Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, April 2, 2001

Some lawmakers invite
constituents to dinner

Community meetings:

>> Liliha/Kapalama/Nuuanu district meeting with Democratic lawmakers tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Kawananakoa Middle School cafeteria.

Sponsored by state Sens. Suzanne Chun Oakland and Rod Tam and Reps. Felipe Abinsay, Lei Ahu Isa, Dennis Arakaki, Benjamin Cabreros and Sylvia Luke. Light dinner will be served.

>> Kalihi district meeting with Democratic lawmakers Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Farrington High School cafeteria. Sponsored by Sens. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Donna Mercado Kim and Norman Sakamoto and Reps. Felipe Abinsay, Dennis Arakaki and Benjamin Cabreros. Light dinner will be served.

>> Forum with Windward Republicans Rep. Cynthia Thielen and Sens. Bob Hogue and Fred Hemmings on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Aikahi Elementary School cafeteria.

>> Forum with Windward Republicans Sen. Bob Hogue and Reps. David Pendleton and Charles Djou on April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Kaneohe Community and Senior Center arts and crafts room.

Votes that plan ahead?:

Hawaii's system of plurality voting is obsolete, and instant runoff voting "is this year's hot reform," says the Center for Voting and Democracy.

Using IRV, voters mark a "1" next to their favorite candidate, "2" to their second choice, "3" for their third choice and so on. If no candidate wins a majority of first-place votes, a runoff is held instantly using voters' second or third choices and continues until one candidate gets a majority vote.

Notes the group's executive director, "It's a very practical and cost-effective way to make sure that everyone's vote counts." Can anyone say Butterfly Ballot II?

Losing with attitude:

The 19 House Republicans are getting a kick out of flexing their recall powers because even when they lose, they still win. In a news release subtitled "Democrats ice-box civil service reform bill," they reveal how their latest effort to pull a collective-bargaining measure out of committee was snuffed by Democrats who "showed their opposition to meaningful civil service reform by ramming the bill back to committee."

But Republicans are still aglow. Says GOP Rep. Mark Moses of the vote, "At least the public knows, loud and clear, just where each House member stands on civil service reform."

Doubling your pleasure:

Restaurants and hospitality folk, prepare for a windfall. U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie is sending dollars your way. His vehicle?

A bill called the Tourism Revitalization Act which would let businesses write off meals, entertainment and partial costs for spouses tagging along on business trips. More than 2,500 establishments stand to benefit in Hawaii alone, he says.

But don't get your hopes up just yet. Congress has rejected similar bills by him in the past.



>> The state Senate: It is walking a bit taller these days after winning a basketball game against the state House, 38-37 in triple overtime. The game's high scorers were Sen. Matt Matsunaga (D, Waialae), 17 points, and Rep. Brian Schatz (D, Manoa), 16 points.

>> The four counties: They get some help from the House GOP, which supported a measure to allow them to negotiate their own labor contracts. The majority Democrats, however, shot down the plan.

>> Campaign reform advocates: They could take some hope from a promise by House Democrats to revive a clean-elections bill that stalled in the Senate.


>> Gambling foes: They see yet another gambling proposal surface at the Legislature. This time it is a plan by Little Caesars co-founder Marian Ilitch for two casinos on Oahu.

>> Rene Mansho: She loses more support in the wake of her censure by the state Campaign Spending Commission. Several constituents now say they want her recalled from office.

>> The embattled Hawaii Tourism Authority: Lawmakers are eyeing the agency as a quick source of money -- not because of money from tourists, but for the $60 million in its special development fund.

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