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Off the News

For Saturday, November 12, 2011


Let's hope they enjoyed Maui anyway

A group of California state legislators earned wrath this weekend by traveling to a luxury resort on Maui at the cost of a nonprofit policy group with business and labor interests. California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and 14 other lawmakers are on a five-day stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel, financed by the Independent Voter Project, the reports.

The session features panels on prison issues, biofuel and pollution at the Salton Sea, according to organizers.

Responded Common Cause regional director Derek Cressman: "It provides an opportunity for powerful interests to wine and dine the elected officials and make the case for policies that benefit prison guards and corporation but may not benefit ordinary Californians."

A rose by any other name is still a rose

Hawaii residents can feel a measure of relief, albeit long-delayed, that tentative accord has been reached in the United Public Workers' labor talks.

Reports of a no-layoff clause for the life of the two-year contract may have raised some eyebrows among members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, who surely want that, too. After all, they were the first to settle and got a "favored nation" pledge from the administration. We'll see where that leads.

Finally, it seems "furlough" is the new F-word in state government. Nobody wants to say it, even if it applies. Once again, employees will have a set number of days to take as "leave without pay." That sounds like a furlough.

The difference, officials say, is that unlike the hated Furlough Fridays, public service won't be interrupted on these days. Good to know.

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