Friday, January 6, 2017

Legislative panel beats on Ige budget, political neophyte named to House seat, Hirono to meet ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, Ige campaign manager steps down to be considered for judgeship, coffee berry borer reaches Maui, OHA CEO Crabbe vows to keep job, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy House Majority
House Finance, Senate Ways and Means on Ige budget 01/05/17 courtesy House Majority
Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget came under attack Thursday during its first public vetting of the year, with House Finance Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Luke calling it “borderline schizophrenic.” Star-Advertiser.

The chair of the House Finance Committee is so disappointed with the governor’s budget that she suggested the administration withdraw it and start over. Civil Beat.

During a Thursday briefing to the Legislature, the Council on Revenues said that despite a 3.3 percent increase in visitor arrivals, visitor spending in Hawaii is up only 1.3 percent, which could be a factor in the slower growth in tax revenue. Pacific Business News.

State lawmaker pushes for taxing online sales. KITV.

House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke says someone in the leadership of the public employees pension fund should resign after the fund posted what she called a “pathetic” investment return of negative 1 percent during the fiscal year that ended June 30. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige has still not found a chief labor negotiator even though he is involved in sensitive talks with six public-sector unions. Civil Beat.

Dean Nishina is officially serving as the state consumer advocate. Star-Advertiser.

Dean Nishina, a former auditor and financial consultant for Arthur Andersen & Co. LLP, has been tapped as the executive director for the Hawaii state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Division of Consumer Advocacy, the state said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

One state agency is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to beef up security. These changes will be made ahead of the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state. KHON2.

Attorney Keith Hiraoka has stepped down from his post as campaign manager for Gov. David Ige in an attempt to mitigate any conflicts of interest as he seeks a judgeship on the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Star-Advertiser.

The Judicial Selection Commission on Wednesday released a list of nominees for a vacancy on Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals. Civil Beat.

What Would ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Mean For Military-Heavy Hawaii? Former Marine Gen. James Mattis is likely headed for confirmation as defense secretary. He meets Friday with Sen. Mazie Hirono. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund — which helps pay for funeral, medical and other crime victims’ costs — has received its largest single payment of $150,000 as the result of a settlement in a corporate tax case. Star-Advertiser.

As traditional commercial fishing is threatening fish populations worldwide, U.S. officials are working on a plan to expand fish farming into federal waters around the Pacific Ocean. Associated Press.

Teachers association leader questions strategic plan. HSTA says three-year outline doesn’t address ways to fix education. Garden Island.

The man who thwarted an effort to hold an election for Native Hawaiians is the newest trustee of the public agency that provided $2.6 million for the failed self-governance vote. Kelii Akina was elected in November as an at-large Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee, unseating Haunani Apoliona, who was a trustee since 1996. Associated Press.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees, aligned under new leadership, has decided to enter into negotiations to buy out the contract of CEO Kamana‘opono Crabbe. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Hawaii regulators have rejected a plan by Hawaiian Electric Co. and AES Hawaii to expand the state’s only coal-run electricity generation plant. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is looking for developers to build wind projects on Oahu before a federal tax credit for wind power expires in 2019. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Planning Commission has approved an amendment to the city’s land-use law that spells out how much affordable housing developers must provide if they want to be eligible for a special temporary permit that provides height and density advantages for building near planned rail stations. Civil Beat.

The Howard Hughes Corp. has closed on two construction loans totaling more than $372 million for the development of its Aeo and Ke Kilohana mixed-use condominium high-rise tower projects currently underway at its 60-acre Ward Village master-planned community in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako. Pacific Business News.

City officials say they believe about 137,400 gallons of untreated sewage spilled out of a broken force main pipe and onto vacant land near the Ko Olina Golf Course Monday and Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s chief of police will get the chance to address members of the Honolulu Police Commission when it meets Friday. KHON2.

The Honolulu Police Commission will hold a closed-door executive session on Friday to determine the future of police chief Louis Kealoha with the Honolulu Police Department. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Chris Todd will become the newest — and one of the youngest — members of the state Legislature after being appointed Thursday to replace Rep. Clift Tsuji, who died Nov. 15. Tribune-Herald.

Governor Ige has appointed Chris Todd to fill late Rep. Clift Tsuji’s seat at the State House. He was chosen from a list of three Democratic Party candidates. Big Island Video News.

Gov. David Ige has tapped Chris Todd to replace the late Rep. Clift Tsuji in the state House of Representatives representing Hilo, following a party selection process that raised questions about potential improprieties. Star-Advertiser.

With the unanimous confirmation Thursday of seven department heads, the County Council gave its stamp of approval to the majority of Mayor Harry Kim’s new Cabinet. West Hawaii Today.

Work is underway on the final phases of the Komohana Street reconstruction project, which now will extend through mid-January. Tribune-Herald.

Kona coffee growers say this year’s harvest is mostly in, and it’s smaller than usual, but with more high-quality beans that fetch higher prices. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

The Maui County Council may have ironed out its main leadership issues Monday, but with a public hearing on standing committees still to come, the important work of vetting new bills cannot begin yet. Maui News.

The coffee berry borer was detected in December 2016 on a coffee farm in Kīpahulu on Maui. Maui Now.

State agriculture officials reported Thursday that they had confirmed the presence of the coffee berry borer at two locations on the Hana side of Maui, in Kipahulu, directly across the channel from Hawi. Hawaii News Now.

Twenty-eight lots across 86 acres near the Maui Motorsports Park in Pulehunui in Maui’s only heavy industrial zoned subdivision hit the market Tuesday, island real estate officials said. Maui News.

Kauai

State considering plan to build a $500K crossing for Hanakapiai Stream. Garden Island.