Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Council ethics scandals mar $6B Honolulu rail, 11,750-unit Hoopili development projects, 8 more arrested on Mauna Kea, new federal judge named, Molokai coconut grove protected, Kamehameha statue spear recovered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Separate efforts to halt the city’s $6 billion rail project and the 11,750-unit Ho‘opili development project in West Oahu started Tuesday in different forums. City ethics laws require Council members who have a direct or indirect interest in pending legislation to disclose such interests publicly before voting on them. Star-Advertiser.

Abigail Kawananakoa, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty and millionaire heiress to the James Campbell estate, filed a lawsuit Tuesday that could pose some problems for Honolulu’s $6 billion commuter rail line that’s slated to open in 2019. Civil Beat.

A report conducted by The Friends of Makakilo, Inc. shows that all nine of Honolulu’s City Council members owe their seats, in large-part, to businesses that profit from real estate development. The organization is using the report to ask the City Ethics Commission to take a look at the council votes that went into two of the most lucrative development projects in the history of Hawaii: Honolulu Rail and the accompanying Hoopili housing development. Hawaii Independent.

Honolulu attorney Clare E. Connors was nominated to the federal bench, replacing Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway in U.S. District Court in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu attorney has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in the Hawaii District. Clare E. Connors has been an attorney at the law firm of Davis Levin Livingston in Honolulu since 2011, where her practice focuses on civil litigation. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education is seeking to purchase 1,000 portable air conditioner units on short delivery notice to address its short-term crisis in trying to alleviate heat problems in its classrooms across the state, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

When it Comes to Social Media, David Ige Plays It Safe. The Hawaii governor’s online presence is professional and thorough, but are there ways he could improve his “brand” to govern more effectively? Civil Beat.

Commentary: Lobby the Legislature, and there’s a healthy degree of transparency. Lobby the governor, or department directors or their deputies, and the activities never see the light of day. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A Circuit Court jury awarded about $27 million Tuesday in special and punitive damages to Ewa Beach homeowners who filed a class-action lawsuit against Haseko over a marina dispute, saying the developer violated a consumer protection law. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii jury has awarded Ewa Beach homeowners about $27 million in a lawsuit against a developer trying to build a recreational lagoon instead of the marina it originally planned. Associated Press.

There were only three tents for a cleanup crew to dismantle when the city made good on Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s promise to begin clearing out the Kakaako homeless encampment Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

City officials cleared an area on the outskirts of one of Honolulu’s largest homeless encampments on Tuesday. Associated Press.

Sand Island homeless facility to be ready by end of the year. City plans to have all 25 containers ready for move-in by December. KITV4.

Construction defects may be to blame for the flooding problems at University of Hawaii’s West Oahu’s campus, which opened just three years ago.  Hawaii News Now has learned taxpayers will have to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars for drainage improvements to stop a persistent flooding threat to the school’s library.

An oceanography professor and director of the University of Hawaii’s Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education is among the winners of the 2015 Balzan Prize, an international award that honors achievements in the humanities, natural sciences and culture, as well as peace-focused endeavors. Star-Advertiser.

Groundbreaking for construction of the $25 million first phase of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head on Tuesday marked the beginning of a new era in culinary education in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Law enforcement officers arrested eight protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope early this morning at a camp near the Mauna Kea Visitors Center on Hawaii Island, according to officials with the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Seven women, ranging in ages from 26 to 65, and one 23 year old man were arrested for allegedly being present in the overnight restricted area along Mauna Kea Observatory Access Road, outlined in the emergency rule passed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources and signed by Governor Ige. Hawaii News Now.

Eight people were arrested early this morning atop Mauna Kea. The Department of Land and Natural Resources tells us it was the second round of arrests under the 120-day-long emergency rule signed by Governor Ige. KHON2.

Members of the Hawaiian community celebrated the finding of a long spear tip snatched from the King Kamehameha statue in Hilo during the holiday weekend as police continued to search for clues to explain the vandalism. Detectives found the six-foot-long ‘ihe Tuesday in overgrowth along the banks of a channel leading to the Wailoa River. Tribune-Herald.

The slaughter last week of Ernest the goat, the beloved mascot of Volcano Garden Arts, is raising awareness of the problem of roving packs of dogs around the island, and in the process, raising money for the Hawaii Island Humane Society. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The West Maui Taxpayers Association will host a meeting to discuss housing needs for the unsheltered, houseless and homeless Sept. 16 at the Lahaina Civic Center. Maui News.

St. Louis-based Charter Communications, Inc. wants to merge with Time Warner Cable, a deal valued at $78.7 billion. That move potentially affects Oceanic Time Warner’s 200,000 or so customers in Hawaii, since the merger will transfer Time Warner’s cable TV franchises over to Charter. As a result, the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) is holding a series of public hearings on this franchise transfer. The first one for Maui County takes place tomorrow, Sept. 8. MauiTime.

Kauai

Students in Sue Schott’s Kekaha Elementary fourth-grade class try to stay focused on learning in a classroom where the heat index has been in the low 100s since late August. Garden Island.

Molokai

With help from the community, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has cleaned up Molokai's historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove and taken steps to put up a fence to protect the area from pollution and "disrespectful behavior." Maui News.