Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

4:35 p.m. Case Poll: He’s Ahead in Senate Race

U.S. Senate candidate Ed Case has told supporters that a new poll shows him leading Mazie Hirono 53-37 percent in the 2012 Democratic primary and Linda Lingle 48-38 percent in the general election.

The automated-telephone poll also shows Lingle ahead of Hirono in the general, 48-43 percent.

Merriman River Group, for Honolulu Civil Beat online news, did some of the most accurate polling in Hawaii’s 2010 elections,” Case wrote in an email to supporters this afternoon. “We’re very encouraged by these results.”

Lingle has not yet declared her candidacy.

The company surveyed 841 general election voters, including 697 likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error for the primary was 4 percent, 3 percent for the general.

4:11 p.m. Budget Deputy Director Resigns

Dean Hirata resigned last Friday as deputy director of the Department of Budget and Finance. He had been named to the post in early December by Neil Abercrombie.

Hirata could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE

Kalbert Young told Civil Beat Hirata’s departure is “unfortunate.” He said Hirata left to return to the private sector.

In addition to the deputy director post, Hirata had been chairman of the board for the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, which falls under the Budget Department.

Hirata has a strong background in the local banking community. He previously was CFO of Central Pacific Financial Corp. and Central Pacific Bank from 2004 to 2010.

Hirata was also executive vice president of CB Bancshares, Inc., from 2002 to 2004 and was CFO of the company from 1999 to 2004. He is a former CFO and executive vice president of City Bank.

Nanea Kalani

2:24 p.m. $2.5M in CIP for Bishop Museum

The governor intends to release $1.5 million for the Bishop Museum planetarium and $1 million for the Polynesian Hall restoration, possibly within the next few months.

The governor made his remarks Saturday night at the museum, where he was honored with the Charles Reed Bishop medal.

The capital improvement project funds were approved by the Legislature this year.

1:03 p.m. Ryan Filing Shows Pine Payment

Eric Ryan has amended his Save Ewa Beach contributions report for Sept. 4 through Sept. 18, 2010, to reflect a payment from Friends of Kymberly Pine for $3,150.

As was reported in Civil Beat, Pine says the payment was for work on her own website, but Ryan claims it was for work on a mailer intended to discredit a future political opponent.

It’s not clear who is telling the truth here, but one question for the Campaign Spending Commission might be whether Pine’s contribution is in excess of what is allowed.

11:10 a.m. UPDATE Abercrombie’s School Daze

The governor told Leilehua High School‘s freshman class today that the best thing “that ever happened” to him was getting involved with teachers at his high school.

He recalled that his English teacher shared his knowledge and helped the young Abercrombie deal with life and set goals and accomplish them.

“Every teacher, every member of the staff, the alumni, they are here for you, with you, and will be your brothers and sisters for life,” Abercrombie told students.

The governor added that the Board of Education, the superintendant, the Legislature and the governor himself “are backing you up. We want you to have the best experience here at Leilehua.”

Abercrombie made no mention of the continuing impasse over teachers’ contracts.

9:55 a.m. Matsuura Honored

The Council of State Governments–WEST has awarded the Bettye Fahrenkamp Award for Distinguished Legislative Leadership on Behalf of Western States to the late Richard Matsuura.

The former Big Island lawmaker served from 1981 to 1984 in the state House of Representatives and from 1985 to 1996 in the state Senate.

The award recognizes leaders “whose legislative careers demonstrate the ability to see and work beyond the border of their own states in the interest of the West,” according to a press release.

Said Marcus Oshiro in a statement, “His biography shows a lifetime of notable accomplishments, much of it based on his belief that achieving peace in the world and protecting of our environment are paramount. Senator Matsuura was a man of many dreams, and while not all of them became reality, the Hawaii Legislature, our state and our country were improved due to his years of public service.” 

CGS-West Week

Neil Abercrombie has proclaimed July 30 through Aug. 6 “Council of State Governments-WEST Week.”

The proclamation recognizes “CSG-WEST and its goals to foster the exchange of insights and ideas to help State Government officials shape public policy.”

CSG-WEST is currently holding its 64th Annual Meeting at the Sheraton Waikiki. Click here for more.

Panel: Biofuels and Geothermal

“Fuel for the Future: Biofuels, Geothermal — What’s Next?” is the topic at 6 p.m. at Democratic State Headquarters, Ward Warehouse (second floor).

Panelists include Kelly King and 
Jeff Mikulina.

Where’s Neil?

Here’s Neil:

Leilehua High School Freshman Orientation Visit, Wahiawa, 9:30 a.m.

Big Isle Teachers Upset With Contract

Check out the latest in Neighbor Island government news:

Contract has Big Isle teachers angered as year begins

Opening of pediatric dental facility on Maui a ‘big deal’

PUC Big Isle meeting on Young Bros. rate request

Young Bros. explains rate increase bid to Molokai

Governor on Maui: State is stable

Big Isle folks asked to sound off on water plans

New Hanalei ocean rules approved

Funds released for work to start on Maui transit hub

Future of Waimea county council office uncertain


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