Kaua`i Council – primary election and testosterone

The good ole boys are back.

This was the immediate thought that came to me after the first print-out on Saturday night.

As reported recently by Brittany Lyte in Civil Beat, there are currently six women seated on the Maui County Council and five women on the Honolulu and Big Island councils.

But for Kaua`i, not one woman was included in that initial Primary Election print-out. Not one. But it did include the return of former Councilmember’s Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa, joining a testosterone-driven line-up of 7.

So for a moment, it seemed that both literally and figuratively – that the good ole boys were indeed back.

Fortunately, by the end of the evening the good ole boys theme was shaken slightly when Councilmember Felicia Cowden beat fellow Councilmember Bill DeCosta out of the coveted #7 position. It’s interesting that while both Carvalho and DeCosta voted to kill the dedicated funding for affordable housing proposal, only DeCosta seemed to pay a price for it.

At the top of the roster, Councilmember Luke Evslin edged out former Mayor Bernard Carvalho for the #1 slot. This achievement is no small feat and a testament to the initiative, hard work, and even-tempered demeanor Evslin brings to the Council table.

The reality of the way the numbers fell on Saturday is that the only other candidate in contention now is Fern Anuenue Holland, who sits at #9. Holland could possibly move up two slots or more in the General to win, but for her to do so means she must exchange places with another candidate who now sits in the top 7. Overall, the positions most vulnerable at the moment appear to be #8 DeCosta (7,101), #7 Cowden (7,116), #6 Bulosan (7,454), and #5 Kagawa (7,738).

The most striking historical example of a come-from-behind win occurred in 2008. At the end of the night following the 2008 Primary, Lani Kawahara sat in the #8 position with 5,793 votes, facing an uphill battle against another all male list of contenders. When the General Election concluded a few short months later, she had won a resounding victory finishing a strong #5 with a vote total of 11,809 votes, beating out among others Ron Kouchi the man who is now Senate President – who fell from being #4 with 7,155 in the Primary to an out-of-the-money #8 and 10,370 votes in the General.

So what else do the returns of August 13 tell us?

While the County races are nonpartisan, for the State and Federal races voters had to choose a political party.

The data shows that on Kauai 12,846 people chose to vote Democrat and 3,455 voted Republican. You can draw your own conclusions from this number. Given the antics of Trump and the national Republican Party, I for one gain some comfort from this.

The Aloha Aina Party had 143 voters, the Green Party 87 voters,, and the Libertarian Party 50.

There are 48,052 registered voters on Kaua`i. Of those registered, 18,499 or about 38.5%, actually voted. That means 29,553 people left their ballots unopened on the kitchen table, unopened and un-voted. It’s a shame really.

Looking deeper at the “precinct breakdowns” shows the communities with the best and worst voting records.

Not surprisingly the area with the absolute best record of voting with 43% of registered voters mailing in their ballots, is Precinct 16-3 Lihue. Also, unfortunately, not surprisingly, and fitting into its stereotype, the area with the worst record of voting is the North Shore, Princeville to Haena – Precinct 15-1 with only 31% turnout.

What does this mean about Kaua`i and elections?

What’s clear is that there are a whole lot of votes sitting on kitchen tables across the island. 29,553 ballots just waiting for the right candidate who can motivate that voter, to open the envelope, mark the box next to their name, and walk the darn thing out to the mail-box.

Gary Hooser
Originally published in The Garden Island 08/19/22
Please sign up for my Policy and Politics email updates at https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com

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Thoughts on Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi Unity breakfast and Green’s continuing failure to disclose

The primary election is over they say. Why not just drop it some are saying. Well…primary or no primary this issue is not going away until the Lieutenant Governor and Democratic Party nominee for Governor Josh Green is fully transparent about the outside income he has received while working full-time as our L.G..

I’m thankful the Honolulu StarAdvertiser is now saying the same thing.

But first, some nuts and bolts post-primary results.

I realized this morning that while I’ve been incessantly bugging people about voting, I’ve failed to report promptly to my email list on the results of Saturday night.

There is very good news regarding both Legislative and Council races statewide – but there is also bad and sad news relating to some exceptional individuals who poured their heart and soul into their campaigns, and still fell short.

The past few months have been emotionally draining for many and I’ve tried my best to analyze and report honestly the results in this blog post: From the head and the heart – My post-primary election analysis

The General Election is on November 8th with ballots arriving in mailboxes on or about October 20th just 9 weeks or so from now. While most of my focus will be on the nonpartisan County Council races, I will also be reviewing the Green Party, Aloha Aina Party, and even the Republicans who are challenging Democrats.

As a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi and presently a member of its State Central Committee (SCC) this is sensitive territory to tread, but I owe it to readers of this blog to give every candidate an honest look – and report back.

