Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Native Hawaiian convention begins with protests, some Marines recovered from ocean, record number of Honolulu police fired or disciplined, six more Thirty Meter Telescope protesters acquitted, first Maui dengue case confirmed, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Melissa Leina'ala Haa Moniz
Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte barred from ʻaha, photo courtesy Melissa Leina'ala Haa Moniz
The Na‘i Aupuni constitutional convention began Monday with 127 Native Hawaiians gathering at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Maunawili. Star-Advertiser.

Of the 150 or so unelected delegates who organizers say are participating in the Nai Aupuni convention on Native Hawaiian self-governance that began Monday, two are lawmakers on the public payroll. Brickwood Galuteria has served in the Hawaii state Senate since 2008, while Rowena Akana has been a trustee with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs since 1990. Civil Beat.

Despite terminating its Native Hawaiian election, Na'i Aupuni's highly contested conference pressed on in Maunawili Monday. The goal of the 'aha or conference is to discuss self-governance for Hawaiians. KITV4.

Wringing some new tax revenue from about 40 mostly mainland companies that own prime retail, hotel, office and other commercial properties in Hawaii has been put forth at the state Legislature in a move that also could affect the pocketbooks of small local investors with mutual funds. Star-Advertiser.

Housing developers and Hawaii lawmakers Hawaii are debating how to chip away at the state’s severe housing shortage. Associated Press.

State lawmakers were briefed today on the major challenges developers face in building affordable housing for low income residentsHawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban police from using drones to gather evidence without a warrant. The bill would make exceptions for emergencies such as searches and rescues, hostage situations and when there's an immediate danger to someone. Associated Press.

One month after gas stations were allowed to start selling fuel without ethanol, Hawaii drivers are still stuck with mostly the same blended gasoline. KHON2.

A month and a half after going into recess, regulatory hearings to decide the fate of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries resumed Monday. Civil Beat.

Can You Afford To Be A Teacher with an average salary of $55,930 In The Islands? The cost of living weighs so heavily on schoolteachers that many fear they will never get ahead if they stay here. Civil Beat.

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has announced a new training program to help Hawaii companies begin or expand their export market development. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Monday that raising property tax rates to pay for operations of the upcoming Honolulu rail line isn’t part of his game plan. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell made it official Monday: Rail will keep chugging along. The mayor held a brief signing ceremony at Honolulu Hale for Bill 23, which extends for five years a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge that pays for the $6.6 billion project. Civil Beat.

Some of the 12 Hawaii Marines who perished in an apparent nighttime fiery crash of two big CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters at sea off Waimea Bay on Jan. 14 have been recovered, the Marine Corps has confirmed. Star-Advertiser.

At least 28 Honolulu police officers were disciplined in 2015 for committing crimes ranging from witness intimidation and theft to kidnapping and sexual assault, according to an annual misconduct report filed with the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Police Department fired 17 officers in 2015, far more than in previous years. The figures were included in HPD's annual disciplinary report, which was submitted to the state Legislature on Friday. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Police Department last year fired or recommended for firing police officers in 25 cases involving offenses ranging from sex assault and kidnapping to terroristic threatening and theft, according to an annual report the agency submitted to the Legislature and made public Monday. Star-Advertiser.

More Honolulu police officers are being disciplined and fired from their job. In an annual report submitted to the Legislature, the Honolulu Police Department outlined police misconduct, including details of each incident and the disciplinary action that was taken. KHON2.

In the coming months Oahu will see a new homeless shelter in Kakaako; the first-of-its kind, city-owned apartment building in Makiki for low-income and formerly homeless tenants; and greater efforts to help homeless Micronesians and get churches more involved. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The 2016 campaign season in Hawaii officially kicked off Monday with the first day of pulling nomination papers for candidates.West Hawaii Today.

The East Hawaii Regional Board of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. will discuss the future of Hilo Medical Center’s Extended Care Department during its next meeting. Meanwhile, ECD employees are being encouraged to apply for other jobs with the hospital. Tribune-Herald.

A district court judge acquitted an additional six Thirty Meter Telescope opponents of obstruction charges after defendants argued their actions prevented a greater harm from occurring. Tribune-Herald.

Peter Savio, a Honolulu-based developer, would become the new operator of Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel in a bid to keep the kama‘aina business running until the site is redeveloped, a state official confirmed. Tribune-Herald.

A monk seal has taken over part of Dog Beach at Honokohau and she might be there a while. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The state Department of Health tells Maui Now that they have confirmed a case of dengue fever in a resident of Maui that recently traveled to a country where dengue fever is endemic.

Maui County hospital employees who feared losing their jobs after a "Reduction in Force" announcement Monday were assured by hospital leaders that this was just part of the process to transition them from public workers to private workers under incoming hospital operator Kaiser Permanente. Maui News.

Maui's warm sun and lush tropical landscape aren't just a luxury for tourists and residents - they're also a haven for honeybees. Maui News.

Maui County beekeepers have been exploring ways to keep the insects healthy as the county remains one of the few places untouched by an invasive species known to attack honeybees. Associated Press.

Kauai

Rep. Dee Morikawa of District 16 has introduced three bills on behalf of the Office of Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Kauai. Garden Island.
 
Lanai

The Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, located at Manele Bay, reopened Monday after shutting down in June as part of a $75 million renovation project to spruce up rooms, suites, lobbies, spas and restaurants. Maui News.