Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

5:58 p.m. Schatz Likes Obama Plan

The acting governor said this today about the president’s latest plans concerning jobs and the deficit:

In Hawaii, we share President Obama‘s approach in his plan to reduce the nation’s deficit — getting people back to work by creating jobs and investing in our priorities, like education and healthcare, all while living within our means. It is clear that we need to all work together and do our part now to grow a sustainable economy for future generations.”

5 p.m. Aquino to Meet With Inouye

Philippines President Benigno Aquino is expected to meet with Dan Inouye this week during his visit to the U.S.

The president is expected to thank the senator for his continued support of Philippine causes.

4:30 p.m. Homeless on Hawaii Shores

The Hawaii Tourism Authority and Marc Alexander may find of some interest this article, titled “America’s homeless crisis washes up in Obama’s birthplace.”

Excerpt:

Despite its “aloha” reputation, Hawaii currently has the third-highest ratio of homelessness of any state in the nation, behind Oregon and Nevada. Since the number of Americans living below the poverty line rose above 15 per cent last week, the problem here, like elsewhere, seems likely to get worse before it gets better.

4 p.m. More Birther Madness

The Daily Kos opines on and links to an article about an Arizona sheriff’s investigation into the authenticity of the president’s birth certificate.

Here’s what the Kos writer had to say about the matter:

If nothing else, Sheriff Joe has found himself another way to keep his name in the news as America’s Most Notable Crazy Person With a Badge. Like the Surprise Tea Party, I simply cannot wait to find out what his crack team of investi-bators finds out.

3:30 p.m. Labor Dept, IRS Cracking Down on Wage Violations

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Labor Department is signing agreements to share information with nearly a dozen states and the Internal Revenue Service “as it gets more aggressive in its program to crack down on businesses that cheat workers out of their wages.”

Hawaii is among those states.

2:07 p.m. $1.6M for Veterans Cemeteries

Dan, Dan, Mazie and Colleen announced today Hawaii will receive $1.6 million for neighbor island veterans cemeteries.

The funds will go toward expansion and improvement of veterans cemeteries on Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and East Hawaii.

11:46 a.m. Sierra Club Demands Gov Withdraw Emergency Power

Eight community groups are calling for Neil Abercrombie to withdraw recent proclamations suspending many of Hawaii environmental and cultural protections.

Robert Harris of the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, said in a press release:

Recently, Governor Abercrombie used his emergency executive powers to suspend many of Hawaii’s environmental and cultural laws. Conservation Council for Hawaii, Friends of Lanai, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, Life of the Land, Malama Kauai, Na Kupuna Moku O Keawe and the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter have jointly issued a letter expressing concern that Abercrombie’s administration is misusing its emergency power. While Governor Abercrombie’s administration may have been well-intentioned, it was ill-advised to suspend statutes that directly protect the public from harm. Waiver of Hawaii’s legal protections — whether they be procurement, cultural, environmental, or other — undermines public goals of transparency, accountability, and community invovlement. It also puts the public at risk of harm. Laws governing clean water, clean air, and hazardous materials all exist for a reason.

The rationale used by the Abercrombie administration to evade State regulations — the threat of speculative harm to the public — could wrongly justify numerous projects. At its core, virtually every governmental action is designed to protect the public. The scope of the Governor’s emergency powers is not so broad, however. The Governor cannot pick and choose what actions will comply with the law.

11:10 a.m. Case Names Grassroots Team

Ed Case had emailed supporters the names of nine people handling his grassroots outreach in his U.S. Senate campaign.

They include chair Lloyd Nekoba, Oahu coordinator Ed Hasegawa and reps on all major islands.

“This crucial campaign is and will be about grassroots first and always,” Case said in his email.

10:30 a.m. $5M for Eight Electric City Buses

Dan, Dan, Mazie and Colleen announced today that Honolulu will receive $5 million to purchase eight new electric buses.

The money comes from a U.S. Department of Transportation initiative designed to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The 45-foot long turbine electric buses will increase the size of the city’s bus fleet to 539. Sixty of those vehicles are hybrid-electric. 

Horner at the Labor Board

The Hawaii Labor Relations Board reconvenes at 10:30 a.m. today in the ongoing HSTA vs. The State dispute over the union’s contract.

BOE big kahuna Don Horner is expected to be questioned. Civil Beat, of course, will be live blogging the hearing.

The public hearings are held in the state government building at 830 Punchbowl St.

Schatz in Charge

The acting governor watched boulder removal from Niu Valley yesterday and tweeted out (@brianschatz, 2,590 followers) what he saw.

Excerpt:

Adjutant General Wong, CD Chief Texeira, DLNR Chief Aila all on site making sure operation is smooth.

Meeting: Reapportionment

The deadline for redrawing political districts is looming, so the 2011 Reapportionment Commission has some major business to settle.

Today’s agenda for the meeting at the State Capitol includes data regarding the counting of military personnel and college students.

Executive session is likely.

Maui News: Run, Lingle, Run

The Maui News has an editorial urging former Maui mayor and Hawaii governor Linda Lingle to run for the U.S. Senate.

Excerpt:

Forget our infatuation with Ed Case, who cruelly dumped us after the last election after sending 14,725 emails seeking contributions.

Yes, we know that Lingle is one of only three Republicans in the state and this somewhat lessens her chances of winning the seat. But we like her basic principles, which, by the way, may seem freakish to many.

Those principles, says the paper, include “honesty and forthrightness” and a belief in free enterprise.

Big Isle Pilot Funding Program Still On

The Campaign Spending Commission earlier this month announced that there was “Sufficiency of Funds for the Hawaii County Council Comprehensive Public Funding Program.”

But it also said “equalizing funds” would not be implemented as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett.

Kory Payne of Voter Owned Hawaii explains what that means:

• For candidates who qualify for the pilot funding program next fall, they will receive a “base allotment” of money from the county based on mow much was spent in districts over the past two election cycles. “More often than not, that base allotment is enough money to run for office,” said Payne.

• Because of the court ruling, however, the county will not provide “equalizing funds” — that is, a dollar-for-dollar match when there is a private infusion of cash into a competitor’s campaign. “For all practical matters, it will not change the functionality of the program, because it is pretty rare that a candidate taps into equalizing funds, anyway,” said Payne.

Read Civil Beat’s reporting on the high court ruling and the Hawaii pilot program.

Questions Raised Over Ordnance Emergency

Check out the latest in Neighbor Island government news:

Kauai Council questions legality of salary resolution

Update on Kauai recycling plans

Economist: Mixed bag for Maui this year

Questions raised on Big Isle over ordnance emergency

Ordnance search set for Ahihi-Kinau area

Maui: Despite bypass of laws, project requires review

Over 100 Waikoloa donkeys board plane for California

120 donkeys from Hawaii arrive in Tehachapi, Calif., safely

Researchers discover new wintering grounds for humpback whales

Big Isle garbage tipping fees go unpaid

Opposition to monk seal plan voiced at Kihei meeting

Tighter rules on tropical fish collection eyed

Initial OK given to reopening of Hamakuapoko wells

DLNR issuing feral goat and sheep control permits for Puu Waawaa

New Pahoa senior center

Need to dredge Lahaina Harbor top issue

A&B seeking public input on Kauai solar farm

Resolution urges Maui to help abate deer population


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