Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, August 9, 2004

Local 5 endorses Bainum
for mayor

The 11,000-member Local 5 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union has endorsed Honolulu mayoral candidate Duke Bainum.

Local 5 President Hernando Ramos Tan announced his union's support in a news conference Saturday at the employee entrance of the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel.

"Duke Bainum walks the talk," Tan said. "He not only says he supports working families, but he has walked the picket lines with Local 5 members who struggle to provide a decent living for their families."

Book by Obama sells for hundreds on eBay

The surge of interest in Hawaii-born Barack Obama after his speech to the Democratic National Convention is spilling over to the book he wrote a decade ago, with a first-edition copy going for $240 on eBay and pre-release orders for a new edition already putting it on best-seller lists.

The first edition of the U.S. Senate candidate's "Dreams from My Father" had started at $20 on eBay, but last night the bidding on one copy of the book had reached $350.

At a campaign stop, Obama, a 1979 graduate of Punahou School, said a new edition is coming out tomorrow -- "not a moment too soon," he said. "I don't want people spending that much for my book."

That new edition is already making its way onto the Internet best-seller lists.

"Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" is Obama's memoir of growing up in Hawaii as the son of a black man and white woman. He discusses trying to come to grips with his racial identity, a period of rebellion that included drug use, traveling to Africa and becoming a community activist in Chicago. It was published in 1995 to strong reviews but only modest sales. Obama said 15,000 copies were printed, and he still has several boxes of them in his basement.

Gift reports by state workers now available

More than 100 state officials and employees recently filed gift disclosures with the state Ethics Commission.

The statements, which cover gifts received from June 1, 2003, to May 31, are public records. They are available on the commission's Web site,

State legislators, employees and board or commission members must file gift disclosure statements if:

» They, their spouse or their dependent child received a gift worth more than $200 or gifts whose combined value is greater than $200.

» The source of the gift or gifts has interests that might be affected by the state individual's official action.

» The gift is not exempted from the ethics code reporting requirements.

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