Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

4:30 p.m. GOP Slams Hawaii Reps on Balanced Budget Vote

Local Republicans didn’t take long to criticize Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono on their “no” votes for the balanced budget proposal that died in the U.S. House today.

“Hawaii families live within their budgets and make sacrifices. It’s hard to understand why both Hirono and Hanabusa would oppose this measure and hold the Federal Government to a different standard,” said Hawaii Republican Party Chair David Chang in a press release.

“It is troubling that Rep. Hanabusa continues voting with her party 95 percent of the time instead of looking out for the best interests of Hawaii,” said Dylan Nonaka, campaign manager for Charles Djou. “Requiring the government to balance its budget is a reasonable and necessary measure given the massive size of our debt.”

3:55 p.m. House Dems Seek New Majority Leader

Democrats in the state House will caucus Monday at the Capitol. Agenda items are expected to include discussion of who will replace Blake Oshiro as majority leader, now that he’s working for the governor.

The names of Cindy Evans, Roy Takumi and Jimmy Tokioka have been bandied about, but the leading candidate appears to be Pono Chong, currently a majority whip. A floor vote on the selection will likely come when session starts Jan. 18.

3:15 p.m. Two Views on Kakaako Settlement

Here’s two contrarian views on the proposed deal between the state and OHA transferring ownership of property in Kakaako to cover $200 million in ceded land payments:

• Oahu blogger Larry Geller points out that the ocean-front land is in a tsunami flood zone.

• Kauai blogger Joan Conrow, meanwhile, says the media essentially published the government press release and did not include in their stories “any kanaka in the independence movement.”

2:25 p.m. Hawaii Part of Presidential Election Challenge

Americans Elect aims to bypass the traditional party-based primary and caucus system “by putting a directly nominated nonpartisan presidential ticket on the ballot in 2012,” according to a recent article.


The as-yet-to-be-named ticket has already qualified for the ballot in seven states, including four swing states — Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio — and volunteers are gathering signatures in 13 others, says Kahlil Byrd,’s chief executive officer. Americans Elect is waiting to hear if its signatures are sufficient to make the ballots in Arkansas, Hawaii, Utah, and California.

12:45 p.m. AG Still Reviewing Judicial Selection Ruling

In response to the decision by the Judicial Selection Commission to amend its rules to authorize release of the names of candidates for judicial office, Attorney General David Louie issued the following statement today:

This does not change the holding in the Pray vs. Judicial Selection Commission case that provided the Governor with discretion to release the names, contrary to Judge (Karl) Sakamoto’s ruling against the State in the recent case filed by the Star-Advertiser.

Until we have had the opportunity to review and evaluate the written decision issued by Judge Sakamoto, no decision has been made on whether we will pursue further legal review in the Star-Advertiser’s case.

11:25 a.m. Updates on Ed, Mazie, Linda and John

What have our candidates for the U.S. Senate been up to?

Linda Lingle is pushing a series of videos detailing her top campaign issues. Click here to view them.

Ed Case is holding more talk stories. Click here for the schedule.

John Carroll has a white paper about how bad the Jones Act is for Hawaii consumers. 

• And Mazie Hirono voted against a balanced budget today, arguing, “Our kupuna’s Social Security and Medicare as well as veterans’ benefits would face deep cuts.”

10:10 a.m. APEC Still in the News

Here are some recent APEC-related stories of interest:

KITV has this Q&A with Brian Schatz regarding APEC.

Hawaii News Now is reporting that Oahu hotels charged 29 percent more during APEC week than they did during the same week last year yet wound up with a solid 81 occupancy rate.

• Hawaii News Now also has this report that says a mainland lab has confirmed the presence of marijuana and a cocaine metabolite in Kollin Elderts‘ system, in addition to a blood-alcohol level of 0.12.

• The Associated Press is reporting that members of the Hawaii APEC host committee have received letters informing them of a possible security breach involving personal information.

Huffington Post has this item — and photos — regarding President Obama wearing an Indonesian tunic at the Bali summit, just a few days after rejecting the wearing of Tori Richard at APEC.

Stryker Weiner & Yokota has passed along a blog post from Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda raving about his visit to Honolulu last week. Excerpt:

Hawaii, located “dead center” in the Asia-Pacific region, a future growth center, suffered heavy damage in World War II, yet has also come to symbolize post-war peace and prosperity. In that sense, I suppose it can be said that Hawaii was the location most suited for feeling the certain future of the Asia-Pacific region over the years to come, both for its characteristics as a location and in historical perspective.

Briefing: Monk Seals

Two state House committees are scheduled to hold a briefing at 10 a.m. at the Capitol.

The sole agenda item is a presentation of information by the NOAA on Hawaiian monk seals — specifically, on a proposed expansion of the boundaries of critical habitat area and a related draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

Hearing: LUC

The Land Use Commission is scheduled meet today at the Leiopapa A Kamehameha building downtown.

The agenda, like yesterday’s, focuses on the Hoopili development project proposed by D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes.

Read Civil Beat’s Fact Check on whether the project is really shovel-ready.

Ethics, Spending Commissions on Twitter

Two key state offices now have Twitter accounts: the State Ethics Commission (@HIEthicsComm, 18 followers) and the Campaign Spending Commission (@hicsc, 26 followers).

Recent tweets:

Representative Aaron Johanson files Notice for 11/17/11 fundraiser

Hawaii State Ethics Commission issues an Informal Advisory Opinion regarding the Financial Disclosure Law

Makahiki in Arizona Prison

The Arizona Republic has this article on Hawaii inmates in Saguaro celebrating the annual harvest season. …


Last week, two spiritual advisers traveled to Eloy from the islands to oversee ceremonies for the beginning of the Makahiki season of harvest. Ka’iana Haili and Kini Kaleilani Burke, contract workers with Hawaii’s DPS, have guided stateside inmate populations in cultural tradition for a decade.

Developing cultural pride and connectivity enhances inmates’ rehabilitation and helps to prepare them for a return to society, according to Saguaro warden Todd Thomas.

“Sooner or later, 85 percent of these guys are going home,” Thomas said. “We need to get them skills and help them make good, moral-based decisions.”

Otter In Hawaii As Execution Nears

As in Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

The Spokesman-Review has this item on how the governor was on Maui “in advance of the state’s first execution since 1994.”

Waioli Corp Ordered To Halt Lepeuli Quarry Work

Check out the latest in Neighbor Island government-related news:

PMRF tests new weapon system

SMA rule changes approved for Big Isle’s leeward side

Planning Department told Waioli to halt illegal Lepeuli quarry

Waiakea Intermediate students sign pledges to remain tobacco free

Kona Community Hospital hosting quit smoking event

Maui Council panel backs approval of Kahoma project with conditions

Castle & Cooke’s Rumbaoa to head Molokai Ranch

Catch up on previous coverage:

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