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Democrats’ ad ribs Lingle over 2009 furloughs

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 05:13 p.m. HST, Nov 02, 2012

Hawaii Democrats are playfully mocking former Gov. Linda Lingle for teacher furloughs, glossing over the role the teachers union — one of their major political allies — had in the controversy.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii has sponsored a radio advertisement urging listeners to “party like it’s 2009,” when teacher furloughs left public-school students with the fewest classroom instruction days in the nation. Democrats are also holding a King Street rally this afternoon dubbed the “3rd Annual Linda Lingle Furlough Friday Festival.”

Lingle, a Republican, is facing U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, for U.S. Senate.

Lingle, as the state’s chief executive, has received much of the public blame for teacher furloughs.

But the furloughs were part of a collective bargaining agreement between Lingle, the state Department of Education, the state Board of Education and the Hawaii State Teachers Association to reduce costs and help balance the state budget.

The teachers union chose furloughs over pay cuts or layoffs. Educators and teachers also chose to schedule the furloughs on classroom instruction days, a decision Lingle signed off on but soon regretted after public backlash over the disruption.

“Whether she’s solely responsible — I’m not sure that anybody has refined it that succinctly or not,” said Dante Carpenter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. “But I’m thinking, if memory serves, that she was the titular head of the Republican Party at that time, as well as being the governor of the state of Hawaii, and was a key figure in the decision relating to that activity.”

David Chang, chairman of the state GOP, said it is unfair to lay the blame for teacher furloughs solely on Lingle. “She kind of got the bum end of the deal,” he said, noting that the governor alone does not have the authority to order teacher furloughs.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, Lingle’s campaign manager, said Hirono is trying to “rewrite history.”

“Mazie Hirono is trying to recover from her televised debate losses and hide from the fact that she has never been able to pass a single bill to benefit the people of Hawaii, by continuing to put out false information about teacher furloughs that occurred two years ago,” he said in an email.

Betsy Lin, Hirono’s campaign manager, said Lingle has said that governors are personally responsible for their decisions. “The fact is that Furlough Fridays happened on Lingle’s watch and kept our keiki out of schools for seventeen days,” she said in an email. “And we know that in the U.S. Senate, Lingle would join national Republicans in supporting a budget that slashes education funding by one third.

Her decision was wrong for Hawaii then and her priorities are wrong for Hawaii now.”

Lingle had sought to unilaterally furlough other state workers to reduce costs during the recession but had proposed budget cuts for the Department of Education, which was overseen at the time by an elected school board. A Circuit Court judge ruled that the governor could not unilaterally order furloughs for state workers and had to instead bargain with public-sector labor unions over the issue.

The deal between the state and the teachers union was the first labor agreement after months of contentious talks over the budget. But Hawaii quickly received unwanted national attention for having the fewest school days.

After several months of debate and protest, including a sit-in at Lingle’s office in which parents were arrested, Lingle and state lawmakers agreed to use the state’s hurricane relief fund and teachers gave up some planning time to help end furloughs on classroom instruction days.

Lingle ultimately chose not to release any of the money from the hurricane relief fund because of budget concerns. Gov. Neil Abercrombie released the money on his first day in office in December 2010.

