Thursday, July 31, 2014

Feds seek clues in monk seal death, rail work to come in over budget, man charged in scuba attack, state seeks to foreclose Pflueger property, big tax hikes on Oahu, Kauai, Abercrombie, Ige, reveal plans for state, UH Manoa chancellor Apple gets walking papers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA courtesy photo
Kauai monk seal mom with pup prior to dog attack, courtesy NOAA
Federal and state officials have initiated an investigation and are asking for the public’s help on information on a deadly attack on an endangered monk seal on Kauai. David Schofield, NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Response coordinator, said this is believed to be the first monk seal killed by a dog in the main Hawaiian Islands. Star-Advertiser.

RK28, a local Hawaiian monk seal, spent all of Tuesday desperately scouring the beach and nearshore waters for her two-week-old pup. Garden Island.

The latest roundup of gubernatorial elections throughout the country by respected political expert Larry Sabato has put Hawaii’s governor’s race in the “toss up” category. Civil Beat.

State Sen. David Ige said his first priority if he is elected governor would be to submit a balanced budget and collect $450 million in unpaid taxes. Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to prioritize affordable housing and smart growth. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige on Wednesday discussed in more detail what they would do if elected governor, while also throwing a few gibes at each other in what is becoming a tight Democratic primary. Star-Advertiser.

The day after their last two candidate debates, Neil Abercrombie and David Ige released their respective plans for the state, should one of them be favored by voters to be governor for the next four years. Civil Beat.

Rivals in the Democrat primary for governor, Neil Abercrombie and David Ige revealed dueling plans for the State just hours apart. Abercrombie calls his "Charting Tomorrow: A plan for a brighter future in Hawaii." Ige's is titled "David Ige's Action Plan: Engineering Hawaii's Future" or, as he put it, " what an Ige administration would look like if elected Governor." Hawaii News Now.

As longtime Democrats, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Sen. David Ige largely share the same vision when it comes to things like public worker pay raises, transportation and agriculture. KITV4.

The Democratic candidates for governor revealed their action plans Wednesday, giving Hawaii voters more insight into their strategies. Both candidates are confident and committed to their plans and believe it’s more than just a campaign document. KHON2.

A new day in environmental protection? Analyzing the success of the governor's A New Day in Hawaii plan promise to protect Hawaii’s environment and resources. Hawaii Independent.

They are the children of Baby Boomers and the next generation of political leaders in Hawai’i.   They have the potential of being a powerful political force in the state if they get involved, run for office and vote. Hawaii Public Radio.

George Takei, the actor in the original Star Trek movies who played the beloved character, Hikaru Sulu, and has made his mark on the Hollywood scene with the saying "Oh my!" has joined a growing list of celebrities, politicians and activists endorsing Hawaii's Democratic candidates in advance of Hawaii's Aug. 9 Primary Election. Hawaii Reporter.

For the first time, the public is privy to the annual financial disclosure reports filed by members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has amassed the largest number of social media followers among U.S. state tourism boards, according to a report by Skift, a travel intelligence company. Pacific Business News.


Oahu homeowners hit with huge jumps in their property-tax bills continue to lash out at the way the city calculated the amounts. Some absentee owners of the island's most expensive residences are facing an annual tab approaching or topping $100,000. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner handed UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple a termination notice late Wednesday afternoon, Apple announced Wednesday night, saying "I have been forced out as chancellor of UH Manoa." Hawaii News Now.

Tom Apple has been dismissed as chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, his attorney, Big Island lawyer Jerry Hiatt, said Monday night. He was offered a tenured faculty position at the UH medical school for an 11-month salary of $299,000. The university is also offering him a total lump sum payment of $100,000, including attorney’s fees. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple says he was forced out as head of the UH system's flagship campus Wednesday, two years into his five-year appointment. Apple said he was removed "for alleged unsatisfactory performance" in his job. Star-Advertiser.

Will New Honolulu City Council Members Smooth Friction with Mayor Caldwell? Council Chair Ernie Martin is clearly the mayor's nemesis. But the Council as a whole frequently clashes with Caldwell. Soon it will have at least two new members. Civil Beat.

Construction bids for the first nine stations of Honolulu’s $5.16 billion elevated-rail project are likely to come in higher than originally anticipated and could cause the agency to dip into its contingency fund, Dan Grabauskas, executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation told Pacific Business News.

