Monday, June 12, 2006

Brainstorming the Possibilities

As of this moment, there haven’t been any filings for candidates for the Representative position for House District 21 (Waikiki-Kapahulu), so anybody interested in running for elective office should feel free to indulge their aspirations.

I think the major requirement for elective office these days is largely that one wants to run -- since the mainstream media has made it such an intrusion of one’s life that few want to run anymore and thus expose themselves to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Talk about an unintended consequence: previously, the whole rationale for the newspapers and other media was to promote civic awareness and participation -- but they’ve made it so onerous, contentious, divisive and invasive, that nobody wants to participate anymore -- even for the governorship, which should be the highest honor of every state.

So it seems that the Fourth Estate (the press) has sought to dominate the other components of traditional society by destroying the others, or at least, severely undermining their capacity to attract willing and able participants to the other major categories (government, church, public), while placing themselves at the top to dominate all the others.

However, that has given rise to the emergence of the Fifth Estate -- of the alternative media -- the Fourth Estate generally refuses to acknowledge, which in the past, were the alternative newspapers, etc. Those media operated at distinct disadvantages -- until the Internet turned the power structure upside-down. Then the advantage shifted to the nimble, quick and unbureaucratic -- while the mainstream newspapers, could only persist in trying to sell the old ways as the new, or news.

Sometimes though, the newspapers can serve a useful purpose, as I happened to note that one of the prominent citizens of our district is featured in this letter to the editor to the Honolulu Advertiser:


As someone who has been closely involved in the ongoing effort to curb the dangerous use of drugs and alcohol among our youth, I strongly disagree with Lee Cataluna's characterization that the establishment of a hotline designed to prevent underage drinking and report on those furnishing alcohol to minors is a "superfluous ... no-make-difference government initiative" (June 4, "Hotline needs fast response").

Ms. Cataluna complains that the Underage Drinking Hotline does not allow citizens to report a violation that is already in progress. Had she attended the news conference explaining this worthy program or asked the hotline partners, the Honolulu Liquor Commission or the Honolulu Police Department, she would have known that the hotline does not replace the official 911 crime-reporting process.

Rather, it is another strategy employed by the Hawai'i Drug Control and Underage Drinking Plan to curb the tragic consequences of underage drinking.

Simply put, if this hotline can prevent even one family from suffering the heartache of losing a child in a senseless drunk-driving accident, it will be worth it. I think Ms. Cataluna would agree with that.

Each time I read about another fatal accident caused by illegal underage drinking, I am reminded that many of these senseless tragedies can be avoided if we as a community take a more proactive approach.

In January 2005, the Lingle-Aiona administration released the Hawai'i Drug Control and Underage Drinking Plan, the framework for the state to move forward with a coordinated and comprehensive approach to address illicit drug use and underage drinking. One of the three identified strategies of the plan is "to prevent illicit drug use and underage drinking before it starts."

Alcohol is by far the No. 1 drug of choice for Hawai'i teens. It is an entry-level drug that often leads to abuse of other illegal substances such as marijuana or crystal methamphetamine. Underage drinking has also been associated with poor academic performance, violence, suicide, risky sexual activities, victimization, other problem behaviors and death.

Moreover, even if it never leads to the abuse of other illegal drugs, underage alcohol use, in and of itself, places our entire community at risk. Did you know that underage alcohol use is more likely to kill young people than all other illegal drugs combined? Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 20? Did you know that in 2001, underage drinking cost the citizens of Hawai'i $182 million?

To make matters worse, approximately 35 percent of Hawai'i students report they first drank alcohol (more than a few sips) before age 13. Additionally, one-third of Hawai'i 10th-graders report having been drunk at least once, and 72 percent of them say that alcohol is fairly easy to get.

Clearly, underage drinking must be addressed. It can no longer be viewed as a minor infraction or a simple "rite of passage" for our teens. By condoning underage drinking, we as a society are perpetuating this destructive cycle.

