Friday, June 29, 2012

Hawaii reaction mixed on Affordable Care Act ruling, new state office replaces junior kindergarten, Honolulu releases details on $1.55B rail plan, almost half of Big Island properties in foreclosure, Ellison closes on Lanai purchase, RIMPAC brings 20k military, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Early childhood Coordinator Terry Lock and Gov. Abercrombie courtesy photo
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation Thursday that ends junior kindergarten in 2014, and establishes a state Office of Early Learning to begin phasing in a publicly funded preschool network. Terry Lock, who has been serving as the state's first early childhood coordinator, was appointed by the governor to head the early learning office. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bet correctly that the Supreme Court would uphold the bulk of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, but the state plans a full analysis to see how the lengthy ruling affects plans to implement the law. Associated Press.

In the home state of President Barack Obama, government officials and healthcare executives were all smiles Thursday over the U.S. Supreme Court decision favoring Obama’s national health insurance initiative. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii government and health care industry leaders applauded Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama's historic health care reform act and pledged to work across agencies to tie in and blend the federal standards with Hawaii's own landmark legislation. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s top government officials celebrated Thursday as word came down that the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the major tenants of President Barack Obama’s health-care reform legislation. Civil Beat.

Not long after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, the members of Hawaii's congressional delegation — all Democrats — were in unison in welcoming the surprise decision. Civil Beat.

Hawaii insurers have said they have been implementing the law's provisions as required and that the Supreme Court's ruling was unlikely to change anything. Pacific Business News.

Health insurance is a necessity for all, but mandates that citizens buy insurance or pay a penalty may be cause for concern, Big Island residents and visitors said Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Regardless of what the Supreme Court decided, public opinion is split on Obamacare. Tribune-Herald.

Affordable Care Act's effects on Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

There was a round of applause by state leaders Thursday after the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the President's Health Care Law. KHON2.

The world's largest international maritime training exercise starts Friday in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

State roundup for June 29. Associated Press.


With just over a month left until the primary election, Honolulu mayoral candidates and PACs — including two newcomers — are ramping up their TV ad spending. Civil Beat.

A change in city bus routes is leading some riders to switch to driving their cars and overloading buses on some routes to the point where they have to bypass people at bus stops. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Rail Transit officials marked a major milestone today in their effort to secure 1.55 billion dollars in federal funding for the city’s largest public works project, ever. Hawaii Public Radio.

Thursday, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) submitted an application to the Federal Transit Administration for a full funding grant agreement, the first step in securing up to $1.55 billion in federal subsidies for the city's controversial rail project. KITV4.

The city of Honolulu Thursday released details of its formal application for $1.55 billion in federal funding for the Honolulu rail line, the submittal of which rail advocates described as one of the most significant milestones yet for the controversial project. Star-Advertiser.

A seemingly innocuous statement by one of the leading candidates for Honolulu mayor has reignited a blaze of accusations and concerns about a potential merger of the city's Fire and Emergency Services departments. Civil Beat.

Three different groups gathered in Kunia to protest Monsanto. KHON2.


Hawaii Island has more than 500 foreclosures pending in the 3rd Circuit Court, appraisers say. Compare that figure with the 1,289 active real estate listings the county has, appraiser Larry Baird said. West Hawaii Today.

New claims for unemployment compensation on the Big Island dropped last week, while total claims, including repeat filers, remained low. West Hawaii Today.


A “Permitting Open House” will be held on July 6 by Mayor Alan Arakawa’s Permit Process Improvement Team (PPIT) taskforce and the public is encouraged to attend this free event. Maui Now.

Last Fourth of July, the Maui County Fire Department responded to 73 fireworks-related calls - about the average number for the past three years. Maui News.


A cross-cultural event recently celebrated the return of traditional food sourcing and preparation in the interest of health and heritage. Garden Island.

Voters will not decide in the November elections what “shall” really means when it’s spelled out in the Kaua‘i County Charter. Garden Island.


The third-richest man in America, Oracle Corp. co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison, has completed his acquisition of Lanai, seller Castle & Cooke Inc. said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The sale of most of Lanai and its assets to billionaire Larry Ellison was successfully completed, seller Castle & Cooke Inc. announced Thursday morning. Maui News.

Castle & Cooke announced today the completion of sale of its Lāna‘i assets by David Murdock to Lawrence J. Ellison to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Maui Now.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Undersea cable could send Neighbor Island electricity to Oahu, legislators rake in cash during session, Maui clears hundreds of homeless from camps, no doc taxes for state from Lanai sale, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

undersea cable
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law Wednesday that lays the foundation for a proposed undersea cable that could transmit to Oahu renewable energy generated on Neighbor Islands. Star-Advertiser.

The ceremony surrounding the controversial undersea cable bill was eclipsed by questions about the sale of Lanai to billionaire Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and what that means for a large-scale wind farm proposed for that island. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers raised nearly a half million for their reelection campaign treasuries in 2011, often by holding fundraisers while the Legislature was in session. And judging by the number of candidates who held fundraisers during this year's session, it looks like it'll be even more this year. Civil Beat.

Former U. S. Congressman Ed Case and former Governor Linda Lingle have already set their first debate after the August 11 primary, even though both have to win their Primary election in the upcoming U.S. Senate race. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii ranked seventh best out of 30 coastal states for beach water quality last year, but failed to have any of the cleanest beaches in America, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council's 22nd annual beach water quality report. Star-Advertiser.

