Djou, Delegation Voting Patterns; TV News Worse; Rail Fund Raid; Matson Surcharge; Asteroids

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Djou was one of Least Conservative Republicans in Congress


The National Journal’s latest analysis of Congressional voting patterns found that former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou was one of the least conservative Republicans last year, while Rep. Mazie Hirono tied for 25th most liberal.

The ranking also found Hawaii’s Senatorial delegation mirrored each other, with Sen. Daniel Akaka and Sen. Daniel Inouye tying each other as having the 19th most liberal voting record.

The annual analysis assigns scores for their roll-call votes on key economic, social, and foreign-policy issues to come up with an overall score and then a ranking. Hirono, for example, had a voting score that was about 91 percent more liberal than other representatives, tying her with California’s Doris Matsui and Maryland’s Elijah Cummings.

Djou, meanwhile, was the second-most liberal Republican after Louisiana’s Rep. Joseph Cao, coming in with a voting record that ranked him ahead of at least three Democrat Congressmen.

Djou sported a moderate voting record (he voted more liberally than the rest of the House about 42 percent of the time, and more conservatively 58 percent) after winning a special election in May when Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa split the Democrat vote.

But it did little to help him in the general election in November as Hanabusa came back to beat Djou in Hawaii’s Democratic-leaning 1st Congressional District.

Media Group Says Study Shows Honolulu TV News Worse

The Media Council Hawaii says a study by the University of Delaware School of Public Affairs and Administration supports its complaint that a shared-services agreement between Honolulu television stations has had a negative impact on television news quality, diversity and competition.

The study by Danilo Yanich by the school’s Center for Community Research and Service has been filed with the Federal Communications Administration. The media council said the study supports its complaint against the owners of the stations who created a shared service arrangement between KGMB, KHNL and KFVE.

The report looks at news coverage during the 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts before and after the October 2009 shared services agreement took effect. The arrangement resulted in a simulcasting of newcasts for KGMB and KHNL.

Among other findings, the research shows that stories produced by reporters known as “packages” dropped as stories in which anchors read a script over video increased. The study noted the trend is significant because packages typically involve enterprising news coverage while anchor voiceover stories are shorter and less extensive stories.

The report also found the number of stories about crime increased while the duration of stories fell.

The media council said the agreement has resulted in the number of stories devoted to public issues dropping along with the median length of the stories.

The media council said the findings support concerns by Christopher S. Reed (attorney with the U.S. Justice Department’s Anti-Trust Division) about the “potentially adverse effects” of shared service agreements.

Senate Committee Votes to Obtain Funds from City

A Hawaii Senate measure that would have the City and County of Honolulu return to the state $200 million of the money raised by through a General Excise Tax surcharge has passed the Ways and Means Committee.

The measure has been opposed by Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and others who say the surcharge money is to be used to build the city’s rail transit project. They say the borrowing of the money by the state may jeopardize $1.55 billion of federal funding for the project.

But the committee said the bill, SB1426, is a reasonable means of achieving a balanced budget for state operations without adversely impacting the City’s fiscal status or resorting to a drastic reduction in state services or personnel.

Matson Raising Fuel Surcharge to 35 percent

Matson Navigation Co. is raising its fuel surcharge by 8.5 percentage points because of higher oil prices.

The increase will take effect on March 27 and increase the surcharge from 26.5 percent to 35 percent.

Haleakala Telescope Sees Record Number of Asteroids

The University of Hawaii says the Pan-STARRS PS1 telescope on Haleakala, Maui, discovered 19 near-Earth asteroids on the night of January 29, the most asteroids discovered by one telescope on a single night.

The Institute for Astronomy at UH said Pan-STARRS software engineer Larry Denial spent that Saturday night in his University of Hawaii at Manoa office in Honolulu processing the PS1 data as it was transmitted from the telescope over the Internet. During the night and into the next afternoon, he and others came up with 30 possible new near-Earth asteroids.

“This record number of discoveries shows that PS1 is the world’s most powerful telescope for this kind of study,” said Nick Kaiser, head of the Pan-STARRS project. “NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s support of this project illustrates how seriously they are taking the threat from near-Earth asteroids.”

The institute said asteroids are discovered because they appear to move against the background of stars. To confirm asteroid discoveries, scientists must carefully re-observe them several times within 12-72 hours to define their orbits, otherwise they are likely to be “lost.”

Two of the asteroids, it turns out, have orbits that come extremely close to Earth’s. There is no immediate danger, but a collision in the next century or so, while unlikely, cannot yet be ruled out. Astronomers will be paying close attention to these objects.

Contest Features Giveaway of Marketing Makeover

The Berry Co., publisher of the Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages, said Oahu business are eligible to enter its Extreme Marketing Makeover contest.

The companies can compete for the about $60,000 print and digital advertising prize that will be awarded nationally. Additionally, local Oahu businesses will have a chance to win one of three packages valued at a total of approximately $37,000.

To be eligible to enter, businesses must be located on Oahu and have fewer than 100 employees. Entrants must submit a 90-second video or short narrative explaining why their company deserves an “Extreme Marketing Makeover” by April 1, 2011. For complete contest rules and entry details, call 808-593-8300 or visit

Entertainment, Celebrity News: Jack Johnson, Toy Story in Hawaii

Hawaii musician Jack Johnson is releasing the last video from his from his To the Sea album. The clip for From the Clouds features Johnson filmed in slow motion as he seemingly floats through the sky, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The video was shot using special equipment as Johnson leapt from a 40-foot diving board.

A short six-minute film featuring the characters from Toy Story is titled Hawaiian Vacation. Entertainment Weekly reports the short will be shown in theatres before screenings of Cars 2 starting this June.