Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tax hikes for schools, audit sought in $60M state contract failure, Caldwell's State of the City address, Pohakuloa Training Area under fire for pollution, former Kauai mayor running again, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Department of Education
Public school, courtesy Hawaii Department of Education
Constitutional amendment seeks increased taxes for public schools. A plan to ask voters whether the state should create a dedicated funding stream for public schools by taxing investment homes and visitor accommodations is back in play after nearly a month of inaction in the House. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee advanced a measure Tuesday to dramatically cut funding to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the state agency responsible for marketing Hawaii to the world. Star-Advertiser.

State senators are demanding an audit of the state Tax Department's $60 million computer modernization project. Hawaii News Now.

A project manager who oversaw the $60 million Tax System Modernization project for the state was identified Tuesday as the person who coached an outside consultant on what issues to address and what to say in public reports on the progress of the project. Star-Advertiser.

Mandatory or unconstitutional?: House debates bill that would tax online sales. The House amended a bill Tuesday whose topic of taxing online sales continues to be a big issue at the Capitol — and may even lead to lawsuits from internet companies. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Waters Down Bill To Set Minimum Police Officer Standards. Every state except Hawaii already does so, but a measure that passed the House has been gutted in the Senate. Civil Beat.

Panel supports bill to help Hawaiians keep ancestral land. The bill was introduced after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in late 2016 filed lawsuits to identify owners of 14 parcels interspersed within a 700-acre oceanfront estate he owns on Kauai Island. Associated Press.

New push underway to test all students for mental health disorders. Mental health advocates are pushing schools to screen every student for mental health issues. Hawaii News Now.

A bill that would prohibit certain types of restraints and tethers used on animals is moving forward. HB2072 HD2 SD1 just passed the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and will now head to conference committee. KHON2.

Schatz For President In 2020? Don’t Count On It, He Says. Told his name is being “bandied about” as a possible candidate, the Hawaii senator dismissed any notion that he might run. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen civil defense preparedness in Hawaii and across the country. Garden Island.

Little Agreement Over Toxoplasmosis Solution. The debate largely boils down to one question: should feral cats be eradicated? Hawaii Public Radio.

A $15 Billion Price Tag To Protect Hawaii Highways from Climate Change. As the state braces for sea level rise, vulnerable roads could be moved inland — and tunneled through mountains. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is sponsoring a peace rally today on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Star-Advertiser.

Home prices in Hawaii rose by a smaller percentage than the national average over the past year and Oahu and Maui are among the markets that are considered overvalued, according to the monthly CoreLogic Home Price Index for February. Pacific Business News.

Are there downsides to a low unemployment rate? In Hawaii, which has the United States' lowest jobless rate at a minuscule 2.1 percent, the answer is yes. Associated Press.

Hawaii bankruptcies up 10.5 percent in March. Statewide bankruptcies rose for the second time in three months in March despite continuing signs that the economy remains on strong footing. Star-Advertiser.

A&B finishes mainland real estate sell-off. Alexander & Baldwin Inc. announced Tuesday that it sold its last commercial property on the mainland. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s plan to legalize more vacation rentals but under stricter regulations got mostly lukewarm feedback from a housing advocate and key City Council member, as well as both a supporter and opponent of short-term rentals. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu mayor discusses affordable housing, rail budget in sixth State of the City address. Hawaii News Now.

State of the City: Mayor talks affordable housing, rail funding and short-term vacation rentals. KITV.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell gave his State of the City address on Tuesday night on the grounds of the Neal Blaisdell Center. KHON2.

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Settlement reached after city worker is accused of misusing resources. According to the city's Ethics Commission, the employee did not take appropriate vacation leave when working at a non-city job. KHON2.

Rents in Honolulu steady, or down, two reports say. Renters are paying the same or less for one- and two-bedroom apartments in Honolulu, compared to a year ago, according to reports from Apartment List and Zumper that agree on one thing — rents are not rising in Hawaii’s largest city. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu is looking for a better way to deal with feral chickens after its first attempt at getting a handle on the birds resulted in a cost of $108 per chicken caught and killed. Associated Press.

Iconic Magnum PI house to be demolished. The owner of the 8,900 square-foot Waimanalo mansion, Marty Nesbitt, was purchased for $8.7 million in 2015, but is said to be in disrepair. Hawaii News Now.

Demolition begins for Magnum P.I. home in Waimanalo. KITV.

Hawaii Island

A Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources failed to “malama aina,” or care for the land, under a lease it has with the U.S. Army at the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii judge ruled Tuesday that the state has failed to enforce a lease requiring the U.S. military to clean up debris on the Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii Island. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu Circuit Court judge has ruled the state breached its duties to “malama aina” with respect to lands it is leasing to the U.S. Army as part of the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Four years after two Hawaiians filed suit against the state for its alleged breach of trust regarding its lease of Pohakuloa lands to the U.S. Army, a circuit court judge has ruled in their favor. Big Island Video News.

Judge orders more oversight at Pohakuloa Training Area. KHON2.

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EnVision Maunakea, a community-based initiative designed to gather a wide range of Hawaii Island perspectives about Maunakea’s future, has released its long-awaited report. Big Island Now.

Senate bill calling for new Mauna Kea management stalls in the House. KITV.

County watching Maui wastewater discharge case. The Hawaii County Environmental Management Commission last week resolved that the county should exceed goals and policies of the federal Clean Water Act regarding wastewater discharge rather than merely comply with the letter of the law. West Hawaii Today.

Kim names Simeon DPW director. Mayor Harry Kim has completed his Cabinet rebuild, following a spate of resignations last fall. West Hawaii Today.

A measure to fund full-time lifeguards at Kua Bay needs to pass its final Senate committee by the end of this week to stay afloat. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration will hold a public informational meeting for the proposed Paia Relief Route project to address existing traffic congestion along Hana Highway in Paia. Maui Now.

Utility-scale solar projects near the ‘finish line’ but need more time. Lahaina, Kihei projects focused on connection with MECO, Maui grid. Maui News.

Maui Tacos announced plans to expand nationwide, with six new store openings scheduled for 2018 and 12 new stores slated for 2019. Maui Now.

Kauai

Yukimura announces mayoral bid. Councilwoman and former mayor JoAnn Yukimura announced Tuesday she is seeking Kauai’s top elected post. Garden Island.

Former mayor and city council member JoAnn Yukimura has joined the race to become Kauai's next mayor. Hawaii News Now.

Project expected to help meet housing need. The 235 lots planned for Kealia Mauka Homesites are aimed at local families, according to project representatives working on a draft environmental impact statement. Garden Island.

Gov. David Ige issued today an emergency proclamation for Kauai after heavy rains caused a series of landslides onto Kuhio Highway, isolating the communities of Haena and Wainiha near Hanalei. Star-Advertiser.

The governor on Tuesday declared the District of Hanalei a disaster area. Garden Island.

Kauai's Russian Fort Might Be Less Russian Than Believed. Paulaula o Hipo, the site of Fort Elizabeth, the fort built by Russian trading interests in the early 19th century, is best remembered as the setting for the brief alliance between the Russian-American Company and Kauai's High Chief Kaumualii. Hawaii Public Radio.