Category Archives: Campaigns

Civil Beat poll sheds light in split between rail supporters, opponents

A new Civil Beat poll found that while voters aren’t wild about Honolulu’s rail project, a convincing majority back completing the project to Ala Moana Center.

It has cost much more than expected, its completion date keeps getting pushed back, and there is not enough money to pay for it.

What’s more, most people think building a rail line for Honolulu was either a “bad idea” (37 percent) or a “good idea” yet “troubling” due to the poor execution of the project (44 percent).

Only 14 percent of Oahu voters surveyed completely embrace rail and believe it is “progressing well.”

And yet, a clear majority (61 percent) say they want the rail line built all the way from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.

Just 29% said the project should be stopped at a point short of Ala Moana. That’s a somewhat surprising 2-1 margin in favor of pushing the project to completion.

So while rail opponents have been very vocal, the mostly silent majority seems to have the votes to keep the project moving.

A couple of the cross tabulations reported shed additional light on the split between rail supporters and opponents.

The data on “ideology” shows those who described themselves as “liberal/progressive” were more likely than conservatives to say rail was a good idea, and less likely to say it was a bad idea.

Similarly, Democrats were only about half as likely to say rail was a bad idea compared to Republicans and Independents.

Cross tabs

If you browse through the Civil Beat survey results and find more interesting tidbits, please share!

Two modes of election de-stressing

Are you Trumped out? Over Hillarie? Just too much pre-election stress?

Here’s what you need.

The top photo: Sunrise on Kahala Beach at about 6:30 yesterday morning. Click on it to see a larger version. Can you smell the ocean? Take a deep breath and put yourself under that coconut tree for 60 seconds.


And when you’re ready to move on, take advantage of this Election-Free Minute courtesy of the Washington Post.

Another televised Honolulu mayoral debate unlikely

It appears there won’t be another debate between Honolulu mayoral candidates Kirk Caldwell and Charles Djou prior to next month’s general election, according to a story a few days ago in the Star-Advertiser.

S-A writer Gordon Pang reported:

Officials with Hawaii News Now and KITV, which both held forums featuring Caldwell, Djou and former Mayor Peter Carlisle before the Aug. 13 primary, said they have no plans to hold another forum before the general election. A representative for KHON said the station had not made a decision on a mayoral forum, and staff from both the Caldwell and Djou camps said they had not been contacted by the station.

PBS Hawai‘i had scheduled a debate on “Insights on PBS Hawai‘i” on Oct. 27, but Djou either declined or withdrew from the appearance this week, spurring a fiery disagreement between the two campaigns and the station.

Pang notes that Honolulu’s controversial rail project dropped out of the election limelight after Djou changed his position, now agreeing with Caldwell that this phase of the project needs to be completed to Ala Moana Center.

In a recent Hawaii Public Radio discussion of media coverage of the election, veteran reporter Denby Fawcett called this election “boring.”

And it sounds like the television stations agree.

So if they’re not throwing extra resources into covering the Honolulu mayor’s race, what will they be used for?

Pang quotes KITV news editor Mike Farrah:

“Quite frankly, it’s a matter of an allocation of resources,” Darrah said. “We’re throwing a lot at the Pearl Harbor anniversary and the Honolulu Marathon.”

It’s all a matter of priorities, I suppose.

Details of Mayor Caldwell’s corporate compensation

Challenger Charles Djou has been trying to make Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s position as a director of Territorial Bancorp has become an issue in the mayoral campaign.

Media accounts of Caldwell’s compensation from Territorial have relied on the range of values appearing in the mayor’s annual financial disclosure statements.

For example, Gordon Pang’s story in today’s Star-Advertiser on the Caldwell-Djou debate puts the value of Territorial shares owned by Caldwell “between $900,000 and $999,999 in 2015.” Civil Beat similarly cited a range for cash compensation based on financial disclosures.

These values are imprecise because the city’s ethics law, like the state law, require reporting of financial interests in broad categories rather than dollar amounts.

In this case, though, it’s unnecessary to rely on the financial disclosures, which are inherently imprecise.

Territorial Bancorp, the parent company of Territorial Savings, is a publicly traded corporation and must report compensation paid to its officer and directors.

The company’s latest proxy statement shows Caldwell and other directors have received cash payments, as well as both stock options and grants of restricted stock. These types of stock have different tax consequences and other technical differences.

I have to leave the untangling what those mean to a more financially savvy reader or another time.

In any case, the following discussion is copied directly from Territorial Bancorp’s 2016 Proxy Statement (SEC Form 14A).

