Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gender gap at Honolulu Hale, groups fight public record restrictions, Honolulu council bans plastic bags, Kauai leads state in income growth, Kahuku now top landfill site, securities chief resigns amid probe, monk seal killings spark new reward, Hawaii Island pool drains behind the times, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Hale (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Men and women work different jobs at Honolulu Hale, and the men's jobs pay more. Civil Beat.

House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro and Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige indicated conferrees have come to agreement on the operating side of the budget — but are still working toward a deal on the capital improvements portion of the budget. Civil Beat.

A range of organizations – from the Sierra Club to the Hawaii Independent – are petitioning legislators to protect government transparency. More than a dozen community, media and open-government organizations are waging a desperate fight today to save Hawaii’s Freedom of Information Law from its most serious erosion in its 24-year history. Hawaii Independent.

Lawmakers are poised to include $25 million for student transportation in the supplemental budget bill for next fiscal year, $17 million shy of what the Department of Education said it needed to preserve school bus services statewide. Star-Advertiser.

The state Legislature will be voting on Hawaiian language mandates in the coming week. KHON2.

Duane "Dog" Chapman and Beth Chapman seek to derail the Abercrombie administration's "Justice Reinvestment" initiative, a data-driven approach to reforming Hawaii's criminal justice system, which would include freeing up prison space. Civil Beat.

As contract negotiations continue between the state and its public school teachers, a newly adopted teacher evaluations policy remains a sticking point. Tribune-Herald.

State lawmakers reached agreement today on a bill requiring motorists to "move over" when approaching a traffic or crime scene where emergency responders are working. Star-Advertiser.

Peter Hsieh has resigned as chief attorney in the state Securities Enforcement Branch after the state began an investigation of his past professional and financial problems. Hawaii Reporter.

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have cautioned Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that an agreement between the U.S. and Japan over transferring more than 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Hawaii and other locations should not be considered final without congressional approval. Pacific Business News.

The Oahu group that’s fighting the new legislative maps has asked a federal judge to halt the upcoming election until new districts can be drawn. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday passed a bill that would impose a fee on plastic bags retailers and restaurants provide to customers before banning them altogether effective July 1, 2015. Pacific Business News.

Oahu consumers will have until summer 2015 to get used to the idea of not getting a plastic bag when they shop at a grocery store or other retailer. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu could soon become the fourth and final county in Hawaii to implement a ban on single-use plastic checkout bags. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council passed a bill today to ban single-use shopping bags on O’ahu in 3 years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu is the only county in the state not to regulate plastic shopping bags, but now the city council has approved the plan to ban plastic shopping bags and some paper bags as well. Hawaii News Now.

A much-debated ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags was passed Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council, but if signed into law by Mayor Peter Carlisle, the ban would not take effect until July 1, 2015. KITV4.

A correction to a consultant's "data error" has upended the city's recently announced list for potential landfill sites, catapulting two upland Kahuku locations to the top spots while knocking the previous No. 1, Ameron Quarry in Kailua, halfway down the ranking. Star-Advertiser.

A military site in Kahuku has replaced a Kailua quarry as Honolulu's top choice for a new landfill. But that doesn't mean Kailua should start celebrating. Civil Beat.

People in Kailua are breathing a collective sigh of relief while people from Kaneohe to Haleiwa shudder at the latest news regarding a new landfill. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a plan to make an extra $450 million available for Honolulu's rail line in case the project runs out of money because of some unexpected mishap or disaster during construction. Star-Advertiser.

North Shore residents were given a big Wednesday announcement they were not expecting, that Kahuku and Pupukea are now top of the list for the City's next potential landfill sites. KHON2.

Honolulu's City Council split a vote, four to four, in a resolution that would have urged the State Legislature and the Food and Drug Administration to mandate labels of genetically modified food. KITV4.

State health officials inspected a two mile area along Kea'ahala stream today, from Kahukipa down to Kaneohe Bay. KITV4.

Hawaii

Concerns about an Elections Division in disarray have prompted Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi to ask the state Office of Elections to intercede. Among the problems, Onishi said Wednesday, are clerks not qualified to accept state filings, voter lists for candidate campaigns delayed until June and longtime volunteers bowing out because of controversies over Elections Office firings. West Hawaii Today.

The county Department of Parks and Recreation is finally complying with a federal law mandating the replacement of swimming pool drain covers by December 2008. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council could soon be discussing new legislation aimed at protecting Big Island residents from geothermal power plant leaks and blowouts. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui Planning Commission approved a county special use permit Tuesday for Verizon Wireless to install a 35-foot-high pole and cellular antenna - disguised as a palm tree - on agricultural land mauka of the Waiehu Golf Course. Maui News.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case said he's not afraid to tell people things he feels they need to hear, even if he and his campaign for U.S. Senate draw fire for it. Maui News.

A special native Hawaiian initiative is seeking the help of volunteers around the world to typescript thousands of pages of Hawaiian-language newspapers into a searchable database. Maui Now.

Kauai

The head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources described the latest monk seal death as a "despicable act" as the reward for information grew to $40,000. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaiian monk seal was found killed on Kauai over the weekend, officials said Wednesday, bringing to four the number of suspicious deaths for the critically endangered species in six months.Associated Press.

Foul play is again suspected in the second death of a Hawaiian monk seal found on Kaua‘i this year, with the latest victim discovered Sunday, authorities said Wednesday. Garden Island.

The personal income of Kauai residents increased 3.7 percent in 2010 from 2009 on a per capita basis, the fastest growth rate of any county in the state, the federal government reported Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Owners of transient vacation rental properties, also known as TVRs, will now have to pay commercial rates for county trash collection services, the county Public Works Department reported Wednesday. Garden Island.