There are 11 people running active campaigns to succeed US Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, but the biggest three names in the race seem to be rolling over everyone else.
The juiciest news so far is that former Republican Governor Linda Lingle is paying $5,000 a week to Oceanic Time Warner Cable so she can have her own 24/7 cable channel that shows nothing but Linda Lingle footage, commercials and campaign films. According to Honolulu Civil Beat’s June 15 post on the channel, it will cost her campaign $105,000 if she keeps this up until November.
While nothing to laugh at, spending more than 100G’s on her own TV channel is nothing to Lingle: according to the latest data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Lingle’s campaign committee has already raised $3.1 million, but has so far only spent slightly less than $849,000. Besides, while having your own channel is certainly something to brag about, concentrating on just one station means it’s very easy for people to watch something else (like The Colbert Report, which skewered the new channel).
And that something else just might be former Democratic Congressman Ed Case. On June 15, The Maui News endorsed him in the Democratic primary race, though more for what he’s not (“a solid vote for ideology without compromise”) than for what he is (“trying to run a campaign based on reality”).
Of course, Lingle and Case share the fact that they’re both out of power. Democratic Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (endorsed by George “Mr. Sulu” Takei!) is the only one of the Big Three still in power, and that’s a huge boost.
For instance, on June 8 her office mailed me a large envelope, unsolicited. Marked “U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES” and “PUBLIC DOCUMENT” (sent at taxpayer expense), it contained a letter from her, addressed to me personally, introducing her new “sustainability plan” that would “outline how Washington can help Hawaii grow more of our own food and support our state’s renewable energy goals.” With the letter was a large blue folder containing her business card, a press release and a 35-page copy of the plan itself, complete with colorful photos, charts and 129 footnotes. Nothing on the letter, plan or envelope said anything about Hirono’s Senate campaign, but it didn’t have to.
Now that’s power that cable channels and Maui News endorsements can’t buy.
IF ONLY THIS HAPPENED LAST MONTH…
During the late night hours of June 14, War Memorial Gym flooded, causing at least $200,000 in damage.
“County work crews said the watermain break was caused by someone hitting a fire hydrant in the Maui Lani subdivision at around 5:30 p.m.,” said the official County of Maui press release sent out the next day. “The crash blew a regulator which sent high pressure water through the system and overwhelmed the aging pipes beneath the gym sometime prior to 11:30 p.m. The water then burst through the floor in one of the gym offices. County workers at the scene overnight said there was enough water flooding hallways and offices to fill an olympic-sized pool.”
Now if you’ll think back, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa asked the county to start spending $21.5 million on a new gym complex! It was the signature element of his call for the county to “be bold.”
“War Memorial Gymnasium was built in the 1950’s in honor of our Maui residents who gave their lives during military service,” Arakawa said on March 23, when he delivered his Fiscal Year 2013 budget to the Maui County Council. “The gymnasium has served this community well but we need a proper facility that will fit our growing needs. Also the cost to repair the gym continues to increase as the building gets older and things need to be replaced more often.”
But it wasn’t to be. Earlier this month, the council authorized a mere $100,000 when it passed the county’s budget. Councilmembers Mike Victorino and Riki Hokama seemed most opposed to the gym expansion plans, which was especially interesting considering that Keoki Kerr’s May expose of Maui County Council staff bonuses for Hawaii News Now identified those two as granting their staffers the most bonuses in 2011 ($13,750 and $13,000, respectively).
Irony, though soggy, is still wondrous to behold.
KAMEHAMEHA DAY FOULS UP ABERCROMBIE
As has been well reported, Governor Neil Abercrombie messed up a judicial appointment. Not by refusing to make public his short list of appointments, but by actually not making the appointment in time.
On June 12, Abercrombie nominated Wailuku attorney Peter T. Cahill to be a judge on Maui’s Second Circuit Court. The only problem was that Abercrombie had missed the constitutional 30-day deadline for the appointment by two days.
Abercrombie’s office immediately sent out a press release announcing the mistake, which was duly reported by all the state’s big media outlets. Cahill didn’t really lose out, because the Judicial Selection Commission, which by law got to make the appointment in the event the governor didn’t, turned around and appointed Cahill again.
So it’s all good, except on June 15 Oahu blogger Ian Lind pointed out that no one had yet reported exactly why Abercrombie had missed making the appointment within 30 days. Lind blamed both the governor’s administrative director and the media for not reporting any explanation for the foul-up.
I still had the original governor’s office press release in my inbox, so after reading Lind’s post I emailed Donalyn DelaCruz, Abercrombie’s Deputy Director of Communications, and asked why the appointment was made so late. After first referring me back to the original press release (which never addressed the “Why?” question) she offered the following:
“The deadline, which fell on a holiday weekend, had caused confusion by staff who believed that the business-day of Tuesday was the effective deadline,” DelaCruz wrote. “In some cases if a deadline falls on a nonbusiness-day, the deadline would fall on the following business-day. That did not apply in this case in which the Constitution prescribes the timeline as ‘within 30 days.’ Therefore, when the Governor received the list on May 11th, he had until Sunday, June 10th to make the appointment.”
Of course: it was Kamehameha Day’s fault! Yes, a month ago the governor’s staff could have asked the Attorney General’s office for a clear deadline ruling. Or Abercrombie could have simply made the appointment a whole lot sooner than what his office thought was the final day of decision. But it’s more fun to blame a holiday.