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GOP risks losing everything with demographics, Trump

By Richard Borreca
We must wait more than 15 months to pick a new president, but there is already reason for the Democrats to be smiling.

Ige’s opposition to LNG needs more explanation

By Richard Borreca
Finding the juice to turn on the lights became a bit more complex this week after Gov. David Ige announced that using liquefied natural gas to generate electricity was a no-go with his administration.

Chun Oakland in danger of falling over ethics cliff

By Richard Borreca
It is one of the big annual festivals for kids in Honolulu: the Hawaii Children and Youth Day. Held the first Sunday in October on the state Capitol grounds, the event draws between 40,000 and 50,000.

Gabbard keeps ambition from getting too far ahead

By Richard Borreca
Candidates for president pick their vice presidential running mates — you can’t run for vice president, you have to be asked.

A governor who acted on homelessness? See Lingle

By Richard Borreca
Now we are building fences. The latest step in the help-the-homeless campaign comes from City Hall in the form of Mayor Kirk Caldwell teaming up with the City Council to spend $240,000 for a 1-mile, chain link fence along Kapalama Canal to block the homeless from rebuilding a shanty town there.

Hawaiian sovereignty issue returns to the courtroom

By Richard Borreca
According to a ruling by the United States Supreme Court, the state of Hawaii can neither restrict nor limit who can vote in Office of Hawaiian Affairs elections.

Surveying likely voters not as easy as it used to be

By Richard Borreca
Here’s something you are probably not worried about: the plunging response rate for public opinion surveys. Yes, worry about global warming, racial tensions, public education, homelessness, the Chinese economy and the University of Hawaii football team — but seriously, do we also have to stew about whether the public refuses to answer pollsters?

Presidential money race in Hawaii favors GOP, for now

By Richard Borreca
Welcome to a Donald Trump-free zone. We are taking an early look at local presidential politics, but despite the high-profile campaign of the brash Republican billionaire, he scores zip in Hawaii.

Honolulu residents give up, leave for greener pastures

By Richard Borreca
Everyone has a “fed-up factor,” the point where you are willing to say leaving town is the only option. Even in Honolulu.

HEI might not be NextEra’s next acquisition after all

By Richard Borreca
NextEra Energy Inc. doesn’t need a lobbyist, a special adviser or another lawyer to snag Hawaiian Electric Industries; it needs a hearing aid. Gov. David Ige, in his most clear-cut explanation, this week told the big Florida-based power company that Hawaii was just not into it.

Squabbles over rail reflect divisions among legislators

By Richard Borreca
Honolulu’s heavy rail transit system remains the most controversial done deal facing local politicians.

Ige’s no-drama approach steady but lacks an agenda

By Richard Borreca
It is just more than six months since David Ige took the oath of office as Hawaii’s eighth elected governor. A recent Hawaii Publishers Association breakfast at the Plaza Club served as an outline for Ige’s new thinking about the job.

Isle homelessness grows, but things stay the same

By Richard Borreca
Buried away on a quiet shelf on the second floor of the University of Hawaii’s Hamilton Library is a row of books and reports tracing Hawaii’s failed battle against homelessness.

Maui becoming epicenter for populist movements

By Richard Borreca
Watch Maui to become the next big flashpoint for Hawaii’s populist politics. There is something of a “Les Miserables” moment happening on Maui, and the politicians representing the island should take note.

Legislature will give Ige benefit of the veto doubt

By Richard Borreca
Tuesday is veto day at the state Capitol. Any bill not vetoed by that day will become law, either with or without Gov. David Ige's signature. The only way to stop an Ige veto is for two-thirds of both the state House and Senate to override the veto.

Protesters’ strength grew while governor dithered

By Richard Borreca
The Mauna Kea discussion has changed from where to put the $1.4 billion telescope, the world’s biggest, to “Who said you can bring Porta-Potties up the mountain?”

City leaders choose silence over ethical governance

By Richard Borreca
This will not be the summer of ethics in Hawaii. The tradewinds die, and apparently also waning is an interest in beefing up local government ethics agencies.

Neighbor island mayors tempted by GET increase

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 5, 2015
It is time for neighbor island mayors to turn over their cards so voters can see what Mayors Alan Arakawa, Billy Kenoi and Bernard Carvalho Jr. are holding.

Citizens’ initiatives sending a signal to those at Capitol

By Richard Borreca
There is a pattern developing. This year, two federal judges and the state Supreme Court have been asked to dial back the neighbor islanders. The judges said no to county voters on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island.

