The LG balancing act

Most of the discussion here on the lieutenant governor’s race has been filtered through the lens of HB 444, which I doubt is how the majority of the electorate looks at it.

People tend to judge candidates for the No. 2 job based on which they like or don’t like on a broader range of issues — or which best balances the ticket with their preferred candidate for governor.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on the second part of that equation. Which tickets would work or not work on the basis of balance?

If Mufi Hannemann is the Democratic nominee, would the ticket work best if he was paired with a fellow moderate and social conservative like Norman Sakamoto or Robert Bunda, or would a liberal like Gary Hooser, Brian Schatz, Lyla Berg or Jon Riki Karamatsu make more sense? Could a pairing of outspoken opposites like Hannemann and Hooser possibly not clash?

If Neil Abercrombie is the nominee, could the Democrats sell a liberal-liberal pairing with someone like Hooser, Berg or Schatz? Could polar opposites like Abercrombie and Sakamoto possibly present a credible picture of harmony?

Are any of the Democratic LG hopefuls all-weather candidates who would pair well with either of the candidates for governor?

On the Republican side, Adrienne King is solid with the tea party group that already likes gubernatorial frontrunner James “Duke” Aiona, while Lynn Finnegan is seen as a Linda Lingle-type moderate.

How much of a difference does ticket balance make in the GOP’s chances of pulling an upset?

Explore posts in the same categories: Volcanic Ash


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42 Comments on “The LG balancing act”

  1. Doug Says:

    Well, based upon the records I pried out of the Governor’s Office, I think it is fair to say that the LG does not have much input into legislation/policy decisions. Aiona wasn’t asked (except for on one matter, the budget bill that included funding for his office) and didn’t chime in like the rest of the Executive Branch heads.

  2. hipoli Says:

    I look at the field of LGs and think, well, which one can pair up with either of the two and make something of the office? Hooser has already campaigned, in a nutshell, on his headstrongness as evidenced by HB444 and furlough fridays. I admire him for his cahones and his big outspoken mouth, but we already got two guys running for Gov with both of those too. I just dont think he could sit quietly by, if thats what is ultimately asked of him. I dont see him being a team player, and he’s not saying he will be either! He’ll seek to create drama/attention for himself, again, evidenced by past similar behaviors, and no Gov needs that. We dont need that.

    Jon Riki is a sweet peculiar little soul who has no chance of winning. Sorry, but we all know this is true. He should not be in this race.

    Lyla Berg is putting up a spirited campaign. She’s attractive, her signs are all about capitalizing on how pretty she is, and, well, um, thats about it. Yes, SHE would make terrific arm candy. I dont know if she’s actually every accomplished anything, strictly politically speaking. I hear she’s a bit of a space cadet and the only reason she’s leaving the House is because she found it boring and got sick of it. Didnt she just get there? Did she get sick of being a principal, too? Boy, what happens when she gets sick of being LG just a couple of years into it? I do hear she’s close with Neil-folks, which given the Clayton Hee rumor associated with Neil and that she is his ex-wife, doesnt surprise me. All I have to think is Lyla and Clayton Hee and thats enough for me to say No Thank You.

    Bunda’s ego is his biggest problem. I cant see him playing nice with either Mufi or Neil. I just cant. Can any of you? Maybe Mufi – but then a chunk of voters would just stay home and not even bother voting. They are both anti-444, which I do think will be a huge divisive issue this election. I cant, as a good Democrat, support anyone who is against this issue. Gays and lesbians are a democratic base and I think its terrible that anyone with a D after their name could turn their backs on them. But I know he’s calling in every chip he has so I expect a good campaign from Bobby. I will say, hands down, he has the nicest signs. The palaka works. Tip of my hat to Laura, who designed them. Who needs McNeil Wilson when you got Laura.

    Sakamoto scares me. That should be a bumper sticker. SAKAMOTO SCARES ME. He and Gary Okino seem to be drinking from the same holy water. He may as well say he’ll too consult the bible for policy decisions before the constitution, paraphrasing Okino’s truly terrifying quote. I will say that I think he is running a decent campaign and obviously, he would make a good balance to Neil ticket, ethnically-speaking. Still, there is no way he could sit quietly by as Neil signs the next HB444 into law. Hell to the No Way. And again, Sakamoto and Mufi together would then be fighting for the same votes as Duke and Lynn. Not a good balance.

    Brian is quietly probably hoping like heck Mufi pulls this off, though I think his personal relationship has rested with Neil. Brian would make a good compliment to either Mufi or Neil, but he’s ultimately a better balance for Mufi. I really like Brian’s administrative experience, having headed a huge non-profit for eight years. Brian, to me, is the LEAST scary of them all, actually, if thats something to campaign on? The best thing going for him is that I dont think he’s associated with anyone or anything in particular (Sakamoto-Churches; JRK – DUI; Hooser-444), he doesnt have a huge ego (Bunda), and he’s not only a very pretty face (Lyla). He does seem like he’s doing this race for the right reasons – to be part of a team, to bring his administrative skills to the table, and to just do the work.

    I want a person that I know is a democrat, walks that walk not talk out of both sides, is smart, and isnt weird, an asshole, or has a bible in his back pocket. Isnt it some sort of statement of the campaigns going on here in Hawaii that I actually crave and find comfort in a person who is steadfast, maybe a little boring but reliable, and above all just a normal guy? I want the guy who will know his place at the table is not at the head, but its as the Governor’s right-hand. I want the person who has the energy and the intelligence to work hard and work smart.

    So, yeah, Im probably going with the localhaoleboy Brian because in a field of kinda weird, wacko, scary characters, he just seems like the most normal, smartest, and logical choice of them all.

  3. Kolea Says:

    On the GOP side, the question is academic. Finnegan is going to beat King by a wide margin. And she will make it a MUCH stronger ticket. She is very smart, very likable and will bring a lot of Filipino votes to the GOP. King, on the other hand….

    The real challenge is on the Democratic side.

