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Saturday, January 12, 2013
January 12, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:07 PM :: 5270 Views

133 Candidates Register for Honolulu Neighborhood Board Elections

Seven Apply for House District 9 Position

FULL TEXT: HSTA Contract Proposal

'Coastal Development' Tops Priorities for Hawaii Ocean Resources Plan

HART Claims Rail Delay Costs 'Lower than Expected'

Hanabusa says 2014 run for governor, Senate, House all on table

KHON: "I hear it all over, and they will all be on the table,” Hanabusa told KHON2’s Gina Mangieri on Friday.

But she says which option -- including seeking re-election to her U.S. House seat -- is not yet decided.

"I can tell you definitely I intend to be in an election in 2014," Hanabusa said.

The acknowledgment launches an unofficial start to the campaign season.

"What you're seeing is Round 2 of the battle for the Democratic Party in Hawaii,” said John Hart, political analyst, and professor of communications at Hawaii Pacific University. “There's obviously a lot of pressure on her from various parts of the Democratic Party to come home and either run for governor or run for Senate in the primary. I think the fact that she's come public with it lets us know what time it is."

It puts two potential opponents on notice. First Sen. Schatz, whose office told KHON2: “Our office is busy working hard for the people of Hawaii."

“What that means is Brian Schatz has two years to firm up his home base,” Hart said. “If he can survive a primary challenge from Hanabusa, the job is probably his for a very long time.”

“Does Djou start fundraising? Does Linda Lingle start fundraising? And who do the Democrats groom for that CD-1 (Congressional District 1) seat if she's not in it?” Hart added.

read … Hanabusa

Teachers want 4%, 4 years; tab extra $440 million

KHON: The public school teachers union is asking for pay raises of four percent in each of the next four years, and says they'll help secure extra money to fund it at the legislature.

The state estimates such a deal including other benefits sought would cost $440 million….

HSTA came back to the contract bargaining table with the state on Friday after a one-month break. In the union's first proposal since rejecting other state offers, the HSTA put forth a four-year deal instead of two years, with four percent raises annually, and the state picking up 60 percent of the medical premium cost instead of the current 50-50. They say a recent UPW arbitration award sets a precedent.

As KHON2 first reported, a draft arbitration award gave UPW a 3.2 percent raise, on top of not having had to take the five percent pay cut many other unions agreed to in negotiations, and UPW retained a better share of health premium costs (Link HERE)….

The union also called for safeguards in a teacher evaluation process piloted at about 80 schools so far….

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi told KHON2: “The proposed terms that were presented to the state's negotiating team requires a thorough review. We remain committed to reaching a resolution."

The governor’s proposed budget already accounts for restoring the five percent pay cuts many other public workers agreed to take in the last biennium, but the four percent the teachers seek is above that restored base. The HSTA offer would allow for recapture of the base along with the raises over the course of the 2013-15 budgets.

State budget director Kalbert Young told KHON2 he had not yet seen the HSTA proposal, but said based on the numbers reported, the four-percent-above-restored-base would cost an extra $320 million in raises and $120 million in additional medical premiums, for a total of $440 million extra over the next four years. He said if every union were to get the same raises and benefits, it would cost the state an extra $1.4 billion beyond the budget: $1 billion in wages and $400 million in medical premiums….

As Predicted: Four of a Kind: UPW, UHPA get big Fat Pay Raise—and HSTA suit could give one to HGEA 

FULL TEXT: HSTA Contract Proposal

HSTA Survey: "Hawaii teachers welcome an evaluation process"

HSTA: Another Union Soon to Win Big Arbitration Award

read … $440M for HSTA

LNG Fuel switch could bring 55% savings--HECO to give money to Solar, Wind Scammers

SA: Switching to liquefied natural gas could save Hawaiian Electric Co. more than 50 percent at two of its power plants, according to a new report commissioned by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute.

Hawaiian Electric could save an estimated 43 percent to 55 percent at its Waiau plant and 40 percent to 52 percent at its Kahe facility by switching to LNG instead of continuing to burn low-sulfur fuel oil and installing new emission controls that will soon be required at plants burning low-sulfur fuel….

