The Honolulu Star-Bulletin Insider Survey is a new way of looking at local politics.
We patterned a survey similar to the Insiders Poll conducted in the Washington-based National Journal. The Journal's survey uses members of Congress and political consultants.
Hawaii doesn't have a large number of professional political consultants, but many island lobbyists get involved in local campaigns. So we substituted lobbyists from labor, business and social organizations. We also asked veteran members of Hawaii's Legislature and neighborhood board members to help with our survey.
Respondents were told that we wouldn't attach their names to their opinions, but we would list the names of all who responded. See the Insiders list below.
The survey, which we hope to continue every month during the campaign season, is not a scientific poll, but it should give readers a new view on what makes up Hawaii's "conventional political wisdom."
Q: What were the best and worst bills of the 2006 Legislature?
» "The bill that will provide for a smoke-free work place. We have much too long allowed for smoking to continue in places where people work, and they have no choice but to be exposed to second-hand smoke."
» "The best bill will allocate funding (Senate Bill 3059) for the development of grade-by-grade core content curriculum for Hawaii schools."
» "The best bills were the ones not introduced, which attempted to fix nothing and consequently left us better off than we would have been had the bills been introduced and wasted our time."
» "The best bill is a resolution, Senate Resolution 126 asking the governor and mayors to convene a joint task force to review the state and county tax revenues system."
» "The best bill is thoroughly buried and unlikely to surface, despite its clear benefit to the people of Hawaii: the comprehensive public funding of election campaigns, House Bill 1713."
» "The worst bill is the racetrack tax credit tax break. It's a waste of taxpayers' money to subsidize a private venture. This money can be better spent on public education."
» "The worst bill is House Bill 1242 (since signed into law) that was sold as an effort to conform Hawaii's abortion statue to the current case. Instead, it goes further than the case law requires and tragically allows all abortions, however late term, to be performed in a doctor's office or clinics rather than hospitals."
» "The worst bill will provide small tax rebates to all taxpayers. (It should go toward) meaningful traffic solutions, better airports on all islands and improved harbors statewide."
» "The worst bill prohibits lobbyists from making contributions during the session. The premise is that lobbyists are the driving force behind contributions; it is legislators. An outright prohibition would be cleaner than a bill suggesting reform. In truth, public funding for elections is a far better way."
» "The worst bill suspends the gas cap, but then immediately replaces it with a more complicated formula that will be imposed on gasoline wholesalers. What a mess that's going to be."
LEGISLATORS: Rep. Brian Schatz (D, Tantalus-Makiki-McCully), and Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Newtown-Waiau-Pearl City-Waimalu).
NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD MEMBERS: Albert Fukushima, Bob Chuck, Kathleen Pahinui, Mike Abe and Lester Fukuda.
LOBBYISTS: Tony Saguibo, Dave Rolf, Laure Dillon, Jack Hoag, Rick Tsujimura, Carl Takamura, Annelle Amaral, Charles T. Toguchi, Gary M. Slovin, Roger Takabayashi, John Radcliffe and Kelly Rosati.