Any honest look at all of the candidates running, in all of the races up and down the ticket, will inevitably lead to a conversation about voting for the “lesser of evils” or as I prefer to say the “lesser of imperfects”. Of course, all of us are imperfect, and all of us have strengths and weaknesses.

But that discussion is a complex one and must wait for another day.

Please stay with me while I pivot to the recent Democratic Party “Unity Breakfast”.

I’ve attended a few of these gatherings in the past, most of which I have enjoyed. This year’s event was harder to stomach than in previous years.

Regular readers of my email/blog know that I believe Congressman Ed Case, through his actions and inactions, has caused tangible harm to both people and the planet. Through his affiliation with the Blue Dog Caucus, he played a key role in both the weakening of the Build Back Better agenda, and its ultimate demise.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii itself said via a formal Resolution that Case’s actions concerning passage of the Build Back Better legislation “do not reflect the values and principles” of the party as outlined in its platform, previously adopted resolutions, and mission statement. Read the Civil Beat story: Hawaii Democrats: Rep. Case Does Not Reflect Party’s Values And Principles

With all of that in mind, it would have been hypocritical of me to attend the event, thank him for his service and congratulate him for beating a much better man who actually does reflect the values and principles of the Party.

But to some, I would be labeled a sore loser for not attending because my guy didn’t win.

The gubernatorial nominee for the Democratic Party, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green was of course the main honoree.

I wrote another piece titled: It’s time for the Lieutenant Governor to come clean – in which I support the very reasonable request made by Congressman Kai Kahele and Vicky Cayetano for full disclosure of Green’s outside income sources.

The Honolulu StarAdvertiser agrees and wrote recently, “…Green should make a full financial disclosure about his outside income — an issue raised by his primary-election opponents…”

Lieutenant Governor Green, who is now the Democratic Party nominee for Governor continues to hide the specific sources and amounts of his outside income.

Yet according to some political pundits, Kahele and Cayetano and those of us that supported them – are sore losers because we don’t show up to give him a hug and a lei and say everything is cool now because the primary election is over.

The truth is everything is not cool now. Are we supposed to say that just because he is the Democratic Party nominee he no longer has to be fully transparent with regards to disclosing where his money comes from?

Are we supposed to just look the other way? I don’t think so.

Speaking only for myself, I will have a hard time supporting any candidate who refuses to fully disclose their outside sources of income.

As of this moment, I don’t know what I will do. But I do know that as voters, we deserve an answer to our very reasonable questions before we are asked to cast our vote.

Mahalo for being involved, for supporting candidates, for voting, and for being part of this important conversation.

This I believe is what democracy looks like.

Gary L. Hooser
Please encourage others who may not be on the email list to sign up at https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com

Disclosure: No candidate has approved or authorized this email. No one pays me to write or post anything at all. I do this for my grandchildren and our planet.

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From the head and the heart – My post-primary election analysis

Right before the polls closed yesterday, a friend asked me how I was feeling. I responded, “Stomach is in knots. I’m thinking we could have a landslide of victories, we could crash and burn, or we could wind up somewhere in-between.”

It’s the in-between scenario that has prevailed.

The short answer is we had some significant wins and some significant losses.

I’m pleased to report strong success in the State House of Representatives.

As of print-out #3 that just came out, 10 State Representatives (*incumbent) endorsed by the Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative (PHI), will be proceeding on to the General Election in November.

*Jeanné Kapela, District 5 (North Kona, South Kona, West Ka’u)
Terez Amato, District 11 (South Maui)
Elle Cochran, District 14 (West Maui, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu)
Mahina Poepoe, District 13 (Haiku, Ko’olau, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Paia, Lanai, Moloka’i)
*Adrian Tam, District 24 (Waikiki, McCully, Moiliili)
*Sonny Ganaden, District 30 (Kalihi Kai, Pearl Harbor/Hickam)
Corey Rosenlee, District 39 (‘Ewa, Waipahu, Kunia, Ho’opili, Waikele)
*Matt LoPresti, District 41 (Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe)
*Amy Perruso, District 46 (Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley)
Natalia Hussey-Burdick, District 50 (Kailua, Kāne’ohe, Marine Corps Base Hawai’i)

Assuming they are successful in the November General Election, these 10 individuals listed above will comprise approximately 20% of the entire State House. This is clearly a significant step forward in achieving the positive change needed at the legislature.

If this group of 10 is able to coalesce and/or possibly grow, they could also play a formidable role in reorganizing House leadership. 10 is a big number when the goal is reaching the 26 needed.

