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Wednesday, November 5, 2014
November 5, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:52 PM :: 3384 Views

Hawaii Election Results--Highlights

Am Samoa, Guam, NMI, Alaska -- Republicans Win Big Across Pacific

While change sweeps country, Hawaii remains the same

It’s a Wave: Republicans Take US Senate, Build Majority in House, Grab Governorships

How GEMS Will Drive Your Electric Bill Up

NRA President to Speak in Hawaii

Hospital Financial Crisis Brings House Health Committee to Maui

OHA Trustees: Vote Not an Endorsement of Nation Building

SA: Tuesday's election came at a key juncture as Hawaiians continued to wrestle with the dicey process of political self-determination.

OHA is in the midst of a controversial nation-building effort, which some Hawaiians oppose because it is a state-initiated process. They believe Hawaiians, not the state, should determine how and when to pursue political self-determination.

Several of the candidates said voters were more focused on jobs, economic development and affordable housing for Hawaiians than the question of what political status to pursue.

"I think the everyday living of our people seems to be more of a concern," said Lindsey.

Akana, one of the current trustees, said she believed the power of incumbency was more of a factor in Tuesday's election than the self-determination issue.

"Voters didn't seem to be concerned about that," Akana said.

Like in the primary election, Waihee, the son of a former governor, finished as the top vote-getter among the at-large candidates.

On the political status question, candidate Kelii Akina, chief executive of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, gave voters a clear choice. He strongly opposed the pursuit of federal recognitions, saying it was time to stop dividing people by race.

But his message didn't appear to resonate with the majority of voters: Akina finished fifth out of the six at-large candidates.

OHA is participating in a state-initiated process in which Hawaiians registered for the nation-building effort will elect delegates to represent them at an April governance convention.

read ... Illusory Green Light?

Ige Still Unfamiliar, Opponents Called Stupid

SA: "There are a few more votes to be counted, but this is the first election since the passing of Sen. (Daniel) Inouye," Ige told Democrats at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. "And, really, this is about the party of the future."

With just shy of a majority, the state senator still has to reassure voters who are unfamiliar with him that he has chief executive leadership ability....

Ige, the chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, was unknown to many voters when he announced last year that he would challenge Abercrombie. The state senator initially struggled to raise money or attract visible support from prominent interest groups other than the Hawaii State Teachers Association....

"Improbable isn't the word for it," Dan Boylan, a MidWeek columnist and former history professor at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, said of Ige's rise. "Who would have thunk it?" ... "He's got a `D' in back of his name," Boylan said, adding that "you never bet against a Democrat in Hawaii. You're a stupid man if you do."....

Ige acknowledges he is not a polished public speaker and may not have some of the natural political skills of previous governors....

...mainland super PACs injected a harsher tone through millions of dollars worth of negative advertising....

Lynn Finnegan, a former state House minority leader who was Aiona's running mate four years ago, complained of "fear tactics" in the Democrats' ads on teacher furloughs and abortion. She said Lingle had sought to be fair with public-sector labor unions on furloughs, which were alternatives to straight pay cuts or layoffs. She claimed Democrats were trying to scare women by suggesting Aiona would singlehandedly change abortion law, which he could not.  Finnegan said "there were hundreds of thousands of dollars that came in to protect the seat of a Democrat, even to the point where they said falsehoods to win."

read ... Ige it is

Star-Adv: Priorities for New Governor, Legislature

SA: A few of the top priority areas, among myriad others:

» The budget. Ige will inherit the fiscal situation left by his predecessor and it's good news: a projected $800 million surplus. Ige's retooling of the administration's budget proposal to the Legislature will be telling, especially if he submits a balanced budget as promised.

» Improving information technology and efficiencies. A key to balancing the budget, Ige said, is to collect back taxes owed, estimated at $450 million. If Ige can truly lead modernization of the Tax Department, to collect overdue millions and improve an antiquated process, that would be success indeed. Especially in a state so tethered to government services, Hawaii's people deserve an efficient, customer-oriented IT system — across all departments.

» Public schools. After four years of slow-but-steady realignment of the behemoth Department of Education to more-rigorous Common Core standards, it seems the movement is at a crossroads. Ige vows reforms to empower individual schools so teachers and principals make the decisions on curriculum and school expenditures. Where Abercrombie unequivocally lauded his appointed Board of Education, Ige — endorsed by the HSTA — criticizes the BOE for failing to provide the leadership that empowers individual schools. Where this all leads — decentralizing or rollback from Common Core? — is of profound concern, and much care must be taken to not hinder students at the receiving end of muddled policy decisions.

» Kakaako redevelopment and affordable housing. The area's pace of luxury-housing projects has sparked serious concerns about costs and capacity. Ige is right to start resetting the conversation to press for more affordable housing units for Hawaii's working-class people. "More than 5,000 housing units have been approved in Kakaako recently, but less than 7 percent are affordable to the lower half of our population," Ige said, vowing to "reverse this trend."

Related to this, the state needs to identify and leverage its lands for transit-oriented development. Rail hubs present a unique opportunity to develop multi-use complexes to meet commercial needs, as well as affordable housing for seniors and local families.

