What’s Lingle’s Legacy?

While many politicians get all “aw, shucks” when talking about their legacy and say it’ll take care of itself, Gov. Linda Lingle obviously takes this stuff very seriously.

I drew a bit of blood in a way I hadn’t intended when I said in my column today about her appointment of Katherine Leonard as chief justice of the state Supreme Court: “After eight years of getting nowhere with the Democratic Legislature on her policy initiatives, the Judiciary is Lingle’s only clear legacy.”

Her senior communications adviser Lenny Klompus responded with a lengthy letter to the editor to the Star-Advertiser outlining his view — and presumably hers — of Lingle’s broader legacy.

I’ve been gathering string for a more thorough review of the Lingle legacy as her term nears an end, and it’s handy to have a clear statement on how the administration sees it.

Toward that end, I’d be interested to know what the folks who post here think will be remembered most about the Lingle years. I don’t know if the Star-Advertiser will publish Klompus’ letter — I hope they do — but I’ll paste it here in hope of getting your thoughts. (Note: From the discussion below, I posted here a copy of Lingle’s 2002 campaign promises, “A New Beginning for Hawai’i,” for those who care to compare the lists.)

Governor Lingle’s Legacy Anything but Narrow

In David Shapiro’s July 28 column, he implies that Governor Linda Lingle’s legacy will be narrowly defined by her judicial appointments. While Shapiro correctly points out that the Governor has appointed 3 of the 5 Supreme Court Justices, pending Judge Katherine Leonard’s confirmation as Chief Justice, 5 of the 6 judges on the Intermediate Court of Appeals and more than half of the Circuit Court judges, he is vastly overlooking the Governor’s many other accomplishments of her nearly 8 year service.

Specifically, the Governor has:

-Led the effort in the state’s transition to a secure, clean energy future. By establishing the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), in partnership with the federal government, the Governor has not only begun the huge strides to reduce Hawai’i’s dependence on oil, but has also laid the groundwork to continue the transition to energy security long beyond her Administration;

-Initiated and oversaw the modernization of our state’s transportation systems, including harbors, highways and airports;

-Revamped state animal quarantine regulation laws to lessen the burden on pets and pet owners;

-Awarded more leases to Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries over the past seven years than in the trust’s previous 80-year history;

-Transformed the state’s procurement process to ensure openness and transparency;

-Brought the issue of chronic homelessness to light and creatively addressed the challenge, including working with community partners and neighbor island mayors to build and open seven homeless shelters and transitional housing projects on O‘ahu and two on Kaua‘i;

-Expanded Hawai‘i’s role in the Asia-Pacific region through new international partnerships, especially with China, creating new opportunities for Hawai‘i businesses and students;

-Dramatically cut and streamlined fees and assessments for businesses and created an online portal of information and access for consumers and businesses;

-Reduced the number of children in foster care by 50 percent, while achieving one of the lowest child re-abuse rates in the nation;

-Protected and ensured the long-term state-federal-community management of Hawai‘i’s pristine Papahanaumokuakea; and

-Reinvigorated public education through a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) with hands-on learning applications like robotics.

This listing of projects ushered in and overseen by the Lingle-Aiona Administration is merely a snapshot of what Governor Lingle and her team have been able to accomplish during their time in office. As she moves into her final months in office, we will certainly see the list continue to grow.

Finally, despite Shapiro’s claim that the Governor spent “eight years of getting nowhere with the Democratic Legislature on her policy initiatives,” the fact is, the Governor’s achievements at the legislative level are impressive, given the immense political roadblocks by the majority party.

Approximately 42 percent of all bills introduced by the Administration and bills that were closely related (or in some cases identical copycat bills) to the Administration’s were passed by the Legislature, including 48% this past session.

Considering that the House Majority was able to get only 50 percent of its legislative packages passed between 2003 and 2009, and the Senate Majority was only able to squeeze out a 45 percent success rate with its packages between 2006 and 2009, the success rate of the Governor’s legislative initiatives demonstrates the merit and caliber of her Administration’s proposals.

It’s interesting to note that in the 2010 legislative session – in the midst of the most severe economic crisis facing our state – the House and Senate Majority didn’t even bother to submit legislative packages, so their success rate is zero percent.

The Governor’s accomplishments – at the administrative and legislative levels – will have long-term beneficial impacts on Hawai‘i’s future, ensuring Governor Lingle’s legacy will be remembered far beyond her significant appointments to the Judiciary.

Leonard Klompus
Senior Advisor — Communications
Office of the Governor

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19 Comments on “What’s Lingle’s Legacy?”

  1. tommy Says:

    Props to Lingle for helping set up the infrastructure for more renewable energy and for finally — finally! — improving our shoddy harbors and airports.

    Boo to her for rejecting civil unions, effing up the Superferry, needlessly delaying the rail (hello, Oahu voted for it! will of the people and all that) and helplessly spinning her wheels during Hawaii’s worst economy ever. Booooo!!

    Her legacy will be civil unions and the Superferry.

  2. el guapo Says:

    I will remember a governor who always played from behind and did not get ahead of issues, and cried about things when it was too late: budget crises, teacher furloughs, rail. Her voice would have been more significant had she addressed these issues before it was too late.

    I will remember a particularly bad cabinet appointee in Georgina Kawamura, and Bob Awana. I will remember Linda Smith and Lenny Klompus trying to put their spin on events, and always after the fact.

    And that’s what I will remember about the Lingle years. Did not think we could fall so low as in the Waihee era, but I don’t remember those years as being this bad.

  3. Kolea Says:

    Lenny Klompus is a brave man to set up a row of targets like this. Where to begin?

    “-Initiated and oversaw the modernization of our state’s transportation systems, including harbors, highways and airports;”

    [Scratches head]. Oh yeah, I remember how shortly after she was elected, they changed the signs at the airport from green and white to black and yellow! Oh, and she renamed the H-3 tunnels. And she tried to ram through the SuperFerry. What else, oh and one of the major airlines went out of business and she wouldn’t lift a finger.

    To be fair, they must have repaved a coupla highways.

    I DEFINITELY think she will be remembered for her bold improvements to our state transportation system!

  4. Forward Observer Says:

    This would be my response to Lenny’s Op Ed.
    Bob Awana scandal, Ka Loko Dam disaster, gas guzzling SUV, Turtle Bay shibai, Superferry fiasco, DBEDT contracting scandal, CGI contracting scandal, commercial development of Hwn Homestead Lands, too many trips to China at taxpayer expense, allowed GET increase to pay for mass transit then opposed it, questionable DOT Lihue airport land deal, questionable lease-rent back of state owned land on Ualena Street.

  5. hipoli Says:

    I think theres some merit to a few of these areas Mr. Purple Suit points out here, especially on the homeless shelters. They arent perfect, but I do give her credit for showing more compassion and creative use of resources at her fingertips than a certain former mayor in this area. Indeed, after 8 years, I should hope they better have a few things they can say they did.

    That said, I wonder if anyone could dig up that very fancy Lenny Klompus-ego-on -display brochure that was called New Beginnings. Remember that, folks? I would LOVE to see a comparison of what she SAID she was GOING to do 8 years ago, and what she SAYS she’s done in the eight years. That would make a lovely article, dont you think, Dave?

    And then, dear Mr. Purple Suit, you leave yourself and the Governor too open when you decided to respond to Dave like this. I cant wait to see everyone elses top ten list of Lingle Disaster-Screw Up Legacies.

    Here’s mine:

    1) HB444 – that had to be the lamest justification for a veto, ever. You all missed the one chance you had to leave the biggest and the best legacy – doing the right thing.

    2) Furlough Fridays – who, in Gods Name, put Linda Smith in charge of that?

    3) Superferry – talk about a screw up.

    4) DHS -8 LONG years of Lillian Koller. That department is in utter and complete chaos. Morale that to say is low simply isnt sufficient enough. Talk about a nut-job. The poor schmuck who takes it over the aftermath after Lillian wont be paid enough to deal with what she’s done over there.

    5) PSD – mistreatment, mismanagement, and just a general complete f-up. So much so, that the Gov GAVE up. Again, I feel sorry for the next poor schmuck who tries to run the joint.

    6) Mental Health – Anyone actually look into the faces of the homeless? This was a priority area for her? Really?

    7) Turtle Bay, anyone? What? No takers? But thanks for making us all laugh. We needed it.

    8) Wont raise taxes? Oh, except for Rail. And then, pull the carpet out from under it. Im pretty sure Mufi’s okole will bounce up from the ground, though, despite your best effort.

    9) Innovation? If Lenny’s suits count, perhaps.


    10) Without a blink, give up what Hanabusa and the immediate previous administration fought hard to achieve to bring the public sector towards a more manageable, sustainable workforce. They did the work for you and what do you do? But you got reelected, didnt you? We, as a State, dont ever talk about this anymore, but eight years later, do you ever think of what you senselessly, too easily gave up?

  6. Earl of Sandwich Says:

    I’ll remember her “helping” the local GOP by having them lose two-thirds of their members in the Legislature.

    And hipoli, Lenny’s suits don’t count as innovation. Regression, maybe.

  7. Menehune Says:

    I stopped reading Lingle’s ‘accomplishments’ after the third bullet point.

    I certainly hope she accomplished some things whilst in office of eight years!

    But someone ought to come out with bullet points about how she failed as a leader and what she failed to accomplish whilst in office.

    Now that would be a list far longer than the one provided by Klompus.

  8. David Shapiro Says:

    Per hipoli’s request, I posted here a PDF copy of Linda Lingle’s “A New Beginning for Hawai’i” platform from the 2002 campaign.

  9. ladyjane Says:

    Thanks for posting Lingle’s “A New Beginning…” Dave! My friends and I were just talking about how her working cooperatively with the auditor didn’t get very far.

  10. hipoli Says:

    Thanks, Dave. I just started to scroll down it when I ran across this:

    “As Governor, within the first 180 days of my administration, I will: Authorize a complete, independent audit of the state’s finances in cooperation with State Auditor Marion Higa.”

    Now, do you think the Gov could blow off the dust and leave a copy of that on her desk for Mufi, if he wins, since thats exactly the same thing he’s saying he’ll do?

    Go ahead – borrow that one for your weekly summary, Dave. 🙂

  11. Michael Says:

    her legacy as governor is:
    lingle plays the fiddle while Hawaii burns.

    her legacy as mayor of Maui:
    she became governor of Hawaii.

    First as a democrat then a republican.
    she would have lost if she were a candidate
    for governor as a democrat.

  12. charles Says:

    Ah, where does one begin?

    I’ll just mention two points.

    When Lingle ran for governor the second time, one of her campaign promises was to eliminate the GET on food and medicine (I guess she meant over-the-counter meds since prescriptions already are exempt).

    In eight years, she never introduced a bill to do just that.

    I also remember Lingle’s first State of the State address where she boldly pronounced that the days of the old-boy network were over saying that her cabinet appointees were there on the basis of their qualifications. She said, “A new beginning means a zero tolerance for rewarding friends and punishing enemies.”

    Hmmm . . . the Republican Party attorney became attorney general (Bennett), the party chair (Kane) got DHHL, Kitty Lagareta went to UH BOR, her husband Roland and Eddie Flores were appointed to the East-West Center Board of Governors, another party chair (Morioka) got deputy director of transportation, etc.

    The Who had it right, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

  13. Hawaiino Says:

    Great Who reference !!

    Truly sad to reflect back on the two terms. So much to do, so few accomplishments. She did have the mandate she refers to in her 2002
    position paper, she seems to have lacked either the administrative skills or the will to govern. She certainly had a talent gap in her appointment candidates, with just a few exceptions. As her administration aged this became more apparent, the only superior exception I can think of in 2nd term appts. was L. Thielen at DLNR.
    I like her she’s whip smart and empathetic in person. The obvious issue was she had stony ground to plow with the Leg and the bureaucracy. I think it wore her out. The loss of B. Awana was huge. She certainly has more of a future in politics than the last two guys, but she carries the scars of office more than the laurels.

  14. ccpp Says:

    from hipoli:
    1) HB444 – that had to be the lamest justification for a veto, ever. You all missed the one chance you had to leave the biggest and the best legacy – doing the right thing.

    For Lingle’s civil union veto one I agree with you 100 percent. For the others such as the Super Ferry fiasco, Calvin Say and Hanabusa are EQUALLY responsible for that mess as Lingle. The Super Ferry could have never have gone as far as it did without Say and Hanabusa’s full support. Furlough Fridays could have been resolved by the Democrat legislature by either raising the GET or raiding the Hurricane/Rainy day funds to pay for gov’t workers salaries, however Democrats chose NOT to do so.

    Regarding Koller and DHS, didn’t she try to streamline DHS by reducing the number of office and use more online resources? Of course DHS workers would be incredibly upset by that, but maybe the DHS is overburdened by too many gov’t workers stuck on pencil and paper instead of using computers? Is that a good thing? I do know the DOE is messed up big time and that has nothing to do with Lingle. In fact given Higa’s scathing audit of the DOE and their purchasing and contracting budget, Demo State legislatures should be DEMANDING for an audit like Aiona, however what comes out of the State Leg this session regarding the DOE? A bill to INCREASE the salaries of DOE execs, including the Superintendent to pay him/her up to about $200K! How stupid and ineffective is that! In that case Lingle did the right thing and had to veto that measure.

    My point is Lingle as governor has done some good things and really BAD things, but so has the Democratic controlled legislature AND Mufi as mayor of Honolulu. I think it is safe to say regardless of who becomes the next Gov, whether it is Mufi, Neil OR Duke, NOTHING will change, most likely things will get worse. The only hope for positive change I have is Panos, who actually dares for real change in bucking the system of same old, same old.

    from tommy:
    …needlessly delaying the rail (hello, Oahu voted for it! will of the people and all that)

    The rail project is literally make or brake for the future of Hawaii. It is the mother of all wasteful projects that a State can undertake, especially given our small population of about 1.3 million, with only about 800K living on Oahu and only a small fraction who will actually use the rail. I don’t care what BS is coming from Mufi, the construction industry, Parson, etc. If the 4 mile Las Vegas elevated rail built by Parsons/Bombardier is bankrupt to the tune of 1/2 to 1 BILLION dollars, and should have been a duck soup SIMPLE project given they do NOT have to build over a maze of unforseen/poorly mapped sewage, water & gas lines built decades ago, INCLUDING having to build a train track on land that contains ancient ancestral bones, Oahu’s rail project is nothing more than a 10++ BILLION make work project where billions of Hawaii taxpayer’s dollars will be siphoned from the State and will be Hawaii’s mistake of the Century. Of course for Mufi and the associated special interest who stand to directly benefit from the project they will make a KILLING at Hawaii taxpayer’s expense.

    History will repeat itself compared to the Hawaii Convention Center, only the convention center pales in comparison to the rail project. It is appropriate to point out our elected gov’t leaders allowed Sukarman Sukampto to flip the Aloha Motors site, where the convention center now stands and make a profit of something like $44 million, all paid with taxpayer monies. Of course Sukampto with his gambling addiction, lost all of that money and more to various casinos around the world, but I doubt Parsons and Bombardier executives and their associated companies will do the same with all of the money they will make at Hawaii taxpayer’s expense.

  15. shaftalley Says:

    linda lingle:she is the first governor of hawaii that was elected not just thru a process corrupted by money,main stream media and the gop machine in the mainland,she was also “chosen” thru a process of covert ops.the power structure wanted her governor.that’s part of her legacy.

  16. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Just in case you didn’t know – the City projects the population ON THE ISLAND OF O`AHU to be 1.3 million people by 2023 – 12-1/2 years from now.

    It is currently slightly over 900,000 people plus each year seven times the number of permanent residents visit O`AHU and stay at least one night.

    Went to a public presentation last year on a supplemental EIS for H-Power and nearly fell out of my chair when the number flashed across the screen during the PP presentation. That’s a 50% increase is less than 15 years HERE ON O`AHU!!!

  17. Alan R. Spector Says:

    The Governor who vetoed equality. Linda Lingle joins the ranks of people like George Wallace and Roy Cohn.

  18. ccpp Says:

    from Capitolist:
    “Just in case you didn’t know – the City projects the population ON THE ISLAND OF O`AHU to be 1.3 million people by 2023 – 12-1/2 years from now.”

    Never mind what the City projects, can you explain to me how the Island of Oahu will sustain these additional people in the future? Where will they work to financially support themselves?

    Our visitor industry has improved slightly but not nearly enough to absorb tens of thousands of additional workers. Our City and State gov’t worforce is already bloated and with the rail project coming that will cost taxpayers multi BILLIONS to build and then many millions for maintenance for the life of the rail will result in money getting diverted away from our City and State gov’t departments, which means a LOSS of the number of warm bodies working in City & State gov’t. I doubt civilian work for the military in Hawaii can provides thousands of additional jobs. Construction industry? Even the rail that will cost BILLIONS will only provide a limited number of TEMPORARY jobs.

    Like an aquarium of finite size, oxygen content, filtering capacity; the Island of Oahu has a FINITE carrying capacity and I think most residents will agree that we have reached that point. Yes I know Mufi and others want to force expansion of that carrying capacity such as building the now failed Ho’opili “urban sprawl” development in Kapolei that was supposed to go hand in hand with Mufi’s rail and further build tract homes on the Ewa plains, but I think most Oahu residents realize we have reached our limits regarding job opportunities, land use, traffic, sewage, water & electrical use. For our gov’t leaders to try to force an increase in development and the expense of the majority of residents who have already invested and built a life in Hawaii, to attract more people to live on Oahu to them would be BAD idea and their way of life living in Hawaii for many will be severely degraded. Another reason why these upcoming elections are so critical.

  19. shaftalley Says:

    the government cannot create jobs without disasterous consequences.it’ll be up to the market to create jobs.and we have no right or legitamte reason to stop people from coming to hawaii.freedom of movement.let as many people come that desire to come.the market will allow wealth as long as the government does not interfere.(or as little as possible)

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