On Oahu, PHI endorsed 3 candidates for the 9-member Honolulu Council and 2 made it through to the General Election:
Matt Weyer – District 2
Ron Menor – District 8

On Maui, PHI endorsed 9 candidates for that 9-member Council and 8 will go on to the General Election:
*Keani Rawlins-Fernandez – Molokai
*Gabe Johnson – Lanai
*Tamara Paltin – West Maui
*Shane Sinenci – East Maui
Jordan Hocker – Upcountry
Robin Knox – South Maui
Nara Boone – Makawao-Haiku-Paia
Noelani Ahia – Wailuku, Waihee, Waikapu

On Hawaiʻi Island, PHI endorsed 4 candidates of that 9-member Council. The 3 incumbents received more than 50% of the vote and thus have been elected outright. Jennifer Kagiwada will head to the General Election:
*Heather Kimball, District 1
Jennifer Kagiwada, District 2
*Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder, District 5
*Rebecca Villegas, District 7

On Kaua`i, PHI endorsed only 2 new challengers running in the Primary for election to the 7 member Council. Both will proceed to the General Election:
Fern Anuenue Holland
Addison Bulosan
Note: Because of the structure of the Kaua`i Council elections (all elected at-large), and because important votes were before the Council at the time, PHI chose not to endorse any incumbents during the Primary.

At the top of the ticket – For Congress in the CD2 PHI endorsed Jill Tokuda who was successful in the Primary and now moves to the General Election.

In summary –

PHI endorsed candidates had significant wins in the State House of Representatives AND on the County Councils of every County.

And we had some very tough races that fell short.

Congressman Kai Kahele worked his heart out to give all of us a choice in the gubernatorial race. He, his family, and the core campaign team deserve a huge aloha and mahalo from all of us.

Sergio Alcubilla likewise worked 24/7 and came from virtually an unknown player in the political world to someone who gained huge respect from the community at large and secured some major endorsements from political entities that came to know him.

Keith Amemiya, whom I don’t know as well, has become someone whom I want to know better.

We have not seen the last of these three gentlemen I hope. Our community, and our world needs their leadership and once they rest up a bit – I’m sure they will be back in the saddle working hard again for all of us.

While we can count many successes coming out of this primary election, I’m also sad that several good candidates and dear friends fell short of reaching their goal.

For Kim Coco Iwamoto it’s deja vu all over again with the final count being very, very close…but so far not enough to push her over the top. Speaking for not just myself but for the legions of advocates across all islands, I say mahalo Kim Coco for all you do for so many AND for being there these past few years holding Speaker Saiki’s feet to the fire. It’s because of you that our minimum wage will be going to $18 and it is because of you that in the coming months we are likely to have some significant election and ethics reforms passed.

Uncle Walter Ritte and Ikaika Hussey – you are both awesome brothers and I so appreciate you. Mahalo for everything.

Kathy Feldman, Gary Gill, Makana Paris, Shannon Matson, Ian Ross, Roy Takumi, Valerie Wang, Dale Kobayashi, Kelly King, Samuel Peralta, Carol Lee Kamekona, and Senator Acasio…and to so many others. You all gave it a good fight. My hope is that you will join me in the trenches of legislative advocacy on January 1st and then begin working on going back again for another bite of the electoral apple in 2024.

There’s a lot of work still yet to be done.

Love you all. Imua!

Gary Hooser
Executive Director
Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative
Sign up here for my regular email updates: https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com
P.S. I will write later on the “why” as I see it…and the “how”…why we were not even more successful and how we get there…At least I’ll give it my best shot at brainstorming these two topics.

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Will you at least take 2 minutes to hear me out?

I’m stressing out about today and worried that you won’t show up. If you don’t show up we will lose and if we lose that will be a crying shame.

Will you at least take 2 minutes to hear me out?  If you’ve already voted, please disregard the below message and accept my sincerest mahalo!

If you’ve not yet voted, please read on, and please take my thoughts in the positive spirit in which they are intended.

We are all busy. We all have bills to pay and a zillion things to catch up on. 

I get it. But I don’t think once every 2 years is too much to ask.

We have smart, good, hard-working people of high integrity running for office on every island. There’s Fern Anuenue Holland on Kaua’i, Walter Ritte on Maui, and Senator Laura Acasio on Hawai’i Island. On Oahu, there’s Ikaika Hussey, Kathy Feldman, Natalia Hussey-Burdick, and Kim Coco Iwamoto

I trust these individuals completely. 

Each has been working 24/7 for months to get their message out and earn your vote, setting the rest of their life to the side because they want to serve you in public office. 