Drinking hotlineCall the hotline — 523-4194 — to report underage drinking and help keep our kids safe and alcohol-free.

Karl Espaldon
Drug control specialist, state of Hawai'i


At June 12, 2006 10:00 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Here's another prominent citizen in the district:

Hawaii's Motion Picture Industry Should Not Be Subsidized by Taxpayers

By Lowell L. Kalapa, 6/5/2006 6:40:30 AM

Gov. Linda Lingle recently approved a major tax credit for the motion picture and film industry that will provide these productions with a subsidy equal to 15 percent or 20 percent of their production costs depending on whether the production takes place in Honolulu or on the Neighbor Islands.

The administration had come up with a different approach to supporting the film and television production industry which would have allowed investors in high technology performing arts businesses to "redeem" their high technology investment tax credits by turning them back to the high technology performing arts business which then could transfer the credits back to the department of taxation for 20 percent of the value of the credits.

The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism testified that since it was often difficult to attract investors in film productions, many producers put up the money themselves and qualified for the high technology investment tax credits. Since they could not use the credits having no state tax liability, they were often sold -- when a buyer could be found -- to taxpayers who did have state income tax liability for often pennies on the dollar. The purchaser then could redeem the credits for the full value.

Thus, the administration introduced a bill that would make it "easier" for these film producers to redeem their credits and still get more than they would have selling those credits on the open market. The department also reasoned that by allowing this swapping of credits to be done with the department, the state would be saving 80 percent of what would have otherwise been redeemed by a purchaser of those credits. So not only was the administration's proposal one to attract film and television productions to Hawaii, but it was also a proposal to reduce the hit the state would have taken if the high technology credits were redeemed at full value.

In other words, it was a bad proposal to try and mitigate yet another bad law. But advocates of the film industry had their own proposal that had been floating around for several sessions.

Earlier versions of the industry proposal would have established a credit equal to a certain percentage of the production's payroll. Somehow it seemed lawmakers couldn't or wouldn't buy into the idea of subsidizing someone's payroll, so the measure always ended up on the cutting room floor. This year advocates took a cue from some mainland states where tax credits are offered to film and television producers based on production costs.

The application was also expanded to include any type of cinematic production that involved the recording of the production on digital media and included the production of commercials as well as films that are produced locally.

In the middle of the session, the department of business, economic development, and tourism jumped on the bandwagon forsaking their own proposal because they saw the 15 percent to 20 percent of production costs as a cost savings to the state because they believed that this would be much less than the high technology investment tax credit that could have been claimed for 100 percent of the production cost.

And while most of the rhetoric supporting the measure was about competing with other states for these types of productions, the legislation that was submitted is so broad that the credits are made available to productions that are already made here.

For example, commercials that extol the virtues of a certain taxi company or a tire company already produced in the state would qualify for the credit. The only criteria that would have to be met is the minimum cost of $200,000 would have to be spent and that the amount of the credit, per production, could not exceed $8 million.

While the measure does have a prohibition against claiming the credit if the high technology credit is claimed for the same investment, tracking that likelihood would be difficult as the high technology tax credit is focused on the investor while the film production credit is focused on the producer. This assumption may be because up until now they have been one and the same.

What should distress all taxpayers is that although the advocates of the credit argue that the credits will attract new productions and compete with other states in attracting those productions, the credit will also be available to businesses that are already here in Hawaii.

Taxpayers who don't get any kind of tax break will end up subsidizing those who will be able to claim this credit even though they are next-door neighbors.

Finally, one has to ask what is the contribution to Hawaii when that film or television series makes huge profits? All Hawaii taxpayers will see is a pocketbook that is a little bit lighter.