    Some old timer Democrats are warning against having two male haole liberals on the ticket (Neil-Hooser or Neil Schatz). The concern has some merit, but only if something can be done about it. I think this concern has dampened support for Hooser in some quarters. That, plus almost all progressives willing to work on elections have been drawn to Neil’s campaign as a higher priority, leaving Hooser with fewer campaign volunteers (and donations) than he would have in another election year.

    But ultimately, it is foolish to try to pre-fab a “balanced ticket.” Who has the power to do such a thing? The Mufi-Neil race is, at this point, too close to predict, so how should that affect my vote in the LG race? If Mufi is elected, I certainly WANT a Gary Hooser (or one of the other liberals) there as a moderating influence (at best) or as a source for inside information (at least).

    And if the Dems win the Governor’s race, whoever is LG will be well-positioned when the game of musical chairs begins as one of the US Senate seats becomes vacant. If Mufi jumps to the Senate, the LG is well-positioned to become Governor. If Mazie runs for Senate, an LG would have enough stature to have a shot at the Second CD seat, which several of them have already run for.

    Brian Schatz might have an argument that he would be the best fit for liberals wanting balance if Mufi were to be the candidate for Governor. But how many liberals are going to resign themselves to the first part of that equation: envisioning Mufi as Governor? Maybe AFTER the primary. But not before. And even that acceptance will depend a LOT on whether he moves away from the nasty-spirited campaign his proxy warriors have launched against Neil.

    So when all the concerns over “balance” are turned over in one’s head, how can those concerns lead us to a sensible course of action? We can over-analyzed the dituation and be led into voting for our second or third choice candidates as a concession to “reality.” Or we can vote for the candidate in whom we have the strongest personal and philosophical confidence.

    For me, that is Gary Hooser.

  4. Kolea Says:


    I was busy writing and didn’t see your post. Let me gently dissent on a coupla points.

    Fisrt off, Lyla gets points with me for being Clayton’s EX-wife. It takes a special kind of person to put up with an oversized guy like Clayton and come out of it in good shape. I think she landed on her feet and found her own identity, pursued her own mission.

    And I think it is a bit unfair to say Gary Hooser takes on causes in order to call attention to himself. Let me put it a different way. Gary got elected to try to change things for the better. That might sound naive, but unlike almost all the other politicians who have (mostly) surrendered to opportunism and cynicism, Gary actually believes elected officials have a responsibility to stand up for the right thing rather than just go along.

    Look at HB444. How many times did you write: “Just do the right thing”? HB444 would not have survived the Senate if Hooser had not insisted on pushing for it. (Yes, kudos to Ihara and Kidani, but they essentially played back-up to Gary on this). Colleen’s acolytes want to pretend they would have passed the bill last year except for Gary’s “tactical errors,” but that’s a crock. The bill could have passed in 2009, but Colleen’s machinations stalled it out until 2010, when election year fears prevented the veto from being overridden.

    To say Gary is motivated by a desire to get his name in the paper rather than to compliment him for the rare courage necessary for social progress seems to validate the status quo and diminish the reformers.

    I’m not going to go after Brian. He’s my second choice in this race. He is much more politically cautious than Gary. He prefers negotiating behind the scenes. But those negotiations will only happen when somebody mobilizes the forces to demand change. Then he can help mediate. By himself, I don’t see him pressing for serious reform. But heck, maybe that falls upon us.

    Finally, you say “his personal relationship has rested with Neil.” That might be a natural assumption since they both worked hard on Obama’s campaign. But I do not think they are close. Brian has made a conscious effort to remain midpoint between Neil and Mufi. His roots in the haole, “liberal” and environmental community may mean he has bent over backwards to reach out to Mufi. And to more conservative, establishment Democrats and corporate interests. His work with the non-profits, which you cite as a positive thing, has required him to build relationships with movers and shakers in the business community.

    Which may be good IF he can balance their needs with those of employees, the environment, low income people. Brian is all about finding “balance” between competing interests. I guess I realize his balancing point is much closer to the center than mine.

  5. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Can you imagine a Hannemann/Sakamoto vs Aiona/Finnegan race in the General Election? Which would be worse? The state and the people will suffer beyond repair if either set is elected. It will take decades to come back just to where we are now.

    As of this writing, I have to go with HIPOLI’s analysis. I initially supported Brian in 1998 and again 2006 when he ran for the Second Congressional District race. However, I’ve also worked on a lot of projects & bills with Gary & Lyla as well so I am not really willing to choose from amongst the three of them – as of this writing.

    I suspect, however, that come mid-September, I’ll
    do the Neil/Brian thing.

  6. Nikki Heat Says:

    I generally concur with Kolea and Hipoli on their observations of the six candidates on issues and compatibility with Neil and Mufi (I actually like Norman generally as a person although we certainly disagree on Civil Unions). But you dance with the one that brung ya. Who backs the candidates always provides some clue about pushing issues. Schatz has old line Dem powerbrokers like George Y. on the Big Island and B. Martin Luna and Vince Bagoyo on Maui, while Norman is getting help from the Ed Case campaign folks on the Valley Isle (Patrick Wong, Leon & Bolosan, Leah Belmonte, et al.), Gary apparently has the local haole Democratic Party apparatus (Lance Holter, Jonathan Starr, Helen Nielsen, Yasamin Alarab), and Lyla Berg is attracting liberal women. Bobby and Jon-Riki have an organized sign posting groups but apparently nothing much on the ground otherwise. Ideology is one thing but effectively campaigning in a crowded field is another– since most of the votes are on Oahu, I’m curious about who’s aligned with who among Democratic Party partisans/activists there (I’m assuming we’ll be seeing these candidates less and less as the campaign continues towards the Primary).
    Regardless, few folks outside of a pre-election talk story watering hole pick a Governor candidate based on whether the ticket is “balanced”– the top dog on the ticket will determine my vote ultimately. In the primary, I’m voting for the LG candidate who best reflects the issues I care about, and not whether there’ll be an ethnic or ideological balance between Neil/Mufi and Brian/Gary/Bobby/Norman/Lyla/Jon-Riki (the Dems balance theorists won with Waihee-Cayetano rather than Waihee-Anderson or Heftel-Cayetano, and lost with Hirono-Matsunaga rather than Case-Matsunaga or Hirono-some non-AJA).

