Monday, September 21, 2015

Native Hawaiian elections ongoing despite lawsuits, internal strife; tile workers set to strike; no solar for Molokai; Honolulu audit slams no-bid taxi contract; Hawaiian 'king' threatens force on Mauna Kea; Maui council defers decision on NextEra opposition; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The deadline for Native Hawaiians to sign up for a chance to run as a delegate to next year’s Na‘i Aupuni nation-building convention has passed, but officials handling the election aren’t saying who or how many people put their hat in the ring. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, at a crossroads, is caught in a power struggle. Mauna Kea, ceded lands and internal battles occupy the quasi-state agency as Native Hawaiian nation-building looms. Civil Beat.

An election for delegates to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention will proceed as planned, despite a challenge in federal court. West Hawaii Today.

The accounting and consulting firm KPMG LLP has landed a $26 million nonbid contract to add new functions to the state Department of Human Services’ KOLEA computer system to meet federal demands that the state quickly comply with the national Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Star-Advertiser.

Members of the Hawaii Masons Union, specifically ceramic tile and marble setters are planning a statewide strike Monday. KHON2.

The renewable energy technology that presents Hawaii the greatest potential for environmental impacts is utility-scale renewable energy, including wind and solar, according to the Hawaii Clean Energy final programmatic environmental impact statement by the U.S. Department of Energy, released on Friday. Pacific Business News.

The state Public Utilities Commission issued an order Thursday that gives the media access to cover the upcoming evidentiary hearing of the proposed NextEra Energy-Hawaiian Electric Industries merger. Civil Beat.


NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries have clarified who they are paying as consultants in their proposed $4.3 billion merger deal. Civil Beat.

For decades, a recurring criticism of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has been how long it takes the three appointed members to make decisions on energy, transportation and telecommunications issues. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Ewa Beach developer hit with about $27 million in damages over the decision to build a recreational lagoon rather than a marina says it will continue to pursue its city application to complete the last undeveloped phase of the Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei project. Star-Advertiser.

The same company has run the taxi concession at Honolulu Airport for more than a decade without going through a competitive bidding process, eliminating competition and possibly cutting into state revenue, according to the state auditor and others. Star-Advertiser.

A growing pool of local car owners have embraced ride-hailing since Uber and Lyft raced into the state’s ground transportation market. While neither private company will provide driver counts, both are ramping up at a steady clip. Without a government regulatory structure in place in Hawaii, ride-hailing companies have fewer barriers to entry than traditional taxi jobs and provide easier opportunities for drivers to earn money. Star-Advertiser.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s subsidiary is demolishing the existing home on an oceanfront parcel on Kahala Avenue that the company purchased in 2013 from Japanese businessman Genshiro Kawamoto, a company spokeswoman confirmed to Pacific Business News.

City crews are planning to clear more sections of the large homeless encampment in Kakaako. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the plan Friday. KITV4.

Metered parking spaces in Kaka‘ako and downtown Honolulu were temporarily transformed on Friday into public spaces. It’s part of a national initiative called Park(ing) Day, meant to promote awareness of the importance of parks and green space in urban areas. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

The TMT International Observatory is sticking with the same timeline for completing its giant telescope on Mauna Kea despite protests that have halted land clearing at its construction site for nearly six months and a legal challenge before the state Supreme Court, according to one of its board members. Tribune-Herald.

A man calling himself the king of Hawaii didn’t have the support of Thirty Meter Telescope opponents when he threatened to send armed “royal marshals” to defend them, according to a protester. Tribune-Herald.

A third law enforcement move was made overnight related to recent protests of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea, according to an announcement made early Monday by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Although no arrests were made because campers vacated the area last week, DLNR and Hawaii Police Departments officers disassembled and removed the large tent that protesters had erected near the Mauna Kea Visitors Center. Hawaii News Now.

An engineer with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources hopes that a remake of regulatory processes at the federal and state level will allow improvements to move more quickly at Kawaihae Harbor. West Hawaii Today.

Plumeria Road residents whose homes were damaged by flash flooding are in a state of limbo, waiting for answers. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council deferred action Friday on a resolution opposing NextEra's purchase of Hawaiian Electric Cos. Maui News.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner told a group of scientists, academics, defense officials and contractors Friday that the university's foray into astronomy and space surveillance began at the summit of Haleakala, before Science City was established and before telescopes atop Mauna Kea. Maui News.

Construction design flaws and repeated brown-water incidents prompted Maui County to issue one of its longest stop-work orders for a construction project earlier this year for a development in Kapalua. Maui News.

Proposed Launiupoko residential project looks to mix it up. Most of the 200-unit subdivision would be larger rural lots but 50 to 75 parcels would be for workforce families. Maui News.

It's been a rainy summer for Maui.  Nine tropical storm systems have approached the islands so far this season, often bringing heavy downpours.  The rain has helped ease some of the drought conditions in southeast Maui, but for ranchers, it also brings a new set of problems. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

More than 100 endangered seabirds recently required care after falling from the sky due to lighting issues at Kokee State Park. Associated Press.

The world of farming and farming as a career is highlighted during the GoFarm Hawaii classes at Kauai Community College. Garden Island.

After a month as president of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, Mark Perriello has been asked one question more than any other: “What is your vision for the chamber?” Garden Island

Molokai

The Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans has been looking into installing solar panels on the roof of the new Veterans Center. But vice commander Longie Dudoit who was trying to get quotes on the project has hit a road block and he has been told by Sun Electric that solar panels cannot be installed on Molokai at this time. Molokai Dispatch.