Hawaii voters let Legislature define marriage, and it did

By Richard Borreca
There's a Hawaii part to last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting gay marriage in all 50 states.

Turmoil atop Mauna Kea stymies Ige administration

By Richard Borreca
How much further do the protests atop Mauna Kea have to go before Hawaii's reputation as a location for serious science has been ruined?

Caldwell and Martin drama tame compared to Fasi days

By Richard Borreca
It has been more than a few years since you saw this movie, but it is playing again at City Hall. It is Number One against Number Two in a fight to run Honolulu Hale.

Mink in the running to be featured on U.S. currency

By Richard Borreca
In five years, you are getting new money. Who knows if you will have more money, but definitely you are getting new money, because the 2020 version of the $10 bill will feature the picture of a noteworthy American woman.

Politicians perfect the art of leaving business undone

By Richard Borreca
Hawaii is the state that just can't pull the plug. Our half-finished projects and never-developed plans block every layer of city and state business. The results are schemes halted while politicians wait in fear of tipping over someone's unfilled apple cart.

Attitudes toward marijuana in Hawaii continue to evolve

By Richard Borreca
Hawaii has gone from the full-throated roar of National Guard helicopters swooping over homes searching for illegal marijuana plants to an ambivalent shrug at the thought of a neighbor puffing a small amount of the same prohibited weed.

Young Democrats show why party remains in power

By Richard Borreca
The thing about Democrats in Hawaii is that they intuitively understand the politics of reinvention. This year marks 61 years that Democrats have been running government operations in Hawaii.

When hopes and dreams meet budgetary reality

By Richard Borreca
When Hawaii's budget crashes, the pain is obvious. Now with the state's balanced budget, many are still not getting relief.

Hawaii’s clean-energy goal has some escape clauses

By Richard Borreca
Even President Barack Obama was “tweeting” the news: Hawaii is on the verge of becoming the first renewable energy state. From Fox News to the Scientific American, Hawaii scored big news coverage with a new law.

Ige has hard task of dealing with Connector wreckage

By Richard Borreca
It took a while to do, but on Friday, Gov. David Ige made good on one of his early political promises.

Schatz, Gabbard lead pack in raising campaign money

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 7, 2015
Yes, summer is starting, and yes, there is no scheduled election this year — but for members of Congress, that does not matter.

What the homeless need most is affordable homes

By Richard Borreca
If you are fighting a raging fire, any bit of help is welcomed. So the first reaction to news of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s plans for some sort of shipping-container homeless camp on Sand Island is positive.

State ethics chief might be headed for some trouble

By Richard Borreca
Ground zero for ethics in government is not the law, it is the enforcement. For decades Hawaii politicians basically self-reported their compliance with the state ethics rules. If they were given a gift, it was up to the lawmaker to report it.

In Hawaii, eligible voters count more than people

By Richard Borreca
Somewhere in your civics-class history, you heard: "One person, one vote." It is the fair way to set up a democracy, right? Everywhere except in Hawaii, where the rule is "one registered voter, one vote."

Ige's plan for Mauna Kea raises many questions

By Richard Borreca
Who knew what Mauna Kea needs was one more commission? That is a major part of the prescription being offered by Gov. David Ige, who two months ago asked for a halt in construction atop the mountain.

A sea change is inevitable, even at the Legislature

By Richard Borreca
Look at the state Legislature's cast of characters and you are likely to say, "We have seen this all before."

Lt. Gov. Tsutsui standing by … and by … and by …

By Richard Borreca
If you think being lieutenant governor in Hawaii is one of those "it is what you make of it" jobs, you would be wrong. The job is all about what the governor makes of it.

Mayor of Waikiki showers attention on famous beach

By Richard Borreca
If you can decide what is important, it isn't really that hard to find the money to fix it or make it better. For instance, this week Honolulu saw the big dogs get together to fix Waikiki Beach. And they are doing it by raising taxes.

As HCDA board changes, so does the discussion

By Richard Borreca
Some of Kakaako's severest critics are noticing changes in how the Hawaii Community Development Authority is working.

New Senate president will find his job a balancing act

By Richard Borreca
Sen. Ron Kouchi won his first election at the age of 24, and today, the state Senate’s soft-spoken, immensely articulate new leader is enjoying a reputation as one of the Legislature’s “good old boys” in state politics.

Luke, Tokuda on long quest to find hidden budget funds

By Richard Borreca
Remember two things about the state budget. First, there is a limited amount of dollars to spend, and second, there are an unlimited number of ways to hide it.

New governor, new way to work with Legislature

By Richard Borreca
In 2011, by the end of his first legislative session as governor, Neil Abercrombie had in effect become a one-term governor.

