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

3:34 p.m. Gov Tweets About Prisons

The governor this afternoon tweeted (@neilabercrombie, 8,900 followers) the following:

DYK there has been a net return of about 270 prisoners? The state is working on a comprehensive plan to bring Hawaii’s prisoners home.

What he did not mention is that the state just signed a three-year contract with the Arizona prison company that is housing some 1,900 prisoners in that state.

2:43 p.m. Gov Selects Two Deputies

Neil Abercrombie has named Michelle Kauhane as deputy to the chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and Jan Gouveia as deputy director of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

Gouveia, currently deputy director for administration for the Department of Transportation, replaces Ryan Okahara, who left DAGS June 3 to take a job with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Abercrombie is looking for a replacement for Gouveia.

Kauhane replaces Bobby Hall, who retired from the department earlier after serving only a few months in the new administration. At least one news report suggested Hall may have stepped down for other reasons.

1:22 p.m. Inouye on Budget Talks

As Senate Appropriations begins marking up spending bills, here’s what Dan Inouye has to say, according to The Hill:

“The Appropriations Committee has 12 bills to complete before the end of the fiscal year in September, and we must get started. As I told my colleagues back in March, if we fail to move individual appropriations bills through Congress, we will again be faced with the prospect of passing a CR or an Omnibus in order to prevent a government shutdown,” Inouye said.

“I believe that the ongoing budget negotiations will eventually produce a bipartisan agreement on discretionary spending levels. In the meanwhile, as these vital discussions move forward, the committee, in keeping with its long tradition of bipartisanship, is working to find common ground and move forward with the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations process,” he added.

Until last week, the senator was a part of the deficit-reduction talks led by Joe Biden. But then GOP members walked out, objecting to any tax increases.

12:10 p.m. Hanabusa Talks About Senate Run

The Hill has an article about Colleen Hanabusa, which includes comment on a potential U.S. Senate campaign.

Excerpt:

Hanabusa said the obvious benefit of the Senate is not having to run for reelection every two years.

“When I was in the [state] Senate we liked to think of ourselves as the calmer house, that had more time to think things out,” Hanabusa said. “And it gave us the luxury … of trying to say ‘Hey, this is something that we have to think about long-term’ and take the hard vote.”

But she also said the advantage of having to run for reelection more frequently is that it allows her to spend more time with constituents.

“I’m sure there are people who wish they wouldn’t constantly be raising money and running for reelection,” Hanabusa said.

Hanabusa, who has only been in the U.S. House for six months, said she views her lack of political experience as a potential positive rather than a negative, saying that losing Mazie Hirono‘s seniority would hurt Hawaii.

Hirono, you’ll recall, has already declared her Senate candidacy.

11:04 a.m. Case Still Needs Cash

Ed Case has sent out another appeal for campaign donations, reminding supporters that Thursday is the deadline for campaign spending filings for federal office. It’s the second plea in as many weeks.

Case is running for the U.S. Senate, you’ll recall.

“We’re very close to our goal, about $20,000 short,” Case says in his message. “That’s a lot of money, but if you invest what you can now we’ll be there in no time.”

Abercrombie’s Mission of Change

The governor’s latest weekly message is titled “A Mission To Change Direction.”

Excerpts:

The new fiscal year begins on July 1st with a mission to change the direction of Hawaii.

The budget passed by the legislature — which I have now signed into law — requires our
Administration to operate with hundreds of millions less than we believed necessary
to restore core government functions. Despite tax increases passed by the legislature,
services and programs will still have to be significantly cut.

I have asked all departments to work together in a deliberate and thoughtful process
that will identify programs that may be affected.

Gov Floats Idea for Big Isle Military Housing

Neil Abercrombie, speaking Friday before the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, “floated the possibility of building public-private housing in West Hawaii for military families who will relocate from Okinawa when the Marine base there moves sometime in the next few years.”

That’s according to an article in The Hawaii Tribune Herald on Saturday:

Another possibility could be off-base housing for troops preparing for deployment at the increasingly strategic Pohakuloa Training Area.

“PTA will be the center for training in the Pacific in the 21st century,” Abercrombie said.

Hirono Seeks ‘Wounded Warrior’

Mazie Hirono‘s congressional office has been selected to participate in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program, a two-year program that provides employment in a congressional office for wounded or disabled veterans.

“It is a privilege to have my office selected to participate in a program that provides this opportunity for our war heroes, Hirono said in a statement. “I look forward to having someone who has given so much to our country join my team.”

The job is in Hirono’s Honolulu office, and the availability is immediate.

Akaka, Inouye Support Philippines Garment Bill

Asian Journal reports that Dan Inouye told visiting Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario that the Save Our Industries Act has been reintroduced in the 112th Congress:

The SAVE Act is a bilateral agreement between the US and the Philippines that would allow the latter to export locally assembled garments duty-free provided that these are made from fabric that was made and bought from the US.

During his recent visit to the Philippines last April, Sen. Inouye was enjoined by President Benigno Aquino III to sustain his strong support for the SAVE Act by introducing the bill soon.

President Aquino said he is confident the bill will revive the Philippine garments industry and provide jobs for Filipino workers.

Dan Akaka is a co-sponsor of the measure.

Neighbor Isle Gov’t News

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the County Council has endorsed one of two proposals aimed at resolving an 11th-hour budget battle with Mayor Billy Kenoi:

Council members agreed to reduce funding for land purchases, but fell one vote shy of the six needed to hire a private attorney to critique Kenoi’s reasons for vetoing their budget amendments.

The council disregarded public opposition and voted 7-1 to halve yearly contributions to the county’s Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund.

A second supportive vote, expected to occur during a special meeting the council has called for Thursday, is needed before Kenoi may consider signing the bill into law.

The Garden Island reports that Kauai County has issued a notice of violation to a North Shore business owner, ordering him to stop conducting unpermitted activities on his Hanalei River property:

“The state and county are working together to develop sound rules to manage recreational and commercial activities in our beach parks and the surrounding waters,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said in a statement. “Enforcement is key to these efforts being successful. We are hopeful that with the issuance of this notice, the violations at the Hanalei River boatyard will cease.”

The notice directs Michael Sheehan, owner of Hanalei River Watersports and Hanalei River Enterprises, to cease and desist unpermitted activities at his boatyard on the south bank of the Hanalei River and to remove from the premises all associated equipment and temporary structures within 10 days or else face injunctions, penalties of up to $10,000 and civil fines of up to $500 per day.

The Maui News reports that Department of Planning Director Will Spence says the most immediate and largest challenges ahead of him are finishing Maui’s master plan and streamlining the Planning Department:

The Maui Island Plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year, county officials have said. And much of Spence’s job in helping the Maui County Council to complete it as part of the General Plan 2030 update involves making a host of recommendations, such as urban-growth boundaries, reviews of various developments and decisions on where businesses will build for the next 20 years.

In addition, he’s attempting to fix a slow permitting system that earlier administrations have been unable to reform. But Spence again said he’s hopeful that compromises will be reached and significant successes accomplished.


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