Friday, November 15, 2013

Judges uphold gay marriage, open primaries, Hanabusa challenges Schatz to 12 debates, Kauai council mustering votes for GMO, pesticide bill veto override, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Senate race
Brian Schatz, Colleen Hanabusa
Gay couples in Hawaii are free to marry in December after a state circuit judge ruled Thursday that the state's new marriage equality law is legal. Judge Karl Sakamoto refused to issue a temporary restraining order sought by state Rep. Bob McDermott and a group of Christians who wanted to prevent the state from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples Dec. 2. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii judge on Thursday ruled the state’s brand new gay marriage law is legal, despite a challenge saying voters thought they barred same-sex marriage 15 years ago in the state constitution. Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto said the 1998 amendment didn’t force the Legislature to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Associated Press.

Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto today rejected a challenge by GOP Rep. Bob McDermott and others to halt same-sex marriage in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

A federal judge on Thursday upheld Hawaii’s open primary election, ruling a lawsuit challenging the system failed to prove it’s “facially unconstitutional.” The Democratic Party of Hawaii filed a lawsuit in June asserting that allowing every registered voter to participate in the party’s nomination process is tantamount to forced political association and is unconstitutional. Associated Press.

A federal judge Thursday upheld Hawaii's open primary election system, rejecting claims by the Democratic Party of Hawaii that allowing all voters to choose the party's candidates is a violation of the First Amendment right to free association. U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled that the Democratic Party failed to prove that the open primary places a "severe burden" on the free-association rights of political parties, since some parties might embrace all voters. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge today ruled that the way Hawaii conducts its primary elections is constitutional. The Democratic Party of Hawaii sued Scott Nago, Hawaii's chief election officer, in June, arguing that the state's open primary system infringed on the right of the party and its members to decide who is eligible to vote in the Democratic primary. Civil Beat.

Entering a new phase in Hawaii’s U.S. Senate race, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is challenging Sen. Brian Schatz to 12 candidate forums before the August 2014 special election. Civil Beat.

The Board of Regents' Candidate Advisory Council has submitted three candidates to Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill, on an interim basis, a vacated Honolulu seat. The candidates include: Peter S. Adler, a planner and mediator; attorney Jeffrey S. Portnoy; and Stanford B. C. Yuen, a former special assistant to the Navy Region Hawaii Commander (admiral), according to a news release issued today. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

It will be up to another year before construction starts on a long-planned and delayed regional shopping center in East Kapolei, but the state agency that owns the mall site remains committed to the project. Star-Advertiser.

A 10-year-old problem with flooding in Mapunapuna is costing Honolulu taxpayers millions of dollars. The city's failure to clear debris and other potential blocks from Maunalua Stream prompted the settlement but officials won't say whether the problems have been resolved. Civil Beat.

Just a year and a half after the state spent $10,000 cleaning trash and debris from an island in Keehi Lagoon, it's full of garbage again, with several homeless people living there. Hawaii News Now.

The state Department of Human Services is investigating the alleged theft of hundreds of thousands from a leeward Oahu homeless shelter. Associated Press.

People from across the world are drawn to the coastal town of Kailua. Its white sand beaches are among the nation’s best. Some recommend the Honolulu suburb for its laid-back vibe. And President Barack Obama vacations there with his family each Christmas. But now, the neighborhood board is asking a state tourism agency to stop encouraging visitors to stay overnight in their town. Associated Press.

One day after a new state law legalized same-sex marriage, Perfectly Planned Hawaii announced it has received certification as an LGBT-owned-and-operated business through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. It is the only wedding business in Hawaii to hold the certification. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii
First-floor Kamehameha Avenue storefronts running from Mamo Street to Waianuenue Avenue are those in the running to receive new paint jobs as a result of Hilo winning the Benjamin Moore Main Street Matters contest. Tribune-Herald.

Tiny historic Honokaa is poised to become the first totally Wi-Fi town on Hawaii Island, as the business community works with the county to install hardware enabling everyone there to tap into free Internet. West Hawaii Today.

Regency South Inc. is now aiming to complete a new 100-bed skilled-nursing facility in Hilo this summer. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui member of the state Board of Education resigned effective the end of October. Maui News.

A photographer who spends 250 days out of the year capturing the world's most beautiful places will never forget his time spent a top Haleakala, which means the "house of the rising sun." KHON2.

Maui was the only island to log a hotel occupancy gain, though only a half percentage point, for the first nine months in the Hospitality Advisors and Smith Travel Research report. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council delayed action on a controversial pesticide measure Thursday after failing to line up enough votes to override Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s veto. The Council voted to recess until 11 a.m. today. Star-Advertiser.

In yet another bizarre twist in the Bill 2491 saga, the Kauai County Council voted to recess Thursday’s meeting, postponing its vote on an override of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s recent veto of the bill until Saturday. Garden Island.

Drama hung in the air at the Kauai County Council as members prepared to vote Thursday on whether they would override Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto of pesticide and GMO disclosure Bill 2491. Civil Beat.

The Pesticides Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture has completed voluntary pesticide-use guidelines and established the “Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program” to provide more information and education on pesticide use on the island. The voluntary pesticide-use guideline will go into effect on Dec. 1. It will apply to the five agricultural companies mentioned in Kauai County Bill 2491 — Dow AgroSciences, Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF, and Kauai Coffee Company — and assures that adequate buffer zones are in place when restricted-use pesticides are applied. Garden Island.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is poised to build a second 12-megawatt solar power-generating facility and could begin construction next year when it signs a lease with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Associated Press.