Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Hawaii GOP gears up for caucuses in wake of Trump win; Ellison, Omidyar on Forbes fortune list; mayors Caldwell, Kenoi release workaday budgets; Maui farmers oppose property tax measure; Island Air to quit Lanai trips, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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A plan to allow the state’s biggest transportation company to shuttle hundreds of tourists a day from Waikiki to Hanauma Bay may be off the table after encountering resistance from community members concerned about protecting the iconic nature preserve in southeast Oahu. Civil Beat.

With billionaire Donald Trump dominating much of the Super Tuesday voting, he has a momentum that suggests he could again carry the day when Hawaii Republicans gather Tuesday to decide which candidate will receive the support of Hawaii’s 19 GOP delegates to the national convention. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association’s proposed tax increase may have died in the Legislature this week, but efforts to rally support for it have not.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday that would establish a “mobile court” aimed at quickly adjudicating some misdemeanor cases in which defendants, many of them homeless, often fail to show up to the court. Civil Beat.

A handful of bills that aim to improve police oversight and accountability in Hawaii still have legs in the Legislature after passing key committee votes in the Senate this week. Civil Beat.

A bill to prohibit people convicted of misdeameanor stalking or sexual assault from possessing firearms and ammunition was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on a 12-1 vote Thursday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s transportation energy plan, which aims to significantly reduce gas and diesel usage in the state, is expected to be unveiled by the end of this year, the head of the state’s Energy Office told Pacific Business News.

State lawmakers are considering two bills aimed at ending wildlife trafficking, but opponents worry they instead target another group — those with antiques and collectibles. Tribune-Herald.

Opinion: Why Did News Media Ignore Native Hawaiian Convention? Reporters were not allowed to attend the month-long event, but they still could have ferreted out a lot more details. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is seeking funding for 79 new jobs for various agencies in next fiscal year’s $2.3 billion operating budget, including positions that were rejected by the Honolulu City Council a year ago. Star-Advertiser.

Several lifeguards and surfers are calling for extended coverage of Oahu’s beaches, a move they contend would help save more lives and educate more residents and tourists about the dangers of high surf and rough conditions. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is recommending lifeguard coverage be expanded on O’ahu beaches. Hawaii Public Radio.

In an effort to address traffic congestion, the City Council is considering a moratorium on the construction of large development projects from Aiea to Kalihi. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu city council committee sided with the Blood Bank of Hawaii on Tuesday against Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's request to condemn part of the blood bank headquarters in Kalihi. KITV4.

The city is moving forward with plans to add dedicated bike lanes in Kailua. During a public meeting on Tuesday Night at Kailua district Park, the city revealed results of a three-day traffic study on Hamakua drive. Hawaii News Now.

Pierre Omidyar, who founded eBay before moving to Honolulu and starting such ventures as Ulupono Initiative and Honolulu Civil Beat, was No. 163  Forbes magazine’s ranking of the world’s richest billionaires released on Tuesday, with a fortune of $7.2 billion. While Omidyar’s 2016 ranking was five notches above 2015, when he was No. 168, his net worth fell from $8.2 billion last year. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Higher property values are enabling the county to bump up its spending plan this year by $23.9 million — or 5.5 percent — according to a preliminary budget released Tuesday by Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Police on Tuesday raided a number of Big Island establishments they described as illegal gambling operations. Tribune-Herald.

For a sixth consecutive day no new cases of dengue fever were identified on the Big Island, state health officials said. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Farmers and ranchers showed up in droves Monday afternoon opposing a bill they say will dramatically increase their property taxes, force them off of their land and make it more difficult for them to farm in already tough economic conditions. Maui News.

In office a little more than 70 days, Department of Environmental Management Director Stewart Stant told Maui County Council members Tuesday that he wants to reduce or eliminate unscheduled landfill closures and to keep the Central Maui Landfill open seven days a week. Maui News.

A DLNR outreach session outreach was designed to educate the public about new rules for size and bag limits for parrotfish and goatfish in Maui waters. Maui News.

While candidates for state and county offices pull and file nomination papers for elected office this year, there's another race going on - for money. Maui News.

HC&S, the last sugar plantation in Hawaii, began its last harvest Tuesday. Two months ago parent company Alexander & Baldwin announced that, due to sugar prices, wet weather and the cumulative effect of other pressures, the 145-year-old sugar operation across 36,000 acres on Maui will close later this year after its last harvest. Star-Advertiser.

After photos were snapped and the crowd of shaka-waving workers cleared out, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. employees Brady Borg and Donnie Tablang stayed behind, absorbed in a discussion over the leafy green stalks of cane that had been cut for Tuesday's season-opening blessing. Maui News.

Kauai

Hooser seeks re-election. Around 100 come out for councilman’s campaign party. Garden Island.

The hungry on Kauai are finding other ways to eat without cashing in on food stamps. Garden Island.

Lanai
Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corp. who bought Hawaii’s island of Lanai for $300 million nearly four years ago, slipped in Forbes magazine’s ranking of the world’s richest billionaires released on Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

The financially troubled Island Air said Tuesday that it will discontinue service to Lanai beginning March 31. Civil Beat.

Island Air announced Tuesday that it will stop flying to Lanai at the end of the month, which left state lawmakers representing the island "disappointed" and "dismayed" at the airline and "concerned" about the prospect of only one airline flying to Lanai. Maui News.

Island Air today announced that it will discontinue service to Lāna‘i with the last flights to and from Lāna‘i scheduled to take place on March 31, 2016. Maui Now.