They are doing this because they, like myself, believe in our system of government. They believe that pay-to-play is wrong, they believe that the massive houseless crisis that confronts us is unacceptable, and they believe and know in their hearts that the protection of our planet must not be sacrificed in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

But they cannot serve, they cannot offer the change needed, and they cannot cast the critical votes required, unless they get elected. And they can’t get elected unless you and others show up to vote. – TODAY

Perhaps now more than any time in recent history, there is a critical mass of good candidates running at the State and Federal levels on all islands, AND exceptional candidates running in every County (click https://ponohawaiiinitiative.org to see the full endorsement list).

At the “top of the ticket” I have no doubt whatsoever that Kai Kahele – Governor, Keith Amemiya – Lieutenant Governor, Sergio Alcubilla Congress CD1, and Jill Tokuda Congress CD2 are the right choices and will serve us well.

The candidates, up and down the ticket, have done their part and I ask you please today to do yours. Locate the ballot that was mailed to you two weeks ago, fill it out, drive it to a drop box nearest to you – and vote TODAY. https://elections.hawaii.gov/voter-service-centers-and-places-of-deposit/

Need more info on the candidates and why you should support them?  Read this blog piece assembled for this very purpose. https://garyhooser.blog/2022/08/11/my-most-popular-blog-posts-pertaining-to-saturdays-primary-election/

If you’ve not yet registered to vote, or perhaps misplaced your ballot – it’s ok. Call (808-453-8683) or visit the Office of Elections TODAY, and they will fix you up.

At this point in time, it’s too late to mail in your ballot, it needs to either be dropped off in person or you need to vote in person. 

Please, it will just take a few minutes.  

It’s important. We need you. We’re counting on you actually. 

Gary Hooser
Former Hawai’i State Senator 

Will you at least take 2 minutes to hear me out?

Grandfather of 3 – Rixon, Isabella, and Kaliyah
I’m doing this for them. 

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My most popular blog posts pertaining to Saturday’s primary election

Here are my top best read blog posts dealing with the primary election that ends on Saturday, August 13, 2022. I trust you will find them stimulating and then you will vote!

1. Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green

2. I’ve finally come to a decision on the Lieutenant Governors race (and it’s Keith Amemiya).

3. Lieutenant Governor Green – it’s time to come clean

4. Guest post by Marti Townsend – 6 reasons I’m supporting Kai Kahele

5. Why Choose Sergio Alcubilla Over Ed Case?

6. Kim Coco Iwamoto over Scott Saiki

7. I’m not pulling any punches today. Regardless of where you live in Hawaiʻi, the outcome of these 3 races will affect all of us.

8. I’m voting Fern Holland and Addison Bulosan for Kauaʻi County Council

9. We should all be so lucky as the residents of Kailua are today

10. Why we need Walter Ritte. Why Maui is a pivot point.

11. David Kimo Frankel on Why Kai Kahele?

12. Sergio Alcubilla and Ed Case – The Little Engine That Could

13. Complete list of all endorsed State and Federal candidates AND endorsed County Candidates

Now go vote! Info on where to drop your ballots and same day voter registration is here.

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Why we need Walter Ritte. Why Maui is a pivot point.

We need to elect leaders statewide who will not be quiet, who will not just sit down and wait until it’s their turn, and who will not just go along to get along.

We need to elect change makers, not place holders.

Without question Uncle Walter Ritte is such a leader. Anyone who knows history knows that he will be the very last person to sit quietly while there is still work to be done. Walter Ritte is incapable of looking the other way and acting like he doesn’t see. Speaking truth to power is in his genes and his life is a testimony to community service.

Whether you live in Maui County or not, please stay with me on this.

Saturday August 13 is the deadline to vote and it’s too late to put your ballot in the mail. You must now drop you ballot at a “drop box” and the locations statewide can be found here.

My hope is that the people of Maui show up and vote. Especially those who live in Walter Ritte’s Senate District #7 –  Ha‘ikū, Hāna, Kaupō, Kīpahulu, Nahiku, Pā‘ia, Moloka’i, Lāna‘i, Makawao, Pukalani, Kula, Ulupalakua.

We need a new Maui Miracle and the stars are aligning for that to happen.

When the people of Senate District #7 show up – Walter Ritte wins.

And when the people of Senate District #7 show up it means the people of House District #13 Haiku, Ko’olau, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Paia, Lanai, Moloka’i also show up which means Mahina Poepoe also wins. Mahina is a genuine servant leader with solid values based in community and Aloha ʻĀina,.

Because the Maui Mayor’s race and all of the Maui Council races are elected County wide – the people of District #7 can be the swing votes that also ensure the election of Kelly King to be Maui’s next Mayor, AND further ensure that the most forward-thinking County Council in the State, led by Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, Tamara Paltin, Shane Sinenci, and Gabe Johnson, becomes even stronger with the addition of Carol Lee KamekonaRobin KnoxNara BooneJordan Hocker, and Noelani Ahia.

