Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii’s Political Arena

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”More than 600 Subpoenas Issued in Harris Campaign Spending Investigation”


Law enforcement sources told Hawaii Reporter more than 600 subpoenas have been issued over the last several months in the investigation of the campaign and administration of Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris by city investigators.

The vast majority of the subpoenas were sent to consultants hired by the city, such as architects and engineers, who accepted city construction and consulting jobs and then made substantial contributions to the campaign of the mayor.

Other subpoenas were sent to attorneys, accountants and business managers who made sizable donations to the Harris campaign before receiving contracts, zoning or permits from the city.

The Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu City Prosecutor and the state Campaign Spending Commission are investigating the connection between contracts, zoning and permitting issued by the city and campaign donations to the mayor.

The mayor’s supporters allegedly are promoting a “pay to play” system, where those companies seeking contracts, subcontracts, zoning or permitting are asked to contribute to the campaign of Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris.

”Campaign Spending Commission Set to Fine More Consulting Companies for Illegal Contributions”

The state Campaign Spending Commission has investigated the campaigns of several powerful Democrats including Honolulu Major Jeremy Harris, former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano, former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and former Maui Mayor Kimo Apana, and found in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars made in “false name” contributions.

The individuals and corporations that made those false name contributions are being fined heavily for those illegal contributions and in the most severe cases are referred to the Honolulu Police Department and the Honolulu City Prosecutor for money laundering and other charges.

Tomorrow four more companies are set to appear before the state Campaign Spending Commission’s 5-member panel to finalize their conciliation agreements, including Edward Noda & Associates, Randolph H. Murayama, Grant Thorton LLP and R.T Tanaka Engineers Inc. (Kirk T. Tanaka).

”Council in Political Power Struggle – Media Does Not Tell Whole Story”

Hawaii media last night reported Honolulu City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi was planning an overthrow of City Council Chair Gary Okino and would likely make her move today at the monthly full council meeting, which begins at 10 a.m.

What the media did not report is why Kobayashi was one of five council members considering whether they want to reorganize the 9-member Council.

Council Chair Gary Okino, who is backed by Council Members Nestor Garcia, Barbara Marshall and Mike Gabbard, attempted to re-organize the Council first and throw Kobayashi out as budget chair.

Kobayashi, who has been budget chair since she came on the Council two years ago, has been a highly controversial and aggressive budget chair, carefully scrutinizing every budget item and dollar spent by Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris. Harris, a powerful mayor who has been criticized for his extravagant spending habits, did not like being reigned in and having his budget so carefully reviewed and cut.

Past budget chairs who acted as Kobayashi has while Harris has been in office have historically been ousted in retaliation by the mayor who is a master at rallying just enough council members in his favor to put in the council members of his choice.

And he has historically rewarded those council members who do as he says and punished those who have not.

Case in point: Mufi Hannemann was council chair but was ousted during a Council re-organization inspired by the mayor after Hannemann asked too many questions about the mayor’s budget and became too critical of the mayor’s projects. Hannemann was replaced by Jon Yoshimura as chair, and although Yoshimura is no longer a council member, he is still being rewarded by the mayor with a lucrative contract from the city Board of Water Supply. Another supporter of the mayor, former Council Member Steve Holmes, also is being rewarded with a substantial city salary from a useless position in the mayor’s administration.

Another example of the mayor turning on those who ask too many questions: John Henry Felix was Council budget chair until he got too critical of the mayor and was replaced in a re-organization encouraged by the mayor.

Kobayashi, who says it is not likely she and her supporters will attempt a re-organization today because they have to think about what they will do and how the Council will be re-organized, says she is only reacting to Okino’s move and protecting her chairmanship.

”Lingle Hosts First ‘Talk Story’ Event in Kailua”

Gov. Linda Lingle, over protests of Democrat critics who say she is too good at getting favorable publicity for herself, hosted her first “Talk Story” event of the year last night.

The governor, who is traveling throughout the state to meet with various communities about their concerns and wishes, met first with the people from Kailua and Waimanalo at Kailua High School. Lingle’s administrators came along to answer any questions from the audience that might involve their respective departments.

While the governor is fielding questions and addressing concerns on almost any issue, Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona is on his own independent “Talk Story” tour to discuss Hawaii’s illegal drug problem, especially the “ice” epidemic which, according to the media, is sweeping the state.

Last night, the governor did answer questions about public education, charter schools, Hawaii’s low income housing “crisis” and the state budget.

”Case Goes to Israel”

Congressman Ed Case, D-Second District, Hawaii, is in Israel as a part of one of the largest Congressional delegations ever to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, members of the Knesset, and Arab and Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. The delegation of 29 members of the U.S. House plan to discuss prospects for peace in the Middle East, Israel’s security situation, and the status of important economic and political trends in Israel.

