Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homeless activities outlawed in Waikiki, medical marijuana dispensaries sought, Honolulu police secrecy explored, Maui and Kauai GMO fights mulled, Big Island merchants fear lava advance, pot minister freed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The Honolulu City Council approves bills targeting homeless. The "sit-lie" measure and "urination-defecation" ban await the mayor's pen. Bills designed to clean up Waikiki sidewalks were approved Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

A bill to prohibit sitting or lying on Waikiki sidewalks at all times was approved by the Honolulu City Council on a 7-2 vote Wednesday. Council members also voted in favor of two bills to prohibit urinating and defecating in public. One bill applying just to Waikiki passed unanimously, and a second bill to make the ban island-wide passed 8-1. Civil Beat.

In Hawaii's popular Waikiki neighborhood — a renowned destination for surfing and mai tais — people were lying down near the entrance to Macy's, human waste was on the sidewalk, and parents had to explain to their children why people were begging for money. Associated Press.

The number of U.S. gubernatorial elections that are too close to call has nearly doubled over the past few months, and they include Hawaii’s. That’s according to Governing Magazine. Civil Beat.

Honolulu residents will have a chance to voice their opinion on establishing a statewide system to dispense medical marijuana during a public hearing before the Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force. Hawaii Reporter.

Alan Oshima has been named president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Co. Oshima, 67, will take over Oct. 1 for Dick Rosenblum, 64, who has served as CEO since 2009. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Why Does Hawaii Government Fail So Often? As you listen to our political candidates, remember how little they accomplish. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Newly released campaign spending data show the Pacific Resource Partnership did not report more than $360,000 in expenditures during the 2012 election. Almost all of that money — about $260,000 — went to three consultants who were instrumental in taking down former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano, who was running for Honolulu mayor on an anti-rail platform. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is proposing what he calls a "game-changing" shift in the way city officials determine how many and what type of affordable housing units developers and landowners must provide. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Transportation has been fined $1.2 million and ordered to correct federal Clean Water Act stormwater violations at Honolulu and Kalaeloa harbors, it was announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Several community members criticized city plans to build a homeless "transition center" at Sand Island, accusing officials at a public meeting Wednesday of poor planning. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of people crowded into a small cafeteria at Puuhale Elementary School in Kalihi Wednesday evening to hear city officials discuss recently announced plans to relocate as many as 100 of the city’s most troubled homeless people to a vacant parcel of land on Sand Island.  Civil Beat.

A groundbreaking and blessing ceremony was held Wednesday for a historic building in Kakaako that will be transformed into a senior community resource center. Star-Advertiser.

The accidental shooting by an off-duty police officer inside a Target store brings up questions regarding what police are telling the public. KHON2.

A Kalihi police sergeant has been stripped of his gun and badge after restaurant surveillance video surfaced showing him apparently attacking his former girlfriend. Star-Advertiser.

How do police handle abuse cases when the suspect is one of their own? Police chief Louis Kealoha reiterated Wednesday that there is specific protocol for when an officer is a suspect in any crime. But is that protocol always followed and what are the consequences when it’s not? KHON2.

Hawaii

Medical marijuana patients told a legislative task force Wednesday evening in Hilo they want a safe, legal, economical way to procure their cannabis. About 60 attended the first public hearing of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary System Task Force chaired by state Rep. Della Au Belatti, an Oahu Democrat, at the Aupuni Center. Tribune-Herald.

Businesses in a small Hawaii town are facing a slow-motion disaster as lava from Kilauea volcano oozes toward roads connecting them to the rest of the Big Island. Associated Press.

Pahoa merchants were assured Wednesday that efforts will be made to maintain some sense of normalcy should the June 27 lava flow cover Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii island cannabis advocate Roger Christie, who pleaded guilty in September 2013 to federal charges of marijuana trafficking and failing to file tax returns, is being released to a halfway house. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

A group of Maui County residents and organizations are suing in an attempt to stop a county voter initiative to ban GMO farming from appearing on the November ballot. Civil Beat.

A lawsuit seeking to remove the proposed genetically engineered organism farming moratorium from the Nov. 4 ballot has been filed in 2nd Circuit Court. Maui News.

With the primary over, Maui County voters are getting a clearer picture of their choices in the Nov. 4 election, which is less than eight weeks away. If the trends set by the primary are any indication, more than half of the votes cast will come in absentee ballots or early walk-ins and Maui will finish dead last in voter turnout. Maui Weekly.

Pro-development interests are flooding the West Maui county council race with political cash, hoping to topple incumbent Elle Cochran. The Carpenters union's super PAC, Forward Progress, has spent more than $50,000 on the race while the Maui Timeshare Ohana PAC's spending has topped $80,0000. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa joined Council Chair Gladys Baisa today in announcing the immediate restoration of regular and holiday landfill hours and trash pickup operations. Maui Now.

Kauai

Billionaire Thai-Chinese businessman Chanchai Ruayrungruang’s Reignwood International has purchased 1,103 acres at the Princeville Resort in Hanalei, including the Prince Golf Course, on the North Shore of Kauai for $343 million. Pacific Business News.

In two weeks, county taxpayers will have a say in renewed property tax reform efforts. The Kauai County Council on Wednesday approved the first step of five separate measures that aim to provide relief to some residents who saw noticeable increases on their real property tax bills for the current fiscal year. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council will take another week to weigh its options before voting on whether to appeal a federal judge’s recent ruling that Ordinance 960 (formerly Bill 2491) related to pesticides and genetically modified crops is preempted by state law. Garden Island.