Supporting The Lingle Agenda

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - November 22, 2006

Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona have a mandate from the people of Hawaii to lead this state for the next four years. There is a defined record of accomplishment effected by the administration, which overshadows the Democrats’ contention that Lingle’s persona is all public relations and no substance. If this premise were true, then all voters who supported her would be characterized as a bunch of mindless automatons who were duped into believing an empty promise. Rubbish.

There is, however, a daunting challenge for the administration in working with a Democrat-controlled Legislature that is more concerned with winning the governorship in four years. The filter of political expediency and opportunity will drive this highly partisan Legislature - rather than the serious considering any substantive proposal coming from the Fifth Floor. In order for the administration to avoid being relegated to true lame duck status, the essential ingredient for success lies in tapping into every single person who cast a vote for Lingle/Aiona. The voices of those who support the Lingle agenda must convey their activist participation to their representative and the legislative leadership.

The message is simple: If you set up illogical and unfair barricades to the Lingle agenda, you (and your party) will pay at the ballot box. Since there are less than four in 10 who bother to vote, your collective voices will be more influential.

The most pressing issues facing us are the same issues we have been debating for decades.

Education reform, transportation and health care lead the list, while homelessness, disaster preparedness and the economy continue to require thoughtful attention.

I would like to see two issues addressed immediately in the 2007 Legislative Session:

* The HI-5 “bottle bill” must be repealed. A viable curbside recycling program for Oahu must be online as soon as possible. HI-5 has proven to be a governmental money grab, reaping millions in profit for the state. The controversial policy of weighing containers rather than counting has cost consumers even more. Frankly, they have been ripped off, and it has been at the hands of their own government. A curbside recycling program will accomplish the HI-5 stated objectives - and at a savings to taxpayers. The Lingle administration must lead the charge for a legislative repeal of HI-5, and the Honolulu City Council must stand up to the Hannemann administration and move the curbside recycling program to reality.

* Charter schools must be fully funded. Charter schools should receive funding that is equitable to public schools. There was a slight increase in funding last session, but it is too inadequate and insufficient for these schools to thrive. Consequently, the students are deprived of the same investment their peers enjoy, and charter schools are relegated to a questionable future.

I’ll talk about these in greater detail as the session approaches, but I hope the awareness and conversation will begin in earnest now.

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