Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

5:04 p.m. Mizuno Named to UH Regents

The governor has appointed Barry T. Mizuno to fill the Big Island seat on the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii.

Mizuno, 63, is a former managing director for Hawaii County who has also worked in the energy and agriculture industries. His appointment is on an interim basis and requires state Senate confirmation.

Three of the governor’s Regents appointments were confirmed earlier this year but two others were rejected.

4:35 p.m. UHPA Livid Over HSTA Incompetence

Blogger Ian Lind has posted a copy of the letter the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly mailed out late last week that takes the Hawaii State Teachers Association to task for “undermining public union rights.”

UHPA is calling out the teachers union for what it perceives as erratic legal maneuvering that could have negative, permanent consequences for other unions.

UHPA says HSTA has alienated other unions in its battle with the state over the contract impasse and the imposition of a “last, best, final” offer. The future of collective bargaining and the right to strike are at stake, says UHPA.

That’s not new. What is new are the deepening divisions between two of the state’s labor unions.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association is worried as well over the outcome of HSTA’s complaint to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. As the UHPA letter observes, “HSTA’s leadership has sought to have HGEA’s legal counsel barred from participating in the HLRB proceeding.”

UHPA remains an intervenor in the complaint. But the ugliness that is growing among the unions gives new meaning to the old union rallying cry, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

3:11 p.m. Hanabusa Plans Town Hall, Hirono Doesn’t

POLITICO reports that most members of the U.S. House of Representatives are not planning to hold town halls during the long August recess.

“Only 40 percent are scheduling open town hall meetings,” according to survey takers. “It’s a sad sign of the state of affairs when our elected officials don’t have time to meet with their constituents.”

The survey says that Colleen Hanabusa will hold a town hall this month, but that Mazie Hirono will not.

1:25 p.m. Gov Keeps Tweeting New Day Update

Just in case you missed one of the two dozen or so tweets Neil Abercrombie (or someone for him) sent out last week about his New Day status report, there’s been two more already today — even though the report came out five days ago.

@neilabercrombie has 9,218 followers, by the way.

UPDATE

Whoa! Not two minutes after our last post, the gov sent out another tweet about the New Day update:

We created a new section of our website -Action Plan- that outlines our State’s Three Waves of Change. What do you think? http://ow.ly/69QLa

UPDATE

OMG! Another one came just after 3 p.m. — and his followers have climbed to 9,219:

Did you know we overcame a $214 million deficit, and for the first time in three years, we are entering the new fiscal year in the black?

11:51 a.m. Alaska Lawmakers’ Hawaii Trip: $35,000

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Alaska lawmakers spent nearly $35,000 to attend the CGS-West conference in Hawaii in late July and early August.

Excerpts:

The group’s annual conferences are rotated among states. This year it was at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, a venue that describes itself as a beach resort that “ushers in a new level of comfort, style and panache to the Waikiki scene, promising an inspired vacation for one and all. …”

On one of the four days, there were no meetings listed on the agenda after lunch but there was a Pearl Harbor tour. The afternoon agenda for another of the days included a meeting of the CSG-West executive committee and a downtown Honolulu tour. There were evening receptions, a hospitality suite and a luau with a Polynesian revue on the final night.

10:26 a.m. UPDATE Gingrich Slams Obama

The Maui News reports that Newt Gingrich told Maui Tea Party members this weekend that Barack Obama‘s policies have been bad for America.

Excerpt:

“The current president is the best food stamp president in American history,” Gingrich said to the packed room in the back of the modest church. “I would like to be the best paycheck president in U.S. history.”

Inouye at Heart Mountain

Dan Inouye spoke over the weekend at the opening of a museum at the former Japanese-American internment camp in Heart Mountain, Wyo.

Here’s a news excerpt of Inouye recalling the Dec. 7, 1941, attack:

“I took my father and went out in the street and looked down toward Pearl Harbor,” Inouye said. “You could see black puffs in the air. Three aircraft flew over, gray in color, with the Rising Sun on the wing. At that moment, I knew that my life had changed.”

Inouye served as an officer with the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Germany, eventually winning the Medal of Honor for valor in battle.

When he returned home, wearing his uniform, medals pinned on his chest, Inouye was refused service at a restaurant. The proprietor said they “didn’t serve his kind” — never mind his Medal of Honor.

Newt on Maui

Newt Gingrich is running for president, yet he made time to visit Hawaii this week. (He was here as recently as February).

News reports say the stops included a weekend talk in Wailuku to the Maui Republican Party and, this morning, a discussion on America’s founding with students at a Makawao prep school.

The Hawaii GOP has set March 13 for its presidential caucus.

Concern for Consumer

Rafael del Castillo, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for Congress last year, is part of a group expected to meet with the governor today regarding a new law.

The law, formerly Senate Bill 1274, is intended to conform Hawaii’s Patients’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Act with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Del Castillo, an attorney, has argued that the law actually repeals important consumer protections against managed care abuses.

“Remember, the SB 1274 fight is far from over,” del Castillo said in a weekend email. “The repeal can be repealed.”

Sand for Makaha

Maile Shimabukuro leads an effort this morning to restore sand at Makaha Surfing Beach.

Heavy equipment will move sand from other parts of the beach to replenish about 3,800 cubic yards of erosion.

“Our first priority is to minimize public hazard and improve access to the lifeguard stand and other structures which are in danger of losing their foundations due to erosion caused by the high surf,” Shimabukuro said in a statement.

Coqui Population Levels Off

Check out the latest in Neighbor Island government news:

Rev. Nancy Harris: My religious-use of marijuana trial in Hilo

Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project delayed again

Sovereignty group on Kauai works to reclaim rights

Coqui frog population leveling off on Big Isle

But residents still fight against frogs

Keauhou church plans struck down

Maui County surveys residents on housing

Federal cuts threaten Kauai’s Malama Pono Health Services

The late Kumu Charles Kaui Kaupu Jr. honored in Lahaina

Hamakua land open for leasing

Philippine Consulate outreach on Monday in Hilo

Classes begin at renamed University of Hawaii Maui College

Group to relocate Big Isle donkeys to California

Kauai Council approves Civic Center ATM


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