What is Happening with OHA? Keli'i Akina Interviews Peter Apo
Hawaii Republican Party Endorses Grace Manipol-Larson – Running Against White Supremacist in HD2 Hilo
State Rolls Out Phase Two of Payroll Modernization
Hawaii Millionaire Will Go Broke Faster Than Any Other State
Access to Healthcare--Hawaii Ranks 35th
UH: Early College is a growing success
2018’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities – Honolulu Dead Last
The Hawaii Republican Party’s Slow Path To Extinction
CB: …The GOP is unable to field candidates in a growing number of races — and that, worry experts, is a problem for democracy and government transparency….
Political analysts and former lawmakers expect another poor GOP showing this election. In 23 of the 64 state legislative races, the party is not even fielding a candidate in the Aug. 11 primary.
In other contests, it’s so lopsided against entrenched Democratic incumbents that Republicans stand little to no chance of winning in the Nov. 6 general election.
The House will more than likely drop down to four Republican-held seats with Rep. Andria Tupola giving up hers to run for governor.
Sailau Timoteo, her potential successor, may have had a shot at keeping the westside Oahu seat in GOP hands but the state Elections Office proclaimed Friday that she is no longer considered a candidate because she is not a U.S. citizen. She immigrated from American Samoa….
“It’s a continuation of a downward historical trend that’s probably gone on for 40 years and was only interrupted briefly by electing a Republican governor, Linda Lingle, and a few more legislators,” he said. “But after her first term, it started downhill again.”
Lingle and 22 Republican state lawmakers rode a wave of resentment of Democrats into office in 2002. She easily won re-election four years later but the GOP had already begun losing legislative seats again, dipping to 15 in 2006….
“It’s very difficult to tell what’s going on in the Legislature because there’s no incentive for Democrats to air their dirty laundry in public, which means less transparency,” he said. “So we’re going to be stuck with a political party that runs by favors and factions and doesn’t really feel the need to articulate clear policy visions.”….
Common Cause Executive Director Corie Tanida said a stronger minority party would not only bring more policy debates to the surface but also boost the public’s understanding of the reasoning behind some of the decisions being made.
“On the floor a lot of items just sail through without much debate or discussion,” she said. “Having open debates is what democracy is about; we shouldn’t be shying away from them.”
When the majority caucus meets, it’s literally every member of the Senate who leaves the floor to gather in the private room. On the House side, it’s just the five Republicans who are left sitting there while the debate happens behind closed doors.
A stronger minority party could also help with accountability and transparency, Tanida said.
When Republican Sen. Sam Slom was in office, he started the Hawaii Open Budget website. He released state budget information in a format that made it easy for the public to understand, Tanida said, adding that the public was then able to ask questions and provide more informed feedback.
Slom, who was first elected in 1996 to represent Hawaii Kai and neighboring parts of East Oahu, was the last Republican in the Senate. He was its sole member from 2010 to 2016 when he lost to Democrat Stanley Chang….
Sam Slom .. see a chance for the party to regain control of the open Mililani seat….Republican Val Okimoto, a first-time candidate who serves as a director of the Mililani Town Association, will face the winner of a four-way Democratic primary that includes former state lawmaker Marilyn Lee, Zuri Aki, Dean Hazama and Trish La Chica….
Fukumoto is only the latest Republican to defect. Since 2005, at least five others switched parties and all but one are still in office. Reps. Aaron Ling Johanson, James Tokioka and Karen Awana along with Sens. Mike Gabbard and Gil Riviere were all Republicans before they became Democrats….
“It’s a perfect illustration of their problem,” Moore said. “They lose Beth Fukumoto and they get Rod Tam.”…
“There’s a good reason for jumping ship — they wouldn’t get elected again,” Milner said. “It isn’t like they went through some kind of progressive conversion.” …
GOP candidates have generally distanced themselves from the national party, he said, but that is harder to do under the bombastic Republican President Donald Trump. It’s why Fukumoto and Djou left the party.
“They can’t run away from the Republican brand now which has become the brand of Trump,” Moore said, adding that’s not what voters want here.
Hawaii rejected Trump by the widest margin in the nation, with 61 percent voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton and 29 percent voting for Trump.
Hawaii has only given its three electoral votes to a Republican presidential candidate twice since statehood — Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984.
