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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Ige on the spot in Turtle Bay deal

April 20th, 2014 · Campaigns

Will the deal to shield 665-acres at the Turtle Bay Resort from future development inevitably become a political football?

That’s certainly one possibility as the legislature tries to wrap up its work on the state budget by the end of this week.

Governor Abercrombie just dropped a deal in the legislature’s lap that requires $40 million in state funding to pull off.

KHON reported yesterday:

“What’s your message to the legislators?” KHON2 asked.

“My message to the legislature is very, very simple. We made a promise we would try, in good faith, to bring that Turtle Bay settlement to a conclusion after years and years of failure and frustration. And we’ve come through. And so we’re asking the legislature to come through, too,” Gov. Abercrombie said.

“This isn’t a surprise. The governor put the $40 million marker in his budget, so it’s not as if it’s a shock that legislators hadn’t anticipated,” said Sen. Clayton Hee (D) Waialua, Haleiwa, Laie, Kaaawa, Ahuimanu.

With the end of the legislative session less than two weeks away, lawmakers must act fast.

“Let’s hope and work to see to it now that the remaining days of the legislature, their top priority is seeing to it that the settlement that we all achieved together is gonna be fulfilled. Thank you, North Shore,” Gov. Abercrombie said.

But the key to the funding is Abercrombie’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Sen. David Ige, who also happens to chair the Senate’s Ways & Means committee. In that position, Ige will pretty much be able to control whether or not the funding will be included in the final budget, and whether or not Abercrombie will be handed an environmental banner to carry through the rest of the campaign.

Ige doesn’t seem to have much leeway here. The senator has been critical of Abercrombie’s positive assessment of the state’s economy, has positioned himself as the fiscal conservative who is protecting the public interest. He can say the $40 million is best spent elsewhere, or should be saved for a rainier day. But that sets him up to have to campaign as the guy who pulled the plug on a long-sought settlement in a bitter battle to preserve a prize coastline from development. It seems like Ige’s choices are limited. How he decides to play this out will tell us a lot about how this campaign will unfold.

Top quotes of the weekend:

“…Waikiki is becoming an overpriced Beverly Hills slum of the Pacific… [Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Down & out in Waikiki," 4-20-2014]

“My word is my documentation.”
[State Sen. Sam Slom, quoted in Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Agency contradicts Slom, says Connector probe isn't done deal," 4-19-2014.]

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A gray Easter morning in Kaaawa: Ocean and mountains

April 20th, 2014 · Kaaawa, Photographs

There wasn’t much of a sunrise on this Easter morning, just a gradual shift from darkness to shades of gray. It started raining mid-way through our walk, and continued on and off as we walked home.

So here are a couple of views of Easter morning, 2014, here in Kaaawa, Hawaii.

the ocean

the mountains

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1st Congressional District race shifting out of low gear

April 19th, 2014 · Campaigns, Politics

With the appearance of television ads touting the Congressional campaign of Rep. Mark Takai, the race for 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Colleen Hanabusa shifts out of low gear.

Time to take a peak at the contributor lists of the top contenders, Takai and State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim.

The candidates’ reports to the Federal Election Commission covering the period from January 1 to March 31, 2014, were recently filed. Here are links to the lists of recent contributions to Takai and Kim.

To see contributors prior to January 1, use the FEC’s “Candidate and Committee Viewer.”

Kim’s recent contributors are heavier on the “usual suspects,” the lawyers, contractors, lobbyists, etc., who are frequent campaign donors, but given her position as Senate President, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Takai’s supporters appear much more eclectic. I was somewhat surprised to see a $500 contribution to Takai by UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple, who has to tread lightly as the UH budget is still awaiting final approval at the legislature. Other UH contributors include athletic director Ben Jay ($500) and assistant AD Marilyn Moniz-Kahoohanohano ($250).

Kim has her own short list of UH contributors, including the UH system’s top lawyer, Darolyn Lendio Heim ($250), former UH football coach June Jones ($1,000), and associate v-p Michael Unebasami ($1,000), who has also given the same amount to Takai.

More on this race later.

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Romeo welcomes you to another Feline Friday

April 18th, 2014 · Cats, Photographs

Romeo & DukeIt’s Feline Friday, and Good Friday, a holiday, as well.

This photo shows a typical scene these days. Romeo is patrolling the house as Duke stands by. Romeo used to patrol the yard, and now we don’t let him outside (except on a leash, and that’s another story), he has applied his patrol duties to the house.

He moves from room to room, looking out the windows in search of Black Cat. Occasionally, BC will be spotted, and that sets Romeo into real motion as he tries to track BC’s movements. When he lets out a good, low, yowl, we know BC is probably coming up the stairs to the deck, where he will sit and stare in to the house. Romeo takes it as a personal affront and a very personal challenge to his feline machismo. I have to explain that it’s not worth fighting over. He doesn’t listen.

And I should report that Mr. Romeo is slowly getting better with his harness and leash. At first, he would just go Gandhi on me as soon as I strapped him in. He just dropped down and became a dead weight. Later, he would slink a foot or so, then drop down. He might slink forward another foot if I coaxed him along. But on his most recent excursion, he walked almost normally across the deck, down the stairs, and then across the lawn to the croton hedge at the edge of our yard. Then he wanted to sit and wait for BC to make an appearance.

That’s definite progress!

–> See all of today’s Friday Felines!

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Budget worksheets available online

April 18th, 2014 · Legislature, Politics

If you’re trying to track the final budget negotiations, the budget worksheets are now available online.

2014 Budget Worksheets

HB1638 HD2 Worksheets

HB1638 HD2 SD2 Worksheets

HB1700 HD1 Worksheets

HB1700 HD1 SD1 Worksheets

HB1700 Comparison Worksheets Agree

HB1700 Comparison Worksheets Disagree

These are documents which used to be treated as major secrets and kept under lock and key. This is a major example of a gradual movement towards increased transparency at the legislature.

Speaking of transparency…if you were going to pick a couple of state agencies to exempt from requirements for competitive bidding, why in the world would the airports and Stadium Authority come to mind? But SB2147 would allow negotiations without competitive bidding for concessions for “electronic communication services” and advertising.

Testimony in support of the bill was remarkably thin, with no concrete examples provided of any significant issues or problems with continuing to bid these services. It doesn’t appear that the State Procurement Office provided any testimony.

Will be public really be assured of getting the best deals by exempting the stadium and airports from competitive bidding for these services? Given their track records, there’s certainly a big question mark here.

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