Archive for June 2010

The Hannemann campaign answers

June 23, 2010

I encouraged the Hannemann campaign to address issues arising from the state Democratic convention and wanted to direct attention to a detailed comment on the previous post, “More Mufi in the woodshed,” from Keith Rollman.

Rollman, a senior city IT advisor, Hannemann campaign volunteer and Democratic convention delegate, argues that the convention was stacked from the start by supporters of Hannemann’s major Democratic rival for governor, Neil Abercrombie. Part of his comment:

There is little tollerance for any “Democrat” not willing to tow the liberal mantra of the Neil Abercrombie zealots who have taken over the party. What used to be the “big tent” is now a rather ingrown clique with some very radical views. I don’t think they represent the more patriotic AJA Democrats I know, the typical union workers or a majority of the more moderate and independent individuals who still consider themselves Democrats. To quote an old adage…we didn’t leave the party, the party left us.

You can read Rollman’s entire comment and enter your own at the above link. I’m closing this post to comments to keep all responses on the matter together over there.

Feel free to debate the substance vigorously, but please avoid personal insults. I’d like everybody who posts here to be treated with personal courtesy, and feel especially strongly about it for those who put their real names behind their comments.

More Mufi in the woodshed

June 22, 2010

I don’t know how many read all the way through yesterday’s comments about Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s performance at the state Democratic Convention, but there was one near the end from Laraine Yasui, co-chair of the convention planning committee, that’s worth a look.

Yasui basically confirms party chairman Dante Carpenter’s assertions about the behavior of the mayor and his gubernatorial campaign (see “Democratic chief takes Mufi to the woodshed”) and offers further details.

It’s extraordinary for party leaders to become incensed enough to publicly criticize so prominent a member. Following is the gist of her comment, which she also sent in an e-mail circulating among Democrats:

I know that no one from the party headquarters gave Dante’s letter to David. Also, I can vouch for the fact that Mufi’s campaign appeared to sabotage the convention events during the entire planning period. In addition to everything listed by Dante in his letter to Mufi, we lost thousands of dollars guaranteed to the hotel for food and beverage when Mufi offered delegates a free Friday reception and a free Saturday luncheon (we always have a Friday reception and a Saturday luncheon, which delegates pay for) causing our normal numbers of 400-500 for each event to drop to 200. I do not understand why he had to plan his reception on Friday night at the same time as committee meetings, when he could have done his party on Saturday night along with all other candidates, who hosted parties in their hotel suites. On Friday night, not only was Mufi’s party at the same time as the committee meetings, but right next to the meeting rooms, causing noise problems for the meetings with the loud music.

On Saturday, both Gubernatorial candidates were given 5 minutes to speak, and Neil spoke for 6 minutes and Mufi spoke for 12 minutes, ignoring Dante’s 3 warnings to stop. (The newspaper reported that Neal spoke for 10 minutes and Mufi spoke for 20 minutes, which was not correct.) 3 of Mufi’s campaign leaders specifically told me that we should suspend our business just so Mufi could speak at 3 pm. But the written agreement with Party Headquarters was that he could speak only after convention business was over, which was not finished at 3 pm.

I’m not active in any political party and wouldn’t try to pass myself off as the Emily Post of party etiquette, but the allegations against the Hannemann campaign would appear to be fairly serious breaches of good manners in any social setting.

It’s like a rich uncle showing up to your backyard family reunion and taking half the relatives you’d hoped would contribute to the potluck off to Ruth’s Chris.

If somebody from the Hannemann campaign would like to weigh in on this, with a name attached so I can verify it’s from from the campaign, I’ll see that it gets prominent display.

Note: With all the differing accounts of who spoke for how long, I sucked it up and reviewed the two speeches myself from the videos at HawaiiReporter.com and concluded that Democrats really have cheap watches. My count of the speech lengths from first word to last:

Hannemann: 17 minutes, 30 seconds

Abercrombie: 11 minutes, 10 seconds

The disparaged newspaper estimate wasn’t that far off. Carpenter wasn’t in the picture on these videos and I can’t speak to whether he signaled either candidate.

The veto list lands

June 21, 2010

There was an interesting mixed reaction among leading supporters of HB 444 to news that Gov. Linda Lingle has placed the civil unions bill on her list of possible vetoes.

PFLAG-Oahu obviously didn’t believe the governor that she’s still making up her mind and issued a statement bashing Lingle as though the bill is already dead.

“Hawaii’s Governor has killed the spirit of Aloha and the reputation of Hawaii as a land of  freedom and justice in one death blow to this bill that has passed the 2010 Legislature,” PFLAG said.

“Lingle has said in no uncertain terms that an individual’s right to love and care for another person is of no interest to her or the Republican Party.  She has bowed to Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona and the International Transformation Network that calls for Hawaii to be the first Christian State in the nation.”

Citizens for Equal Rights took a more measured approach, noting with regret that HB 444 is among 39 bills Lingle listed for possible veto. But the group acknowledged that she’s still deliberating and urged her “to consider the significant positive economic impact HB444 could have on the economy at this critical juncture as the state and businesses struggle to rebuild revenue and create new jobs.”

The group then went on to articulate the economic benefits it sees from letting HB 444 become law based on a study by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA.

