Watching and reporting about Hawaii politics and government.

4:25 p.m. Schatz on Supercommittee

How should Hawaii react to the failure this week of the congressional supercommittee to approve a deficit-reduction deal before deep budget cuts are triggered come 2013?

Brian Schatz tells Civil Beat that it’s a “serious situation” but “it’s not happening yet. We have quite a ways off until the cuts start, so there is time for contingency planning and reorganization of planning and budget policy.”

While Schatz has little confidence that the current U.S. Congress can “do the right thing” in a big election year, he believes that President Obama and Democrats have greater leverage than House and Senate Republicans because the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of 2012.

“The Republicans understand that the president is willing to let those expire unless core expectations are met,” he said, later emailing a political blog to underscore the argument. “From a negotiating position, it’s clear that Republicans want the cuts extended — something pretty desperate for them.”

3:15 p.m. ACLU Hawaii’s Haiku Challenge

To honor the 220th anniversary of the signing of the the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15, ACLU Hawaii is issuing a haiku challenge.

Here’s an example, titled “1st Amendment”:

I worship a god
You worship no god at all
We are both welcome

3 p.m. Kanu Hawaii’s ‘No Waste Challenge’

To help keep 50,000 pounds of trash out of the landfill this holiday season, Kanu Hawaii is asking folks to take the challenge.

Example:

Week 2 (Dec 4-10): The Dirt on Recycling — learn how/what to recycle, and why recycling should be a last resort when it comes to plastic.

“Kanu Hawaii is a movement of people working for sustainable, compassionate, self-reliant communities,” the nonprofit says in a press release. “We strive toward this vision with personal commitments to change and demonstrations of kuleana.”

2:30 p.m. Closure of Amaama Season Starts Dec. 1

The DLNR reminds the fishing public that the season for amaama (striped mullet) closes Dec. 1 and runs through March 31.

“Amaama are about to enter their peak spawning season,” said William Aila in a press release. “The annual winter closure is designed to help the fish reproduce successfully and protect the species from overfishing.”

Violations can result in fines of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail, plus up to $100 for each fish taken.

2 p.m. Santa Goes Solar

Blue Planet Foundation, Lego Enthusiasts Association of Hawaii, Sunetric, members of the UH Solar Decathlon Team Hawaii, Hawaii Energy and Hawaii Wal-Mart plan a solar-powered exhibit that will be on display at the 2011 Honolulu City Lights.

“Santa Goes Solar” — an 8-foot diorama of Santa’s workshop and village “where the LEGO Miniland residents value a clean energy lifestyle” — will be on the lawn adjacent to Honolulu Hale from Dec. 2 through Dec. 31.

“The joint project aims to demonstrate that we can rely on clean, renewable, indigenous energy to power our lifestyles,” says a press release from Blue Planet.

1:10 p.m. Names of Court Nominees Released

The Judicial Selection Commission has announced its list of nominees for District Court Judge of the Second Circuit (Maui, Molokai and Lanai):

Mimi DesJardins
Michelle L. Drewyer
Adrianne H. Heely
Adriel S.C. Menor
Richard A. Priest, Jr.
Douglas J. Sameshima

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald has 30 days to make the appointment, and he’s seeking public input. The office has been vacant since the elevation of former District Court Judge Rhonda Lai Loo to the position of Circuit Court Judge of the Second Circuit.

In a related note, last week the JSC changed its rules to allow for the release of judicial nominees that go to the governor for his selection; the Abercrombie administration, however, wishes to keep those names confidential.

11:25 a.m. HTA Goes 3-D High-Def

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says Sony Electronics has produced 2-D and 3-D footage of Oahu that will be shown to consumers.

Press release excerpt:

The footage will be incorporated into the company’s next iteration of demo discs for Sony’s flagship BRAVIA® HDTVs this holiday season as well as its new line of Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV.

“The warm and inviting scene of our islands on these 3-D high definition screens displayed across the U.S. during the cold winter months on the U.S. mainland is an exciting opportunity for our islands and we are eager to partner with such a reputable brand, such as Sony,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA.

11 a.m. Safety Costs for APEC Came in Under Budget

The state is touting savings realized for safety expenses during APEC, saying it spent less than half the $7.5 million budgeted.

The state spent $3.2 million across all departments. Most of that — $2.5 million — went toward the National Guard. Hundreds of guardsmen were on active duty to provide security and crisis management, the state said.

“We were prepared to spend more to protect people and property during APEC, but were able to avoid doing that because we had few problems,” Hawaii Adjutant General Darryl Wong said in a statement.

Last week, the city said its APEC costs came in under budget, too. The city had budgeted $43 million over a two-year cycle for APEC-related costs, and Peter Carlisle said the savings amounted to at least $10 million.

Nanea Kalani

Meeting: Burial Council

A Maui/Lanai Burial Council meeting is scheduled this morning at the County of Maui Planning Department Conference in Wailuku.

The agenda includes updates on human skeletal remains.

Molokai Cruise Ship Protest Planned

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

UPDATE: Maui Policy Committee urges review of state boating law

Lihue Courthouse makeover in the works

Hawaii County building code amendments sought

Maui farmers urge more review of tax system

Another cruise ship protest planned on Molokai

DUI checkpoints islandwide on Big Isle over Thanksgiving weekend

“Moderately healthy” seasonal gains predicted for Kauai retailers

Hilo Christmas tree vendors prepare for rush

Maui Planning Commission approves permit for paintball facility

Kaloko housing residents move in Dec. 1


Catch up on previous coverage:

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