Manny Duenas, outgoing chairman of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, repeatedly challenged federal scientists as they testified during Wespac meetings this week at the YWCA in Honolulu, accusing them of undermining indigenous rights. Civil Beat.

Protection of sea turtles under the Endangered Species Act is helping their populations rebound and some groups say it's gone too far. Hawaii Public Radio.

With the Supreme Court upholding today by a vote of 5-4 the key mandate in the Affordable Healthcare Act forcing Americans to buy healthcare coverage, there will be a variety of statements and editorial opinions issued over the next several days. Hawaii Reporter.


A nearly three-decade quarrel over New Zealand's anti-nuclear posture still prevents the Kiwi frigate Te Kaha and tanker Endeavour from stopping in Pearl Harbor, just as U.S. Navy ships are not allowed to make port calls in New Zealand. Star-Advertiser.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn will not unseal McDonald's surveillance videos of the Nov. 5 shooting of Kollin Elderts by a U.S. State Department special agent in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Star-Advertiser.

Racial slurs preceded a deadly encounter at a Waikiki McDonald’s, leaving a U.S. Department of State agent charged with murdering a Hawaii man, the agent’s attorney claims in a request to move the case to federal court. Associated Press.

Occupy Honolulu fights corporate greed, while working for corporate giant. Hawaii News Now.

Wednesday the City's Planning Commission held a public hearing asking residents what they think and the majority of people who testified believe the city needs to slow down on Ewa development. KHON2.

Nearly 80 people affiliated with the University of Hawaii are in Washington D.C this week for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. UH says the trips costs about $230,000. KITV4.


All 20 West Hawaii public schools will likely benefit from the more than $45 million the state is receiving next school year to provide extra support and resources for the neediest of students, said West Hawaii Complex Area Superintendent Art Souza. West Hawaii Today.

More than $500,000 has been targeted for efforts to fight the coffee berry borer on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

A new self-help center for those who represent themselves in court will start operating Monday on the first floor of the state courthouse in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

The North Kohala community is celebrating the acquisition of 27 acres of undeveloped coastal land in Halaula by the community non-profit Maika`i Kamakani `O Kohala. KPUA.


Bulldozers and other heavy equipment cleared 40 acres mauka of Honoapiilani Highway, from Dickenson Street to Kauaula Stream, of "little tent cities" that had housed hundreds of homeless people. Maui News.

Eleven sets of iwi kupuna discovered in the "footprint" of the planned Safeway store at the future Maui Lani Center could be relocated to a large on-site burial preserve. Maui News.


Asbestos abatement and disassembly of the former Kekaha Sugar Mill is scheduled to start in July with work expected to take about six months, states a release from Kekaha MS, the property owner. Garden Island.

The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie successfully completed a flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system early Wednesday morning in the mid-Pacific Ocean. Garden Island.


When the sale of some 88,000 acres of property on Lanai to Oracle Corp. founder and CEO Larry Ellison closes, it likely won’t include the conveyance tax that is paid on nearly every other real estate transaction in Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

On the day Lanai was set to be sold, residents were left wondering whether the sale really took place and how it would alter the future of Hawaii's sixth-largest island. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Veto brewing for coffee certification bill, Ellison's Lanai purchase to close today, broadband coming to Molokai settlement, adult education downsized, Honolulu councilman scolded for abuse of power, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kona coffee cherries
Hawaii coffee growers remain divided over legislation that would do away with the state’s mandatory certifications of their coffee. Tribune-Herald.

The future of the state will depend much on the Big Island, particularly with its development of energy and agriculture, Gov. Neil Abercrombie told business leaders in Hilo on Monday. Tribune-Herald.

After reviewing more than 340 measures, Governor Neil Abercrombie today notified the State Legislature of his intent to veto 19 of those bills. Hawaii Reporter.

90 Percent of Hawaii's Incumbents are Running For Reelection. Hawaii Reporter.

Under a restructuring program, the 11 adult education schools across the state will be folded into two. KITV4.

State roundup for June 27. Associated Press.


The Honolulu City Council plans no further disciplinary action against Councilman Ikaika Anderson, Chairman Ernie Martin said, after the Ethics Commission publicly scolded Anderson for misusing his office in trying to obtain special parking privileges and threatening retaliation against parking office employees. Star-Advertiser.

Federal special agent Christopher Deedy shot and killed Kollin Elderts at a McDonald's restaurant last year, but only after the Kailua man harassed a customer with racial slurs, assaulted Deedy and tried to grab the agent's gun, Deedy's defense attorney said in papers filed in federal court Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Hopefuls Differ on Big Issues. Civil Beat.

Reapportionment – the redrawing of election boundaries every ten years – almost always results in two incumbent office holders running against each other for the same district seat.   That’s what happened in House District 33 … consisting of the Newtown, Ai’ea and Halawa neighborhoods on O’ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

The hotly contested primary race between state Sen. Pohai Ryan and challenger Laura Thielen spilled over into a Kailua Neighborhood Board meeting earlier this month. Civil Beat.

More help is on the way for Oahu drivers who are frustrated with the traffic nightmare on the H-1 Freeway. KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric Co. said Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with the City and County of Honolulu on a revised and expanded power-purchase agreement for the utility to buy electricity generated by the H-Power plant in the Campbell Industrial Park in West Oahu. Pacific Business News.

The new expansion at the H-POWER plant will help turn even more smelly trash into cash for the city. Hawaii News Now.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign a bill today intended to make the Big Island a center for companies and space agencies working to make the moon habitable, a feat long left to the realm of science fiction but coming closer to reality. Tribune-Herald.

