Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Department of Interior gets an earful on Native Hawaiian recognition, medical marijuana dispensaries eyed, Abercrombie plans 10 vetoes, Maui council overrides budget vetoes, Kauai to keep referendum petition numbers low, Kona church endangered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hilo protest file photo © 2014 All Hawaii News
Dozens of Native Hawaiian speakers expressed anger and mistrust with the federal government Monday during the first of a series of meetings that could lead to the group being recognized similarly to an American Indian tribe. Interior Department officials hosted the public hearing, prompted by a push to include the ethnic group among the more than 560 tribes that hold such status, with federal considerations on issues from land management to social services. Associated Press.

The vast majority of people who testified before a federal panel Monday soundly rejected any attempt by the Obama administration to pursue federal recognition of a future Native Hawaiian governing body. In often passionate, sometimes heated testimony, dozens of speakers said they opposed any effort by the Department of the Interior to start a rule-making proc­ess that could set the framework for re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians. Star-Advertiser.

To help the U.S. Department of the Interior understand how some Native Hawaiians view federal recognition, Demont R. D. Conner offered this analogy: Your car is stolen. The person who stole the car later apologizes and offers you a bicycle. The only proper response to such an offer, said Connor, is to insist that the stolen property be returned to its rightful owner. Civil Beat.

Over 200 people packed the Hawaii State Capitol in the first of a series of meetings that could lead to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. Officials from the federal government heard three and a half hours of testimony. Hawaii Public Radio.

A fiery meeting took place at the State Capitol Monday morning as the U.S. Dept. of Interior listened to public comment on establishing a Native Hawaiian government. Former Sen. Daniel Akaka sat in the front row as 143 people testified Monday for and against the idea. KHON2.

Hundreds of people showed up at the State Capitol on Monday for an intense hearing filled with emotional testimony about possible federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. Hawaii News Now.

Federal panel hears resounding “no” at Honolulu hearing. Hawaii Independent.

What would a Native Hawaiian government look like? No one knows. But as of Monday morning, federal officials are gathering public input on whether the United States should establish a government-to-government relationship with Hawaii’s indigenous community, starting with a hearing at the State Capitol. Huffington Post.

Years after coming close to establishing a pilot program, state officials are meeting with policy experts, patients, caregivers, lawmakers and others with the aim of crafting a bill that would allow medical marijuana distribution centers to operate legally in Hawaii. The Medical Marijuana Dispensary System Task Force, authorized by a joint resolution of the Legislature, convenes Tuesday to develop recommendations for establishing a statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana. Star-Advertiser.

The financial disclosure forms filed annually by members of the University of Hawaii's governing board and 14 other state boards and commissions will likely remain confidential now that Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signaled he might veto legislation aimed at making the forms public documents. Senate Bill 2682 was among 10 bills that Abercrombie told lawmakers Monday he's considering rejecting. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday identified 10 measures he is thinking about vetoing. They include a financial disclosure bill that the governor told Civil Beat last month he was skeptical about — because he thinks it would hurt women and discourage government service. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said on Monday that he intends to veto 10 bills including Senate Bill 2682, which requires the financial disclosure statement of certain boards, commissioners and agencies to be made available to the public for inspection. The bill would have required 14 more boards and commissions to disclose their statements to the public, including the Board of Agriculture, the Hawaiian Homes Commission and the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County officials breathed a sigh of relief Monday afternoon, after learning Gov. Neil Abercrombie isn’t going to veto a bill giving them a larger share of the transient accommodations tax. But one Hawaii Island legislator is looking into why her bill is on the potential veto list, and Common Cause Hawaii is concerned that a bill requiring more transparency on boards and commissions is also on the list. West Hawaii Today.

Growing up in Kalihi-Palama and raised in a low-income household, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said Monday her "humble beginnings" enabled her to understand the value of money, hence why she will focus on changing government spending and the budget if elected to Hawaii's First Congressional District. Hawaii News Now.

Voters will not get the chance to consider nonpartisan candidates for governor
in the August primary. The state Office of Elections went to Circuit Court to disqualify the nonpartisan candidates because no nonpartisan candidates ran for lieutenant governor. A state Supreme Court ruling in 1996 held that the state Constitution requires that the lieutenant governor be elected from the same political party as the governor. Star-Advertiser.

Sixty five percent of Hawaii’s public school principals are predicting a drastic drop in math and reading test scores the coming school year, in one case by as much as 50 percent. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Honolulu Ethics Commission Complains of Affronts to Its Independence. Investigation into possible fraud that may have cost taxpayers $250,000 a year was derailed, letter says. Civil Beat.

Candidates for the Honolulu City Council District 4 seat will participate in a campaign forum at the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board on Tuesday, June 24, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hahaione Elementary School’s cafeteria. Hawaii Reporter.

Levels of the chemical vanadium found in some of Oahu's drinking water wells were higher than in federal guidelines but do not pose a health concern, according to both the Hono­lulu Board of Water Supply and the state Department of Health. Star-Advertiser.

The $250 million Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning project to cool Downtown Honolulu office buildings and condominiums towers with a revolutionary air-conditioning system, has completed its final environmental impact statement, a key development for the long-planned project. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii Island could be less than a year away from having some of the first hydrogen-powered buses in the state on its roadways. As part of a pilot project spearheaded by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, three shuttle buses will be converted to hydrogen power. Tribune-Herald.

An iconic Alii Drive spot has made the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s most endangered list this year. Mokuaikaua Church, built in 1837, is in need of earthquake damage repair and has dysfunctional and faulty electrical wiring, termite damage, and dry-rot damage to beams in the steeple and wooden window frames, trust officials said in a news release Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island dealerships are gearing up to address an auto recall caused by airbags that can malfunction in hot, humid climates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota will recall cars sold in humid areas such as Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tribune-Herald.

John Dill, vice-chairman of the county Environmental Management Commission, died as the result of an apparent heart attack on May 29 at Hilo Medical Center, county sources said today. Big Island Now.

Maui

The Maui County Council on Monday unanimously voted to override Mayor Alan Arakawa’s line-item vetoes for the fiscal year 2015 budget, Council Chair Gladys Baisa announced. Maui Now.

The Maui County Council Monday morning overrode Mayor Alan Arakawa's eight line-item vetoes in the county budget in a unanimous 9-0 vote. Maui News.

Governor Neil Abercrombie on Friday released $19.5 million in Capitol Improvement Project funds for the acquisition of Līpoa Point at Honolua in West Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

The number of petition signatures required to place public measures on general election ballots will remain the same: Twenty percent of registered voters for referendums and initiatives, 5 percent for charter amendments. On Monday, the County of Kauai Charter Review Commission discussed, and voted down, two proposed amendments that some say would have brought balance to bringing forward public measures. Garden Island.

Koloa Rum Company is in need of a new home. Increased product demand, officials say, have prompted them to reassess their retail operations in Lihue and production facilities in Kalaheo, where the company’s popular spirits are distilled and Kukui Brand jams are manufactured. Garden Island.

As far as Billy Williams is concerned, there is no doubt business on Kauai is picking up steam, the economy is turning and people are spending money. Garden Island.