  7. Michael Says:

    Though there are many Filipinos in Hawaii many are not able to vote since not being American citizens.

    The winner of who ever runs together will be decided if a New Bill comes out replacing HB444. Those voting who favored HB444 will tip the scale as who is to win. If and when the New Bill is made by election or just sitting waiting to happen.

    hanneman has already made Hawaii rich in debts.
    more will come if he is elected.

    aiona though silent has done quite alot for one second in command. Education and Health care.

    abercrombie favors HB444.

    Who ever runs as second in command as Lt. Governor will be their shadow.

  8. common_sense20 Says:

    Trying to match up the ticket is the most flawed idea I have ever heard of. No one person has the ability to exercise that level of control, and to think otherwise is asanine.

    Just vote for who you think would be the strongest leader for Hawaii. That’s why I can’t bring myself to vote for anyone other than Hooser. The only candidate unafraid to lead…I respect that.

    Schatz is so vanilla and has decided to adopt the “go-along to get-along” ideology that destines him to a political life of anonymity. Sure, he goes well with any other Governor candidate because he’s more like the puppet than the puppeteer. I guess if you want somebody who has always positioned himself to “get votes” instead of positioning himself to lead, then Schatz is the guy.

    Jon Riki and Lyla Berg just don’t have the experience or demonstrated sufficient backbone to be a leader. They seem like kind people, and necessary in public governance, but not anywhere near the top.

    Sakamoto scares me as well…nuff said.

    Bunda…I can’t support someone who would deny equal rights to citizens of this state…just can’t do it. That should be the litmus test for anyone charged with governance. Will you treat people fairly?

    In sum…let the followers follow, and the leaders lead. I can’t believe that some who have posted comments want to reward followers with a leadership position for their ability to follow and not take a leadership role.

    Does that make any sense to anyone?

  9. jaded Says:

    This is one of many aspects about Hawaii’s elections that doesn’t make any sense to me. If you’re going to force the gubernatorial candidates to run on party-line tickets in the general like we do here in Hawaii, let the gubernatorial candidates choose their own running mates like New York State and the presidential races. Since we’re forcing the LG candidates to run in their respective party primaries, let the primary winners go against each other in the general election like California (i.e., Schatz/Hooser/Sakamoto, etc. vs. Finnegan). We may end up with a split ticket in the end, but it could elevate the stature of the LG’s office and make for interesting politics.

    Until we change our current system, I have to agree with common_sense20 — just vote for the candidate you feel would be the best for Hawaii.

  10. jaded Says:


    “aiona though silent has done quite alot for one second in command. Education and Health care.”

    Exactly what has he done for education and health care?

  11. David Shapiro Says:

    “Just vote for who you think would be the strongest leader for Hawaii.”

    LG has never been a position from which to exercise leadership. Those who have tried — Jimmy Kealoha, Tom Gill, Nelson Doi, Jean King — have ended up frustrated and either ran unsuccessfully against the boss or bailed before their term was up to run for another office.

    None of this group matches up to leaders like Gill or Doi in political skill or stature, and if those two couldn’t work their mojo from the LG’s office, it’s doubtful that any of this crop can. Half of them left key positions in legislative leadership from which they had far more ability to influence policy than they ever would have as LG. Ambition and leadership don’t necessarily equate. Just saying …

  12. hipoli Says:

    I was about to write almost the same thing, Dave!

    Hooser likes to make noise. The Legislature actually needs his kind of noise, more often than not. He simply won’t be able to pull even ten percent of the stunts he pulled as LG. So in reality, it’s actually kinda our loss that he’s jumping ship. I guess maybe couldn’t see how valuable he was, exactly where he was.

  13. Kolea Says:

    “Just vote for who you think would be the strongest leader for Hawaii.”

    Dave is right that the LG position is not a good place from which to exercise independent leadership. In theory, a Guv COULD put the LG in charge of something important rather than just ceremonial, but can anyone point to any examples from our history? I am a bit too young to remember, so maybe Dave can help here. Did Jack Burns put Gill in charge of the Model Cities program when he was LG? If so, Tom used that position to build credibility and a cadre of supporters from which to launch a challenge against Burns. So lesson learned.

    But even if the LG position is relatively powerless, whoever wins the position will be well-situated for the next round of musical chairs. And we know it is coming. One of the Dans will be retiring (or “otherwise leaving office”) and a senate seat will open up. This will precipitate the round of musical chairs. Whomever is sitting in the LG position will be in a better position from which to leap into one of the open seats.

    Since we cannot reasonably predict who will win the Guv spot, it seems silly to hallucinate ourselves into thinking we can use our little vote to create a “balanced ticket.”

    So, yeah: “Just vote for who you think would be the strongest leader for Hawaii.” Because you will help promote the career of a potential future major leader in Hawaii. In real terms, that is the main value of the LG spot.

  14. Demwatcher Says:

    @hipoli’s appearance of objectivity begins to break down when halfway through I skipped ahead to who and why he narrows it down to. Brian’s experience is not with a large non-profit. It was a medium sized non-profit and it was not exceptional. Add to that a few lost races. What stands out about Brian’s demeanor is his lack of broad experience, lack of conviction, and that basically he would be a maliable candidate of no particular conviction that people would be voting for. Your typical politician.

    If you go back and look at how all 6 of these candidates have polled in all of their past elections, only one of them has star power and has a record of polling significant numbers in elections.

    Beyond that, I agree with Kolea’s and common_sense20’s comments. In particular, for positions this high up the ballot you vote for the candidates with proven leadership experience.

    Two of these candidates are too young and inexperience, two of them are senior and too set in the old ways where more change is going to be happening, one of them is pretty but has never polled much more than 6,000 votes.

    That only leaves one candidate with the broad experience, proven leadership, skills, and confidence to do the LG job well and whatever else is called of him.