Legislature ends session with winners and losers

By Richard Borreca
This 2015 edition of the state Legislature is providing both winners and losers for Hawaii's political class. For the Legislature's leaders, the 60-day session is a chance to advance their issues, and House Speaker Joe Souki, the 82-year-old Maui Democrat, showed why he is in full control.

Hawaii GOP hoping absence of Obama will help chances

By Richard Borreca
There is being alone, there is being lonely, and then there is being in Hawaii's Republican Party.

Less taxing of rich but more taxing of us all is so taxing

By Richard Borreca
For Hawaii's rich, a little bit of Christmas is coming. For Oahu's not-so-rich, instead of a present, you are getting a new bill for the sleigh ride.

Maui hospital deal is good but next one will be harder

By Richard Borreca
Draw a 5-mile circle around the state Capitol. You will find five major hospitals available to the public: Queens, Straub, Kuakini, Kaiser and Kapiolani. When St. Francis hospital went belly up, its collapse threw up emergency alerts, but Honolulu residents survived.

Ige has gone from decider to messenger on TMT issue

By Richard Borreca
The issues swirling around the Big Island's proposed Thirty Meter Telescope are so intense it now appears to be no longer about winning, but just not losing.

Legislature nears finish with big issues unresolved

By Richard Borreca
It is time for the state Legislature to flip into its Red Zone offense if it wants to use the two remaining weeks left to pull together a list of accomplishments.

Like it or not, Legislature will collect more for rail

By Richard Borreca
After days and nights of testimony, private meetings and public pleas, the city and the state Legislature are reaching decision time on the over-budget, 20-mile heavy rail system now under construction.

Timeouts won't be enough to solve Mauna Kea debate

By Richard Borreca
The new controversy and uprising of protests over the building of the world's biggest telescope atop Mauna Kea will neither go away nor be easily resolved.

Legislature works to fix marijuana law conundrum

By Richard Borreca
Medical marijuana may just be the controversy with a solution in sight. Fifteen years ago, Hawaii's Legislature became the first in the nation to allow the use of marijuana if ordered by a doctor's prescription.

Growing larger is the thing state government does best

By Richard Borreca
Everyone who was anyone used to hang out at the state Capitol. And that was good enough. The governor and the lieutenant governor had the top floor, with the Legislature's 76 souls needing just two floors of their own.

Constant beach loss will alter Hawaii as we know it

By Richard Borreca
Because we live on a string of islands, it just makes sense to keep track of how fast the sea is rising. This is a good news, bad news story.

Kenoi's excuses cannot overcome the plain facts

By Richard Borreca
Here is what Mayor Billy Kenoi signed when he was given a Hawaii County purchasing card (pCard):

Schatz apparently following Michael Corleone's advice

By Richard Borreca
Politicians and their money can tell you a lot. Exactly how much they have is minor, but how they got it and from whom can be major. So this month opens up something new on the pols and their money front.

Kenoi's political star dims after hostess-bar incident

By Richard Borreca
When Neil Abercrombie crashed in his gubernatorial re-election bid last year, the political flameout also scorched Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Yokoyama plays politics, but for a higher purpose

By Richard Borreca
George Yokoyama was a junior at Hilo High School in 1945 when he punched the principal and then walked out.

Anti-PLDC coalition revived by Ige's selection of Ching

By Richard Borreca
The links of the chain that toppled Gov. David Ige's appointment of Carleton Ching as director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources were forged by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Funding scheme expands UH autonomy, like it or not

By Richard Borreca
In reality TV, you make decisions and redecorate houses, win prizes and become semi-famous. In reality Legislature, you make decisions, maybe get rearranged by the House and could become semi-infamous.

Ige should move to define his views on environment

By Richard Borreca
Like most successful lobbyists, Carleton Ching is a perfectly nice fellow, but this week, the state Senate wasn't thinking nice. It was thinking votes. Specifically, it was thinking how it could defend a vote for Ching, a longtime influential lobbyist for a major land developer, in the face of an increasingly potent environmental movement.

Like other states, Hawaii may go to all-mail voting

By Richard Borreca
Hawaii is edging closer to becoming an all-vote-by-mail state, thanks to the strong support of state Senate Democratic leaders.

Senators’ vote on Ching: Gov or environmentalists?

By Richard Borreca
How good a friend do you have to be before you can tell your buddy "no"? When the full state Senate votes on the nomination of Carleton Ching as chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, it will also be weighing its very real friendship with Gov. David Ige.

