What they're saying about Hawaii

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Case-Hirono debates not so great, groups rally for solar energy tax credits, plastic bag fee, $3.2M award in Maui cliff death despite alcohol, marijuana use, state financial securities enforcer demoted after probe into his past, Hawaii councilors wonder whether tax hike was necessary, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ed Case, Mazie Hirono

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono will appear with former U.S. Rep. Ed Case at five joint forums and debates before the Demo­cratic primary for U.S. Senate in August, but she agreed to only one televised forum and bypassed debates offered by the state's major news outlets. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono's decision not to accept any debates on major television networks has prompted her opponent to call the decision "an insult to Hawaii voters." Civil Beat.

After months of prodding from Congressman Ed Case (D-HI, 2002-2007), Congresswoman Mazie Hirono has finally agreed to debate him. Hawaii Reporter.

Mazie Hirono and Ed Case are at odds over the number of debates and joint appearances scheduled before the primary election in their race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. Hawaii News Now.

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono will participate in five debates with former Congressman Ed Case leading up to Hawaii's Primary Election, in her bid for the U.S. Senate. KHON2.

Seeking elected office means defending your positions against your rivals' — including within your own party. But when U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono refused any debates on network TV with her Democratic primary opponent Ed Case, she did a disservice to the people of Hawaii. (commentary) Civil Beat.

With Earth Day just days away, environmentalists and retail merchants made a last-ditch effort Thursday to convince state lawmakers that a bill that would impose a statewide 10-cent fee on disposable plastic and paper checkout bags deserves to be heard and voted on. Star-Advertiser.

With the Legislature set to adjourn in just two weeks, supporters of solar energy tax credits are ramping up their efforts to hang on to incentives they say are needed to ensure the industry's continued success.Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s renewable energy tax credits, which are credited with helping the state’s solar energy industry to reach new heights, are now backed by a report saying that they yield a clear, significant net fiscal benefit to the state. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii lawmakers are on the verge of lopping off some $22 million from the Department of Education's school bus budget, which officials say will force thousands of students to find new ways to get to class. Civil Beat.

House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro said the state Department of Education's repeated warnings about possible massive cuts of school bus service are "irresponsible fear-mongering." Star-Advertiser.

House and Senate conference committee members have just over a week to reach agreement on measures they want to see passed this legislative session. Associated Press.

Three Board of Education members have been confirmed by the Senate for terms through June 30, 2015. Star-Advertiser.

The state Senate has confirmed the appointment of four new members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, effective July 1, and renewed the appointment of two others, effective immediately. Tribune-Herald.

Peter Hsieh, the newly-hired head of enforcement in the state office that regulates financial securities, has been demoted following news stories in Hawaii Reporter about his serious personal financial problems, the state said today. Hawaii Reporter.

A federal grand jury yesterday indicted a Correctional Officer at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, on five counts of sexual abuse of a prison ward. Maui Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $34 million to upgrade state facilities. KHON2.

Oahu

The first mayoral debate of 2012 is scheduled for less than two weeks from now, when Kirk Caldwell, Peter Carlisle and Ben Cayetano all participate in what organizers are calling “pupus and politics” at the Plaza Club. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Senate appropriations committee is supporting a bill allocating $250 million for a rail line in Honolulu.  Associated Press.

A major rail contractor won approval for a $15.9 million change order Thursday to cover increasing prices for steel and other materials for the 20-mile Hono­lulu rail system. Star-Advertiser.

More than a dozen Traffic Division officers with the Honolulu Police Department left the state Capitol disappointed Thursday after House and Senate negotiators failed to reach a compromise on the so-called "Move Over" bill. KITV4.

City transportation officials want to make changes to 21 of Oahu's 100 city bus routes this summer, giving riders until May to have a say in the final plan. Star-Advertiser.

You could tell who was at the Kaimuki Community Park Thursday night by the dozens of bicycles that were parked and locked all over the park and surrounding areas. Hawaii News Now.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is calling an emergency meeting for authorization to enter private property where boulders rolled down a Honolulu mountainside and crashed into houses. KHON2.

Hawaii

Two West Hawaii council members are asking why Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration had urged the County Council to raise property taxes in 2010 to the tune of $23 million when the county ultimately ended that year with a $24 million surplus. West Hawaii Today.

Three County Elections Office employees who say they were wrongfully terminated and publicly humiliated by county of Hawaii officials have made their Settlement Offer with the county public. Hawaii Reporter.

The attorney representing three fired election workers stood outside council chambers Thursday, blasting the “gang of four” inside who denied his offer to settle their claims without a lawsuit. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s Fire Department will soon be getting at least five new trucks, free of charge. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A dangerous scenic Maui overlook remains open despite a $3.2 million court decision that found the state liable for the death of a 16-year-old in a car that plunged off the cliff, according to the teenager's mother. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Circuit Court Judge Joseph Cardoza ruled this week that the state was entirely at fault, writing: "The court finds and concludes that the condition of the accident site, and not the presence of alcohol and/or marijuana in Denis Callo's body, was the sole cause of the accident." Civil Beat.

A Maui judge found the state was liable for the deaths of two people in a car that plunged 150 feet from a scenic overlook in 2005 and must pay more than $3.2 million in damages. Associated Press.

Board members of the embattled Wailuku Main Street Association appealed to the Maui County Council on Wednesday to restore their $243,000 county grant, saying they had been "good stewards" of taxpayer dollars. Maui News.

The Walmart Foundation today donated a $115,000 refrigerated food truck to the Maui Food Bank in Wailuku as part of the Feeding America campaign. Maui Now.

Kauai

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. and the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative on Thursday jointly broke ground on what will become the largest solar energy facility on Kaua‘i, a 6-megawatt utility-scale solar photovoltaic facility at Port Allen. Garden Island.

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