Monday, May 9, 2016

Hawaii legislative recap, ethics complaint against Honolulu Mayor Caldwell, ballot parties set, Thirty Meter Telescope judge remains despite protests, Kauai marijuana business promises 40 new jobs, solar panels eat into county budget, Maui mulls commission changes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawai Department of Public Safety
Hawaii Women’s Community Correctional Center, courtesy Department of Public Safety
Mother’s Day came early for children whose moms are doing time at the Women’s Community Correctional Center as a Kids’ Day event Saturday at the prison allowed them to get together, hug, play games and enjoy a meal. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers wrapped up the 2016 session of the Legislature Thursday after approving measures to provide $100 million to cool public school classrooms and tuck away $150 million in the state’s “rainy day” budget reserve fund. Star-Advertiser.

How Major Bills Fared at the Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Criminal Justice Reform Fails To Get Much Legislative Love. Neighbor island facilities received some significant financial help, but the state’s main facilities on Oahu will remain overcrowded and crumbling. Civil Beat.

The parties will appear on the 2016 primary ballot as follows - Green Party of Hawaii, Non Partisan, Democratic Party of Hawaii, Hawaii Independent Party, American Shopping Party, Constitution Party of Hawaii, Hawaii Republican Party and Libertarian Party of Hawaii. Maui News.

The first audit in decades is coming for civil forfeiture, a state program that allows law enforcement to seize property without a conviction — and the administrator over the process is ready for whatever they may discover, while activist groups question its fairness. West Hawaii Today.

Regional Health Command-Pacific, which includes Tripler Army Medical Center and medical facilities in Japan and on the West Coast, will be getting a new leader, the Pentagon announced Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Two complaints have been filed with the Honolulu Ethics Commission against Mayor Kirk Caldwell. They concern a political rally held by the mayor on Wednesday afternoon on the grass fronting Honolulu Hale, the day that Caldwell filed his re-election papers. Civil Beat.

Here’s another possible candidate for mayor of Honolulu: Peter Savio. Savio, 67, is president and CEO of the Savio Group of Companies and has decades of experience in real estate development and sales in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The day after longtime state Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland announced she would not seek re-election, an influential House representative says he’s running to replace her. Karl Rhoads, chair of the House Judiciary committee, said Saturday that he will seek the Senate District 13 seat that represents Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus and Downtown. Civil Beat.

The city’s legal counsel is brushing off recent suggestions that Honolulu rail officials haven’t done enough to comply with federal flood-risk standards. Whether that move will lead to another rail lawsuit remains to be seen. Star-Advertiser.

Federal officials are holding back a half-billion dollars slated for Honolulu's rail project. The Federal Transit Administration has blocked release of the past two fiscal years' worth of funds as the wait continues for an updated financial plan covering current cost estimates as well as a new project schedule. Associated Press.

A Korean-American nonprofit group is exploring the idea of a cultural center and museum on the block that includes the state Department of Agriculture’s King Street headquarters. Star-Advertiser.

No less than Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell have pleaded with Oahu landlords to open their rental properties to homeless tenants, but a group of McKinley High School students wants to add a more intimate and personal appeal. Star-Advertiser.

Navy Poised To Clean Pearl Harbor Sediment Contamination. The $60 million cleanup is an effort to create an environment that may make it again safe to eat the fish. Civil Beat.

Zoo parking improves, but City still looking to add more parking for Waikiki. KHON2.

The median price of a condominium on Oahu increased by 5 percent in April to set a new record, while the median price of a single-family home on the island jumped by 7 percent, compared to last year, on flat sales, according to statistics released by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Lower oil prices and increased use of rooftop solar panels are hitting the county budget. And not necessarily in a good way. West Hawaii Today.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is sticking with Riki May Amano. The retired Hilo Circuit Court judge was selected in April to oversee the next contested case hearing for the Thirty Meter Telescope’s land use permit. Tribune-Herald.

Mammography procedures at the Hilo Women’s Imaging Center are on track to resume in the coming weeks. Tribune-Herald.

A plan to create additional moorings at Keauhou Bay is off the table. The Department of Land and Natural Resources and its Division of Boating and Recreation announced today that it will select the “no-action” option in a controversial Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed Keauhou Bay Offshore Moorings project. Big Island Video News.
Maui

Maui County officials have mixed feelings over a potential state law that would allow transient accommodations brokers such as Airbnb to collect state taxes from rental operators and ensure the operators know that they must adhere to land-use laws. Maui News.

Maui County Council Member Elle Cochran has proposed charter amendments to require attorneys to sit on the county Board of Ethics and environmental and Native Hawaiian leaders on the county planning commissions. Maui News.

Alexander & Baldwin is considering cattle grazing and energy crops as sugar production phases out on Maui. Associated Press.

The discovery by the Pan-STARRS telescope atop Haleakala of an asteroid believed to come from a cosmic cloud far from the sun could hold answers to the questions of how the Earth with its richness of life and the solar system were formed. Maui News.

Kauai

Two proposed bills to increase taxes were voted down during the Kauai County Council meeting Wednesday. The bills, which would raise vehicle weight tax and fuel tax were introduced by Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura as a possible solution for funding $100 million worth of backlogged road repairs. Garden Island.

Surfrider Kauai has met with Zero Waste Kauai and members of the County Council, who have voiced interest in the possibility of putting forward a bill to ban polystyrene products from the island. The mayor’s administration also supports the idea, but Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. said the county’s focus isn’t currently on creating new programs. Garden Island.

With the approval of a medical marijuana dispensary on Kauai, officials with Green Aloha, Ltd., hope to add 40 jobs on the island. Garden Island.

It is unacceptable to approve large raises for $100,000 county positions while also looking to create a regressive General Excise Tax that would hurt already struggling families, said KipuKai Kuali‘i, a candidate for the Kauai County Council. Garden Island.