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Sunday, January 20, 2013
January 20, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:29 PM :: 4305 Views

Our American Triumph: Civil Rights and Hawaii Statehood

Abercrombie to Push Penny an Ounce Soda Tax

Instill Priorities for Precious Tax Dollars

Honolulu: Hundreds Rally in Defense of Second Amendment

Hawaii Republicans Announce District Caucuses

Contentious Legislative Brawls Challenging for Abercrombie, Unions Deeply Suspicious 

SA: "I think he's got an uphill battle. His public relations, in some people's eyes, are not the best. Obviously, he's got to keep himself together with the labor organizations in several different ways," said Dante Carpenter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii and a longtime ally. "Other than that, because we have a new Legislature this time around, both in the Senate and the House, it's going to be a challenging period of time."

The governor will have to navigate contract negotiations with public-sector labor unions that have grown deeply suspicious of a chief executive who once had such a pro-labor reputation when he was a legislator and congressman.

Abercrombie, some of his allies say privately, will also have to avoid undermining his "New Day" agenda by personally stepping into legislative brawls over contentious issues such as the future of the Public Land Development Corp., legalized gambling or even his administration's support for a soda fee to counter obesity.

"I think it's going to be an interesting several months," Carpenter said. "This will set the tone one way or the other, if he is on the right track or not, I think."

The governor will also likely stress the importance of keeping Hawaii on track to meet its alternative energy goals. Tesoro's decision this month to close its refinery — and the potential that Chevron might follow, leaving the state with no refinery — is a reminder of the state's dependence on imported oil….

Abercrombie may address how money generated from the state's barrel tax on oil should be distributed. Lawmakers have siphoned money from the barrel tax to help control the budget deficit over the past few years, leaving less available for energy and food security initiatives. He could also discuss how best to preserve tax incentives for solar, which have been restricted by the state Department of Taxation because of concerns about the cost to the state….

At the private meeting with House and Senate leaders on Friday, sources say, there were questions about the potential impact of collective bargaining with public-sector labor unions on the budget. The governor's budget draft restores the 5 percent sliced from labor over the past two years, but the state has also offered 2 percent annual pay raises in contract talks with public school teachers, and a recent arbitration award for public correctional, institutional and health workers — which included 3.2 percent raises — could set the base for other unions….

Rep. Beth Fukumoto (R, Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres) said she supports Abercrombie's potential investment in new information technology and hopes the administration uses it to streamline government bureaucracy for businesses and residents.

She also hopes Abercrombie does not plan to call for tax increases. The governor has said that his financial plan does not rely on new taxes to balance, although his administration is behind a soda fee to generate money to combat obesity.

"I think some of the taxes that he has proposed in the past would really hurt lower-income (residents), and I think we want to avoid that," Fukumoto said.

Shapiro: Nagging bug debuts in isles -- and the flu's arrived, too

read … State of the State

PLDC: Abercrombie Eats His Own Words

Borreca: … his New Year starts with the Democratic governor forced to eat a lot of his words from 2012.

Although he didn't introduce the legislation that created the Public Land Development Corp., he immediately warmed up to the idea, becoming Act 55's biggest champion. Announcing that he would pull the plug must have been painful.

Abercrombie ran a smashmouth offense against those who condemned the law, which granted broad exemptions from land use and county zoning laws in order to coax private business to develop state lands.

The new law was immensely unpopular with environmentalists, Native Hawaiian groups and county officials.

To Abercrombie, he was right and everyone else was out of step.

Opponents were "the usual suspects" who spent the summer "using conspiratorial hysteria" to thwart the scheme to develop unused state land get money for the state parks department.

In a September interview, Abercrombie told the Star-Advertiser that opponents have appointed themselves as the public's voice and the "arbiters over what is appropriate or inappropriate in terms of development."

When asked if his administration could do more to foster a compromise, Abercrombie acted as if he was the one being put upon, saying "their attitude is, no matter what you do, no matter how you change it, you can't change it good enough to suit us."

Then last week Abercrombie started the process of backing away….Now, instead of throwing a forearm into opponents, Abercrombie is asking the Legislature to find a compromise.

"Public understanding and support are essential. If the Legislature cannot achieve this outcome, the possibility of repeal will ensue. I will take that outcome into consideration, but we cannot walk away, should that occur, without a solution that moves us forward," Abercrombie said.

On Tuesday, Abercrombie gives his third State of the State address and observers will be watching to see if he is really finished with the PLDC.

read … Will the Real Neil Please Shut Up

Caldwell focuses on the hotel room tax and money generated by the GET for rail

SA: Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking the Legislature to lift a cap on the amount of hotel room tax money that goes to counties and return at least some of the money collected by the state for administrative costs stemming from the general excise tax surcharge intended for rail.

The four county mayors outlined their budget requests to the Legislature's money committees last week.

