Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

5:11 p.m. Lingle Aide Fires Back at Nat’l Senate Dems

On Tuesday, Matt Canter of the Democratic Senatorial Committee called Linda Lingle a “partisan bomb thrower” who carried water for Sarah Palin, accused Barack Obama of palling around with terrorists and called George W. Bush the nation’s best president.

Canter cited sources, including Honolulu newspapers.

Today, Lingle’s former senior policy officer, Linda Smith, responded that Canter’s comments were “inaccurate and patently false statements” — “vitriolic statements” that smear Lingle’s “record of results for all the people of Hawaii.”

Smith then listed examples from that record, including pushing for STEM education, holding bilateral trade talks with foreign leaders, helping secure the APEC meeting and working with the Legislature on a range of issues such as consumer protection.

Smith did not, however, directly dispute Canter’s charges.

2 p.m. Bill Would Restore COFA Migrants’ Medicaid

Dan Akaka and Dan Inouye have introduced a Senate bill called the Medicaid Restoration for Citizens of Freely Associated States Act, which would re-establish Medicaid eligibility for COFA migrants in the United States.

Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa as well as Guam reps Eni Faleomavaega and Madeleine Bordallo have a similar House measure.

Support services for COFA migrants have burdened Hawaii’s government, and both the Lingle and Abercrombie administrations tried to place limits on services until a court late last year ruled otherwise.

A report from the current administration states:

The State of Hawaii spent over $100 million last year alone on needed services for COFA migrants. Spending included $52.1 million to provide 20,720 clients with financial assistance, medical assistance, and emergency housing outreach, $55.1 million to educate 5,508 students, and $872,820 on 2,117 arrests, 775 convictions, and 249 incarcerations.

“We are all aware that government funding of any kind is difficult to come by, and my hope is that this legislation will ensure that states like Hawaii are not unfairly burdened with an initiative started by the federal government,” said Inouye in a statement.

11:55 a.m. HTA Releases iPhone App on Events

Want hula? Cuisine? Eco-tourism? Farmers’ markets?

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has launched its first smartphone application for Festivals of Hawaii, which provides details on more than 100 events throughout the islands.

The free app is available for download on iTunes for iPhone, iPod and iPad devices. (Sorry, BlackBerry addicts!)

11:16 a.m. Hawaiian Air Playing Field at Aloha Stadium

A state-of-the-art playing surface is part of a new sponsorship agreement between Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Sports Properties, Aloha Stadium‘s advertising representative.

According to a press release:

The multi-year sponsorship agreement includes renaming the field to Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium as well as providing funding for future field upgrades and for University of Hawaii Athletics travel expenses.

10:07 a.m. Lava, Teachers, Fish Farms

Check out the latest in Neighbor Island government news:

Enviro groups sue feds to block permit for Kona Blue fish farm

Upscale Hokulia development’s future is cloudy

Kauai vets to gain new health center

Lava bursts from Puu Oo vent

PUC reviewing Young Bros. rate increase

Kauai utility starts capital patronage refunds

Retired Hawaii teachers demonstrate during gov’s visit

9:16 a.m. Gov’t Drops Aloun Farms Charges

Breaking news: Aloun Farms Human Trafficking Trial: Government Drops Charges

Obama Turns 50

At a Cabinet meeting in Washington yesterday, according to a White House press release, Barack Obama was asked, “Are you ready for 5-0, Mr. President?”

Obama replied, “I’m going to get advice from some around the table — (laughter) — about how to handle this milestone.  (Laughter.)  All right?”

As Neil Abercrombie is fond of saying, “Barack Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu.”

That’s true — but the president is spending his special day in Chicago.

Teachers on ‘Insights’

The topic is “Public Education: Back to School” on PBS’ “Insights” tonight.

Dan Boylan will talk tonight with principals from Moanalua High School, Niu Valley Middle School, Waikele Elementary School and Blanche Pope Elementary School.

Ethics Training for Kauai

The State Ethics Commission is scheduled to hold an ethics training class for state employees on Kauai this morning.

Topics include conflicts of interests, gifts and the reporting of gifts, misuse of government office and government resources, and post-employment restrictions.

Hearing: PUC and HEI

The Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing tonight at its downtown offices regarding Hawaii Electric Light Co., Hawaiian Electric Co. and Maui Electric Co.

As blogger Ian Lind points out, however, it’s not clear from the PUC hearing notice what the hearing is about.

Lind reports that the hearing is actually about a proposal from Aina Koa Pono, a company that wants to develop energy from non-fossil fuel materials.

Catch up on previous coverage:

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