Archive for August, 2011

Dipped

August 31st, 2011
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QMark Research, in a poll taken for former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s congressional campaign, found Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s favorability score in the negative.

The poll found that 39 percent of registered voters interviewed in the 2nd Congressional District had a favorable perception of the governor, while 40 percent had an unfavorable opinion and 20 percent had no opinion.

The poll was taken by telephone among 400 registered voters in the 2nd District, which covers rural Oahu and the neighbor islands, from July 28 to Aug. 1. The margin or error was 4.9 percentage points.

A Hawaii Poll taken statewide in May found Abercrombie’s favorability score at 55 percent. Fifty percent gave the governor a positive job approval rating.

QMark pollsters measured the favorability scores of several politicians to help Hannemann determine his potential strength.

`Sacrifice’

August 30th, 2011
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Wil Okabe, the president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, on Sunday responded to criticism from the Hawaii Government Employees Association about the teachers approach to their contract fight against the state.

The message to teachers came several days after Randy Perreira, the executive director of the HGEA, issued his comments, part of a pattern by the teachers union of not immediately responding to criticism.

From Okabe:

The leadership of HGEA agreed to be the first union to settle with the Governor provided that the Governor agreed to include contract language that states: “all public sector bargaining units shall be subject to 5% pay reductions, supplemental time off and 50% in premium rates.” If any public sector union negotiates anything better, HGEA would receive that automatically.

We respect the right of HGEA’s leaders to represent their members and bargain collectively on their behalf. But it is HSTA’s leadership that represents teachers and our duty is to bargain collectively on their behalf.

We don’t know if HGEA was threatened by the Governor’s negotiators as we were. We were told that if we didn’t go along with the Governor we would face the layoff 800 teachers and “nasty things would happen” to teachers at work.

We made a decision to stand up to the threats, bargain for ourselves, and defend our collective bargaining rights.

No group of public sector workers donates the amount of unpaid time that teachers donate to their students. Teachers do not have the luxury of a 35 work week. To the contrary, the average teacher gives 40 hours of unpaid time every month to their students.

That’s sacrifice we make willingly, but we won’t allow others to take advantage of it, ignore it, or disrespect it.

CD2 Endorsement

August 30th, 2011
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Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District in 2012, today announced endorsements from six local unions:

• International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1186
• International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1260
• International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers, Local 132
• Plumbers and Fitters, Local 675
• Boilermakers Union Local 627
• Elevator Constructors Union, Local 126

Said Reginald Castanares, Jr., business manager and financial secretary-treasurer of Plumbers and Fitters, Local 675, in a news release:

“So many families are struggling in this economy. People in Hawai’i are having a tough time holding on to their homes and covering their basic needs. Tulsi is exactly the kind of fresh new leader we need to be our voice in Washington.  She understands what we’re going through, is dedicated to serving the people of Hawai’i, and has the experience and commitment to fight for Hawai’i’s future.”

The union endorsements come the same day as former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced his candidacy for the 2nd Congressional District, representing rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. Also in the race is Esther Kiaaina, chief advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Top of the ticket

August 29th, 2011
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In a year when native son Barack Obama will be atop the Democratic ticket, any Republican seeking federal office from Hawaii would benefit from a strong GOP name on the ballot to draw in their party’s voters.

Congressional hopeful Charles Djou believes that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

In a Twitter message posted today:

Romney, naturally, thanked Djou for his support. In a comment to Politico:

“I am proud to have Charles’ support. He has been an advocate for lower taxes, getting spending under control, and creating the right environment for job creation. In addition to his legislative service, Charles serves his country and I am honored to have his support.”

Djou is running for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. The Republican briefly held the seat last year, winning a special election in May to fill the remaining seven months of the term vacated by Neil Abercrombie, who resigned from Congress early last year to concentrate on his successful gubernatorial campaign.

Cheerleading

August 26th, 2011
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie, in campaign mode Thursday night at the first major fundraiser for his 2014 re-election, described his “A New Day in Hawaii” agenda as a “living, breathing organism.”

The Hawaii Democrat told donors at the Hilton Hawaiian Village that his administration has made strides by naming coordinators to work on information technology, the homeless, healthcare and early childhood education and hinted at a significant upcoming announcement on workforce housing.

Abercrombie suggested that he was not frustrated by the collective bargaining process and the contract fight with the Hawaii State Teachers Association. He praised the leaders of the United Public Workers — Dayton Nakanelua, UPW’s state director,  attended the fundraiser — for working toward a settlement with the state.

The governor embraced his role as a cheerleader for Hawaii and dismissed naysayers.

“Aren’t you glad, you think, `Well, is the campaign underway already?’ Yes, because it is. It’s a campaign for confidence. That’s what it’s all about. And I know that’s easy to mock. I know you’d have people sit on the sidelines and they’d throw rocks at the people who are trying to get things done,” he said.

