Friday, October 24, 2014

Djou, Takai in dead heat, ousted Abercrombie still unpopular, rail project adds $14M, Honolulu mulls e-cig ban, Big Island GMO ban gets court hearing, lava advance quickens, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Mark Takai, Charles Djou vie for Congress
Democrat Mark Takai, who already has spent $1.2 million on the race, and Republican Charles Djou, who has a 2-to-1 lead in cash on hand heading into the home stretch, are tied at 47 percent each, according to the latest Hawaii poll. With the race for Hawaii's open 1st Congressional District seat up for grabs, at least one analyst predicts the contest could come down to who has more money for the final push and who gets outside help from mainland third-party money. Star-Advertiser.

Our latest Hawaii News Now/Star Advertiser poll in the campaign to represent urban Oahu in Congress suggests the vote could go either way. In the race between Charles Djou and Mark Takai,volunteers and the candidates will crank up efforts to get out the vote with their campaigns in a dead heat. It's tied at 47 percent according to our new Hawaii poll.

Mark Takai needed more campaign money — and he got it. The Democratic candidate for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District raised just over $200,000 — including $85,000 from super PACs — during the first half of October, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission. His Republican opponent, Charles Djou, pulled in $72,000 but outspent Takai by almost $82,000 during the same 15-day period. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Democrats Launch Preemptive Strike Against National GOP Group. In a tight race for Congress between Charles Djou and Mark Takai, the Democrats are worked up about a political commercial that might hurt their candidate — even before the ad airs. Civil Beat.

History might eventually treat him more kindly than voters did during the Democratic primary in August, but the initial appraisal of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's four-year term is below average. Asked in a new Hawaii Poll to rate the Democrat's job performance during his term as governor on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being a "terrible job" and 5 being a "great job," voters gave him a 2.53. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz says his intent if elected in November is to help make sure the federal budget reflects Hawaii's priorities. Star-Advertiser.

The state will consider new hunting rules that some say could destroy traditional pig hunting methods. The DLNR will hold a hearing Friday to approve the new rules, which will require all hunting dogs to be registered and to carry some form of identification. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Department of Health today said it has confirmed three cases of measles in the state, one on Maui and two on Kauai. Civil Beat.

Matson Inc. will lower its fuel surcharge for Hawaii cargo shipping by 5 percentage points Nov. 2 to compensate for falling ship fuel prices, the state's largest ocean cargo carrier announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers will be sharing their latest observations on how warmer-than normal ocean temperatures are causing large sections of Oahu's coral reefs to expel algae. The phenomenon called coral bleaching can kill coral, an organism at the foundation of Hawaii's marine environment. Associated Press.

Oahu

Board members overseeing Oahu's rail transit project have approved an additional $14 million in cost increases -- and nearly half of that expense is due to yet another contract that went out prematurely, project officials say. Star-Advertiser.

E-cigarettes have long been touted as an alternative to cigarettes. But e-cig users could soon have fewer places to smoke on Oahu. A city councilman wants to expand the smoking ban, to include e-cigs. KHON2.

Jeffrey Crabtree, a private attorney who specialized in consumer protection, personal injury, malpractice and end-of-life medical issues, was confirmed to 1st Circuit Court. Christine Kuriyama, a Family Court judge, was also confirmed to 1st Circuit Court. Before she was a judge, Kuriyama was a private attorney, deputy attorney general, administrator at the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and staff attorney for the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and state House Democrats. Star-Advertiser.

A new non-profit, established in September, 2014, has sent a letter to the four gubernatorial candidates asking that—whichever one of them wins the general election in November—he overhaul the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) board and end fast tracking of development and permitting. Hawaii Independent.

A Republican state Senate candidate resumed sign waving Thursday afternoon after he was hit by a car while crossing the street after waving signs in Waipio Thursday morning. Star-Advertiser.

Sonar mapping shines new light on USS Utah. Star-Advertiser.

The city and county of Honolulu says it has an explanation for hundreds of pounds of trash that’s stockpiled in Kapiolani Park. Honolulu spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke says the trash collected by street sweepers is being kept there so that consultants can test it for the type of debris that ends up in the ocean. Associated Press.

The attorney for Malia Arciero, a madam who operated her business out of the elite Oahu neighborhood Portlock for about a decade, will go to court Thursday, Oct. 23, to attempt to get drug possession and drug dealing charges against her dismissed. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

A lawyer representing a group seeking to invalidate Hawaii County’s law restricting the use of genetically engineered crops urged a judge Thursday to make the same decision he recently made invalidating Kauai’s law. Associated Press.

Hawaii County officials are keeping a constant eye on the June 27 lava flow as it begins to reach the outskirts of Pahoa. After weeks of sluggish advance, the flow gushed toward pastureland above the village and Civil Defense initiated the first road closure since access was restricted to Kaohe Homesteads more than a month ago. Tribune-Herald.

A larger crowd than usual attended the weekly lava update meeting in Pahoa on Thursday night following news that Madame Pele's path had quickly advanced. Star-Advertiser.

Margaret Masunaga officially became District Judge Masunaga upon her confirmation Thursday by the state Senate in a special session. West Hawaii Today.

There’s a “desperate” need for election workers, as Hawaii County finds itself short 67 volunteers for precincts in Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona and Ka‘u. West Hawaii Today.

Led by a 23.6 percent rise in room rates on the Big Island, the statewide average room rate at Hawaii hotels last week rose 8.6 percent to $232.58 compared to the same week a year before, according to the latest Hawaii Hotel Industry Snapshot from Hospitality Advisors LLC and STR Inc. Pacific Business News.

Mauka from the Kekaha Kai State Park entrance on Queen Kaahumanu Highway is land the Hawaii Racing Association believes is best suited for a motorsport park. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County Council Candidates Assess GMO Moratorium Ballot Initiative. Most were not in favor of the bill as written, and will vote “no.” Maui Weekly.

Maui resident Kathleen Soule is pursuing a class action lawsuit against Priceline Group and Marriott International seeking monetary damages "arising from the unfair and unconscionable assessment and collection of 'resort fees.'" Pacific Business News.

Kauai
Department of Public Works officials are reviewing current policies and procedures after thieves stole $86,000 in equipment from two county facilities in July. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday passed a trio of measures that seek to correct current tax laws and assist some property owners who saw substantial increases on their real property tax bills this year. Garden Island.

Grove Farm Company has given the state Department of Health permission to access its land in Mahaulepu and investigate the source of pollution in Waiopili Stream. Garden Island.