Archive for June, 2010

iCharles

June 30th, 2010
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U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, continues to raise his profile. The Hill notes that the new congressman earned this distinction today:

The House Parliamentarian told me that I’m the first Member of Congress to ever use an iPad during a floor speech.

Jonesing

June 29th, 2010
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FactCheck.org has weighed in on recent criticism of the Obama administration alleging that the Jones Act, a federal maritime law that protects the domestic shipping industry, has hindered the BP oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico.

The group, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found that the Obama administration had not turned down foreign assistance and that 15 foreign-flagged vessels are helping out with the spill without waivers from the law.

U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, who has called on President Obama to waive the Jones Act, gets special mention:

Some critics have charged — falsely — that Obama’s refusal to waive the Jones Act has kept foreign vessels from assisting in cleanup efforts. In a June 23 interview on “Fox & Friends,” Republican Rep. Charles Djou of Hawaii was asked by show host Gretchen Carlson about the Jones Act and why the administration was refusing foreign assistance. Djou answered:

Djou, June 23: It’s important that we take help from whomever and wherever they’re willing to offer it. … So why are we not waiving the Jones Act to allow international help to come in? … Why we’re not waiving it here … is baffling.

No confidence

June 29th, 2010
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Daily Kos, the liberal website, has ended its relationship with pollster Research 2000 after independent statisticians raised questions about polling results. Markos Moulitsas, the Daily Kos founder, said today that he no longer had confidence in any of the Research 2000 work, which includes a poll on the May special election for Congress in urban Honolulu’s 1st Congressional District.

From a post by Moulitsas:

While the investigation didn’t look at all of Research 2000 polling conducted for us, fact is I no longer have any confidence in any  of it, and neither should anyone else. I ask that all poll tracking sites remove any Research 2000 polls commissioned by us from their databases. I hereby renounce any post we’ve written based exclusively on Research 2000 polling.

In an April poll, Research 2000 had the special election for Congress a statistical dead heat, with Charles Djou — the eventual winner — at 32 percent, former congressman Ed Case at 29 percent and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa at 28 percent. Seven percent were undecided.

Daily Kos was sympathetic to Hanabusa — who would finish second — and described Case as a “Lieberdem,” a derisive reference to U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent.

Solid lead

June 29th, 2010
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Having been newly sworn in as Senate president pro tempore, U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye can probably remain comfortable in his Washington, D.C., digs for at least another six years, according to a new independent poll released today.

Inouye, who has served in the Senate since 1963, has a comfortable lead over his nearest challenger in a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Aloha State finds Inouye, a member of the Senate since 1963, with 68% support. Conservative activist John Roco has 20% of the vote. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

To date, Roco is among six who have pulled papers to challenge Inouye, the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history.

The Rasmussen methodology:

This survey of 500 Likely Voters in Hawaii was conducted on June 24, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/-4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Taking sides

June 28th, 2010
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Former congresswoman Pat Saiki has endorsed state House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. Finnegan is facing attorney and GOP activist Adrienne King.

Saiki, one of only three Republicans to represent Hawaii in Congress since statehood, described Finnegan as an “experienced, tested leader.”

Her valuable perspective from inside the House chambers as the House minority leader will be a tremendous help to Duke Aiona as the Aiona-Finnegan team works to lead our state into the future. Lynn Finnegan has my full backing in her bid for Lt. Governor of the state of Hawaii.

Phone home

June 28th, 2010
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Twitter? Done. Facebook? Done. So what’s the cool new thing for political candidates? Smart-phone apps.

Voters can now track former congressman Neil Abercrombie’s Democratic campaign for governor through an iPhone app.

Firefight

June 28th, 2010
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While state lawmakers were criticized by newspaper editorial writers and many residents for not adopting a statewide ban on consumer fireworks, the law they did pass giving counties the option to ban fireworks has thrown a scare into the fireworks industry.

