Monday, May 6, 2013

Schatz-Hanabusa contest tight, smokers to be ejected from public housing, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands scrutinized, state to keep chunk of transit tax, Inouye's legacy continues, Abercrombie stumps on islands, preschool plan falters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii U.S. Senate campaign
Brian Schatz, Colleen Hanabusa vie for U.S. Senate seat
Though myriad factors will come into play in Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s campaign against Sen. Brian Schatz, from Hawaii’s demographics to fundraising, much of the campaign will hinge on what happens in the halls of Congress over the next several months. Civil Beat.

Governor's legislative defeat puts tots in educational bind. The state's intent was to phase out junior kindergarten — launched in 2006 for late-born 4-year-olds — while rolling out a plan for publicly funded universal preschool. Hawaii is one of 11 states without state-funded preschool. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of tenants are leasing more than 38,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for as little as pennies per acre monthly, with the deals administered through a revocable-permit program plagued by lax oversight and selective enforcement, a Star-Advertiser investigation has found.

For several years, Robin Danner has been a persistent critic of top administrators at the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Star-Advertiser.

Although the state Legislature is a part-time institution, most lawmakers will say their work does not end when the gavel comes down on closing day. Star-Advertiser.

The Legislature this week approved a record-setting $24 billion biennium budget that includes funding for operations and capital improvement projects for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Hawaii Reporter.

Tenants caught smoking three times or more in apartments or common areas at any of the state's 85 public housing properties could be evicted under a tough new smoking ban effective this month. Star-Advertiser.

Reason TV sat down with Ken Schoolland, professor of economics at Hawaii Pacific University  to talk about the Jones Act, federal legislation that restricts foreign-flagged ships from engaging in commerce in domestic shipping lanes. Hawaii Reporter.
 
Oahu

A measure that would have reduced how much money the state pockets in exchange for collecting the tax used to fund Hono­lulu's rail project died in this year's legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

According to the disclosure forms filed with Congress, in 2010 lobbyists — many of them defense firms seeking defense contracts — reported making $449,000 "honoree donations" to the Pacific Aviation Museum, all in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. Civil Beat.

There are mystery men — or women — inside Honolulu Hale. And by not telling us who they are Mayor Kirk Caldwell is violating a state law that requires disclosure of the names of government employees.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii can expect to see its very first Olive Garden restaurant on Oahu at the 1.4-million square-foot, $500 million Ka Makana Alii mixed-use regional shopping center in Kapolei, according to the head of DeBartolo Development. Pacific Business News.

It's the final chapter for east O'ahu's biggest bookstore -- the Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Kahala Mall will soon be closing. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Hawaii County is emerging from five years of economic doldrums that saw construction projects plummet, with contractors, consultants and labor unions now looking forward to a slower, more sustainable rise in development. West Hawaii Today.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie was in Hilo Sunday on part of a three-day Neighbor Island tour to announce he’s running for reelection in 2014. Tribune-Herald.

Funding for the Kona Judiciary Complex and the Hawaii Community College at Palamanui top two West Hawaii legislators’ lists of capital improvement project successes this session. West Hawaii Today.

Festival celebrates Ka'u coffee's growing stature. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said Friday that the difference between his $574 million budget proposal and County Council Budget Committee Chairman Mike White's $551 million basically status-quo plan is a long-term versus a short-term view of the needs of Maui County. Maui News.

The Legislature passed a bill directing state officials to pursue buying a scenic stretch of coastal land from Maui Land & Pineapple Co. to protect the area from possible development and shore up company pension obligations. But the bill was passed without a budget appropriation, making acquisition questionable. Star-Advertiser.

Eddie Would Go documentary set to open Maui’s film festival. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai Visitors Bureau is presenting an event at a San Diego mall next weekend to promote tourism to the Garden Island just a few weeks ahead of Alaska Airlines’ launch of its nonstop service between San Diego and Lihue. Pacific Business News.

Reports that airlines are scaling back flights to Hawai‘i this summer have alarmed some who fear it will hurt tourism, but others say it’s cyclical and does not present a serious concern. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i Therapy & Wellness and In Home Services opened a new site Wednesday during a Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting ceremony. Garden Island.

Molokai

Stacy Helm Crivello joined Maui County Council as the Molokai representative in January. A few months into her new role, Crivello answered questions from the Dispatch about serving as a county councilmember. Molokai Dispatch.