If Tuesday’s League of Women Voters of Hawaii County candidates’ forum featuring state Senate District 3 and 4 candidates is any indication, education is emerging as one of the issues that will shape the election season. West Hawaii Today.

Despite recent court orders establishing the county’s ownership of the property and denying Lui’s appeals of those orders, Mayor Billy Kenoi hasn’t ordered Hawaiian activist Abel Simeone Lui evicted, nor has the Hawaii County Police Department or the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office enforced the court’s wishes. The lack of action has some Ka‘u residents wondering whether the inaction is political, particularly as the mayoral primary approaches. West Hawaii Today.

A cattle ranch is teaming up with an investment organization funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to research large-scale grass-fed beef production on the Big Island. Associated Press.


Maui Court Nominee Grilled By Senator. Hawaii Reporter.

At least 40 people gathered for an overnight vigil Sunday through Monday to honor the kupuna whose skeletal remains have been discovered and/or removed from the construction site of the Maui Lani Center across from Baldwin High School along Kaahumanu Avenue. Maui News.


Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution clarifying the process by which the co-op allows members to not have a smart meter installed. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved the Kilauea Lighthouse Village, an ambitious and controversial 46,800-square-foot mall in the heart of Kilauea Town. Garden Island.

Work on the decommissioning of the Lihu‘e Sugar Mill is on schedule and should be completed by the end of September, said Keith Roylance, the operations manager of NCM Contracting Group, during a monthly meeting providing updates on the decommissioning project. Garden Island.


Once Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison owns the island of Lanai, seen here in this 2007 file photo, he would have to ask the Hawaii Land Use Commission for zoning changes for any development that's not already allowed on land zoned for agriculture. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has given interim approval to allowing Larry Ellison, the anticipated soon-to-be-owner of most of Lanai, to take over ownership of the island's three regulated utilities. Maui News.

The Public Utilities Commission has given interim approval for the transfer of three Lana’i utilities (electricity, water, and transportation) from Castle and Cooke to Larry Ellisons’ Oracle Corporation.  This clears the way for the sale of the island to close as scheduled June 27. Hawaii Public Radio.


Next month, Kalaupapa residents can expect to receive broadband Internet service for the first time in the settlement’s history. Molokai Dispatch.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Elections 2012 Special Report: Crowded race for Hawaii Congressional District 2

The campaign for the District 2 congressional seat, covering rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands, is once again a wide-open race following three-term U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono's resignation to seek the U.S. Senate (more about that race here).

Oahu residents make up fewer than 40 percent of the voters in the district, but no one living on the Neighbor Islands has ever won the seat. That's because candidates from all the Hawaiian Islands tend to gravitate to state elected or appointed positions in Honolulu, the seat of power, before seeking federal office.

Both of Hawaii's 2012 House seats are considered "safe Democrat" by political prognosticator Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. District 2 is certainly holding true to that form, with the odds-on favorites coming from the Democratic Party.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann held a substantial lead in polling in a Feb. 14 Honolulu Star-Advertiser report. The newspaper reported Hannemann had 65 percent of the vote, compared with just 20 percent for his best-known challenger, City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard. A June 18 Civil Beat poll found Gabbard overcoming that early lead to make it a neck-and-neck race.

Hannemann gave up the Honolulu mayorship in 2010 in an unsuccessful bid for governor. He lost that race to Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a rout, leaving prognosticators predicting the congressional seat will be Hannemann's consolation prize in the small, close-knit state. But with two months still to go before the Aug. 11 primary, no one's taking anything for granted.

About the candidates:

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Tulsi Gabbard (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Tulsi Gabbard
Party: Democrat
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808. 861.0793
Political Experience: Honolulu City Council, 2010-2012; Legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, 2006; Hawaii state House, the youngest legislator elected in the history of Hawaii and the youngest woman elected in the nation 2002-2004;
Other experience: Hawaii Army National Guard, field medical unit, 2004-2006, promoted to captain, serves as company commander, 2011; co-founder of Health Hawaii Coalition, 2002
Education: Hawaii Pacific University, international business degree, 2010.
Personal: Born April 12, 1981, Leloaloa, American Samoa, moved to Hawaii in 1983. Single.

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Mufi hannemann (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Mufi Hannemann
Party: Democrat
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808. 521-6834
Political Experience: Honolulu mayor, 2005-2010, Director, Hawaii Office of International Relations (Waihe‘e administration), Staff Assistant to Vice President George H.W. Bush, Special Assistant to Governor George R. Ariyoshi
Other experience:  President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Public Affairs and President and General Manager of Punalu‘u Sweetbread, 1984; Shop/Visitor Center and C. Brewer Hawaiian Juices for C. Brewer and Company, Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of the Interior (Carter administration), History teacher and varsity basketball coach, ‘Iolani School
Education: Harvard University, 1976;
Personal: Born July 16, 1954, Honolulu, married to Gail Mukaihata

Esther Kiaaina

Esther Kia'aina
Party: Democrat
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808.591.2012
Political Experience: Chief of Staff to Hawaii Congressman Ed Case, 2003-2007, Chief of Staff/Legislative Director to Guam Congressman Robert Underwood, 1999-2003, Legislative Assistant to Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka, 1990-1999, Counselor in the U.S. Senate Placement Office, 1989-1990, Intern to Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, Spring 1986
Other experience:  Chief Advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, 2009-present, Land Asset Manager for the Kamehameha Schoolsʻ Land Assets Division, 2007-2009
Education: George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1998, The John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, graduate studies, 1986-1988, University of Southern California, B.A., 1985
Personal: Daughter of Lorelei Haunani Kiaaina (formerly Anahu), Molokai High School ʻ48, and the late Melvin Leialoha Kiaaina, Farrington High School ʻ48.Youngest of Seven Siblings: Keaolamauloa “Duke” Kiaaina, Michelle Mamo Kiaaina (deceased), Melvin “Kimo” Kiaaina, Jr.; Nadine Nomura; Nola Mento; and Ricky Pa.

