Slom: "I've Never Seen so Many Hawaii Republicans"
Romney Delighted by Hawaii Caucus Victory
Over 10,000 Voters Turn out for Hawaii Republican Presidential Caucuses
Lingle is Youngest Senate Candidate, Dem Candidates Prepare Hawaii for Invisibility
Shapiro: Rep. Mazie Hirono, who is supported by both senators to succeed Akaka and leads Democratic rival Ed Case and Republican Linda Lingle in most polls, would be 65 when she's sworn in — the same age Akaka was.
She'd have four years of seniority when she became Hawaii's senior senator and relatively few years to build seniority before hitting retirement herself.
Case, 59, and Lingle, 58, also aren't young for beginning senators. For practical purposes, they'd be able to build one six-year term more seniority than Hirono if all served to the same age.
The age problem persists when we look at who might replace Inouye.
If Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and Mufi Hannemann hold their leads in the polls and claim Hawaii's U.S. House seats, they'd be the likely front-runners for Inouye's seat.
Hanabusa, now 60, would be 65 when she's sworn in to the Senate, and Hannemann, now 57, would be 62.
It's a delicate issue but one voters must consider unless they're comfortable with Hawaii enduring a long stretch of relative invisibility in the U.S. Senate.
read … Youth Movement
Lingle won't say who she's backing in Hawaii GOP caucuses
The Hill: Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R), who is running for Senate, won't say which presidential candidate she's backing in Hawaii's Republican caucuses.
Lingle spokesman Lenny Klompus told The Hill that Lingle would vote in Tuesday's caucuses but that she was keeping her choice private.
"Yes, she will vote," Klompus said. "She's not going to endorse until the convention." ….
Lingle told The Hill in October that she'd support any of the Republican candidates in the race except Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
"Unless the Republican candidate was Ron Paul I would be voting for the Republican candidate," she said then. "I don't think anyone would be surprised by that. I like them all."
read … Lingle
ILind: Legislative Crossover ‘Prime Time for Politics’
- A digest of bills that survived first crossover, prepared by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
- Detailed budget worksheets accompanying the executive and judiciary budgets passed by the House.
- I recommend searching for provisos tucked away in the executive budget. Just open HB2012, and search for the phrase, “provided that”. This yields a quick check on instances where legislators are directing money to specific programs. Prime time for politics.
- Applications for Grants-in-aid submitted by nonprofit groups looking for state funding.
read … Prime Time
Who should govern Hawaii’s first health insurance exchange?
PBN: Hawaii consumers may have more say in the shaping of the state’s first health insurance exchange if legislation to create the exchange keeps moving through the state Legislature.
That’s the idea behind Senate Bill 2434, which cleared its hearing before the House Committee on Health Tuesday.
In addition to laying out some ground rules for what sort of health plans will be sold on Hawaii’s future health insurance exchange, already named Hawaii Health Connector, the bill is trying to alleviate growing concern over who gets to sit on the board that governs the exchange.
Current interim board members come from the local health-care and business communities, including representatives from commercial health plans such as Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii.
That has raised concerns over conflict of interest and a lack of transparency.
Hawaii Coalition for Health, a local health-care advocacy group for patients and consumers, is pushing to keep executives or representatives from health plans from sitting on the exchange’s board of directors.
“The proposed law provides no means of enforcing transparency or any conflict-of-interest rule the governing board might adopt,” said Rafael del Castillo, spokesman for the Hawaii Coalition for Health, in a statement. “Under those circumstances, allowing health plans on the board is tantamount to letting the foxes design the henhouse.”
read … Who should govern Hawaii’s first health insurance exchange?
Feds: FTA Should not be Associated with Mufi’s ‘Lousy Practices of Public Manipulation’
CB: In an afternoon press conference at his campaign headquarters, Cayetano and co-plaintiff/campaign co-chair Walter Heen revealed some of the contents of the administrative record they received as part of their lawsuit against the project.
Here are the two most damning excerpts, both from fall 2006:
- “I do not think the FTA should be associated with their lousy practices of public manipulation and we should call them on it.”
- “We seem to be proceeding in the hallowed tradition of Honolulu rapid transit studies: never enough time to do it right, but lots of time to do it over.”
read … FTA Hits Mufi
Democrat Cayetano Will not be attending GOP Caucuses
CB: So, will Cayetano be out tonight, connecting with Republican voters who might be open to supporting his mayoral campaign, largely because of their opposition to rail transit?
“I’m a Democrat, Michael, but on this issue, this is not an ideological election,” he said. “All the focus is on the vision for the city and the fiscal integrity of the city. … I do not intend to attend any Republican caucuses on the presidential race. Period. I’m supporting Barack Obama.”
read … Not ideological
KITV: Romney's Son Stumps For Candidate In Hawaii
Local Mitt Romney supporters took their campaign to the streets of Laie this evening
"We need him. This country needs him," said Laie resident Dave Lewis.
Mitt Romney stayed behind but helping to drum up support for the republican presidential candidate was one of Romney's five sons.
watch … Romney
Senators upbraid officials for overpaying employees
SA: State senators scolded Cabinet members and other department officials Tuesday for messy bookkeeping and a perceived disregard for taxpayer money after discovering that public employees had been paid more than $2 million they weren't due.