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Anonymous wrote:
Don't even get me started on just how stupidly and irresponsibly run the democratic party in Hawaii is run, let alone sponsoring ad's trying to make Linda Lingle look bad! The Hawaii Democratic party will never tell the whole truth when shades of half truths will suffice; truth is that the HSTA voted to take furloughs over a wage cut, and the worst part is lazy Mazie Hirono and her staff know this for a fact and willingly withhold the truth when trying to spin it, to make themselves look good,when in fact it only reinforces the notion that Mazie has not done a dang thing in Washington that she can point to and say 'I did this!' Hawaii needs someone who will stand up for the Citizens of Hawaii and not just be a 'bench warmer politician' like Mazie has been! Bring Hawaii into the 21st century and work to create a true 2 party political system that will work for the greater good of the people in the state of Hawaii, instead of for themselves, the vote is yours to cast!
on November 2,2012 | 03:24AM
false wrote:
Hawai`i is such minor player in the Washington hui and our inclusion there is like any newcomer in Hawai`i. Playing with the political clout requires being an ethnic fit and some charisma that takes maturity of the game. Don't see that in anyone who has been there lately. Those are Big Personalities to compete with. Agree that Mazie is whimpy by comparison. Lingle might be tough enough but she burned a whole lot of us with her furlough tsunami and it hasn't stopped rolling over us. So Lingle isn't going to happen. We haven't grown any politicians that are impressive except Obama and he went to Chicago to learn how to compete, influence and stand tall but there's still a Hawai`i boy in his genuineness. The Punahou in him still shines. Until we can package an ethical and polished politician we are stuck with whatever is on the ballot and haven't seen one that stands out. Not Lingle for sure.
on November 2,2012 | 04:47AM
allie wrote:
well said
on November 2,2012 | 10:39AM
Spikette wrote:
Linda had to make hard decisions as the governor, teacher furloughs, eliminate personnel from the department of health invasive species divisions, veto civil union legislation, list goes on and on due to shortfalls in the budget, but was ahead of her time in things like super ferry, etc. we may have experience more Mosquitos (but no dengue outbreak), more coqui frogs, mice, etc. but suffer no harm to public safety under her watch, the super ferry was very popular with the locals, canoe clubs, tourists, business, even those who protest against it were utilizing it up to the time of its eventual demise even now there are ideas floating to bring back the super ferry but at a smaller scale. She was force to work and compromise with the democrats who control the legislative branch. Now in the national level she will be able to work with Mitt to dismantle the welfare system, social security, Medicare, unions, etc. which are the primary cause of our budget deficit and situation where our nation is in.
on November 2,2012 | 12:30PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Okay you can stop now.
on November 2,2012 | 08:15AM
walaau808 wrote:
The Democratic party isn't making Lingle look bad...she did that all by herself! "You know me" bahahahahahahaha...
on November 2,2012 | 09:11AM
allie wrote:
Lingle is a cynical, dishonest person. Mazie is weak but we cannot vote for Lingle. Look at who is financing her caMPAIGN. aSK YOURSELF: WHAT DO THESE FOREIGN AND MAINLAND RICH PEOPLE WANT FROM HER?
on November 2,2012 | 10:38AM
fka wrote:
That Mazie is weak is a misnomer. She has consistently stand her ground on issues that the majority (middle class) agree that are very important...Social Security,Medicare,education,enviroment,jobs and economy. No,Hirono is not weak,she will stand her ground,as she has and fight for the middle class,whereas the republicans in congress will consistently fight for issues that will only enrich the wealthy.
on November 2,2012 | 12:11PM
allie wrote:
hope so
on November 2,2012 | 03:30PM
fka wrote:
She will,as she has consistently done in congress...she is a fighter for the middle class. Google her and find out how she has consistently voted. She stands her ground on what she believes,that is for the middle class,the 99%.
on November 2,2012 | 06:26PM
jimmyhouse67 wrote:
Two intellectual words, aren't you the freaking genius? You're sad. Just serve the pizza and keep it shut.
on November 2,2012 | 07:38PM
fka wrote:
on November 3,2012 | 09:10AM
hikine wrote:
Stupid Democrats playing on stupid people's gullibility. It was the Democratic House that gave Lingle the budget to manage the State and then blamed her for what happened. This campaign is twisted and playing dirty. Tell the whole truth and not cover up to what really happened! Hawaii people are such suckers to fall for a lie! People wouldn't have elected Lingle in the first place if she wasn't capable.
on November 2,2012 | 06:13AM
wiliki wrote:
Nope Lingle was the one who slipped up. Why did she agree to furloughs on INSTRUCTIONAL days. At least the DOE and Democrats were sharp enough to have them on NON-INSTRUCTIONAL days and finance the rest through the hurricane fund. Lingle continued to give excuses why she couldn't take from the fund. Could it be that the only reason for that is her campaign promise? Enough is enough....
on November 2,2012 | 06:55AM
Graham wrote:
Hurricane Fund...not pay Teachers Fund...
on November 2,2012 | 08:11AM
wiliki wrote:
Lingle reneged on the deal. Her word is no good.
