PDH

PDHblog
This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts
and exasperations about political happenings. The opinions and views are not necessarily
those of PDH's steering committee or membership as a whole.

February 12, 2014

In the Past, the State Legislature Has Allowed Minimum Wage to Fall. Repeatedly.

Filed under: 5Economics,HI Politics,Legislature — Bart @ 10:02 pm

Testimony from Progressive Democrats in Favor of a Minimum Wage Hike

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT

Rep. Mark Nakashima, Chair

Rep Kyle Yamashita, Vice Chair

Feb 11, 2014, 9:00 a.m.

Conference room 309

HB 2580, RELATING TO LABOR IN SUPPORT, with AMENDMENTS

Aloha Chair Nakashima, Vice-Chair Yamashita and Members,

My name is Bart Dame and I am testifying on behalf of Progressive Democrats of Hawaii in support of

HB2580, but with a suggested amendment. We have read the other bills and have found things to like

in most of them, but believe HB2580 is the best vehicle to move forward, as it covers our concerns.

Except we believe the proposed wage hike is too low, given how the Legislature has neglected raising

the minimum wage for over seven years and the cost of living has severely eroded its value. (more…)

November 5, 2013

A Perfect Response to the Hearing at the Legislature

Filed under: Equality!,HI Politics,Legislature — Bart @ 10:55 am

OK, we have been busy, we have been lazy, we have been negligent of our responsibilities in not posting things here.

But one thing which has been keeping me legitimately busy has been being down at the Legislature, talking to legislators about the marriage equality bill, providing support to the outnumbered gay and lesbian and straight sisters and brothers who have been down there in an oppressive, hate-filled atmosphere.

As I straight male, I have found it oppressive. To my gay sisters and brothers, it is an extremely heavy burden and I want to join them with this song. I think it expresses my feelings in a much more celebratory song of freedom and uplift than my heart can manage, so I will turn it over to her.

Enjoy!

October 31, 2013

PDH Testifies in Support of Marriage Equality

Filed under: HI Politics,Legislature — PDHawaii @ 5:03 pm

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Relating to Senate Bill 1 Testifying in Support
On Behalf of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i

Aloha Chairs Rhoads and Luke, Vice-Chairs Har, Nishimoto and Johanson, and Members of the House Committees on Judiciary and Finance.

Mahalo for this opportunity to present testimony in strong support of Senate Bill 1 Relating to Equality, which will legally recognize and allow for marriages for same-sex couples. We believe this is a bill that is a long time coming and we want to thank Chairs Rhoads and Luke and the members of the committees for taking the time to hear this historic and incredibly important piece of legislation.

Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i (PDH) assumes everyone has heard the arguments from both supports and opponents of this bill, so we are restricting our testimony to the issue we think will be the fulcrum on which its fate will be decided; the question of the breadth of the religious exemption.

The majority of opponents, including those expressing objection or concern on religious grounds have, for very pragmatic reasons, decided not to oppose the bill on the question of marriage equality itself, but rather on the very thinly veiled question of religious freedom. PDH, however, believes this argument is a red herring which should not derail the march toward equality.

We believe strongly in the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. Religious institutions for which same-sex marriage is a violation of their faith shouldn’t be forced to perform those marriages. Lest the guise of “religious discrimination” be seen as a legitimate reason for withholding support for this landmark legislation, we feel the need to point out the protection that has been codified in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 4 of the Hawai‘i State Constitution.

The highest law of the land spells out, in no uncertain terms, that government cannot force a religious institution to do something that violates their beliefs. And though its opponents will attempt to claim otherwise, this bill does not violate their First Amendment rights.

If a religious institution allows its clergy to perform marriages for non-members, if it allows non-members to use its facilities and grounds for marriage ceremonies and celebrations, and does it in exchange for money, it cannot claim protection under the First Amendment, nor Article I, Section 4. That institution is then considered a “public accommodation” and subject to anti-discrimination laws.

Many point to our island state as the place where the same-sex marriage movement began. We believe this is a heritage to be proud of and though, in the nearly two decades since, many states have moved ahead of us on this issue, it is finally time for Hawai‘i to take its place on the right side of this issue and on the right side of history.

Mahalo for your time and consideration.