Now that rail is becoming a reality many we spoke with have no idea where the route actually goes so we will show you the last seven stops in the more dense city center section starting here in Kapalama where 30 feet up will be a transit station. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy doesn't want the jurors in his murder retrial to have the option to find him guilty of manslaughter, and his testimony in state court Wednesday emphasized that. Star-Advertiser.

The Public Charter School Commission approved a new financial plan for Halau Lokahi Charter School on Wednesday, paving the way for the school to reopen on Aug. 14. Star-Advertiser.


Lovell charged with misdemeanor for May scuba attack off Kona coast West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Transportation is making completion of Saddle Road improvements a priority as it maps out projects to finish during the next four years with its share of federal funds. Tribune-Herald.

After several years of making do with old, high-mileage cars, the county administration stepped up its purchase of passenger vehicles this past fiscal year. West Hawaii Today


South Maui Challengers Align on Environmental Issues. Kihei Community Association membership gives new candidates the floor. Maui Weekly.


State seeks foreclosure on Pflueger property. The state wants to ensure it will get the $4 million in interest and fines it assessed James Pflueger for damages caused by a mudslide that covered the Pilaa reef in 2001. Garden Island.

It has been over a week and a half since the County of Kauai sent out property tax bills to the owners of 33,370 individual properties on the island. And for most of that time, some Kauai County Councilmembers have said an influx of emails and phone calls have been coming in — on the other end, in many cases, are disgruntled property owners who have seen noticeable increases on their tax bills. Garden Island.

Three candidates vying for Kauai's 15th House District seat have varying views on the controversial issue of county oversight of the use of pesticides and growth of genetically engineered crops by large agribusinesses. Star-Advertiser.


Picture this: a higher learning education center with a spacious auditorium, high-tech computer labs, larger classrooms and a grassy campus pavilion right here on Molokai. This long-awaited dream may become a reality for UH Maui College, Molokai now that the college has completed its Long-Range Development Plan. Molokai Dispatch.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Final Democratic gubernatorial debate highlights Abercrombie, Ige similarities, Hee sole candidate at Lt. Gov. forum, Kauai dog kills monk seal pup, Maui council mulls polystyrene ban, Hilo and Kona now asteroids, RIMPAC wrapping up, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy U.S. National Park Service
Silverswords on Haleakala, Maui, courtesy National Park Service

Haleakala National Park on Maui is reporting an unusual abundance of silverswords currently in bloom. The rare ahinahina, found nowhere else in the world, is flowering atop the summit at the Kala­haku Overlook as well as along 4- to 6-mile hikes into the summit basin along the Sliding Sands Trail. Star-Advertiser.

In their final face-to-face encounters before the Democratic primary, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige on Tuesday quarreled over taxes, preschool and leadership style but did not identify any new policy differences that might help voters choose between them. Star-Advertiser.

At the final two forums before the Aug. 9 primary, the governor and senator discuss senior issues, preschools and highways in the morning event. In the nightcap, things get more personal. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's Democratic candidates for governor told voters on Tuesday how they would improve health care, the economy and quality of life for seniors. Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige also compared leadership styles in a forum hosted by AARP on Hawaii's Big Island. Associated Press.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercrombie and David Ige tackled airports, business issues, harbors and other topics at a forum in Kailua-Kona Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

The top two Hawaii Democrats running for governor squared off Tuesday morning for an hourlong debate focusing on several key issues affecting the state’s rapidly growing elderly population. West Hawaii Today.

State Sen. Clayton Hee showed up at a candidate forum in Kailua-Kona Tuesday. Turns out he was the only candidate running for lieutenant governor who accepted the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s invitation. Civil Beat.

When Shan Tsutsui became the first-ever Hawaii Lieutenant Governor to open a neighbor island satellite office, his initial funding request was for $317,000. But since then, the costs have more than doubled to nearly $700,000. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. Senate Race: Who Can Save Hawaii’s Middle Class? U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa discuss how to make life more affordable in one of the most expensive places in the country. Solutions are elusive, they say, but job creation, energy efficiencies and food production top the list. Civil Beat.

The Congressional District One race has 7 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination. The top three campaign money-raisers in the last month before the Primary Election are making a final push for victory on August 9th. Hawaii Public Radio.

Japan has been practicing storming beaches with the U.S. and other countries in Hawaii this month. The amphibious landing exercises, which are relatively new to Japan's military, come as Tokyo tries to boost its ability to defend small islands it controls but China claims as its own. Associated Press.

