Thursday, July 3, 2014

Department of Interior meetings highlight Native Hawaiian gripes, Schatz, Hanabusa continue debates, Abercrombie signs bills easing youth punishments, state departments face budget cuts, environmental activist says cars fire-bombed, few women on Honolulu Police force, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Rep. Faye Hanonhano sings at DOI meeting © 2014 All Hawaii News
In the heart of Keaukaha, one of the most Hawaiian communities on one of the most Hawaiian of the islands, speakers were polite but firm: They will create their own government, thank you very much. More than 130 people signed up to testify Wednesday evening to a panel of Department of the Interior, Office of the U.S. Attorney General and other Obama administration officials. Hundreds more crowded into the Keaukaha Elementary School gymnasium to listen. West Hawaii Today.

Native Hawaiians on Hawaii island got their first of three opportunities Wednesday night to yell at federal officials for even considering the idea of starting a process to create a new relationship with a future Native Hawaiian government. Department of the Interior officials moved their two weeks of hearings to Hawaii island Wednesday, but the angry sentiments they heard echoed previous sessions on Oahu, Lanai, Molokai and Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Video: Rep. Faye Hanohano testifies at the DOI Hearing in Keaukaha July 2, 2014, including a rousing heart-felt singing of Hawai`i Pono`i with the whole crowd! Nanci Munroe.

The U.S. Department of the Interior is holding meetings around Hawai’i, asking how the federal government should be involved in creating a Hawaiian nation.   Should the interior secretary propose establishing a government to government relationship with Hawaiians and help set it up? Or should the DOI leave it to the state, with possible federal requirements?  Some who have been studying the issue say, neither. Hawaii Public Radio.

Candidates running in a closely watched Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate checked their tone Wednesday night in a forum at Sangha Hall in Hilo. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said that he will not go negative in the campaign, but U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa came across as ready to fight. Associated Press.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa used a debate Wednesday evening to outline their leadership abilities, with Schatz describing the relationships he has built so far with Senate leaders and Hanabusa saying she has proved she can earn the trust and respect of her colleagues. Star-Advertiser.

Social Security Takes Center Stage at Second US Senate Debate. Sen. Schatz and Rep. Hanabusa also tangle over military training on the Big Island. Civil Beat.

U.S. Senate candidates Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa faced off Wednesday in their only Big Island showdown. Held before a capacity crowd at Sangha Hall in Hilo, the 90-minute debate exposed few major policy differences between the top Democratic candidates. Tribune-Herald.

US Sen. Brian Schatz and US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa squared off tonight in Hilo as they looked to garner support for their bids in the Democratic primary to fill the remaining term of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye. Big Island Now.

The Abercrombie administration is restricting discretionary spending by state departments by 10 percent, or about $14 million, as a precautionary step until the economy has shown measurable signs of improvement, the state budget director said. Star-Advertiser.

The public will likely have to wait longer than promised before gaining free and easy access to the inspection reports of more than 1,600 long-term care facilities in Hawaii. Despite an 18-month lead time and receiving all its requested funding, there are doubts that the state Health Department will be ready to start posting inspection reports online by Jan. 1 as required by law, according to government officials and lawmakers. Civil Beat.

Life sentences without parole for minors are now abolished in Hawaii. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill Wednesday recognizing that children convicted of first-degree murder should be treated differently than murderous adults. Associated Press.

A bill Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law Wednesday, Act 201, attempts to improve the juvenile system by reserving the 56 beds at Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility for serious juvenile offenders and diverting less serious offenders to group homes or other private institutions. Abercrombie also signed a law that bans sentencing children to life in prison without the possibility of parole in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a pair of bills Wednesday aimed at juvenile offenders. One, House Bill 2490, will focus space at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility on Oahu for the state’s most serious young offenders while strengthening probation practices to better manage those who committed lower-level offenses. The other, House Bill 2116, eliminates the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders. Tribune-Herald.

Tanning salons are no longer for minors in Hawaii, according to a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The act, which began as House Bill 611, makes it illegal for a tanning salon to allow a person younger than 18 to use any tanning equipment. Star-Advertiser.

Election watchdogs are concerned Hawaii's new law, which allows same day voter registration by the year 2018, will heighten the chances of voter fraud here. Hawaii Reporter.

Inspectors with the Hawaii Department of Health this month will begin assigning color-coded placards to restaurants across the state intended to inform diners of any food safety violations.Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A man known for his environmental investigations in Hawaii says his cars were fire bombed overnight, and the victim says he believes he knows who committed the crime. Hawaii News Now.

Is aerial advertising in Hawaii legal or against the law? According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Aerial Banners North is allowed to fly despite a city ordinance against aerial advertising. The FAA said Wednesday that the company was granted a certificate of waiver that trumps any law on the state or county level. KHON2.

Less than 24 hours after Honolulu police swept the sidewalk of homeless camps across from the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kaakako, the same stretch was filled with 20 tents again Wednesday, as some UH employees said the homeless make them uneasy after hours. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Department Pushes to Increase Number of Female Officers On the Force. One in 10 cops in Honolulu are women. The department aims to boost their numbers to nearly one in eight — for good reasons, deputy chief says. Civil Beat.

More than half of the Honolulu Police Department's 2,000 officers have begun turning in their Smith & Wessons for Glock 17 semi-automatic handguns. Star-Advertiser.

Ala Moana Center's massive redevelopment project that eliminated 2,000 parking stalls is putting a damper on this year's Fourth of July celebration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County voters will get an opportunity in the Nov. 4 General Election to decide whether the county clerk should serve a four-year term, even though council members are elected for just two years. The ballot amendment passed 7-1 Wednesday by County Council is a compromise from the original bill that would have had the clerk serve a six-year term and be removed only for cause. West Hawaii Today.

If the state’s Commission for Water Resource Management decides to designate the Keauhou aquifer a water management area, well owners and developers are looking at a potentially lengthy and expensive process to determine who has the right to use water in the area. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii cable customers stand to benefit from a planned merger of Oceanic Time Warner and Comcast Corp., according to a joint filing by the companies. Tribune-Herald.

Maui
Neldon Mamuad may have lost his court appeal to remain on the ballot - yet his name still will be on the ballot. Maui News.

With a list of conditions, the Maui County Council's Land Use Committee on Wednesday recommended approval of community plan amendments and zoning changes to allow for the development of A&B Properties' proposed 600-unit housing project in north Kihei. Maui News.

Work continued on the Kahului Airport access road last week. Construction on the Puunene Avenue to Hana Highway side of the project is nearing 50 percent completion, according to Derek Inoshita of the state Department of Transportation. Maui News.

The events stadium being built at Lahainaluna High School in West Maui will be named in honor of Sue D. Cooley, its primary benefactor and part-time Maui resident, the state Department of Education announced today. Maui Now.

Kauai

The state Department of Health is urging people to stay out of Wailua River and Bay following a landslide near Mount Waialeale earlier this week. Garden Island.

This week’s public meetings on Kauai to discuss whether the federal government should pursue federal recognition of Native Hawaiians were dominated by emotional and often angry testimony from dozens of community members. Garden Island.

When it came time for the public to comment on a report on how to address the island’s feral cat population, Kauai County Councilman Mel Rapozo said there certainly was no dearth of it. Garden Island.

Molokai

Across Hawaii, tensions are rising as the federal Department of Interior (DOI) proposes establishing a Native Hawaiian government. Last Saturday, Molokai residents joined in the widespread opposition. The slick floor of Kaunakakai Elementary School cafeteria was strewn with symbolic red ribbons, also pinned to the shirts and blouses of dozens of community members to show their disapproval. Molokai Dispatch.