The savings estimate was included in a 252-page report produced by a subsidiary of Facts Global Energy, a Singaporean-based consulting firm with offices in Hono­lulu….

For Hawaii to receive domestic LNG shipments, authorities would have to contend with the Jones Act, a federal law that requires that all cargo shipped between two U.S. seaports be carried on vessels built in the United States, owned by a U.S. citizen or company and manned by a U.S. crew. Because most LNG carriers are foreign-flagged, authorities would have to get a waiver from the Jones Act to bring in LNG from U.S. terminals, the report said.

LNG also has the potential to reduce costs for ground transportation, which accounts for more than a quarter of all liquid fuel use in the state, according to the report. Motorists who switch from gasoline-powered vehicles to ones fueled by compressed natural gas could save as much as 34 percent at the pump, the report said.

The report also countered a view expressed by several environmental and clean energy groups that bringing in LNG would negatively affect Hawaii's push to develop more renewable-energy sources.

"Savings from the LNG in the power sector are large enough to compensate for more expensive renewables," the report's authors wrote. (Translation: The people are so stupid that we will be able to do all of this without lowering their electric bills.  We will instead give the money to you green energy scammers.)

Full Text: LNG Report: HCEI Goals not Compatible With Refining in Hawaii

SA: Hilo gas prices rise the most as state sees overall jump (Nothing to do with Tesoro, really.)

read … Striking Fear into Hearts of Green Energy Scammers

War With HGEA, UPW: Banner Health nonprofit wants to take over 8 HHSC hospitals

HHSC: Banner Health to be discussed Without Taking Motions in Executive Session by HHSC Board January 17, 2013

HNN: Phoenix-based nonprofit Banner Health has made an "initial conceptual offer" to the state to take over operations, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, Hilo Medical Center and Kona Community Hospital.  Other hospitals whose operations could be transferred to Banner from the state are in Kau, Kohala, Hamakua, Kula and on the island of Lanai….

…under the deal proposed by Banner, the company would not pay the state any rent for the hospital facilities and the state would guarantee an annual management fee to Banner….

Avery Chumbley, chairman of the HHSC board said, "I believe in the end, that we would have an improvement in the quality and clinical care."

Chumbley said the deal must also be good for taxpayers, who subsidize annual operations at all 14 public hospitals statewide by about $82 million a year. 

Officials said under its initial offer, Banner wanted to continue receiving the eight hospitals' share of subsidies from the state -- worth tens of millions -- for the first few years and transition to no subsidy after about seven or eight years. 

"HHSC has had a very large subsidy and I think it's good for us to look at ways to address whether we can control that subsidy or not," said State Sen. Josh Green (D- Kona, Kohala), a medical doctor who chairs the State Senate Health Committee. 

"Their proposal is going to have to be vetted through the legislature and certainly the health committee is going to take it very seriously," Green said. 

More than 3,000 unionized employees work at the eight hospitals that could be transferred to Banner Health and some lawmakers are concerned about job losses in communities where the facilities are often the largest employers…. 

A Banner spokesman said unions will be part of their Hawaii operations in an otherwise non-union company, if the deal goes forward. 

"We view the unions as essential partners in this," said Byron, the Banner Health spokesman. 

But the employees here would likely have to re-apply for their jobs with different salaries, benefits and work rules.  (FOR NURSES THIS MEANS A HUGE RAISE)

"Banner has made it very clear to us that they are not trying to bust the union.  That they will work with us on the union issue," said Chumbley, who spent ten years in the state legislature representing Maui and Kauai as a Democrat. 

The head of the public union that represents nearly 2,100 public hospital registered professional nurses, X-ray technicians, lab workers and other employees released a statement saying the prospect of Banner Health's takeover is "unsettling." 

"Frankly, it is incomprehensible that the state would willingly relinquish neighbor island healthcare decisions to a mainland facility," said Randy Perreira, executive director of HGEA. "This proposal certainly wouldn't be in the best interest of our local communities and our state." 

