Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii’s Political Arena – April 23, 2003-Hack Attack; Improving Hawaii’s Worst-in-the-Nation Business Climate; Rocky Road Ahead for Pot Hole Filling Mayor; Taxes, Taxes and More Taxes; Satellite City Halls, Parties Targeted in City Budget Crunch; Director Will Ask Governor to Veto Reform Bill; Erin Brockovich is Coming to Hawaii

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“Malia Lt Blue top Image”

”Hack Attack”


First an apology to our readers who attempted over the last couple of
days to log onto HawaiiReporter.com. For the third time in a year,
HawaiiReporter.com was targeted by a hacker. Good news, the security,
which already was extremely tight, has been upgraded substantially to
foil future hack attacks.

The information on this and previous attacks has been turned over to
federal authorities who oversee a special unit that investigates
these kinds of incidents and prosecutes those responsible. These same
federal authorities have successfully tracked and prosecuted hackers,
including one recent case where an individual named Jason Starr, 23,
of Erie, Penn., allegedly targeted OhanaNet, a Hawaii corporation
with this Internet address and caused $8,352 in damages. If
convicted, Starr faces a maximum term of one year in prison, a fine
of $100,000 and restitution to the victims.

Second, thanks to readers who have sent in emails expressing their
concern over the temporary downing of HawaiiReporter.com.

”Improving Hawaii’s Worst-in-the-Nation Business Climate”

Hawaii is rated as having one of the worst business climates in the nation.

Ted Liu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development
and Tourism, will discuss what he plans to do to improve that poor
rating at the Small Business Hawaii Sunrise Breakfast meeting
sponsored by the Copy Shop in Hawaii Kai.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for tomorrow
morning, Thursday, April 24, at Alan Wong’s Pineapple Room in Macy’s
Ala Moana from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Call 396-1724 for more information
and reservations.

”Rocky Road Ahead for Pot Hole Filling Mayor”

When Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris was first elected in 1994, Oahu’s
roads were in pretty good shape. Then Mayor Frank Fasi made sure of
that by repairing more than 250 “road” miles per year.

However, Harris, who was elected in 1994 and began serving his first
4-year term in 1995, touting the theme that his administration was
“doing more with less,” did not see the value in keeping up with the
aggressive repair and maintenance schedule.

Harris reduced substantially the number of road miles repaired
annually over nearly a decade from 250 miles to just around 40 miles.
That neglect caught up to him this year when Hawaii was ranked as
having the worst roads in the nation.

Former Mayor Frank Fasi says instead of paving the roads, Harris
simply filled pot holes in the road. “All he did was patch, patch,
patch,” Fasi says.

Ironically, that patching gave the mayor the nickname “the pothole
mayor” because he was on the radio weekly cheerfully taking calls
from Hawaii drivers complaining about potholes in their neighborhood.
He always promised to send a crew out right away to fill the pothole.

Fasi points out that he insisted road repair costs were taken from
the operating budget, whereas Harris borrows money to patch the pot
holes, a pattern that has permeated every division of Harris’
administration causing the city’s deficit to rise to nearly 20

“Harris says he does ‘more with less’ but he is so far behind on
repair and maintenance of the roads that he actually has to rebuild
1,750 lane miles just to catch up,” Fasi says.

Fasi emphasizes smooth and well-maintained and well-constructed roads
are important to ensure the safety of drivers and to prevent
excessive wear and tear and damage to the cars of Hawaii’s many

City Councilmember Charles Djou, who represents East Oahu and
Waikiki, says the city dropped the repair schedule in 2000 to a low
of 40 to 50 paved miles per year, increasing that repair schedule in
2001 and 2003, saying now the city has to play catch up.

Djou says when the city reduces the amount of roadway it is
resurfacing, the average driver will not realize the roads are not
being maintained right away, but they will see the deterioration over
the nearly one decade they were neglected.

”Taxes, Taxes and More Taxes”

While the Democrats in the Legislature continue to push forward the
largest tax increase in Hawaii’s history in the final days of the
session, Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris is doing his part to make sure
the residents on Oahu get hit with another tax whammy. Harris, just
like his Democrat counterparts in the state Legislature, is
attempting to pass the largest-ever tax increase in the city’s
history, only he is using property taxes to do so.