August 31, 2012

Linda Lingle vs. Mazie Hirono

Filed under: Elections,HI Politics,National Politics — OahuSophist @ 3:00 pm

Representative Hirono was endorsed not too long ago by our friends, Progressive PAC. Mazie is one of the most progressive members of the U.S. House of Representatives, consistently supporting environmental protections, the middle and working classes, and standing as a bulwark against the kleptocratic policies of a House controlled by a Republican Party that is in the grips of ultra-conservative ideologues. Mazie is without a doubt the only choice Hawaii voters have if they are at all interested in holding at by a Senate controlled by those same ideologues.

That’s not to say former Governor Lingle is one of these ideologues herself. But she’s certainly shilled for them in the past. After being passed over for the veep nod from McCain in 2008, she went on the road with nothing but positive things to say about McCain, but more importantly, about Sarah Palin, the Tea Party star child whose 15 minutes of fame is officially over (Fox News didn’t renew her contract as a commentator). Though Lingle was elected as a moderate and in response to a public perception that Democrats had run amok for too long, there is little room for argument that she drifted to the right at an increasing pace as her term as Governor proceeded. A vote for her is a vote for everything the Romney/Ryan Republicans stand for.

The potential consequences of this election are stark indeed. A Romney presidency would, in my opinion, be at least as bad as the second bush presidency, if not worse. And if the Republicans are able to not only hold on to their control of the House, but also gain control of the Senate, our state and our country sink ever further into a future controlled moneyed interests: corporations and individuals whose singular motivation is the collection of more and more wealth, at the expense of our families, our jobs, our economy, and our environment.

Unless this sounds like a future you want to hand to your children and grand-children, don’t vote for Lingle. Even if you believe Lingle is still a moderate, there’s no reason to believe she won’t vote the GOP line if she makes it to the Senate. At the absolute minimum, her very first vote will be against Senator Inouye for the Chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee, something Hawaii can’t afford to let happen.

In the days and weeks between now and the election on November 6th, check back for a breakdown and rebuttal to the recently updated Republican platform and point out just how far out of touch the GOP is on any number of key issues.

June 19, 2012

Mazie Hirono Completes PDH Survey

Filed under: Elections,HI Politics,National Politics,SHAPES platform — frosty @ 10:47 am

What, in your view, are the reasons preventing the U.S. Senate from passing legislation that better serves the American people?

(No Response)

Foreign Policy

1. What are your thoughts regarding a potential military conflict with Iran? Would you support military intervention against the regime there, why or why not?

We must make every effort to prevent the situation in Iran from escalating into a military conflict. We need to use every tool we have to convince the government of Iran to behave responsibly: from diplomacy to sanctions. At the same time, we cannot tolerate the threat of such an unstable regime’s possession of nuclear weapons.

2. Would you support cutting military spending and redirect the funding to other budget items? If so, where would you suggest redirecting those fundings?

(more…)

Ed Case Completes PDH Survey

What, in your view, are the reasons preventing the U.S. Senate from passing legislation that better serves the American people?

The main reason is that most of the American people are currently disenfranchised inside the Beltway. The inside crowd is dominated by political action committees and other special interests dedicated solely to the maintenance of their own interests at all costs to the exclusion of everyone else, and Congress is dominated additionally by the mindset that every debate and policy issue presents a stark choice between political extremes.

All of this results in hyperpartisan, my-way-or-the-highway, take-no-prisoners gridlock, and classic alamihi crab syndrome reactions to any attempt to find a better way forward. None of this is representative of the mainstream of the American people. No wonder that, in the most recent poll taken on the subject (Rasmussen, June 2012), only 7% of Americans, crossing all party and other lines, believe Congress is doing an excellent or good job. Please see my Issues Agenda: Fixing Washington.

(more…)

January 10, 2012

Sins of Commission:
How the Reapportionment Folks Went Off Course

Filed under: HI Politics — Bart @ 1:50 am

For a fuller explanation of this map and its significance, read my testimony, linked below. Click on map for a larger view.

I was going to write a Magnus Opus about the successful legal challenges to what the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission had called, in a moment of optimism, its “Final Plan.”