“We’re going to get things done because we love Hawaii.”

Abercrombie’s campaign advisers estimated the take for the fundraiser at about $850,000.

Voice

August 25th, 2011
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The Hawaii State Teachers Association, losing sympathy from other unions because of the tactics teachers have deployed in their contract fight with the state, are speaking directly to the public through paid advertising.

In the latest spot, Nelson Maeda, a teacher, counselor and football coach at Castle High School, explains that all teachers want is an arbitrator to help settle the matter but Gov. Neil Abercrombie has refused.

Teachers offered to resolve our contract by agreeing to a referee — an arbitrator — who would do what the Star-Advertiser said, `split the difference’ in our dispute with the governor. The governor said `No’ to that referee.

And that’s not what I teach my young football players.

Hear the spot here.

`Run amok’

August 23rd, 2011
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Randy Perreira, the executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, told members in a message Tuesday that the Hawaii State Teachers Association is jeopardizing the collective bargaining rights of all public workers in its contract fight with Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The message is similar to criticism last week from the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which has intervened in the teachers union’s prohibited practices complaint before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

Perreira said the teachers union has insinuated that the HGEA conspired with Abercrombie and that the “favored nation” clause in the HGEA’s contract interfered with the teachers’ rights. The clause guarantees that the HGEA, which agreed to a two-year contract earlier this year, would enjoy any gains later won by other public-sector unions.

HSTA’s desperate attempts to deflect blame include insinuating that HGEA conspired with the governor to limit their negotiations. Their attorney, Herbert Takahashi, actually claimed that the “favored nation” clause in HGEA’s contracts interfered with HSTA’s collective bargaining rights, suggesting we were part of a conspiracy to limit what the teachers could negotiate. This is an absurd and insulting suggestion — that we would hurt our own members in a bizarre plot to negatively affect teachers. The fact is that in recognizing HGEA as the first union to reach a settlement, the governor offered “favored nation” status as a way to maintain parity among all public employees.

Perreira also notes that he was among the union leaders and public officials issued subpoenas by the teachers union. The HGEA has sought to quash the subpoena.

In taking a position that can jeopardize the future of the collective bargaining law, and attacking their fellow unions, the HSTA has run amok and is in danger of negatively affecting everyone in government employment.

Wil Okabe, the president of the teachers union, said on Saturday in response to the faculty union’s criticism that Abercrombie’s unilateral imposition of a “last, best and final offer” represents the greatest threat to the collective bargaining rights of public workers in recent history.

Today, the UH faculty (University of Hawaii Professional Assembly) suggested it would be better for everyone if HSTA would simply give in to the Governor’s unilateral actions.  They stated that we are wrong to exhaust our legal options.HSTA will continue to exercise every legal right we have, utilize every resource we have, and fight with every ounce of energy we have.  Hawaii’s teachers deserve nothing less.

One longtime Democratic activist, speaking privately, said Democrats may have to send a message to Abercrombie and the teachers union that the dispute is threatening to cause lasting damage among traditional allies.

Appoint

August 22nd, 2011
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Barry Mizuno, a former Big Island managing director who has worked in geothermal, to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.

Mizuno will serve on an interim basis until the state Senate decides whether to confirm him.

Abercrombie withdrew two previous regent appointees after they were rejected by Senate Education Committee.

Abercrombie and key lawmakers have said they favor giving the governor direct appointment authority for regents, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. Under former Gov. Linda Lingle, lawmakers created an advisory council that screens potential nominees for the governor, a process the Abercrombie administration has described as “broken” because it limits the governor’s discretion.

Abercrombie has successfully appointed three regents — Coralie Matayoshi, Saedene Ota and Jan Sullivan — to the 15-member board that oversees the university.

Economic confidence

August 18th, 2011
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Former congressman Charles Djou chose the Stone Factory off Nimitz Highway for his announcement Wednesday that he plans another Republican run for Congress to highlight concerns about a lack of job creation.

Hawaii voters appear to share his concerns.

A new Gallup Poll found that Hawaii has dropped from the top 10 in terms of economic confidence during the first six months of the year.

Washington, D.C., had the only positive economic confidence index score, according to the poll, while Hawaii fell closer to the national average.

Visual Aids

August 17th, 2011
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The state Reapportionment Commission office has been dutiful in making maps, meeting notices and other materials available online at its website.

But it hasn’t forgotten about those who may not be as tech savvy.

For those wishing to view hard copies of the proposed redistricting maps, they are available for viewing at various locations throughout the state, as listed below:
Map Sites

Public meetings begins Aug. 30 on the draft proposals. The complete schedule of hearings can be found HERE.