Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lingle meets with civil union opponents, economic impact weighed, Honolulu buses to get spy cams, staff report says Maui sugar company should return water to streams, Honolulu City Council seeks property tax hike, more news from around the state

Tourism and other businesses might benefit by about $7 million a year, but legalizing civil unions would otherwise have a minimal economic impact in the state, according to two University of Hawaii researchers.

One week ago, Gov. Linda Lingle said she needed more information before deciding on state House Bill 444. Monday she began two days of face-to-face meetings behind closed doors.

The civil union critics put a youthful face on their message Monday, bringing to the governor’s office dozens of young people, mostly Christian home-schoolers, many armed with notes they’d prepared in advance.

The governor wants to hear from both sides before she makes a decision on civil unions -- and she held the first of two private meetings on Monday.

Nearly six months after recommending that Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co. restore water to only one of 19 streams in East Maui, staffers for the state Commission on Water Resource Management have changed their minds - at the direction of balance-seeking commissioners in the heated controversy.

Back in December, the state Commission on Water Resource Management deferred a decision on a staff recommendation to return water to only one of the 19 East Maui streams at the heart of a 10-year-old legal petition by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., saying it was not enough of a compromise.

Waiting for a turnaround - Hawaii's construction industry has taken a big dive this year, losing more than 3,000 jobs from the year before, which was already way down.

Democratic Party Candidate Ed Case Monday pointed to the website of a national Republican group, Independent Women's Voice, as proof he was hurt by $200,000 worth of negative ads geared to help Republican Charles Djou win.

Twitter data beats phone polling in Hawaii special election

Hawaii home-care horror tales underscore risk to elderly

Non-occupant homeowners would pay less in property taxes than proposed by Mayor Mufi Hannemann, but at a higher rate than they're paying now, under a budget plan passed by the City Council Budget Committee yesterday.

Nonoccupant homeowners would face a higher real property tax rate next year, while most city departments would have to make do with fewer dollars under the operating budget advancing in the City Council.

Starting as soon as this week, Honolulu may begin using surveillance cameras on city buses.

Kamehameha Schools' expansive $118.5 million redevelopment project at its main Kapalama campus will be a boon to Hawaii's struggling building industry.

Firefighters made headway in defeating a brush fire that has burned roughly 300 acres in North Kohala. The blaze was fully contained and advanced no further Sunday, said Battalion Chief Warren Sumida, of the Hawaii County Fire Department.

Should County Council members be elected solely by residents of their districts? Maui voters say “yes!”