Over a dozen articles and analyses from the last seven weeks of local media prep for the State GOP convention (with commentary). Must read. Updates will be added....
Hawaii Republican Party State Convention INFO:
May 15-17, 2009 Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort
Conference Agenda (as of 4/23/09)
SB: Hot topics await election season (5-10-09)
Elections may be 18 months away, but the 76 Democrats and Republicans realize that the big controversial issues from this year will follow them down next year's campaign trail.
Democrats also raised an estimated extra $300 million in state taxes while Republican Gov. Linda Lingle rallied the GOP and businesses in a big but ineffectual tax protest.
And finally, Democrats showed in the closing days of the Legislature that they are going to make Lingle herself an issue in next year's campaign.
"The minority party and this governor have been in charge of this government and have done nothing. There has been no streamlining, no budget cutting, all we have are grand announcements," said Sen. Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau) in a closing-day speech.
Lingle staged a public ceremony to veto the tax bills she opposed last week, challenging the Legislature to override her vetoes. After all four of the tax bills, raising income tax, hotel room rates, home sale costs and some cigarette costs, were approved, the issue was still hot.
House Speaker Calvin Say said the state budget had to be balanced and the only way to do that was by getting more money through tax increases and cutting spending.
"When I go house to house, I'll tell my constituents and voters: At the end of the day, what would you want Calvin Say to do? Increase the general excise tax by two percent and forgive those four tax measures? That was the decision, the choice, we had to make, which was very, very difficult," Say said. (Cut HGEA jobs? Huh, what's an HGEA?)
Hanabusa dismissed the GOP call against high taxes, because that is the norm for Hawaii.
"Hawaii has always had high taxes; it is nothing new. The question is going to be, what did you do to reduce, or did you fatten, the budget," Hanabusa said. (You can see who her electorate is. Clearly we need to register voters who think differently.)
SB: Specter's defection reveals GOP flaw (4-30-09)
(Don't be fooled by the title, this article is aimed at the Hawaii GOP)
U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to join the Democratic Party is a severe blow to Republicans in the Senate but does not create the single-party rule that has long crippled the Hawaii Legislature....
Specter's departure from the Republican Party leaves only two moderates among its Senate ranks: Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine. Snowe criticized her party's leaders for failing to grasp that "political diversity makes a party stronger, and ultimately we are heading to having the smallest political tent in history."
That distinction has belonged for decades to Republicans in the Hawaii Legislature. Moderates and even conservatives have recognized that the only way to make a difference in either chamber is by joining the Democratic Party and eventually chairing a committee. (In other words they opportunistically seek power and thereby re-enforce the one-party system--a completely different phenomenon than the moderate Spector abandoning the GOP because he was going to lose in the Primary)
The most recent to make the switch was self-described "social conservative" Sen. Mike Gabbard in 2007. A Republican now dressed in Democratic armor, Gabbard candidly declared his choice to be "a part of the majority party ... to be more effective."
As a result, the Legislature has become timid on social issues such as same-sex partnerships (Have these SB editors forgotten about HB444????) and physician-assisted suicide and robust on bread-and-butter issues following the agenda set for it by the state public-employee unions. (Sounds like somebody has been inhaling the smoke from the Dem. Leg. caucus meetings recently.) There are no Gabbard Democrats in the U.S. Senate. (Which, applying the SB's logic, would be the Democrat flaw--that the SB fails to note)
Lingle's lack of plans spawns speculation (4-29-09)
By noon on Dec. 6, 2010, Hawaii will have a new governor. Today the current governor appears to be confirming increasing speculation that Hawaii's most successful Republican in nearly a half century has no future local political plans. (And Democrat Borreca is just thrilled!)
The latest evidence comes from the absence of any guidance from Lingle in directing the local GOP entering the 2010 elections. Also she is not expected to attend the state GOP convention next month in Kona. Party leaders say that political newcomer Jonah Kaauwai has the best shot of taking over as chairman of the local GOP.
If Lingle wants a political life after 2010, she needs to control the local GOP leadership, but this year she has appeared almost diffident to local political affairs and hasn't expressed any interest in any of the candidates running for party leaders. (So why did she she speak from the floor at the Honolulu County GOP Convention?)
Lingle is easily the best saleswoman or man to hold political office in Hawaii, but now Republicans at the Legislature say she appears to be phoning it in. (No names here, but anyone involved in the intense budget wrangle between the Gov's office and the Dem. legislature knows this is nonsense.)
(This column is just another building block in the false "Pat Robertson v2" meme Democrats are working to construct in preparation for 2010.)
3 Native Hawaiians finalists for trustee of Kamehameha Schools (4-28-09)
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Chairman Micah Kane is among three finalists for trustee of Kamehameha Schools. Anthony Ching, Hawaii Community Development Authority executive director, and former Kamehameha Schools executive, and (Cayetano's) ex-DHHL chairman Ray Soon are the other finalists named by a Probate Court-appointed panel.
