Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, June 11, 2001

Gay Republicans join
party regulars in
Leeward housing project

Hoping that it will be the first of several community help projects, the Hawaii Log Cabin Republican organization said it will help with the Habitat for Humanity project to build a home in Leeward Oahu on Hawaiian Home Lands.

The gay Republican organization will work along with the Hawaii GOP and members of Hawaii's religious community, according to Jeffrey Bingham Mead, head of the local chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans.

He called the project an "example of how positive and affirming we can be when gays and lesbians progress beyond 'pride' and instead seek to serve the greater community."

The Habitat event will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 30. For more information, contact the Republican Party volunteer coordinator, Laurie Von Hamm, at 689-0789.

Campaign cash: Linda Lingle's campaign for governor will hold fund-raisers across the state this month.

Two were held last week on Maui, and another is planned on Kauai on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Kilohana Carriage House.

On Saturday there is an 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. fund-raiser at Kahua Ranch in Waimea, Big Island, and another from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Kona Brewery.

Lingle plans a major fund-raiser June 21 at Dole Cannery from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and a final Big Island event June 27 in Hilo at Waiola State Park from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Lingle's campaign committee said all the events have a suggested donation of $25.

OHA under the gun: Although last week's special session of the state Legislature was limited to the budgets of the Judiciary, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and on bond authorization, a few lawmakers took the opportunity to publicly criticize OHA.

Rep. Guy Ontai (R, Wheeler-Waimea) complained last week on the House floor that OHA was not using more of its budget toward Hawaiian programs. Ontai, who is Hawaiian, said the agency should wait until the ceded-land inventory is complete before attempting to buy Waimea Valley.

"Because for all we know, it may already belong to us," Ontai said. "I don't like to buy something twice."

Waianae Republican Emily Auwae added she has concerns whether OHA is bettering the conditions of native Hawaiians.

Meanwhile, Sen. Fred Hemmings (R, Waimanalo) complained OHA's spends about 57 percent of its budget on administration and poorly invests its $350 million in assets.

"We must be honest in identifying and exposing malfeasance and, if necessary, withhold appropriation requests that appear to be absent of fiscal accountability," Hemmings said.

Health fund Q&A: State Sens. Jan Yagi Buen (D, West Maui-Lanai) and Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae) will discuss amendments made to the Public Employees Health Fund at 10 a.m. next Friday at the Kaunoa Senior Center in Paia, Maui.

The senators will discuss the merits of the landmark legislation, passed this year, and will answer any questions on it. All Maui residents are invited to attend. Call (808) 270-7308.

Life after sugar: The Hawaii Filipino Community Center sprouting up under the smokestack of the old Waipahu sugar mill received a $1.1 million federal grant by the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Agency.

The money will be used to build the center's loft and second-floor spaces. It will also cover equipment costs for a full commercial kitchen and a community technology center.

The center, which is about one-fifth completed, has raised $11.6 million and needs to raise an additional $2.2 million to complete the project by 2002. U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie helped secure the grant.

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