Monday, August 31, 2009

Reps in the News

DOE Reconstituting Schools

Rep. Roy Takumi, chairman of the House Education Committee, weighed in on the issue of the Department of Education "reconstituting" schools. This means that the DOE would have the authority to replace principals and teachers in low performing schools. The Honolulu Advertiser story is here. Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto says that she will seek authority again (legislation failed in 2009) this year to reconstitute schools, knowing that it is an unpopular direction. Here's an excerpt from The Advertiser article today:

Rep. Roy Takumi, chairman of the House Education Committee, said he supports the school reconstitutions and noted that Hamamoto has made it clear that it would be an extreme measure.

"It's just a tool in the tool box that you may or may not use. The superintendent is not going to waltz into every school that is not (performing). ... You need to look at every school on its own merits," he said.

Takumi said the bill ran into roadblocks with the labor unions last session.

"Should we have it as an option? I believe we should and today we don't," he said.


Rep. Rida Cabanilla. Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu and Rep. Maile Shimabukuro all opposed the proposed housing development called Hoopili which came before the Land Use Commission on Friday. The LUC denied the permit request. Here is the Honolulu Star Bulletin article. Here is The Advertiser article on the hearing and the decision. Quotes from the article include:

Shimabukuro, D-45th (Wai'anae, Makaha, Makua), said she was surprised when running for office to find out the chief concern for area residents was traffic. "It really is a daily nightmare for people who live on the West side trying to go to and from work," she said.

Cabanilla, D-42nd ('Ewa, Waipahu, Honouliuli) and chairwoman of the House Housing Committee, said urban development should be focused on areas such as Kaka'ako, McCully and Mo'ili'ili where small buildings can be redeveloped with high density.

Auction-rate securities

Rep. Karl Rhoads is concerned about the fact that the state has $1 billion tied up in auction-rate securities that are currently frozen. Here is the Advertiser article.

"It is disturbing that we have that much money tied up in something like that," said Rep. Karl Rhoads, D-28th (Palama, Downtown, Lower Makiki), who learned of the frozen assets from a constituent. "We knew or should have known it could have become illiquid."

Rhoads said he was concerned about the state's reluctance to write down the investments and wonders if the state should be more aggressive in seeking redress.
"If we've lost $114 million, how come we're not suing to get some of that back because Lord knows, we need the money right now," Rhoads said.

Rep. Rida Cabanilla feature on GMANews TV, a Filipino news channel

Rep. Cabanilla was featured on GMANews TV during one of their segments called "Pinoy Abroad". The story is here. It highlights her accomplishments since emigrating to the U.S. when she was 17 years old.


Manawai said...

"...the bill ran into roadblocks with the labor unions...."

Of course! It’s because most teachers really don't care about the education of our children. All they care about is job security even if it comes at the expense of our kids' education. At the heart of this is the fear, apparently held by enough teachers to make the union take notice, that their incompetence will be exposed and they'll be canned. If teachers were teachers because they really cared about educating our children and trying to improve our educational system was a priority, then they'd make sure their union didn't step in the way of that. But apparently teaching is just a job for most of them and it's all about job security even if you are a failure at what you do. That's why this State is usually at the bottom of the heap when it comes to education performance.

Manawai said...

"The rate of return on auction-rate securities is typically higher than comparable investments...."

"The market for auction rates was pitched as an alternative to lower-yielding money market mutual funds or certificates of deposit...."

The Golden Rule of Investing: Risk equals Reward

That means that if something pays a higher return, then it's a higher risk. Who the heck authorized taking such a high risk with taxpayer money held in the public trust? What was the risk profile; the investment policy?