Legislators grumble on rail costs but roll over too easily

By Richard Borreca
The newly-minted Windward Senate Democrat Gil Riviere explained the entire issue facing legislators voting on the city's over-budget heavy rail project.

From a governor who talks to one who troubleshoots

By Richard Borreca
This week marks the first 100 days of the administration of Hawaii's most surprising politician, Gov. David Ige.

Rail transit plan may stink, but we're stuck with it now

By Richard Borreca
I have heard that my Italian relations and Japanese in-laws could whip up a tasty dish with fish heads, but for most of us, the decision is to toss them out, hoping the garbage truck comes in the morning.

Capitol celebrates 50 years of being the people's house

By Richard Borreca
With its graceful sense of place, it is easy to miss the single thing that makes Hawaii's state Capitol special. It is not the lavish use of koa, the "Aquarius" mosaic or even the tilapia-filled broad ponds surrounding the five-story building.

HECO wants greenbacks more than green energy

By Richard Borreca
Go outside and look up. All that bright Hawaiian sunshine is nothing but a nightmare.

'Interim' status leaves four UH regents in legal limbo

By Richard Borreca
Getting who you want on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents is getting trickier by the day. As it stands right now, four new regents, named by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie, are putting in the hours working and voting, but in reality they are in a very insecure limbo.

Hannemann eager to calm the talk about rail's future

By Richard Borreca
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann remembers how he would advise his Cabinet members during contentious meetings: "Save your drama for your momma."

Rail a winner for Caldwell, at least in terms of cash

By Richard Borreca
The 2016 race for mayor of Honolulu starts this morning in Foster Botanical Garden. That is the location where at 8 a.m., Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to give his State of the City address framing his upcoming year in office.

Will true UH green-white fans cough up greenbacks?

By Richard Borreca
What is a winning University of Hawaii football team worth? And would you pay for it? Jeff Portnoy, UH regent, attorney and UH basketball commentator, recently mulled that over in a blog in this paper.

Posturing over DLNR pick should be entertaining

By Richard Borreca
Sometimes you just have to appreciate the symmetry.

Rail art should recognize those who forged this mess

By Richard Borreca
Two years ago, the folks running the yet-to-be-built rail transit line put out the call to all artists: "Show us what you can do."

Despite Ige’s low profile, public needs to see process

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 15, 2015
David Ige is running a straight-forward administration that shows a sober and rational governorship. His shortcoming is that there is more to being governor of Hawaii than being the adult in the room.

Hawaii delegates not rushing to back more war

By Richard Borreca
So you have this cart and you have this horse — which goes first? Because we are talking about Congress, you know that you put the cart before the horse. For instance, after two months of bombing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the White House this week gave Congress a draft to authorize increased bombing.

Letter sent by Abercrombie to FCC seems a bit dubious

By Richard Borreca
Last August, then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie revealed his position on the proposed sale of Time Warner Cable to Comcast for $45 billion.

Where Calvin Say lives is a big deal — for some

By Richard Borreca
Somehow it is not surprising that the Legislature needs a special committee to figure out where someone lives. Of course we are way past the era of phone books with names and addresses and everyone is living a virtual life somewhere on the cloud, but really, how hard can it be to figure out where Calvin Say lives?

Innovative housing ideas finally gaining traction

By Richard Borreca
It is about supply and demand. Not enough homes and prices soar, and that is why shelter in Hawaii costs so much. It is also about the numb faces of parents and children huddled under tarps in the rain on streets and beaches from Waianae to Kakaako.

HECO clearly has problem with how public perceives it

By Richard Borreca
Hawaii basically doesn't like or trust the electric company that is powering three of the state's four islands.

Public's biggest concerns aren't what they used to be

By Richard Borreca
If you live in Central Oahu or Leeward Oahu, I know what you talk about when you finally arrive at work: traffic. It takes nearly a half-hour to calm down after the morning and afternoon horror show that is the H-1.

Chances high Legislature will sidetrack rail issue

By Richard Borreca
Back in 2005, the Legislature should have called in Dr. Phil because the 76-member body turned out to be more of a major enabler than a maker of laws. Ten years ago, the debate was always about whether Honolulu would get rail.

Ige's first SOTS speech not exciting, but that's OK

By Richard Borreca
What, no canoe? It may be a sign of our progress as a state that Gov. David Ige was able to deliver his first State of the State speech and not once in the half-hour address were we bundled into a canoe.

Frugal state leadership casts wary eye on spending

By Richard Borreca
After two years running the House Finance Committee, state Rep. Sylvia Luke has become not so much an economic pessimist as a realist. Because the House introduces the state budget, Luke, a Makiki-Pauoa Democrat, gets first crack at Gov. David Ige's no-frills $13.3 billion, two-year general fund budget.