I worked with a lot of residents from all the counties, Democrats and Republicans both, who opposed this plan to artificially inflate Oahu’s population by counting non-resident military personnel, their dependents and non-resident college students. Through a lot of emails, conference calls, research and “talk story,” we managed to get the job done. Obviously, thanks is owed the attorneys who stepped forward, Stan Roehrig, Bob Kim and Michael Matsukawa. (I hope they can get compensated by the state for their legal expenses). And behind the attorneys was a mini-army of networked, and often frustrated, volunteer citizen activists. In my opinion, the quiet heroes, the citizen activists who started the resistance to this plan, are  couples of Maui Republicans, former State Senator Fred Rohlfing and the former Mayor of Thousand Oaks, California, Madge Schaefer. Both are members of the Maui Reapportionment Advisory Council. They started pushing back against the plan with one hand while trying to rouse the Big Island residents from slumber with their other.

Ian Lind wrote a blog post about the Court’s ruling. I posted a lengthy comment there.  I urge people to read the entries on his blog and join in the conversation by posting your own thoughts. Also Andy Parx of Kauai offers his perspective on the ruling on his blog, “Got Windmills?”.

Robert Thomas live-blogged  oral arguments at the Hawaii Supreme Court. You can read the archived transcript on his blog, Inverse Condemnation. Great technology! Thanks, Robert.

I have  posted a link to my September 19th testimony to the Commission. It provides a good, easy to digest, overview of arguments some of were making to warn  the Commission  from veering so far off course. When the Court repeated some of the same arguments, the Commission finally listened.

Bart Dame testimony, 9-19-11: Click here!

Here’s a link to Ian Lind’s blog post (Ian has a link to the Court ruling):

iLind.net

Andy Parx’s blog:

“Got Windmills”?

Inverse Condemnation’s Live blog and audio recording of the Supreme Court oral arguments:

Live-Blog & Audio Recording

Onipaa!

August 14, 2011

Abercrombie’s “New Day” Doesn’t Apply to Teachers

Filed under: HI Politics — Bart @ 9:16 am

(The following commentary was written by Justin Hughey, a Maui school teacher, Democratic activist and friend of PDH. It was published as a guest editorial in Friday’s Star-Advertiser. Because a lot of people live on THIS side of the paywall, I asked Hughey if we could also publish it on the PDH Blog.)

Recent history has every Hawaii governor winning primarily on their pro-education platforms, yet each has failed to make the connection between teachers and education.

In 1994, Democrat Benjamin Cayetano ran on education, and a result of his election was the educationally crippling teachers’ strike. This, in part, doomed his lieutenant governor, former teacher Mazie Hirono, who lost her bid to succeed Cayetano to Linda Lingle, who also ran on education. A result of Lingle’s election was the dubious distinction of Hawaii having the fewest instructional days in the nation after she furloughed public school teachers.

Now-Gov. Neil Abercrombie ran on education, obtaining his first union endorsement from the Hawaii State Teachers Association. Yet soon after his election, contract negotiations were not cordial as one might expect of the endorsee. His chief negotiator threatened that 800 teachers could lose their jobs and “more nasty things to come” (more…)

July 25, 2011

How Progressives Can Effect Change with Obama as President

Filed under: General,Going Forward,National Politics — frosty @ 10:54 pm

It has been suggested that the previous post should have been geared more along the lines of this topic. After thinking about it, I decided that instead of rewriting it, I should simply write a follow-up post. For starters, I think it is important to say, again, and with no equivocation, that Obama isn’t progressive, even though there are those who believe he is, “in his heart of hearts.” Using this notion as a starting point for action is, in my opinion a mistake, and progressives will serve their causes much better if they first abandon it.

I’ll be referring to PDH for my examples, but the concepts will obviously apply to other organizations, as well as individuals.

Building Relationships

It is my experience that the progressive movement has long been disorganized and fractured along various lines. If we are to have any hope of forcing, or empowering (whichever you’d prefer to call it) Obama to be more supportive of progressive ideals and policy initiatives, we’re going to have to come together as a more cohesive movement. (more…)

July 17, 2011

Obama is Not Progressive

Thinking or hoping otherwise will not make this statement any less true. Barack Obama is not progressive. For my part, I never believed he was and one only need look at his time in office thus far for evidence.

Let’s start with health care, if only because the issue is at, or near, the top of my priority list. While it’s true there are some good things in the Affordable Health Care Act, like extending to 26 the age under which parents can choose to continue to cover their children, or eliminating the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage because of a preexisting condition, there’s no denying that when it’s all said and done, it is little more than a massive handout to health insurance companies. (more…)

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The opinions and views are not necessarily those of PDH's steering committee or membership as a whole.
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