Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, November 15, 1999

Risk of missing
Nov. 11 irked

WASHINGTON -- The threat of staying in Washington to complete long-delayed work on the 2000 budget raised a storm of protests last week from House members who wanted to catch a plane home for Veterans Day speeches and parades.

Rep. Neil Abercrombie was among those who successfully appealed to House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R, Texas) to let them adjourn. Armey initially warned members of a late night on the Wednesday before Veterans Day because of the budget dispute.

"This is unseemly," Abercrombie shouted as the presiding officer banged the gavel, demanding a return to order. "I will not be silenced on this."

Abercrombie said the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was "perhaps the most important event that took place in this century," and "I intend to be on the battleship Missouri for that commemoration (on Veteran's Day)."

The House will reconvene tomorrow to finish the budget, but it is unlikely their work will be done by the end of the week.

TRASK TAKEN TO TASK: U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka says he is disappointed by the rancor caused after Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Mililani Trask publicly referred to U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye as a "one-armed bandit."

In a statement, Akaka noted Inouye's work on Native Hawaiian education, health and housing issues. He said Inouye's commitment and record of service to the people of Hawaii and the country stand "magnificently on their merits."

"I respect Mililani Trask for her dedication and focus on efforts to address the needs and concerns of the native Hawaiian community," Akaka said.

"However, I cannot agree with her characterization of Sen. Inouye."

Akaka said the December reconciliation meetings, in which Trask felt Inouye would interfere, are a time for all Hawaiians to work together toward reconciliation with the federal government. The process is not intended to divide the people of Hawaii but to resolve old divisions, he said.

HELP FIX THINGS: If you have an idea on how to improve state government, lawmakers want to hear it.

"There Should Be A Law -- New Ideas for the 2000 Legislature" is the topic of the Nov. 23 Aiea town meeting. State Rep. Tom Okamura (D, Aiea) said the meeting is an opportunity to share ideas for new legislation and ways to improve state government. The meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Aiea Library on Moanalua Road.

NEW TRANSIT PLAN: Here we go again: The administration of Mayor Jeremy Harris is seeking City Council aid in his quest for a high-capacity transit system through urban Honolulu.

Transportation Services Director Cheryl Soon last week sent the council a draft resolution calling for preliminary support of the new $590 million transit project.

Soon, in the proposal, calls not only for support of the transit plan's concept but also endorsement of "a preliminary financial approach to include phased use of federal transportation funds, local highway funds and city general obligation bonds to provide the necessary funding."

No new taxes are proposed.

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