I certainly don’t know if Lingle’s mind is still open, but having come this far, it would seem to make the most sense for both sides to play it as though it is. There will be plenty of time for bashing later.

Democratic chief takes Mufi to the woodshed

June 20, 2010

Mayor Mufi Hannemann got a dressing down from Democratic Party Chairman Dante Carpenter for not minding his manners at the recent state Democratic Convention, where Hannemann stumped as a candidate for governor.

In a 2 1/2-page letter to Hannemann, Carpenter complained that the mayor and his campaign committee decided not to sponsor a breakfast it was expected to host, “created turmoil” by hosting a competing campaign event that drew delegates away from Resolution Committee meetings, breached an agreement on the time for the mayor’s speech to the convention, ignored the time limit on the speech despite repeated warnings and tried to bamboozle hotel audiovisual people into playing an unauthorized campaign disc after the Hannemann speech.

“Working with your campaign representatives at times became cumbersome and created confusion,” Carpenter said. “Misunderstandings between your campaign representatives and the convention committee were numerous.”

Carpenter said that even after the Hannemann campaign was asked to avoid having its Friday night event interfere with the Resolutions Committee, the campaign placed invitations on the chairs of all the committee meeting rooms.

“At minimum, your Friday function represented a ‘distraction’ while at worst it was disrespectful of the very core reasons for the Friday night Democratic Party’s convention meetings — the serious participation of convention delegates engaged in developing Democratic Party principles,” Carpenter said.

He said the Hannemann campaign insisted on a written agreement for the time of Hannemann’s speech, then breached it.

“The written agreement stated that you would speak for five minutes with 1-2 minutes of ‘wiggle room.’ In fact, you spoke for 12 minutes and even when called on subtly three times by me (‘… Mufi, Pau’) to wrap up your remarks, you did not.

“In addition, during your speech your representative approached the Hilton’s AV people and gave them a disc to play at the end of your speech and informed the Hilton people that the convention committee had approved it. Hilton people checked and discovered that no such arrangements had been made or approved to place special for music for you and they did not. This representing yourself to the Hilton AV people was inappropriate; putting our people in the position of having to tell Hilton that no arrangements had been made was embarrassing for all concerned.”

Carpenter expressed disappointment that Hannemann didn’t participate in the nitty-gritty of the convention’s work.

“In your speech you spoke about your mentors, specifically Senator Inouye and Governor Waihe’e; both excellent examples of outstanding, committed Democrats. For your information, both Senator Inouye and Governor Waihe’e participated in many aspects of the 2010 convention, voting on resolutions, SSC members, national committeeman and state convention chair elections.

“It was a privilege for me to be able to look out over the delegation and see these two men sitting at the table with the delegates from their districts and precincts. Had you followed the examples you cited, I am sure that the delegates from your district and precinct would have enjoyed having you sit with them and share your views on the platform, resolutions and changes to the party’s constitution, as well.”

As party chairman, Carpenter says he’s neutral in the primary contest for governor between Hannemann and former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie. When Carpenter served in the state Senate in the early 1980s, he and Abercrombie were both members of a faction led by Ben Cayetano.

Saturday flASHback

June 19, 2010

The gubes have a starring role in this week’s flASHback column in the Star-Advertiser, “Inouye’s long Senate career is second only to 1 other.”

Roundtable unbusinesslike on HB 444

June 17, 2010

We’re always hearing that government should be run more like a business.

Well, if the Hawai’i Business Roundtable’s bungled lobbying on civil unions is an example of the ideal, spare us from that.

The Rountable, a normally respected group representing Hawai’i’s biggest companies, came late to the game in urging Gov. Linda Lingle to veto HB 444 based on an array of technical concerns that seemed less than compelling.

Worse, the recommendation was made by the group’s 10-member executive committee with questions raised about whether all members of the committee were on board and the extent to which the Roundtable’s 44 members were polled.

You’d think experienced business executives would know better than to play fast and loose on so emotional an issue.

Gay rights groups that support HB 444 struck back by threatening a consumer boycott of Roundtable members, and not surprisingly, individual companies started backtracking from the Roundtable’s position.

Today, the Human Rights Campaign announced that Roundtable members Time Warner Cable Inc., Aon Corp., Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., and Marriott International Inc. were backing HB 444.

We’re left to scratch our heads about what the Roundtable leadership was thinking by so haphazardly injecting the organization into the controversy. These are heavy hitters who don’t exactly need to issue a press release to get the governor’s ear.

All in all, not very businesslike.

Rod Tam sees the light; Abercrombie hears the music

June 17, 2010

Councilman Rod Tam is pitching himself as “Lightning Rod” on his campaign signs in his run for mayor.

The American Heritage dictionary defines a lightning rod thusly: “One that attracts and absorbs powerful, typically negative feelings and reactions, thereby diverting interest from other issues.”

I guess it proves the old adage that if you give a monkey a typewriter, sooner or later he’ll say something that gets it right.

Another interesting campaign slogan is Mufi Hannemann’s “standing tall for all of us,” a not-so-veiled reference to the fact that he’s about a foot and a half taller than his Democratic rival Neil Abercrombie.

Actually, that almost qualifies as subtlety for Hannemann. How long can it be before he entertains campaign audiences with Randy Newman’s “Don’t Want No Short People ‘Round Here.”


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