Monday, November 3, 2014

Hawaii congressional seat could go to GOP, Schatz spends to prop up Dems, gubernatorial candidates make last-minute push, lava stalled as government cracks down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Mark Takai for Congress campaign photo
In Hawaii, the home state of President Barack Obama, Democrats are in danger of losing a seat in the U.S. House. Republican Charles Djou has been working to convince voters it would be wise to send a Republican to Washington so the state has a voice in the majority party, and his message is striking a chord among some voters who are hungry for change. Associated Press.

It promises to be a down-to-the-wire race. Right now it's a battle for the undecided votes. Charles Djou and Mark Takai are using these last couple days to get up close and personal with the voters who will decide this election. KITV4.

campaign photo
Charles Djou for Congress campaign photo
In the past two months, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has given more campaign cash away to help fellow Democrats seeking office than former state Rep. Cam Cavasso — the Republican trying to unseat him Tuesday — has raised in the entire race. Civil Beat.

Money from outside Hawaii has poured into what's become a close fight between gubernatorial candidates David Ige and James Duke Aiona, making Hono­lulu the top spot for political action committee ads in the weeks before Election Day, according to spending tracker politicaladsleuth.com. Associated Press.

Aromas of fried chicken and fish sauce wafted through a high school library as state Sen. David Ige, laugh lines showing, shook hands with supporters and neighborhood residents on a quiet evening in Honolulu. The tone of Ige’s “stew-and-rice” event was a contrast to the attack ads outside super PACs have created, dominating Hawaii’s airwaves as Democrats and Republicans fight over which party will control the governor’s office. Associated Press.

It’s a novelty that’s caught the national eye. Hawaii’s gubernatorial contest is billed as a three-way race with nary an incumbent involved. Garden Island.

Commentary: An Interview With Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. As she prepares to leave office, the congresswoman reflects on her election loss, her career and her future in this exclusive interview. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is the only state that prohibits government funding of private preschools, but that may change Tuesday. Hawaii’s voters will be asked whether the state constitution should be amended so taxpayers can subsidize private preschool education. Hawaii Reporter.

Opinion: Fear + manipulation = ease of privatization. How the campaign to convince Hawaiʻi voters to authorize the routing of public funds to private preschools threatens equity in our schools, and what we need to do to get back on track toward a successful public school system. Hawaii Independent.

Concern over the reliability and fairness of using a brand-new standardized test to evaluate teacher performance is prompting the state Department of Education to consider delaying the use of test scores for high-stakes personnel decisions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's Department of Education is touting a new national study that says the state is in the top 10 for afterschool programs. Associated Press.

A glitch in state law allows candidates to attach absentee ballot applications but not voter registration forms to their campaign materials. West Hawaii Today.

Opinion: Who Is Andrew Walden? The controversial, outspoken editor of Hawaii Free Press has now formed a PAC "to undermine the culture of political impunity." Civil Beat.

The state Public Utilities Commission is making far-reaching decisions that will shape Hawaii's energy future with a workforce that is nearly 40 percent understaffed. Star-Advertiser.

A team of 17 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration divers sailing aboard NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette has returned from a 33-day mission to remove marine debris from Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a World Heritage Site and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. West Hawaii Today.

Tourism officials are looking at ways to get visitors to look beyond the beach by promoting Hawaii’s history and culture. The Historic Hawaii Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are promoting the islands’ history and culture to get travelers to return and also bring in first-timers who aren’t interested in the beach. Associated Press.

Oahu

A tiered system of property rates for homeowners in the controversial new Residential A tax classification as well as owners of commercial property are among the more wide-ranging proposals that the city Real Property Tax Advisory Commission is poised to make when it meets for a final time next week. Star-Advertiser.

The design of a pair of luxury apartment buildings planned for one of the last large sites approved for residential development in Hawaii Kai is rankling members of the area neighborhood board, though it appears the 10-story towers have all necessary approvals to rise. Star-Advertiser.

One of the state’s major homeless shelters is working to get the message out that Hawaii is not a hospitable place if you are homeless, particularly in Waikiki, the state’s major tourist hub. The Institute for Human Services plans to embark on a public relations campaign to discourage homeless people from the mainland from moving to Hawaii. Civil Beat.

New site for injured soldiers. Schofield's Warrior Transition Battalion offers military members a refuge. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

After stalling for more than three days at its front, the June 27 lava flow continued to burn vegetation and consume a macadamia nut orchard along its edges Sunday while keeping its distance from nearby homes. The front remained about 480 feet from Pahoa Village Road Road where it has been cooling and hardening since Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Overnight rain has reduced the smoke that's coming from a lava flow that remains stalled after slowly creeping toward a small town on Hawaii's Big Island, a responder said Sunday. Associated Press.

Just seven days before a lava flow erupted that’s now threatening a wide swath of lower Puna, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law a bill giving the state and counties broad new powers in emergencies and disasters. The new law, known as Act 111, is hitting close to home for Puna residents, visitors, businesses and the media striving to report on a slowly unfolding natural disaster the likes of which is not often seen in the United States. West Hawaii Today.

While the lava continued to stall over the weekend, USGS geologists stressed the flow is far from over, leaving residents and business owners in Pāhoa preparing for the possibility they may be cut off. Hawaii Public Radio.

And to think, he came out of retirement for this job. In just three months, Darryl Oli­veira has dealt with three natural disasters and is now the high-profile face and voice of the Kilauea lava flow response as the head of Hawaii County Civil Defense. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii County Board of Registration will not hear a challenge to the residency status of District 9 County Council hopeful Ron Gonzales, saying the paperwork arrived too late. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

GMOs or no GMOs? 2014 Election: That is the voter initiative question. Maui News.

Maui County has finalized a deal with A&B Properties to relocate the Maui County Service Center from the Maui Mall to the A&B Business Park II in Kahului. Maui News.

Kauai

Voters will have a variety of decisions to make when they cast their ballots in the general election. On Tuesday, all of the island’s 16 polling places will open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Garden Island.

Discovery Land Co., which has ties to several high-end resort developments in Hawaii, has been chosen to manage 1,103 acres of the Princeville Resort in Hanalei on Kauai's North Shore, as well as the Prince Golf Course, starting Jan. 1. Pacific Business News.