Thursday, April 23, 2015

Top elected officials popular with Hawaii voters, contrite Kenoi pitches county budget, raises for teachers, white-collar public employees, B&B big hassle for Kauai, Maui celebrates tobacco-free parks, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Hawaii Sens. Brian Schatz, Mazie Hirono, courtesy photo
Hawaii voters are generally quite content with their top elected officials but the support varies by island, age, gender and income, a new Civil Beat Poll shows. We surveyed 780 registered voters April 7-9, asking their opinion of U.S. Reps. Mark Takai and Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and President Barack Obama.

Newly negotiated contracts that would award raises of 4 percent per year over a two-year period to about 15,240 unionized state and county employees are being put to statewide ratification votes this week, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, which represents 13,500 public school teachers, announced late Wednesday night that it had reached an agreement with the state for increased salary and benefits for the remaining two years of the teachers' current contract. Star-Advertiser.

As Gov. David Ige wends his way through his fifth month in office, there’s growing concern over who his administration will choose to fill several key positions guiding land and water use policy, environmental protection, longterm planning and development — all of which can literally shape Hawaii’s future. Civil Beat.

When Hilo resident Charlotte Kaide read about an elderly Oahu couple that, after 67 years of marriage, is being forced to live in separate care homes, she felt as if she was reliving a nightmare. Tribune-Herald.

The Thirty Meter Telescope isn't even on the agenda, but Thursday's meeting of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees likely will be overwhelmed by the controversial $1.4 billion project. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is warning Honolulu City Council members that efforts to expand the city's sit-lie sidewalk ban could make the existing law vulnerable to legal challenges. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Senate has confirmed a district court judge nomination. William Domingo was confirmed Tuesday as a judge for Oahu First Circuit District Court. Associated Press.

About 5 p.m., pau-hana commute times were running more than two hours on H-1 from downtown to Kapolei because of a pedestrian death. Star-Advertiser.

Free parking at Honolulu Zoo to end soon. KHON2.

Hawaii

A subdued and outwardly contrite Mayor Billy Kenoi came before the County Council on Wednesday to talk about the budget, but first on his plate was a serving of humble pie. West Hawaii Today.

Embattled Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi on Wednesday morning made his first apology on Hawaii island for more than $129,000 in charges he billed to the county, including trips to Honolulu hostess bars. Star-Advertiser.

If everyone in the room didn’t already know about the state-wide controversy surrounding the Hawaii County mayor’s spending habits, they might have thought Billy Kenoi was apologizing for his proposed budget. Big Island Video News.

A handful of community members sounded off Wednesday on the recent government purchase card spending fiasco plaguing the office of Mayor Billy Kenoi. Big Island Video News.

A council briefing on the Hawaii County budget was overshadowed by the controversy surrounding embattled Mayor Billy Kenoi Wednesday morning. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi appeared before the County Council Wednesday to begin a series of budget briefings. However, the hearing was dominated by the mayor's improper use of his county issued credit card, or pCard. KITV4.

Google Maps will soon offer transit directions for the Hawaii County’s bus system, Hele-On Bus, as part of a new community project. West Hawaii Today.

Of the more than 10,000 animals euthanized by the Hawaii Island Humane Society last year, only 3 percent fell into the category of adoptable, according to Hawaii Island Humane Society Executive Director Donna Whitaker. Tribune-Herald.

A breathtaking, oceanfront mega-mansion on the Big Island is back on the market and it can be yours for $8.2 million. The 9-plus acre "Waterfalling Estate" was originally listed in 2014 for $26.5 million. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Today marks the one-year anniversary of a bill that effectively banned the use of tobacco at county parks, beaches and recreational facilities in Maui County. Maui Now.

A 40-foot fishing boat that ran aground two weeks ago and spilled 50 gallons of diesel fuel offshore of Koki Beach in Hana is expected to be removed in the next few days, U.S. Coast Guard and Maui County officials said. Maui News

Opinion: The saber-rattling between Maui County’s hospitals and their many friends in the county and state Legislature on one hand and Governor David Ige and the powerful Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) that backs him on the other is getting serious. MauiTime.

The Maui region of the quasi-public body that runs Maui Memorial Medical Center has called a public meeting for Tuesday to discuss cuts in services and personnel to meet a projected $28 million shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council’s effort on Wednesday to regulate homestay and bed-and-breakfast operations islandwide was met with resistance. Garden Island.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and the county’s budget team, Nadine Nakamura, Ken Shimonishi, and Sally Motta, will present a financial overview at the Wailua-Kapaa Neighborhood Association meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kapaa Library. Garden Island.

Protesters used Earth Day to rally against the delayed Thirty Meter Telescope project on Mauna Kea on the Big Island Wednesday at Kauai Community College. Garden Island.