Last Week To Vote For Oahu Neighborhood Boards; More on Rail Costs Locally and Nationally; GOP Votes Against Akaka Bill, Rail, All Tax Hikes, at Convention

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Last Week To Vote For Oahu Neighborhood Boards

Friday, May 20th concludes voting for the 2011-2013 Neighborhood Boards on Oahu. At stake are some 439 seats spread across 36 boards. The election, which was conducted by telephone, walk-in and online, drew 465 candidates.


In response to 2009’s low voter participation, local parties made efforts to recruit for the boards and announced endorsements of their candidates. The Hawaii Republican Party posted endorsements of its candidates on their website and on Twitter while Democrats circulated e-mails to registered members. This year also attracted the first ever Hawaii Right To Life PAC endorsements for the boards.

Perhaps the most unique pitch for the 2011 election was in Waipahu where Neighborhood Board #22 at-large candidate Danny de Gracia in April launched a radio ad campaign entitled “The Heart of Hawaii.” de Gracia, 31, authored the first independent audit of the State of Hawaii’s special funds accounts and found over $1.4 billion dollars in excess monies, as well as a comprehensive financial audit of the Executive Branch entitled “The 2011 Real State of the State.”

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: No cost-benefit studies done for Obama’s $53 billion high-speed rail boondoggle

The City & County of Honolulu is planning to build a $5.3 billion 20-mile steel on steel elevated rail system – and to fund it – Mayor Peter Carlisle is counting on an estimated $1.5 billion in funding from the federal government.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Washington Examiner reports on President Obama’s plans to fund high speed rail across the country (something the House GOP majority is opposing) and the U.S. DOT’s acknowledgement that it has performed no cost benefit analysis on the rails that the federal government plans to fund.
Her report: “There’s no better example of excessive government spending than the $53 billion President Obama allocated for high-speed rail in his 2012 budget.

“Shockingly, in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit advocacy group, the U.S. Department of Transportation admitted this week that it has performed no cost-benefit analysis — routine comparisons of costs of infrastructure projects versus their benefits — of constructing a high-speed rail system.

“Federal Railroad Administration chief counsel William Fashouer wrote here, “the agency’s files do not contain any records related to cost-benefit analyses created by or on behalf of the Federal Railroad Administration related to the construction of a national high-speed and intercity passenger rail network.”

“Cost-benefit analyses are vital to make sure federal government dollars are wisely spent.

“Obama wants to spend $53 billion on a mode of transportation few Americans use, yet his administration has performed no studies on the feasibility either of the entire system or of individual components, such as California’s Corcoran-Borden or Florida’s Orlando-Tampa high-speed rail lines.

“Obama’s goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail by 2037.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

A prominent group of politicians and community organizations in Hawaii are challenging the Honolulu rail project, which has already seen its first project contract double in cost.

Hawaii GOP Resolutions Oppose Rail Project, Akaka Bill and All Tax/Fee Hikes

At the Hawaii GOP convention over the weekend, delegates passed several resolutions taking strong fiscal conservative stands on controversial political issues.

Held on the island of Kauai at the Kauai Beach Resort, with more than 200 people in attendance, delegates voted to oppose both the city’s proposed $5.3 billion Honolulu rail transit project and the Akaka Bill.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-HI, has introduced and reintroduced the Akaka Bill, officiallly known as the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act, over the last decade in hopes of establishing a new Hawaiian nation within the state of Hawaii and create a new tribe for native Hawaiians (who were never part of a tribe before).

In the past, with Hawaii GOP Governor Linda Lingle heavily endorsing both rail and the Akaka bill, the party delegates remained neutral on these issues, only voting in favor of native Hawaiian rights (without specifically referring to the Akaka Bill). Nothing about rail was ever in the platform.

Hawaii GOP delegates, this weekend, also opposed the Jones Act, which mandates American ships with American crew transport goods within American borders. The law hurts Hawaii consumers, opponents say, by limiting competition and increasing the cost of goods shipped to Hawaii by an estimated 30 percent. Those who support it, including Hawaii’s all Democrat Congressional delegation, say the shipping act protects ports and American jobs.

In total, 14 resolutions passed at the convention. Two other resolutions support Hawaii’s small business and oppose all tax and fee increases.

Hawaii GOP delegates also voted to change the way they select presidential delegates so they can make their preferences known about their favorite presidential candidates in time for it to matter. Voting is set for March 2012.

“This change will put us in the thick of things and Hawaii will not be irrelevant any more because of the process. We will be given opportunity to participate,” said Dylan Nonaka, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Hawaii.

The Hawaii GOP also launched a capital campaign to raise $200,000 to pay of its mortgage for its campaign offices at its Kapiolani headquarters and is working to pay off a $70,000 debt from the last campaign.