Poinography!

July 31, 2010

Privilege Logs for Acts 1 thru 109 catalogued and uploaded

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 6:18 pm

Whew! I am discovering that keeping the document index up to date is a major hassle, but without the index readers would be forced to browse the records one-by-one. Sigh. The work makes me feel like I am a graduate student again, actually…

Anyway, I have added another column on the document index to differentiate between the comment solicitations previously uploaded, and the various privilege log records that I have added to the cache today. You’ll notice on the spreadsheet that many of the same people appear over and over, namely the Governor’s Policy Office staff, various Deputy Attorneys General, Linda Smith and, for some strange reason, Department of Budget and Finance Director, Georgina Kawamura. So far, Director Kawamura appears to have had her fingers in nearly every bill considered for approval or veto in 2009! Not sure what to make of that… It makes me wish I could see those records to see if Kawamura makes substantive comments every time, or only a cursory review and boilerplate commentary.

Also, I should point out that the Governor’s Policy Office staff listed above are typically summarizing comments submitted by various executive branch entities. I considered showing those entities in the “sender” column of the spreadsheet, but took the easier way out. However, if you want to know those entities badly enough, then you can look at the PDF document(s) to see exactly who participated. For the most part those entities reflect the comment solicitation recipients.

I reckon it will take me at least two more long sessions of cataloging and uploading to finish with the privilege logs. Then I will begin cataloging and uploading the records that are actual comments on the legislation from the public. Have patience.

Just like last time, to look at any particular document, point your browser to
http://poinography.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009uipa/poi****.pdf
[substituting the asterisks with the four-digit document number you want, using leading zeros as needed]. For example, here is the link to view the first page of the privilege log. REMINDER: all of the contents of this site (to include the uploaded documents) are published under a Creative Commons license. Please, respect the terms of that license.

Comments on anything you find notable within the privilege logs (or among the comment solicitations previously uploaded) are welcome.

July 27, 2010

The Distinguished Gentleman gambit

Filed under: Hawaii Media,Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 7:03 pm

I never listen to KSSK, so I can only wonder if there has been any mention on the air of Senator Sam Slom’s opponent for District 8? Check it out, Slom’s opponent is a Democrat named … Larry Price. Heh.

Oh, and by the way, that better-known “guy on the right” made a blunder in his latest MidWeek column where he notes that Representatives Ward, Marumoto, and Thielen are running unopposed—and then says he can’t remember the last time the Democrats let that happen in a major race. To refresh his memory, then, Representative Thielen ran unopposed in 2008 and 2006, too.

July 25, 2010

Records show whose comments were solicited during the Governor’s consideration of pending legislation in 2009

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 4:14 pm

At long last, I am able to provide a taste of what sort of records I had been fighting for over the last year. Publishing this takes me a lot more time than you might expect for just scanning documents, because I have decided to make an Excel spreadsheet to catalog the documents. For your reference, since not even the biggest wonk would recall by memory year-old bill numbers, the spreadsheet also has a tab that describes the legislation (mahalo to the Capitol website for the information in that tab).

This batch of records consists of the forms used by the Governor’s Policy Office to keep track of who had been contacted to solicit comments on legislation pending the Governor’s approval or veto. The forms were filled out by hand, and sometimes the handwriting is illegible and/or does not scan well—but I believe I have done a fairly accurate job of transcribing the data into the spreadsheet. Anyone who finds an error is, of course, urged to point it out. For these documents the odd-numbered records show the fronts of the forms, the even-numbered records are the back sides. The government agencies contacted are recorded on the front, the non-government contacts on the back. Some legislation did not have a two-sided form, so I inserted a “filler” page to preserve my odd/even document numbering scheme.

As this project advances, each document I scan will have a unique document number and the spreadsheet will be updated to reflect uploads as they happen. To look at any particular document, point your browser to
http://poinography.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009uipa/poi****.pdf
[substituting the asterisks with the four-digit document number you want, using leading zeros as needed]. For example, here is the link to view the first document. REMINDER: all of the contents of this site (to include the uploaded documents) are published under a Creative Commons license. Please, respect the terms of that license.

So, what does this first batch show? Well, it suggests that the opinions of some people seem to matter much more to the Governor than those of others. Play around with the document index spreadsheet and you can sort the records however you like. One thing that struck me, especially with the campaign for Governor underway, is that as the 2009 legislation was being considered for approval or veto Lieutenant Governor Aiona was asked to comment only once — and that was to solicit his comments on the bill that included the budget for the LG office. However, there was no response to that solicitation, according to the records and privilege logs provided to me. Go figure. Seriously, it’s hard for Mr. Aiona to claim (based on 2009) that he was a key player in the policy arena. It’s possible that Aiona provided a lot of (unsolicited) commentary, but I have not seen any in the privilege logs (where it would appear if there were any). Those privilege logs will be scanned and uploaded next, by the way.

Happy browsing. Leave a comment when you find something notable!

Here’s the link again for the document index.

One last thing, I am making another plea to the powers-that-be: The capitol.hawaii.gov website should be the host of these records. They truly belong with the public bill testimony in an “official” government archive, not on an obscure blog. But, until I hear otherwise, I’ll keep plugging away…

UPDATE July 26, 2010: According to Andrew Walden of the Hawaii Free Press, without my realizing it, these records provide

a list which shows the Lingle/Aiona “adult supervision” model in action. Compare the broadly inclusive [sic!] list of people asked to submit comments to the list which might come from a highly factional administration such a Abercrombie or Hannemann.

Heh. It’s pretty easy to defend Lingle by contrasting her with a completely hypothetical list. Nevertheless, Walden should ask himself, why did the Lingle administration fight so hard for so long to withhold these records, if the records truly show the administration in a positive light?

July 22, 2010

My UIPA saga – a $1582.15, twelve month struggle

Filed under: Hawaii Media,Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 7:43 pm

Back in June, 2009, I wrote a post inspired by comments made by Governor Lingle alleging that the Legislature works in secrecy. As a former legislative staffer, I knew that the public can learn far more about what happens to legislation while it is under consideration at the Lege than is possible once the bills go to the Governor for consideration (i.e. approval or veto).

To illustrate the extent of that contrast, on June 28, 2009, I promptly sent the Governor a UIPA request for records, thinking I might get the records in time to analyze how she came to approve or veto those bills. Boy, was I wrong…

Make yourself comfortable, this is a very long post.

(more…)

July 21, 2010

I’m baaaaack…

Filed under: General — Doug @ 5:50 pm

Can you believe that I waited just over ONE YEAR for the Governor to provide me the records I asked for about the 2009 legislation sent to her for approval or veto?!

Well, believe it.  The saga of why it took so long will make an interesting meta post, which is in the works.

At last, I do have the records, and a new scanner, and OCR software, and the latest version of WordPress (3.0).  It is going to be a lot of work to get all of this online, that’s for sure.

Did anybody miss me?

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