Bob Marx

Bob Marx
Party: Democrat
Island: Hawaii Island
Campaign phone: 808. 938-2202
Political Experience: Three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives, Named "Senior Advocate of the Year" by the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired People
Other experience: Personal injury attorney. Began practicing law in Hilo in 1980 and now has offices in Hilo and Kailua-Kona.
Education: Doctor of Jurisprudence at Lewis and Clark College 1979, Oregon State University bachelor's degree in political science, 1971.
Personal: Maternal grandparents, Basilo and Maximina Belin, immigrated from Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1921 to work on the Pu`unene Plantation in Maui. Son of a daughter of a plantation worker and U.S. Naval Aviator who met in Honolulu and subsequently moved to Oregon, where he was born.Father of four grown children, and has three young grandchildren. aised his youngest son Kai as a single parent after the death of his wife, Hiromi Tsuchida-Marx in 1998.

Other candidates

Monday, June 25, 2012

Elections 2012 Special Report: Hawaii's 1st Congressional District 'safe Democrat'

It's deja vu all over again in the race for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District, which was vacated in 2010 when 20-year Congressman Neil Abercrombie resigned in a successful run for the state governorship. Both of the major contenders for the district representing Honolulu and urban Oahu have held that office before.

Fundraising and campaigning have gotten off to a slow start in the race, as both the Democrat, current U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and the Republican, former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, are expected to easily win their respective Aug. 11 primaries before the pair face off in the Nov. 6 general election.

Incumbent Hanabusa reported individual contributions of $500,096 in the first quarter of 2012, and another $284,561 from PACs. GOP challenger former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou reported $231,446 in individual contributions and $19,300 from PACs, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The race is expected to be a rematch of 2010, when Djou was the incumbent after winning a special election in May of that year to fill the vacancy. The Republican candidate won in a three-way winner-take-all election featuring one Republican and two Democrats.

Both of Hawaii's 2012 House seats are considered "safe Democrat" by political prognosticator Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball.

The other Democrat  from the 2010 special election, former U.S. Rep. from Hawaii's 2nd District, Ed Case, is now running for U.S. Senate. About that race.

Charles Djou
Party: Republican
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808. 224.5627
Political Experience: U.S. Rep. Hawaii's 1st District, 2010-2011; Honolulu City Council, 2002-2010; state House, 2000-2002, Vice Chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party 1998-1999
Other experience: U.S. Army Reserve, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Infantry Division at Forward Operating Base Pasab in Kandahar Province
Education: University of Southern California Law School, law degree, 1996. University of Pennsylvania, B.A. in political science, B.S. in economics, magna cum laude, from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, 1992
Personal: Born Aug. 9, 1970, Married to Stacey Kawasaki, three children.

Colleen Hanabusa
Party: Democrat
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808. 430.1981
Political Experience: U.S. Rep. Hawaii's 1st District, 2010-2012; state Senate, 1998-2010, Senate president 2006-2010, first woman to lead either house of the Hawaii Legislature
Other experience: Labor law attorney, 1978-2012
Education: University of Hawaii at Manoa, law degree 1977, M.A. sociology 1975, B.A. economics and sociology, 1973
Personal: Married to Honolulu businessman John Souza

Other candidates:
Charles Amsterdam, Republican, Oahu, 808. 550-4994
John "Raghu" Giuffre, Republican, Oahu,
Roy Wyttenbach II, Democrat, Oahu, https://www.fa

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lanai buyer owes $333,824 in back taxes, more on the Ellison Lanai sale, activist challenges Hawaiian land transfer, candidate filing deadline moved up, snake dogs to return, Kona midlevel road opening Saturday, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Halibut Thyme
Lanai mountains Halibut Thyme courtesy photo

Billionaire Larry Ellison plans to buy Lanai, the sixth largest of the eight Hawaiian isles. Civil Beat.

Larry Ellison’s Oracle Corp. owes the state of Hawaii $333,824 in back taxes, according to a lien filed against the company here last year. Hawaii Reporter.

Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison is buying more than land when he closes on the deal to acquire 98 percent of the island of Lanai from billionaire David Murdock of Castle and Cooke. Pacific Business News.

Prior to Wednesday's public confirmation that Lanai was being sold to billionaire Larry Ellison, state Senate President Shan Tsutsui asked Gov. Neil Abercrombie to look into purchasing the island that could become "a major asset to the state." Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa was among the Maui officials who responded today to news of the recently confirmed sale of the island of Lana’i by releasing a statement this afternoon. Maui Now.

There's a condition to the deal to sell Lanai. David Murdock wants to continue with his controversial wind farm project for the northwestern part of the island. Hawaii News Now.

Friends discuss Murdock's struggle with Lanai. News of deal, relief to Murdock friend. KITV4.

Commentary: Give Lanai back to the Hawaiians. All Hawaii News.

