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Off the News

For Monday, November 7, 2011


Washing out unneeded regulations

It's a start: The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has unblocked what has been a clog in the regulatory pipeline by relaxing the policy on permits for construction at houses that are some distance from the nearest fire hydrant. The old rule — which had set a maximum distance of 175 feet, and required water sprinklers in homes beyond the safety zone — had not been enforced for decades. And the upshot of the recent crackdown was delay of as many as 50 building permits.

After consulting with the experts at the Honolulu Fire Department, the allowable distance was stretched to 350 feet, and that means all but 16 of those delayed projects get a green light.

If the rule was basically ignored for years, maybe it's a reg in search of a reason and the whole safe-zone idea could be reconsidered.

Hawaii schools put doubters in their place

Hawaii's improved reading and math scores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests may have been more important than most people realized, judging by the chit-chat among academic policy wonks in Washington, D.C.

Some, like Kate Walsh of the National Center for Teaching Quality, are dubious that the 50th State will make good on its pledge to link teacher evaluations with student performance. If Hawaii doesn't lose its Race to the Top money for teacher evaluation failures," Walsh told Education Week, "something is wrong."

To their face we'd say, "Hey, you doubters, eat our dust!" Behind our backs we have crossed fingers: Hope we can keep it up.

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