Archive for May, 2012


May 31st, 2012

Dante Carpenter, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said Thursday morning that he may not make an announcement until Friday on whether the party will go to court to block Laura H. Thielen from running for state Senate as a Democrat.

“I don’t have anything to report yet,” he said, adding that he was being “barraged” by different opinions on the subject.

The party has determined that Thielen, a director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, is ineligible to run because she has not been a member of the party in good standing for at least six months.

Thielen has filed to run in the primary for the Windward state Senate seat held by Sen. Pohai Ryan (D, Lanikai-Waimanalo).

`Fresh perspective’

May 30th, 2012

Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is running in the Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District, has received the full endorsement from EMILY’s List, the interest group that promotes women in politics.

The group believes Gabbard can be more competitive than former state Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief advocate Esther Kiaaina, the other female candidate in the race.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is considered the frontrunner in the campaign to replace U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who is running for Senate.

From Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List:

Tulsi Gabbard is a young, dynamic leader who will bring a fresh perspective to Congress. As an Iraq war veteran who completed two tours in the Middle East, Tulsi is the kind of leader who will fight against partisan gridlock and stand up for women and families. EMILY’s List is excited to see what a strong campaign she’s running, and we can’t wait to see her in Washington.

Live — on tape

May 29th, 2012

KITV will air a recording of Tuesday’s forum with U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former congressman Ed Case in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on a digital channel Tuesday night and rebroadcast it on the network on Saturday afternoon.

Tonight’s broadcast of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association forum is on MeTV Digital 126 at 7 p.m. and Saturday’s is on KITV at 4 p.m.

Case had complained that Hirono would not agree to any debates sponsored by the commercial television networks. The congresswoman has agreed to a televised debate on PBS Hawaii on June 14.

`Especially disappointing’

May 28th, 2012

Lenny Klompus, the deputy campaign manager for former Gov. Linda Lingle’s Republican Senate campaign, has taken issue with U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s remarks on Sunday at the state Democratic convention.

Inouye, D-Hawaii, who supports U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono for Senate, said on Sunday that if Republicans capture the Senate he would lose his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee and title of Senate President Pro Tempore.

He said Lingle left the governor’s office “in shambles.” He also doubted her claims that she would be bipartisan in the Senate and would function as a partner, like his friend, the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, did for decades.

“I can’t believe it. She comes on and she says `I am bipartisan,’” Inouye told delegates. “And she says I want to be a partner to Dan, just like Ted Stevens. Let me assure you: she is not any Ted Stevens.”

From Klompus:

Sen. Inouye should be commended for his brave heroism on the battlefields in defense of freedom during World War II, and for his decades of service to the people of Hawaii as our state’s U.S. Senator in Congress.

In light of his past service, it’s especially disappointing to see someone of Sen. Inouye’s stature caving to the pressures of his political party to fall into the typical, divisive, counter-productive partisan, DC-style attacks that so often dominate the election season. He should know better than anyone that Hawaii’s voters are tired of the same old political gamesmanship that too often dominates useful dialogue in the public arena.

We all knew that when Democrat leaders from across the state gathered at their party’s convention, they would be talking about anything but the important issues facing the people of Hawaii. But I believe Hawaii voters expect more from a statesman of Sen. Inouye’s stature, who witnesses on a daily, first-hand basis how the U.S. Congress is in a perpetual state of gridlock precisely because of this type of corrosive partisan behavior.

Now should be a time when we are examining the candidates’ records, their stances on the issues, and their visions for Hawaii’s future, not wasting time listening to distortions, insults, and patently false statements that he and others made at their Democrat Party Convention over the weekend.

While singing the praises of President Obama, Sen. Inouye neglects to remind people of what a staunch supporter he was of now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she was opposing then-Sen. Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries. Election season seems to bring out the worst in people, even American heroes like Dan Inouye.

Blame game

May 27th, 2012

Nacia Blom, the executive director of the state GOP, gave the Republican assessment of the state Democratic convention in statement late Saturday.

From Blom:

Falling in line with the national Democrat party, Hawaii Democrats have once again decided that they are not running on a platform of issues. Instead, they launched into what was nothing more than a narcissistic tirade of personal assaults against individual Republican candidates. Over the past two days, the Hawaii State Democrat Convention has been a circus of internal procedural squabbling, sprinkled with baseless attacks on proven leaders like former Gov. Linda Lingle. This is not the pool of candidates the people of Hawaii deserve to select from in deciding who to send to our state Capitol or Washington,D.C.