Hawaii attorney H. William Burgess is challenging the state's decision to transfer 10 parcels of land from the state of Hawaii to a state agency, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Hawaii Reporter.

The public won't have to wait as long to get a close look at who's donating to political candidates this year thanks to a new law signed last week that moves the filing deadline up to July 12. Civil Beat.

After a nearly three year lapse, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture is bringing back canine units capable of detecting the brown tree snake, which if established in Hawaii would devastate the state's fragile ecosystem. KITV4.

Hawaii has made national news in recent days because of two national reports shining the light on Hawaii’s growing state liabilities. Hawaii Reporter.

By the Numbers: The U.S.'s Growing For-Profit Detention Industry. Civil Beat.

Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison has reached a deal to buy 98 percent of the island of Lanai from its current owner, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday. Associated Press.

A bill prohibiting having feral deer or releasing them into the wild was signed into law today by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Star-Advertiser.


First Wind said Thursday it will start transporting the wind turbine components for its 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind project next week via trucks with oversized trailers from Barbers Point harbor to the wind farm site near Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore. Pacific Business News.

Eight years after the Army last fired a live round in training in Makua Valley, a federal judge affirmed that the service won't be allowed do so again until it completes an archaeological survey and study of munitions runoff on limu and other marine resources, an environmental law organization said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The state Land Use Commission issued written decisions Thursday detailing its approval and conditions for master-planned communities Ho‘opili in Ewa and Koa Ridge in Central Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

The first phase of the 5.3 billion dollar rail transit project is underway in Leeward O’ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Average daily rates at Oahu hotels rose 10 percent in May, the highest average daily rate growth in the nation for the month, according to data from STR. Pacific Business News.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold a public hearing on a proposed permanent rule to identify a safety zone around Ahu O Laka (the Kane‘ohe bay sandbar) that is subject to restrictions on three-day weekends involving a state holiday. KHON2.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie has not made a decision on reopening Kulani prison, a spokesman said Thursday, a day after the governor signed a package of bills aimed at reducing the number of prisoners sent to the mainland. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Billy Kenoi ripped into a bill that would require a minimum prepayment of millions of dollars into the county’s retiree benefit fund as “political grandstanding” and promised a “highly likely” veto. Tribune-Herald.

The new 2.9-mile Ane Keohokalole Highway opens at 3 p.m. Saturday providing motorists another means for traversing north and south in Kona. West Hawaii Today.

State Department of Transportation officials are seeking authorization to build a base yard to maintain Saddle Road. West Hawaii Today.


Maui community groups say they're determined to halt development of two planned mega-mall shopping complexes off of Piilani Highway, even to the point of seeking relief in court. Maui News.


Kaua‘i County Council members on Wednesday put on hold for at least two weeks a bill proposing to outlaw smoking in county parks. Garden Island.

Po‘ipu Beach Park was the beneficiary of efforts from a group of visitors from IHS, a global business information services company based in Denver. Garden Island.


The canonization of Blessed Marianne Cope is just four months away, and a fundraiser aims to help patients from Kalaupapa make a pilgrimage to the Vatican. KHON2.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Give Lanai back to the Hawaiians: Commentary

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Former Gov. Linda Lingle in effigy (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
The island of Lanai is for sale! And with that sale comes a solution to the Hawaiian sovereignty problem.

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Native Hawaiian protest at the governor's mansion
 (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

We've been hearing about Native Hawaiian rights and sovereignty for decades. Numerous boards and commissions have been authorized.

 Gov. Neil Abercrombie created yet another one just this year. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission "starts the process that will eventually lead to federal recognition of Native Hawaiians," his website says. Yep, sounds like they're going to get right on it, doesn't it?

Countless reams of reports have been generated, special schools and all-Hawaiian language programs created, tax incentives proposed. The battle over sovereignty made its way to Congress in the form of the Akaka Bill, where it died a quiet death.

Meanwhile, racial tensions simmer, occasionally bubbling to the surface in the Aloha State. Just this week, two commentaries caught my eye.

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Rep. Mele Carroll, ceded lands protest
(c) 2012 All Hawaii News

 Civilbeat's "Can a White Federal Agent Who Killed a Hawaii Local Get a Fair Trial?" explains how a Honolulu attorney representing U.S. special agent Christopher Deedy, who shot a local man in a Waikiki McDonald's, wants to make sure this long-simmering tension doesn't keep his client — who is charged with murder — from getting a fair trial.

Maui Now's "Once a Haole, Always a Haole," appears to be an attempt at humor, but it has generated a lot of controversy on the Maui Now website and Facebook page.

But it all boils down to land. You cannot be a self-governing people without land.

The solution is so simple, government will never consider it. But it's time the state of Hawaii stepped up and did the right thing.

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
(c) 2012 All Hawaii News
With the island of Lanai on the real estate market, the state could purchase it and turn it over to the Hawaiians for self-governance. Abercrombie has been meeting with Castle & Cooke, the sellers, and the price is expected to be in the neighborhood of $500 million.

The state already owns about 2 percent of the 141 square miles of the sixth-largest Hawaiian Island, which became the property of billionaire David Murdock in 1985. It's already got infrastructure, roads, a school, an airport.

How hard could that be? Float a bond, buy the land, set up a temporary government -- using, say the Office of Hawaiian Affairs ($8.3 million annual budget) and the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (annual general lease revenues of $8.1 million). Start the government, dismantle those two agencies and use the savings  to pay off the bonds.

