Quantcast

Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

On Politics

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s life gave meaning to the title “The Greatest Generation.”

A s former Gov. Ben Cayetano is finding out, the problem with running against the establishment is that it makes the establishment your enemy.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie must be giving thanks that people don't always listen to him.

It must feel good to be president of the United States and be in Honolulu. Welcome home, Mr. President -- we got your back. Hawaii still leads the nation in President Obama approval ratings.

When even your political foes say they will miss you, it says a lot.

It is the one symbol of Hawaii that hardly anyone in Honolulu knows.

It turns out that Gov. Neil Abercrombie's fate may just be "Outliers" in reverse. The brilliant Malcom Gladwell book, "Outliers: The Story of Success," explains how many of the outstanding, successful people became that way with a lot of help.

She is tan, trim and rested. Former GOP Gov. Linda Lingle last week showed off why she is one of the state's most formidable political leaders as she spoke to the conservative/libertarian Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

Say you decide you need some socks. You can go to Macy's. When a clerk says, "Can I help you?" you say "Yes" and then pick out what you want and pay for it. Or, you can go into 12 stores, badger the help without ever buying anything, and then complain that no one will sell you socks.

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood," said Daniel Burnham, the urban planner who designed much of Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Switzerland of the Pacific. That was what we were going to be.

Liz Hata Watanabe is not one to sit on the sidelines. The former nightclub owner and entrepreneur has a new cause: getting Waikiki a casino.

One month ago, Gov. Neil Abercrombie took his administration to the people with a town hall meeting at Moiliili's Washington Intermediate School. At the time, the meeting was newsworthy because Abercrombie took credit not just for his administration's successes, but also said he was to blame for the administration's failures.

You had better hurry, but there is still time for you to get into the plan for divvying up Hawaii.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle likes to plan ahead. Her staff used to say that instead of "going with the moment," the governor prefers her plans mapped out six weeks in advance.

Historians, architects and archaeologists all estimate that it took between 20 and 30 years to build the Great Pyramid (King Khufu) at Giza. Of course, this construction project was started more than 4,500 years ago.

Easily one of the most ambitious portions of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's platform and so-called "New Day" plan is energy.

It was Hawaii's akamai and powerful senior U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye who first publicly questioned whether U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka was raising enough money to fund a realistic re-election campaign.

Where are the bull horns? I miss the public labor honchos and their bellowing bull horns.

This is the time for aspiring, upwardly mobile politicians to shake off the summer doldrums.

Welcome to the christening of a new canoe. If you are a University of Hawaii professor, please step in. If you don't belong to UHPA, this is not your canoe.

In the Legislature's land of 1,000 dances, one of the strangest is the maneuvering around vetoes by the governor.

Running for office is all about promises; running a government is all about figuring out what promises you can keep.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the former University of Hawaii lecturer, is handing out his first exam of the new year. Instead of querying UH undergrads, Abercrombie is readying a test for his Cabinet, not for the school year, but rather the 2012 fiscal year.

In April, some 6,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, half of them on Oahu, put aside a day to help clean up the state.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, then the subset must be going to Aloha Stadium over and over and expecting it to get better.

When the big boys get ready to loan money to the state of Hawaii, they go to the bond rating agencies to check us out.

With silence unusual for him, Gov. Neil Abercrombie earlier this week signed a series of tax bills into law. No ceremonial pens were passed out and no legislators were asked to witness the action, which amounted to the largest tax increase in Hawaii history.

If Gov. Neil Abercrombie's staffers haven't already made "damage control" a permanent agenda item on their daily to-do list, they should, because it doesn't appear that Hawaii's bellicose governor will be changing his style.

Taxing pensions is proving to be too hot a topic for Democrats in the Legislature.

This 2010 Census news by itself may not be big news, because the increase has been projected for many years.

Hawaii is still struggling in a new world of limited options. Hawaii leaders used to explain Hawaii in terms of a four-legged economic chair.

This week marks the start of the 2011 hurricane season. Do you know where your Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund is?

In a secret session of the U.S. Senate in January of 1887, the famous Reciprocity Treaty between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the U.S. was amended.

Campaigning may be tough, but it comes with a support staff, advice and the ability to bob and weave.

The subject is arcane, but the debate has been fierce and long lasting. Multimember legislative districts versus the principle of one person, one vote.

For a new governor, the first year must be the most exciting. Your image is still largely based on your successful election campaign. Your public perception is mostly a reflection of whatever promises of hope and change worked during the race.

As the first session of the 26th Hawaii Legislature clunked to a close Thursday afternoon, Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Salt Lake-Foster Village) tweeted: "We dodged a bunch of bullets — NO increase in the general excise tax, pension tax, soda tax or alcohol tax."

This is how the GET was not raised and the governor and the Senate learned not to trust each other. In early March, after a private breakfast meeting with Senate Democrats and Gov. Neil Abercrombie, senators felt they had assurances that the governor would not block an increase of the general excise tax.

