Monday, July 14, 2014

RIMPAC war games continue, Maui tourism data questioned, Kauai officials want pay hikes, Interior Department reconsidering Native Hawaiian sovereignty rule, Abercrombie scraps debates, condo association rules tighten, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo by U.S. Nanvy
The Indian navy Shivalik-class stealth multi-role frigate INS Sahyadr, U.S. Navy courtesy photo
Rim of the Pacific maritime exercises in Hawaii are many things to many nations in an increasingly interconnected world. RIMPAC provides the ability to work in large ship formations at sea. For the United States, this year it's a chance to develop better military-to-military working relationships with China, which is participating for the first time. Star-Advertiser.

For both Norway and the U.S. Navy, the firing of a Norwegian Naval Strike Missile during Rim of the Pacific war games was a big deal. Star-Advertiser.

The Interior Department will not pursue a rule creating an administrative mechanism for recognizing a future Native Hawaiian government if the consensus from written and oral testimony is against that path, an agency spokeswoman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has backed out of three of the four AARP Hawaii debates with state Sen. David Ige before the Democratic primary. Star-Advertiser.

David Ige and Neil Abercrombie may be longtime Democratic elected officials, but they have clashed repeatedly in recent debates over leadership, policy and the direction of the state. A Civil Beat examination of the campaign finances and spending patterns of the two candidates also reveals dramatically different politicians. It’s entirely lopsided, with the governor raising and spending millions of dollars compared to the senator’s very modest donations and expenditures.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, bidding to win election to the job to which he ascended, raised $357,000 over the past six months, according to his campaign finance report. Star-Advertiser.

With less than a month to go before the Aug. 9 primary, state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, a veteran campaigner, and human rights activist Kathryn Xian, a political newcomer, are the U.S. House candidates who are stepping away from the pack on key issues. Star-Advertiser.

Here’s a look at the week’s most interesting and important developments in Hawaii’s election campaigns. Associated Press.

The Candidate Advisory Council for the University of Hawaii has begun the recruitment process for six seats on the Board of Regents after two more resignations. Four of the seats need to be filled immediately because the resignation of regents Saedene Ota of Maui County, Carl Carlson of Hawaii County, Tom Shigemoto of Kauai County and John Dean of Honolulu County. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii condominium owners got some help from the Legislature this year in monitoring how condo association boards manage their property and finances -- a sometimes delicate issue that can divide neighbors. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed three members to the seven-member Board of Land and Natural Resources. The governor said Friday the appointments will fill seats vacated by two members who resigned and another whose term expired. Associated Press.

Rise in human trafficking impacts Hawaii. Hawaii Reporter.

State roundup for July 14. Associated Press.

Oahu

If city Neighborhood Commission Executive Secretary Nicole Velasco had her way, all 437 seats on Oahu's 33 neighborhood boards would be filled. Star-Advertiser.

A staffing shortage forced the city's Emergency Management Services division to close ambulance units Saturday night and Sunday. The shutdowns occurred after two paramedics were injured in an accident at Ala Moana Center Saturday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Hawaii Island could do more to improve mass transit and bolster rideshare programs. That’s according to a new study prepared for the Kohala Center by the Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, which called for increased carpooling and clearer county bus schedules. West Hawaii Today.

A new study released this week points to something Hawaii County drivers know already: the roads are in bad need of repair. But there is an additional threat to the state’s transportation system on the horizon — the possibility of a 28 percent cut in federal reimbursements for road projects. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Is There a Conflict of Interest in Hawaii’s Startup World? A venture capital firm's first two investments, supported with public funds, are in companies owned by the firm's founders. Civil Beat.

The veracity of the data used by the Hawaii Tourism Authority to compile reports about Maui’s tourism industry has been the subject of a complaint, delaying reporting for several months. Maui Now.

A county Board of Ethics complaint has been filed against Maui County Council Member Don Guzman for allegedly conducting private business on county time by assisting former mayoral candidate Neldon Mamuad in his last-minute bid to file his papers to run for office last month. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa issued a gag order to all county employees, including civil service and appointed staff, barring them from communicating directly with members of the County Council and their staff. Maui Weekly.

Lahaina Harbor on Maui is going to be getting a new ferry pier. It’s designed to ease congestion, but the state Department of Land and Natural Resources revised its plans after hearing from the community. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Several County of Kauai department heads say they will seek pay raises for themselves and other higher-ranking employees. They say the raises will bring the county’s salary scale up to par with other counties and match the worth of their growing responsibilities. Garden Island.

A lot has changed, Daynette “Dee” Morikawa said, since she was elected to her first term in the state House of Representatives. Garden Island.

The new slate of Kauai Farm Bureau officers and board of directors represents more than 200 years of combined farming experience, said Jerry Ornellas, outgoing president. Garden Island.

Molokai
Molokai Has the Most to Lose, But Least Say in GMO Debate. A November ballot initiative could shut down its biggest employers, but the island's population is dwarfed by voters elsewhere in Maui County. Civil Beat.