Executive Compensation

Director Fees

Each of Territorial Savings Bank’s outside directors receives an annual retainer for board meetings of $32,650 per year and an annual retainer for committee meetings of $2,450 per year. Each of Territorial Bancorp Inc.’s outside directors receives an annual retainer for board meetings of $5,100 per year and an annual retainer for committee meetings of $615 per year. The retainer fees are increased to the following amounts for the following committees: the Chairman of Territorial Savings Bank’s Audit Committee receives a committee retainer of $2,650 and the Chairman of Territorial Bancorp Inc.’s Audit Committee receives a committee retainer of $8,570; the Chairman of Territorial Savings Bank’s Compensation Committee receives a committee retainer of $4,900; and the Chairman of Territorial Bancorp Inc.’s Compensation Committee receives a committee retainer of $1,225. Receipt of full retainer payments is based upon a director attending at least 75% of board or committee meetings, as applicable, with reductions for the failure to attend such number of board or committee meetings.

The following table sets forth for the year ended December 31, 2015, certain information as to the total remuneration we paid to our directors. Mr. Kitagawa does not receive separate fees for service as a director.

Territorial Bancorp

Amounts represent cash dividends paid on shares of unvested restricted stock.
At December 31, 2015, Directors David Murakami, Richard Murakami, Ikeda, and Caldwell each had 6,141 shares of unvested restricted stock, and Director Tanaka had 547 shares of unvested restricted stock. In addition, at December 31, 2015, Directors David Murakami, Richard Murakami, Ikeda, and Caldwell each had 34,395 vested stock options and 6,880 unvested stock options. Director Tanaka had 2,468 vested stock options and 617 unvested stock options.

On August 19, 2010, Directors David Murakami, Richard Murakami, Ikeda and Caldwell were each granted 36,821 shares of restricted stock and 41,275 stock options with an exercise price of $17.36 per option. Shares of restricted stock and options vest at a rate of one-sixth per year beginning August 19, 2011.

On August 19, 2012, Director Tanaka was granted 2,735 shares of restricted stock and 3,085 stock options with an exercise price of $23.62 per option. Shares of restricted stock and options vest at a rate of one-fifth per year beginning August 19, 2012.

The Company has no stock ownership guidelines for directors. However, for previous grants under our 2010 Equity incentive Plan each director must retain 50% of each restricted stock or stock option award (net of taxes) until their service on the Board ends. We have not determined whether we will maintain the stock retention requirement for future grants made under the 2010 Equity Incentive Plan.

Strange days in national politics

How weird is it when NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, not known for any progressive tendencies, writes another scathing column highlighting the no-nothing nature of the Republican Party candidate, and the conservative Arizona Republic newspaper endorsed the Democratic Party presidential candidate for the first time since it began publishing in 1890.

Both write simply that Donald Trump is unqualified.

In his Times column, Friedman wrote:

My reaction to the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate can be summarized with one word: “How?”

How in the world do we put a man in the Oval Office who thinks NATO is a shopping mall where the tenants aren’t paying enough rent to the U.S. landlord?

NATO is not a shopping mall; it is a strategic alliance that won the Cold War, keeps Europe a stable trading partner for U.S. companies and prevents every European country — particularly Germany — from getting their own nukes to counterbalance Russia, by sheltering them all under America’s nuclear umbrella.

How do we put in the Oval Office a man who does not know enough “beef” about key policies to finish a two-minute answer on any issue without the hamburger helper of bluster, insults and repetition?

And he proceeded on, point by point, from there.

And here’s just part of the Arizona Republic’s take on the presidential race.

Make no mistake: Hillary Clinton has flaws. She has made serious missteps.

Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State was a mistake, as she has acknowledged. Donations to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of State raise concerns that donors were hoping to buy access. Though there is no evidence of wrongdoing, she should have put up a firewall.

Yet despite her flaws, Clinton is the superior choice.

She does not casually say things that embolden our adversaries and frighten our allies. Her approach to governance is mature, confident and rational.

That cannot be said of her opponent.

Clinton retains her composure under pressure. She’s tough. She doesn’t back down.

Trump responds to criticism with the petulance of verbal spit wads.

That’s beneath our national dignity.

Read the newspaper’s full endorsement here.

But, of course, the danger appears to be that enough voters, including some progressives and former Bernie supporters, could feel alienated enough to see Trump’s lack of qualifications as a virtue.

For those Bernie supporters who are still deciding whether to vote for Clinton in the end, I recommend this recent column by Shaun King in the New York Daily News (“KING: If you don’t vote against Donald Trump, we may all soon regret it“). Thanks to Bart Dame for the link, and for his comment (“What Shaun says. Ditto. To every detail.”).

Polls show that this campaign is more about voting against a candidate than it is voting for one.

I am that dude and I hate it. I’m voting against Donald Trump far more than I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I even hate writing this column because I am just not a fan of Hillary. To this day, I still believe that Bernie Sanders would have absolutely mopped the floor with Trump.

But that’s not where we are.

We are 45 days away from electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.

I have 99 problems with Hillary Clinton, but I am 100% sure that she is a significantly better option than Donald Trump.

If you don’t see that, you are either lying to yourself, delusional or woefully misinformed.