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

June 19, 2012

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.

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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…)

June 9, 2011

Steering Committee Elections

Filed under: Elections,General — frosty @ 10:22 am

At our July Membership Meeting, Progressive Democrats of Hawaii will be electing the Steering Committee for the next year.  Here is the slate as it stands now:

  • Michael Deweert – Co-Chair and/or Member At-Large
  • Josh Frost – Co-Chair and/or Member At-Large
  • Gail Breakey – Co-Chair and/or Member At-Large
  • Peter Ehrhorn – Member At-Large
  • Alf Malalang – Member At-Large
  • Bart Dame – Member At-Large
  • Mary Guinger – Member At-Large

Nominations will be taken until Thursday, June 16. The final list will be sent out on the 17th.

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.

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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…)

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