Rim of the Pacific war games are wrapping up with dozens of ships heading back to Pearl Harbor on Wednesday and Thursday after spending several weeks at sea working on interoperability in an increasingly interconnected Asia-Pacific region. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Health Connector, a federally mandated insurance marketplace, is losing money. A temporary funding plan went into effect this month, but once that money runs out, lawmakers will need to settle on a long-term fix that officials characterize as a choice between propping up a failing system at the expense of taxpayers, or turning control over to federal authorities at the risk of unravelling the state's comprehensive Prepaid Health Care Act. Associated Press.

This year, for the first time, Hawaii state law will require students to receive a minimum number of instructional hours. Tribune-Herald.

A recent rash of resignations from state boards prompted by a new financial disclosure law has Gov. Neil Abercrombie scrambling to make replacements. But no board has been hit harder than the Land Use Commission, which can’t even conduct business, leaving developers and other petitioners hanging. Civil Beat.

Hawaii foster parents this month received their first pay raise since 1990, but the increase is far from enough for those who filed a class-action lawsuit claiming foster parents are underpaid. Star-Advertiser.

Tropical Depression Genevieve is expected to intensify into a tropical storm Wednesday and may bring muggy weather and rains to the state Friday. Star-Advertiser.


How are Oahu officials trying to prevent elections fraud and other errors? Elections officials have a brand new, $200,000 machine to help count the record number of absentee ballots already mailed out this election season. KHON2.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner apologized Tuesday that a reported attempt by him to remove UH-Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple has become "a public spectacle." Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Chancellor Apple's removal after only two years on the job is a reflection of political in-fighting and dysfunction within the university, not on the performance of his duties. Hawaii Independent.

Commentary: The budget meltdown and administrative shakeup at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus have been very much in the news, but I doubt  most people understand just how delicate — to use a polite euphemism — the immediate situation is in the wake of Chancellor Tom Apple’s imposition of an indefinite hiring freeze and the subsequent swirling rumors of his likely administrative demise. Civil Beat.

The recent sale of Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki's largest shopping complex, totaled $696.5 million, according to Hawaii Information Service. Star-Advertiser.


Hilo and Kona are not just towns on Hawaii Island. They’re also two asteroids in the night sky, thanks to recent action by amateur astronomers at observatories in Germany and the Canary Islands. West Hawaii Today.

Dozens of absentee ballots have been replaced on the Big Island because humid weather is causing return envelopes to become glued shut before voters can place their ballots inside. KITV4.

The Big Island’s Camp Kilohana will get a share of a $1.25 million state capital improvement grant to the Girl Scouts of Hawaii for wastewater systems improvement. Tribune-Herald.

Contractors will begin work Monday on the final phase of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass. West Hawaii Today.


Big and small businesses say that a bill restricting polystyrene disposable food containers in Maui County will increase costs for them and for their customers and has another major flaw - there currently is no facility on Maui that can recycle the alternative food containers. Maui News.

The University of Hawaii Maui College recently received $3.5 million in state funds to begin building Hawaii's first training hotel for hospitality students. Pacific Business News.

County landfills will close a little earlier daily and shut down on all holidays, and trash pickups on holidays will be nixed with no makeup of the lost service beginning Friday, according to the county Department of Environmental Management. Maui News.

A discussion about possible sites for a new Maui County service center Tuesday brought frustration for some council members when they learned that property being eyed for the center might alter plans for the site of the Old Wailuku Post Office. Maui News.


The Kauai County Elections Division and the Kauai Police Department said they are investigating a recently reported case of voter fraud. Garden Island.

Absentee ballot fraud incident has Kauai police, elections officials on alert. Hawaii Reporter.

A two-week old Hawaiian monk seal pup was found dead Tuesday morning on Kauai from an apparent dog attack, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Garden Island.

A California family is suing the Marriott for a falling headboard. Bonnie and Walter Hagmaier and their minor daughter Savannah, residents of California, were staying in a unit at Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club on July 27, 2012. As Bonnie and Savannah slept in the same bed of the unit, a large wooden headboard fell onto the bed and struck them, the suit said. Garden Island.

The development company suing a proposed dairy to prevent it from being built said it’s not backing off the suit despite the dairy’s scaled down plans. Garden Island.

Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser said he is not one to shy away from asking for help and reaching across the aisle to state lawmakers and county officials. Garden Island.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hawaii Republicans outnumbered but optimistic, UH Manoa chancellor Apple fights to keep job, early walk-in voting begins, reports from the campaign trail, more top government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
James "Duke" Aiona ©2014 All Hawaii News
Republican candidate James “Duke” Aiona lost by 17 percentage points to Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie in Hawaii’s last gubernatorial election. It’s never been easy for a Republican to win a statewide office in Hawaii, but Aiona’s supporters say the odds are much better this year. Civil Beat.

