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Tuesday, February 24, 2009
February 24, 2009
By Andrew Walden @ 8:33 AM :: 7789 Views :: Hawaii County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, Development

Dueling rallies: Crowd estimate upped to 6-8,000 -- Gay Civil Unions supporters outnumbered 100-1

Advertiser: Between 6,000 and 8,000 people attended a rally opposing civil unions on Sunday at the state Capitol and lawmakers are receiving thousands of telephone calls and e-mails urging them not to move forward....

"I've been told by leadership that there are enough votes to pull the bill — definitely," said state Sen. Brian Taniguchi, D-10th (Manoa, McCully), chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee. A committee hearing on the bill is scheduled for 9 a.m. today at the state Capitol auditorium.

Despite these assurances, however, there is some uncertainty about the bill's fate. Under state law, the Senate could not bring the bill out of the committee until March 10, which will give opponents another two weeks from today's hearing to mobilize....

The Rev. Dr. John R. Heidel, president of the Interfaith Alliance Hawai'i, told a gathering of about 75 people that the issue has generated "angry emotion."

"We make this plea for civil discourse, for polite conversations and for encouragement to find resolution to this civil-rights concern," Heidel said....

In 1998, nearly 70 percent of Hawai'i voters approved a constitutional amendment giving the state Legislature the power to reserve marriage for heterosexual couples.

At the time, First Unitarian Church of Honolulu (Obama's Church) sponsored the largest poll of its kind on the question of same-sex marriage, which also found 70 percent opposition to same-sex marriage, said the church's Rev. Mike Young.

But another question that touched on whether gays and lesbians should have the "same rights as everyone else" received support from 67 percent of those polled, he said.

"That's what we're here about today," Young said. "That piece that was left out. ... Outside of very conservative religious communities, the support is there in the state."

(Of course, those who practice gay sex have exactly the same right to marry a person of the opposite sex as everybody else does.  So the real issue is the growth of yet another liberal-dependent voting bloc at the expense of the redefinition of traditional marriage--the foundation of all human civilization.  Even the ancient Greeks--who celebrated gay sex--still had  marriage only between male and female.)

Advertiser: 75 show up to support Gay Civil Unions

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Gay Civil Unions: Democrats warned of electoral losses

Advertiser: Democrats endangering their one-party system by trying to force this through Legislature, need to re-vote issue instead  Key sentence: "If lawmakers want to run roughshod over public sentiment, they should be held accountable to voters in 2010."  Note the Advertiser's argument is based on a desire to maintain Democrats in office by teaching them better tactics.

Star-Bulletin"It is a difficult position and it is divisive." Hooser said. "Any time you have to take a vote that doesn't represent consensus or is not unanimous, there is discomfort. We all want to do the right thing, but when a large portion of the population says they don't like what you are doing, then it makes you uncomfortable."

The controversial nature of the bill aside, Hooser said most of the Senate's 23 Democrats are likely to vote for the bill.

If it clears the Senate without amendments, it would go to Gov. Linda Lingle facing an uncertain future.  While Lingle has refused to comment on this measure, in the past she said she agreed with the 70 percent of the voters in 1998 who approved a state constitutional amendment to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.  Also, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona is a strong opponent of the bill.

Hooser and Democrats in the state House say they do not know whether there are enough votes in both chambers to override a Lingle veto.

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OHA Fears the coming reckoning with the US Constitution: Hawaii House Passes Resolution Urging "Withdrawal" Of The "Ceded Lands" Case

The Hawaii House has passed S.C.R. No. 40, a resolution "Urging the Governor and the Attorney General to withdraw the appeal to the United States Supreme Court of the Hawaii State Supreme Court decision, Office of Hawaiian Affairs v. Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii, 117 Hawaii 174 (2008)."  It is being reported that the measure passed, but with 23 "with reservations" and two no votes.

More OHA Fear: "Ceded Lands" Case Round-Up of media coverage

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DOE purchasing "fraudulent and illegal"

KHON: The state auditor has slammed the Department of Education over purchasing and contract practices auditors say may be "fraudulent and illegal."  The department says possible criminal elements have been turned over for investigation. It comes as lawmakers are deciding how best to allocate limited public funds.

The state auditor said it found such disregard for procurement law at the D.O.E. that it went back for a second round of research. A two-part report lays out problems with how the school buying office and those allowed to make contracts spend taxpayer money.  The auditor says practices within the D.O.E.’s Office of School Facilities appear to be “fraudulent and unethical,” after finding a “high volume of state procurement code violations” -- things like "manipulating the professional services selection process and awarding contractors to predetermined consultants."

In another case, the D.O.E. paid outside consultants more than $20 million to manage the spending on $160 million for renovations -- something the auditor says should have been handled in-house.  The audit doesn't chock it up to accidents or mistakes -- they say it's a “culture of disregard for procurement rules.”

West Hawaii Today: The audit reports did not name any of the assistant superintendents or department employees involved. Assistant Superintendent of School Facilities Randy Moore has been in that position since Jan. 1, 2006; some of the e-mails cited in the report as evidence of inappropriately executed contracts date back to January 2005. Those e-mails are included as support for the allegations by auditors that a former assistant superintendent violated state procurement laws "by instructing the construction consultant (in a $600,000 project) to hire a specific sub-consultant to perform work directly for the department and unrelated to the contract."  The former superintendent also apparently used connections with DOE employees after leaving the department to influence the selection of contractors, according to the report.  ...

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Lingle chats with 'gracious' president in D.C.

Advertiser coverage: This has been a Democrat talking point since Nov 4.  Now its a nothing story.  But NPR has an explanation of what's at stake: "A Defining Moment For Jindal — And GOP's Future?"  And "Hot Air" has Jindal--with Lingle in background--on video: (Here's the intro: "Want to know why Republicans are so high on Bobby Jindal?  Watch him take two minutes to stake out the kind of economic policy territory that the GOP couldn’t find with both hands and a flashlight in two successive national elections...")

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Oahu voters to tap Marshall replacement

The recent death of City Councilwoman Barbara Marshall will require a special election within the next two months as some potential candidates consider filling her seat.  The City Council will decide tomorrow the date of the special election, though the City Charter states it must be within 60 days.

Some political insiders have said possible replacements considering a run include Mayor Mufi Hannemann ally and former City Councilman John Henry Felix and Marshall's aide, Ikaika Anderson.  Anderson said he is considering running in the special election, but declined to talk about it at length out of respect for Marshall.

"I had been approached by community leaders who urged me to run and offered their support," said Anderson, 31, who ran unsuccessfully for state representative last year. "At this time, I'm considering it. I would hate to see that seat won by an individual who would not continue what Barbara had started."  (Anderson campaign website: http://www.jikaikaanderson.com/ )

Felix did not return a message left yesterday.  Leigh Prentiss of Kailua, who ran against Marshall last year, also plans to compete for the seat.

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Another Hookena Beach Assault

A witness to the assault said the victim was about 65 years old and part of a group of people celebrating a couple's 35th wedding anniversary. The assault happened just before dark, Joe Balsimo said. The assailant apparently asked the victim, who is a friend of Balsimo's neighbors, for a beer. When the victim said he didn't have one, the assailant, whom Balsimo estimated to be in his late 20s, struck him.

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