Thursday, May 6, 2010

State most expensive for car ownership, Election Office withholding records, congressional race and civil unions continue to dominate headlines, fire rages on Maui, more top Hawaii news

Hawaii has been ranked the most expensive state to own a car by Edmunds.com, an automotive information website.

The state Department of Human Services has called off a plan to close all the state's welfare eligibility offices and lay off 228 public employees.

Across the country, Democrats are on the defense, laboring to put out political fires sparked by angry voters and emboldened Republicans. Even Hawaii, the bluest of blue states, where a Democratic machine has controlled politics for the five decades since statehood, has become a dangerous hot spot for the party in power.

Representatives of three Congressional campaigns say the state's office of elections is not providing them with key information that would allow them to stop making thousands of phone calls to potential voters asking them if they’ve already voted in the special election.

Ed Case said he believes that most voters think the same way he does about government and politics in Hawai'i and Washington, D.C.: too partisan, too dysfunctional, too out of touch with everyday concerns.

State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, trailing in the polls and hearing of intense pressure from national Democrats who want her to step aside, vowed yesterday to stay in the special election for Congress until the end.

In the second installment of our special-election preview, Honolulu Weekly talks with each of the three best-known candidates in the race for Congress.

The congressional debate: watch the clips

The state Senate could be led by a Big Island lawmaker next year if Senate President Colleen Hanabusa prevails in her quest for a congressional seat.

Gov. Linda Lingle says she soon will start gathering information about the controversial civil unions bill that passed the state Legislature last week.

Civil unions bill on Lingle's desk

Madam Pele is on the move, putting on the hottest show in Hawaii that's too close for comfort. On Wednesday night, firefighters were on alert and families on edge as Big Island Civil Defense tracked a lava flow that shut down a popular sightseeing spot.

Safer streets, less traffic, and higher morale - those are the goals Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha unveiled on Wednesday.

Twenty people who were either cited or arrested during a protest at the governor's office are now going through the justice system. Some were in court on Wednesday.

The debate swirling around a proposed community development in Central Oahu is just the latest example of the tension between growth and farmland preservation in Hawaii.

A fire, the cause of which remained unknown, burned roughly 1,100 acres of brush mauka of the sparsely populated areas of Olowalu and Ukumehame to the ridges atop the West Maui Mountains on Monday and Tuesday.

A group of downtown Hilo businesspeople, professionals, surfers and anglers is hoping that Gov. Lingle will sign over a half-acre parcel on the Hilo Bayfront to the county.

A divided Hawaii County Council committee Tuesday agreed to strengthen the county's ethics code, despite protestations from opponents that county government is already ethical enough.

Dr. Peter Matsuura's vision for a Hilo medical complex and pedestrian-oriented community was endorsed by a County Council committee Tuesday.

Two bills regulating how much water Hawaii County residents may draw from county spigots will go to the full council with negative recommendations from the Public Safety and Parks and Recreation Committee.

After a nearly three-year Kaua‘i Police Department investigation, two local men were arrested on suspicion of first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug.

The most recent Green Harvest mission on Kaua'i netted 200 marijuana plants and several arrests, county officials said Monday.