Monday, June 17, 2013

Hawaii wants presidential library, tax collections up 10%, state auditor broke procurement laws, lobbyist laws weak, Oahu crash leads to proposed ban on passengers in pickup beds, Hawaii County council considers staff raises, NASA to test Mars craft on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

mirror
Obama reflection, courtesy file photo
The underlying question about how to woo the president is a real one for the Hawaii-based team that is pushing for the creation of the Barack Obama Presidential Center on seven acres of prime waterfront real estate in Kakaako. Obama’s political identity is so intensely linked to his adopted city of Chicago that it would be more than a little surprising if the Windy City doesn't get some lasting reminder of his presidency, like a presidential library, but the islands are angling for their piece, as well. Civil Beat.

Lobbyist disclosures in Hawaii may be a misnomer — the records don't disclose much. Hardly any individual lobbyists reported spending even $1 schmoozing Hawaii lawmakers early in the recent legislative session, making it all but impossible for state residents to tell from the filings how special interest groups are affecting state legislators. Associated Press.

The state Department of Taxation says Hawaii general excise tax revenue rose nearly 10 percent during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year. Associated Press.

The state agency tasked with making sure other agencies follow the law when it comes to spending taxpayer money also violated state procurement practices for years, the state's chief procurement officer wrote in a letter to legislative leaders earlier this year. Civil Beat.

A bill pending before Gov. Neil Abercrombie would remove charitable donations from on itemized deductions by higher-income taxpayers, which are scheduled to remain in place until January 2016. The exception for charitable donations would cost the state about $12 million a year, but Abercrombie, who is expected to sign the bill into law, has said the state is in a better financial position than it was two years ago. Star-Advertiser.

It might be a hard sell given that unions like the Hawaiian Government Employees Union will likely use its resources to push their members to support Sen. Brian Schatz. But in response to the HGEA’s endorsement of Schatz today, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is running for Schatz’s seat, appealed on the rank and file to back her anyway. Civil Beat.

A University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine research group working to prevent chronic disease by advocating healthy behaviors may be forced to shut down half of its social service programs this year when its grant funding expires. The group, known as the Health Behavior Change Research Workgroup, is seeking private funding to prevent the closure of half of its 10 community intervention programs, which address issues including childhood obesity, cancer, oral health and substance abuse. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii scientists analyzing a Martian meteorite have found a chemical necessary for the formation of genetic material. Star-Advertiser.

Friday night, a military jury found former Pacific Command officer Maj. Seivirak Inson guilty of espionage for passing classified intelligence assessments about Cambodia to people who were not entitled to receive them between 2009 and 2012. KITV4.

For the first time, a woman is taking over as commander of Navy Region Northwest. Associated Press.

State roundup for June 17. Associated Press.

Oahu

The question of whether there should be any restrictions on people riding in the back of a pickup truck is on the minds of many people including lawmakers. The fiery crash near Makua cave that involved 16 people piled in a pickup truck continues to raise more questions. Some lawmakers say it is time to ban people from riding in the back of pickup trucks all together. KHON2.

Honolulu City Councilman Ron Menor is proposing a new website where the homeless can post personalized donation requests for food, shelter or clothing. Civil Beat.

Saks Fifth Avenue plans to enter the Hawaii market as the anchor tenant for the planned redevelopment of the International Market Place in Waikiki, developer Taubman Centers Inc. and landowner Queen Emma Land Co. said Friday. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Council members will consider giving their staff a 4 percent raise Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

The County Council’s planned acceptance Tuesday of the Kohanaiki coastal park is a landmark event for Kohala Councilwoman Karen Eoff. West Hawaii Today.

A new, $1.2 million, two-story retail center and office building is going up at the intersection of East Kawili and Hinano streets in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Waikoloa Development Co. is seeking a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to rebuild the Kuualii fishpond rock wall, dredge sand from the pond and restore the beach at Anaehoomalu Bay in South Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Members of a local tea party group targeted by the IRS asked Congress Thursday to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether the federal agency used its powers unfairly to target conservative groups. Tea Party Maui was the subject of a 26-month IRS investigation following the group’s application for a 501-c-4 tax-exempt status. Hawaii Reporter.

Maui County wants to sell eight of its smaller six- to eight-passenger buses that have "outlived their useful lives," according to Department of Transportation Director Jo Anne Winer. Maui News.

Lowering customer bills, pushing toward a clean energy future, modernizing the existing power grid and creating fairness for all customers were the four priorities that Maui Electric Co. officials discussed at their Integrated Resource Planning public meeting Thursday night. Maui News.

Navy Cmdr. Eric Johnson was pleased with the reception that military personnel were receiving on Maui as they delivered free medical and dental care and exams to Maui residents at six locations throughout Maui County on Lana'i, Molokai and Hana from June 4 to 12. Maui Weekly.

For more than 17 years, members of Hui O Wa'a Kaulua have been building Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani, their 62-foot, double-hulled canoe, at Kamehameha Iki Park in Lahaina. Now the canoe is more than 90 percent complete, and the group is aiming to get it into the ocean in December. Maui News.

Kauai
Next summer, NASA plans to send a saucer-shaped Mars entry vehicle aloft by balloon from Kauai, boost it from 120,000 feet to as high as 180,000 feet by rocket, then, as it hurtles through the thin air at 2,600 mph, deploy a speed-reducing inflatable doughnut around the craft, followed by a big parachute, until it plops into the water for pickup. Star-Advertiser.

The Kauai County Housing Agency is moving forward with plans for the county’s first affordable senior housing project in Lihue after an environmental assessment found no significant adverse cultural or environmental impacts. Garden Island.

The latest development plans for Makahuena Point on the island’s southern tip will be reviewed at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Koloa Neighborhood Center. Garden Island.