Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

4:02 p.m. State CIO Readies IT Plan

Just two months on the job, and Sonny Bhagowalia is close to releasing an action plan that gets at the governor’s mission to “transform Hawaii’s outdated technology infrastructure.”

Overhauling the state’s IT system is a key part of the governor’s New Day plan.

In Civil Beat’s latest Newsmaker interview, Bhagowalia said he will reveal an assessment and course of action “after Sept. 30.”

The assessment part will include things like how many state employees work on IT, how much the state spends by department and a full listing of all services provided by the state.

“From there, the idea is how do we transform that with acquisition, program management, and unifying architecture and strategic planning,” he said. “I have a clear vision that’s also going to come out.”

Bhagowalia said that vision plan is made up of a top 10 list of goals. He expects it will take three to five years to bring Hawaii up to an acceptable standard for technology.

Watch an archived video of the interview here.

Nanea Kalani

3:32 p.m. Two Oahu Judicial Vacancies

The Judicial Selection Commission is seeking applicants for two district judge positions on the First Circuit Court.

The term of office is six years, and the job pays $128,295. Medical, dental and vision plans offered; retirement plan, too.

And, there’s 13 paid holidays each year (14 days during election years), 21 vacation and 21 sick leave days.

Unsuccessful judicial applicants may find comfort in the fact that Neil Abercrombie will not reveal their names.

1:29 p.m. AARP Hosts Safe Sidewalks Expert

AARP Hawaii is hosting several talks this week with Dan Burden, a “leading authority on pedestrian and bicycle safety and the development of walkable communities,” according to a press release.

AARP, of course, has led the charge to improve sidewalk and crosswalk safety, especially for Hawaii’s kupuna.

The sessions with Burden are set for late this afternoon and Wednesday morning and afternoon at the Nuuanu YMCA. Seating is limited, and reservations are required.

12:12 p.m. State: Law Backs Nondisclosure of Judge Candidates

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has a report today on the Abercrombie administration’s legal position on releasing the names of judicial candidates.

The administration argues that the “state constitution, Hawaii law and rules of the Judicial Selection Commission support confidentiality of the names of the candidates the governor considered in appointing state judges,” according to the daily paper:

The governor’s position is stated in a 17-page legal response, filed Monday in Circuit Court, to an Aug. 23 lawsuit by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser against Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state agencies.

The newspaper’s lawsuit seeks the disclosure of the names of people Abercrombie has considered for state judgeships.

Read the full response from the governor as well as the Star-Advertiser’s complaint.

11:05 a.m. More Pilau About Aulani

The Los Angeles Times travel section has an item that despairs some aspects of Disney’s new Aulani Resort.

Excerpt:

I was surprised by the contrived and disruptive afternoon character poolside party that featured a Disney employee, using a public address system, extolling swimmers to scream, splash and hop up on deck for a hula contest. The pump-up-the-energy vibe so upset the tranquil mood that poolside loungers cringed at the paradise-wrecking spectacle.

The travel writer also complains that the Lilo character from “Lilo & Stitch” is largely absent from the Leeward Oahu resort.

Conference: Clean Energy

DBEDT today begins hosting a three-day conference called the “Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo” at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Neil Abercrombie will address the summit this morning. Civil Beat’s Sophie Cocke will be live blogging the event, so check our homepage for coverage.

Newsmaker: Sonny Bhagowalia

Nanea Kalani will conduct an interview with the state’s new chief information officer, Sonny Bhagowalia, today at noon.

Click here for details.

Hearings: Reapportionment

The last round of public hearings on political district reapportionment are being held this week on the main Hawaiian Islands.

Click here for a complete schedule.

Obama on Hawaii Jobs

The White House is on the offense in pushing for a new jobs bill in Congress. Press releases are highlighting what the bill would do for individual states.

Highlights for Hawaii, the White House says, include the following:

The President’s plan will cut the payroll tax in half to 3.1% for employers on the first $5 million in wages, providing broad tax relief to all businesses but targeting it to the 98 percent of firms with wages below this level. In Hawaii, 30,000 firms will receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act.

The President’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut passed last December by cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. A typical household in Hawaii, with a median income of around $56,000, will receive a tax cut of around $1,740.

Drawing on the best ideas of both parties and the most innovative states, the President is proposing the most sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance (UI) system in 40 years help those without jobs transition to the workplace. This could help put the 17,000 long-term unemployed workers in Hawaii back to work.

The President is proposing to invest $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. Hawaii could receive about $20,000,000 to revitalize and refurbish local communities, in addition to funds that would be available through a competitive application.

The President’s plan includes $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. Of the investments for highway and transit modernization projects, the President’s plan will make immediate investments of at least $174,900,000 in Hawaii that could support a minimum of approximately 2,300 local jobs.

No-bid Contracts Enrich Big Isle Nonprofit

Check out the latest in Neighbor Island government news:

56,772 acres of Big Isle land to be preserved

Judge: Former Maui officer’s crimes “incredibly serious”

Big Isle nonprofit collects millions in no-bid contracts

Kauai to supply crops to Oahus new biofuel plant

Maui Charter panel: District voting worthy of look

Kiholo threatened, DLNR says

Kauai Council looks to clean up county’s front yard

$10.6M to fix Hilo airport runway


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