PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

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…)

March 30, 2011

We Are One Hawaii Rally

Filed under: 5Economics,General,HI Politics,National Politics — frosty @ 7:49 pm

On this coming Monday, April 4th, at 4:30pm there will be at the Capitol a rally to support working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and dozens of other states where those working people are fighting to keep their rights.

Progressive Democrats of Hawaii is supporting this rally and calling on its members, supporters and allies to “Stand in Solidarity” at this rally and has signed a statement of support:

PDH We Are One Endorsement

Please come out!

March 17, 2011

Footloose on Maui

Filed under: General,HI Politics,Legislature — frosty @ 5:01 pm

As I was leaving the ACLU office earlier this week, after a meeting, they mentioned an issue they’re working on with some folks on Maui regarding the restrictions on dancing in establishments that serve alcohol.

According to the Maui Department of Liquor Control, restaurants or bars must have special permission, or a permit, in order to allow dancing in the establishment and in order to receive a permit, the establishment must meet special conditions:

§08-101-23 Special Conditions:
(a) Any dancing or entertainment shall be in areas designated and approved by the director.
(b) An approved area for dancing shall have, when utilized, a minimum area of one hundred square feet, be a non-consumption area, and shall be clearly designated for dancing.
(c) No obscene public or exhibition dancing either with or without partners,or obscene language, songs, or entertainment shall be permitted.
(d) Entertainers shall not expose to view any portion of the pubic hair, anus cleft of the buttocks, vulva, or genitals, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
(e) Any entertainment such as burlesque or strip tease shall be conducted upon a stage or platform which is at least twenty-four inches above the level of the floor and removed at least six feet from the nearest patron and shall be limited to class 5, category B, dispenser licensees, and to class 12, hotel licensees.
(f) No licensee shall permit any person to perform acts of or acts which simulates:

  1. Sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, or flagellation.
  2. The touching, caressing or fondling of the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals.
  3. The displaying of any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of the buttocks, anus, vulva, genitals, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.

(more…)

March 8, 2011

Calling for Volunteers!

Filed under: General,HI Politics — frosty @ 9:52 pm

While I knew the Governor’s Office was in considerable disarray, I didn’t fully grasp the extent to which they’re short staffed until I attended the G Force Meeting this past Thursday night.

Andrew Aoki, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the office is running with less than half the necessary paid staff. As I understand it, they have filled only 24 positions, compared to the 68 Lingle had when she left office. While I’m not sure this can be used completely as an excuse to some of Neil’s budget proposals, it would explain why they’ve maybe been slow to respond to criticism and develop alternative proposals.

I think part of the problem, at least so far, has been the Office of the Governor has had no funds to hire the staff required. The Legislature very recently passed the emergency appropriation for the Governor’s Office, so hopefully at least that part of the problem will be eliminated. I also think, given that we’re now just about half-way through the session, they may simply not have the time required to go through a thorough hiring process.

As a stop-gap solution, they’ve been calling for volunteers to work in the office doing various simple jobs; answering phones, sorting mail or files, data entry, etc. If you’re interested in and have time to volunteer, please consider doing so. You can contact Amy Monk at 396-5959 or you can always contact me at info@pd-hawaii.com, or 371-9334.

Many of us may not agree with all the things Neil is doing or has proposed, but I see this as an opportunity to help him and his staff and in doing so hopefully develop an open dialogue with his administration.

January 22, 2011

Civil Unions – The time is right!

Filed under: HI Politics,Legislature — Tags: , — rachel @ 1:25 pm

The time may *finally* be right to enact a “civil unions” law in Hawaii. After a  roller coaster session last year, HB444 relating to Civil Unions was approved by the legislature only to be vetoed by the Governor, making it farther than any other similar bill had in Hawaii. [A decent summary of HB444 history can be read on wikipedia.] After a very public and emotional fight during an election year, politicians on the record in favor of equal rights for all were returned to their seats by voters despite efforts against them by religious groups opposed to HB444. That most important “poll” conducted in the voting booths, coupled with the election of a new Governor who is in favor of Civil Unions set up the current legislative session as an opportune time to pass legislation that would grant all the rights, protections and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. The common feeling as the legislative session approached was that a civil unions bill would be introduced, heard and passed quickly and early in the session so that lawmakers could then move on to other less contentious topics.

So here we are. The legislative session opened on Weds Jan 19th. Thursday and Friday seemed to be mostly house-keeping days as committee seats were assigned and bills were introduced. A quick look at the legislature’s website shows that so far 1096 bills have been introduced in the Senate and 820 have been introduced in the House. A text search shows that of those, 2 Senate bills — SB231 & SB232 —  relate to civil unions. More on the difference between these two bills later. Late on Friday afternoon, after many people had moved on to pau hana happy hours, a notice was released announcing a hearing for SB232 on Monday at 10am. We had expected a bill to be heard early, but wow, that was really fast! Now it is time to do our part and get our testimonies together over the weekend and submit them before 4pm on Monday.

First of all — please do your part and submit testimony enthusiastically supporting civil unions, and equality for LGBT families, by Monday January 24, before 4 pm.  Select one of these ways to submit testimony:

  1. By email: Send to the Judiciary Committee at JDLTestimony@Capitol.hawaii.gov. Testimony sent to individual senators will not be accepted.
  2. By web: Testimony may be submitted online if less than 4MB in size at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony.
  3. In person: Bring one copy to the committee clerk in Room 002, State Capitol.
  4. By fax: Fax to the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Office at 808-586-6659 or 1-800-586-6659 (toll free for neighbor islands), at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

Submitted testimony must include the bill number (SB232), as well as the hearing date and time (January 25, 10 am). The most effective testimony is a brief paragraph that tells the committee who you are and why you support equality. If you can’t find the testimony you submitted last year, or if you want to get ideas from others, all of last years testimony can be viewed here.

Now, onto some rambling commentary after the jump… (more…)

September 28, 2010

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono Completes Survey

Filed under: Elections,HI Politics,National Politics — frosty @ 7:40 pm

REGARDING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT

1. What steps do you think Congress should take to rebuild our economy on a more sustainable, yet economically viable basis?

We need to make sure that people have jobs, and we need to make sure that the measures we pass have a proven economic benefit. I voted for the Recovery Act because it would produce jobs. And in spite of the Republican rhetoric about the Recovery Act, “not doing anything,” the fact is that the Act has brought over a billion dollars back to Hawaii and put firefighters and police and construction workers and teachers — all here in Hawaii — back to work. I voted for the extension of unemployment benefits because statistics show that it would — far more than tax cuts to the rich — help stimulate the economy.

Stimulating the economy is also about preserving and diversifying our economy here in Hawaii. For example, I voted for a bill that provides tax incentives to the solar energy industry. I met with people working in that industry here in Hawaii, and they told me that if this bill didn’t pass, then they’d have to lay off many of their employees. So I helped pass the bill to help preserve that local “green” industry. (more…)

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