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

1:31 p.m. Inouye Defends Defense Dollars

Dan Inouye released a statement and fact sheet today that the senator says demonstrate that “since 2001, a year in which the U.S. government had a surplus of $128 billion, the increase in non-security domestic spending, when adjusted for inflation and population growth, has been zero.”

Inouye also said the following:

“While defense and other war related costs – adjusted for inflation — have experienced substantial growth of 74%, ($364 billion) in the ten years since 2001, these costs are clearly related to the cost of countering terrorism, defending the homeland, and supporting a larger veteran population. We need an honest debate on how much is needed to preserve our security, but let me say this — we can only substantially cut these programs at our Nation’s peril.”

The Hill picked up the news, saying Inouye was taking a “hard line” to protect spending.

Army Times and Marine Corps Times also reported Inouye’s defense of defense.

12:50 p.m. Mazie Needs Cash

Mazie Hirono today reminded her supporters that the first federal campaign fundraising quarter ends at midnight tonight:

We’re just 24 donors shy of our 5 week, 250-member goal for “Mazie’s Ohana,” our core group of early campaign donors who’ve helped us get off to such a blazing start. What’s more, midnight tonight marks the end of our first official fundraising quarter, a critical early milestone for our campaign. …

The press, pundits, and potential opponents are going to pore over these numbers, too.

This will be their first, objective glimpse into the strength of our campaign going forward.

So true. The numbers will be out in a couple of weeks.

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

11:41 a.m. Neighbor Isle Gov’t News

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the governor’s plans to veto a bill that would require tracking of drugs used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine “may be a blessing in disguise,” says the bill’s sponsor:

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Josh Green, a Democrat who represents Kohala and Kona, said Tuesday that he agrees with the governor’s decision, and he looks forward to introducing a new version of the bill during the next Legislative session.

“The governor and I, we share the same priority of reducing meth in the state of Hawaii,” he said. “After discussing the issue with the state Attorney General’s Office, I agree that this had to happen.”

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that former Chancellor Rose Tseng will return to the University of Hawaii at Hilo next month as a professor earning $187,596 a year:

After relinquishing her post to Donald Straney in late June 2010, Tseng collected her previous executive pay of $284,000 a year while taking a yearlong professional development leave. Such paid leaves afford former executives an opportunity to “enhance their capabilities and value to the university, and to prepare for new initiatives and projects they wish to undertake,” said UHH Director of Marketing Gerald De Mello.

On Tuesday, in an emailed response to questions, De Mello said that Tseng would begin an 11-month appointment to the faculty on Friday. During that time, she will not accrue vacation benefits.

The Maui News reports that, just barely making a tight deadline, the Maui County Council Policy Committee voted unanimously yesterday to move a bill forward that would allow the mayor to negotiate a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency “over allegations that injection wells in West Maui violate” the Safe Drinking Water Act:

The EPA has not cited the county over the allegations, although it has threatened to. A draft settlement would increase the amount of ultraviolet disinfection sewage receives at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility, at a cost estimated between $4 million and $5 million.

That would forestall EPA action on effluent quality. But it would not prevent other actions against injection wells, and even as the committee was meeting in executive session, Earthjustice announced its intention to sue the county over the wells.

10 a.m. Hanabusa, Hirono to Address Young Dems

Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa are expected to be at a Young Democrats Pau Hana Forum tonight at the Kakaako Conference Room, Second Floor, Ward Warehouse. 

The occasion involves a panel discussing Hawaii’s education and energy future, but it will also be a chance to see two potential U.S. Senate rivals together. Hirono has declared and Hanabusa is seriously thinking about running.

Also on the panel will be Gene Awakuni of UH West Oahu and Mark Duda of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association.

Click here for more information.

Justice Conference

“The Justice Conference: Working for a Safer Hawaii” is an all-day affair at Ala Moana Hotel today.

Neil Abercrombie will deliver brief remarks, as will Jodie Maesaka-Hirata, in the morning.

Meeting: Hawaii Tourism Authority

The HTA has called a special meeting this morning at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Agenda items include an update on the HTA’s recovery strategy for tourism, and marketing and convention center funding.

The state Legislature this year capped how much money the HTA gets from hotel taxes.

Town Hall: Kapolei

Officials from the state DOT and the city’s Department of Transportation Services will present information tonight and be available to answer questions regarding current and upcoming roadway projects in the Kapolei area.

Henry Aquino, Karen Awana, Ty Cullen, Sharon Har, Jo Jordan, Mike Gabbard, Maile Shimabukuro and Nestor Garcia are scheduled to be on hand.

It’s set for 7 p.m. at Kapolei High School Cafeteria, 91-5007 Kapolei Parkway.

Big Wind on PBS

Dan Boylan‘s “Insights” on PBS tonight takes up the controversial issue of Big Wind on Lanai and Molokai.

“Big Wind” refers to plans for giant wind turbines on the two rural islands, in part to power Oahu’s energy needs.

Guests include Alberta De Jetley, Kanohowailuku Helm, Robin Kaye and Walter Ritte.

Hearing: Native Education

Dan Akaka will chair a legislative hearing at 2:15 p.m. EST in D.C. on the Native Culture, Language and Access for Success in Schools (Native CLASS) Act.

This is according to a press release:

The Native CLASS Act is a comprehensive Native education bill that strengthens language and culture-based education, teacher training and development, and local access and control. It includes revisions to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, as well as other federal laws, and authorizes several new programs. 

The act is co-sponsored by Dan Inouye. Witnesses at the hearing will include officials from the U.S. Department of Education and Bureau of Indian Education, “tribal leaders, Native educators and administrators, and representatives from national Native organizations.”

Live video will be available here.

Inouye Supports Medication Therapy

Dan Inouye is a co-sponsor of the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2011.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores-endorsed bill, according to a press release from the association, seeks to enhance a pharmacy’s ability to partner with patients on counseling and medication therapy management services “with the goal of increasing medication adherence.”


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