What they're saying about Hawaii

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie fights low job approval, tax collections up, no casino for Waikiki, still legal to take seashells by the seashore, union grumbles, OIP looks into Hawaii County Council, one inspector for all of Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Neil Abercrombie courtesy photo

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's job approval rating is 39 percent, down from the last Hawaii Poll in May, when it was 50 percent, but up from a Public Policy Polling survey in October, when it was 30 percent, at the time the lowest of any governor in the nation. Star-Advertiser.

State tax collections are up 17.5 percent over last fiscal year, the state Department of Taxation reported on Monday, but the increase is only 8.9 percent when the effect of delaying some income tax refunds last year is accounted for. Star-Advertiser.

Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, says members are growing increasingly frustrated over the lack of progress on a ‘most favored nation’ clause contained in the union’s two year contract that began in July of last year. KHON2.

The state House voted on Monday to pass a bill that would spare businesses from an increase in the unemployment insurance tax. Star-Advertiser.

Two Senate committees Monday advanced the Abercrombie administration's proposed ceded lands settlement with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs without making any changes. Star-Advertiser.

John Radcliffe is a longtime and well-known lobbyist who formerly headed the Hawaii State Teachers Association. His clients include dozens of local and mainland interests. Civil Beat.

Finding out how the public uses Hawaii's open records law isn't easy. And it's not cheap either. Civil Beat.

The state's largest public pension fund bounced back last quarter but ended the calendar year with a 1.3 percent investment loss that dragged down the asset value in its portfolio by nearly a half-billion dollars. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Telcom  stock gained almost 4 percent Monday as Hawaii stocks followed the broader markets in closing higher and erasing losses from Friday. Pacific Business News.

The bill to protect against cyberbullying was heard Monday by the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology. KHON2.

A House committee killed a bill Monday apparently introduced to deter the taking of one of Hawai‘i’s most precious resources, beach sand, could potentially outlaw even shell collecting. Garden Island.

The latest Hawaii Poll shows majority support for a state lottery and off-shore gambling, but support for gambling quickly diminishes once the subject turns to an on-shore casino. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Airlines announced on Monday it is the first airline in the world to earn aviation-based carbon credits. KITV4.

State roundup for Feb. 14. Associated Press.

Oahu

The department charged with assuring accurate prices in Hawaii's grocery stores, gas stations and taxi cabs is woefully understaffed, with just one inspector on Oahu to handle thousands of commercial outlets. Hawaii News Now.

A proposed stand-alone casino in Waikiki has stalled in a state House Committee. Associated Press.

The House Tourism Committee took up the issue of legalized gambling in Hawaii as a potential source of tax revenue. Hawaii Public Radio.

President Barack Obama has requested $250 million in federal funds for the Honolulu rail transit project in the 2013 fiscal year budget. Pacific Business News.

What is the impact of the proposed Honolulu rail project on future traffic? Civil Beat.

Former state harbors official Wesley H. Choi has been charged with stealing state funds worth more than $20,000. Hawaii Reporter.

The Honolulu City Council is set to debate Bill 50, which approves the Waianae Sustainable Communities Plan, on Wednesday. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii

The state Office of Information Practices is investigating whether the Hawaii County Council violated the Sunshine Law when it approved a new building code without providing advance copies of the changes to the public. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Island Healthcare Alliance is seeking $250,000 from the Legislature for a rural, family practice medical residency program aimed at attracting young doctors to the island and keeping them here. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island coffee farmers are struggling this legislative to protect the Kona brand from what they view as unscrupulous marketing techniques of Kona blenders. Civil Beat.

Maui

A 28-unit, four-story affordable rental complex planned for Wailuku's Sand Hills area has cleared its environmental review process and should be ready to begin construction this spring, said developer David Billings, president and managing member of DBR Development LLC. Maui News.

The southern end of the Wahikuli State Wayside Park parking lot is scheduled to be closed through Friday for boat salvage operations, according to the county. Maui News.

The Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana will testify today in strong opposition to Senate Bill 3056, proposing the transfer of management of the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve from the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kaua‘i Habitat for Humanity welcomed more than a dozen volunteers from the Mainland and the Netherlands who came to the island to help build a house in Anahola as part of the Global Village project. Garden Island.