Welcome to Capitol Watch. Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie is in transition mode, there’s new leadership at the Legislature and other government branches, and Civil Beat is reporting on all of it.

4:59 p.m. GOP Aloha

The Hawaii Republican Party is throwing a party Saturday night to honor Linda Lingle and Duke Aiona as they leave office, but also to congratulate newly elected officials.

The event, to be held beginning at 5:30 at the waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace, costs $30 for general reservations, $100 for the registration and VIP reception and $25 for registration and a Toys for Tots donation.

3:55 p.m. Another Inaugural Advisory

From Neil Abercrombie to you:

  • Use alternative means of transportation — carpooling, bus, walking, biking — because parking will be awful. There are no shuttles either.

  • Don’t bring any gifts or boxes for the governor-elect and Brian Schatz. You can drop them off later on the Capitol’s fifth floor, though. And lei are OK. But umbrellas? Small- or medium-sized, please; this ain’t a UH game.

  • The public should enter Iolani Palace Grounds through the King Street entrance only.

  • Water dispensers will be provided, but bring their own reusable cups or water bottles to minimize trash.

Civil Beat advisory: We’ll be live blogging the inauguration, so feel free to watch from home or the office.

3:02 p.m. No Backdoor Maneuver for Akaka Bill

Contrary to Internet reports from the National Review and Hawaii Reporter, the Akaka bill will not be snuck into an omnibus spending bill by Dan Inouye during the lame-duck session.

Inouye’s spokesman Peter Boylan confirmed that the reports are erroneous.

The National Review item pushed three Republican senators to publicly reiterate their opposition to the bill, formally know as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act.

National Review and Hawaii Reporter have previously published articles critical of the controversial legislation.

1:19 p.m. Duffy and Abercrombie: Old Friends

The new governor and LG will not be sworn in by the new CJ. That’s because Neil Abercrombie asked Associate Justice Jim Duffy to do the honors, not Mark Recktenwald — a former Lingle Cabinet head.

(Lingle nominated both men to the Hawaii Supreme Court.)

“They have a long history together,” the Abercrombie camp explains about the pol and the jurist, adding that it is a governor-elect’s prerogative to select the oath administrator (the Hawaii Constitution only says the oath must be taken). For example, Ben Cayetano chose Simeon Acoba, who he later promoted from the Intermediate Court of Appeals to the high bench.

10:45 a.m. Rail Transit Report Available

It took until today, but Linda Lingle‘s $350,000 financial analysis of Honolulu’s rail project is now posted online.

The link to the state’s Department of Transportation website also includes correspondence and other information about the rail project dating back to 2006 — so the public will “know all the facts,” as former DOT head Brennon Morioka put it.

The governor announced she had passed the report on to Honolulu Hale Thursday night.

10:32 a.m. Giving It Up For Neil and Duke

The latest campaign spending reports show who dug deep in their pockets to contribute to either Neil Abercrombie or James “Duke” Aiona in the last two week’s before election day.

Abercrombie’s nearly $800,000 in contributions include the following donors: Ed Case ($250), Kirk Caldwell ($250), Paul Alston ($4,000), Jim Nabors ($500), Mitch D’Olier ($1,000), OHA’s Mark Glick ($250), deputy AG Gregg Kinkley ($250), UHPA’s JN Musto ($1,000), Walter Heen ($250), housing exec James Schuler ($1,000), tax attorney Kurt Kawafuchi ($500), C.S. Wo’s Wendell Wo ($500), legislator Roy Takumi ($500), legislator Josh Green ($250), legislator Isacc Choy ($500), legislator Roz Baker ($100), legislator Gil Keith-Agaran ($250), legislator Jessica Wooley ($250), legislator Jerry Chang ($1,000), legislator Michelle Kidani ($1,000), former legislator Mike Magaoay ($500), bar owner Jack Law ($250), Japanese Cultural center exec Allicyn Hikida-Tasaka ($250), Equality Hawaii Action Fund ($750), Kauai lawmaker Joann Yukimura ($250), First Hawaiian Bank ($900), union veterans Russell Okata ($1,000) and Joan Husted ($10), UH jock Jim Donovan ($1,000), MillerCoors ($6,000), HECO execs Robbie Alm ($1,000) and Connie Lau ($500), writer Paul Theroux ($20), former Congressman Norman Mineta ($1,000), Margery Bronster ($1,000), Bill Paty ($1,000) and lots of professors and K-12 educators (various amounts).

Aiona’s $313,000-plus contributions include ones from Pat Saiki ($200), Russ Saito of DAGS ($500), UH regent and Maui Petroleum exec Jim Haynes ($6,000), Charles Cook of Group Builders ($1,000), Friends of Charles Dijou ($6,000), Victor Kimura of Kyo-Ya Management ($1,000), Josh Feldman of Tori Richard ($500), OHA Trustee Boyd Mossman ($100), Marriott International ($3,000), Hawaii Right to Life PAC ($2,000), attorney Ted Hong ($500), attorney Jim Stone ($1,000), developer Michael Wood ($1,000), Andrew Poepoe ($1,000), hotelier Mike Paulin ($2,000), producer Roy Sakuma ($200), OHA’s Lloyd Yonenaka ($250), UH prof Kate Zhou ($50), Dr. Kalani Brady ($500) and a whole bunch of retired folks (various amounts).

Linda’s New Gig

Linda Lingle will join the Bipartisan Policy Center, a national policy and advocacy organization, to serve as a founding member of the group’s Governors’ Council.

BPC focuses on federal policy concerning issues like energy, health care, homeland security, transportation and the economy. The newly formed Governors’ Council will draw on state expertise.

BPC’s founding members are former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and George Mitchell (D-Maine).    

Neil’s New Day

While not quite a state holiday, the swearing in of Neil Abercrombie and Brian Schatz on Monday will be a major event — a Democratic administration taking over after eight years of Republican rule.

Beginning at 9:45 a.m. at Iolani Palace and ending at 4 p.m. on the Capitol lawn, the day will be chock-full of pomp and circumstance. Highlights include:

  • 10:29 a.m. — Entrance of of Hawaiian Societies
  • 10:42 a.m. — Music by Aaron Mahi and Dennis Kamakahi
  • 11:03 a.m. — 111th Army Band
  • 11:47 a.m. — Willie K belts out the National Anthem
  • 11:54 a.m. — Slam poet Kealoha announces “A New Day In Hawaii”
  • 11:59 a.m. — Justice James Duffy administers oath of office
  • 12:04 p.m. — 19-gun salute by 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
  • 12:14 p.m. — Gov. Abercrombie’s address
  • 12:26 p.m. — LDS Tongan Choir performs Beethoven’s “Hallelujah”

A celebration on the Capitol lawn and a luau at the Hawaii State Art Museum follow. Confirmation services will be held on the neighbor islands between Dec. 8-15, with Abercrombie and Schatz expected to attend.

Tickets for all assigned seating have already been reserved, but a limited number of public seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis — arrive early at the palace entrance on King Street. For more information on the inauguration events, click here.

Note: Civil Beat will be live blogging the events, so please join us online.


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