on November 2,2012 | 09:15PM
hds wrote:
Why are democrats using hurricane relief fund money, paid by homeowners, for hurricane damage relief to unions? Oh that's right their democrats, bought and paid for by unions.
on November 2,2012 | 09:24AM
hikine wrote:
I totally agree. The Hurricane Fund was paid for by homeowners and then was used to pay teacher's salaries. The Hurricane Fund hasn't been paid back and sits empty! Democrats working hard to pick the public's pockets!
on November 6,2012 | 03:31PM
SandBar wrote:
Democrats creates special funds to pay off their Union debts.
on November 2,2012 | 10:30AM
wondermn1 wrote:
Go Lingle Go
on November 2,2012 | 07:36AM
allie wrote:
yup..go away Lingle. Your shibai is showing
on November 2,2012 | 10:39AM
dedicatedteacher7 wrote:
In the end, Lingle did let the furloughs begin. Education is something that should not have been messed with. I don't know about a "little planning time". We are still giving up a significant amount of planning time and I for one, am sick of being asked to give more and more of my own personal time to get the job done. Even the very crucial two days we had before at the very beginning of the school year is still being taken away from us and we still have furlough days.
on November 2,2012 | 06:18AM
hds wrote:
The governor's job is to balance the budget with the tax money on hand, if we want to increase the amount of days public schools stay open we could be like other states and increase the GET from 4.5% to 8%. Will that make everybody happy?
on November 2,2012 | 09:26AM
bobbob wrote:
I'd love to see what maize would have done in this situation. And the first sentence in the article has it right. The teacher's union basically chose the furloughs.
on November 2,2012 | 12:47PM
copperwire9 wrote:
The grievous part, the one that soured so many people on Lingle, was having those parents arrested for occupying her office. It was nuts! She could have gone out to the parents and talked to them. She could have shown them some empathy. But she avoided them, refused to meet with them, and had them hauled off instead. I'm no particular fan of Hirono, but that incident alone is the reason Mazie will get my vote.
on November 2,2012 | 06:22AM
bender wrote:
I'm wondering why those "concerned parents" didn't also pay a call on Okabe, the leader of HSTA. I don't recollect who was running DOE at the time but those "concerned parents" should also have called on that person. I don't think they would have gotten any more answers than Lingle provided. The truth is, those parents were upset because their babysitting service had been disrupted. We're still near the bottom in classroom school days but I don't see those parents camping in Abercrombie's office.
on November 2,2012 | 06:46AM
wondermn1 wrote:
on November 2,2012 | 07:37AM
walaau808 wrote:
Buck stops with the governor, that's why!
on November 2,2012 | 09:12AM
hds wrote:
So you would rather have another teacher's strike. The furlough plan was what the HSTA approved and if they didn't get that you know a strike would have followed and all the parents in the governor's office would be protesting that instead of the furlough days.
on November 2,2012 | 09:28AM
wiliki wrote:
Indeed... what kind of politician arrests parents of kids in our schools who ask for consideration?
on November 2,2012 | 06:56AM
Ulalei wrote:
Good for those parents who got arrested. And Good for the Governor for not meeting with them. If she did then every other crazy in the state would've camped out in her office too. That's why we don't negotiate with terrorists!
on November 2,2012 | 09:49AM
wiliki wrote:
The parents are not terrorists. The governor here is doing the terrorizing. She did the ridiculous and made the situation worse. The buck stops with her. She should be meeting with the parents.,
on November 2,2012 | 09:14PM
lee1957 wrote:
I was disappointed they weren't slapped and sterilized after arrest. What a bunch of immature losers.
on November 2,2012 | 11:26AM
americantaxpayer wrote:
What else is new. The machine can't tolerate independent thinkers even when they are of the same party. It's just not Lingle, look at how Ed Case was demeaned, and, what they are currently doing to Cayetano with all the untruths. Too many can't run on their record like Hirono. In the end it's too bad when so many living in Hawaii become simply followers and utterly beholden to so few.
on November 2,2012 | 06:28AM
wiliki wrote:
The party does tolerate independent thinkers. There are so many of us. Case is criticized rightly for his belief in voodoo Republican economics.
on November 2,2012 | 06:58AM
wiliki wrote:
Abercrombie followed through to end furlough fridays..... That's what a real governor does.
on November 2,2012 | 06:49AM
moonieman wrote:
And changed the the name to Directed Leave Without Pay....furloughs are still in effect just under a different name and on different days...
on November 2,2012 | 07:00AM
Graham wrote:
Do not confuse the issue with truth and facts...
on November 2,2012 | 08:13AM
wiliki wrote:
Nope I heard that non-instructional days are used for furloughs. The kids don't lose any instructional time at all.
on November 2,2012 | 09:11PM
lee1957 wrote:
By changing the name he is able to hide the facts from shallow thinkers.
on November 2,2012 | 11:28AM
dedicatedteacher7 wrote:
Furloughs are still wrong. The furloughs are still going on, and sad to say, it takes away much needed time. I just use classroom time instead now.
on November 2,2012 | 07:01AM
wondermn1 wrote:
Lies are still lies no mattter what you call them and wiliki is a champion in that department. Go Lingle Go Hawaii's economy depends on your help. look at the other choice which is Mazie who is a rubber stamp for the Demorats
on November 2,2012 | 07:40AM
soundofreason wrote:
"“Whether she’s solely responsible — I’m not sure that anybody has refined it that succinctly or not,” >>> Then let me help you. NO! The word furlough appeared on a contract that THE TEACHER'S UNION produced AFTER not responding to the need for general cuts. They did nothing. THEN she said she would cut pay - THEY said she couldn't do that - THEN she said she would do layoffs - then THEY offered furloughs in THEIR contract. She should have just done the layoffs and then furloughs wouldn't be a topic of conversation. Her only crime is TRYING to be compassionate by NOT laying them off.
on November 2,2012 | 07:00AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Your facts and accurate history lesson have no place here!
on November 2,2012 | 03:47PM
Grimbold wrote:
Lingle made the responsible decision to enact cuts in spending because there was no money . But Democrats rather pile up debt irresponsibly - who will pay it back? The next generation! Foul attitude you Democrats!
on November 2,2012 | 07:14AM
allie wrote:
wrong..the state constitution requires a balanced budget. Democrats were rightly fighting to exclude public education. Lignle refused a temporaryy tax on the super rich out here
on November 2,2012 | 10:41AM
livealoha wrote:
There is an old proposition in politics: When you can't win on the issue, attack the individual Gov. Neil Abercrombie Democratic Party of Hawaii
on November 2,2012 | 07:26AM
livealoha wrote:
"There is an old proposition in politics: When you can't win on the issue, attack the individual" Gov. Neil Abercrombie Democratic Party of Hawaii
on November 2,2012 | 07:27AM
loquaciousone wrote:
People who know nothing about how the payroll system works for public workers show their ignorance by saying it was pay cuts or furloughs. It's not an even playing field. Pay cuts are permanent and something you never get back. Furloughs are a temporary fix to help the State in a financial crisis. The State realizes a savings both ways during hard times.
on November 2,2012 | 08:19AM
64hoo wrote:
hay those furloughs did'nt hurt the students in fact a national report across the us and hawaii that came out a few months ago shows hawaiis students showed a good 10% enprovement than the previous years. so furloughs did help good move lingle of course the s.a. and liberals won't tell you that. because they are trying to find ways to get at lingle because she did a good job.
on November 2,2012 | 11:17AM
Please explain the difference between "furloughs" and "directed leave without pay" in a logical no-spin way? maybe thats a good first project for the new information director. why is lingle wrong and Abercrombie correct to implement the same version of a pay cut under a different name.
on November 2,2012 | 11:27AM
punimanu wrote:
My intent was to vote with the democratic party here, however, this behavior by the party has led me to change my position. Blame is a game that the party plays too well. I need a representative that will produce results.
on November 2,2012 | 11:57AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Good decision.
on November 2,2012 | 12:25PM
allie wrote:
we have all voted ben and mazie
on November 2,2012 | 03:30PM
turbolink wrote:
Come on Allie, you already fessed up you're not a Hawaii resident and can't vote here. How long will you continues your incorrect comments in your daily search for attention?
on November 2,2012 | 06:53PM
Papakolea wrote:
The Democrats have now controlled the Governor's Office, and overwhelmingly the Senate and House for two years and they still haven't ended furloughs. They just changed the name from "furlough" to "Directed Leave Without Pay" or DLWOP for short.
on November 2,2012 | 04:20PM
localguy wrote:
Mazie is Crazy, not what the people of Hawaii need. Time to get Mazie a new day job.
on November 2,2012 | 08:46PM
false wrote:
what about the fact that the hsta and the teachers agreed to drug testing and took the 5% raise then reneged on their end of the deal no drug test but kept the raise do we the taxpayers get any bang for our bucks you have students that can't pass tests, not ready for university level classes barely ready for community college, lacking reading and math skill and also social skills for a entry type position in the workforce way to go teachers and hsta mahalo who do you trust when every ones a crook revolution calling
on November 3,2012 | 01:20AM
Lightfoot wrote:
The furloughs weren't popular, but it saved jobs by keeping more people employed rather than layoffs. It was a Solomon like decision from a wise governor. Socialism is great until the money runs out and people would rather not work as hard to see most of their money is going to taxes.
on November 5,2012 | 02:38PM
hikine wrote:
Those parents were arrested because they were loitering. Instead of staying home and teaching their children they choose to stay at Lingle's office! Democratic House giving Lingle a limited budget to work with and trying to embarass her backfired and now rears it's ugly head again. Why is StarAdvertiser siding with a candidate? News media should be neutral and shouldn't be swaying the public. And by it's ad, StarAdvertiser doesn't seem to know what's going on in Hawaii or close their eyes to what's really going on!
on November 6,2012 | 03:39PM
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