  15. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    I too am very disappointed that Gary left his leadership position in the Senate. But then too so was I very disappointed that Neil left behind nearly 20 years of experience in the US House.

    However, as the months have passed, I now acknowledge that Neil is doing the right thing in challenging Mufi. I don’t know of anyone else still living who could have taken him on – except maybe one of The Dans.

    With respect to the makers of the semi-snarky comments about Brian and his “sell-out” to the Old Dems and powerbrokers, I urge you take the time to talk to Brian. He does not kiss axx nor does he tell people what they want to hear. Brian is bright, hard-working, and able to read a budget which is important for anyone working for the government.

    Still, I continue to have night and daymares about the possible – not yet probable – pairings come Sunday, September 19.

    It’s too bad that Lyla and Jon didn’t drop out of the race early on and that Gary & Brian didn’t go into a locked room with an impartial observer to play best-three-out-of-five rounds of Jan Ken Po to determine who was going to lead the ProgLib.

  16. David Shapiro Says:

    Would you folks please get off of Lyla Berg’s and Lynn Finnegan’s looks.

    They’ve both established records of sufficient substance and public service that in this day and age they deserve to be judged on that. It’s offensive to diminish them because they happen to be attractive women, especially when it comes from those advocating for candidates who are supposedly all about HB 444 and gender equity.

  17. hipoli Says:

    Demwatcher – if you go into someone’s home, you take off your shoes and be respectful. What I mean is that you show yourself to be new to our little blogging community or you would know better than to make some of the comments you just did.

    For instance, you dont know that I never profess to be objective. In fact, I pick my candidates and back them up. Everyone who is a regular here can tell you exactly who I support and dont & how passionate I am about subjects that I am passionate about. No where in anything I wrote previously in this posting of Dave’s did I say I was going to provide an objective analysis of the LG race. I have my objections to the others & I laid it out. I have my reasons to support Brian & I laid that out too. Where did I lose you there, oh confused newbie Demwatcher? Please, try to keep up if youre going to participate with the rest of the class.

    So, lets go to your analysis of Brian. We can go rounds on whether Helping Hands is a large, medium, or small non-profit in your eyes. I say big because it provides direct services for areas of our population that not many other non-profits take on. They have large contracts and deal with a large budget. Thats large enough for me, thankyouverymuch. Your further comments that he lacks broad experience and conviction show me you barely know the guy AND youre dismissing exactly that work at Helping Hands that provided him the broadest of experiences, from running a business to management to fundraising to problem solving to actually touching peoples lives – people need help the most in our society. ALL combined these represent much much more concrete experience that he can point to that the others simply cannot. He helped people, Demwatcher. You know those people like you pay LIPSERVICE to just so they will vote your okoles in? No, Brian actually got his hands dirty, looked the poor, homeless, and mentally ill in the eyes – and tried to help them for EIGHT YEARS. Do you have any idea how long that is in the non-profit world? I assure you, where burn out is high and funding is a constant stressor, thats a long damn time. How dare you say Brian lacks conviction. He is ANYTHING but your typical politician, Demwatcher. Indeed, his actions speak volumes over the empty words and empty promises of his competitors.

    Obviously Hooser is your guy. Why dont you have the cahones to just say that instead of couching it in niceties? Grow a pair, will you? I will again say that Hooser is a noisemaker. Thats what he does and thats what he will do as an LG. The man is literally campaigning on that premise, so you know Im not making this up. But to me, thats exactly what we DONT want in an LG. We want someone who is going to work hard and work smart, not grandstand, make noise, and make trouble!

    Again, if you werent so new to the blogging arena, you would know I readily give Hooser props for his strong convictions on HB444. He stood up and stood strong by the gay and lesbian community. However, what I dont think Ive ever written is that I know he was also a HUGE part of why HB444 didnt make it out of the Senate last year. Ask him about how he and his pissed of a certain senator by being totally, completely inappropriate. It was disrespectful, hurtful, shameful, and wrong.

    Lets keep going, shall we? Furlough Fridays werent his first. They were the parents. He just jumped on board. Talking about getting on board – lets talk about the Superferry-fiasco. Did you know that he voted UP for it when the reso first hit the Senate to support it. Only when he realized the radical Kauai community was freaking out did he come out against it, after he gave his word. He totally screwed that up, 1000%.

    Man of convictions? Leadership? Where? Because what I see is a man who seeks out a place in the middle of whatever is controversial-dujour that will garner him the attention that he wants and might lend to this idea that he’s blazing a legendary path of leadership glory.

    He’s obviously got you fooled. Perhaps you should watch a little closer, Demwatcher. Youve missed a few of Hooser’s details, I assure you.

    Hooser cant be LG. He simply cannot keep himself on the sidelines. He lacks the political sophistication to be a true asset to the next Governor. His behavior in the Senate is all the evidence we need to show this to be true.

  18. hipoli Says:

    And Dave – I hear what youre saying but come on! You know and I know Lyla especially is campaigning on her looks. You cant reasonably expect us to overlook the very obvious, can you?

  19. David Shapiro Says:


    Yeah, I guess I do expect people to look a little deeper beyond the obvious. I don’t see the male candidates being put up on the runway and being inspected in that way. It’s beneath us.

  20. hipoli Says:

    Thats because the men arent doing what Lyla’s doing. Come on, Dave. Sure, Lyla has a long record as a teacher – but thats not her priority message, now is it? Be honest, Dave, her first message absolutely is ‘look at me!’.

    Notice, Im not saying anything about Finnegan because I simply dont think she’s riding off her looks as much.

  21. Michael Says:

    jaded Says:

    July 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    “aiona though silent has done quite alot for one second in command. Education and Health care.”

    “Exactly what has he done for education and health care?”~jaded Says

    Education involves the number of school days 180.

    Health care now has Health Insurance paying for those with Family History Cancer to get screened early.
    Two issues of my concern. May not be much to others but I feel this is what Hawaii is lacking. Maybe not alot.

  22. Demwatcher Says:

    @hipoli Oh, I was barefoot, no shoes in your house.