Even with elections more than a year and a half away, this is a perilous week for local state politicians.

We in Hawaii are a tolerant bunch, but we don't go to the prom with just anyone.

Chances are if you are a senior and a member of AARP, you got a call this week from Barbara Kim Stanton, its state director, urging you to fight Gov.

Action at the state Capitol this week will go a long way toward defining the governorship of Neil Abercrombie, the state's feisty 72-year old Democratic leader.

If Democrats and Republicans were at the same party, you could be sure that if Walter Dods, former First Hawaiian Bank chairman and CEO walked in, he would be shaking hands with the Democrats first.

It is becoming an annual exercise in political agony, balancing the state budget — but is it really required?

Last week it was $1,000 a pop at the Pacific Club; tonight it is $150 to $2,000 for what Mayor Peter Carlisle calls "a star-studded event.

Standing in the state Capitol basement is a new symbol that times have changed: an electric vehicle charging station.

As former U.S. Rep. Ed Case inches toward his second run for the U.S. Senate, he made an interesting move.

As honeymoons come and go, it appears that Gov. Neil Abercrombie's is already pau. Last week's Public Policy Polling survey taken for the liberal-progressive website Daily Kos put Abercrombie at a 48 percent job approval.

According to the latest Gallup Poll on issues of concern to voters, the environment is the least of our worries. Among those worried about the environment, the least pressing item was climate change.

A fierce battle is under way at the top of the Hawaii political food chain with the forces of Gov. Neil Abercrombie fighting to restore state government to the days before Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.

Over the weekend, Gov. Neil Abercrombie flung out a YouTube video exhorting us to ask the Legislature to pass a budget with lots more money in it.

It is sort of like surgeons performing major operations on family members or lawyers representing themselves in court. You can do it, but there are going to be a lot of questions.

To Hawaii's Democrats, next year's open U.S. Senate seat looks like a primary-only affair. The talk is of the heavyweights circling each other, each ticking off their reasons for winning.

You can be the judge of what it means to be nostalgic about 2003, but, really, don't you miss the simplicity of Hawaii's problems eight years ago?

This upcoming election season is already showing U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye that he will not have the luxury of looking over the increasingly crowded field of replacements for Sen. Daniel K. Akaka and saying, "I pick this one."

In "Watership Down," Richard Adams' wonderful classic novel, the protagonists are rabbits living in a warren.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s first 100 days in office show the remarkable productivity that comes from having the Legislature and the governor reading from the same playbook.

There's more than one way to cook up a budget. Call it the political Rashomon effect. This is the time of the year when the House and Senate money leaders stare at the same deficit problem and see widely different solutions.

It may be that our truly renewable resource is the Legislature's misplaced hope that there is a quick fix to our many problems. This week both the House and Senate moved to rid the state of the requirement to add ethanol to the gasoline sold in Hawaii.

You worry about your taxes, you worry about your pension and you worry about your kid's school. All that concern is nothing compared with what your Legislature has been up to.

Daniel K. Akaka's retirement means Hawaii loses Akaka's more than 20 years of seniority, but next year the nation will lose the unique value of a Hawaiian voice in the U.S. Senate.

It was Sisyphus who was condemned by the Greek gods to forever push a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down — and it is House Speaker Calvin Say who is trying for a fourth year to fix the state budget by repealing $275 million in tax exemptions.

Remember last year's constant ads, the phone calls, the glossy fliers in the mail? That was probably just a dress rehearsal.

He's 72 and Hawaii voters have grown up listening to his tirades and bombast, but when Neil Abercrombie ran for governor he said he had "learned to listen."

If Hawaii comptrollers grow gray and develop a twitch while in public service, one of the reasons is found on King Street across from downtown's Hawaiian Electric building.

This weekend, Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to attend the annual National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C., meaning that back here, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz will be in charge.

Maui Democrat Rep. Joe Souki chuckles as he reads the new OmniTrak Group Inc. poll. The statewide survey shows that we would like more good stuff from the state but don't want to pay more for it.

Wednesday was about why we have elections. With an 18-5 affirmative vote, Hawaii's state Senate drew the curtain on 20 years of debate on the rights of gay people.

Attention, speech writers: Drop the canoe metaphor. It turns out, unlike what Gov. Neil Abercrombie and previous state leaders have told us, we are not all in the same canoe.

We are tilting to the west and that will make politicians in the east nervous. Oahu's population is moving toward the new home areas of Kapolei and Ewa and away from the older areas of Aina Haina to Kalihi.

Best speech I ever heard in the Legislature was given by the late House Finance chairman, Rep. Jack Suwa.

Ever so gently, with just a passing nod to the state's shrinking budget, the state's biggest union is looking at a whole new definition of what public workers want and need.

So how's that "symbolic protest" over earmarks working for you now? For years, Republicans in Congress, Republicans wanting to be in Congress and Fox News, wanting more Republican viewers, all hammered away at the evils of earmarks.