Of course, these issues are just the tip of the administrative iceberg; others include the Hawaii Health Connector boondoggle, the unsustainable public-hospitals system, overtime abuses and oversight at the state prisons, the ineffectual Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. 

read ... Reset Back on the Same Path

Mercado Kim's New Senate Leadership

  • *Vice President: Will Espero
  • *Majority Leader: J. Kalani English
  • *Ways and Means: Jill Tokuda
  • *Judiciary: Gilbert Keith-Agaran

read ... Meet the new boss

Supporters expect a suit by corporations to Overturn Maui GMO Ban

SA: Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez, spokesman for the pro-GMO group Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban, said in an emailed statement that the group was disappointed by the results, calling the proposal "scientifically unjustified, deeply flawed and irresponsible."

"We are deeply concerned for the 600-plus workers and their families, local businesses, farmers and taxpayers that will be negatively impacted (by its passage)," the statement said. The group said it represents 6,000 local farmers, scientists, parents, and civic and business groups.

The statement thanked the thousands of supporters, volunteers and agricultural advocates "who over the past months tirelessly spread the word about the initiative's devastating consequences to their friends and neighbors in the community."

Opponents of the bill claim point out that federal regulatory agencies have deemed GMOs safe....

read ... Lawsuit Coming to Stop the Madness

Kauai Pro GMO Candidates Top Council Races

SA: Two staunch opponents of a controversial ordinance that regulates the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops on the Garden Island garnered the most votes in the Kauai County Council's seven-seat race.

Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa led all challengers, while Councilman Gary Hooser just made the cut. Councilman Tim Bynum, who co-introduced Bill 2491 (Ordinance 960) with Hooser, failed to garner enough votes to retain his seat. 

"The silent majority is the majority," Kagawa said. Isle residents are not necessarily against the measure but want to see facts concerning pesticides and GMO regulation rather than taking drastic measures against seed companies, he said.

Sherdog: Former MMA Fighter Comes up Short on Kauai

read ... Pro-GMO Win

GMO Scrambled

KE: Over in Maui County, the anti-GMO initiative squeaked through, by a vote of 51 to 49 percent, though the “no” side was ahead most of the night. Monsanto, Dow and others raised some $8 million to fight the initiative, which is almost certainly now headed for court.

Just like the Hawaii County anti-GMO law, which is currently under judicial review, and the Kauai GMO/pesticide regulatory bill, which was overturned by a federal court. It's hard to see how the Maui initiative will prevail, given the judge's ruling that the state, and not the counties, is empowered to regulate GMOs and pesticides.

And tomorrow, the Council will be taking up a proposal by Ross and Mel to repeal Kauai's invalid law, giving the anti crowd, Tim and Gary yet another chance to grandstand and make unsubstantiated claims.

Though it's clear the anti-GMO crowd has lost a majority on the Council, and now brings up the rear, it was not as soundly repudiated as the first print-out had promised.

Which means the social and political polarization of Kauai will continue. Just like on the national scene.

read ... Scrambled

NYT: Takai Even More Expensive than Hanabusa

NYT: The movement towards extremes in districts where Democrats retired and were replaced by Democrats is smaller. That’s the case in Hawaii’s First District, where Colleen Hanabusa’s replacement, Mark Takai, has a Crowdpac score of -6.9, more liberal than Ms. Hanabusa’s -6.1.

read ... More Extreme

Star-Adv: Schatz Even More Lefty than Usual for Hawaii

SA: Schatz will return to a Senate that will be in Republican control and an environment in which sequestration and other budget cuts could make further dents in the military spending upon which Hawaii relies.

Colin Moore, a political science assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, said Schatz will be able to savor the slim primary win over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana-busa and a general election win over Cavasso -- but only briefly -- before having to focus on a run for a full six-year term in a relatively short time.

Schatz positioned himself as "someone who plays well with the Senate Demo-crats and has worked on, I think, more progressive lefty issues like the environment," which Hawaii's senators didn't pay a lot of attention to before, he said.

read ... Progressive Lefty

Elefante expected to take City Council seat early

SA: Elefante won the District 8 race outright in the primary by collecting more than 50 percent of the votes cast against three other candidates.

A resolution introduced by Martin would, if approved by the remaining eight Council members at its meeting on Nov. 12, allow Elefante to be sworn in that day.

Martin told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the move is similar to that made two years ago when Joey Manahan was allowed to take the District 7 seat in November after then-Councilman Romy Cachola resigned to take a House seat.

Elefante's situation represents an even more obvious move since he knows the district and what the job entails, having served as Harimoto's aide in recent years, Martin said.

Council members elected Tuesday will take their seats in January as spelled out in the City Charter.

read ... Early

8 Forcible Sex Offenses at UH Manoa 

WaPo: Here are totals of forcible sex offense reports drawn from a federal campus crime database for flagship public universities and a selection of other well-known schools in the Washington area and nationwide. The comparison is for reported events on campus from 2012 and from 2013. Forcible sex offenses include rape, sodomy, fondling and sexual assault with an object.

University of Hawaii at Manoa — 8, down from 11

read ... Sex Offense

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