January 5th, 2011

Negotiators in the state House leadership struggle are expected to meet on Thursday to see if they can break the stalemate among majority Democrats.

House Speaker Calvin Say’s group has offered dissidents unspecified committee chairmanships and leadership posts, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

But dissidents have also been told that House Republicans would likely back Say in a leadership vote.

Say, (D-St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise), is one vote short of a majority to retain control of the House. Dissidents have suggested state Rep. Roy Takumi, (D-Pearl City, Momilani, Palisades), as an alternative.

Sources say the speaker’s group would prefer a compromise with dissidents but wants to end the leadership fight and prepare for the new session.

Republican leaders have said the eight-member GOP caucus would likely stick together on any vote.

9 Responses to “Offer”

  1. ohiaforest3400:

    Not sure what the offer of committee chairmanships and leadership posts will do, if anything. The dissidents have accepted that in the past (Luke and Takai have been Vice-Speaker; Saiki has been Majority Leader; Luke has also been JUD Chair) and it doesn’t seem to have solved anything. Wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see the dissidents overplay their hand, as several have done over the years on a number of bills/issues, and hold out ’til session begins, only to see the R’s vote for Say and leave the dissodents with zilch, zip, nada.

  2. charles:

    Obviously, if the Say faction has to depend on Republicans, it raises two questions:

    - Does the speaker believe that it’s a win-at-all-cost scenario that he would depend on Republicans to keep his speakership?

    - What would the Democrats who support him do?

  3. Voice Ofreason:

    As House GOP members suggest they will throw their support for Speaker Say in the next few weeks, how will the dissidents spin this development to save face?

    (1) Say and his loyalists are disloyal to the party. Party rules prohibit members from organizing with Republicans. Yet Say and his group didn’t do that at all. Nothing was offered nor given to the Republicans. On their own, the Republicans pledged their support to Say so that the House can get down to business, and for that, they must be commended for doing the right thing for the people of this State. It should be noted that there have been coalitions with Republicans made in the past. Just ask Cayetano, Abercrombie, Carpenter, and other Senators who allowed Republicans to chair committees to organize the Senate in the early 1980s.

    (2) The dissidents will be banished to Siberia. Knowing Speaker Say’s style of leadership, I truly doubt that the dissidents will be totally shut out from any posts of responsibility. I can almost guarantee that they will be offered the opportunity to participate as Chairs of some of the committees and even serve in leadership posts. But will any of the dissidents accept those challenges? If they are truly sincere about working to make changes in the institution, members like Morita, Takumi, Keith-Agaran, Nakashima, and Coffman will accept these new roles. If not, then we should really see that their efforts were nothing more than a prolonged power grab done at the expense of the public good.

    (3) Say will not be effective. Only time will tell whether the dissidents will continue to obstruct the workings of the House, but the minority (and that is what the dissidents truly are) of the past have had enough votes to recall bills on the floor and conduct various other procedural stunts. However, in the final analysis, the majority has always been able to get the work done.

    The people of this State should really take a good hard look at their elected representative’s actions over the past few months and evaluate whether their actions were truly in our best interests or their own. In my view, the dissidents’ failed coup attempt should be reason enough to vote them out of office.

  4. ohiaforest3400:

    Voice, you are the . . . . . PERSON!!!

  5. Hawaiino:

    Is there a thematic element that binds the dissidents? Some (most?) are public employee union members that would no doubt like a proposal to raise the Excise Tax. Is that it?

    If you were to italicize or “quote” your first sentence (s) that characterize the dissidents arguments it would be clearer. Though, I got it. Thanks for your perspective.

  6. Manoa_Fisherman:

    The only thing the dissidents keep harping on is “fairness”. Translate that to doling out chairmanships to their faction. Bottom line, simply an effort to grab power for themselves.

    With the state facing a deficit of over $850 million, the school system unable and unwilling to teach our children, and politicians acting like kids fighting in the school yard during recess, serious thought has to be given to replacing incumbents who think “fairness” is more important than doing the business of solving the huge problems and issues facing the State.

  7. mswong:

    I don’t think membership in HGEA, UPW, UHPA, HSTA, SHOPO or the Firefighters union would distinguish the House “dissidents”.
    Nine [Chris Lee, Morita, Hanohano, Nakashima, Coffman (retired from a private company), Carroll, Brower, Evans, and Wooley] appear to be fulltime legislators.
    Six are lawyers but none work in government [Luke, Saiki, Au-Belatti, and Agaran are in private legal practice while Nishimoto is apparently in-house with a private company; now-Senator Shimabukuro is a legal aid society attorney].
    Takumi works for the AFL-CIO, a private sector union.
    If you’re looking for ties to public worker unions, I suppose Hanohano is a former prison guard, Wooley is a former deputy attorney general (I think lawyers are excluded usually from the public worker unions), and Nakashima was a teacher at one time. Mark Takai does work for the national guard, I believe, and was deployed to Kuwait with his unit in 2009 during the legislative session (I’m not sure Takai is a full member of HGEA). Freshman legislator Dee Morikawa worked for Kauai County and likely is (or was) an HGEA or UPW member. Carroll worked for the County Council or Maui mayor and Agaran did stints in State and County posts as a political appointee (but neither in all likelihood were eligible to join a public worker union). At most, that’s seven out of seventeen (or eighteen if you include Shimabukuro) who had some government service but only Hanohano, Nakashima and Morikawa were public worker union members at some point in their working lives.
    I believe key Say supporters Ken Ito was with HSTA or HGEA, Say Majority Whip Pono Chong worked for the legislature and then as a political appointee at DCCA, Say Housing chair Rida Cabanilla is a federal employee (as a military nurse), Say Water Land vice-chair Sharon Har worked for the DOE and former Lt. Gov. Hirono, Say Human Services chair John Mizuno worked in the legislature, freshman Mark Hashem worked for Say loyalist Kyle Yamashita in the legislature, and freshman Ty Cullen works for one of the largest State social services contractors.
    I would guess dissident core members are urban Oahu Reps (Luke, Saiki, Nishimoto, Brower, Au-Belatti, Takai, Takumi– Chris Lee worked for both Luke and Saiki) and rural women (Shimabukuro, Wooley, Evans, Morita, Carroll, Morikawa, Hanohano). What that says about Calvin’s supporters, I don’t know but he does have a swath of rural Oahu and a decided majority of the neighbor island males.
    Nakashima (Hamakua) and Agaran (Kahului) are just anomalies. I would expect them to vote along the lines of their other neighbor island male colleagues (Tokioka, Souki, Yamashita, McKelvey, Tsuji, Chang, Herkes) on most issues even after the organizational fight is over (if anyone moves over to Calvin at some point before Opening Day and short of a compromise, I would guess it’s one of those two).
    Coffman (Kona)? I dunno.

  8. Earl of Sandwich:

    Charles, sorry if I’m misinterpreting you, but it sounds like you’re making Say to be the “my way or the highway” guy. I totally disagree. Say’s group has been negotiating and making offers. All the dissidents have apparently been doing is demanding (which is how is works when one side has everything to give and the other has nothing). If you’ve already got the vote wrapped up (once opening day hits and the Republicans cast at least one vote for Say), why even need to negotiate? Seems to me as though Say is at least trying to keep the Democrats together by continuing to offer a place for the dissidents even when he doesn’t have to.

  9. ohiaforest3400:

    Nice rundown, mswong.

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