So much for cordiality at the Capitol
JUST IN CASE you have been thinking bipartisan cordiality means the Legislature and Gov. Linda Lingle will not be at each other's collective political throats, look again at the last week at the Legislature.
Republican Lingle made two forays into the Democratic stronghold to push for her series of "innovation" bills. This year Lingle is sponsoring bills to funnel support for new school programs, for job creation and for new ways to encourage investment.
Democrats in the Legislature have been saying "on the record" that Lingle's "innovation" is just like their ideas about "sustainability," and they can work things out.
The Legislature, however, is all about who gets credit, and there is no way they will pick two Lingle ideas and two Democratic House ideas and call it a compromise. Lingle's "innovations" went to three committees each, which is not a sign of long-term legislative viability.
If Lingle's plans to change the state economy are thwarted by the Legislature, just wait and see what awaits her nominees to circuit and intermediate court.
Sen. Clayton Hee, the new chairman of the Judiciary and Labor Committee, has never been afraid to pull the trigger on a gubernatorial nominee. Last week his committee approved a district court appointee, but only after a half-hour floor speech saying he wanted all judicial nominees to clearly and openly give an accurate accounting of their professional history.
That part is fair enough, but the judgment of what would be a fatally damaging background is already prompting speculation that Hee would find little to like in a Lingle nominee.
The issue of University of Hawaii regent nominations is already in contention at the Legislature because of the as-yet- undefined interpretation of the new amendment to the state Constitution requiring Lingle to pick a nominee from a list put together by a panel.
Who is on the panel and how they got there are the details that have to be written by the Legislature, which has not yet come up with a plan. Lingle, meanwhile, has six regents to name to the board. How that will be done is the subject of behind-the-scene memos and tentative legal opinions, but so far no one knows how or if the pending regent vacancies will be filled.
Finally, Lingle is holding meetings and trying to quietly lobby Democrats to allow a second acute care hospital. She argues that the hospital would be privately funded and that most of Maui wants it. Democrats are saying a second hospital would destabilize the hospital system and that the second hospital, like much of the GOP governor's plan, is DOA.
writes on politics every Sunday in the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached at 525-8630 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org