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Thursday, May 24, 2012
May 24, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:12 PM :: 10403 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Fact Sheet Misquotes Hawai`i Free Press: Cayetano Threatens Lawsuit over Mention of Pay-to-Play Allegations

66% of Teachers Approve Rejected Contract

HECO Signs Another Biofuel Contract

Ginai Live Concert at George Fontaine Campaign Kickoff

Democrats ‘Coopted by Corporate Interests’, Malihini Take over as Party Suffers Demographic Collapse

Bart Dame: The Democratic Party was built the old-fashioned way, in the plantation camps, among returned WWII AJA veterans and going door-to-door at a time when Hawaii was unambiguously dominated by a well-defined “ruling class.” The two sides were obvious to all Hawaii residents. The Republican side was easily identifiable: haole, Merchant Street, Punahou, Pacific and Outrigger Club, Big Five and inter-married missionary families. The Democrats were (almost) everybody else, with the unions and AJA vets at the core. (Hawaiians were somewhat on the side).

Today’s society is much more complicated, in ways which do not lend themselves so readily to such a binary, “Which Side Are You On?” division. As the party of governance, the leading Democratic politicians are coopted by longstanding alliances with powerful corporate interests in addition to the unions. Corporations seeking to influence legislation seek out politicians and politicians needing corporate underwriting for their political futures cozy up to corporations.

The generation which built the original Democratic Party has either died off or are almost completely retired from activity. WIth the “demographic collapse” of the party’s traditional base, has come a hollowing out of our understanding of and connection to many of the subgroups and neighborhoods in the state. The newer party activist is much more likely to be a recent arrival, to be rooted in an issue-oriented community rather than a geographical one and to have a weak grasp of Hawaii’s history and social dynamics.

In a sense, we came across a party structure which had largely been abandoned and have taken it over….

Peter Adler: Hawaii’s Post-War Social Contract Has Collapsed

Related: Oahu Democrats Vote to Silence Inouye, Abercrombie, Akaka, Hirono, Hanabusa

read … Bart Dame

Dame: Dems Faced with Discussion of Open vs Closed Primaries

ILIND: Thielen, who headed the Office of State Planning and, later, the Department of Land and Natural Resources during the administration of Gov. Linda Lingle, joined the Democratic Party earlier this year and last week filed to run for the 25th District Senate seat now held by Pohai Ryan. The same Oahu County party apparatus unsuccessfully sought to block her entry into the race, as has the party’s state central committee.

The proposed amendments would require anyone wishing to seek election as a Democrat to be a party member “in good standing” for 12 months, double the current 6-month requirement. It would eliminate a procedure that currently allows new party members to seek exemptions from the “good standing” requirement. and would “mandate automatic expulsion from the Party, effective with the 2014 election, for filing as a candidate of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i if not a member in good standing.”

The party can already feel like an insiders club that is difficult to penetrate by anyone newly interested in its internal workings. The proposed amendments to the constitution will just create higher barriers to entry, further limiting participation by anyone who hasn’t been thoroughly vetted and approved by the party leadership prior to seeking office under the party’s banner.

Bart Dame Comment: “There will be an attempt this weekend to forge a compromise on the rule invoked against Thielen. It is not clear whether we will succeed or not. If the compromise fails, delegates will be left with two choices. Either harden the rule along the lines of the proposal narrowly adopted by the Oahu Convention or delete the rule from our constitution and return to the previous practice, which was to leave it to the primary voters to determine who will represent Democrats in the general election. This naturally leads to a discussion of open versus closed primaries.”

Related: Both Sides in Thielen Dispute Aim For Democrats-Only Primary Elections

read … Insiders Club

Cayetano: "If I did anything wrong, I would have been indicted

KITV: Cayetano ran a successful campaign for re-election as governor of Hawaii in 1998. But, during that time, the campaign spending commission found more than a half a million dollars in contributions to the governor were illegal for various reasons, including dozens of residents who used false names to make contributions or gave more than the $6,000 limit allowed.

"They turned in between $8,000-$9,000 -- whatever was left in their campaign fund," said Kam.

Hearing the issue has been raised 14 years after the violations, Cayetano released this statement:

"If I did anything wrong, I would have been indicted. This is old news and an attempt by my critics to discredit my current campaign for mayor."

But a number a voters felt even though it happened back in 1998, it is still an important issue for this year's campaign.

Even though Cayetano has another campaign underway, he won't have to turn over any additional money to the state for the old campaign spending violations. The Hawaii Attorney General's Office determined a current campaign can't be penalized for past violations, even if it is with the same candidate.

