For Tuesday, August 24, 2010
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 24, 2010
If ever there were a time when Hawaii needed a leader, it is now. Our economy is in the tank, our school system has been reduced to one of the worst in the nation and our young people are leaving the islands in search of a better life at an alarming rate.
Mufi Hannemann is, without doubt, the leader we need. His style of leadership has brought people together from across the social, economic and political spectrum.
As the driving force behind the Hawaii Council of Mayors, Hannemann has proven that he can bring people together for the common good. His executive experience and track record of accomplishments speak volumes about what an outstanding governor he would be.
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For the benefit of voters, I've compared Mufi Hannemann's one-page economic "action plan" with Neil Abercrombie's 43-page comprehensive plan.
Both want economic diversification, job creation, and better schools. But Abercrombie's plans for high-tech and educational improvements resulted in endorsements from the Hawaii Venture Capital Association and the teachers' and professors' unions. Abercrombie also wants more affordable work-force housing that would create jobs and maximize use of available federal dollars.
Both support rail, infrastructure improvements and resurrecting the Superferry. But Abercrombie has more detailed plans to reduce our dependence on imported energy and food, and is stronger on environmental protection, resulting in the Sierra Club endorsement. Abercrombie emphasizes "sustainable" tourism and also has a plan for small business development.
Finally, both want to upgrade state government's information technology. But Hannemann wants to do an audit first, while Abercrombie is ready to govern on Day One.
Chief justice nominee Mark Recktenwald should be endorsed by the Hawaii State Bar Association and promptly approved by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations and confirmed by the Senate.
I've known Mark Recktenwald since the two of us were litigators 25 years ago at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel. His legal analysis and writing skills are among the best I've seen. He is excellent at the analysis required of complex cases so frequently appealed to the Supreme Court. He has demonstrated his administrative skills both as the director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and as chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals.
His prompt confirmation would be a positive step in helping the judiciary address the mounting issues caused by increasing case load and shrinking resources.
This past weekend we drove down to the Waianae Coast.
All the homeless people were gone and their old cars, tents and rubbish were removed. Families were having a great time picnicking, fishing and just enjoying their time on the beach.
It was wonderful to see what a difference it made to have the beaches and coastline cleared out.
The Leeward coast is definitely the most beautiful part of the island, and now everyone can enjoy its benefits.
Is the B-cycle experiment -- short-time bike rental stations in Kailua -- set up for failure? I fear it is.
Kailua is a bedroom/beach town with quiet streets and marked bike routes. People bike from home to stores or beach and back. I just can't see those people walking (or driving) to a bike station to ride to the "other side" of Kailua town. And when usage is low, it will be said, "See, no interest."
Imagine B-cycle with stands around Waikiki, at Ala Moana Center and downtown. Imagine a well- marked and, where possible, street-separated bike path with shade from trees and even canopies along that route. Downtowners could hop a bike to Ala Moana or Waikiki for lunch or shopping and be back healthier and faster than driving. Visitors checking out bikes near hotels could cruise Waikiki, from Waikiki to Ala Moana Center for shopping (returning by bus with their purchases) or downtown to explore the culture and arts district.
I do congratulate Nguyen Le of Momentum MultiSport and the state Department of Health for pushing ahead on Kailua experiment. Let's hope it works.