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EditorialOff the News

Off the News

Cabinet picks intrigue

In announcing the first appointees to his Cabinet, Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie stressed their individual expertise and accomplishments, but indicated he also was swayed by their understanding of what he called "the legacy of Hawaiian values."

By doing so, Abercrombie showed a willingness to choose with his heart — most notably in the selection of Waianae harbormaster William Aila to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Aila is passionate about the environment, but is untested as a manager of an entity as sprawling and contentious as the DLNR and he will have to prove that he can be nuanced on issues.

The move is both bold and risky. But maybe that’s part of what new beginnings are all about.

Inouye’s earmarks earful

The U.S. Senate yesterday voted against a proposed three-year moratorium on earmarks, but the king of earmarks knows the fight isn’t over.

Hawaii’s U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, in a 2,000-word speech on the Senate floor Monday, defended the practice as necessary to match federal spending with the priorities of individual states.

But support for earmarks is waning — 39 senators voted for the moratorium this time, compared to 29 in March. And earmarks will be a fat target in a GOP-controlled U.S. House.

With a massive spending bill now in play, Inouye will negotiate to get Hawaii the best deal he can. Earmarks by another name, perhaps?


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