Archive for April, 2010

Hawaii CD-1 Voting Now

April 28th, 2010
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Voting in the special election to fill former Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s seat has already started for those Hawaii CD-1 residents living on the mainland, Canada or overseas.
State elections officials report that about 1,600 ballots were mailed out April 16 to residents living out of state.
For folks living in the district, ballots are expected to be mailed April 30.
The election will be conducted by mail with some 316,000 eligible voters getting ballots. They must be returned by May 22.

The Late Show

April 24th, 2010
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House and Senate lawmakers worked right up until their self-imposed midnight deadline and in the end, no one was happier than the four county mayors.

The joint House-Senate conference committee failed to reach an agreement on whether to scoop some or all of the estimated $94 million in hotel room taxes earmarked for the counties.

As the midnight deadline came and went, the mayors held their collective breath until Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa announced that no agreement had been reached on House Bill 2598, killing it for the session.

Mayors had said that any loss of the hotel room tax money, also known as the Transient Accommodations Tax, would likely have forced them to raise real property tax rates.

The other main bill being watched was decided about an hour earlier.

Conferees approved Senate Bill 2124, settting aside $67 million from the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund to restore public school furlough days.

Among those in the audience was Marguerite Higa, one of the organizers behind Save Our Schools Hawaii that was arrested earlier this month for staging a sit-in in the governor’s office to protest the furloughs.

Click this link to hear her reaction.

Stuck on the floor

April 22nd, 2010
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Well into the seventh hour of their afternoon meeting, members of the City Council reached an impasse in their deliberations on the $1.8 billion executive operating budget.

By a vote of 4-3, with two members absent, Bill 15 failed to get the five votes needed to advance on second reading.

The vote means the budget — which was amended to insert a provision limiting allocations for the city’s vacant funded positions — is stuck on the floor until it can be taken up at the next scheduled Council meeting on May 12. The Council has until its June meeting to approve the final budget that goes to Mayor Mufi Hannemann for consideration.

The delay is not fatal.

Council members would take up the budget again on May 12. Assuming it passes second reading at that meeting, it would then go back to committee for a hearing either during regular committee meetings the week of May 24, or some other specially called hearing before the June 9 regular Council meeting.

Ad Season

April 20th, 2010
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With less than two weeks to go before ballots go out in the special election for the 1st Congressional District, ads are filling the airwaves more than ever.

(more…)

Candidates in Focus

April 13th, 2010
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olelo

If you want to learn more about (almost) all of the 14 candidates running in the special election for Congress, tune in to ‘Ōlelo Community Media later this month.

The community access network is premiering the latest edition of “Candidates in Focus,” a program featuring recorded video presentations from 13 of the 14 registered candidates running in the special election. The program will first air at 9:30 a.m., April 26 on VIEWS Channel 54

The broadcast will repeat on May 1 at 6 p.m., May 9 at 8:30 p.m. and May 21 at 2 p.m. All shows will air on VIEWS Channel 54. “Candidates in Focus” also will be available for online viewing after April 26 at www.olelo.org/election.

Videos for each candidate are up to five minutes long.

The 13 candidates who taped messages include:
• C. Kaui Jochanan Amsterdam
• Jim Brewer
• Vinny Browne
• Ed Case
• Douglas Crum
• Rafael “Del” Del Castillo
• Charles Djou
• John “Raghu” Giuffre
• Colleen Hanabusa
• Philmund “Phil” Lee
• Karl F. Moseley
• Kalaeloa Strode
• Steve Tataii
(Not participating was Charles Collins)

Candidates are running in a special election to replace Neil Abercrombie, who resigned from Congress in February to concentrate on a run at governor.

Ballots for the special mail-in election are to go out at the end of the month, with the tabulation set for May 22.

The View From 4,833 Miles Away

April 6th, 2010
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Mainland pundits continue to see Democrats splitting the special election vote, thereby allowing Republican City Councilman Charles Djou to dance into the winner’s circle.
The latest speculation comes from the Hotline’s Tim Sahd, “who assesses which House seats are most likely to switch party control this year.”
The Hotline is the must-read political gossip blog of the respected National Journal.
Monday it reported the Hawaii CD-1 race as one of 25 races most likely to flip.
Here’s what it says:
“Everyone knows the key for a GOP win here: Former Rep. Ed Case (D) and state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D) split the Dem vote in the all-party May 22 special election, allowing Honolulu Councilor Charles Djou (R) to sneak through and win. Polling from earlier this year suggests Djou has a long way to go, but he’s already working to improve his name ID by airing a strong bio TV ad. Hanabusa and Case also have ads on the air, but things aren’t likely to stay positive for long, as they aren’t exactly the best of friends. If things get ugly, the door will open for Djou, and an improbable win for a Republican in a seat that gave Obama 70 percent.”
Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporting quotes Hawaii senior Sen. Dan Inouye, chairman of the senate appropriations committee, as saying the race against Case “is personal” and he is steering the district towards Hanabusa. Inouye says his own polling shows Djou losing.

Senator Lingle?

April 2nd, 2010
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gov

For the past seven-plus years, whenever we in the media asked Gov. Linda Lingle about her future political aspirations, the question was always deflected with a stock answer: That she was fully committed to Hawaii and concentrating on her current term in office.

Last night, in a one-on-one sitdown with our own Richard Borreca on PBS’ Island Insights, Lingle finally gave us a hint that she may consider a future in island politics once her term ends in December.

In response to a question from “Mike from Kaneohe” about whether she sees herself as a future senator for Hawaii, Lingle responded:

Well, I think it’s a little premature, but I certainly want to do something that continues to contribute to our state.  I don’t think there’s another place like Hawaii on Earth, and I certainly want to continue to be a part of our future.

So it’s something I would consider, but not something on my mind right now.

Follow-up question from Borreca: What would cause you to run in 2012?

Lingle:

You know, politics is a matter of issues at the time, how people are viewing things at the time. I was a mayor, I was a council member and sometimes it just — it depends on the issues you bring to them.

I do believe it’s critically important that Hawaii have a more balanced political representation in their Congressional delegation and in our state Legislature. I think the people of Hawaii would get much better results, better decisions out of the Legislature if you had a more diverse mix.

Right now you tend to have an overwhelming number of Democrats, and so the public is really kind of shut out a lot of what’s going on.

(Transcript of remarks provided by the governor’s office.)

Furlough Impasse

April 1st, 2010
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While members of the Hawaii State Teacher’s Association voted in favor of an agreement to end Furlough Fridays, Gov. Linda Lingle and her administration don’t appear inclined to change their position.

In a statement today, Linda Smith, the governor’s senior adviser on policy, repeated the administration’s stance that the union’s desire to bring back all school employees is too expensive.

“Bringing back employees that the DOE considers to be non-essential is unnecessary and something that we simply cannot afford,” Smith said. (View the entire statement by clicking here.)

The two sides remain about $30 million apart.

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye can’t force the two sides to negotiate, but he did have something to say about the situation.

“Sometimes cost alone should not be the consideration,” Inouye said. “You should look at the benefits and who are the ones who wll suffer. When you see that school kids are the ones who will suffer, you’d better think twice.”

Inouye spoke to reporters after an event at City Hall.