Watching and reporting abut Hawaii from Washington Place to Washington, D.C.

3:46 p.m. Puppy Love from the Gov

We spotted Neil Abercrombie tweeting (@neilabercrombie) adorable photos of a fluffy puppy (looks like a Shitzu) in his office.

A new First Dog, perhaps?

Turns out Mochi belongs to a staff member in the office. She’s still cute, nonetheless.

If there are any additions to the First Family, we’ve been assured we’ll hear about it. According to Abercrombie’s campaign bio, he and wife Nancie Caraway have a cat, Che, and dog, Kanoa.

—Nanea Kalani

2:33 p.m. White House Budget Meeting ‘Optimistic’

Roll Call reports that Joe Biden and Eric Cantor emerged from bipartisan deficit-reduction talks today “sounding far apart on taxes but optimistic about reaching a deal” exceeding $1 trillion in savings:

“I made it clear today … revenues are gonna have to be in the deal, and everybody knows that at the end of the day, we’re going to have to make some really tough decisions on some of the big-ticket items,” Biden said.

But he drew stiff resistance from Cantor. “Tax increases are not going to be something we’ll support in the House,” the Virginia Republican said. “I just want to make sure that that point is made very clear.”

The talks, which include Dan Inouye, resume Thursday.

12:20 p.m. Neighbor Isle Gov’t News

The Garden Island reports that the Kauai County Council last week approved a bill to strengthen a law regulating peddling at county parks and facilities, “but they left it up to the Parks and Recreation Department to create the specific rules” required to enforce it:

“There’s certain expectations of the rules and permitting, but that has to be done by the Parks Department, not by the council,” Council Chair Jay Furfaro said yesterday.

Bill 2406 covers all county parks and also parks under county jurisdiction in which there are commercial activities such as surfing lessons, scuba diving and weddings, he said.

West Hawaii Today reports that the Hawaii County Council wants to expand local government “while simultaneously cutting millions from county operations, employee overtime” and golfing subsidies:

“If you’re going to increase costs, you’ve got to decrease somewhere else,” said Chairman Dominic Yagong, a leading cost-cutting crusader.

Yagong said the council majority has done just that, saving more than enough money to offset paying up to $14,000 a year to lease a Kau satellite office plus another $2,000 annually for utilities. Funding was eliminated for two council staff positions that pay a combined $123,000 a year, mainland travel has been stopped, and lawmakers now stay at a low-priced hotel when attending meetings in Hilo or Kona, Yagong said.

The Maui News reports that the Maui County Charter Commission]] discussed yesterday how both the commission and the County Council can propose amendments to the county’s guiding legal document:

The discussion occurred during the panel’s second meeting in what’s expected to be a grinding 16-month process to revise the county’s charter.

“I say it’s very odd that two bodies can make recommendations to the charter,” said commission member and retired 2nd Circuit Judge Artemio Baxa.

Meeting: Reapportionment Commission

The nine-member group tasked with redrawing Hawaii’s political boundaries is scheduled to meet this afternoon.

The agenda includes a legal review of the 2001 commission’s work, discussion of whether to count military personnel and felons as part of districts and single-member versus multiple-member districts.

Dan in the News

The Hill reports that Dan Inouye is among a majority of Senate Democrats backing a move by the Obama administration calling for reauthorization of an aid program “that helps U.S. workers displaced by trade before moving ahead with three pending free-trade agreements.”

The Hill also reports that MoveOn.org has asked its members “to flood the offices” of Inouye and Max Baucus with calls demanding they resist Medicare cuts.

And The Washington Post reports that negotiations on fiscal policy resume today at the White House led by Joe Biden and a group of lawmakers from both parties that includes — yep — Sen. Inouye.

Fukunaga Takes Hirono to Task

Linda Lingle‘s former chief of staff, Barry Fukunaga, has penned an item that says Mazie Hirono is distorting Lingle’s record as governor, specifically on energy and education.

Excerpt:

From the very beginning of her tenure as governor, Linda Lingle championed efforts to reform public education including modernizing the governance structure, revamping poor performing schools, instituting merit pay for teachers, and increasing the rigor of standardized achievement tests. She was also at the forefront of STEM programs, especially robotics programs statewide.

Lingle is weighing a Senate run that could pit her against Hirono, whom she defeated for governor in 2002.


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