According to Honolulu City Councilmember Djou and City
Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi, in addition to the tax increase,
Harris also has proposed a number of fee increases, some of them
dramatic, to fund city services.

Djou, taking matters into his own hands, has proposed mild cuts to the mayor’s budget now before the Council for approval, emphasizing the mayor is unnecessarily and irresponsibly increasing his budget by 5.5 percent. If the mayor cuts just 2 percent of his 5.5 percent increase in spending, Djou says the city will be fiscally responsible and Hawaii residents will not be faced with any tax increase to balance the budget.

“I am not saying my proposal will be no pain and all gain,” Djou
says. “There will be cuts to some programs and services. But they
will not lead to the collapse of the city, as the mayor is alleging
in the press.”

”Satellite City Halls, Parties Targeted in City Budget Crunch”

City Council Chair Gary Okino also voiced his concerns over the
budget troubles the city is facing, saying the Council is considering
recommending the city close some of the 11 Satellite City Halls
throughout Oahu.

The city administration opened three additional Satellite City Halls
since Harris was elected, raising the number from 8 to 11.

Harris has continuously touted the benefits of these mini-city centers
serving the public, but his recent fee increase proposal tied to
service at these same Satellite City Halls led City Councilmember
Charles Djou and other council members to criticize the mayor for
purporting to serve the public, while punishing the public
financially for using the Satellites for such services as car

Okino, Djou and City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi also
discussed cutting other programs to help balance the city budget,
such as the “Brunch on the Beach” and “Sunset on the Beach” parties
the city hosts in Waikiki and other areas around Oahu in order to
save taxpayers money.

All agree the parties may in fact generate business in the community
where the parties are being held, but say they don’t want the city
subsidizing the parties when so many other basic services are being

”Director Will Ask Governor to Veto Reform Bill”

State Campaign Spending Director Bob Watada will ask Gov. Linda
Lingle to veto a campaign spending bill before House and Senate
conference committee members should it pass by May 1 in its current

Watada, who has lobbied hard to get campaign finance reform measures
through the Legislature, says the legislation is more damaging then
helpful, and will only create more loopholes in the state Campaign
Spending laws.

Lingle, who also lobbied hard for campaign finance reform, will have
to choose between passing a bill that is severely flawed and creates
provisions for candidates to legally “buy votes,” or kill the bill,
and have Democrats in the Legislature blame her for killing the
“reforms” they put forth. Their strategy is extremely transparent.

Both were working to break the link between contractors and
businesses seeking government contracts who make substantial
contributions to candidates and politicians in office, in return for
being awarded those contracts.

”Erin Brockovich is Coming to Hawaii”

Erin Brockovich, made famous in the award-winning movie starring
Julia Roberts, will be in Hawaii on June 22 to speak to the American
Businesswomen’s Association-Imua Chapter.

Brockovich, who will be celebrating her birthday on the day of the
speech, will speak for about an hour on the toxic tort case she
headed that resulted in a record-breaking settlement of $333 million
for 634 plaintiffs in Hinkley, CA.

The superstar, who is launching her own television series, and is the
author of a book entitled “Life’s a Challenge, but You Can Do It,”
has ties to Hawaii. The law firm she works for is involved in a
lawsuit over water quality in Central Oahu.

Her law firm also plans to open a branch in Hawaii.

The public is invited and can purchase tickets for $75 to attend the
luncheon program by calling 545-1909 or by logging on to

Companies also are welcome to sponsor the event at various levels
ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 per sponsorship, in kind or in cash.
HawaiiReporter.com, Small Business Hawaii and Hawaii Woman Magazine
have already signed up as sponsors.

”’To reach legislators, see:”’ “Representatives at a Glance” and “Senators at a Glance”

”’Send any tittle or tattle you might have to Malia Zimmerman at”’ mailto:Malia@HawaiiReporter.com ”’Send complaints elsewhere. Compliments and news tips accepted here.”’