Lowell L. Kalapa is the president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a private, non-profit educational organization. For more information, please call 536-4587 or log on to

At June 12, 2006 1:50 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Help Wanted

Clear thinking, mature individuals possessing good judgment, strong character and a desire to travel the road to a better Hawaii are needed to seek seats in the Hawaii State Legislature. You will be replacing tired, corrupt, unimaginative politicians who have ruled Hawaii for 50 years, wasting public resources, failing to educate Hawaii's youth, raising taxes and fees, bloating the bureaucracy, exploiting small business, and paying off cronies with unbid contracts and tax credits. To help clean up this rat's nest, send your resume to:

Hawaii Republican Party
725 Kapiolani Blvd C-105
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 593-8180

Thanks to Mike Palcic (District 20).

At June 12, 2006 2:29 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

If you're a Republican, you must live in the district you are running for office.

If you're a Democrat, the newspapers (union media) will run cover for you so nobody finds out that you don't.

At June 12, 2006 6:42 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Meanwhile, the Democrat coordinated campaign, masterminded by Howard Dean, is:

"No matter what office you're running for, run against President Bush."

"And everybody stay in their place!"

At June 15, 2006 10:26 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

"I was there."

Opportunity knocks

Gov. Lingle’s success inspires Republican candidates

by Jarrett Keohokalole / 06-07-2006

The Hawaii Republican Party Convention was as much a show of solidarity as it was a celebration of Linda Lingle as governor. While staring out into a sea of 50-somethings blissfully dancing to techno music at the convention, one had to ask, why not celebrate? Four years of a Republican governor and no clear Democratic challenger are definitely reasons to party if you’re a member of the state GOP.

However, the underlying story behind the unprecedented accomplishment of the Hawaii Republican Party, mainly through the election of Lingle in 2002, is that it has inspired a new wave of young Republican candidates to stir up the landscape of the State Legislature. For several of these candidates, their seemingly legitimate chance at success is all made possible thanks to the controversy started by their once dominant rivals, the Democrats.

The once infallible Democratic supremacy seemed more like ancient history May 27 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, site of the Republican convention. The scene there was unquestionably jubilant, a celebration of both accomplishment and opportunity. “Our main objective has been to get our troops energized and ready and to show the unity of this party,” said Sam Aiona, chairman of the Republican Party.

Imagine the scenario: The Democratic Party has no formidable candidates lined up for the gubernatorial race. Rep. Ed Case shakes up the party by challenging Sen. Daniel Akaka in the U.S. Senate race. Immediately following Case’s bold move—some might call it a betrayal—a boatload of well-known local Democrats announce that they are going to sign up for the race to fill his seat.

While the Democrats are fighting amongst themselves over who they should put in Congress, they have also allowed the Republicans the chance to step into a wide-open race for a House congressional seat they haven’t held in years. Another reason to celebrate.

“Anytime you have an open seat, it’s always a good opportunity for us,” Aiona said.

What has been lost in the mix is that two of the candidates now running for Congress—state Rep. Brian Schatz D-25th (Makiki, Tantalus) and state Sen. Bob Hogue R-24th (Kailua, Kane‘ohe)—will have to give up their bids at re-election in the Legislature to run for Case’s soon-to-be-vacant seat. This has provided a very real opportunity for two young Republican candidates to fill those vacant seats.

Tracy Okubo and Keoki Leong (pictured) are running for posts that Schatz and Hogue respectively are leaving. At 27, both are relatively new to the political arena. Leong ran against Rep. Ken Ito in 2004, but he made a good showing despite losing, capturing 43 percent of the votes. Okubo challenged Schatz in 2004 and received 36 percent of the votes.

This time around, things are different. They will not have to worry about campaigning against an entrenched Democratic incumbent. In fact, they have yet to see an established Democrat sign up to run against them at all. Having already thrown their hats in the ring, Okubu and Leong may be able to stay ahead of their future opponents when it comes to a battle over name recognition.

The benefits of having the first Republican governor in 40 years are also starting to pay long-term dividends. A slew of first-time candidates introduced themselves on May 27, most of them confidently pursuing Democratic Party-held legislative seats with a swagger that would have been seen in years past as impractical.

