Friday, February 10, 2012

Hawaii gift ban remains secure, double-dipping in the AG's Office, Honolulu Mayor Carlisle must pay wife's trip, marked police cars not working for Big Island, gas prices up, Waikiki sand project slowed, Marine not guilty of hazing, Legislature looks at bag bans, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Inter-island cable, courtesy photo
It’s Round 2 for the interisland cable bill. Last year, legislation to facilitate financing for cables that would connect the islands in a statewide electric grid got bogged down in criticism and never made it out of the Legislature. Civil Beat.

Four hundred plastic grocery bags were staked to the state Capitol lawn along Beretania Street on Thursday to call attention to a Senate bill that would impose a 10-cent fee on the disposable sacks and their paper counterparts and channel some of the revenue to watershed protection projects. Star-Advertiser.

A bill introduced this session at the Hawaii Legislature, if passed, could shed a more timely light on the relationship between elected and appointed officials and the business of government. Civil Beat.

State House lawmakers on Thursday disposed of a bill that would have relaxed the state's gift ban, leaving the Ethics Commission director with the discretion to provide advice on what gifts are permissible. Star-Advertiser.

After all the hoopla, the governor's plan to allow lawmakers unrestricted invites to charitable fundraisers quietly failed without a fuss Thursday. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office was warned in an email about inappropriate sexual behavior by Marc Alexander shortly after he was appointed homeless coordinator, two people who handled correspondence for the administration told Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

Almost 90 per cent of the investigators in the Hawaii Attorney General’s office are retired police officers working under special 89-day contracts that allow them to collect full police pensions plus $45,000 state paychecks. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will forward the name of his interim appointee to the Public Utilities Commission to the state Senate for confirmation, ending talk that the nomination might be reconsidered. Star-Advertiser.

A state house committee tabled a bill to mandate extra paid leave for workers who are sick, or for victims of domestic or sexual abuse after a hearing on Thursday. KITV4.

A military jury on Thursday found a Marine sergeant not guilty after authorities charged him with hazing a lance corporal who later committed suicide in Afghanistan. Associated Press.

Hawaii is getting $71 million as part of a foreclosure abuse settlement. KITV4.

Gasoline prices in Hawaii shot up this week to a statewide average of $4.19 for a gallon of regular unleaded, 7 cents higher than a week ago and still the highest in the nation, according to AAA Hawaii’s Weekend Gas Watch. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for Feb. 10. Associated Press.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle

The Honolulu Ethics Commission has advised Mayor Peter Carlisle to reimburse the city $3,300 to cover the cost of his wife's trip to China in June, when she accompanied him as part of a Honolulu delegation traveling to strengthen cultural and economic ties. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission says Mayor Peter Carlisle should pay $3,300 to cover his wife’s travel expenses for a trip the Carlisles took last year to China. Hawaii Reporter.

"Technical glitches" are slowing the state's $2.4 million beach nourishment project in Waikiki, but the state still expects the job to be done on time and at no additional cost. Hawaii News Now.

Controversies over the recently shut-down Hawaii Medical Center hospitals will continue Friday with a hearing on a bill to issue an $80 million special purpose revenue bond to St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii to refurbish the two hospitals and get them ready for potential new owners. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu Firefighters to quit driving ambulances. KHON2.

Hosting APEC,the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in November cost the city and state less than half of what was budgeted for the high-profile international event; but both governments still are waiting on approval of millions of dollars in federal reimbursements. Star-Advertiser.

An appeal of a zoning variance allowing Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts to build what would be the first new Waikiki oceanfront hotel in more than 30 years is slated to be heard next month, after an attempt failed Thursday to disqualify a group of opponents from the process. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Another member of the county Redistricting Commission is running for the County Council district he helped draw. West Hawaii Today.

Massive reforestation, home sites for Native Hawaiians and commercial development comprise the state's new long-range management plan for 56,200 acres located along Mauna Kea's windward slope. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County should have a small fleet of marked police cars, but it's not cost-effective to keep more than the limited number needed to transport prisoners or drive on unimproved roads. West Hawaii Today.

A House committee is set to take up a bill today that could assume control of leases in Hilo's Banyan Drive area from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

The state Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday approved Hawaii Electric Light Co.'s request to implement a decoupling mechanism. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County adults are twice as likely to report having been abused as children than adults statewide. West Hawaii Today.

John Colson, the principal of Waimea Middle School on Hawaii Island, abruptly left that position Feb. 7. Hawaii Independent.

Maui

The Maui Police Department is proposing to sign an agreement to provide protection for the Maui Space Surveillance Center on Haleakala. Maui News.

Maui island's overall occupancy rate of 70.1 percent in 2011 trailed Oahu's rate of 80.9 percent, according to Hospitality Advisors' year-end report, but Maui hotels also made more money off their rooms than anywhere in the state. Maui News.

Gov. Abercrombie Impressed with reWailuku Site Visit. Maui Now.

Kauai

A comprehensive statewide housing study presented to Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday reveals burdensome real estate market for island residents, with a third of them at risk of becoming homeless. Garden Island.

Repairing parks, improving roads and safer neighborhoods were the primary concerns that Kilauea residents presented to the mayor Tuesday night. Garden Island.