And yes, with the momentum from District #7 comes the rest of the Maui Miracle and the election of 3 additional change-makers to the State House. House District 9 – Samuel Peralta Kahului Maui, House District 11 – Terez Amato South Maui, House District 14 – Elle Cochran West Maui

The results would truly be history making.

Riding the wave of an extraordinary turnout in District #7 and the election of Uncle Walter Ritte – could also play a pivotal role in deciding who will be our next governor, lieutenant governor, and member of Congress in the CD2.

Kai Kahele – Governor
Read Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green.
3 of the most influential champions of our natural environment speak out: Read what Marti Townsend, David Kimo Frankel, and Kau’i Pratt-Aquino have to say.

Keith Amemiya – Lieutenant Governor
Read: I’ve finally come to a decision on the lieutenant governor’s race and it’s Keith Amemiya.

Sergio Alcubilla – Congress CD1
My thoughts on Why Choose Sergio Alcubilla Over Ed Case?
For an update read: Sergio Alcubilla – the little engine that could.

Jill Tokuda – Congress CD2
Jill Tokuda is a solid Democrat with the experience we need now in Washington DC. I’ve known and worked with Jill Tokuda for years. She will serve us well.

All endorsed candidates running for legislative seats statewide are listed here (click and scroll)

Council races in every County are posted here: A special shout-out also to to Ikaika Hussey who is running for the Honolulu City Council District 6. We need Ikaika to win. When he wins, we all win.  Kaua`i friends – please make sure you vote for Fern Anuenue Holland and Addison Bulosan. To choose which Kaua`i incumbents to vote for read Policy, Politics, Affordable Housing, and Elections, Kaua`i Style.

Let’s do this. 

Gary L. Hooser

*OHA – While I believe all of us should cast an informed vote in the OHA races I am not making any personal endorsements for OHA at this time.  Please consult with people you know in the community who are most directly impacted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

If you are interested in the process and thought that goes into candidate selection please read this short blog piece: Which Candidates Should Be Supported?

In case you are wondering why I do this and why you must vote.

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Policy, Politics, Affordable Housing, and Elections – Kaua`i style

Just a few days out from the close of our primary election and there’s no better time to examine the confluence of policy and politics – a text book example really, Kaua`i style.

The main policy discussion on the table without a doubt centers on the Kaua`i County Council’s failure to advance a proposed charter amendment, that if passed would have created a dedicated funding stream for the support and development of new affordable housing.

The politics of this decision will be obvious when voting results are announced this coming Saturday August 13th.

Council Chair Kaneshiro and Councilmembers’ Carvalho and DeCosta voted against expanding the County’s ability to develop new affordable housing. Adding further fuel to the political fire, their votes denied Kaua`i voters the opportunity to make the choice for ourselves.

All three stated repeatedly that they supported increasing affordable housing, but then voted No against the measure. They also voted against a previous measure that attempted to increase funding for affordable housing.

Voters are encouraged to watch the meetings of May 13th, June 15th and August 3rd to hear the Councilmembers in their own words justifying both the yes votes and the no votes.

At the May 13th meeting during the County budget deliberations Vice Chair Mason Chock and Councilmember Luke Evslin introduced a bill proposing an increase in the property tax on transient vacation rentals (TVR’s) and utilizing that money to expand affordable housing.

This proposal was killed with Chair Kaneshiro leading the charge arguing that “we don’t need the money now” and “there is no guarantee the money will be used in the future for affordable housing.” It was pointed out by several Councilmembers that the only way to ensure the funds would be dedicated for affordable housing was via a charter amendment.

There is a large and growing houseless encampment literally in the shadows of the County building. Virtually every affordable housing project and every single homeless shelter on our island is full. We have people sleeping in the bushes, under bridges and in their cars.

Yet the attempt to raise additional funds from TVR’s, the very segment of the housing market that severely exacerbates the problem – is shot down. Go figure.

Not to be deterred, Vice Chair Mason Chock and Councilmember Luke Evslin then introduced a Resolution on June 15th proposing a charter amendment that would guarantee annual funding for affordable housing of a similar amount proposed on May 13th. Thus addressing one of the major objections voiced by opponents.

Well, you guessed it, on August 3rd Councilmembers Kaneshiro, Carvalho and DeCosta, opposed and killed this measure as well. They argued that increasing funding for affordable housing should be done during the budget deliberations and not via the Charter, and we don’t really need the money now anyway.

The rationale for the No votes seemed to go in circles.

“I don’t think we should dedicate annual funding for affordable housing, but I definitely support affordable housing.”

“I support affordable housing but I don’t think you should let voters decide whether or not it should be a County budget priority.”

”We have lots of ways that we can support affordable housing but I don’t think we need to utilize all of them. But this doesn’t mean I don’t support affordable housing.”