    Hipoli, you don’t know who I am, but I have been a Democratic Pct. Chair, and worked on local, state, and national campaigns, candidates and issues. I pretty much just work for winners. I call ’em as I see ’em based on a lot of experience. I can take just one look at Brian, his demeanor and body language and tell you he is not ready to be a state executive, Lt. Governor or otherwise.

    Here is another little tidbit. The last multi-island Democrat primary election that Brian ran in and he came in a distant 6th polling a pathetically low number for half of the state’s population:

    U.S. Representative, Dist 2 – 2006 Dem Primary
    HIRONO, Mazie K. 24,487 20.7%
    HANABUSA, Colleen 23,643 20.0%
    MATSUNAGA, Matt 16,001 13.5%
    HEE, Clayton 12,649 10.7%
    HOOSER, Gary L. 10,730 9.1%
    SCHATZ, Brian 8,254 7.0%
    MENOR, Ron 8,030 6.8%

    Question, has Brian been able in recent years to take advantage of his Dem. State Chairmanship to put himself in any better a position for a statewide election? Well, we’ll see in the primary, but I think not. He still hasn’t gotten the really important endorsements, even with the leverage he had. They see him for what he is, he’s a young man not ready to be a state executive. In this group of 6 candidates I see him rightly coming in 3rd or 4th place. A little better than last time. Maybe in 4 to 8 years he’ll be ready for this. Right now Brian is State Rep. material as he was before.

  23. jaded Says:


    Duke was MIA on both issues you cite. As a matter of fact, I don’t ever recall Duke personally testifying on any bill or meeting with legislators on any issue during the entire time he’s spent on the 5th floor. Can any one of the regulars here recall any instance where Duke participated in the legislative process?

    If you’re referring to the colonoscopy screening bill, Maui Senator Roz Baker is the principal author and proponent who worked tirelessly for years to get it passed. She’s a cancer survivor and takes strong interest in healthcare issues — she’s probably the most informed legislator when it comes to healthcare in general (sorry, Josh!). The bill would have gone nowhere without her — we should give credit where it’s due.

  24. hipoli Says:

    @jaded – didnt duke do some kind of substance-abuse-something the first couple of years? and it went where CARE went…no where.


    First, a little blog-schooling. We’re all some-bodies out there, but on these blogs we’re all no-bodies. We all dont know who each other are in real life, though Im sure we all have our sneaky suspicions. Still, unlike the comments on the SA electronic articles, here we display a relatively healthy respect for each other, engage in lively debates, but are also known to poke quick witted and sometimes biting holes in each other, as needed. Its how we keep each other in line and humble. But just so you know, theres no bigger some-body on these blogs than Sir Charles (you’ll know him when you see him), we all know that, so dont even bother making li’dat. In short, you can leave your -you dis’ and you dat’ — blahblahblah at the door, please.

    You spent a lot of time dis’n Brian in your last post. In summary: you dont like how Brian looks. And thats how you pick your ‘winners’? High level of intelligence and critical thinking Im dealing with here, I see.

    Again with the my big vs your big. ILWU endorsement not big enough for you? And I dont think any of the others like HGEA, HSTA, UHPA, or UPW have endorsed any LGs so far. Or did I miss those endorsements of Senator Hooser?

    And again, you seek to discount Brian’s real life work experience working in real life with the exact populations that Democrats talk about helping. You discount his administrative and leadership skills, honed in an incredibly difficult and stressful environment. Unless you have ever been a manager, which by all your ‘im very important’ resume you posted, you havent been, then I dont think you can actually understand and appreciate that indeed that management experience will lend itself perfectly into a seat that is both one part a backseat and another part a seat-to-do-something with.

    And by the way, why dont you pull up the numbers on when Bunda last ran for Congress back when he was Bunda-who? Heck, for half this State he’s still Bunda-who. So are all the LG candidates, including Brian. So bringing up old race data to somehow substantiate his non-qualifications for this is totally not relevant and, frankly, dumb.

    Your bottom line, if there is one is that you just think Brian is too young.

    Well, I suggest that youre just wrong.

    So, demwatcher, lets go back and talk about your guy, Senator Hooser. I brought up some legitimate and concrete points of concern about Hoosers so-called leadership capacities. So, heres what we do know that you might say in support: you like how Hooser looks and hes the right age for you.

    Thats not enough, demwatcher, to condemn one in support of another. Be more substantive or kindly get off my ride.

  25. charles Says:

    Are we all playing nicely? 🙂

    The reason that the LG’s race is attracting so much attention is not because of the candidates per se. It’s about the governor’s race. Let’s assume that Aiona will not prevail in the general. (And, David, by the way, Finnegan is not a Lingle moderate. She’s more of a Lingle loyalist and probably has supported the governor’s overrides more than any other Republican legislator. But her position on social issues are far more conservative than Lingle. For example, she is an absolute pro-life candidate and Lingle is not. Finnegan believes that sex education in the schools should only teach abstinence and so on. Anyway, I digress.)

    So we are really speculating and postulating about Hannemann or Abercrombie as governor. Let’s take Abercrombie first.

    If elected, Abercrombie will be the oldest post-statehood governor by far. He is 72 years old (the next oldest was Cayetano who was 55 when first elected in 1994.) Now age in and of itself is irrelevant but it does raise the question of whether Abercrombie will seek a second term when he is 76. It makes the LG position more relevant in this regard.

    With Hannemann, it’s a different scenario. I haven’t come across one person who is convinced that he will serve eight years as governor. The conventional wisdom is that a U.S. Senate seat will open up within the next eight years. (Yes, I know Sen. Inouye has already announced he is running for re-election in 2016 when he will be 92 years old but still. . . ) And the sitting governor appoints if there is a vacancy.

    This is why the LG’s race this year is intriguing. After all, it’s not the office itself. John Garner who was vice-president had it right when describing his office as “not worth a bucket of warm piss.”

