Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Federal court denies reapportionment injunction, Hawaii Democrats work behind the scenes to kill party neutrality resolution, Arizona satisfied with Obama birth certificate, Abercrombie requires union labor on all state projects, Oahu tops in traffic jams, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

U.S. District Court Honolulu
Hawaii elections will proceed as scheduled this year as a federal panel of judges Tuesday refused to intervene and stop the state from moving forward with a reapportionment and redistricting plan approved in March. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's elections can move ahead as planned under political boundaries that exclude nonresident military personnel, a panel of federal judges ruled Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Three federal judges say a constitutional challenge to Hawaii’s redistricting plan isn’t strong enough to go forward and risk jeopardizing the state’s primary and general elections this year. Associated Press.

A three-judge panel, which included U.S. District Judges Michael Seabright and Leslie Kobayashi from Hawaii and U.S. Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown from San Diego, has refused to grant a motion for preliminary injunction that would have forced the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission to redraw its 2012 plan so it included 108,000 non permanent resident military and their dependents and non permanent resident students. Hawaii Reporter.

In a 55 page decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Honolulu has ruled against a group of plaintiffs who had sought to delay Hawaii's upcoming elections over a constitutional challenge. KITV4.

See the reapportionment decision here.

The state of Hawaii has verified President Barack Obama's birth records to Arizona's elections chief after a nearly three-month back and forth that Arizona officials said could have ended without the incumbent's name on its November ballot. Associated Press.

A resolution demanding party neutrality until after the primary elections will be debated at the Democratic Party of Hawaii convention this weekend is causing quite a stir among party members – even in the highest political circles. Hawaii Reporter.

Candidates running as Democrats in Hawaii this year must pay $500 a minute to address party delegates at the annual convention this week. Civil Beat.

A new poll shows Ed Case and Mazie Hirono neck-and-neck in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. KHON2.

The fight to represent the Democratic Party in the upcoming November elections for Hawai‘i’s second U.S. Senate seat is stuck on a technical tie, according to the latest poll results by a private company. Garden Island.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case said Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has not adequately outlined her public-policy positions and is avoiding debates in their Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Republican Rep. Barbara Marumoto, the second most senior member of the state House of Representatives behind Speaker Calvin Say, will not return to the chamber after her term expires this year. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued a directive to use project labor agreements for major state projects. KHON2.

Scientists at the University of Hawaii have created a new type of anti-cancer drug that's taken orally. Hawaii News Now.

An environmental group on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service to force a decision on whether it will put a population of rare dolphins living near Hawaii on the endangered species list. Associated Press.

Oahu

Honolulu had the worst traffic congestion among American cities in 2011, with drivers wasting an average of 58 hours stuck in gridlock, according to a study released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

City attorneys worry that a bill designed to ban commercial activity at two beach parks in Kailua might violate the separation of powers doctrine and be vulnerable to legal challenges. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell is calling for a "critical last look" at the downtown and Kaka­ako portions of the city rail proj­ect, including possible last-minute design revisions to answer residents' concerns about the elevated rail guideway. Star-Advertiser.

Former acting mayor and longtime rail proponent Kirk Caldwell called reporters to his Nimitz Highway headquarters Tuesday afternoon for what his campaign promised would be a "major statement" on the proposed 20-mile system. Civil Beat.

Eight years of continuous war in Iraq and Afghanistan are over for the 3rd Marine Regiment's 3,000 Marines at Kaneohe Bay, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Surveillance videos at a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant show a State Department special agent identifying himself as a law enforcement officer before he was attacked by the man he's charged with murdering, the special agent's lawyer said Tuesday in urging a state judge to make public the video and defense court documents. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu city officials have repeatedly fined Kahala's most famous real estate investor for violations at his Kahala Avenue properties. Civil Beat.

State officials on Tuesday granted the developer of a proposed 12,000 home master-planned community in Ewa extra time to file legal documents, pushing back what was supposed to be a major decision on the controversial development's fate. Civil Beat.

Hoku Corp. said Tuesday that it halted construction at its Idaho polysilicon plant last month and laid off 100 employees there as it explores “restructuring alternatives.” Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Drilling at Puna Geothermal Venture is almost done. Tribune-Herald.

Nearly 9,400 acres of pristine Paauilo ranch land is up for sale at an asking price of $16.8 million. Tribune-Herald.

Council Chairman Dominic Yagong is taking up the cause of local game hunters who are feeling increasingly pushed aside as wilderness is fenced off and game animals are shot from the sky. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s Mass Transit Agency estimates that its $1 bus fare enacted last July will raise about $500,000 this fiscal year, down slightly from original projections. Tribune-Herald.

Even if the trend of a quiet Central Pacific hurricane season continues in 2012, forecasters are again cautioning residents not to be complacent. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa is set to sign a bill establishing new regulations for short-term rentals. Maui News.

Community groups and a South Maui resident have filed appeals with state and county agencies to put the brakes on two megamall shopping complexes planned in Kihei, mauka of the Piilani Highway-Kaonoulu Street intersection. Maui News.

The state Land Use Commission voted 6-1 Monday to approve a reclassification of a little more than 545 acres in Central Maui to make way for A&B Properties' plans to develop the Wai'ale master-planned community. Maui News.

Maui County Council Member Mike White filed nomination papers Monday for re-election to his Makawao, Haiku and Paia residency seat. Maui News.

Kauai

After reviewing the results of water quality tests on Kalapaki Beach over the last four days, state Department of Health officials have approved a partial reopening of the beach. Garden Island.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. announced Tuesday the appointment of Frederick Kamuela Cobb-Adams, a former executive with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), as the county’s new housing director effective June 1. Garden Island.