The United Public Workers union, which represents licensed practical nurses and other employees at the hospitals, sent the HHSC a letter asking the organization to "cease and desist" any negotiations with Banner Health, a source said.

read … Banner Health

Kaiser gets approval for 5.3% rate increase

SA: The state approved Friday a 5.3 percent bump in premiums for 155,000 Kaiser Permanente Hawaii members, the latest of a string of rate hikes for the state's largest health maintenance organization.

The increase covers 5,200 companies, the bulk of Kaiser's business…

Reason: Is ObamaCare Causing Health Insurance Premiums to Rise?

read … Obamacare Preview

Election Commission Delays Report on Nago Fiasco

CB: Young said he and Marshall, with the help of other commissioners and the Department of the Attorney General, had already concluded the investigation and determined what problems caused the ballot shortage. But he couldn’t divulge what the errors were, citing legal constraints that bar the Commission from elaborating on personnel matters. 

All he could say was that the subcommittee interviewed six Office of Elections employees and that their names and other details would be revealed at the next commission meeting, which is scheduled for later this month. 

“We’re not trying to sweep anything away,” said Young. “We just cannot go any further with the personnel stuff — by law. By law, we can’t do it.”

Commission Chair William Marston said that commissioners will start deliberations immediately and have a report “that should address what the public expects to see” ready by the next meeting. 

KITV:  Results of inquiry won't be revealed until Jan. 25 

PDF: Elections Commission Agenda

read … Nago to go?

No Joke: Former state Rep. Jerry Chang joins UH Hilo as director of university relations

PBN: Chang, a Democrat who represented the south Hilo district for more than 20 years and was chairman of the House Higher Education Committee from 2007 to 2010, replaces Gerald DeMello, who retired Dec. 31 after 21 years with UH Hilo.  (No, its not April Fools Day!)

“I am very happy and excited to have Jerry join the UH Hilo ohana, and know that he will be a tremendous asset,” UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney said in a statement. “Jerry brings with him familiarity with the UH System, a broad range of legislative experience, and a thorough understanding of public policy issues, including the state’s budgetary process.”

read … No Joke!

Absence of Truck Farming Leads to Invasive Species Danger

AP: Pests hitchhiking in 40 imported commodities like lettuce and cut flowers account for 90 percent to 95 percent of the pests and potential invasive species entering Hawaii, a state official said Friday.

The department is particularly concerned a plant pathogen native to Brazil will sneak into Hawaii in cut flower bouquets. The pathogen called eucalyptus rust is a threat to native ohia trees, which are the dominant tree in Hawaii's native forests.

Hawaii imports 85 percent to 90 percent of its food and a significant share of flowers.

SA: State must fight invasive species now to minimize future costs, groups say (It must be budget time.)

Read … Truck Farms MIA

State LUC Rejects Affordable Housing for Lahaina

MN: The commission's official denial follows a Dec. 5 vote on Maui when project developer West Maui Land Co. received four votes in favor of the project, two short of the six required for a needed land reclassification of 16.7 acres from agricultural to urban.

The panel's vote came despite the project having the support of the county Department of Planning and the state Office of Planning. Opposition came from interveners Michele Lincoln, a Lahaina resident who lives near the project site, and Routh Bolomet of Oahu.  (Ruth who? Click here and find out.)

In 2011, the Maui County Council approved the Kahoma project as a fast-track affordable housing development. The homes would have been sold to families with incomes up to 160 percent of median income.

West Maui Land officials have said that they would likely file a motion for reconsideration with the Land Use Commission. So far, the developers have spent $600,000 for environmental studies, fees, attorneys and consultants.

read … Keep it expensive


Abolish the PLDC Rally Jan 16

Homelessness among elderly needs action

HNN: Iconic local businessman Lex Brodie dies

KITV: Lex Brodie- 1914-2013

VIDEO: Here's a vintage Lex Brodie tire commercial from the Lex Brodie's YouTube channel.

Star-Advertiser owner buys alternative weeklies in Seattle, San Francisco

Hawaiian Airlines ranks first in punctuality, fewest cancellations

Military moms are showered with appreciation

Refits complete at Lanai’s Four Seasons resorts

Hickam to Be Powered by Fuel Cell Plant

Opukaha‘ia: An incredible journey of faith continues in Hilo

Panel is at odds on pay increase for Maui mayor


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