Give Hawaiians a choice which government they want to belong to, or allow them to hold dual citizenship. Hawaiian sovereignty? We can, brah.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hawaii Senate sets special session to confirm judicial nominees, Abercrombie signs charter schools bills, Hawaii County Council bans aerial hunting, transit stations downsized in Honolulu plan, Lanai sale gaining momentum, islands battle wildfires, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii state Capitol (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
The state Senate will meet in a special session June 28-29 to take confirmation votes on judge appointees Richard Pollack to the Hawaii Supreme Court and Peter Cahill to the Circuit Court bench on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 2115, which replaces the chapter governing charter schools based on task force recommendations. Civil Beat.

Tuesday Governor Neil Abercrombie enacted Senate Bill (SB) 2115 and SB 2116, Relating to Charter Schools, into law. KHON2.

With just six weeks until kids head back to class, Hawaii school board members still can't decide how to plug a $17 million hole in the school bus budget. Civil Beat.

The wheels of the bus go round and round, except when there's no money to fund them. Hawaii News Now.

A Civil Beat review of the financial disclosures — filed in mid-May and posted online by the Center for Responsive Politics last week — shows that Sen. Daniel K. Inouye could be the wealthiest in the delegation. But it could also be Rep. Mazie Hirono or Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, depending on how things shake out. All three have holdings valued between $1 million and $3 million. Civil Beat.

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle is making her ability as a Republican who can work with Democrats a centerpiece of her campaign for U.S. Senate. Associated Press.

In a Hawaii Public Radio debate with Mazie Hirono last Wednesday, U.S. senate candidate Ed Case said that women’s organizations gave him 100 percent approval ratings when he represented Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District from 2002 to 2007. Civil Beat.

Small unmanned planes are used as military spies elsewhere but NOAA has bought half a dozen for use over the remote Northwestern Hawai`i Islands. They’ll help researchers track endangered wildlife and marine debris. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for June 20. Associated Press.

As the Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation continues to tweak its financial plan, a decision has been made to shorten the length of all 21 rail stations from East Kapolei to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. KITV4.

Honolulu City Council considers auctioning off Haleiwa land. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano reacted quickly today to a new online political attack questioning his record as governor. Hawaii Reporter.

Conflicting information has come out of the Honolulu Department of Environmental Services regarding how much the city is limiting the number of new sewer connections that can be added to the the city’s system from Halawa to Pearl City. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle joined an official from Google to announce Tuesday the new Street View imagery of Hawaii's parks, beaches and attractions. KITV4.


The Hawaii County Council has a message for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources: Stop shooting our animals from helicopters. Tribune-Herald.

Energy and the economy — and their relationship to each other — were the biggest topics at Tuesday’s League of Women Voters of Hawaii County candidates’ forum at Hualalai Academy. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council passed two geothermal bills Tuesday evening but floundered on a third. Tribune-Herald.

Ka‘u Hospital reopened its emergency room late Tuesday while firefighters continued to battle two brush fires that have scorched about 4,400 acres and obstructed traffic in the Pahala area. West Hawaii Today.

Firefighters spent a second day on Tuesday battling a wildfire that has all but paralyzed Pahala, as well as a smaller brushfire a few miles to the north. Tribune-Herald.

East Hawaii parents dodged a bullet Tuesday when members of the state Board of Education voted to fund all school bus routes on the east side of the island. However, nearly 200 West Hawaii students will need to find alternative transportation in the fall. Tribune-Herald.

The island of Lanai could be under new ownership by the end of the week, according to Mayor Alan Arakawa. Maui News.

The news of the sale of the island of Lanai being imminent has spread throughout the Mainland and even internationally as far as Germany. Pacific Business News.

A wind-fanned fire that damaged three homes in Kula was 90 percent contained this morning, a fire official said. Maui News.

At least three homes were damaged and 6 acres of "heavy timber" were scorched Monday afternoon in a fire fanned by periodic "crazy winds" in Kula. Maui News.


The Kaua‘i Fire Department has acquired a driver simulator and showed it off recently in a demonstration held at the Lihu‘e Fire Station. Garden Island.


About 50 guests at Hotel Molokai — the island's only hotel — were allowed to return to their rooms Tuesday afternoon after fire heavily damaged the bottom floor of one of its buildings — but the facility is still without power and water, a Maui fire official reported. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hawaiian Island of Lanai could be sold quickly, recycling audits secret, rail transit funds slashed, pension funds go unfunded, FBI increases Hilo presence, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lanai for sale
Hawaiian Island of Lanai
Los Angeles billionaire David Murdock is trying to sell the island of Lanai. The price is about $500 million. Pacific Business News.

Billionaire David Murdock and his company, Castle & Cooke Inc., are in discussions to sell Lanai in a deal that could alter the future of the former Pineapple Island and dramatically reduce Murdock's land ownership in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Auditor's Office is not releasing several audits of the state's so-called bottle-bill program, reports that are key to tracking where millions of dollars in state money is going. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has funded just 61 percent of its $18.5 billion pension obligation for public sector workers — the 10th worst in the nation. Hawaii also has a $14 billion retiree health care liability that is unfunded. Star-Advertiser.

While independent candidates have had little electoral success in the islands, a handful have been elected to office. They are also part of a larger trend nationally away from traditional left and right divisions. Civil Beat.

A settlement will ensure the continued cleanup of lead-based paint that has killed thousands of Laysan albatross chicks at Midway Atoll, the Center for Biological Diversity said. Associated Press.