The finalists were picked from a group of 68 candidates reviewed by the Probate Court's Trustee Screening Committee to replace retired Adm. Robert Kihune, whose term ends June 30. Probate Judge Colleen Hirai will select Kihune's replacement from the list after considering comments from the public.
Randy Roth, co-author of the 2006 book "Broken Trust" that chronicled the 1990s political and ethics scandals at the Kamehameha Schools, said Soon and Kane are "excellent candidates." Roth, a University of Hawai'i law professor, added that Kane, with whom he worked with in the Lingle administration, has done an impressive job at the DHHL and "would be a terrific trustee."
Borreca: "Local GOP poised for mix of religion into politics" (4-22-09)
Aiona, a Catholic, has carefully tended to the support and encouragement of churches and Christian groups. Now the Republican Party is being revived with new workers who share much of the same religious beliefs.
The groups are different from the 1988 Pat Robertson takeover of the local GOP, says Garrett Hashimoto, head of the Hawaii Christian Coalition, who says he is carrying a Republican Party card for the first time in his life.
If there is a GOP revival, it may revolve around Jonah Kaauwai, the 36-year-old state corrections official, who GOP insiders say has a lock on the party chairmanship.
(Naturally Democrats will try to use this to exclude other strains of the Republican coalition. The key to defeating that is the show of inclusiveness on the part of the new GOP leadership.)
Jonah Kaauwai announces campaign for State GOP Chair (4-21-09)
My goal and commitment to you in 2010 is to help elect a Republican Governor, a member of Congress and more Republicans to the legislature, council races and Board of Education. As Party Chairman, I will work to ensure that Republicans contest all Legislative seats so that Hawaii voters have real choices on election day.
Hawaii GOP sees spirited race for top spot (4-21-09)
A year after it suffered one of its worst election setbacks, the Hawaii Republican Party is enjoying renewed interest with five candidates registered to run for party chairman. The present party chairman, Willes Lee, says he has not decided whether he will run again for office. The chairman will be selected at the party's state convention May 15-17 in Kona.
The candidate who appears to have the most support is Jonah Kaauwai, administrator for the Correctional Industries Division of the state Public Safety department.
Kaauwai had also been deputy chief of staff for Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is running for governor.
The two GOP legislative leaders, state Rep. Lynn Finnegan and state Sen. Fred Hemmings, have endorsed Kaauwai. Kaauwai said he has also won the support of Aiona and three former party chairmen: Micah Kane, Brennon Morioka and Sam Aiona.
Kaauwai also has the support of Malia Gray, the newly elected chairwoman of the GOP's Honolulu district.
Others in the race are Mike Palcic, a small businessman, who is making an issue of the support that the Aiona gubernatorial campaign has received from influential members of the local GOP, including Miriam Hellreich, Hawaii national committeewoman. (Neil Abrcrombie surely appreciates Mr Palcic's fine efforts on his behalf.)
Hawaii Tea Party Updates: 100s at Capitol, 250 at Kahului, 300 on Big Island (4-15-09)
Photo essay from all seven TEA parties....
Borreca: Legislature meets Lingle in a battle of the budgets (4-12-09)
Welcome to "We Hate Taxes Week" and the accompanying legislative plan to raise nearly every state tax lawmakers can find.
Conservatives and tax protesters hope to use the April 15 federal tax deadline to focus attention on Hawaii's role in hosting the last event in a national campaign of "tea parties."
The idea, according to the event planners, is that taxpayers are paying too much already and everyone should wave tea bags and look vexed.
As much fun as it is to dislike taxes, raising taxes is also the top option at the Legislature, now fostering the mother of all tax sessions.
Gov. Linda Lingle got into the game this week, staking out areas she feels are off limits for tax increases. Lingle is aiming her veto pen at bills that raise the general excise tax, state income tax or the hotel room tax.
Excise tax increases are regressive, income tax hikes hurt small-business owners and the hotel industry needs help, not more taxes, Lingle reasons.
The Democratic leaders in the Legislature see the opposite picture — a budget that is bleeding red ink and no way out of tax increases.
Already nonprofit programs across Hawaii feel the effect of the state budget cuts. As state funding grew to nurture programs from social services to cultural programs, programs expanded and Hawaii became a more humane, civilized and caring place.
Now all those programs are shrinking and Hawaii's social fabric will be tested. When welfare payments run out before the end of the month, when doctors are not available for the sick (Gee should've passed TORT REFORM and ABOLISHED THE CON, eh?) ....
The result is a budget stalemate much like the one today, except it could drag out all summer.
And then next year, the tax protest will not be on April 15, but Nov. 2, the date of the next general election.
