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Stephanie Ohigashi defeats attorney Tony Gill for leadership of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
At the Democratic Party of Hawaiia€™s convention Sunday, delegates rejected the scion of a prominent Oahu family in favor of a Maui delegate to lead the party for the next two years.
Stephanie Ohigashi, a Maui County Democratic Party vice chairwoman active in politics for three decades, defeated labor attorney Tony Gill in a lopsided vote. Ohigashi, 67, told Civil Beat that her top priority is to make the party a€?a true statewide party!
Her election may also determine whether the party continues a lawsuit that seeks to end Hawaiia€™s open primary system. The lawsuit has upset many Democrats who believe it goes against the partya€™s a€?e komo maia€? mantra of welcoming more people. Asked about Gilla€™s lawsuit, Ohigashi noted that it is on appeal and that the partya€™s State Central Committee would wait to see what the courts say. The partya€™s convention agenda was adjusted to allow for neighbor island Democrats to participate in the vote for chair before they flew home.
The doors of the Sheratona€™s ballroom were secured so that no delegates could leave the room as the votes were tallied. As delegates from each of the statea€™s 51 districts announced their votes, it was soon apparent that Gill was in trouble.
Ohigashi said that she had decided to jump into the race only recently, concluding that, after 31 years in the party, she wanted to do something more than plant campaign signs in yards and on fences and make beef stew for political events. Ohigashi manages the Wailuku law office of her husband, Lee Ohigashi, and is an executive assistant to Maui County Councilman Mike Victorino, who enthusiastically nominated her for the job. Convention delegates moved slowly Sunday morning, some having trouble finding parking at the Sheraton, others emerging blurry-eyed after a night of partying.
Delegates also voted for a policy resolution asking elected officials to a€?fully support and funda€? public preschool programs but rejected another that sought the establishment of universal preschool at public schools only. The party also rejected calls for a return to an elected, rather than appointed, school board. Another resolution, one opposing the mandating of a a€?last, best and final offera€? on public sector unions, was withdrawn by its author.
He talked about the sacrifices of the generation that fought in World War II a€” it included Igea€™s late father a€” and said that the people he has met with across the state say they have lost faith in their government. Ige said he would like to see photovoltaic panels on every home in Hawaii to wean the islands off of imported fossil fuels. Ige is not a dynamic speaker, and many delegates may not have being paying much attention Sunday.
Heea€™s own moolelo includes how his Hawaiian ancestors came to the islands in canoes and how his Chinese great-grandfather came to work on the sugar plantations. That prompted Senate President Donna Mercado Kim to later crack, a€?Who ever heard of a speaker of the House who couldna€™t speak?
Saiki ticked off the list of legislative successes this year, including an increase to the minimum wage, emergency contraception services for sex-assault victims, more money to help address homelessness, a plan to address climate change, paying down the statea€™s unfunded liabilities for health care and pensions and replenishing the statea€™s rainy day and hurricane relief funds. In her capacity as Senate president, Kim highlighted some of the same legislative achievements as Saiki and mentioned a few more, such as mandatory kindergarten, establishing environmental courts and combating invasive species. As an illustration of just how dominant Hawaii Democrats are, the party has primary battles for governor, lieutenant governor, the U.S.
The party will likely not field a candidate to run against Republican Cynthia Thielen, a moderate who supports marriage equality and protecting the environment. As of Friday, nine House DemocratsA were still unopposed, including Saiki, Karl Rhoads, Marcus Oshiro and Cindy Evans. The newly orphaned seal pups are vulnerable, but thanks to the RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton, England, many of them are getting a new shot at life. The center has taken in 35 of the seals so far, and they’re making the road to recovery more fun for everyone. From rescue to rehabilitation to release, it’s strenuous for workers to make sure the seal pups are healthy enough and capable of being out on their own. The workers are doing everything they can, but the surrounding community has chipped in to help as well. The center has received so many of them, they are probably set for even more seals if necessary. This entry was posted in Baby Animals, Baby seals, Grey seals, Interspecies communication, Pet Therapy, Rescued animals, Seals and tagged animal friends, animal lover stories, animal stories, animals, babies, baby animals, Baby seals, camera, Endangered species, friends, Grey seals, Hawaii animal stories, rescued animals, seals.
Ita€™ll be at least another year before anyone lives in the Salt Lake Apartments, a 28-unit public housing complex thata€™s already been empty more than a year.