One testifier obviously frustrated by the discussion, called out the opposing Councilmembers by stating the obvious. They were opposing the proposed charter amendment because it would make the funding and support for affordable housing permanent, after criticizing and opposing the previous TVR tax increase for not providing a long term guarantee of funding for affordable housing.

Sheesh. It’s embarrassing and appalling. They are presented with not one but two separate proposals that have the potential to make meaningful improvements to our communities critical affordable housing shortage – and they shoot both down.

In addition to the support provided by introducers Vice Chair Mason Chock and Councilmember Luke Evslin, both Councilmembers Cowden and Kualii provided passionate and fact based arguments validating both the need and the mechanism being proposed.

It’s important to point out that Maui County did both – they increased property taxes on hotels and TVR’s AND they passed a charter amendment dedicating 3% of property tax revenues toward affordable housing. Oahu County also has a similar provision in their charter.

But alas the entire effort was for naught and went down in flames – short of one vote as 5 is the minimum threshold for charter amendment proposals.

The convergence of policy and politics will be on full display 3 days from now.

The 5 incumbents, Evslin, Cowden and Kualii who voted yes for increased dedicated funding for affordable housing, and Carvalho and DeCosta who voted no and killed the proposal, will be judged on Saturday by Kauai voters – it will be interesting indeed to see how the votes fall (pun intended).

Council Chair Kaneshiro and Vice Chair Chock are not on the ballot, as they are “termed out” and unable to run, and thus will miss out on the election night festivities.

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Deadline to mail in your ballot is now – Here is a complete statewide list of endorsed candidates

The deadline to mail in your ballot so it arrives by Saturday August 13 is NOW. Better yet, to make sure it gets there on time, it’s probably best to drive it down to the drop box.

Please share this list with friends and family TODAY. The only way to win is to vote. If you don’t believe me read: Who Controls Government in Hawaii?

Kai Kahele – Governor
Kai Kahele is the best choice to be our next Governor.
For background and for those that are curious read: Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green. (https://garyhooser.blog/2022/06/03/why-im-supporting-kai-kahele-over-josh-green/)
Why are 3 of the most influential champions of our natural environment supporting him? Read what Marti Townsend, David Kimo Frankel, and Kau’i Pratt-Aquino have to say.

Keith Amemiya – Lieutenant Governor
Read: I’ve finally come to a decision on the lieutenant governor’s race and it’s Keith Amemiya.

Sergio Alcubilla for Congress CD1
The Sergio Alcubilla Campaign for Congress has just received multiple full-throated endorsements from: The Hawai’i State Teachers Association (HSTA) Hawaiʻi teachers union drops endorsement of U.S. Rep. Ed Case in favor of Sergio Alcubilla(Hawai’i Public Radio), AND the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), and the Hawai’i Ports Maritime Council – with more to come! For further background read: Why Choose Sergio Alcubilla Over Ed Case?

Jill Tokuda – Congress CD2
Jill Tokuda is a solid Democrat with the experience we need now in Washington DC. I’ve known and worked with Jill Tokuda for years. She will serve us well.

Senator Laura Acasio – State Senate District #1
Hawai’i Island – Hilo, Pepeekeo, Papaikou, Hilo, Keaukaha, Kaumana
Senator Acasio is totally awesome. She is smart, articulate, courageous, and values-driven. We need to keep Senator Laura Acasio in the Senate. Please help her if you can.

Walter Ritte – State Senate District #7
Maui – Ha‘ikū, Hāna, Kaupō, Kīpahulu, Nahiku, Pā‘ia, Moloka’i, Lāna‘i, Makawao, Pukalani, Kula, Ulupalakua
Walter Ritte is a legend. His election to the Hawai’i State Senate would change the very nature of the way they do business, and our Public Trust Resources would sleep much better at night, knowing that Walter Ritte, a true warrior, was protecting them.

Ian Ross – State Senate District #11
Mānoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakōlea
Ian Ross is that proverbial “young emerging leader” that is ready, willing, and capable of representing his community and all of our communities in the Senate. I have to say that I know and like his opponent former Senator Carol Fukunaga as well. But there is a time to set aside the old guard and bring in the new – and now is just such a time.

State House of Representatives

The election of a just single individual candidate such as Kim Coco Iwamoto would have a hugely positive impact on the institution as we know it today. Read: Why Kim Coco Iwamoto over Scott Saiki?

I’ve written before about the incredible Natalia Hussey-Burdick – Read: We should all be so lucky as the residents of Kailua are today.

There are many shining lights running for election, incumbents and challengers alike that need our support.