The delegation also will meet with defense and economic experts, peace process negotiators and leaders from a variety of religious and political groups in Israel and visit centers for new Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, military bases, universities, hospitals, and Jewish, Christian and Islamic holy sites.

Case says this visit will provide insight into a region that is the key to so much of America’s foreign policy. “Our delegation will meet with Israeli, Arab and Palestinian leaders and key representatives from major political groups and a cross-section of Israel’s population. In the wake of the war against Iraq, our nation needs to refocus our attention and re-dedicate our commitment to the Middle East peace process,” Case says.

The trip is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a supporting organization of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIEF sponsors education programs such as trips to Israel for community leaders and elected officials, seminars on Middle East issues at universities across the country, and other projects that help to educate the general public about the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Following the trip to Israel, Case be in Hawaii from Aug. 11 to Sept. 2 for a three-week district work period, which will include a full schedule of meetings, speeches, and six Talk Story town meetings on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai.

”Organization Calls for End to Judicial Filibuster”

This week, a renegade minority in the U.S. Senate continued to filibuster several highly qualified judicial nominees who probably have the support of a majority of the Senate. We can’t know that, however, until the full Senate is able to hold a vote, says Dick Armey, spokesman for a Washington D.C.-based think tank, Citizens for a Sound Economy.

Last Tuesday, for example, another attempt to override the filibuster of judicial nominee Priscilla Owen failed in the U.S. Senate. Although 53 Senators supported holding a clean vote on the Owen nomination, 60 votes were needed to defeat Senate obstructionists who continue to logjam the judicial selection process, Armey says.

Owens is nominated to the Fifth Circuit, which has so few judges that her seat is classified as a “judicial emergency.” Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) supports an orderly, functioning judiciary — led by judges who respect Constitutional limits on governmental power — as an essential element of our economic freedom and growth. CSE members have been rallying in Michigan and other states to demand prompt votes on all of President Bush’s judicial nominees.

CSE President Paul Beckner says a Senate minority is holding America’s justice system hostage. He points to Priscilla Owens, Miguel Estrada, and Bill Pryor, who are all highly qualified, mainstream nominees with bi-partisan support, and a number of other nominees who are bottled up in the Judiciary Committee.

“It’s time to stop using our judicial system to settle partisan political scores. These judicial nominees deserve a fair up-and-down vote by the full Senate, especially since many courts are already operating on a ‘judicial emergency’ basis. CSE Members across the country will continue to take action and demand fair treatment, and a prompt vote for these nominees.”

”Program Expanded To Reach Candidates in West Oahu”

Argosy University/Honolulu announced in a partnership with Kahi Mohala, the university has expanded its master’s degree program in marriage & family therapy to the west side of Oahu, thereby reaching hundreds of new candidates. The program at the Kahi Mohala campus is slated to begin this fall and is an extension of Hawaii’s oldest and largest marriage and family therapy program, which previously has been successfully offered at Argosy University’s Hilo/Hawaii, Maui and Kauai extension campuses. Argosy University/Honolulu offers a doctoral program in clinical psychology; post-doctoral programs in clinical respecialization and psychopharmacology; master’s programs in clinical psychology, school psychology concentration, marriage and family therapy, and the bachelor of arts completion program. To learn more about Argosy University visit the Web site at https://www.argosyu.edu or call the school at 808-536-5555 (888-323-2777, toll free Neighbor Islands).

”Looking for Jailees, Judges and Entertainers”

Good News Jail & Prison Ministry is planning its 6th annual jail-a-thon on Friday, Aug. 29 at the Ward Warehouse center stage from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The ministry hosts a jail-a-thon every year to raise funds to keep chaplain positions in Hawaii’s prisons because the state does not fund them. Coordinator Cheryl Rzonca, the station manager of TBN-Honolulu, says she is looking for volunteer jailees, judges and entertainers. Those interested in volunteering can call Rzonca at (808) 521-5826 or email her at mailto:crzonca@tbn.org

”Pizza Hut: $14,000 for New Books”

The Bay Clinic, Inc., a family of Community Health Centers on the Big Island, received a grant of $14,000 from the Hawaii Pizza Hut Literacy Fund to purchase new books for its Reach Out and Read Program. The clinic’s program promotes reading by exposing families to reading during well-baby check ups, providing new books, and recruiting volunteer readers for the clinics’ waiting rooms.

The Reach Out and Read program affects young families with children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years who are most at risk for reading failure. The Pizza Hut Hawaii grant will be used to purchase books for the health centers’ three established sites in Pahoa, Kau and Hilo, and the expansion of the Reach Out and Read program in the newest family health center in Keaau, upper Puna.

Pizza Hut Hawaii, which has 46 locations in Hawaii, five in Guam and one in Saipan, is a strong advocate for literacy, and since 1992, the company has successfully raised more than $3 million for Hawaii literacy programs through its popular “Carryout for Literacy” campaign.

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