Plumbing upgrades are underway, but after the building was vacated, thieves broke in and stole copper from the pipes and electrical system. At Hale Laulima in Pearl City, 15 of 36 units are empty for renovation because the walls werena€™t framed properly and the windows were only supported by dry wall after an electrician and plumber previously cut through the frames. A unit at Makani Kai Hale on Maui is vacant after a tenant punched holes in the walls and tore out electrical wiring. There are myriad reasons for vacancies in Hawaiia€™s public housing units, and apparently few shortcuts to making them habitable again.
The 45-year-old Salt Lake Apartments have already been empty for more than a year, and officials say ita€™ll be at least another year before they can be reoccupied.

Another 239 units, including the Salt Lake Apartments, are receiving major repairs and upgrades. Ita€™s hard not to compare the number of empty units to the number of homeless people, including those living in a tent that can be seen from the rear balconies of the Salt Lake Apartments.
The units can house an average of 3.5 people apiece, so in total they represent potential shelter for more than 1,400 people. Legally, the Housing Authority cana€™tA allow people to live in the units unless they are a€?decent, safe, sanitary and in good repair.a€? Federal law says the units must have hot and cold running water as well as working bathrooms, electrical systems and smoke detectors, among other requirements.
The authoritya€™s ability to make the units available relies largely on funding and manpower.
Hakim Ouansafi, executive director of the Housing Authority, saidA his staff is working to fill the empty units as fast as possible.
He said he is also working on potential partnerships with non-profits, but must tread carefully to ensure that the agency doesna€™t violate any agreements with the unions. The longtime housing advocate said she is afraid the state will regress to the situation 10 years ago, when more than 700 public housing units were vacant and residents filed lawsuits because of poor conditions.
When Ouansafi became executive director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority in 2011, the agency had more than 550 vacant units due to lack of upkeep even as thousands of low-income people were on a waiting list for a place to live. Ouansafi couldna€™t help but wonder how many of them might be willing to sign a waiver and move into a dilapidated unit. Not to mention the fact that allowing people to live in substandard units could risk the agencya€™s funding from the U.S. At Hale Laulima in Pearl City, 15 of the 36 units are empty as the Housing Authority renovates them.
Ouansafi said that the agency inspects all of the units each year and holds about two dozen meetings a year to decide which ones to prioritize. In addition to renovating vacant units, therea€™s a huge need to fix currently occupied units and ensure that they remain habitable. Ouansafi said the agency is currently re-evaluating whether to continue its planned repairs of occupied units or shift the emphasis away from occupied units to vacant ones. According to the Housing Authoritya€™s chief planner, Dawn Takeuchi Apuna, the average age of a public housing development is 55 years. At Kalihi Valley Homes, the Housing Authority has awarded contracts to renovate 18 empty units in buildings 19 and 20, but has been waiting 15 months for building permits. The public housing complexes in Kauahale Ohana, Koolau Village and Hookipa Kahaluu on Oahu received their permits last month, a full year after the applications were submitted, Ouansafi said. On Kauai, ita€™s taken about a year for five public housing projects to receive building permits. Rod Antone, spokesman for Maui County, said that permitting wait times have improved over the past several years, but added that poor communication can still lengthen the process. George Atta, who leads theHonolulu Department of Planning and Permitting, said in a phone interview that low-income housing developments can receive expedited permitting through Hawaii Revised Statutes 201H, which allows for exemptions related to zoning rules, height and density and other factors that could drive up the cost of a development. But that law only applies to theHawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation, a separate state agency from the Housing Authority that loans money to developers to build low-income housing projects rather than managing or building its own projects.
Ita€™s not unusual for building permits for large, complex projects to take up to a year to approve, Atta said in a follow-up email. Atta explained the eight months that it took for Salt Lake Apartments to receive its building permit is comparable to similar private sector projects. Ouansafi doesna€™t think public housing projects should be treated the same way as for-profit projects.
The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting has been working to speed up permitting in general by instituting a third-party review system, in which developers hire a certified reviewer to analyze permitting applications before theya€™re submitted, and limiting reviews of certain permit applications. Atta said that although the Housing Authority can apply for exemptions, they are hard to grant because they often involve life-safety rules such as fire codes. He said he has been talking to nonprofit organizations about a similar initiative, but has to be careful that it doesna€™t violate any agreements with the unions.
But the United Public Workers union has been working with Ouansafi to create a maintenance team made up of civil service workers thata€™s organized similarly to the exempt team, known as a a€?Special Team,a€? that was recently disbanded when the legislative authority expired. The exempt team, which operated from July 2012 until this year, was made up of 36 workers with varying skill sets ranging from plumbing to carpentry who renovated units together. Ouansafi said that method proved more efficient than the traditional practice, in which employees with different skill sets work separately and take turns fixing up units.