It started with a rock. A big rock in Moanalua Valley with an ancient Hawaiian drawing carved on its side. The rock, Pohaku ka Luahine, can still teach a lesson in patience and politics.

Go ahead, bet on gambling in Hawaii -- see what happens. This is a good year for gambling to get a hearing in Hawaii. That's it, just a hearing; anything else would be impossibly long odds.

If you watch what politicians do, rather than what they promise, there is reason to be concerned about how open an administration Gov. Neil Abercrombie will run.

The bill is modestly titled "Tax Improvement," but chances are that a lot of retired folks won't think paying state tax on their pensions is making anything better.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie understands Hawaii's problems. The state continues to spend itself into a deficit, a black hole of ever-rising medical, payroll and benefit expenses that now threaten to capsize this ship of state.

Tomorrow Gov. Neil Abercrombie defines his embryonic administration. So far, instead of building up or hyping his first State of the State speech, Abercrombie has deferred to it, saying that his plans will be encompassed in the address to a joint legislative session. What will he say?

Quick menu question: The governor is Hawaiian and represents the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, the speaker of the House is Japanese and from Kauai, and the Senate president is Chinese and represents big labor — what do you serve them for breakfast?

Watch the organization of the House and Senate carefully if you care about your state taxes.

After more than five decades in the spotlight, it isn't likely that Sen. Daniel K. Inouye will display an unguarded emotion. So Thursday afternoon, when he was asked about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who criticized Inouye's earmark to support the Hokulea Polynesian voyaging canoe, there was just a trace of movement as his lips started to sneer.

During the budget battles of 2010, Democrats and Republican Gov. Linda Lingle traded barbs about how each had handled the budget.

In Arizona, you can load your Glock 9 mm, strap it to your leg, slip a magazine in your AR-15, toss it over your shoulder and go to town.

If Linda Lingle says "Huddle up," how many Republicans will answer the call? The answer to that may decide the fate of the local GOP. For the first time in eight years, Hawaii's Republican Party is out of the Governor's Office and back in the bleachers.

Simply put, this just doesn't add up. Hawaii's new bearer of bad news is Kalbert Young, interim budget director for Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

We start the year with ABC: two biggies and one mini. This month, Abercrombie, Brown and Cuomo start dealing with the budget deficits in the states of Hawaii, California and New York.

"The first time I saw Fred Hemmings, I disliked him immediately," Sen. Clayton Hee said in April, beginning a remarkable paean to Sen. Hemmings, who retired this year.

L.P. Neenz Faleafine and her laptop are scrunched under an awning behind the camera stand at the inauguration. The social media director for Neil Abercrombie's successful gubernatorial campaign is celebrating her 40th birthday by feverishly flinging reports and photos of the historic event on the Internet.

It takes a place like Hawaii to produce a Sam King. Multicultural, comfortable in his own skin, savvy and possessing the sort of community conscience developed from living on an island, King gracefully kept Hawaii's patterns of doing right. King died Tuesday at age 94, still serving as federal judge and active author.

We may not have enough for a book yet on the wit and wisdom of Neil Abercrombie, but our new governor runs an entertaining news conference.

In the end, it was not the Democrats, it wasn't the economy, it wasn't even the state Supreme Court's Superferry decisions that so darkened outgoing Gov. Linda Lingle's eight-year term.

Hawaii has never had a governor like Neil Abercrombie.

The easy way to look at Hawaii's governors is in the rear view mirror. There is a political Doppler effect with our governors: Coming at you, they look a lot different than when they are going away.

There are forms and facts, news releases, videos, charts and tables all up on the Web at Hawaii.gov for anyone to see.

The year 1974 was a very good year for Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie. He made good on longtime quests both political and academic.

Ask Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona about competition and he responds like the trained athlete that he is. But ask him about whether he enjoys the game of politics and the response is different.

Football fans know that in order to appreciate the game, follow those fellows on the line, because everything starts with those behemoths. Run or pass, it all evolves with the big guys doing the heavy pushing and shoving.

It is almost time to stick a fork in the Akaka Bill. It is done. It will be dead by the new year unless our delegation in Washington and the Democrats back here can cobble together a last-minute play.


Star-Advertiser Print Replica
What is a Print Replica?

The Print Replica of the newspaper is a page-by-page replica of the day's printed newspaper - including all stories, sections, photos and ads - not including advertiser preprints - in PDF like form. It can be viewed on your computer's web browser, iPad, iPhone and some e-Readers.



Print Replica FAQ's »
Prudential Locations’ Breakfast Of Champions
Prudential Locations’ Kapahulu office served free fried rice to the public, and agents and staff members lined Kapahulu Avenue to say mahalo with celebratory signs. Read More »
 
Battling Arthritis One Day At A Time
July is nationally recognized as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. Kawamura educates the public about this disease, and tells me that in Hawaii more than 1,200 kids are officially diagnosed with this autoimmune disorder. Read More »
 

Most Popular