Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Former state Rep. Bob Herkes, who Gov. Neil Abercrombie has nominated to the board of directors at Hawai`i Tourism Authority, supports preservation of the Ka`u Coast. Photo by Peter Anderson 
TODAY IS EQUAL PAY DAY, 51 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act. However, the average woman in Hawai`i still earns 76 percent of income brought in by men, each woman losing out on $433,000 over her career. “That’s unacceptable,” says a statement for The Democratic Party.
Lilly Ledbetter
      Equal Pay Day represents how far into this year a woman must work to earn a salary equal to what a man earned last year. “This pay gap has harmed the families of roughly 278,000 women in the Hawai`i workforce, especially as the workforce participation rate of women has risen,” states the Democratic Policy & Communications Center.
    A statement from the Center says, “Many women in Hawai`i are their families’ primary wage earners. Today, women make up 48 percent of the state workforce, and 41 percent of married employed mothers in Hawai`i are their families’ primary wage earners. The burden of wage discrimination weighs heavily on the 192,347 Hawai`i children in households dependent on their mothers’ earnings. As the main breadwinners, women are asked to carry a greater economic load while making less than they deserve.”
     The organization notes that “Hawai`i families depend on working women’s wages for support. On average, mothers in Hawai`i contribute to 42 percent of their family’s earnings. Closing the gender pay gap would strengthen the finances of these families, and the state economy.”
    According to the statement, “Women in Hawai`i earn less across all occupations and educational levels. Research clearly demonstrates that regardless of occupation, education, industry, marital status, and other factors, pay for women lags behind their male counterparts. Women’s median earnings are less than men’s median earnings in 264 of 265 major occupation categories, including the following occupations in Hawai`i:
  • Management, business and financial, earning 77 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries; 
  • Computer, engineering, and science, earning 90 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries; 
  • Sales, earning 58 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries.”
Members of the American Association of University Women joined
Pres. John F. Kennedy as he signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
      The Center contends that “eliminating the pay gap will make Hawai`i families more secure. The wage gap can prohibit working women from fully providing for their families. If the wage gap were eliminated, working women in Hawai`i would have additional earnings to purchase: 
  • 70 more weeks of food; 
  • four more months of mortgage payments; or 
  • 1,994 additional gallons of gas.”
      The U.S. Senate is set to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the Democratic Party is asking men and women sign a petition to “help make sure that women receive equal pay for equal work.” See signforgood.com/passpaycheckfairness.
      “Pay discrimination doesn’t just impact women,” said Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “In 40 percent of American households with children, women are the sole or primary providers. That means every day that goes by without ensuring paycheck fairness is another day when we’re keeping families from thriving.
      “Equal pay isn’t a goal; it should be a guarantee,” Gabbard said.
      Sen. Brian Schatz said, “Women earning less for the same work is unfair, and it’s plain wrong. And holding back women as well as their families also hurts our economy.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TO RECOGNIZE EQUAL PAY DAY, President Barack Obama has signed two executive orders. One prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation. While the executive order does not compel workers to discuss pay or require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data, “it does provide a critical tool to encourage pay transparency,” said a statement from the office of Sen. Brian Schatz, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and are able to seek appropriate remedies.
      The second executive order instructs the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by race and sex.
      “America deserves equal pay for equal work,” President Obama said.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Robert Herkes
Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I STATE SENATE IS CONSIDERING KA`U’S former state Rep. Robert Herkes for the board of directors at Hawai`i Tourism Authority. Before his political career, Herkes was in the hospitality industry, working at Edgewater Hotel and later as an executive at Interisland Resorts. He is currently chair of the Hawai`i Hospitality Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. 
      During his political career, Herkes support of preservation of the Ka`u Coast preceded preservation of Honu`apo, Kawa and other locations including South Kona Wilderness Area. Recognition of the Ka`u Coast as the longest uninhabited coastline in Hawai`i has led to support throughout the state and Congressional efforts to its further preservation.
      Other tourism-related efforts by Herkes include support of risk evaluation along the coast and improved health services in Ka`u. He also championed the new Ka`u Gym & Disaster Shelter, which is expected to be the site of tournaments that would draw visiting athletic teams to stay overnight in Ka`u and boost the local economy.
      In his testimony to the Senate Committee on Tourism, which yesterday unanimously approved the gubernatorial nomination, Rep. Clift Tsuji said Herkes “has accumulated a considerable amount of leadership experience and has facilitated beneficial changes for the people of Hawai`i. Some examples include serving on the Hawai`i County Police Commission, Hawai`i County Council, state Senate and the state House of Representatives for over 10 years, chairing various committees. He also has in-depth knowledge of the tourism industry as a retired hotel executive.”
      Other testimony cited Herkes’ “in-depth knowledge of issues that directly affect the tourism industry such as the transient accommodation tax, time-share regulations and hotel-to-condominium conversions, making him an excellent choice to help guide the policy decisions of the authority.”
      One testifier called Herkes “a true visionary,” citing his support in making Kona a venue for the Ironman Triathlon.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORTS THAT, so far this year, there have been 352 DUI arrests in Hawai`i County compared with 362 during the same period last year, a decrease of 2.8 percent. Six of those arrests were in Ka`u.
      There have been 431 major accidents so far this year compared with 356 during the same period last year, an increase of 21.1 percent.
      There have been four traffic fatalities on Hawai`i Island compared with 11 during the same period last year, a decrease of 63.6 percent.
      To date, two fatalities were related to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.
      Hawai`i Police Department continues DUI roadblocks and patrols islandwide.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Plants of hula adorn Marsha Hee and Diana Kelley.
Photo by Jay Robinson
AT AFTER DARK IN THE PARK this evening, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Ranger Adrian Boone shares his visit to the Philippines last November when Typhoon Haiyan bore down on the island nation. 
      The free program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. $2 donations support future programs, and park entrance fees apply.

BLAISE DE LIMA, A STAFF MEMBER from U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office, meets with constituents and assists with casework and other issues tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. For more information, call 808-541-1986.

TO CELEBRATE MERRIE MONARCH, Hawai`i Volcanoes Institute, a program of the Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, presents Plants of Hula: Na Mea Kanu o Ka Hula Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In this field seminar, a kumu hula Ab Valencia and botanist Tim Tunison team up for a cultural and scientific exploration of the plants used in hula.
      Program cost is $45 for Friends members and $65 for non-members. Students (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are $25. Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.
      To register, call 985-7373 or see fhvnp.org.


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