-month process that will include numerous hurdles such as securing environmental approvals, finalizing transit-oriented development rules and obtaining entitlements.

The HCDA has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday to accept additional public comment on the development proposals and to make the final decision on which developer will move forward on the project.

(Key difference: Rentals or Fee-simple ownership. Ownership is the preferred option.)

FACE: HCDA Delivers On The Promise Of Transit-Oriented Development (FACE favors the Forest City rental option, not ownership.)

read … Kakaako

Hawaii Tech Transformation to Consume 2.4% of Budget

GT: For a small state, Hawaii has some significant challenges ahead. Leaders confess that the fragmented physical nature of the islands has led to a disjointed system of technology infrastructure. The state workforce has gotten by delivering services using disparate legacy systems past their prime with business processes to match. With maintenance costs for these aging systems growing every year, most agree that Hawaii is in desperate need of a technology overhaul….

Bhagowalia last year released a 1,432-page document aimed to make up for 30 years of underfunding for technology. The Technology/Information Resource Management Transformation Plan sets an ambitious agenda stretching over the next 12 years, focusing on the transformation of Hawaii’s business processes, information resource management and IT….

Modernizing the business operations and technology operations of a state is bound to be a costly proposition. Bhagowalia secured a $25 million budget allocation in 2011, a supplemental budget year, which went toward plan development. Support from Abercrombie as well as the state Legislature is critical to the plan’s success, and Bhagowalia is optimistic that it will continue through the next phase: execution.

He explained that IT has been grossly underfunded in Hawaii for the past three decades, and transformation will require an increased share of the state’s $11 billion budget. Historically 1.4 percent of the budget has been devoted to IT. While he said an industry best practice is a funding level of 3 to 5 percent, implementation of needed changes for Hawaii will require an increase to about 2.4 percent, sustained over the duration of the implementation period.

“Thirty years of under funding can be fixed in 10 years of at least funding at an appropriate level,” he said. Despite tough budget times across the board in state government, he remains optimistic that it can be achieved, admitting that failure to fund at that 2.4 percent level will impact implementation.

read … Gov Tech

Aloha Pacific Buys Up Another Credit Union

CUT: The $732 million Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union in Honolulu said its systems conversion with $12.2 million Hawaii Stevedore/Castle & Cooke Hawaii Federal Credit Union in Honolulu was completed on Dec. 1. That merger was recently approved by the NCUA.

This merger represents the fifth one in five years by Aloha Pacific FCU, which previously merged with InterIsland FCU, First Insurance FCU, Word of Life FCU and Media Hawaii FCU.

HSCCHFCU’s one branch remains open and its employees were placed in jobs at Aloha Pacific

read … Mergers

Man Accused of Defrauding Elderly Creates "Hawaii Reported" Web Site

HR: After Hawaii Reporter published news stories about local businessman Daniel Doi’s legal problems with the state, Doi created his own web site, called Hawaii Reported, that claims he is the victim of a political vendetta orchestrated by state officials.

The Attorney General’s office in November obtained a Circuit Court injunction against Doi for what Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito called Doi’s “willful abuse of Hawaii's consumers.”

Ito called Doi a “predator” who primarily targeted elderly consumers by selling them “expensive products that were inappropriate to their needs.”

After a Washington D.C woman complained to Hawaii Reporter and law enforcement authorities about Doi’s attempts to sell financial services to an elderly Hawaii relative, Dep. Attorney General C Bryan Fitzgerald said in early September that his office would seek an injunction against Doi.

State regulators first sued Doi over his business activities in 2010.

LINK: http://www.hawaiireported.com/

read … Man Accused Of Defrauding Elderly Creates "Hawaii Reported" Web Site

Former clerk Kawauchi lands job in county prosecutor’s office

WHT: Former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi has been hired as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the county Prosecutor’s Office in Kona….

According to her resume, Kawauchi is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Macalester College and the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law. A former Harvard University fellow, she was assistant director of the Harvard Medical School Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities and a legal and public policy associate of the Harvard Law School/Harvard Graduate School of Education Civil Rights Project.

Prior to becoming clerk, Kawauchi had her own law practice. She has also been an associate with Carlsmith Ball LLP and Tsukazaki Yeh & Moore LLLP. She was a law clerk to Judge Greg K. Nakamura and recently served on the County Charter Commission.

She was hired as one of 31 deputy prosecutors by the new County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, who won election in a squeaker against Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida, who was often at odds with Kawauchi while she was clerk.

read … Former clerk Kawauchi lands job in county prosecutor’s office

Meet Jenn Labencki, The Navy Wife

CB: Jenn fills her days taking care of their 16-month-old son Harper. Sometimes she works in the occasional get-together with other Navy wives struggling with the time apart from their loved ones.

Jenn moved to Oahu in July from the eastern shore of Maryland. She describes her hometown as having "more cows than people," and says getting used to Honolulu's urban lifestyle hasn't been easy.

It's not just the island's notorious traffic. Her first few months were marked by vandalism at her apartment, rude neighbors and a pricey traffic ticket for using her cell phone to find directions while lost.

read … Navy Wife

Demise of Star-Bulletin Leads to Less Recycling

ILind: The report released last month by the Department of Environmental Services said the shift to a single monopoly newspaper, coupled with the continuing drift of readers to digital access, reduced the amount of newsprint being deposited into the white bins, leaving more space for lighter cardboard boxes, often unflattened.

The result was a reduction in the average weight of a full bin by 50 percent or more, from two to three tons a decade ago to one ton. There was a similar decline in recycling revenue, the city says.

The success of the HI-5 beverage container redemption program and the expansion of curbside recycling also contributed substantially to reduced use of the community bins.

The city says the total amount of recyclable material collected in the white bins dropped from 12,000 tons in fiscal year 2007 to 4,000 tons in FY2012, with per-ton costs to collect and process rising substantially.

read … Garbage in, Garbage out

Convicted Thief Mike Golujuch Despoils Honolulu City Lights

SA: A Honolulu City Lights display sponsored by a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender support group was found damaged Tuesday in an apparent act of vandalism, said a member of the Oahu chapter of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

It was the first time in eight years that the PFLAG display at Hono­lulu City Lights has been damaged, said convicted thief Michael ‘Bitch Bear’ Golo­juch, special projects manager for PFLAG-Oahu.

The display occupies one of five spaces the city allots to nonprofit groups by lottery to take part in Hono­lulu City Lights on the Fasi Civic Center grounds….

Winds on Monday night in Hono­lulu were from the northeast at 17 mph with gusts up to 28 mph, said a National Weather Service official. Winds subsided early Tuesday morning to about 14 mph

Celebrate: Golujuch’s “aka Bitch Bear” myspace page and comment board and “Aloha Bears

read … Everybody Needs Sex, errr Love

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