Sunday, November 27, 2011


Wisdom in blogs for our governor

by Larry Geller

It would be strange if a governor took advice delivered by bloggers. But Democrats in Hawaii who may be in a position to advise Governor Neil Abercrombie might pay attention to Ian Lind’s article this morning, Ian described what is likely a common perception of the gov’s response to the decision of the court that he must release the judicial selection list he wanted to keep secret.

It’s important to read the whole article. So somewhat reluctantly, I’ll snip Ian’s conclusion hoping that it will encourage you to click the link at the bottom.

Just think politics. Isn’t anyone on the 5th floor doing that these days? Who’s happy with Neil’s position? It certainly isn’t something that will turn Neil-bashers into fans. But it certainly has already undermined the enthusiasm of progressive Dems who have been Neil’s fans, and by stubbornly pushing on, the governor risks losing a significant chunk of his base.

Remember the last time a Democratic governor left a big chunk of the political base with a bitter aftertaste? It was the dynamic that opened the door for Linda Lingle to claim the governorship for the Republican Party for the first time in more than 40 years after Gov. Cayetano left former political allies feeling burned. With that big U.S. Senate seat up for grabs next year, the governor now needs to avoid unnecessary instances of “friendly fire.” This was an opportunity, and he’s blown it big time.

[, Governor Abercrombie pissy to the end in judicial disclosure case, 11/2/2011]

Frankly, I’m not looking forward to Duke Aiona as our next governor. So I hope Abercrombie is sensitive to comments by astute political observers like Ian Lind.

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At least Aiona gets it on the energy front.


Not sure what you mean when you write that Aiona "gets it on the energy front." I do not remember him taking a strong or clear position on energy issues.

Frankly, Neil took very strong positions on energy, the environment and the need to preserve local agriculture. But "the devil is in the details," and his follow through has consisted of using the energy crisis as an excuse for trying to ram through the windfarms and the undersea cable. I THINK what is going on in his head is that major projects need to serve the interests of some large corporation, so the best "realistic" solution to our various problems is to hitch the state's effort to a "public-private partnership" with a group of crony capitalists, use the "bully pulpit" and his control of state agencies to ram these "solutions" through against public opposition. He seems to think implementing these major projects successfully will produce enough results that voters (or "history" will forgive his heavy-handedness.

There is a kind of Machiavellian logic behind that view.

Those of us who are hoping the energy/environmental crises will provide an opportunity to "change the paradigm" and move towards less centralized approach of energy generation, distribution and OWNERSHIP are at a great disadvantage. The dominant media are, of course, corporate and themselves monopolistic. So continuing a monopolistic approach to energy is "common sense" to them. The small scale alternative energy producers, installers, manufacturers, are a disparate, disorganized lot. Some have a small business Republican orientation, some are Libertarian, some progressive Democrats, most are apolitical. AS a lobbying force, they have a degree of unity, but also have somewhat divergent interests. There are opportunities for Sopogee, Hoku Scientific and Kuakoa, IF they suck up to power and play the crony capitalist game.

At the core of its vision, "distributed generation" of energy means a LACK of centralized power in BOTH SENSES OF THE WORD. The decentralization of POLITICAL power flows naturally from the decentralization of PROFITS and the decentralized generation of electricity. How can a loose association of small energy producers compete against highly capitalized, centralized monopolies (or "aspiring" monopolies)?

It can only be done if there is widespread AND MOBILIZED public support to buttress their efforts.

And the "CRISIS" nature of the energy and environmental challenges, the "impending doom" sense which IS widespread, tends to justify Neil's "Damn the torpedoes" approach in the RUSH to resolve the problem.

I think Neil takes the environmental and energy challenges seriously. I saw no evidence from anywhere in Aiona's career where he made these challenges a priority over, say, opposing equal rights for gays or promoting the dominance of Christianity in the state. It is not clear to me that AIona even believes pollution contributes to destabilization of the climate system. The sense I got from Dukie is that everything is in God's Hands and he will take care of us IF we demonstrate, through our faith and our actions, that we DESERVE to receive His protection.

People forget the motive behind Abercrombie not wanting to release those names. He wanted to increase the diversity of applicants to more than just State employees. Attorneys in private practice are reluctant to put their names in the barrel in the event they are not chosen. So with this decision we are once again left with most of the applicants being State workers. I fail to see the benefit in this.

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