Archive for December, 2009

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2009
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As the big ball drops on another year, it’s time to look back … list style.

So without further ado, the Star-Bulletin Political Radar Team brings you the Top 10 Flubs of the past year.

Once again, there were no hard and fast criteria for this list. A “flub” was loosely defined as anything that brought embarrassing fallout or unwanted attention to a person or cause. The other common thread among our selections is that all of those involved should have known better.

We began doing this last year, but, of course, that was during better economic times — when we could afford to list 10.

In this recession, we have instituted restrictions of 40 percent, and thus will only be giving you a Top 6 List. Whoever heard of a “Top 6″ countdown? Well, nobody. Then again, before this year, had anyone ever heard of cutting school days to make up a budget deficit?

Cue David Letterman

6. Greg McMackin.* The UH football coach (and highest-paid state employee) brought unwanted attention to himself and the football program when he used a gay slur at the Western Athletic Conference preseason media day. He was suspended and accepted a pay cut the following day.

5. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. The venerable senior senator from Hawaii catches heat after a Washington Post story details how Central Pacific Financial, which was founded in part by Inouye and “where he has invested the bulk of his personal wealth,” received $135 million in federal bailout money after a phone call from Inouye’s office.

4. Todd Apo. Hours after he voted against it, the City Council chairman is accused of political horse trading for changing his vote on creating a separate “homeowner” class for property tax valuations after meeting privately with Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who strongly supported the bill. Both deny that any deals were made.

3. Kevin Cronin. The state’s Chief Election Officer  (who also made this list last year) comes under heavy scrutiny from the Legislature for mismanaging the department and leaving it without the needed funds to carry out the 2010 elections. Cronin ultimately resigned, effective Dec. 31.

2. Georgina Kawamura. The state Budget Director takes the blame after it is learned that a clerical error resulted in an additional $44 million to the state’s already billion-dollar deficit. Instead of ending the 2009 fiscal year on June 30 with a positive balance of about $8 million, the books should have shown a $36.8 million shortfall.

1. Gov. Linda Lingle, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, State Department of Education, State Board of Education and Hawaii Government Employees Association. Furlough Fridays for public school students.

Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night!

* Ordinarily, this being a political blog, McMackin would not have made the list. But a Top 5 list seemed too little.

No Party for You

December 9th, 2009
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No More Capitol Parties

No More Capitol Parties

If you got an invitation to come party at the state Capitol on previous legislative  opening days, this year you are getting a formal letter from legislative leaders, warning friends and supporters that in 2010 the state Capitol will be a party-free zone.

In a letter signed by both House Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, the public is being told there will be no special arrangements when the Legislature convenes on January 20.

“In past years we have been fortunate recipients of generous gifts of Aloha or well wishes. This year, we ask that in lieu of giving gifts, if you still feel compelled to give anything, please donate funds to your favorite charity, to help mitigate some of the hardship that that these economic struggles have caused,” Say and Hanabusa wrote.

The cutbacks will include “no entertainment, no flowers, no festivities or subsequent receptions…speeches will be abbreviated.”

All this Hanabusa and Say added is being done “to get straight down to business from the very start.”

Straw poll

December 4th, 2009
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The City Council is set to take a final vote Dec. 16 on Bill 08-07, which would allow up to 1,275 new bed and breakfast homes on Oahu.

With that in mind, the Kailua Chamber of Commerce if canvassing its Windward community — one of those most involved in the issue — for input.

The Chamber is taking an online  “straw poll” to gauge community opinion on the matter.

The poll is on the Chamber’s Web site, www.kailuachamber.com. To go directly to the poll, click here.

A vote on Bill 08-07 is scheduled before the full Council at its Dec. 16th meeting.

Concert at the Capitol

December 3rd, 2009
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You better watch out … because the holiday season gets into full swing this weekend!

The big Honolulu City Lights Parade is set for Saturday.

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If you want to get into the holiday spirit a little earlier, come down to the state Capitol for a free concert in the rotunda.

A variety of  local musicians will perform in “A Capitol Christmas,” a free Christmas concert from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Friday.

Organizers say the concert is being held in an effort to collect canned goods and non-perishable foods for the Hawaii FoodBank. Those who bring in a donation item will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas.

Scheduled performers include Patrick Koh, The Krush, Tradewinds, Angeli Callo, Arshiel Calatrava, Simplisity, Pauoa & Pacific Heights, The Higher Ground Jazz Ensemble, Rachel Jones, The Christian Academy High School Chorus, Paul Cortes, Crooner’s Inc., and more!

Metered parking is available in the basement of the Capitol free after 6 p.m. Attendees should take the elevator to the first floor.

For more information, please call Rep. John Mizuno’s office, 586-6050, or Patrick Koh, 688-7799.