There are newcomers like Sam Peralta and Kathy Feldman who are stepping up to challenge entrenched DINO incumbents. We are fortunate to also have Jeanne Kapela and Amy Perruso who as sitting Representatives now, are both fearless in their support of protecting our natural environment, the rights of working men and women, and the underserved 99%.

There’s too much to say about all of those listed below to fit in a single email. I encourage you to check them out, do your homework, and vote TODAY!

House District 3 – Shannon Matson
Panaʻewa, Keaʻau, Orchidland, Hawaiian Acres, Kurtistown, Mountain View

House District 5 – Jeanne Kapela
North Kona, South Kona, West Ka’u

House District 9 – Sam Peralta
Kahului Maui

House District 11 – Terez Amato
South Maui

House District 13 – Mahina Poepoe
Haiku, Ko’olau, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Paia, Lanai, Moloka’i

House District 14 – Elle Cochran
West Maui

House District 19 – Kathy Feldman
Hahaʻione, Kuliʻouʻou, Niu Valley, ʻĀina Haina, Kahalo, Waiʻalae

House District 22 – Dale Kobayashi
Manoa, University, Moiliili

House District 24 – Adrian Tam
Waikiki, McCully, Moiliili

House District 25 – Kim Coco Iwamoto
Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, Downtown

House District 26 – Valerie Wang
Makiki, Makiki Heights, Papakōlea, Punchbowl, Tantalus

House District 27 – Gary Gill
Alewa Heights, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Papakolea, Punchbowl

House District 30 – Sonny Ganaden
Kalihi Kai, Pearl Harbor, Hickam

House District 39 – Corey Rosenlee
Ewa, Waipahu, Kunia, Ho’opili, Waikele

House District 42 – Makana Paris
ʻEwa, Kapolei, Villages of Kapolei, ʻEwa Villages, Kaupeʻa, Kanehili Homesteads, Hoʻopili

House District 46 – Amy Perruso
Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley

House District 50 – Natalia Hussey-Burdick
Kailua, Kāne’ohe, Marine Corps Base Hawai’i

The collective power of these individuals running for the State House is sufficient to change the very culture of the Hawaiʻi legislature. My hope is that it goes from a toxic fear-based environment to one that fosters creativity, collaboration, and inclusiveness.

Council races in every County are posted here: On Kauai, I’m supporting Fern Holland and Addison Bulosan. A special shout-out also to Kelly King for Mayor of Maui and to Ikaika Hussey who is running for the Honolulu City Council District 6. We need Ikaika to win. When he wins, we all win. Trust me on this.  Kaua`i friend interested in my Kaua`i voting strategy read this.

Forward this list to your friends and neighbors.

Let’s do this. We have only until Saturday.

Gary L. Hooser http://www.garyhooser.com

*OHA – While I believe all of us should cast an informed vote in the OHA races I am not making any personal endorsements at this time.  Please consult with people you know in the community who are most directly impacted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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Kim Coco Iwamoto over Scott Saiki

Without question Kim Coco Iwamoto is the best choice over Scott Saiki. I’ve known and worked closely with her for years, and likewise I’ve known and worked with her opponent Speaker of the House Scott Saiki for about the same time period.

Saiki has been in office 28 years too long. Though he is burying residents in the district with mailers claiming great accomplishments, the truth is things are much worse off today than they were yesterday.  Despite his positive claims, there is more homelessness, more crime, and more government corruption today than ever.

Both legal and illegal government corruption are at the highest levels ever and Scott Saiki has done little to nothing to reverse the tide, not prior to legislators being arrested for bribery and not after. He formed a Commission to look into it and make recommendations but has taken no significant tangible action at all.

He could have proposed and supported banning all fundraising during the legislative session. He could have proposed limits to the unilateral power of Committee Chairs. He could have suggested that legislative committees stop meeting in private and instead comply with the State constitution and discuss committee decisions only in public. 

He could have done lots of things that should have been done a long, long, time ago, but he didn’t. And if history is our teacher, we know he won’t.  

He has had 28 years to make a difference and it’s time now for new energy, new ideas, and a new Representative for Honolulu District 25.

Kim Coco Iwamoto is eminently qualified to serve.  Like many of us, she is appalled at the depth of corruption in our government and she is committed to pushing back against the old ways of “going along to get along”.  Kim Coco is smart, articulate, and fearless.

Without question, electing Kim Coco Iwamoto to the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives will in an of itself change the very character of that institution for the better.

Of this I have no doubt.

In the primary election two years ago on August 8th, 2020 Kim Coco Iwamoto fell just 167 votes short of victory.

We need to push hard to get out the vote and push Kim Coco Iwamoto over the top this time.  Saiki is shoveling money at his campaign, sending out mailer after mailer, and he has the backing of major SuperPac’s who are also investing heavily in him.