Just a few weeks ago, the Hawaii Republican Party held its annual Convention and the focused discussions collectively rallied delegates and guests behind candidates who are ready to lead our state and country back to prosperity. Our candidates spoke, at no cost, about how the problems our country faces are American problems, and solving them will require a commitment to finding bipartisan solutions. As our candidates were focused on solving America’s problems, they neither had time nor concern to take derogatory swipes about members of the Democrat party. The DC-style politics evident in Hawaii’s Democrat Party has done nothing but perpetuate the partisan gridlock in our nation’s Capitol. We need leaders who rise above party politics, speak about issues important to Hawaii’s people, and work with whoever necessary to get our state and country back on track.

From Blom on U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Senate, who spoke to the convention on Sunday morning:

In a clear admission that she can’t run and win on her own record, Rep. Mazie Hirono closed out the Hawaii Democrat Convention today by taking all her time on the stage to attack former-Governor Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Hirono’s tired, old smears were the latest distraction from candidates and national party operatives like keynote speaker and secretary of the Democratic National Committee, Alice Gremond, who used similar scare tactics, painting the party’s opposition as “diabolical” and “venal.” Throughout the convention, national operatives and the party’s elite stated time and again that they need to keep Hawaii’s open U.S. Senate seat as a “safe” Democrat seat.

It is quite obvious that experience, leadership and common sense solutions to our state and country’s economic challenges are not a requirement for a Democrat to run for office. Conversely, we have a true leader in Governor Linda Lingle whose commitment to bipartisanship and always putting ‘people first’ are qualities the people of Hawaii demand and deserve in their next U.S. Senator.

According to the rhetoric coming from the Democrat Convention, the only prerequisite is that a candidate attach a (D) to their name when it appears on the ballot.

The people of Hawaii are not surprised by the name-calling and caustic attacks from Rep. Hirono since she didn’t take one minute of her eight minute tirade to talk about her platform. It is quite sad that this is best the Democrat Party can offer the people of Hawaii.

It is also sad that Hirono is such a Washington, D.C. insider and is so out of touch with the reality here in Hawaii. She clearly has no grasp on the background and facts surrounding topics her vitriol espoused. And, all the public surveys prove this point: Congress and those currently in office, have the lowest approval rating in our country’s history.

In sports, they call this style ‘playing as the presumptive leader;’ in politics it is called ‘playing it safe.’ In either case, the result is the same –lack of talent, expertise and grasp of the issues eventually catch up with you and it’s only a short time before the public catches up with you, and you find yourself beat.

High fidelity

May 26th, 2012

State Democrats may give potential candidates two paths to become eligible to run for elected office under the party’s banner.

The rules committee at the party’s state convention voted late Friday for an amendment to the party’s constitution that would recognize potential candidates who have been party members for at least six months or who demonstrate party fidelity after an interview.

Under the existing constitution, candidates who do not meet the six-month requirement have to request an exception, a process that has been criticized after the party rejected Laura H. Thielen — a former director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican — who has filed as a Democrat for a state Senate seat.

Democrats can go to court to challenge Thielen’s candidacy or vote to expel her from the party.

Democrats said late Friday that the amendment was a “middle path” between those who wanted to expand the six-month membership rule to 12 months with no exceptions and those who wanted to abolish the rule altogether.

The amendment will be up for a final vote before convention delegates on Saturday. *Update: The amendment was approved Saturday morning.

Bart Dame, a progressive activist who worked on the amendment, said it would be an acknowledgment by the party that the existing rule is flawed and could influence the party’s response to Thielen’s candidacy. Dame also said that the amendment would establish standards and criteria to determine whether a candidate should represent the party, removing the ambiguity in the existing rule over when an exception should be awarded.

Jim Shon, a former state lawmaker, said he was sad that Democrats were even discussing expanding the six-month rule to 12 months. He said the party had always trusted primary voters to decide which candidates were authentic Democrats. “This party is bigger than that,” Shon said. “That’s what the other guys do.”

But Ann Freed, a member of the party’s state central committee, said primaries are used to select candidates who represent the party’s values, not all voters who are eligible to vote in the state’s open primaries. She said the 12-month membership rule would have given the party greater ability to screen candidates.

Democrats on the rules committee, meanwhile, voted to reject an amendment that would have subjected elected officials who failed to demonstrate support for the party’s human and civil rights, labor, social safety net and environmental protection planks to possible expulsion.

The amendment had drawn the concern of several state House and Senate lawmakers and the Abercrombie administration.

Freed and other party activists have been disappointed that elected officials do not follow the party platform.

But Linda Chu Takayama, an ally of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said expulsion was a serious penalty for elected officials who may have legitimate differences on issues such as Honolulu rail or the Ho’opili residential development project.

“There are many issues on which we as Democrats disagree,” she said.

`Escalating insults’

May 26th, 2012

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has objected to what she describes as “escalating insults” from former congressman Ed Case in their Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

The latest was an interview Case gave to Hawaii Reporter, an online news site, where the former congressman said he hoped the campaign would move beyond the candidates’ backgrounds.