For first-time candidate Minoo Elison, who is running against Democratic incumbent Pono Chong D-49 (Maunawili, Enchanted Lake, Kane‘ohe), the optimism and inspiration came from Lingle. Elison said that Lingle’s victory showed Republicans that it is possible to challenge the Democratic majority. “She is someone to learn something from,” Elison said. “If she can do it, we can do it.”

Elison joins Jeffrey Alameida and Carol Phillips in District 46 (Kahuku, North Shore, Schofield), Collin Wong in District 28 (Chinatown, Downtown, Kaka‘ako) and Nolan Kido in District 18 (East Honolulu) as the new faces of the newly transformed Republican Party.

The GOP hopes that this new era will give them the opportunity to legitimately challenge the Democratic majority and sway traditional Democratic voters to come on over to their side. “I think people are more open-minded to Republicans with Lingle in office,” Okubo said.

So with controversy brewing in the Democratic primary, solidarity has been the focus of Republicans. GOP volunteer Boyd Akase likened Hawai‘i’s current political landscape to that of high school football. “Look at St. Louis School. Nobody thought the dynasty would ever end,” he said. “Now you look at them, you would have never seen this coming in 1988.”

Akase, a Punahou School alum, also compared Republicans to his alma mater’s team. “I would have never thought Punahou would be competing for a championship.”

Looks like it may be time for the rise of the not-so-underdogs.

At June 15, 2006 10:53 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Talk about name recognition, I think more people have heard of "Linda Lingle" than "Hawaii Republican Party," and I've seriously suggested to fledgling candidates that they should have a bumper sticker printed Lingle/(your name there), to show their affiliation as Republicans, rather than just assuming that that affiliation is understood.

Here we have the most charismatic, dynamic, electrifying political figure ever in Hawaii, and our candidates are not capitalizing on that affiliation/association, but are instead, running away from that foundation/aura of success.

Why reinvent the wheel? Ride the momentum. I think that was the failing of the last election -- with candidates NOT wanting to run on a track record of proven success. Part of it was that many had never been in that position before -- of being on the winning team.

The first step is finally winning; the next step is dealing with and handling success. That's the next level of challenge -- after overcoming failure.

The dysfunctional pattern is to destroy one's success so one can be successful again -- in overcoming failures. The next level of growth is taking success to the next level of success -- and not just repeating the dysfunctional pattern, repeating history.

But old habits, old conditioning dies hard. For those in Hawaii society ready to move on up to the next level of success (which is more than just about money), the Republican Party is where they're likely to be.

But if one isn't ready to move out of the dysfunctional pattern yet, the Democrats seem to need help with defining a new vision of relevance in the 21st century -- beyond being hijacked by and all those dead-end one-issue fringe groups.

At June 15, 2006 11:46 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Is this guy a Republican or not?

His website and campaign materials indicate he is the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate -- but doesn't seem to be the usual acknowledgement form the GOP site

that he is.

However, he has probably the most extensive web presence and activity of all the candidates in Hawaii, including a link to other Republican websites:

Speaking of political websites, the Hawaii Dems are under construction after virtual dormancy for the past year. Nolan Kido's site seems to be emerging as an interesting personal diary on his experience and insights on running for office.

At June 15, 2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Democrats New Mantra: Winning Means Retreat

by Sher Zieve

Just when we thought we knew all of the Democrat spin-positions, Rep. Jane Harmon (D-CA) gave us a new one! On Fox News Sunday, Ms. Harmon told Chris Wallace that the US’ killing of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi means that we should now pull our troops out. Democrats are truly an amazing group.

In the past, Democrat leaders have told us, over and over and over again, that we are losing the war in Iraq—and that we should pull out troops out of that country. Now, they tell us that the killing of Zarqawi, and the other raids which commenced thereafter, show a victory over one of the terrorists’ major symbols, so—we should pull our troops out of that country.

