Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hawaii Supreme Court supports Green Party in ballot lawsuit, Hawaiian Electric ends natural gas plan and vows to go it alone, $875M Honolulu rail segment awarded, Legislature back for more on Maui hospital sale, poll workers needed, former Kauai police officer pleads to $25k theft, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Elections Chief Scott Nago © 2016 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the the method the state Elections Office used to order an insufficient number of ballots in the 2012 general election should have undergone an official rule-making process instead of just being an internal management decision. The Green Party of Hawaii sued Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago and the state in December 2012, asking the courts to stop him from conducting another election until there were new rules in place to prevent the type of voter disenfranchisement that occurred that November. Civil Beat

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle was one of the speakers at the Republican National Convention on the event’s opening day, but her appearance forced the party to shut down online live chat because of anti-Semitic remarks being posted on its YouTube page. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. Ige’s support for the former secretary of state is unsurprising given that both are Democrats. But his endorsement may irk some die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's attorney general is the new chairman for a group of his counterparts in the western states. The Conference of Western Attorneys General elected Doug Chin to be its chairman. The selection was announced Tuesday at the conference's annual meeting in Idaho. Associated Press.

Hawaiian Electric Co. ended its contract Tuesday to bring liquefied natural gas into the state one day after NextEra Energy Inc. walked away from its bid to buy the electrical utility’s parent company. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric announced Tuesday that the company has withdrawn its applications with the state Public Utilities Commission for approval of a liquefied natural gas contract with Fortis Hawaii Energy, plans to upgrade its Kahe power plant to use the gas and a waiver from the competitive bidding process. Civil Beat.

Two important decisions by Hawaiian Electric Industries herald a new era for the state’s largest electric utility. The board of directors authorized a terse news release Tuesday evening that it has decided “to remain independent.” Hawaii News Now.

One day after NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries abandoned their efforts to merge, leading foes of the deal gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday, partly to say they were right all along. Civil Beat.

People in Hawaii are talking about what’s next for the state’s largest utility now that a merger between NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric failed. Associated Press.

How A Mideast War Made HECO Start To Think Green. The Arab oil crisis brought a new awareness of the promise of renewable energy. But the spark fizzled. Hawaiian Electric was hooked on oil. Civil Beat.

Par Hawaii Inc., one of the largest owners of retail gas stations in the state, is in the process of changing the names of many of these stations from 76 and Tesoro to Hele at a cost of $4 million, its top executive confirmed to Pacific Business News on Monday.

Oahu

Shimmick/Traylor/Granite, a California- and Indiana-based joint venture that’s new to the project, was picked Tuesday for its $875 million proposal to build rail’s next 5.2 miles of elevated guideway and four stations, getting the project as far as Middle Street. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s $8.3 billion rail project is now officially stuck. On Tuesday, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation awarded an $875 million construction contract to a joint venture of three companies to build roughly five miles of guideway and four stations from the airport to Middle Street. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Tuesday it has awarded an $875 million contract to build the elevated guideway and stations around the Honolulu International Airport to a trio of contractors from the Mainland. Pacific Business News.

Rail officials are touting some good news for a change on the cost of the project. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced Tuesday that the airport section of the rail project has come in on budget. KHON2.

The last time voters had a direct say on Honolulu rail was in 2008 when a slim majority approved the project. Now that the project costs much more than projected, and with public officials talking about stopping it at Middle Street before finding the funds to build all the way to Ala Moana Center, a new group proposes that voters weigh in once again. Civil Beat.

Seven Oahu nonprofit groups that lost their federal funding this year to serve an estimated 300 of the island’s most vulnerable formerly homeless people got a temporary reprieve this week from Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

Farrington Highway is a deadly stretch of road in West Oahu -- with 6 fatal pedestrian accidents this year alone. So it is no wonder Waianae crosswalks are getting a closer look. But instead of adding more pedestrian crossings, some will be taken away. KITV.

The city is making good on the promise made more than a decade ago to turn a derelict lot in the heart of Waikiki into a neighborhood park. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

With time running out for poll workers to be recruited and trained for the Aug. 13 primary election, county election officials are sending out a plea for help. West Hawaii Today.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed the state Ethic’s Commission’s ruling that a Connections New Century Public Charter School employee violated the state’s conflict-of-interest law for purchases made in 2006 and 2007. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Hilo charter school employee, saying he was not subject to the state Ethics Code and should not have been held liable for violating conflict-of-interest laws. Star-Advertiser.

Those stuck in traffic on Alii Drive may find this hard to believe, but the number of vehicles using the road has actually decreased over the past few years. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The state Legislature will try again Wednesday to come up with amendments to a bill vetoed by Gov. David Ige that was designed to assist state employees at Maui County's three public hospitals who could be adversely affected when the private Kaiser Permanente takes over operations. Maui News.

As new director of the county Liquor Control Department, Glenn Mukai said Monday that he plans to increase transparency with liquor licensees, expand the department's educational program and identify laws that must adapt to the changing liquor industry. Maui News.

The Department of Public Works will be closing down a portion of Piʻilani Highway in Kīpahulu for geotechnical testing next week. Maui Now.

Kauai

A former Kauai police lieutenant pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing $25,000 in federal grant money from the department. Garden Island.

Former Kauai Police Department Lt. Karen Kapua pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court this afternoon to stealing $25,000 from the department. Star-Advertiser.

Parking on the sand is part of life at Black Pot Beach and at Tuesday night’s meeting, it was a main concern as the community shared its thoughts about the new plan for developing the beach park. Garden Island.