    Similarly with the LG’s office. I know when you look at the candidates’ websites and it’s full of issues, ideas, etc. But the LG’s ability to do anything is entirely dependent on the governor. This is why Aiona has been reduced over the years to representing the governor when a new parking lot is being blessed or giving greetings to the United Dog Catcher’s Association at their installation banquet.

    I can’t see Hannemann or Abercrombie giving their LG a robust portfolio to work on.

    The key decision for voters is do they think any of these candidates can step into the governor’s office and do a credible job?

  26. charles Says:

    Oh, and as far as handicapping the LG’s race, I would think it’s going to be Schatz, Bunda, Sakamoto and not necessarily in that order.

  27. hipoli Says:

    Im TRYING to play nicely with the newbie, Sir Charles. Hmph!

    And you just freaked me out about Lynn. Really? I wonder if Sakamoto and Bunda feel the same? I know they are anti-abortion (anti-gay, anti-anything that smells of fairness and justice, etc.), but what about the sex education and other similarly controversial areas of education.

    That stirs the feminist in me all up, all over again. I hope that all comes out, quickly. I am going to be a grumpy hipoli if our LG choices come down to Sakamoto or Bunda vs. Finnegan.

  28. shaftalley Says:

    might as well vote on the pretty ladies,because,none of them,including the pretty ones will do anything,can do anything to improve economical situation here in the islands.follow the money.the two parties are scamming us.

  29. common_sense20 Says:


    I’d like to comment on two of your points that allegedly directly and indirectly favor Schatz.

    First…”Hooser just likes to make noise.” You’re ridiculous. “Making noise” was the exact right thing to do with HB444. Would you rather the people in charge of protecting constitutional equality “go gently into that good night?” Yet you knock him for speaking out!? Yeah, maybe he just should have written a letter (not on party letterhead) and sent it to Hanabusa when she was trying to derail the whole thing, like Schatz did. Sure Schatz testified in favor of the bill at the first hearing in the House, but once the rest of the state caught on to the fact that 444 was moving and the heat was really turned on…Schatz got his okole out of the kitchen. Why didn’t he testify again? Why didn’t he come to the capitol? Why didn’t he use the Dem party machinery to express to the entire state that this is an issue worth fighting for? You seem like a smart gal, so I’m sure you already know the reason…he was calculating how he could position himself to get more votes. He didn’t care about doing what was right, he cared about doing what was politically expedient, and there’s no reason to think he’ll ever do anything differently.

    Superferry…Hooser voted for the reso before voting against the bill (or let me call it “representing his constituents”), such a terrible thing…why would a politician represent the people (s)he’s elected to represent? Shouldn’t (s)he just look out for personal interests? Sure, if you’re Schatz that sounds like a great idea, but thankfully not every politician is Schatz. I can’t speak for the man, but I think Hooser voted for the reso because like the majority of us in Hawaii, he saw Superferry as a wonderful opportunity to move forward on an effective transportation alternative between islands, inject some competition into the marketplace, improve local economies, and bring people from different islands together. But when he realized that special privileges were being given to Superferry that: 1) were illegal; and 2) threatened our environment, he wasn’t going to “go gently into that good night.” Maybe you would rather he would have…maybe you’re cool with big business getting special privileges that the rest don’t get, maybe Schatz feels the same way? I don’t, Hooser didn’t, and thankfully, neither did the Hawaii Supreme Court, which is responsible for stopping this Superferry madness, which we now know was possibly not economically feasible from the beginning.

    Furlough Fridays…”he just jumped on board.” That’s your knock on Hooser…”he just jumped on board.” Once again, if you’re Schatz, maybe the right idea is to keep your mouth shut and let everyone else fight for what’s right. Fortunately, Hooser isn’t built that way. He did jump on board, in favor of the parents, the kids, and the state. Was that wrong of him…to jump on board and endorse what ultimately was the agreed upon solution, but 3 months in advance. If the rest of the state would have “just jumped on board” at that time, the keiki wouldn’t have missed those 12 days of class instruction. But apparently, you’re cool with kids missing school if the solution isn’t your own. Pretty calculating.

    Now…onto your point in favor of Schatz. “He’s willing to sit on the sidelines” while the adults do all of the leading. Is that what you really want…a LG that is good at sitting on the sidelines? Do you listen to yourself before you speak? You’re going to vote for Schatz because he’s not willing to take charge or speak out. This is your message “Don’t worry Hawaii, when things get tough and Schatz is LG, you won’t hear a peep out of him.” That is so comforting!

    Maybe you should join him in silence until you’re willing to think before you speak.

  30. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    On Wednesday, August 31, Region Nine of the Democratic Party (State House Districts 47. 48, 49, 50 & 51) will be chairing a Political Speed Daving event in Kane`ohe for all LG Democratic candidates. A seventh candidate from the Big Island will be invited but so far he’s not been directly contacted with details about the event except for a phone call asking for an e-mail address. If necessary, a printed invitation will be sent to him early next week. The other six all got their “written” invitations on Thursday.

    If you’re not familiar with Political Speed Dating, it was “invented” by the Progressive Democrats of Hawai`i during the 2006 Second Congressional District Primary. The audience is broken into small groups equal to the number of candidates participating. They stay put and the candidates move from one group to another for 13-15 minute sessions. Before and afterwards there are socializing sessions. It’s fun, fast-paced and provides voters & candidates the opportunity to ask & answer questions that a large forum does not.

    Will post more details as the time comes closer if you’d like to come. However, this is not a bi-partisan event so teapartytypes and other disrupters will be asked to leave.

    And, yes, I was the one who came up with the idea four years ago.

    BACK TO THE COMMENTS RE LYLA: I think it’s insulting to make comments about Lyla’s physical appearance. Deal with her positions and her experience. She’s a hard campaigner and is more than able to take on the challenges of running for a race like this.

    I suspect/expect that, should Neil win the Governor’s race, that Lyla will join his administration as his DOE policy adviser.

  31. common_sense20 Says:


    I don’t know who you are, but Hipoli has deemed you King…therefore sir, just want to let you know that I’m willing to play nice, but I don’t take kindly to idiocy or thoughtless wretching in print.