Republican Charles Djou, the onetime U.S. House member, raised $48,925 during the July 1-20 period, more than any other candidate in the  Hawaii 1st Congressional District race, including the seven Demo­crats seeking the job, and has more money available than any of them. Star-Advertiser.

The seven Democrats campaigning to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years have a lot in common when it comes to social issues. Civil Beat.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been about 30 inmates who walked away from the work furlough program statewide, that's more than all of last year. Hawaii News Now.

A local artist is carrying out the last wish of the late Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy. KITV4.

State roundup for July 29. Associated Press.


Embattled University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple says he wants to continue working to improve accessibility for students and turn around budget troubles at UH's flagship campus despite an attempt to remove him from Manoa's top post Star-Advertiser.

As reports surface that University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple is getting the boot, professors and students are starting to speculate whether inside politics and disputes over the campus’s budget are at play. Civil Beat.

Tom Apple is still the chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, according to a University of Hawaii spokeswoman and an attorney hired by Apple, refuting multiple news reports of his imminent departure. Pacific Business News.

Supporters of Tom Apple are coming to his defense, saying he should not be ousted as Chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The head of the faculty union UHPA, J.N. Musto, said Apple was given notice by UH President David Lassner that Apple will be replaced. KHON2.

Nearly 1,000 voters cast ballots Monday on Oahu as walk-in absentee polling sites opened. Star-Advertiser.

Walk-in Absentee and Early Voting started today at two sites on Oahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

Speeding cars, pedestrian fatalities and crime are top concerns for Honolulu City Council candidates in the race to represent District 8, the heavily suburban area of central Oahu where housing developments and strip malls proliferate. Civil Beat.

It's a breathtaking view from the pillboxes at Lanikai. But is it safe with people standing on top of it and the giant block of concrete is deteriorating? Hawaii News Now.

Starting in late August or early September, those traveling past the storefronts and homes lining the busy east-west corridor from Kapa­hulu Avenue to the H-1 freeway will find new designated bike lanes and "sharrows" — painted arrows along the street shoulder for bicyclists to share the road. Star-Advertiser.


PAC mismailing baffles council candidates. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Council candidate RJ Hampton berated primary election opponent Tiffany Edwards-Hunt during a candidate forum organized by the Puna Pono Alliance on Saturday night, before she herself stormed out of the event. Big Island Video News.

A site dedication ceremony for the Thirty Meter Telescope will be held in October, the TMT International Observatory Board of Directors confirmed today. Tribune-Herald.

Canadian businessman Stephen Petasky plans to transform a roughly 5.5-acre vacant lot at the Mauna Lani Resort into a luxury residential community that seamlessly unites modern technology and style with traditional Hawaiian culture and beauty. West Hawaii Today.

Volunteers lead charge to renovate Kaipalaoa Landing. Tribune-Herald.

Opinion: ‘Ban’ on Trucking Rubbish to West Hawaii is a Myth. Big Island Now.


Two Filipino leaders will share their experiences Tuesday evening of organizing and empowering communities to take control of their health, workplace and food systems, according to an announcement. Maui News.

A Maui County Council committee will take up a bill this afternoon to ban polystyrene food containers, a measure similar to a plastic grocery bag ban that took effect in 2011. Maui News.

Governor Neil Abercrombie announced the release of $3.5 million for renovations at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. Maui Now.

Over the next two weeks, county voters will make their voices heard by either visiting one of the 16 designated polling locations to cast their ballots on Aug. 9 or sending in their absentee ballots through the mail. Garden Island.

Mason Chock admits that he is not one of the more vocal member on the Kauai County Council. But there’s a method to it. Garden Island.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A post-Inouye Hawaii Democratic Party, UH Manoa chancellor Apple ousted, Kauai GMO rules hearing Tuesday, Maui mayor candidate tased, arrested, property tax shock on Oahu, state tops in solar power, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie campaigning ©2014 All Hawaii News
Primary voters will help direct the course of state Democratic Party politics in August in the first election since the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, the dominant figure in Hawaii's political culture for half a century. Star-Advertiser.

How Did the ‘New Day in Hawaii’ Plan Work Out? Four years ago Neil Abercrombie outlined a vision for the state. Civil Beat analyzes whether the governor delivered.

Hawaii now has more solar power per person than any other state in the nation. Star-Advertiser.