Related: Fact Sheet Misquotes Hawai`i Free Press: Cayetano Threatens Lawsuit over Mention of Pay-to-Play Allegations  

Read … Statute of Limitations

Even the Pro-Rail Lobby Can’t Gin Up a Poll To Make Rail Look Popular

PR: The survey was conducted by Tulchin Research for the Pacific Resource Partnership, an advocacy group for the state’s unionized carpenters and contractors and a prominent supporter of the city’s rail project….

According to the poll, when asked who they would select if the mayoral contest were decided today, 33 percent said Cayetano, down from 38 percent in January. Carlisle was at 30 percent, up from 29 percent in January, and Caldwell was at 21 percent, up from 18 percent at the start of the year. The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points on the May poll and 3.9 percentage points on the January poll.

You can view the poll’s methodology here: TulchinPoll_Rail.

A poll conducted in February by the Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now showed Cayetano at 44 percent, followed by Carlisle at 35 percent and Caldwell at 16 percent (margin of error: +/- 4.2 percent)....

According to Tulchin, 46 percent of those surveyed said they support the rail project, compared to 44 percent in May 2011. Meanwhile, 49 percent said they opposed the project, down from 54 percent a year ago.

Related: National Trust for Historic Preservation Files Brief in Support of Federal Lawsuit Challenging Honolulu's Rail Project

read … Temperature check

Caldwell, Carlisle Bicker over Fake Groundbreaking

HNN:"You had a fake groundbreaking over a year ago out in East Kapolei. We just started building now, so why a year before?" questioned Caldwell."

"Did you tell Senator Inouye that he was engaging in a fake groundbreaking?" Carlisle asked Caldwell. "Because he sure seemed to take it seriously when he was there," said Carlisle.

"It was your groundbreaking. I had nothing to do with it," responded Caldwell.

"No, you certainly didn't," replied Carlisle.

All the candidates avoided a specific answer when asked about a suggested site for Oahu's next landfill, instead pointing to alternatives like a third boiler at the H-Power facility.

SA: Caldwell calls out Carlisle over performance on rail

read … Mayoral candidates trade jabs in Hawaii News Now debate

Legislature: The Important Decisions are Made Behind Closed Doors

CB: …when it comes time for both chambers of the Legislature to negotiate one final budget in what's known as "conference committee", the important decisions are made behind closed doors.

Although lawmakers hold public conference committee hearings in which they reveal some of the sticking points in their negotiations, the hearings are just for show. The real negotiations happen behind closed doors, which is permitted under law. The Legislature exempted itself from Hawaii sunshine laws regarding closed-door meetings.

In order to identify the authors of individual items, one would need access to internal working documents of the Legislature, which make these facts clear. The final and public version of the budget does not contain such details. But "working documents" of the Legislature are exempted from the public records law.

read … Behind Closed Doors

GOP congressman blasts colleagues on Akaka Bill

SA: U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, the only Native American in Congress, said Wednesday that Republican opposition to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians is based on misunderstanding and arrogance.

The Oklahoma Republican, who is campaigning in the islands on behalf of former Gov. Linda Lingle, who is running for the U.S. Senate, said Native Hawaiians have the same constitutional right to self-governance as American Indians.

"I really do believe this is a question of equity and sovereignty," said Cole, a Chickasaw who has been a House co-sponsor of a federal recognition bill backed by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. "And a question of being consistent with the best traditions in American history. We've always recognized the right of native peoples to govern themselves."

Cole said he believes Lingle would be an effective advocate for the Akaka Bill among Republicans in the Senate.

"Part of it is also not recognizing that this is very consistent with Republican ideals," he said of the GOP opposition. "We believe in self-governance and local governance. What do you think a tribe or a Native American nation is, other than that?"

Chuck Freedman, a spokesman for the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said that while Cole has been a supporter of Native Hawaiian issues, he is "an ultra-right Republican congressman who is against women's right to choose, wants to privatize Social Security and has a poor record on equal rights.

"Linda Lingle's sending a clear message to Hawaii residents that once she gets to D.C., she'll gladly stand with the most partisan Republicans and against President Obama."

Lingle said some of her Democratic rivals appear more interested in criticizing and labeling instead of developing the relationships that could advance the Akaka Bill. She said Cole, a conservative Republican, is known for his advocacy for Native Americans and small businesses.

