Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment About Hawaii’s Political Arena – June 3, 2010

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State Senator Keeps “State Secret” About Gov. Lingle

Sen. Fred Hemmings, R- Kailua had a “state” secret all these years while serving in the Hawaii state legislature. He taught Gov. Linda Lingle how to surf. She talked about that experience yesterday when establishing surfing reserves in Hawaii through an executive order. Hemmings is the 1968 world surfing champion and the innovator of  several surfing television series on all three major networks.

Duckie Goes to the Capitol

More news about Fred Hemmings: He rescued a baby duck by his Kailua home recently that had its leg nearly broken off and could not keep up with his mother and siblings (the duckie, not Hemmings). Now the one legged fuzzy yellow creature named “Duckie” accompanies him everywhere, even to his Senate office. Yesterday, Duckie had a nice bed in Hemmings’ senate drawer.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Sues All 76 Legislators

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs sued all 76 lawmakers, each who are named individually, over a $200 million authorization that Lingle made to OHA in 2006 to settle claims over ceded lands or former royal crown lands.

OHA, a government agency funded by taxpayer dollars, wants the Hawaii Supreme Court to force the Hawaii legislature to pay $200 million to OHA.  Trustees said the governor agreed to pay up in 2006, but lawmakers, who were delivered a whopper of a copy of the lawsuit today, say it is not up to the governor it is up to the legislature to authorized the funds.

The state is in the midst of one of the worst budget crises in history, so it is unlikely OHA will get the funds in the next couple of years unless the court mandates it.

Those Shoes Weren’t Made for Walking

Attorney Richard Turbin and his wife attorney Rae Saint Chu held their 34th wedding anniversary celebration last night at their Kahala beachfront home.

Richard Turbin

Turbin, a Democrat who is one of three candidates in the non-partisan fall elections to replace Charles Djou in the Honolulu City Council, announced to his guests that he’d already canvassed 6,000 homes in his district and plans to double that number by Election Day.

As proof of literally pounding the pavement, he says his shoes have taken a beating – he’s already resoled 2 pairs of dress shoes 2 times.

New Feature on Hawaii Reporter: Livestreaming

Hawaii Republicans and Democrats at their May conventions were gracious enough to allow Hawaii Reporter to livestream the action, debates, speeches, interviews and the inevitable political drama on both sides. See the full livestreaming at https://boss.hawaiireporter.com/television/live-streaming/ for speeches from local political celebrities Neil Abercombie, Mufi Hannemann and Duke Aiona along with Daniel Inouye, Daniel Akaka and Colleen Hanabusa. Interviews at the Hawaii GOP convention were also conducted live along with the filming of the candidate parade. Hawaii Reporter was also the only media to broadcast live Ed Case’s decision to step down from the Hawaii Congressional election this fall after coming in third in the special election. More on that below.

Politics, Religion, Marriage Debated at Democratic Convention

At the recent Hawaii Democratic Convention, delegates in the civil rights platform committee changed the platform on Friday night to include a mention of support for House Bill 444, which is on Gov. Linda Lingle’s desk pending her approval or veto. The bill, which establishes civil union partnerships in Hawaii, was hotly debated at the Democratic convention, with atheists saying the catholic church shouldn’t force its values and its position against the bill on the general public and a handful of Catholics saying they were offended by the discussion and opposed the legislation being in the platform.

But the proponents of HB 444 won out – and this may have some yet-to-be-determined impact on the 2010 gubernatorial primary race between former Congressman Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, both who are running for governor as Democrats. Hannemann supporters wanted HB 444 and the affirmation of civil unions out of the platform because Hannemann, a Mormon, is opposed to the legislation. Abercrombie is in favor. Some Hannemann supporters were concerned that Hannemann might face bias from the party since he isn’t supportive of HB 444 and same sex marriage.

Race and Politics in Hawaii

Who says (besides the local Democrats) that the Hawaii GOP is made up of all white people? That wasn’t the case at the Hawaii GOP convention in mid May, but there were a lot of Caucasians at the Democratic convention supporting Neil Abercrombie in his parade before the convention. There is nothing wrong with that, of course – just a note from a local Irish girl since the Hawaii Democrats have made an issue of that in the past.

Inouye Speaks, the Crowd Stands

When Hawaii’s senior senator Daniel Inouye walked into the room at the Democratic Convention last Sunday, the audience stood in awe of him holding up “Dan” Inouye’s campaign signs. In his speech at the Convention, Inouye, a WWII veteran who has been in office for 56 years, said he was outraged that his opponents have called a “communist.” He also focused most of his talk detailing the “wrongs” of the past in Hawaii that he says he and other prominent Democrats helped right. There was little talk about the future or present. He did say he was proud to be the oldest senator in history at 85 to become a grandfather, and he was happy his son “finally learned to do it.” He honored his now deceased wife Maggie and introduced his new wife Irene to the crowd. Inouye, now one of the oldest people in the Senate, ended his talk by pledging to be in office for 6 more years, running again in 6 years when this term is up and to keep the “government pork” coming to Hawaii.