Public elementary schools across the state will see around 5,500 fewer kindergartners this upcoming school year, beginning Friday when a new law goes into effect. Maui News.

It’s a pivotal time in history for Native Hawaiians and an unprecedented number of candidates want to be a part of it. Events coalescing around the state have brought a dramatic increase in candidates seeking a seat on the board of trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. West Hawaii Today.

The Army in Hawaii has landed Black Hawk and Kiowa Warrior helicopters on the decks of underway Navy ships in the past as the land service seeks to prove its sea-based flexibility. Star-Advertiser.

Matson Navigation Co. Inc., Hawaii’s largest cargo container shipping company, will pay $9.95 million as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and Illinois freight consultant Mario Rizzo. Hawaii Reporter.


Two years into what was supposed to be a five-year appointment, University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple will be removed from the position, but he may remain at UH as a professor, sources told Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Hall, where the office of the University of Hawaii's Manoa chancellor is located, was closed for the weekend, but it's been anything but quiet among the allies of Tom Apple. Hawaii News Now.

After just over two years on the job, University of Hawaii at Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple will soon be leaving his position as chancellor at the university, according to sources familiar with the situation. Several sources told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Apple's ouster as chancellor is imminent, but the UH administration said in a statement Sunday that Apple is still chancellor.

Opinion: What’s the Story Behind Tom Apple’s Ouster as UH Chancellor? UH officials should be forthcoming about why the chancellor has been canned just a few weeks after new president takes over. Civil Beat.

Glass in the trash. A lack of funding for recycling non-Hi5 glass has forced businesses to begin throwing their wine and spirit bottles out with the trash. Hawaii Independent.

The Honolulu City Council’s District 6 covers much of Oahu’s urban core — including downtown Honolulu and a portion of the up-and-coming Kakaako — so it’s not surprising that high-profile issues such as homelessness, development and affordable housing are at play in the four-way Council race. Civil Beat.

This fall, Oahu is poised to be the first place in the United States where electricity generated by ocean waves is connected to a power grid — a milestone in the budding wave energy industry, officials say. Star-Advertiser.

Property valuations by city spur disbelief, derision. Shocked homeowners complain the numbers are way off and their tax bills are unreasonably high. Star-Advertiser.


The Thirty Meter Telescope cleared its last major hurdle Friday. The state Board of Land and Natural Resources dismissed the remaining contested case hearing requests for the $1.3 billion project’s sublease, allowing construction to begin on Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

A final environmental assessment released last week found no significant impacts to a proposed project that aims to improve access from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority to Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Kona International Airport. West Hawaii Today.


State Sen. David Ige stopped by a luncheon for seniors Saturday at the Grand Wai­lea Resort in Kihei, Maui. He and his wife, Dawn, met in the afternoon with women who support his Demo­cratic primary campaign for governor at Cafe o' Lei at the Dunes at Maui Lani here. Star-Advertiser.

Maui mayoral candidate Beau Hawkes was arrested and released on bail after an encounter with police that resulted in him being tazed and handcuffed in Wailuku Town. Maui Now.

A bill seeking a ban on the use and sale of polystyrene disposable food service containers in Maui County comes up for review before a council committee on Monday. Maui Now.

One day after a Maui County Council committee deferred a citizen's initiative that calls for a temporary moratorium on genetically engineered crops, Mayor Alan Arakawa said at a Maui Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday that he, personally, believes genetically modified organisms are not harmful. Maui News.

Maui County voters will cast ballots in November on a proposal to impose a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms. Associated Press.

The state has released $3.5 million to renovate University of Hawaii Maui College student housing and transform the former Hale Haumana into the Hospitality Academy of Maui, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Saturday. Maui News.


The Office of Economic Development will hold a public hearing on draft rules that could be utilized to implement Ordinance 960. The ordinance was passed by the County Council in November 2013 to govern genetically modified organisms and pesticide use by large ag companies on Kauai. The hearing is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. Garden Island.

Three candidates in Kauai County's mayoral race strongly oppose operations of seed companies on the lush island, while incumbent Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. seeks to strike a balance between the community and the biotech industry. Star-Advertiser.

A French battery maker has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract by Kauai Island Utility Cooperative to provide a battery energy storage system for the Lihue-based utility’s $54 million, 12-megawatt Anahola Solar project, which started construction late last month. Pacific Business News.

The general partners of early-stage investment fund mbloom and the president of the Hawaii State Development Corporation addressed questions from the local tech community regarding conflict of interest in a town hall meeting at Box Jelly in Kakaako on Thursday night. Pacific Business News.