Hawaii's governor has signed a bill banning the sale of products containing bear bile or gallbladders. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday signed into law a measure to help Hawai‘i fight pests that have been impacting the state’s bee populations. Garden Island.

There are fewer than 55 days remaining until Hawai’i’s Primary Election Day showdown … in which all 76 state legislative seats are up for consideration by voters. Hawaii Public Radio.


U.S. House Subcommittee Slices Money for Rail. Civil Beat.

A federal judge sentenced a former Honolulu city driver's licensing clerk Monday to four months in jail for fraudulently producing a Hawaii license for an illegal immigrant. Star-Advertiser.

As the city of Honolulu plans to start building a $200 million, 3.2-mile wastewater tunnel between Kaneohe and Kailua this year, some residents living near the project are worried about the potential impact on their properties. Star-Advertiser.

Much controversy has surfaced over UH Manoa Chancellor-Designate, Tom Apple's large salary and the flagship campus' top executive, Virginia Hinshaw's sabbatical pay, and it all came to a head during our interview with the executives today. Hawaii News Now.

Doctor Tom Apple comes from the University of Delaware where he was provost. KHON2.

Can a White Federal Agent Who Killed a Hawaii Local Get a Fair Trial? Civil Beat.


Politicians and officials from around Hawaii, Western states and even some national-level representatives are coming to Hawaii at the end of this week for an annual state government conference. West Hawaii Today.

The FBI could soon have its own digs at the Hilo police station. Tribune-Herald.

Funding has been approved for permanent facilities to house the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES).KPUA.

A study of vog and wind patterns shows communities most impacted by the volcanic emissions can predict when the air is likely to be cleaner, a researcher told a County Council committee Monday. West Hawaii Today.


Maui's boating community has mixed reactions to a proposed state rule that would require recreational boaters operating motorized vessels to complete a one-time safety course, or face fines of up to $1,000. Maui News.

The bankrupt Days Inn Maui Oceanfront Inn in Kihei has been sold to a Chinese investor for $7.5 million, according to court documents. Maui News.


The Kaua‘i Fire Department held a brush fire mitigation meeting Friday morning, reminding large landowners, lessees and other stakeholders of their responsibility in maintaining firebreaks for open fields adjacent to structure. Garden Island.


“Solar is the strongest renewable energy resource for Molokai,” concludes the just-released Life of the Land report, “Wayfinding: Navigating Hawaii’s Energy Future,” by Henry Curtis. Molokai Dispatch.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monk seals to tote cameras in study, labor board takes Hawaii teachers case, recycling costs rise, protestors target reef fish sales, Abercrombie signs 16 bills, Civil Defense: geothermal evacuation plan not needed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaiian monk seal (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Government scientists plan to glue submersible cameras onto the backs of endangered monk seals, using the footage to prove to fishermen the animals are not harming their way of life. It may even end up on reality TV. Associated Press.

A man who was photographed throwing rocks at a monk seal on Rabbit Island earlier this year was sentenced in Kaneohe District Court today to 80 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council member Tulsi Gabbard has overcome an early 45-point deficit to pull into a dead heat with the former Honolulu mayor two months before the Democratic primary likely to determine Hawaii's new representative in Congress. Civil Beat.

U.S. senate candidate Linda Lingle last week launched her own cable channel on Oceanic Time Warner, calling the move unprecedented in U.S. history. Civil Beat.

The state and teachers union filed final briefs Friday in a prohibited-practice complaint over the state's decision to impose a contract offer for teachers nearly a year ago. The Hawaii Labor Relations Board will now weigh the arguments made from both sides in the case. Star-Advertiser.

A dispute between Hawaii and the union representing teachers over a state-imposed contract is now in the hands of the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. Associated Press.

Department of Health officials plan to increase the nonrefundable handling fee paid by consumers, retailers and the beverage industry despite opposition from those groups and legislators. Star-Advertiser.

Gary Gill, deputy director for the Environmental Health Administration in the Department of Health, will take over for Director Gary Hooser until Hooser either wins election in November or loses and returns to his post. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed 16 bills into law Friday. The governor must notify the Legislature by June 25 of what bills he might veto. Star-Advertiser.

A mix of homegrown solar companies, construction firms, electrical contractors and entrants from the mainland are all boosting their payrolls as they push to meet the growing demand from homeowners and businesses for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. Star-Advertiser.

Career technical education courses at Hawaii high schools are seeing big enrollment increases amid statewide efforts to incorporate new technologies, more rigorous standards and better partnerships with industry professionals. Star-Advertiser.

Later this month, the students from the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources will be setting up an aquaponics system on the national mall as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. KHON2.


Saturday's Grand Opening of Petco at the Koko Marina Shopping Center drew curious shoppers as well as angry protestors. Both the Reef Rescue Alliance and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were out there to boycott Petco. Hawaii News Now.

More than a quarter of Honolulu’s gross metropolitan product is generated by federal, state and local agencies, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Pacific Business News.

The city of Honolulu will add 12 new garbage trucks to its fleet this fall, hoping to reduce delays in curbside trash pickups that have plagued residents for a year. Star-Advertiser.

Construction on Honolulu's 20-mile rail line has just begun, but the city is already chewing through cash reserves set aside to cover budget overruns or other unexpected costs related to construction of the project, according to city records. Star-Advertiser.

The Shack Waikiki, a popular but violence-plagued bar-restaurant in the center of Hawaii’s tourism industry, owes its landlord more than $500,000 in back rent and is facing imminent sale or closure, according to court records and interviews. Hawaii Reporter.

