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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
December 18, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:18 PM :: 4540 Views

Hawaii Loses One of its Three Major Industries

Inouye wanted Hanabusa to succeed him in U.S. Senate

Senator Daniel Inouye Dies at 88

Abercrombie Submits Biennium Budget to State Legislature

The Jones Act Debate in Puerto Rico: Urban Legend or a Never-Ending Story?

Anti-Mafia Police Sieze More Property Tied to Hawaii Windfarm Developer

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted December 17, 2012

SA: Inouye Memorial Coverage

$439M in First Year: Abercrombie Budget Boosts Spending 19%

CB: Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to restore government services and public employee salaries to pre-recession levels over the next two years.

His administration's proposed operating budget calls for an 8 percent increase in fiscal year 2014 and 11 percent in 2015, in part because general fund revenues are up. This includes restoring the 5 percent reduction in state worker wages that was implemented after the recession.

Abercrombie submitted his biennium budget request to the Legislature Monday. Hawaii lawmakers will pick it up when the next legislative session opens Jan. 17….

The budget includes a 5 percent contingency reserve restriction on discretionary appropriations for FY13. This emergency plan could help cover a $40 million gap Hawaii might face if Congress can't reach a deal by January to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."

Abercrombie's budget expects $2.03 billion in federal funds for FY14 and $2.12 billion in FY15 — a net increase over the biennium. This is on top of $6.1 billion in state general funds for FY14 and $6.3 billion for FY15.

SA: Governor asks $439M for new spending plan

HR: Governor Proposes $6.1 Billion Budget

read … More Taxes to pay for HGEA

Potheads, Gay-Atheists to Select Inouye’s Replacement

KHON: But the Hawaii Democratic Party will begin the process of appointing Sen. Inouye's replacement, fairly immediately. It starts with the 78-member State Central Committee.  (Which is made up mostly of gay activists, atheists, and medicated marijuana activists.)

"And that body will be making the recommendation of nominees which will subsequently be forwarded to the Governor of the State of Hawaii who will make the ultimate selection," he said.

The committee, made up of residents from every district, will make a call for candidates who are members in good standing, which means, they must have been a party member for at least six months. That committee will provide the party chairperson with a list of three people, within 21 calendar days. The chair will give that list to the governor within three business days. No matter who is chosen, one thing, is clear.

"With the two senior senators basically out of the picture now, the state of Hawaii literally reverts to junior status in the United States Senate," he said.

He says, that means, Hawaii residents, need to step up to the plate.

"We'll be scrambling, and so it's going to maybe now involve a great deal more citizen participation than we've had in the past," Carpenter said.

The last time a senator was appointed in Hawaii in this manner was in 1990. That's when Daniel Akaka was appointed to the U.S. Senate to succeed Spark Matsunaga, who passed away.

(IQ Test: Do you think the Progressives will respect Inouye’s request that old-boy Hanabusa be appointed?  If they put her name on the list, it is only because they know Abercrombie won’t pick her.) 

ILind: What the Progressives Think about Inouye

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

read … Not the same Democratic Party Inouye Started With, eh?

33-18: Carroll, Awana Bolt to Souki Camp

PR: State Rep. Mele Carroll and Rep. Karen Awana are the latest lawmakers to choose to organize with Rep. Joseph Souki’s coalition of dissident Democrats and Republicans….

The defections give the Souki coalition 26 Democrats — the number needed to control the 51-member House — along with seven Republicans, for 33 votes in all.

Rep. Karl Rhoads and Rep. John Mizuno had previously split from the Say faction.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Say’s chosen successor, has 18 votes.

read … A Majority with Democrats

20-Year HSTA Member Describes Being Worn Down by RTTT

CB: (From a 20-year HSTA member at failing Pahoa HS) The Hawaii State Teachers Association did not let teachers know about progress in negotiations, only that they were going on (“they’re sitting down at the table now, as we speak ...”) in a meeting held at our school on December 10, and that teacher evaluations were at the top of the list.

HSTA seemed to be gathering more “facts” and “evidence” from teachers and asked if teachers were willing to testify on certain issues. The meeting was mainly about this and what teachers know about the Race To The Top implementations at their schools. HSTA has enough facts, evidence, and testimony to choke a horse, as the saying goes, and then some.

A teacher who traveled from the Leeward District said that her Complex Area Superintendent was responsive to teacher needs and implied that her superintendent did not act like a despot of a small, military state.

One teacher said that we need to get rid of HSTA and have the AFL-CIO as our teacher’s union.

Also shared were examples of teachers being policed, counselor needs being ignored and the Comprehensive Student Support System overloaded with unmet needs of students. One teacher attended trainings comprised of three teachers with four district resource teachers “training” teachers. This is a typical scenario.

Much anguish and outrage were in teachers’ voices. Teachers spoke harshly to each other at the meeting in an attempt to gain HSTA’s ear and have their heartbreaking requests heard.

The December 10 meeting really shook me up. Teachers are angry with the system, with the governor, and with the Complex Superintendent. Race To The Top implementation is half over and teachers have only received more paperwork mandates.

The state has plans to implement what has been “piloted” at our school and mandate this statewide. Our school will be a “good example of what works.”

This was not only disconcerting to teachers but some left the meeting in anger. Teachers said that they play along until the data-gatherers "go away” so they can get down to the nuts and bolts of teaching.

I did some soul searching that evening and could find little reason to remain at my job.

read … RTTT Having its Desired Effect

Obama expected to choose Chicago for presidential library

WE: Despite a hard-charging effort by the University of Hawaii to win President Obama's presidential library and museum, the University of Chicago tops the list because it will draw more visitors and has strong ties to Obama, his family and close staff.