(So everybody at the Tea Parties better register to vote!)
Midweek's Bob Jones blasts HRA (4-10-09)
On the same subject, whining, no media I've seen covered that recent meeting of the 42-rump-member Hawaii Republican Assembly at MacMouse headquarters on South Street. Good. The cheerleaders seem to be people who regularly run for office but never get elected. Among them: Mike Palcic, his wife Julia Allen, and Jimmy Kuroiwa. They dislike our taxes and it seems they're not happy with much of the State Republican Party, either. They are part of this coming week's so-called Tax Tea Party, a play on the Boston Tea Party. But Hawaii's not in a revolution mood. It's in an “oh, m'god, tourism's way down” mood.
Here's the fact. There's really no engaged Republican Party in Hawaii. We have eight in the Legislature. Just two in the Senate, which has put Fred Hemmings on eight committees and Sam Slom on six committees, and means neither can reasonably read and digest and make great decisions on all the bills in all those committees.
That's not good and I'm no fan of one-party legislatures — something that seems to happen only here and in Rhode Island.
But something's very systemically wrong with the Hawaii Republican Party. I mean if Democrat Brickwood Galuteria can win a senatorial district election over an incumbent — well, it's as if even GOP voters aren't voting GOP.
I do know that nobody's going to pay any attention to that Hawaii Republican Assembly.
RELATED: Analysis: GOP stresses opposition to tax hikes (Hawaii Tea Party April 15)
Analysis: GOP stresses opposition to tax hikes (Hawaii Tea Party April 15) (4-08-09)
HONOLULU (AP) - As the Democratic lawmakers toil over balancing an increasingly difficult state budget, perhaps in part with tax hikes, Hawaii Republicans are using the potential for higher taxes to drum up public ire.
A newly formed group, the Hawaii Republican Assembly, is sponsoring a tax protesting "tea party" at the state Capitol on April 15. While the group's fliers don't contain a blatantly partisan message, they do claim a "revolution is brewing in Honolulu."
read more (at the Charleston, WV Gazette--THE source for Hawaii news)
RELATED: Hawaii "Tea Party": Push back against Obama's plan
Isle GOP proposes election changes (3-25-09)
Today's Hawaii Tribune Herald headlines an AP article about the Hawaii GOP plan to change the State's Primary system and to change Hawaii Republicans' Presidential nomination system.
Reprinted: March 27 in Star-Bulletin
Hawaii Republicans challenge state's open primary system (3-22-09)
by Andrew Walden
Hawaii County Republicans, meeting Saturday at Waimea have proposed changes to the way that State Republicans select their candidates. The proposals are contained in two resolutions adopted unanimously by the 50 delegates present after extensive discussion. One calls for a shift to a Presidential Caucus System for Hawaii Republicans who now select their Presidential delegates at the State Party convention. The other resolution urges the State Convention vote to shift Republicans from an Open Primary system to a Modified-Closed Primary System and then file a federal suit against the State to overturn provisions of the Hawaii State Constitution which require the open primary system.
RELATED: Isle GOP proposes election changes , Hawaii Democrats debate closed primary (backgrounder) , 2008 SB: Caucus confusion Isle voters gather to pick Republican party delegates
Hundreds of Oahu Republicans pack County Convention (3-14-09)
by Andrew Walden
Climaxing a vigorous campaign for Oahu County Chair, more than three hundred Honolulu Republicans participated in the Honolulu County GOP convention at Kawananakoa Elementary School in Pauoa Saturday morning.
Malia Gray, legislative office manager for Rep Lynn Finnegan, faced former Ron Paul Hawaii campaign leader Dan Douglass in the contest for County Chair. Both candidates recruited new Republican Party members and mobilized supporters for the event. Gray reported her team recruiting 300 new Republican Party members and identifying 20 Legislative candidates to run in 2010 during the last few weeks of campaigning.
Linda Smith, nominating Gray for Chair noted Republicans are, “fortunate to have two very capable candidates running. Organizing the grassroots is the essence of a successful party.“ Gray’s nomination was seconded by Lt Governor Duke Aiona who said: “Look at the turnout today. Isn’t competition great?”
Douglass was nominated by Rep Kym Pine and former Honolulu County Chair Jimmy Kuroiwa. Accepting the nomination Douglass asked that delegates support him, “only if you will be leaders in your block and your district.”
Malia Gray said: “I’ve heard a lot about what the Party should do. But look around, you are the Party.”
Governor Lingle suggested that both Gray and Douglass are the kind of people who “should be running for public office.”
Lingle called for unity and emphasized, “You don’t win elections when you are split into factions. The Legislative Democrats are on the verge of giving us double the biggest tax increase we’ve ever had….Is there anybody in this room who supports tax increases? Democrats have handed us an issue we can unite around