Federal Prosecutors Accuse Private Attorney Michael Green of Conflicts Of Interest in The Shack Waikiki cases. Hawaii Reporter.

The waters of Waikiki are starting the week a little bit cleaner thanks to the efforts of a few dozen people. Hawaii Public Radio.


An emergency response and evacuation plan for a disaster at Puna’s geothermal power plant is not needed, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Benedict Fuata, who says that existing emergency plans would cover such an incident. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County voters could face two nearly identical charter amendment questions on the Nov. 6 general election ballot - both dealing with extending County Council members' terms from the current two years to four years. Maui News.

Plans to expand the Makawao Veterans Cemetery have received a boost in recent weeks with the governor's release of $250,000 for the cemetery project and submission of a subdivision application that includes the expansion parcel. Maui News.


Economic indicators give Kaua‘i optimistic outlook. Garden Island.

Tourism has to remain strong to make the state’s economy stronger, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai‘i, said during a business roundtable, Wednesday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club. Garden Island.


Molokai Livestock Cooperative (MLC), the island’s only slaughterhouse, is fostering a shift in the way people think about the meat on their plates. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Elections 2012 Special Report: U.S. Senate race pits Case, Hirono; Lingle in the wings

Sure, Hawaii's the birthplace of President Obama. But with its measly four electoral votes, late poll closing and scant representation in Congress, the Aloha State isn't often relevant on the national political stage.

But there's one race where Hawaii matters this year, and that's the scramble for partisan control of the U.S. Senate. It's the first time in two decades Hawaii has had an open Senate seat, with the retirement of Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Political prognosticators are predicting a razor-thin margin as the Republicans and Democrats battle it out in primary contests leading to the Nov. 6 general election.

As political wag Larry Sabato sees it, "The Senate calculus is now this: If all members not up for reelection return to the Senate next January, and all the seats where we favor one party go that way in November, the Senate is 47-46 Democratic, with seven toss-ups."

Sabato's Crystal Ball as of June 6 pegs Hawaii as "leans Democratic," a far cry from the usual "safe Democratic" or "likely Democratic" this historically blue state generally earns.

This far out from election day, polling has been inconclusive regarding both the Democratic primary race between former U.S. Rep Ed Case and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono (both representing Hawaii's more rural District 2), and in which of the pair has the best chance of beating former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, the GOP frontrunner.

A Jan. 31 Civil Beat automated telephone survey of 1,358 likely voters found Case had a 13 percentage point margin over Lingle, 46 percent to 33 percent. Hirono had a 7 percentage point margin, 46 percent to 39 percent. In each case, roughly 20 percent of likely voters said they were either undecided or would pick another candidate. A June 12 Civil Beat poll found both candidates with 46 percent in the primary.

A  Feb. 13 poll by Ward Research for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser showed Hirono beating Case by a 20-point margin in the primary, 56-36, and besting Lingle by 20 points as well, 57-27, prompting national observers to call Hirono’s campaign "dominant" and "in control" of the race.

Hirono, who's been endorsed by Hawaii's political king-maker and senior Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, has been waging her campaign as the quasi-incumbent, ducking televised debates and mostly dodging barbs thrown her way by an increasingly aggressive Case.

Hirono must be feeling the heat, however, and in the most recent sally in a June 8 Facebook posting, played both the gender card and the race card, saying "The senate could stand more diversity I bring that diversity, I'm a woman, I'm Asian, I'm an immigrant, I'm a Buddhist. Someone asked me 'But are you gay?' Nobody's perfect!"

About the candidates:

Hawaii U.S. Senate campaign
Ed Case, wife Audrey Nakamura
Ed Case
Party: Democrat
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808. 888.9997
Political Experience: U.S. Rep. Hawaii's 2nd District, 2003-2006; state Rep., 1994-2002; legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. and later U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga, 1975-1978,
Other experience: Land-use, commercial attorney at Carlsmith Ball, 1983-2003, law clerk to Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice William Richardson, 1981-1982
Education: University of California/Hastings College of Law, law degree, 1981. Williams College, Mass., psychology degree, 1975.
Personal: Born Sept. 27, 1952 in Hilo, Hawaii. Married to Audrey Nakamura, blended family of four children.

Hawaii U.S. Senate candidate
Mazie Hirono
Mazie Hirono
Party: Democrat
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808. 536-3292
Political Experience: U.S. Rep. Hawaii's 2nd District, first immigrant woman of Asian ancestry to be sworn into Congressional office, 2007-2012; elected Hawaii Lt. Gov., 1995-2002; state House, 1981-1995
Other experience: Deputy attorney general,1979, some private law practice
Education: Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. law degree, 1978; University of Hawaii at Manoa, Phi Beta Kappa, psychology degree, 1970
Personal: Born in Fukushima, Japan, Nov. 3,1947, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1959, married to Leighton Kim Oshima, blended family of three children.

copyright 2012 All Hawaii News
Linda Lingle (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Linda Lingle
Party: Republican
Island: Oahu
Campaign phone: 808.777.8845
Political experience: Hawaii governor 2002-2010. First woman, first person of Jewish ancestry and first Republican in 40 years elected governor. Mayor of Maui 1991-1999, Maui County Council 1981-1991.
Other experience: Founded and edited the Moloka‘i Free Press community newspaper, 1976.
Education: California State University, Northridge, journalism degree cum laude, 1975
Personal: Born June 4, 1953, native of St. Louis, Missouri. Relocated to Hawaii in 1975. Single, no children.

Other candidates