From Case:

We know that Mazie was born in Japan and then immigrated to this country at a young age and was brought up by a single mother. That’s something that she’s been very clear about right from the get-go. And people know, I hope people know, I was born and raised in Hilo, fourth generation of my family in Hawaii, and I have deep roots here, and worked in the private and public sectors. So I think people have a general sense of who we are. Now it’s time to discuss, what does that translate into? We’ve both served in the United States Congress, we both have comparable public service careers, I’ve had thirty years in the private sector which she hasn’t had any. But I think the bottom line is what have we done with our upbringings. What is our record in Congress. What do we think, today. And what is our agenda, going forward. I think those are fair questions. And I think what’s going to happen in all honesty is we’re going to get into the last eighty days and Mazie is just going to remain stuck in the past, keep on talking about you know, her background and never translating it to, you know, record, thoughts, agenda.

Hirono’s response:

In just the past four days, Ed Case has compared me to a “bowl of warm jello,” called me “pathetic,” and labeled me “sad.” This pattern of behavior is profoundly disappointing but no one should worry—I can take those insults. I have faced far greater challenges in my life than personal attacks from an opponent in a political campaign. But last night, Ed Case crossed the line that we do not cross in Hawaii, denigrating my personal background and my family. I would ask, in his campaign of escalating insults, that Ed Case leave my mother out of it.

No rally time

May 25th, 2012

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and former congressman Ed Case, the Democratic contenders for U.S. Senate, will get the opportunity to address the state Democratic convention this weekend for free.

Dante Carpenter, the party’s chairman, announced Friday morning that Case would speak at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Hirono would talk at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday.

Originally, the party only offered the candidates rally time at the convention at $500 per minute. Hirono accepted the offer and purchased eight minutes for Sunday, while Case refused. Party leaders had also suggested a possible forum with Hirono and Case, but the Hirono campaign did not include the event on her debate schedule.

From Carpenter:

There will be no paid rally time at the Democratic Party of Hawai`i State Convention this year.  We will offer our two excellent U.S. Senate candidates time to give speeches with no cost involved.

“Ed Case and Mazie Hirono will each have five minutes to address the convention, Ed on Saturday at  1:00 pm and Mazie on Sunday at  11:10 am .  Our delegates expect to hear from both of them and so that’s how we will go forward.

The original concept was to raise needed funds to help cover the cost of the State Convention.  Important as that may be, it pales in comparison to giving these great candidates a chance to address our delegates.

We thank Mazie Hirono’s campaign for their willingness to help with the rally time effort, but we will not ask them to contribute anything for time on Sunday.

From Hirono, who called the paid rally time “ill conceived:”

Democrats deserve to hear from their candidates at our convention, and I am extremely glad that will be happening this weekend. I am pleased that the Hawaii Democratic Party has reversed its ill conceived policy to charge candidates for the opportunity to address their fellow Democrats.


May 24th, 2012

The League of Conservation Voters on Thursday endorsed U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate.

Hirono is running against former congressman Ed Case in the Democratic primary to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, who is retiring. Former Gov. Linda Lingle is the leading Republican.

“The League of Conservation Voters is proud to endorse Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate because she has fought to protect the rich natural beauty of Hawaii and build a vibrant clean energy economy,” Gene Karpinski, the president of the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement. “Representative Hirono understands that investments in a clean energy future are investments in well-paying, stable jobs for Hawaiians for generations to come.”

The national environmental group also released the results of a poll it sponsored showing Hirono up over Lingle 50 percent to 41 percent in a hypothetical general election match-up. Nine percent were undecided.

The automated telephone survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina firm, among 600 voters on May 16 and May 17.

Temperature check

May 23rd, 2012

A consortium of construction trade unions on Wednesday released results of private polls showing declining support for former Gov. Ben Cayetano in the race for Honolulu mayor.

The survey was conducted by Tulchin Research for the Pacific Resource Partnership, an advocacy group for the state’s unionized carpenters and contractors and a prominent supporter of the city’s rail project.

Cayetano is running against incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle and former city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell.

According to the poll, when asked who they would select if the mayoral contest were decided today, 33 percent said Cayetano, down from 38 percent in January. Carlisle was at 30 percent, up from 29 percent in January, and Caldwell was at 21 percent, up from 18 percent at the start of the year. The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points on the May poll and 3.9 percentage points on the January poll.

You can view the poll’s methodology here: TulchinPoll_Rail.

A poll conducted in February by the Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now showed Cayetano at 44 percent, followed by Carlisle at 35 percent and Caldwell at 16 percent (margin of error: +/- 4.2 percent).

The poll also found “support for the rail transit project is higher now than at any other point since we started surveying voters on the subject.”

According to Tulchin, 46 percent of those surveyed said they support the rail project, compared to 44 percent in May 2011. Meanwhile, 49 percent said they opposed the project, down from 54 percent a year ago.