Now might be time to move on enabling mail-in voting

By Richard Borreca
Hawaii's state Legislature may be on the forefront of a quiet revolution in American politics: voting exclusively with mail-in ballots. Senate President Donna Mercado Kim kicked off her opening day speech with a reference to Peter, Paul and Mary's "Where have all the flowers gone?"

Legislature won't roll over for city on tax extension

By Richard Borreca
Paying for Honolulu's over-budget heavy rail line is starting to look like a scene from a Bruce Willis movie where he grabs a panic-stricken colleague, announcing, "It is time to cowboy up."

Politicians come and go, but tax increases remain

By Richard Borreca
Hoping that you won't notice a continued 12.5 percent tax increase seems about as realistic as Honolulu officials hoping that you won't notice the huge, concrete heavy rail system plowing through Oahu neighborhoods.

OHA's best-laid plans for Kakaako might still go awry

By Richard Borreca
Kakaako Makai has almost everything. It is gorgeous real estate edging in between Waikiki and soon-to-be-booming Kakaako Mauka and downtown Honolulu.

So far, so good: Legislature, governor seem to get along

By Richard Borreca
If good friends make good laws, we are setting up a mighty productive legislative session. Democrats may run the Legislature, but there have always been Ds of different stripes ready to battle for causes ranging from GMO food labeling to hustling the military out of Makua Valley.

Don't believe predictions of construction job growth

By Richard Borreca
Since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt, politicians have believed that the path to economic and political success is paved with government construction.

Recycling glass feels good but it's costing Hawaii a lot

By Richard Borreca
Next to watching videos of puppies and pandas, one of the best warm and fuzzy moments happens when you recycle stuff. You are doing good and feel every little bit helps. There is just a fulfilled sense of civic responsibility when you recycle all those papers, bags and bottles.

HEI sale and hospital woes will test Ige's usual style

By Richard Borreca
The heavy lifting starts this month for Hawaii's new governor. David Ige may be a legislative veteran who sees the whole board before making a move, but now he has to make the first move.

Hawaii’s new first lady will focus on education

By Richard Borreca
Dawn Amano-Ige is standing alone at the edge of Washington Place's lanai watching this columnist trudge through the back lawn between the security guards and the state Capitol.

What role will NextEra play in isles' economic future?

By Richard Borreca
It is not by coincidence that Hawaiian Electric's flagship offices sit across the street from Iolani Palace. Hawaiian Electric and Hawaii's government are bound up together in Hawaii's evolving business climate.

Hawaii's energy landscape poised for radical change

By Richard Borreca
For most of us, electricity means the switch is flipped and the light goes on, the bill comes every month, we grumble and pay it, end of story. It is now a whole new story for everyone in the state.

Ige's election bodes well for open state government

By Richard Borreca
It is a telling sign of both the problems of Hawaii state government and the fresh thinking guiding our new governor that Gov. David Ige is pledging an open administration.

Ige sets tone for the future with a call for consensus

By Richard Borreca
The parallels between former Gov. George Ariyoshi and Hawaii's eighth governor, David Ige, are both obvious and subtle.

Abercrombie attacked power, but couldn't wield it

By Richard Borreca
He was certainly no boyish figure when at 37, Neil Abercrombie was first elected to the state House from Manoa, but the picture of him beaming with a bushy dark beard and pulled back long hair shows a man brimming of confidence.

Ige's challenges include uniting feuding Democrats

By Richard Borreca
It is election night: David Ige has just won the governorship and on Maui, Stephanie Ohigashi, Hawaii state Democratic Party chairwoman, is looking at her phone.

Ige's leadership style about to be tested in new setting

By Richard Borreca
After four years of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's shoot-from-the-hip leadership style, Democrats in the state Legislature are now expecting David Ige to be a governor who reaches for the conference call before the sound bite.

Budget woes cut through Abercrombie's popularity

By Richard Borreca
Legacies all come down to the bottom line. In reviewing the four-year administration of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, weigh it in terms of predecessors: Govs. George Ariyoshi, John Waihee, Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle.

Letting Duckworth vote is a problem for Pelosi

By Richard Borreca
Just watching McKinley High School and University of Hawaii graduate Tammy Duckworth walk into a room leaves you in awe. It was just 10 years ago that a rocket-propelled grenade fired by insurgents north of Baghdad tore into a Black Hawk helicopter, with then-National Guard Capt. Duckworth sitting in the right pilot's seat.

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