Party Pooper or Peace Maker?

Just when the Congressional election was getting interesting, Congressman Ed Case, D-Hawaii, (2002-2007) the rebel rouser in the party, went against everything he’s ever stated about challenging the Democratic powers that be, and dropped out of the Congressional District 1 primary and endorsed his opponent Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.

Ed Case: Party Pooper or Peace Maker?

Case, who had a large lead in the polls for the May 22 special District 1 congressional election to fill Abercrombie’s seat, came in third place after Republican Charles Djou and Democrat Colleen Hanabusa.

Democrats say the three-way race in the special congressional election this May to fill Abercrombie’s seat allowed Djou to win the seat with 40 percent of the vote and they don’t want that to happen again to the congressional seat they see as theirs.

Case says he decided after much discussion with family, friends and supporters, that this congressional election is the “wrong fight” at the wrong time. He didn’t say if he’d made any kind of deal before withdrawing or what office he’d run for next. He didn’t return calls to Hawaii Reporter. Case has served in the Hawaii House of Representatives, the US Congress and has run for governor.

Inouye said Ed Case showed he is a real Democrat by stepping down from the congressional district 1 primary race. Inouye had campaigned against Case and for Hanabusa because of a 2006 grudge over Case’s Senatorial challenge to US Senator Daniel Akaka.

The golden rule of Hawaii politics isn’t do unto others. Rather Inouye, Hawaii’s godfather of Democratic politics since he entered the US Senate office 56 years ago, made it clear since 2006, Democrats are not allowed to challenge sitting congressional Democrats while they are in office – they can only run for a seat after someone resigns or dies. Case, of course, broke that rule in 2006 and he’s been on the hot seat ever since. Is Inouye’s labeling of Case as a true Democrat a signal that Inouye and Case have finally made up?

George W. Bush Still Taking Heat More Than a Year and a Half Out of Office

Congressional District 1 Candidate Colleen Hanabusa, in her speech to delegates, blamed George W. Bush for the current dire economic conditions our state and nation are facing.

What the Heck? (https://www.insidesocal.com/)

Hawaii GOP Gets Blamed Too

Gubernatorial Candidate Neil Abercrombie said in his convention speech that his work in the last 20 years in Washington DC to improve Hawaii is being wiped out by the current Republican leadership in Hawaii.

Abercrombie’s speech ran just 13 minutes – remarkably short compared to his fiery but long former convention speeches. See his entire speech in the Hawaii LIVE television section of Hawaii Reporter.

Politics at a Political Convention

Some Abercrombie supporters at the convention were upset that his opponent Mufi Hannemann was allowed to speak as a gubernatorial candidate because Hannemann has only announced his intent to run and has not filed his official paperwork.

Abercrombie declared his intent to run for governor several months ago and resigned from Congress last February. Hannemann just announced last Thursday, the convention started Friday, and he spoke Saturday.

In addition, Hannemann has not resigned as Honolulu mayor, which Abercrombie supporters say may be legal but isn’t ethical. Hannemann doesn’t have to resign until he files for office, which can be as late as July 20.

Mufi Hannemann, Duke Aiona, Neil Abercrombie
Mufi Hannemann, Duke Aiona, Neil Abercrombie

Meanwhile some Hannemann supporters at the convention said they felt there was some bias against them in terms of scheduling.

Hannemann was on Maui on Saturday morning and the convention organizers had his speech set for 10:30 a.m. reportedly despite repeated requests from the Hannemann camp to make it later in the afternoon so Hannemann could attend his own speech.

No word on why he was on Maui for the morning of the convention. He finally did speak just after 3 p.m. – Abercrombie spoke earlier in the day.

More politics at the convention – who had a booth and who didn’t and where those booths were placed and next to who were they placed.

For example, Mufi Hannemann had a booth immediately as delegates walked in and on the backside of his booth was Lyla Berg’s lieutenant governor’s booth, which was not easy to see. Like Hannemann, Neil Abercrombie had a prominent place too, but he was flanked by Senators Norman Sakamoto and Gary Hooser, both who are running for lieutenant governor. Way, way, way down the convention display area, there was a lieutenant governor campaign booth for House member Jon Riki Karamatsu. Colleen Hanabusa’s booth was right next to Congresswoman Mazie Hirono’s booth and Ed Case did not have a booth. The placement sent a message about party favorites whether or not they were intentional.

Kudos to Both Democrats and Republicans

Kudos to both the Hawaii GOP and Hawaii Democratic organizers for allowing the media full access to the convention debates and candidates speeches – the transparency that both parties say is needed won out the day.

Malia Zimmerman is the editor of Hawaii Reporter. Reach her at Malia@hawaiireporter.com