  32. charles Says:

    @common, I say if the shoe fits, slip it on.

    If it doesn’t, ignore it.

    As far as being unwilling to “take kindly to idiocy or thoughtless wretching in print,” well, that’s more than fine.

    Of course, I suppose each of us determines and defines what is “idiocy and thoughtless wretching,” no?

    And I would suspect there would be no universal consensus.

    C’est la vie.

  33. Kolea Says:

    Not to get all “kumbaya” on y’all, but let me defend Brian Schatz a bit here.

    I am less familiar with his work with Helping Hands, but I was very familiar with his work before that in setting up and running Youth for Environmental Service for several years. I first met him in that role.

    It was an excellent program, drawing thousands of school kids into hands-on relationships with nature, not in the abstract, but through real-life work.

    I am aware there is a smear going around trying to hold Brian responsible for the eventual collapse of YES. But that happened long after he left the organization. It expanded too quickly and took on sponsorship of an INTERNATIONAL gathering of young people in Honolulu and the finances fell apart. If anything, I take that collapse as evidence of Brian’s competence in avoiding such pitfalls during his years at the helm.

    As someone who worked closely with Brian on Democratic Party business, I find myself torn between Hipoli’s appreciation for his administrative skills and quiet, behind the scenes negotiations versus commonsense_20’s criticism that Brian laid low when the going got rough. The Party Chair is forced to try to maintain good relations with the divergent, often competing, sometimes opposing networks, factions, interests which make up the Democratic Party.

    AT THE SAME TIME, the Party has to stand for some principles and the Chair has to decide when and how to use the position as a “bully pulpit” to advance the values the Party SAYS it stands for. That is not an easy balance to strike. I was not always happy with Brian’s low profile at crucial moments, including the Senate hearing on HB444.

    I am a bit surprised at Hipoli’s disdain for “noisemakers.” Come on, sistah. You make Plenty “noise” on these blogs. I certainly do. That is part of the reason I come to these blogs. To post information and a perspective which may impact the “discourse.”

    I was closely involved in the lobbying effort on HB444. I think Hooser was the strongest and, initially, most effective advocate FOR the bill. I have heard the criticisms offered by Hanabusa supporters against him. And so far, not one of those criticisms is, to borrow the phrase just introduced, “worth a bucket of warm spit.” Perhaps Hipoli has a different critique? It is not clear from her comment.

    Hanabusa, pressured by Donna Kim and the internal dynamics of the Senate, was not willing to support passage of HB444. DO we REALLY have to re-open that whole period, step-by-step? I am supporting Colleen against Djou for Congress, but if you want to re-open old wounds, rekindle old grievances, we can go down that path if it becomes necessary to defend Hooser against your charges.

    commonsense_20 has it exactly right on the evolution of Hooser’s thinking on the SuperFerry. Come on. Almost everybody thought it was a good idea at first glance. It was only when the SF started getting special treatment and routine environmental laws were set aside, against the advice of Lingle’s own staff, that opposition grew from the original corps of environmental activists on Maui and kauai to a fairly widespread discomfort.

    “Furlough Fridays”? You got some complaint about Gary’s role on FF? Really? He “jumped on board”? Is THAT how you characterize it when a politician responds to public outrage? Gary was AGAIN one of the first Senators to “jump onboard” at a time leadership of both chambers was saying nothing could be done. It was a messy arena, as the Lege is supposed to stay out of “collective bargaining.” But he helped pull together a small group of legislators to meet with the parents and the unions in an effort to develop the outlines of what became the final settlement: draw from the Hurricane and Rainy Days funds in exchange for concessions from the teachers to work more days.

    I was not as close to those discussions as I had been with HB444, but if you remember back to my postings here and on DePledge’s blogs, I had pretty good sources of information. (And no, it did not all come from Hooser. I had good sources with HSTA and other legislators).


    I am not sure what you said which set off Hipoli. Your comments, even when I disagreed with SOME of your tone, seems within the boundaries of acceptable decorum.

    But I gotta agree with Hipoli that Brian’s results in the 2nd CD race will mislead you if you use them to predict results in the LG race. I think Charles is correct. The top three in the race at this stage are Brian, Bunda and Sakamoto. Gary is further back Lyla and Jon Riki barely register, though they might say they “have not yet begun to fight.” If Lyla picks up support from women voters looking for SOME representation in this field dominated by men, she might surprise us in the final tally. (That’s a big “if”.)

    OK, I have pontificated enough. Off to a productive day!

  34. Michael Says:

    jaded Says:

    July 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Duke was MIA on both issues you cite. As a matter of fact, I don’t ever recall Duke personally testifying on any bill or meeting with legislators on any issue during the entire time he’s spent on the 5th floor. Can any one of the regulars here recall any instance where Duke participated in the legislative process?

    If you’re referring to the colonoscopy screening bill, Maui Senator Roz Baker is the principal author and proponent who worked tirelessly for years to get it passed. She’s a cancer survivor and takes strong interest in healthcare issues — she’s probably the most informed legislator when it comes to healthcare in general (sorry, Josh!). The bill would have gone nowhere without her — we should give credit where it’s due.~jaded

    “Education involves the number of school days 180.

    Health care now has Health Insurance paying for those with Family History Cancer to get screened early.
    Two issues of my concern. May not be much to others but I feel this is what Hawaii is lacking. Maybe not alot.”~Michael

    No mention of mine did I say Aiona maded these bills.
    I mentioned what I said because of what I heard but could not get confirmation that Aiona passed the bills to be Law. It would take pages to credit all those who did what was made into a Bill. Neither did I give Aiona all credit. If he didn’t pass the Bill then who? It wasn’t lingle.

    I do know Senator Roz Baker had a cancer many years ago and it is not Colon Cancer. She has been in remission for years. I talked with Senator Baker on her cancer. Senator Baker wants a West Maui Hospital which is still to be built. State has no money for it.

  35. Michael Says:

    If Aiona was MIA at the meetings, do you know if lingle was there? Did she do anything then and after?