If you live in District #25 Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, and Downtown – please vote for Kim Coco Iwamoto.  Then, after you cast your vote, go next door and talk to your neighbor and encourage them to do the same. Please also share this email with friends and family who live in the district.

If like me you do not live in the district, please reach out to friends and acquaintances you know that live in that area.

When Kim Coco wins, all of Hawaiʻi will win.

Let’s do this.

Gary Hooser
Former Hawaiʻi State Senator

P.S. To read more as to why Kim Coco Iwamoto is the best choice read this piece from my blog: “I’m not pulling any punches on this one – Why Iwamoto over Saiki”

See a full statewide list of all endorsed State candidates and endorsed County candidates.

Disclosure: No candidate has authorized or approved this message. All costs of which there are none…associated with this message are paid for by me personally.


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Lieutenant Governor – it’s time to come clean

I’m as sick and tired of this conversation as anyone. We should be talking about the future and solving the many challenges facing our community, not asking an elected official seeking higher office to do the bare minimum that any other state employee with a suspected conflict of interest would be asked to do.

Until I finally watched the 25 minute video of their joint press conference, my hope was that we could just move on past this negative stuff. I’m oh-so-tired of it. 

It’s impossible to now set aside my own personal responsibility to support their effort in getting to the truth of the matter. 

Kai Kahele and Vicky Cayetano are honorable people who have looked at the facts available to them, determined there is reason for alarm and a need for clarity. They are asking the lieutenant governor to tell the public the full truth about his outside financial interests. They are also asking the news media to dig deeper and report on what is really going on.

This is a reasonable and legitimate request and if there’s nothing to hide, why would Green not comply?

By continuing to refuse disclosure, Josh Green only fuels the fires of suspicion.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green should publicly and fully disclose the source of his income that is funneled through Green Health International LLC, and answer the other questions raised by Congessman Kai Kahele and former First Lady Vicky Cayetano. 

According to public records, in addition to his annual lieutenant governor salary of $160,000, Green Health International LLC and other health related entities have paid the L.G. between $600,000 and $1,000,000 since he has held that seat. 

He’s getting paid to be a full-time lieutenant governor, yet he also has earned between $150,000 and $250,000 per year providing medical services like fixing a child’s dislocated shoulder?

Somehow I don’t think so.

No doctor earns $150,000 to $250,000 per year working part-time on weekends fixing dislocated shoulders.

According to salary.com – “The average Physician General Practitioner salary in Hawaii is $228,590 as of June 28, 2022, but the range typically falls between $197,990 and $255,690.”

Because he refuses to disclose who’s paying him through his Limited Liability Corporation, Green Health International LLC – we can only speculate as to what’s really going on.

The principals of Green Health International LLC. are listed as Joshua Green and his wife Jaime Green. The corporation also lists former Hawaii State Insurance Commissioner Jeffrey Schmidt as its “agent”. 

Schmidt, was hired by Green as a “Senior Advisor” in the L.G.’s office while he was also acting as Green Health International LLC’s agent.

The State Ethics Code, which applies to all state employees states, “Do not solicit or enter into substantial financial transactions with anyone you supervise or regulate as a state employee.” Teachers, janitors, and highway workers have to follow the State ethics code, shouldn’t the LG too?

Schmidt worked in the L.G.’s office as a paid employee of the State, at the same time he was working as Green Health Internationals’s agent, AND he was (and still is) the CEO and a Principal at Abaris Global (April 2016 to present). Abaris Global is based in Denver Colorado and according to its website provides expertise on regulatory and corporate governance, Blockchain & Insurance, Regulation & Compliance – cryptocurrency and related matters. Schmidt also is the agent for Ola Like LLC which is located at the same address as Green Health International.

One question of course leads to another. It appears the L.G. also owned another health company of which little is known. A public records search reveals a Seva Natural Medicine Limited Liability Partnership located at 75-169 Hualala Rd, Ste 301, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740, Incorporated 20 August 2014 and Involuntarily Canceled. Officers: Everett, Melanie, general partner, 20 Aug 2014-Green, Josh, general partner, 20 Aug 2014- and Joshua Green, agent.

So as you can see, the request for full disclosure is a reasonable one. Please. Take the time and watch the video. But I warn you that if you do, you won’t be able to unlearn what it teaches you. 

The lieutenant governor should fully disclose in writing as soon as possible, so voters can make an informed decision.

Where is the Green Health International LLC. money coming from? If the income is from hospitals and physician service organizations for which he is providing medical services, then information to substantiate that needs to be made public. If the income is from something else, the public needs to know that as well.

The public deserves an answer. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

Gary Hooser
Former Hawaiʻi State Senator
Note: If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, at least watch the clip starting at 9:02 in the video.

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