“It’s not as if there are no Republicans in the state,” Moore said. “But there are only a few places where they’re concentrated enough to win.”…
“There’s room in this state for people who are critical of the reigning Democratic Party,” Moore said.“It’s kind of depressing that it’s going to get even worse.”…
read … The Hawaii Republican Party’s Slow Path To Extinction
Hawaii Elections: 112,000 Ballots In Hand
CB: …About 75,000 Oahu residents have already voted in this year’s primary.
Some 70,000 mail ballots had been returned as of Monday, and about 4,700 other voters had cast ballots at early walk-in polling places, according to the Honolulu Division of Elections.
Oahu residents make up the bulk of about 112,000 voters statewide who have already taken advantage of early voting opportunities. That’s about 14 percent of registered voters, the state Office of Elections said….
In the 2016 primary, the total voter turnout was 34 percent. In that election, just under 727,000 Hawaii residents were registered.
About 741,000 residents were registered statewide as of Monday, according to the Office of Elections. That number is expected to rise, because for the first time this year people can register right up to election day throughout the state.
Completed mail ballots must be received by the elections office before 6 p.m. Saturday, the day of the primary election….
Honolulu was receiving 600 to 700 ballots a day last week, according to a tweet from the office….
Hawaii County had received about 17,000 early ballots by Friday, and about 1,200 came from the precincts affected by lava….
Maui County had received about 13,115 ballots as of Saturday (1,443 from early walk-ins and 11,672 by mail), according to county Elections Division.
Kauai County had received 7,292 ballots as of Monday afternoon — 1,480 from early walk-ins and 5,812 by mail….
read … Hawaii Elections Officials Already Have 112,000 Ballots In Hand
Sam King for OHA Leads Fund Race
CB: …King is a right-leaning candidate who doesn’t believe in race-based government and wants to bring more fiscal transparency to OHA. He and Esther Kia‘aina were the biggest spenders in July in the contest for the Oahu seat.
King spent more than $20,000 from July 1 to July 27, ending the month with nearly $9,120 in the bank. His biggest campaign donor in July was Ely Lundquist, a self-described homemaker who gave him $6,000.
His biggest expenses included nearly $9,000 for radio advertising, $6,204.19 for yard signs and $1,885.56 to hold a fundraiser at the Waikiki Yacht Club.
Kia‘aina reported spending $17,673 in July, including nearly $16,000 on TV and radio advertising. She had $4,124 in cash on hand as of July 27.
Other candidates for the Oahu seat raised and spent significantly less. Francine Murray spent $7,150 and had a few hundred dollars left heading into the primary. Kalei Akaka raised $2,632 but only spent about $600….
read … Some OHA Candidates Continue To Spend Big On Their Campaigns
Hanabusa Passed only Two Bills in Congress
CB: Tucked behind the Kahala Mall in one of Honolulu’s more affluent neighborhoods is a cinder block post office with yellowing paint and oxidized metal bars covering the windows.
In 2011, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa introduced a bill to rename the building, which was originally dedicated in 1967 by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson, after the late Hawaii politician Cecil Heftel.
It was one of two pieces of legislation Hanabusa authored in her nearly six years in Congress that became law. The other, introduced in 2017, authorized a new commemorative display at the Pearl Harbor memorial to honor U.S. soldiers who fought in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Gov. David Ige, who Hanabusa is trying to unseat in the Aug. 11 Democratic primary, has seized on her congressional record as a campaign talking point.
“If you could only pass one bill in two years, I wouldn’t be so proud of that,” Ige said. “Being a congressperson does not substitute for executive experience.”…
read … Hanabusa’s Legacy in Congress: From Military Spending To A Post Office In Kahala
Some Gabbard campaign material runs afoul of military ethics rules
SA: The Hawaii Army National Guard has instructed Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to take down or amend certain campaign material from her VoteTulsi Facebook page because it violates military ethics rules.
Gabbard, like other politicians with military experience, often uses images and video of herself in uniform in campaign ads. But the U.S. Department of Defense has policies in place aimed at making sure those ads are not seen as an endorsement from any branch of the military.
Campaign material must include a “prominent and clearly displayed disclaimer” that the ad or image is not a military endorsement. Candidates are also forbidden from using images of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic in campaign material….
read … Some Gabbard campaign material runs afoul of military ethics rules
HPD officer pleads not guilty to charges of abusing family member
SA: …Police arrested Konishi at or near the Kahala branch of the HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union on July 21 on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening and 10 counts of abuse.