"He's able to present it in the way that people maybe haven't thought of it before," she said. "And that is that when Native American people — just as we believe Native Hawaiian people — have sovereign rights and have recognition, the economic development that occurs is good for the entire state."

Related: Akaka Bill: Rep. Cole speaks to community, business leaders, Hawaii Democratic Party Attacks Long-Time Akaka Bill Advocate

read … Akaka Bill

Native Hawaiian Corporation Sued in Fireworks Deaths

SA: …a lawsuit expected to be filed today in Circuit Court.

The families of all five victims are expected to file suits in the coming days against several companies, claiming they were negligent or reckless in allowing hazardous work to be performed when the explosion occurred on April 8, 2011, said Steve Hisaka, an attorney for the family of Justin Joseph Keli‘i, 29.

Also killed were Neil Benjiman Sprankle, 24; Robert Kevin Freeman, 24; Bryan Cabalce, 25; and Robert Leahey, 50. A sixth man, identified in the lawsuit as Tanner Catrell, was injured.

The men were employed by Donaldson Enterprises, which specializes in the transportation, storage and disposal of fireworks and explosives.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, include punitive damages, for the Keli‘i family.

Those named as defendants in the Keli‘i lawsuit include VSE Corp., the Alexandria, Va.-based company (which got the fireworks contract as a Native Hawaiian contracting set-aside) with the master contract to dispose of the fireworks, which were seized by federal agents after the arrest of a local businessman who did not have a license to import commercial grade display fireworks.

The employer, Donaldson, is not named in the suit. State workers' compensation law bars employees from suing their employers for work-related injury and death.

Link: Akimeka

read … Fireworks

Former state boating employee sentenced for embezzlement

KITV: Wesley Choi was accused of pocketing close to $125,000 from the state. He pleaded guilty to the charges back in March. He had a plea deal to serve only 18 months in prison if he paid back $124,966 by the time he was sentenced Wednesday. Choi was not able to pay the full amount.

Choi resigned from his post as assistant district manager for small boat harbors last year after he was accused of taking money from tenant fees. He was also accused of forging procurement bids.

read … Small Boat Harbors

Hawaii GMO papaya industry at center of global debate

KITV: As the ring spot pummeled Hawaii's papaya supply, Dr. Dennis Gonsalves and a team of scientists had been quietly creating one answer for a huge virus problem -- a genetically modified papaya resistant to the ring spot. The results were dramatic.

"So, we knew that we had something," said Gonsalves.

Today, the vast majority of papayas grown on the Big Island are GMOs.

"We are in our 8th generation of selecting, so we're getting really good yields now," said Perry.

Read … Luddites Fail

Harry Kim Considers Run for Hawaii County Mayor

HTH: Will he run, or won’t he? Even Harry Kim doesn’t know.

The former two-term mayor said Wednesday he’s undecided over whether he would seek a third term.

“No, not yet,” Kim said, but he’s going to be thinking about it hard this week.

“My family wishes they knew.”

read … Harry Kim Redux?

Tax Payers Give $16,300 to Perennial Loser

H247: Hawaii County Council candidate James Weatherford of the newly drawn Puna Council District 4 has been certified for full public funding by the state Campaign Spending Commission.

After gathering the signatures, $5 contributions and early support of 200 registered voters from the district, Weatherford’s campaign was cleared to receive full public funding in the amount of $16,300 for the primary race to be decided August 11, 2012.

Dubbed “the reform that makes all reforms possible” by proponents like Voter-Owned Hawaii, who successfully lobbied the legislature to enact the program in 2009, the public funding pilot for Hawaii County Council is in its second of three election cycles.

With his qualification for the program, Weatherford’s campaign will be fully-funded for the primary August 11th from the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund.

read … And a socialist, too

HMSA will raise rates for small businesses

SA: Firms will see Hawaii Medical Service Association prices increase by 2.6%

read … More more more

Another Suit Filed by Family of Hawaii Inmate

AP: The family of a Hawaii inmate strangled to death at a private prison in Arizona is suing the state of Hawaii and Corrections Corporation of America.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of Clifford Medina's family comes three months after the family of another Hawaii inmate stabbed to death in the same prison filed a similar wrongful death suit.

The complaint claims prison operators failed to control gang violence and adequately staff Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz.

The complaint says a gang member cellmate strangled Medina to death. It says the cellmate had threatened to attack Medina if he wasn't moved.

Full Text: Lawsuit

HR: State Sued In Second Prison Inmate Murder Case

read … Pushing to let them all out on the streets


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