The new law, signed by Gov. Linda Lingle, allows counties to adopt restrictions that are tougher than state law, which permits consumer fireworks on New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and the Fourth of July.

The fireworks industry is preparing a lobbying push at Honolulu Hale, where the City Council is considering a bill restricting fireworks.

This week, the industry is expected to release the results of a new statewide poll that found that 62 percent of residents interviewed opposed a ban in their county, including 38 percent who were strongly opposed.

The poll found that Neighbor Island residents (50 percent), people born and raised in the Islands (45 percent), and people under 55 are more likely to be strongly opposed to a ban.

Ward Research conducted the poll among 402 residents between May 20 and May 28. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.

Political touch

June 25th, 2010
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Gay rights advocates who reached out to the Hawaii Business Roundtable on civil unions had help from the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

Jo-Ann Adams, the chair of the party’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered caucus, wrote letters to all of the Roundtable’s members. Dante Carpenter, the party chairman, also wrote to the Roundtable’s executive director.

During the party’s state convention in May, delegates added support for the civil-unions bill to the party’s platform.

Delegates also passed a resolution urging Gov. Linda Lingle to sign the bill into law. The resolution asked state lawmakers to override if the governor vetoes the bill.

A separate resolution supported marriage equality.

Republicans passed a resolution at their state convention urging Lingle to veto the civil-unions bill.

OMG

June 24th, 2010
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Dante Carpenter, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said he kind of feels like a referee these days in the primary for governor between former congressman Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Carpenter, who was once an Abercrombie ally in the state Senate, has vowed to stay neutral.

But that didn’t stop him from sending a blistering June 15 letter to the Hannemann campaign chiding the mayor for a series of incidents at the party’s state convention in May. The letter was first disclosed on Monday in Star-Advertiser columnist David Shapiro’s blog.

“Pure and simple, we had been in conversation with these guys for months, and they still went ahead and did what the hell they did,” Carpenter said today. “My job is to ensure, some way, somehow, the playing field is level.

“I don’t give a damn who is running for what, what position they hold. If they’re Democrats, then they comport with the rules of the game. And those are Democratic Party rules, not mine. I didn’t make them up.

“And, if they’re Democrats, they’re supposed to adhere to them. Pure and simple.”

The Hannemann campaign, not surprisingly, takes a different view of what happened at the state convention. The mayor and his advisors feared that many of the party activists and delegates most involved at the convention were Abercrombie loyalists who would subtly tip the event toward the congressman.

Here are Carpenter’s complaints, as outlined in his letter, and the responses from Elisa Yadao, an advisor to the Hannemann campaign:

*Carpenter said the Hannemann campaign chose not to sponsor a breakfast on the Sunday morning of the convention and inferred that the convention committee had not asked the campaign to hold the event. Carpenter said a request was made in October.

Yadao counters that the Hannemann campaign never committed to sponsor a breakfast.

*Carpenter said the Hannemann campaign created turmoil by hosting a party on Friday night during the time delegates were meeting to discuss resolutions. He said the campaign distributed invitations to delegates even though requests were made to keep the party separate from official convention business.

Carpenter described the party as, at best, a “distraction,” and, at worst, “disrespectful” of the core reasons delegates were meeting.

Yadao said the party, sponsored with Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi, was intended as outreach and to give delegates something to do socially on the first night of the convention.

*Carpenter said tensions arose over the schedule for when Hannemann would address the convention. He said the initial agreement was 3 p.m. on Saturday, then it was switched by the convention committee to 11:45 a.m., then changed back to 3 p.m. after the campaign told planners that the mayor would be on Maui that morning.

Carpenter said Hannemann violated the agreement by speaking much longer than planned and ignored three subtle requests (“Mufi, pau”) to wrap up his remarks.

Each candidate was expected to speak for 5 minutes, with one to two minutes of “wiggle room.” The Star-Advertiser recorded both speeches: Hannemann spoke for nearly 17 minutes; Abercrombie spoke for over 11 minutes.

