Ace Ventura… In Hawaii

Ace Ventura… In Hawaii :roll:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9JiEaV0obA]

Is Hawaii County Really Going to Get Serious About Technology?

The Hawaii County Cost of Government Commission has released the latest “DRAFT REPORT” for  Cost of Government Commission Agendas and Minutes, this afternoon.

It looks like Hawaii County might finally be getting serious about technology!

DRAFT REPORT

As the Commission investigated how our County government could reduce costs and enhance revenues, we found that changing the way we do business as a County is imperative if we are to move fully into the 21st century. Just as innovation and adaptability are the action words for private enterprise, these same concepts must motivate the public sector if we are to contain the costs of County government yet still provide essential services to support the quality of life its citizen’s desire.

As the Commission gathered input from departments, legislators and County employees, we found that many excellent suggestions to save costs and enhance revenues were not being taken into consideration. The lack of flexibility in the negotiation of union contracts prevents the application of reasonable and efficient cost saving measures. The absence of a county-wide technology plan reduces the efficiencies of operations. A resistance to adoption of simple cost saving measures such as online approvals and electronic signatures makes the County’s contracting process slow and unresponsive. Continuing practices such as extending homeowner exemptions to unpermitted buildings not only short changes the County coffers, but encourages unsafe and unsanitary living conditions while forcing all the County’s residents to pay higher tax rates to fund this practice.

The Commission decided to tackle its mandate by looking not only at ways to reduce the costs of government, but also by identifying ways to enhance revenues. Are building permit fees too low? Could the County charge user fees for services that are currently offered for free? We looked at what services really are the responsibility of the County to provide and how we can continue to support the needs of the island’s population and visitors without being forced to reduce public services to an unacceptable level. This Commission served during an especially difficult economic downturn as reflected by furlough days and implementation of other drastic measures to contain costs, yet the recommendations provided herein should be guiding principles for our County government even when the economy is expanding.

We organized our efforts to address a theme which was to identify the essential services of County government. We then identified three overarching issues that the County must address: Technology, Contracting, Collections and Fees. The Commission organized into subcommittees and solicited input from all of the County’s workforce, its elected and appointed officials, and members of other Boards and Commission. We used the information and feedback to develop the recommendations in this report. The specific recommendations of the Commission are presented in a top down manner. First we present county-wide actions that need to be addressed. Then we provide recommendations specific to some of the County’s departments. Lastly we address changes that impact the rank and file workers of the County. The bottom line for our findings is that the way we do business as a local government has to change.

You can read the full draft report here: Hawaii County Draft Report County Cost of Government Commission

Legislature Passes Bills to Help Crack Down on Prostitution

Media Release:

The Hawaii State Legislature passed two significant bills in the 2011 session related to prostitution crimes.  If the bills become law, both will be in effect when the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference convenes in Honolulu in November 2011, at which time government, tourism, and law enforcement officials expect a surge in prostitution activity and sex trafficking; security will be heightened.

Rep. Karl Rhoads

Rep. Karl Rhoads

HB44, introduced by Rep. Karl Rhoads, makes it a misdemeanor to offer or agree to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of sexual conduct within 750 feet of a school or public park.  If enacted, the law takes effect on July 1, 2011.

HB240 makes various amendments to the prostitution offenses currently on the books.  The bill amends section 28-101 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes authorizing the attorney general to include prostitution cases as one of those considered “greatest priority” when determining the funding for and the provision of witness security and protection.  It increases the offense of promoting prostitution in the first and second degree to a class A and B felony respectively.  It expands the offense of prostitution and solicitation of prostitution to cover patrons.   The measure makes the offense of habitual prostitution a class C felony, and applies the law and raises the penalty for those who habitually patronize prostitutes.  The current law sunsets on June 30, 2012.  If enacted, the new law takes effect on July 1, 2011 and makes the law permanent.

“Together, HB 44 and HB 240 raise the stakes for pimps, sex traffickers and customers of prostitutes while adding protections for the prostitutes themselves who wish to testify against those who coerced them into the sex trade,” said Rep. Rhoads.   “HB 44 raises the penalty for johns soliciting prostitutes close to schools and parks.  Our keiki should not have to run a gauntlet of pimps and johns when they go to school or to the park.”

The bills provide law enforcement with stronger laws behind them to fight prostitution.

Wordless Wednesday – Towed Truck

This just struck me as odd for some reason