Shortly after his arrest, he was stripped of his police powers and assigned to desk duty, according to a police spokeswoman….
read … HPD officer pleads not guilty to charges of abusing family member
Scientists report fissure 8 has 'almost shut down completely'
HNN: …"This morning's overflight crew saw a weak to moderately active bubbling lava lake within the fissure 8 cone, a weak gas plume, and a completely crusted lava channel," the USGS said in a different report.
So after over three months, is the eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone finally over?
Scientists aren't sure.
"Clearly we're in a pause or a lull, and we just have to wait and watch in the coming days and weeks ahead," said Tina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory…..
"In 1955 there was an eruption that went on for 88 days, and it did include two shutdowns of five and 16 days, and so that's a model for what might be happening," Neal said….
The Middle East Rift Zone is showing signs of life. Puu Oo, the vent responsible for much of Kilauea's activity over the past 35 years, is expelling large amounts of gas from it's summit.
The vent collapsed and stopped erupting mere days before lava began springing up in Leilani Estates in early May, leading some to speculate that Puu Oo was done for good.
On Friday, the USGS recorded an emission rate of over 1,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per day from the vent. The agency says this the highest rate from Puu Oo in more than 10 years.
"It does mean that there is magma at a very shallow level below Puu Oo," said Janet Babb, USGS geologist….
read … Scientists report fissure 8 has 'almost shut down completely'
Families of Hawaii National guardsmen financially strained by State’s Antique Payroll System
HNN: … Naomi, who didn't want her real name used for of fear of retribution, said her husband has only been paid one-sixth of what he's owed by the guard.
That's because he's serving in the state, and not deployed by the U.S. military. His paycheck is subject to a payroll lag like other state workers.
The guard said it's not aware than any of its members are experiencing financial problems due to deployment.
On Friday, Gov. David Ige on Friday signed a proclamation, exempting guardsmen's pay from the lag. The guard now says the paychecks are being paid on time
"We have corrected that. We still have a few onsies, twosies ... Has everybody got a paycheck, yes," said Hawaii Adjutant General Arthur Logan.
But spouses told Hawaii News Now that the bigger problem — the guardmen's housing allowances — hasn't been fixed. The allowance amounts to about $2,000 a month for guardsmen deployed more than a month.
One woman, who's husband was sent to Kauai in June and July, said they still haven't received his housing allowance. She said the delay has forced her to work 12 to 13 hour shifts and forgo her usual days off to make ends meet.
"Our bills are stacked up right now," she said. "I was very worried and I was scared I might end up losing our house."…
read … Families of Hawaii National guardsmen financially strained by Big Island, Kauai deployments
DoE Math: We Hire 1200 Teachers and 1000 quit yet we are short
SA: … The reality is there simply are not enough graduates coming out of our teacher preparation programs to maintain a workforce of 13,000 teachers. We know we must build capacity locally as we continually improve our retention efforts to protect our greatest asset — our employees.
The department hires about 1,200 teachers a year. We see roughly 1,000 voluntary separations a year, with retirements making up nearly one-third and others leaving for various reasons, including leaving Hawaii, changing jobs or personal reasons.
For the 2016-17 school year, we hired 387 graduates from 10 Hawaii-based state approved teacher education programs, including the University of Hawaii and Chaminade University. Another 572 teachers were hired with out-of-state teaching degrees.
The gap is filled — often temporarily as recruiting is ongoing — with vetted substitutes (some of them licensed, retired teachers) and those working toward a teaching degree.
Over the past year the department completed recruiting trips to Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Ohio, Portland and Tampa — areas where we’ve had success in the past. These trips yielded more than 350 viable candidates, and so far more than 120 have accepted a teaching position….
read … Aggressive recruitment, initiatives help bring in teachers
Common Cause: Con Con Decision Should Not Be Made Lightly
CB: …It would be naive of us to assume that money will not influence our politics in this ongoing, multi-year time frame. If money in politics affects us now then the ripples can certainly widen when so much more is at stake, and for so long.
In the same editorial it was suggested that the Legislature can address money’s influence on the con con through legislation, but what happens if the Legislature does not enact these laws? Also, while the Legislature can set limits on donations to con con candidates, what about unlimited spending by super PACs and ballot issue committees?
Until we have comprehensive reforms like overturning Citizens United or a full publicly funded elections program, money will continue to impact how our democracy functions….
read … Con Con Decision Should Not Be Made Lightly