Yadao said the Hannemann campaign heard from the news media and others that convention planners were still saying that the mayor would be speaking in the morning even though the campaign obtained a promise in writing that the speech would go off at 3 p.m.

Yadao acknowledged that Hannemann went over his allotted time. But she said it was “hugely inconsiderate” for convention planners to make the mayor wait for 25 minutes after his scheduled speaking time to go on.

Convention planners allowed delegates to conclude debate on resolutions while the mayor waited in the wings.

“It wasn’t just an ordinary speech. It was a really important speech for him,” Yadao said.

*During Hannemann’s speech, Carpenter said, an aide to the mayor approached Hilton Hawaiian Village staff with music for the end of the speech and claimed to have authorization from the convention committee. Carpenter said the convention committee had not approved the music.

Yadao acknowledged that the Hannemann campaign asked the Hilton Hawaiian Village staff to play the music and were refused. She was not immediately able to confirm with the aide involved whether the aide claimed to have authorization.

As of Wednesday night, Yadao said, no one in the Hannemann campaign had received Carpenter’s letter.

“We didn’t even get the letter,” she said. “We had to read the letter on a blog.”

Committee shuffle

June 23rd, 2010
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The coming of a new Council member means the realignment of some City Council committees and chairmanships and even the creation of a new committee.

“The committee schedule and assignments seek to continue the Council’s operations and decision making process in a consistent and efficient manner,” said Council Chairman Todd Apo, who announced the changes in a news release.

Former Honolulu Police chief and new appointee Lee Donohue takes over as chairman of the Public Safety and Services Committee, formerly headed by Donovan Dela Cruz, who becomes chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee once headed by Charles Djou.

Ikaika Anderson and Rod Tam change roles, with Anderson taking over as chairman of the Zoning Committee and Tam now heading the Planning Committee (which consists of only three voting members).

Romy Cachola becomes chairman of the newly-established Boards & Commission Committee, which also consists of three voiting members.

The complete new lineup, and schedule for hearings:

Budget
Nestor Garcia, chair
Gary Okino, vice chair
Rod Tam
Ikaika Anderson
Ann Kobayashi
(No changes)

Public Infrastructure
Ann Kobayashi, chair
Donovan Dela Cruz, vice chair
Nestor Garcia
Ikaika Anderson
Lee Donohue
(No longer on committee: Okino)

Boards & Commissions
Romy Cachola, chair
Rod Tam, vice chair
Dnovan Dela Cruz
(New committee)

Executive Matters & Legal Affairs
Donovan Dela Cruz, chair
Ikaika Anderson, vice chair
Todd Apo
Nestor Garcia
Gary Okino
Rod Tam
Lee Donohue
Ann Kobayashi
Romy Cachola

Planning
Rod Tam, chair
Romy Cachola, vice chair
Ikaika Anderson
(No longer on committee: Dela Cruz, Djou, Okino)

Zoning
Ikaika Anderson, chair
Lee Donohue, vice chair
Nestor Garcia
Gary Okino
Rod Tam
(No longer on committee: Cachola)

Public Safety & Services
Lee Donohue, chair
Ann Kobayashi, vice chair
Gary Okino
(No longer on committee: Cachola, Dela Cruz, Djou, Tam)

Transportation
Gary Okino, chair
Nestor Garcia, vice chair
Donovan Dela Cruz
Romy Cachola
Lee Donohue
(No longer on committee: Djou, Tam)

Beginning Tuesday, June 29, the Council Committee meeting schedule will be as follows:

Tuesdays
9:00 a.m. — Zoning
1:00 p.m. — Public Infrastructure

Wednesdays
9:00 a.m. — Budget
1:00 p.m. — Executive Matters & Legal Affairs

Thursdays
9:00 a.m. — Planning
10:30 a.m. — Transportation
1:00 p.m. — Public Safety & Services
2:30 p.m. — Boards & Commissions