What they're saying about Hawaii

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Soda tax dies, legislator apologizes for racist remarks, deal near on deadly 2006 Kauai dam breach, Hawaii County budget seeks to end furloughs, geothermal RFP released, police mum on disciplinary records, Hawaii is the best place to work, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii workers have the best work environments in the United States, according to a new Gallup poll that also ranked the state No. 1 for having the highest overall well-being in the nation. Pacific Business News.

State senators have chosen not to advance a soda fee of 1 cent per ounce that would have brought in about $37 million a year to counter obesity. The Abercrombie administration had hoped that the soda fee, as with higher taxes on tobacco, would discourage consumption. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Faye Hanohano apologized Thursday and accepted full responsibility for racial and ethnic remarks she made earlier this week after being disappointed with artwork installed in her state Capitol office. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Rep. Faye Hanohano has apologized on the House floor for offending people by using racial slurs to express disapproval of art in her office. Associated Press.

State representative Faye Hanohano has made a name for herself advocating on behalf of Native Hawaiians, but it's what she admits to saying about other ethnicities that has raised some eyebrows. Hawaii News Now.

POLL: Was Rep. Hanohano's apology for racial slurs enough? KITV4.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that could move the balance of power in the state Legislature even more toward Oahu. Tribune-Herald.

A House committee has revived a proposal to strip the University of Hawaii of procurement oversight of its construction projects as a prominent engineer has expanded on allegations that a top UH executive wasted potentially tens of millions of taxpayer dollars through blatant mismanagement. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Senate Committee on Ways and Means has approved a measure aimed at increasing the number of candidates who receive public funding for Big Island elections. Associated Press.

A bill that would force the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to issue timely decisions on cases was passed by the House Finance Committee on Wednesday, much to the satisfaction of the teachers union. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's visitor industry recorded gains in both visitor arrivals and spending in January, but the pace of growth slowed from last year's record-breaking performance, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

How widespread protests and a dissident legislative faction combined to topple the PLDC – for now. Hawaii Independent.

Carmille Lim, the newly appointed executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, has jumped into the deep end of democracy, starting at her new post just about when the Legislature convened. Star-Advertiser.

Linguists say they have determined that a unique sign language, possibly dating back to the 1800s or before, is being used in Hawaii. Associated Press.

In the Name of the Law: 5-part series on police misconduct. Civil Beat.

In-depth public service reporting on police agencies isn't possible in Hawaii, where misconduct records are exempt from public disclosure under a state law pushed through by Hawaii's own politically powerful police union. It's an exemption afforded only to the police; no other public employee has that protection. Civil Beat.

Eighteen years ago former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano let bad cops off the hook when he allowed county police officers who got in trouble to remain anonymous. Civil Beat.

State roundup for March 1. Associated Press.

Oahu

Honolulu Liquor Commission Administrator Greg I. Nishioka has resigned from practicing law and agreed to repay misappropriated money to clients, according to the state Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission administrator is on the hot seat after misappropriating client money in his prior career as a lawyer, voluntarily surrendering his law license, and not disclosing any of it to the liquor board. KHON2.

Tourism officials discuss future management of Hawaii Convention Center. Pacific Business News.

The operator of the city's Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill has spent $1.5 million to design and construct a gas collection and control system to rectify alleged violations of the U.S. Clean Air Act that were resolved by a federal consent decree. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council members are considering a bill to encourage compliance by dead-beat homeowners who fail to clean up their yards. Hawaii Public Radio.

An island-style drive-in restaurant known for its unusual seafood burgers and 24-hour service has closed after 47 years of business. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu Girl Scouts from public and private schools across the island are part of the first high-schoolers in the state to send a Microlab — an automated, self-contained science lab in a 4 1⁄2-by-2-by-2-inch module — to the International Space Station. Star-Advertiser.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the opening of Hono­uli­uli, the largest of the 13 internment sites in Hawaii during the war. The Nishi­muras are one of the families featured in the Japa­nese Cultural Center of Hawaii documentary "The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawaii." Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Anticipating a slight rise in property values this year, Mayor Billy Kenoi on Thursday proposed a $370.8 million operating budget that holds the line on property taxes and eliminates the monthly unpaid furlough day for county employees. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. announced Thursday it is ready to receive offers for expanding geothermal power on the Big Island by up to 50 megawatts. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County residents could have to pay double the current price for a new water meter come July 1 under a proposal by the Department of Water Supply. Maui News.

The Kahana Sunset's draft environmental assessment for a replacement seawall and drainage improvements underwent a review by the Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday. Maui News.

Four projects on Maui were named as recipients for funds in the first round of county grants for small town planning. Maui Now.

The Allied Health Center at the University of Hawaii Maui College was one of four University of Hawaii programs or facilities renamed in honor of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Maui News.

Kauai

The state attorney general and James Pflueger’s attorneys are finalizing a plea deal that would allow the 86-year-old automobile dealer to have his company take the brunt of charges filed against him over the breach of his Ka Loko Dam. Hawaii Reporter.

The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Lihu‘e Business Association, hosted the first of three panel discussions with candidates for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors Wednesday night at Kaua‘i Community College. Garden Island.

The head of the Planning Department took a lashing from the Kaua‘i County Council Wednesday for using funds earmarked for enforcement of transient vacation rentals in a different manner than approved by the council in 2012 and refusing to reveal additional details publicly. Garden Island.

The Garden Island ran its press for the last time Wednesday night, making Kauai the only county in Hawaii without a daily newspaper printed on island. Civil Beat.

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