Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thousands comment on Native Hawaiian recognition, land reform recommended, Abercrombie thinks gay marriage sunk re-election bid, Maui group forms to save GMOs, counties seek hotel tax, lava continues slow march toward Puna homes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State Rep. Faye Hanohano sings at July 2014 Department of the Interior hearing © 2014 All Hawaii News
More than 5,000 comments about Native Hawaiian recognition are being processed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to a government website. West Hawaii Today.

A governor's task force has recommended sweeping changes to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands' controversial month-to-month land leasing program, addressing flaws that the Honolulu Star-Advertiser exposed in a series of articles last year.

Maui, Kauai, Hawaii and Honolulu counties want more money from the state — tens of millions of dollars more — to help offset the cost of providing services that visitors use, ranging from roads to rescue. Council members and mayors are already ramping up for the next legislative session, which starts in January, strategizing how they might grab a bigger slice of the state’s hotel tax revenue. Civil Beat.

Attorney General David M. Louie announced Friday that the Hawaii Supreme Court dismissed three separate challenges to the primary election that was held on August 9, 2014 and August 15, 2014. Hawaii Reporter

Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige has won the endorsement of the state's largest union, which will help him compete with two better-known candidates but brings criticism from Republicans that he's too close to organized labor. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii state Sen. David Ige surprised political observers when he pulled off a historic upset, beating incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary for governor. Now, Ige is heading into the General Election in November, when even a pollster who predicted he would trounce Abercrombie in a landslide won’t call him the front-runner despite the state’s heavy Democratic leanings. Associated Press.

5 things to know about Hawaii elections. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he lost his bid for re-election in a Democratic primary because of his decision to call a special session to legalize gay marriage. Associated Press.

Opinion: Abercrombie the Martyr. Hawaii's governor blames his electoral fall on the gay marriage special session. But is he just trying to make himself feel better after a crushing defeat? Civil Beat.

Opinion: Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige was barely known to Hawaii voters when he trounced Gov. Neil Abercrombie last month in the biggest upset of an incumbent governor in a primary election in U.S. history. Civil Beat.

Poor school attendance resulted in lower test scores for Hawaii fourth- and eighth-graders who missed more days than their peers, according to a national study released Tuesday linking school attendance to student achievement and learning. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu’s motor vehicles department shrugged off concerns about long wait times for obtaining driver’s licenses, state identification cards and other services and failed to implement improvements put forward by Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration, according to a city audit released late Friday afternoon. Civil Beat.

Authorities on Thursday approved spending additional money for a study that will determine whether to replace or renovate the aging Aloha Stadium. Associated Press.

Labors of love help save seals. Volunteer DB Dunlap has kept an eye on Hawaiian monk seals for 13 years. Star-Advertiser.

Disaster preparedness fairs will be held in both Ewa Beach and Manoa over the next two weekends. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

In addition to a wealth of candidates on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot, Hawaii County voters will have five state constitutional amendments and one county charter amendment to vote up or down. West Hawaii Today.

Lava continued to advance northeast Sunday through the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, and was about 1.2 miles from a rural neighborhood on the reserve’s eastern boundary, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A group of some 1,500 farmers, ranchers, residents and others has formed to support genetically modified organism operations in Maui County, and rival the anti-GMO group SHAKA Movement. Maui News.

The Maui Police Commission will hold a meeting to interview and discuss Maui police chief candidates at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Maui Beach Hotel's Elleair Rainbow Room in Kahului. Maui News.

Maui County is partnering with a Canadian company to use an assessment analysis program that uses digital photographs, building sketches and analytics to expedite and more accurately assess property in the county, the company and Maui County have confirmed. Maui News.

Kauai

There will be one new class on the county’s real property tax rolls next year. A divided Kauai County Council approved a measure Wednesday that would create a new tax class called residential investor, which would apply to improved properties without tax exemptions that are worth at least $2 million. Garden Island.

Kauai’s recyclables, for the most part, don’t stick around. Instead, they are shipped as near as Oahu and as far as China. Garden Island.

Marriott Vacations Worldwide is in negotiations to sell its Kauai Lagoons project, one of the largest Hawaii construction projects to be stalled by the Great Recession, to Hawaii developer Ed Bushor for $60 million. Pacific Business News.