Key lawmakers say it is too early in the legislative session to say whether either is a possibility.

read … Money Grab

Kam Schools helps guide charters on better school leadership

SA: As Hawaii’s charter schools adjust to a new law demanding more accountability, they are getting a helping hand from a coalition of charities led by the Chamberlin Family Foundation, which was created by two Roosevelt High School alumni.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based foundation, formed by 1960 Roosevelt High graduates Susan and Steve Chamberlin, is teaming up with the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Kamehameha Schools and the Hawaii Charter Schools Network. Their project, known as “The Excellence Initiative,” is designed to promote good governance in the state’s charter schools.

“Our lens is always focusing on kids and how to improve student outcomes so they have better opportunities,” said Julie Wright, executive director of the Chamberlin Foundation. “When you have effective governance, that can drive quality long-term for kids. When you don’t, you end up in challenging situations.”

Free workshops for charter school leaders and their boards are set for Monday at Kanu o ka Aina Public Charter School in Waimea on Hawaii island, and for Wednesday at the Koolau Ballrooms in Kaneohe. The sessions will feature Marci Cornell-Feist, CEO of The High Bar, and offer a crash course in governing a school, including how to avoid the “10 Top Mistakes” charter boards make.


read … Creeping KSBE Privatization?

PP: We Will Renew Effort to Force Abortion Pills on Hospitals

PP: Our state laws include health insurance parity in coverage of prescription contraceptives, access to emergency contraception (EC) at pharmacies, protections for minors seeking reproductive health care and treatment, improved sexual health education and a Freedom of Choice Act, which codifies the holdings of Roe into Hawaii state law….

This year, the Hawaii Legislature will deal with issues of reproductive freedom. One particular issue our legislators will take up is the Compassionate Care Bill. That bill prohibits hospitals from denying sexual assault victims information about and access to EC when they seek emergency care after a rape….

…some hospitals in Hawaii do not offer victims EC, or even provide information about it….

A 2010 survey of local hospitals found that of 16 responding hospitals, only six had a clear policy about EC in cases of sexual assault. Only four reported that they always provided it to victims. Three hospitals reported that they never provide EC to sexual assault victims.  (CLUE: Most of these hospitals are not doing this on religious grounds.  There are other problems with PP’s absolutist policy.  For instance, if a rape victim was pregnant prior to the rape, EC would result in termination of the pregnancy.)

Just Ignore: SB218: Will Legislature force St Francis Hospitals to close over forced abortion?

HRTL: Our life has dignity, from conception to natural death

read … No Right of Conscience

Elite snobs have hijacked Maui Democratic Party

MN: The skies were crying even in Kihei recently; tears of shame and sorrow over the injustice done to the honorable James "Kimo" Apana by the Maui Democratic Party hacks who would not even place his name on the list to replace Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran….

To me it is unexplainable how the longtime leader of Maui Democrats could be passed over for lesser-known and less-qualified people. It just shows how out-of-touch the elite snobs are who have hijacked the Maui Democratic Party over the last 10 years.

read … Elite Snobs

Legalized Gambling Will Create a New Class of Addicts

MN: Any move to casino gaming or even slot machines would have serious consequences for the state. A new class of addicts would be born and there would be a further strain on our already stretched social service and criminal justice systems.

Families would be destroyed, lives would be ruined.

As we've written before, people are not going to come from the Mainland to gamble in Hawaii. If gambling is the reason for a trip, there are many locations much closer than our state….

Before legislators consider anything beyond a lottery, a delegation should visit the slums of Atlantic City. The delegation should also visit neighboring communities to casinos in the Midwest - ask the police chiefs in those towns how legalized gambling affected their jobs.

Some obviously see legalized gambling as a panacea for all that ails our economy. It is not. It would bring a new set of tragic problems to our state.

read … Stay away from legal gambling

Excellent News: City Sweeps Net Up 96 Bins of Junk from Homeless Camps Daily 

DN: Sworn testimony by a City worker has suggested that the City may be conducting a fairly large program of confiscating personal property from homeless individuals and families living on sidewalks. This property must be kept safely for up to 30 days and returned when claimed. The City has also destroyed personal property by crushing it to bits in garbage trucks….

Under questioning, Mr. Sato reported that on the day of the Occupy raid, the City conducted a total of about twelve sweeps, confiscating four to eight bins of property at each.

read … But the Occupiers are doing their best to keep the homeless homeless

Hawaii Presidential Center Inaugural Gala

KHON: There are parties going on throughout the town leading up to the inaugural event, but this one in particular was a Hawaii focused event in support for a future Hawaii Presidential Center in Honolulu.

"I'm here to tell you, that we can do this. And we have been encouraged by the president and some of his advisors to at least believe we will be part of, or maybe all of the presidential library," said MRC Greenwood, UH President.

Presidents get to choose the location on where they archive all of their documents.

The presidents sister came by the gala and had this to say, "My brother fully recognizes that Hawaii is essential to his presidency and his life. And I know he will spend a good portion of the rest of his life their. And he wants to do so every year and be productive in the islands," said (the unbearably smug) Maya Soetoro-Ng.  

read … Scheme to Develop Kakaako



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