Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Tuesday, January 25, 2000

By Craig Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Gov. Ben Cayetano giving his State of the State address yesterday.

Political confidence
grows as a career
winds down

Cayetano says that now he can politically afford to take on the public unions

Cayetano would trim future benefits
Educators: Accountability goes beyond classroom
Collective-bargaining comments create a stir

By Richard Borreca
and Pat Omandam


A confident Ben Cayetano figures he's the right politician in the right place at the right time to change state government.

After delivering his sixth State of the State address Cayetano told reporters he can politically afford to take on the public unions.

"The fact that I am concluding my career helps," said Cayetano, who has said he will not run for office again when his term expires in two years.

But to move the state bureaucracy is politically risky.

Senate Labor Chairman Bob Nakata said with the governor's emphasis on civil service reform, he feels like he'll be in the "eye of the storm" as head of the Labor Committee. And Nakata is confident there will be some movement to modernize state government.

"I have no doubts that some parts will pass," he said. "Some will take longer than others."

An optimistic Cayetano, however, rated his chances at 60-40 of getting most portions passed.

To help push it along, Cayetano promised to "testify at hearings to support civil service reform."

And while Calvin Say, speaker of the House, said he "felt chicken skin" when Cayetano called for lawmakers to work together to solve the state's problems, Senate President Norman Mizuguchi called for legislative leaders and Cayetano to "use all our skills to negotiate this package."

Nap time

If Cayetano is hoping that there will be a quick rethinking of state employees' duties, already there are indications that reform will be difficult.

For instance, Sen. Rod Tam yesterday introduced a bill authorizing state workers to take naps.

Tam noted that state workers are allowed two 10-minute "recesses" every day.

"State workers are encouraged to take a nap once a day at their workplace. For example, a worker could nap at a desk," Tam said in his proposal.

"The intent is that a worker use the nap to relax, refresh and rejuvenate, without leaving the workplace," Tam said.

Read Cayetano's speech online at

Accountability goes
beyond classroom,
educators say

By Crystal Kua


If the governor and Legislature are going to hold principals, teachers and others in Hawaii's public schools responsible for improving student performance, they must make sure that personnel receive proper training and that schools receive adequate money, materials and assistance, educators say.

"The people who are being held accountable need the resources and the opportunity to be successful," Makaha Elementary sixth-grade teacher Anthony Turbeville said.

Turbeville and others in the schools reacting to Gov. Ben Cayetano's State of the State Address yesterday also say accountability should directed at all those with a stake in education.

"Accountability is for everybody," said Ruth Dalisay, a Kalakaua Middle School math teacher.

"Accountability extends beyond the classroom and that includes everybody who has a vested interest in the future of our children. That's not only educators but also our elected leaders as well as parents and students," said Turbeville, also a chairman of a commission on teacher morale.

Cayetano said in his speech that accountability is key to improv-ing the schools. He supported state Schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu's plan to implement an accountability system as part of standards-based reform and to give the Department of Education the necessary authority to manage its own affairs.

Cayetano also backed LeMahieu's call for exempting any accountability plan from collective bargaining, an idea that public employee unions oppose. LeMahieu is also advocating for mandatory continuous professional development tied to teacher evaluations.

"We still believe that accountability needs to be decided through collective bargaining," said Karen Ginoza, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

Ginoza said collective bargaining will soon produce a new teacher evaluation.

LeMahieu reiterated his position that collective bargaining is not collaboration and that another venue for discussing accountability details is needed.

If unions are concerned about due process in accountability, that issue can also be resolved in a way that doesn't require going to the bargaining table.

"You want fair treatment?" LeMahieu said. "Let's talk about another process for fair treatment."

Ginoza said the union has been an advocate of accountability and is willing to look at another form of collective bargaining to discuss accountability. "We don't see the union as a hindrance for change."

Ginoza and LeMahieu said discussions are under way between the two sides over what framework that process will take.

Autonomy for the Department of Education to manage its own affairs is an issue LeMahieu said he is still working with legislators to define through legislation.

comments create a stir

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


County mayors are ecstatic about Gov. Ben Cayetano's suggestion that they have the authority to negotiate their own collective-bargaining contracts with government employee unions.

The counties' priorities differ from that of the state at the bargaining table, said Kauai Mayor Maryanne Kusaka. "Our jurisdictions are very different," she said.

When negotiating with the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, she said, Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' priority may be keeping officers on his force while she may be more worried about where she will find the money for all the items being discussed.

Kusaka wants the counties to be able to negotiate on their own when appropriate, and the three neighbor island municipalities to negotiate as one entity when mutually beneficial.

Big Island Mayor Stephen Yamashiro said the current collective-bargaining procedures have also frustrated him.

In seven years as mayor, he said, "I've never voted for any (pay raises) and yet pay on this island has gone up by 30 percent," Yamashiro said.

That's because under the joint collective-bargaining process, the state carries four votes and each of the counties only one vote.

The current process also irks Harris when his one vote is overridden by the state's four votes on police and fire personnel when the state has few police or firefighters.

"It doesn't make sense for the state to have control of the votes in police collective bargaining," Harris said. "This is an example of the inequities of the current system. We should have the ability to handle our own police negotiations.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Honolulu Waldorf High Schoolers participate in community
service yesterday by helping with legislative mailings and phone
calls. They are, from left, Claire Reimer,16; Kanoe Cathcart,
15; math teacher Amy Kono; and Ari Katz, 16.


PRIORITIZE IT: Shane Pale walked out of the House chambers early yesterday during Gov. Ben Cayetano's State of the State address, saying more problems need to be addressed.

"Time and time again, you hear education is a priority," Pale said. "But it's not a funding priority."

Pale is chairman for Ka Lahui Hawaii Political Action Committee, a native Hawaiian organization that monitors legislation at the state Capitol.

Pale and the group will be supporting tuition waivers for native Hawaiians this session.

"I know it's going to be a heated debate," Pale said. "But I think it's time for the state of Hawaii to actually live up to the reality and live up to their legacy ... "

AND THEY'RE OFF: With so much focus so far this session on civil service modernization and education reform, there was little notice as a few gambling bills were quietly introduced into the Legislature.

One measure, Senate Bill 2196, would create a Hawaii Gaming Control Commission that would oversee parimutuel horse racing, with revenues earmarked for the general fund, gaming administration and problem gambler services.

The measure would allow parimutuel betting only if voters approve casino gambling in a referendum. Meanwhile, another bill, Senate Bill 2335, sets up a five-year pilot project for a horse-racing facility.

Senate Bill 2199 allow casino gaming in a Hawaiian theme park zone and in Waikiki, while Senate Bill 2197 would allow shipboard casino gaming in state waters.

Finally, a state lottery would be set up under Senate Bill 2198.

All the bills were introduced by Senate Minority Leader Whitney Anderson (R, Kailua), an advocate of gaming. As in past years, it is unlikely the House or the Senate will take up these controversial issues, especially during an election year.

TIME TO GRIND: Following up on last year's successful legislation to allow women time to "express," or extract, breast milk in the workplace, legislators have introduced measures that would require meal breaks after five hours of work.

Both the House and Senate have introduced bills this year that require a 30-minute rest or meal period following five hours of continuous work, unless union contracts gives an employee a choice between accepting the break and taking overtime pay for the work performed during the break.

Lawmakers, in explaining the measure, cite the lack of any state or federal law that requires employers to provide workers over the age of 16 with meal periods or rest breaks, no matter how many consecutive hours they have worked. They say such breaks are commonly required in California, Oregon and Washington.

Legislature Directory
Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin