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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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“Executive experience” doesn’t seem to rank high of skills needed to be elected governor

October 1st, 2014 · 4 Comments

Hawaii News Now broadcast a story last night comparing the “executive experience” of the major candidates for governor (“Hannemann says his time as mayor trumps rivals’ experience“).

Each candidate took a stab at justifying why their own experience made them up to the task of governing the state.

But Hannemann, who served six years as Honolulu mayor before running unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, said, “There’s no substitute for real executive experience. Overseeing 40 employees is not the same as overseeing 10,000 employees and a $1 billion operating budget.”

Hannemann said he offers hands-on government CEO leadership his two major opponents lack.

It’s exactly the same argument he made in 2010 when he was trounced by Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary.

On closer examination, though, “executive experience” argument falls short.

First, there’s history, which hasn’t been kind to those mayors who, like Frank Fasi, touted their years of county executive experience as reasons they should be elected governor.

Of Hawaii’s governors since statehood, only Linda Lingle came with experience as a county mayor.

Of the rest:

Bill Quinn was a lawyer who was elected to the territorial senate in 1956, then was elected governor in 1959. No executive experience.

John Burns started as a police officer before turning to politics.

George Ariyoshi earned a law degree in and jumped into politics. He was elected to the Territorial House in 1954, moved to the Senate, then was elected Lt. Governor in 1970. No executive experience.

John Waihee, also an attorney was elected to the State House in 1980, and served just one term before being elected Lt. Governor following LG Jean King’s run against Ariyoshi in 1982. No executive experience.

Ben Cayetano, armed with a law degree, served in both the House and Senate before being on the winning ticket as Waihee’s Lt. Governor.

Linda Lingle served five terms on the Maui County Council before being elected mayor in 1990. She’s the only example over the 50+ years since statehood of a governor who won office after serving as mayor.

Neil Abercrombie, with a Ph.D. in American Studies, served in the State House and Senate, Honolulu City Council, and Congress before being elected governor.

I don’t think this is an accident. While mayor’s can brag about their executive experience, they are also burdened by the reality that the public largely discounts that experience or views it negatively.

And both Honolulu and the state have top executive officers responsible for the hands-on administration. Honolulu has a managing director whose duties include “supervising the heads of all executive departments and agencies” and evaluating “the management and performance” of the executive agencies. And the State Constitution provides for an administrative director to be appointed by the governor, now at a salary of $140,000 a year.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Campaigns · Elections · Politics

Site problems resulted from cyber attack

September 30th, 2014 · 3 Comments

If you tried to access this site earlier this morning, you may not have been able to get through.

The server at my hosting service stopped responding, and as a result, you couldn’t get through and I couldn’t upload anything.

What I heard back was a bit unsettling. The server, it seems, was attacked.

There was a load issue on the server which hosts your sites, caused by a widespread brute force attack against WordPress installations on the server. At this time, the attack appears to have been mitigated and the server has stabilized. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

I guess I need to worry more about such things.

→ 3 CommentsTags: Blogs · Computers

Is ‘ohana housing the way to address the crisis in affordable housing?

September 30th, 2014 · 4 Comments

UH emeritus professor Tom Dinell’s op-ed in Pacific Business News earlier this month was an important analysis of ohana housing that deserves a wider audience (“Why ‘ohana units’ will work“).

Dinell’s premise was simple.

The fastest and most efficient way to increase the stock of affordable housing in Honolulu is ohana housing, also known as accessory dwelling units or granny suites.

He argues that as a matter of policy, removing the restrictions on ohana units makes sense. Currently, legal ohana units must be occupied by immediate family members, attached to the main house on the property, and subject to parking requirements and substantial utility connection fees.

Removing these impediments would, as Dinell sees it, quickly increase the stock of rental units paid for by the private property owners.

Dinell, the former chair of the urban planning department at UH, believes the typical objections to unleashing ohana units can all be handled, except perhaps for the increase in density.

Here, he argues:

Increasing density is a reality. The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism estimates an 11 percent increase in Honolulu’s population by 2030 with 25 percent of the increase being elders.

In any case, it is a very interesting column with a serious point. And Dinell is no pro-development zealot, but rather a careful professional planner. His column is definitely worth a read.

→ 4 CommentsTags: General

Aiona campaign forced to pull courtroom ad

September 29th, 2014 · 12 Comments

GOP candidate Duke Aiona’s campaign had to withdraw a campaign ad touting his background as a judge, including video showing Aiona in judicial robes in a courtroom.

Judiciary officials requested the ad be taken off the air after determining that filming in the courtroom violated a prohibition on political activities in court facilities, and was done without a required permit, according to June Watanabe’s “Kokua Line” column in today’s Star-Advertiser.

A required facilities use permit was not submitted for the filming of the commercial, said Judiciary spokeswoman Tammy Mori.

“The Judiciary does not allow political activities to take place on its premises,” she said. “When Judiciary officials were made aware of this commercial, we contacted the campaign and they pulled the ad.”

Mori said the commercial was filmed in Circuit Judge Edward Kubo’s courtroom, “based upon assurances by the film crew that they had permission.”

However, she said, once Kubo discovered that no permission was given to use his courtroom, he “contacted the campaign, as well, requesting the footage not be used.”

The ad was broadcast numerous times before being removed.

→ 12 CommentsTags: Campaigns · Court · Photographs

Gathering of religious conservatives poses risk to Aiona campaign

September 29th, 2014 · 7 Comments

“Thank God for YouTube videos! (And the activists who edited this video),” comments Democratic activist Bart Dame in a recent Facebook post.”

This video” shows gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona in several public appearances in 2008-2010 in which he says that, while not a “member,” he is part of the International Transformation Network and the local Transformation Hawaii, both of which speak a Christian takeover of government in Hawaii.

And their Transform Our World Global Conference is scheduled to be held in Honolulu just days before the General Election.

Dame commented online:

It’s a gift to the voters, as it drags out into the center of the stage Duke Aiona’s reactionary views about using state power to impose his dogmatic religious views on the rest of us. Ige will benefit. But only because it is true. It is just a truth neither Aiona nor Hannemann want to openly discuss. Remember, Silvoso (previously) declared both Mufi and Aiona would serve God’s will. David Ige is both a Buddhist and an engineer, not a Christian fundamentalist.

Ed Silvoso, leader of the International Transformation Network, has been a very polarizing figure, as described in this report during Aiona’s 2010 run for governor (“Is Hawaii About to Be Run by the Antigay Religious Right?“).

It seems risky for the Aiona campaign and the GOP agenda. On the one hand, this conference will likely rev up the conservative christian part of Aiona’s political base. On the other hand, by highlighting their goal of imposing their brand of religious values on state government, it could undercut Aiona’s attempt present himself as a “moderate,” and appeal to a broader segment of the public by racketing down the religious rhetoric during the campaign.

Those concerned about the separation of church and state, and even mainstream Republicans who want to avoid a takeover of their party by the religious right, likely find the Aiona-Ahu team’s ties to this network disquieting at best.

It may also prompt more questions of congressional candidate Charles Djou’s positions on things like contraception, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, and women’s reproductive rights.

→ 7 CommentsTags: Campaigns · Politics