IN AND AROUND THE CAPITOL
Anzais bid for AG
Teen-age solutions to underage drinkingBy Richard Borreca
Earl Anzai, rejected last year as state budget director, is back before the state Senate, but this time with a new job request.
The 58-year-old lawyer and government analyst is under consideration for the state's top legal post: attorney general.
Last year, senators rejected Anzai for a second four-year term as budget director at the same time they turned down Margery Bronster as attorney general.
Anzai now appears to be in a stronger spot to win confirmation. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing at 9 a.m. tomorrow in the Judiciary Committee conference room at the state Capitol.
"I spoke to him and said it is a new page and he is in a new position," Norman Mizuguchi, Senate president, said.
Last year Mizuguchi voted against Anzai, charging that as budget director, Anzai was a key member in the Cayetano administration that had "failed to revive the economy."
Today, however, Mizuguchi says he isn't rejecting Anzai's appointment out of hand.
"I'm not saying no, I'm waiting to hear what comes out at the hearing," Mizuguchi said.
"From what I have heard for the AG's office and from the department, his management style is getting high ratings," he said.
Anzai is still a controversial figure. He recommended to Cayetano last week that the U.S. Supreme Court decision, ruling the OHA elections illegal, extended to making the present OHA trusteeships vacant.
The decision met with a public uproar, threats of protests and legal action from the OHA board.
Cayetano changed his position, saying the state would ask the state Supreme Court if the offices needed to be refilled before the November elections.
Earlier in the session, Sen. Matt Matsunaga, Judiciary committee co-chairman, said he had not heard any serious objections to Anzai's confirmation.
Cayetano appointed Anzai eight months ago as attorney general. Since then Anzai has restructured several divisions of attorneys and put a separate task force of lawyers to work on education issues, including the Felix-Cayetano special education federal case.
"I asked them to be proactive, we have held workshops and education classes," he said.
The department under Bronster had been criticized for how slow it was to handle requests from both Felix-Cayetano clients and other state offices.
"I heard the frustration with attorney opinions being slow, so we are enforcing a rule that everything in the office must be answered in 30 days," Anzai said.
The department, which has 160 deputy attorneys general, had been ranked last in the nation for computerization. Anzai said he is working to buy computers for the department, plus bring in training for the lawyers and clerks.
Private attorney Sherry Broder, who worked with Anzai when he was representing the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, praised Anzai, calling him an "outstanding lawyer."
"He is willing to listen to others; he did that with OHA. It is important to be able to change your opinion if it gives you a better position," she said.
Teen-agers rally atBy Rosemarie Bernardo
Capitol to offer solutions to
Tiare Costa-Puaa and her cousin were best friends for life.
Her cousin, Theora Nakihei, a senior at Maui High School, was killed when the pickup truck she was driving crashed into an embankment off Kahekili Highway near Waihee, Maui, last November. She had been drinking and driving, Costa-Puaa said.
Because of that, Costa-Puaa, a sophomore at Molokai High and Intermediate School, became a delegate to Mothers Against Drunk Driving's Year 2000 Hawaii Youth Summit to Prevent Underage Drinking.
Costa-Puaa and 70 other high-school students took part in a rally at the state Capitol yesterday to announce their solutions to prevent underage drinking.
During the three-day youth summit, teen-agers said the Legislature should "encourage parents to support laws through better education regarding liability for underage drinking, give drunken drivers creative sentences such as holding signs on freeways and changing the image of alcohol through the media."
"Underage drinking is the nation's number one youth drug problem, killing more than six times as many young people as all the other illicit drugs combined together," said first lady Vicky Cayetano, honorary chairwoman for Hawaii's Youth Summit.
"They know best how to promote their message to come across to other young people that drinking is not acceptable," said Cayetano.
Stephanie Kong, a junior at Pearl High School, said, "Through an awareness campaign, we can relieve a lot of the tragedies that happened in Hawaii."
You can track bills, hearings and other Legislature action via:
The Legislative Reference Bureau's public access room, state Capitol, room 401. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Phone: 587-0478; fax, 587-0793; TTY, 538-9670.
Neighbor islanders, call toll-free and enter ext. 70478 after the number:
Big Island, 974-4000; Maui,
984-2400; Kauai, 274-3141;
Molokai and Lanai, 468-4644.
The state's daily Internet listing of hearings: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov
The Legislature's automated bill report service: 586-7000.
The state's general Web page: http://www.state.hi.us
Our Web site: http://archives.starbulletin.com
Hawaii Revised Statutes