Democrats are now telling us that we need to pull out of Iraq, whether we are winning or losing. They’ve got it covered both ways! Don’t you find that bizarre? I certainly do. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a political party that both relishes and revels in the thought of defeat as much as does today’s Democrat Party. Waving their white flags, even in the face of victory, actually seems to give its members a strong boost of adrenalin! Can anyone say “mental disorder”?

On Chris Wallace’s FoxNews Sunday, Rep. Jane, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told Wallace: “While we’re part of the political solution [in Iraq], we’re part of the military problem.” Despite the fact that Harmon’s statement may seem “profound” to some (although no intelligent people I know), it’s simply Democrat double-speak. Ms. Harmon, there would be no “political solution” in Iraq was it not for the US military. The opposite of being a “problem”, the US military in conjunction with the coalition forces in Iraq is the only reason Iraq has any political options at all.

This is not your father’s Democrat Party, folks, and it probably hasn’t been since the late 1960’s. Former Democrat Presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt must be spinning in their graves. Has anyone recently checked their burial sites for any odd quake activity?

To people having the ability to think and accurately discern truth, it is generally recognized that pacifism and appeasement fosters neither liberty nor freedom. Conciliation to those who would destroy said liberties and freedoms encourages suppression. Democrats Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy understood that. They were warriors who recognized the real price attached to freedom—just as did Republican Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, George HW Bush and now President George W. Bush. These men also understood that the promise of liberty is a false one, unless it is backed up by the willingness and ability to fight and die for it. Yet Democrats Pelosi, Murtha, Kerry, Durbin, Kennedy et al continue to tell us that our troops in Iraq are “in harm’s way”. Uh—that’s where soldiers are supposed to be. That’s their purpose, duty and mission. Holy smokes! Were any of these individuals ever taught what warfare actually entails? If so, the lesson fell on deaf ears and blind eyes. I would have thought that at least Murtha and Kerry, who have each personally claimed “war hero” status, would understand this fairly simplistic and self-evident reality.

However, these are members of the crop of “New Democrats” who view our US military, the courageous and dedicated men and women who fight and die to keep the rest of us safe, as “the problem”. These New Democrats are also bound and determined to turn this war into Viet Nam. Of course, it’s not. All of the men and women currently in the US Armed Forces are volunteers. For our Democrat friends, that means they chose to enlist. No one forced them to do so. Also, the vast majority of our soldiers choose to re-up for another tour of duty.

But, modern-day Democrats continue to change the definitions of both words and concepts—so that they now hold the opposite of their intended meanings. For example, Al Gore didn’t lose the 2000 presidential election. Instead, Democrats tell us “it was stolen”. Of course, it wasn’t. In fact, it was the most heavily scrutinized of all presidential election in the history of the USA. “Hanging chad” is now used as a noun, verb and adjective! And John Kerry didn’t “lose” the 2008 presidential election to President Bush. Again, it was “stolen”. This time, Democrats tell us there was a “conspiracy” in Ohio to “steal the votes”. This claim was also investigated ad nauseam—with no “theft” found. Still, they persist. Well—if Democrats can redefine “lose” to mean “stolen”, is it any wonder that they are now attempting to transform the meaning of “defeat” to mean “victory”—and vice versa? Following that illogic, it’s not a stretch for them to develop the peculiar and wacky notion that to “win” one has to “retreat”. It seems apparent that they are also working on a new definition of winning. I suspect the New Democrat Dictionary will contain the following: “winning: to lose; retreat; redeploy troops to Kuwait or Hawaii.”

The bottom line is that to win means to be victorious and to lose means to go down to defeat. The concepts resulting from these definitions are not difficult to understand. But, the New Democrats seek muddy the waters, so that clarity of thought is no longer possible. There is, however, one thing that remains crystal clear—at least to me. Talking to a New Democrat is like trying to have a conversation with a brick. It accomplishes nothing and, ultimately, leaves one largely dissatisfied.


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