UPW Director Dayton Nakanelua signed a letter of agreement with Ouansafi to work with him to create the new Special Team made up of 56 multi-skilled workers. The new Special Team is considered a pilot project, but it wona€™t be terminated until the Housing Authority reorganizes its property management and maintenance services branches.
Welcome to PWManiaYou'll find information on this website about the following: WWE News, WWE Rumors, WWE Spoilers, WWE Results, TNA News, TNA Rumors, TNA Spoilers, TNA Results, John Cena, Vince McMahon, Impact Wrestling, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, WWE Divas, TNA Knockouts, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, PPV Results, and much more! Gill, 63, has led the legal action, arguing that allowing non-Democrats to pull a Democratic ballot places a a€?severe burdena€? on the partya€™s right of free association.
Others support Gill, saying that some Democratic candidates and elected officials have not adhered to the partya€™s platform. It may be the most important organization of any sort, besides government itself,a€? said Tony Gill. But she said she always doubted whether getting rid of the open primary system was in the best interest of the party.

While some districts were split between the two candidates, others unanimously favored Ohigashi. After the vote, he asked that a unanimous ballot be cast for the state party chair, earning Gill a standing ovation from his colleagues.
They included a quote from Gill that underscored his passion for his party: a€?The Democratic Party of Hawaii is, by any measure, the most important political organization in the state. He also looked back to the 1954 a€?revolutiona€? that first brought Democrats to power in Hawaii. Brickwood Galuteria and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., strumming ukulele, then performed a€?Kaimana Hila,a€? Inouyea€™s favorite song.
Dan Inouye in a tribute film looms over delegates to open of the second day of the Democratic state convention.
The resolution was proposed because of concerns that under school board chairman Don Horner, the BOE had been less transparent and accessible to the public.
Neil Abercrombie a€” by saying he has never held a campaign fundraiser at the home of a billionaire.
Hee said he would make the office of LG a a€?functioning officea€? that would focus on homelessness and agriculture. Neil Abercrombie and lobbyist John Radcliffe during a recess at the state Democratic convention.
But many seats are contested, such as the District 4 seat that represents Puna where incumbent Faye Hanohano has drawn five challengers so far. Like ice cubes in a martini (shaken not stirred), these grey seal pups have been getting tossed around the sea, washing up on various beaches in South Wales — sick, injured, and separated from their moms. His seal counterpart is a little luckier, having ended up in a better, more nurturing spot in life. People have come together to donate those green turtle-shaped sandboxes for the seals to swim in while they heal.
In this particular case, much love to those guiding these seal pups so they can get off on the right foot, err … flipper. Those units a€” classified as undergoing modernization a€” arena€™t included in the Housing Authoritya€™s official vacancy rate, but bring the total number of empty state public housing units to over 400. BothA were undermined this past legislative session as lawmakers only provided $4.1 million to address the agencya€™s 10-year, $820 million repair and maintenance backlog and at the same time ended a civil service exemption that allowed for more efficient repairs. The agency has reached an agreement with the United Public Workers union to assemble a new maintenance team to make repairs.
Suzanne Chun Oakland said therea€™s little that state lawmakers can do until the Legislature reconvenes next January. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which pays for all but 1.5 of the Housing Authoritya€™s 300 staff positions. He said he has been talking to county council members and planning departments about the possibility of speeding up permits for state public housing by adopting ordinances that allow building permits for public housing projects to skip to the front of the line. Atta believes that more than permitting, strict codes have made fixing up units more time-consuming and expensive.
Three years ago, he started a campaign called a€?I Have a Dreama€? in which volunteers cleaned up and helped renovate 150 units. White said the two sides still have a good relationship but teased that we’ll have to wait to see what happens.
At one point the vote was suspended as technical problems halted updating the spreadsheet, projected on giant screens in the ballroom, used to record the votes.
On more than one occasion, groups of delegates clapped and cheered as results were released.
His brother, Gary Gill, is an active member of the party who works in the Abercrombie administration. He said a second revolution, one a€?no less importanta€? but different and a€?more creative,a€? was coming. A brochure highlighting her career noted that she owns three pit bull mixed dogs and two cats. The video, which included vintage photos of Inouye with JFK and LBJ, earned a standing ovation from delegates. In fact, it was a campaign speech, which is what is supposed to happen at party conventions.
Rather than regurgitate what it means to be a Democrat, Hee, a candidate for lieutenant governor, spoke of the moolelo a€” the story, history or legend a€” that everyone has to tell. At the state level, Democrats are running in all 13 Senate seats up this year and 50 of the 51 seats in the House.
And Ouansafi plans to approach the Honolulu City Council to request an expedited permitting process. Navigating the paper trail can take a year or longer, delaying construction and the ability for families to move in.

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