  36. shaftalley Says:

    the democrat and republican wing of the peoples’democratic republic of hawaii are lockstep with the ruling class in rome/washington dc

  37. Michael Says:

    hipoli Says:

    July 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm
    “Demwatcher – if you go into someone’s home, you take off your shoes and be respectful. What I mean is that you show yourself to be new to our little blogging community or you would know better than to make some of the comments you just did.”~hipoli

    Not every house in Hawaii, does one take off their shoes. If one is Japanese they do as I do. I don’t see people going into Hotel rooms and take off their shoes before entering. I have gone to a John Doe’s house and they said to keep my shoes on. I was respectfull to keep my shoes on.
    Enter a Dojo, one removes shoes and then bows.

  38. hipoli Says:

    Sorry – took the weekend off. Picking up where we last left off, then.

    Shaftalley – I can understand why you feel that way about all politicians. I truly do. Hence, my call (and I hope others will follow) to insist that we insist on a higher level of critical analysis of what is going on in Hawaii, be it about job creation to education to etc. etc., followed by concrete examples of proposals for addressing those issues. I think this would work to enhance credibility and professionalism of this voting process. We all know theres problems, tell us how youre going to work on them. So when all I see are a bunch of pretty pictures of Lyla – and not much substance coming from her camp – I think it is very fair to say that the woman is absolutely campaigning as the only female & a pretty face as a primary strategy. If I heard much more from her, I would say that. But I dont.

    Common Sense & Kolea: ”Hooser just likes to make noise.” You’re ridiculous. “Making noise” was the exact right thing to do with HB444.”- and other related comments about HB444, SF, and FF.

    Look, I have consistently given Hooser his due credit and my respect for standing up and standing firm on HB444, as just the right thing to do. But he also just didnt know when to shut up, either. There was a point when he needed to zip it – and he didnt. What happened to Donna Kim was b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. Did I say that loud enough? BULL-freaking-shit. And Im not even a huge fan of Donna’s. But thats enough on this, Ok, Kolea? Lets not go there, too. Not here.

    I have to go dig up that early SF reso from years ago – but as I recall he knew exactly what he was supporting. But like FF, when he saw the building public dissent, he saw an opportunity to get himself shot into the center of the ‘Im a leader’ role. To me, a real leader leads his people, his team, not jump up and down and say ‘look at how stupid everyone else is! Im the only smart one in the bunch!’ Our legislators simply are not all stupid – but Gary Hooser would have you believe otherwise. Thats leadership? Thats teamwork? Nah, I see it more like opportunistic grandstanding. I’ll pass, thank you. Theres a local school here in Hawaii that maintains the motto “One Team”. I think that philosophy carries well into all areas of life. Playing well with others is a critical component of leadership. I do prefer a person who has demonstrated capacities to work well with, not against, his team. That is to say, commonsense, that Brian absolutely 100% definitively has the skills and experience to lead and to make critical decisions – only he does not need the media to tell him how wonderful and what a ‘great leader’ he is.

    ‘Leaders’ like Hooser, and in a similar vein Espero and Mizuno – do.

  39. Michael Says:

    Wondered why no comments.
    The hoi pollois were out of town.

  40. jaded Says:


    Both Lingle and Aiona went completely MIA on the two issues you’ve cited as being important to you. In fact, the Executive branch has been absent on nearly every legislative initiative during the entire time they’ve been in office, and have essentially worked AGAINST most legislation that’ve been enacted into law. Stop giving credit where none exists.

    It doesn’t take pages to list the people who should receive credit in passing legislation — in the case of the colonoscopy screening law, Senator Baker was the one who worked with the insurance companies in order to get them to agree; otherwise, there would be no law for colonoscopy cancer screening. And the bill would have become law with or without Lingle/Aiona’s signature since it wasn’t vetoed.


    I’m not taking any sides here, but Donna and her group (Shan, etc.) were pretty vicious towards Gary so I can understand why he reacted the way he did.

  41. Michael Says:

    jaded Says:

    July 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    “Both Lingle and Aiona went completely MIA on the two issues you’ve cited as being important to you. In fact, the Executive branch has been absent on nearly every legislative initiative during the entire time they’ve been in office, and have essentially worked AGAINST most legislation that’ve been enacted into law. Stop giving credit where none exists.

    It doesn’t take pages to list the people who should receive credit in passing legislation — in the case of the colonoscopy screening law, Senator Baker was the one who worked with the insurance companies in order to get them to agree; otherwise, there would be no law for colonoscopy cancer screening. And the bill would have become law with or without Lingle/Aiona’s signature since it wasn’t vetoed.~jaded

    In your answer you need the rest of the hoi pollois to back you up?
    I give credit where I think is due, my opinion and I have the right to say. What you say is your opinion as well. If it needs pages for credit so it shall be written.

    Regardless of who made the bill and who pushed, it is Senator Bakers job to do so. If it didn’t need a vote of approval by governor or lt. governor then I am still glad it passed.

    What do you expect Republicans to do but do opposite of Democrats? Democrats have done the same to Republicans and why there is a dissention in their party of Democrats. Neither work for the People.

    What will the others say? Who cares what they say, it seems you need their support, I don’t.

    You have something in common with palin, you both talk in circles. Never answering the actual question asked but reply but with what suits your purpose.
    Like a palindrome. Not knowing which end is the beginning or the end. Their is no end in a circle.
    Like lingle who could not make ends meet.

  42. Michael Says:

    Michael Says:

    July 24, 2010 at 10:41 am
    hipoli Says:

    July 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm
    “Demwatcher – if you go into someone’s home, you take off your shoes and be respectful. What I mean is that you show yourself to be new to our little blogging community or you would know better than to make some of the comments you just did.”~hipoli

    Not every house in Hawaii, does one take off their shoes. If one is Japanese they do as I do. I don’t see people going into Hotel rooms and take off their shoes before entering. I have gone to a John Doe’s house and they said to keep my shoes on. I was respectfull to keep my shoes on.
    Enter a Dojo, one removes shoes and then bows.

    This comment was intended for hipoli.
    See if she can practise what she preaches.

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