But the decision may not come for up to two years, as the president juggles his agenda and legacy before focusing on the library, especially the necessary private fundraising for the facility that the government will take over once it is built.

Library insiders reveal that the two universities are the leading contenders, with Chicago taking a very low-key approach and Hawaii, which recognizes its No. 2 status, working harder. For example, the school recently visited with officials at former President George H.W. Bush's library at the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

read … Chicago

Hawaii Among 18 States moving forward on health insurance exchanges

WT: States had until Friday to submit applications to the federal government to establish state-based exchanges. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday announced the list of states that met the deadline, which comprised California, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, Kentucky, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and Washington.

CNBC: A Third of All States Plan Health-Care Exchanges: Sebelius

Read … Monopoly Exchange

Design flaw blamed for fall of school roof

SA: The roof collapse at Farrington High School's auditorium is believed to have been caused by a design failure dating back to the building's original construction 58 years ago, according to a preliminary report.

Structural engineers hired by the Department of Education to determine how the roof came down — and whether other buildings may also be at risk — concluded that maintenance, the age of the building and condition of the roof did not appear to be factors in the collapse Nov. 23, said Ray L'Heureux, Department of Education assistant superintendent for facilities and school support services.

Repairs and upgrades to the building also were not factors.

The culprit instead was a steel roof truss whose "design limit" was overextended by an attached concrete cantilevered balcony that provided access to lights used to illuminate the stage, L'Heureux said Monday.

The truss that failed was the second from the stage.

"It was a time bomb just ticking," L'Heureux said. "This thing was designed to fail the minute it was built."…

L'Heureux said engineering firm Kai Hawaii did find the auditorium was otherwise "structurally sound" and so could be saved rather than torn down. That's a bit of good news for the DOE: The cost of repairs to the building is in the neighborhood of $8 million, L'Heureux said, while rebuilding it would cost $30 million.

read … Design Flaw

Military housing allowance in Hawaii to go up by nearly 20% for some

PBN: The increase equates to an average BAH increase of about $60 per month, DOD officials said in a statement…. The new rates mean that an enlisted service member with a rank of E-5 with dependents on Oahu will $2,256 per month, which is an 18.8 percent increase from this year, while an officer with a rank of O-3, with dependents, will get $3,132, which is an 8 percent increase.

LINK: BAH Rates

read … Rents Going up

Maluhia program best served by renewing doctor’s contract

SA: Recently, some caregivers and patients of Dr. K. Albert Yazawa were given notice that Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (HHSC) was not renewing his contract as medical director of Maluhia/Leahi long-term care facilities and physician at the Maluhia Geriatric Clinic. 

In 2008, HHSC made plans to close the Maluhia Adult Day Health Program and the Geriatric Clinic. A group of caregivers protested this action and was successful in getting HHSC to reverse its decision.
Now, a group called “Save Our  Doctor Ohana” has been formed to try and get HHSC to reverse its most recent decision and renew….

HHSC has hired a medical director and has offered the 15-hour geriatric clinic physician position to Dr. Yazawa, who has publicly stated that it would be difficult to accept a position with limited hours and no benefits. 

read … HHSC at Work

Ex-guard pleads guilty to sex assault of inmate

SA: He pleaded guilty to one of five counts of sexual abuse of a ward. Seaman said he was working as the commissary supervisor on Dec. 8 last year when he had sex with the inmate.

Federal prosecutor William Shipley said Seaman had sex with the inmate in the commissary or a storage room behind a closed door. The woman saved DNA on her shirt from the encounter and turned the shirt over to investigators. Shipley said the DNA from the shirt matches Seaman's DNA.

In exchange for the guilty plea, the government promised to drop four other charges accusing Seaman of sexually assaulting the same inmate in September, October and November of 2011.

The woman, using the pseudonym Jane Doe, filed a civil lawsuit last month against Seaman and the government.  (Cashing in!)  She claims his supervisors knew that Seaman was previously investigated for sexually assaulting or sexually harassing female inmates yet permitted him to be alone with her on at least three occasions in areas of the detention center not monitored by cameras.

(Political correctness allows male guards for female prisoners.)

Related: Detainee Names Five Honolulu FDC Guards, Alleges Sex with Inmates

read … Sex Assault

Congresswoman:: Honolulu TSA Should go Easy on Muslims

TW: "This past August, news reports indicated that (TSA) Transportation Security Administration screeners at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts subjected minorities to profiling, in particular Latinos, blacks and those who appeared to be from the Middle East. Similar allegations have been made in recent months about TSA screeners at airports in Hawaii and New Jersey," the letter said.

"Although there were reports that these screeners are being retrained in these locations, this is not enough. We therefore request a briefing on everything that TSA is doing to address racial, ethnic and religious profiling which continues to be an issue for the Sikh, South Asian, Arab, Muslim, Hispanic and Black travelers," the Congressmen say in the letter.

read ... You can trust them, they’re Muslims

Time for Bold Action on Biofuels

HR: Already this year, a bipartisan group of eight governors and a coalition of the nation's livestock industry requested that the biofuels mandate be waived.

The conflict between drought year corn harvests and a growing ethanol industry are creating a food versus fuel crisis. The Obama Administration denied that waiver request.

The biofuel hysteria, however, started back with President George W. Bush. In 2007, he signed the Energy Independence and Security Act, establishing a national "renewable fuel standard" requiring domestic refineries to mix a certain volume of biofuels every year.

For 2013, that volume is 16.55 billion gallons. That amount is set to increase substantially next year, and every year until 2022, when the goal is 36 billion gallons of biofuels. More than 25 percent of our current total fuel use.

This goal is unattainable under the current system.

read … Biofools

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