State officials are trying to recoup more than $1.5 million from current and former employees, but have written off hundreds of thousands of dollars in other overpayments as uncollectable, the Senate says.
Some of the overpayments date to 1994.
"We don't have accountability," Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, chairwoman of the special Senate Committee on Accountability, said after a hearing on the matter Tuesday.
"I think they (officials) just haven't put it as a priority and didn't think it was important — I don't know. And that's what's troubling. That's what's so frustrating about this whole thing. If it was their own money in their own household, I think there would be a different result."
read … Overpay, never Underpay
Hawaii Ranks in Bottom Half of States for Spending Transparency
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Hawaii is lagging behind most other states when it comes to transparency about government spending, according to a study published Wednesday.
The state was one of three that earned a "C" grade from the Boston-based consumer group U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. The ranking puts Hawaii in the bottom half of states when it comes to the fiscal information it puts online, with 28 other states ranking higher….
Hawaii also earned a "C" in U.S. PIRG's analysis last year, but the group says that it used stricter standards in 2012 so that states with the same — or even a worse — score may have made improvements since 2011.
SA: Best government is an open one
read … PIRG
House Committees to Reconsider OHA-Kakaako Bill
CB: On Monday (March 12), two House committees passed Senate Bill 2873, the state’s proposal to give $200 million in Kakaako land to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Now, the committees will meet Wednesday (March 14) to reconsider the votes.
We’re not sure what’s up, but Hawaiian Affairs Chair Faye Hanohano is concerned that there was not enough public discussion about SB 2873. Other lawmakers say the bill may not do enough for Native Hawaiians.
read … Reconsider
Schatz: If We Pay Trask off, We Can Get Geothermal
SA: … the effort to develop geothermal resources in Hawaii has not always gone smoothly. Community members in the 1990s fought development of a geothermal project planned for the Wao Kele o Puna rain forest on Hawaii island. Several hundred people were arrested and led away in handcuffs during a protest at the site. The plan eventually was scrapped, and no new geothermal project has been developed in Hawaii since then.
The developer at the time made a series of missteps, including not seeking community input, said Patricia Brandt, whose Innovations Development Group plans to submit a bid to develop 50 megawatts of geothermal power on Hawaii island. IDG, which specializes in socially responsible energy development, held a series of community meetings last year to present its plan and solicit public input.
"We got a better reception than we thought," Brandt said. "We surveyed everyone and listened to the questions they had. The response was 98 percent positive. That's a big change from what was happening 20 years ago," said Brandt, who is Native Hawaiian.
Honolulu-based IDG has developed three geothermal energy projects on Maori trust lands in New Zealand.
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, the Abercrombie administration's point man on renewable energy, said in an interview Tuesday he is encouraged by the shift in attitude toward geothermal development.
read … Graft and Grift
Taxes: State Vacuums 10% More out of Your Pocket
PBN: Total state revenues for the first eight months of the fiscal year rose 9.8 percent
read … Hawaii tax revenue take up 10% over last year
Kobayashi Proposes Property Tax Increases on Business
CB: Honolulu City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi last week introduced three bills that would, if passed, eliminate property tax exemptions for three classes of businesses: slaughterhouses; air pollution control facilities; and pulp and paper manufacturers.
All three — represented by Bills 19, 20 and 21 — were introduced Thursday.
read … Kobayashi
Kauai Mayor, chief shake hands
KGI: Kaua‘i County Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. on Monday announced that Police Chief Darryl Perry was officially off paid leave and back on the job, even though Perry said he had been on the job since last month.
(Check out the photo: Police Commissioner looks like referee in a Boxing match)
KGI: Police chief back in uniform
read … Mayor, chief shake hands
Atheist ‘Pleased’ With $100K State Settlement
Mitch Kahle and colleague Kevin Hughes are $100,000 richer, thanks to a settlement in their favor regarding a lawsuit against the state Senate sergeant-at-arms, staff and state sheriff’s deputies….
…The Senate has since dropped invocations, though the House has kept the tradition. Meanwhile, a House bill that gives security authority to deal with “disorderly” behavior at the Capitol — aka the “Stop Mitch Kahle” bill — has a hearing this week.
read … A gift from their friends, Neil Abercrombie and David Louie
Tour Company Uses DLNR Board Position to Attack Competitor
CB: The Department of Land and Natural Resources has sent KapohoKine Adventures a cease and desist letter prohibiting the tour company from taking visitors to the former Kaimu Bay area.
KapohoKine co-owner Tony DeLellis, whose company takes paying customers down to the Kalapana-Kaimu area, said his company doesn’t take tour groups over the accreted land to a black sand beach that was created when lava from the Kupaianaha vent filled in the bay in the early 1990s.
He also points to Rob Pacheco, owner of the (competing) tour group Hawaii Forest and Trail, for singling out KapohoKine while Pacheco sits on the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the DLNR’s oversight board.
read … Conflict of Interest