Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, December 24, 2001

Not a creature was stirring
in the House -- or Senate

With the Legislature out of session and an election year approaching, here are some Christmas tidbits:

Holiday message: Gov. Ben and Vicky Cayetano extend their warmest holiday greetings to the people of Hawaii during this holiday season. In his holiday message, the governor said the tragic events of this year have caused many of us to reassess our priorities.

While the country mourns the losses of Sept. 11 and misses loved ones at war in Afghanistan, the governor said we can draw strength from the knowledge that the future is bright.

"The Christmas season reminds us of our obligations to pursue justice and goodness and of our responsibility to reach out to others with aloha and compassion," he said.

"Here in Hawaii, and throughout our country, we are grateful for the freedom to celebrate this religious holiday in whatever way we choose."

Elf patrol: That merry group dressed in elf gear waving at motorists along Pali Highway during last Wednesday's morning and afternoon rush hours wasn't really Santa's helpers but Windward legislators dressed in the yule spirit.

Republican state Sen. Bob Hogue and Republican state Reps. Charles Djou, Joe Gomes, Colleen Meyers, David Pendleton and Cynthia Thielen participated in the event.

They claim to have been nice, not naughty, this year.

Cruise views: Clarifying his remarks made last week on allowing foreign-based cruise ships to operate interisland cruises, the governor said he is not recommending a change to the Jones Act, which deals with cargo ships.

Instead, Ben Cayetano explained he wants an exemption for Hawaii from the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which governs passenger cruise vessels and is a counterpart to the 1920 federal Jones Act.

Nonetheless, that didn't stop Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom (R, Hawaii Kai) from congratulating the governor for seeking an exemption for foreign cruise ships operating in Hawaiian and Alaskan waters -- a position Republicans have held for nearly a decade.

"We have to work together now to help expand the economy in traditional industries, as well as new and expanding opportunities such as the cruise industry," Slom said.

Hirono honors: Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono received the 2001 Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association during its annual convention last month in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Hirono was praised for her tenacity, vision and creativity in making substantial contributions to the Asian Pacific-American community. She was one of a dozen members nationwide who received the award.

SHOPO endorsement: Former state Sen. Ann Kobayashi has been endorsed for the Honolulu City Council's 5th District seat by the state board of directors of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers.

Kobayashi is one of 14 candidates vying for the seat to fill out the remaining year in the four-year term vacated by Andy Mirikitani, who resigned earlier this month just prior to being sentenced in federal court for accepting kickbacks in exchange for bonuses made to employees.

The special election is to be held Jan. 26. The district encompasses Manoa, Makiki, McCully-Moiliili and Ala Moana.

SHOPO represents the state's nonmanagement police officers.

GOP moneymeister: The Hawaii Republican Party has a new finance director who is also a professional engineer.

Brennon Morioka of Kailua decided to put aside his professional career for the next year to become the GOP's new finance director. He will be responsible for raising funds to help local Republican candidates win the governor's race and a majority of the state House in the 2002 election.

"Brennon is the kind of successful young professional who yearns for a social and political system that rewards merit and where what you know is more important than who you know," said party Chairwoman Linda Lingle.

Morioka is a senior geotechnical engineer in Hawaii and holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Hawaii-Manoa, where he also serves as a lecturer.

DOT deputy: A longtime state employee has become deputy director of the state Department of Transportation.

Jean L. Oshita, who began her new duties on Dec. 1, served as administrative services officer of the Airports Division for the past 10 years and spent the previous 10 years with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Oshita replaces Glenn Okimoto, new state comptroller.

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