Plans for a Kauai dairy farm are being modified in response to odor and other environmental concerns. Hawaii Dairy Farms modified its application to the state Department of Health, with plans for starting on a smaller scale with 650-699 cows, backers announced Friday. Associated Press.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Honolulu council defers homeless bills, Abercrombie fighting to remain governor, GMO to stay on Maui ballot, Native Hawaiian governance delayed, tax office computer malfunction sends erroneous notices, Schatz spends six times Hanabusa, quarter of the population on Medicaid, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki homeless sleep on sidewalk ©2014 All Hawaii News
The Honolulu City Council Zoning and Planning Committee voted Thursday to defer indefinitely three bills banning sitting and lying on sidewalks and two bills banning urination and defecation in Waikiki and elsewhere on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Two measures proposed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell that would ban public urination and defecation in Waikiki, as well as sitting and lying on sidewalks in the tourist district, were deferred indefinitely by the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday. Civil Beat.

The city's Zoning and Planning committee has voted to indefinitely defer two bills that would have made it illegal for people to sit or lie on public sidewalks. The council committee made their decision after grilling officials with the Mayor's office during a meeting Thursday at Honolulu Hale. Hawaii News Now.

Five bills that would have made it a petty misdemeanor to lie or sit on city sidewalks or go to the bathroom in public were unexpectedly shelved by the City Council's Committee on Zoning and Planning. KITV4.

Why is Neil Abercrombie in danger of becoming the first governor since 1962 to lose re-election? Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Abercrombie’s Official Schedule Smacks of Electioneering. Abercrombie is taking advantage of taxpayer dollars to glad-hand voters throughout the state. Civil Beat.

With just over two weeks to go until the Aug. 9 primary, gubernatorial candidate David Ige has finally released his first TV spot. Civil Beat.

The Lieutenant Governor’s race has been low key.  The candidates have not participated in any joint appearance or forum and it appears unlikely they will meet prior to the August 9 Primary Election. Hawaii Public Radio.

As primary nears, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz spends more than six times as much as challenger Colleen Hanabusa for ads running July 21 to 27 in Senate race. Civil Beat.

The League of Women Voters has criticized a Kim campaign tactic urging her supporters to take a picture of their ballot and post to social media. Hawaii Independent.

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is upset that an email sent from Donna Mercado Kim’s campaign headquarters “urged voters to take a photograph of their ballot to show they voted for her and share it on social media.” Civil Beat.

The state recently sent erroneous balance-due notices to taxpayers who had paid their taxes on time, highlighting ongoing problems with the Tax Department's faulty $87.5 million computer system. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has extended its timeline for establishing a Native Hawaiian governing entity by six months after many residents criticized the process as too rushed. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees announced Thursday a six-month extension to its nation-building effort, a move that will delay the election of delegates until January, the convention until April and the formal referendum until July 2015. Star-Advertiser.

New statistics released by the state Department of Human Services show about a quarter of Hawaii’s population relies on Medicaid. Hawaii Reporter.

Disclosures: Googling Hawaii’s Former Board Members. Online databases contain much of the information that former members of the Board of Regents and Land Use Commission may have wanted kept confidential. Civil Beat.

Capitol Hill Feasted on Hirono’s Hawaiian Hospitality. The senator's Hawaii on the Hill event gets rave review from Roll Call. Civil Beat.

More than three years after an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, a sign is returning home to a small fishing village after drifting thousands of miles across the Pacific to Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


A new Honolulu City Council bill would ban people under 21 years old from purchasing tobacco and electronic smoking products on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

One of the state's largest unions is funding an ugly battle over a city council seat. Aikea, which was founded by the hotel workers union, has sent thousands of attack mailers targeting Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga. Hawaii News Now.

A nonprofit developer trying to build rental loft housing on state land in Kakaako for low-income artists has overcome a big financing hurdle to put the roughly $37 million project in good position to break ground next year. Star-Advertiser.

An initial phase of rental housing for low-income seniors in Mililani Mauka is poised to break ground soon after a state agency provided key tax credit financing Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Japanese developer of a $31 million redevelopment project at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Waikiki is looking to start construction on the long-planned venture in late September, the project developer’s attorney told Pacific Business News on Thursday.

The first women on Virginia-class attack submarines in the Pacific will serve on the USS Texas and USS Mississippi at Pearl Harbor starting in fiscal 2016, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.


Construction of the Pahoa District Park will begin in less than two weeks, Hawaii County announced Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

A fish farming technology company plans to begin construction of a huge, untethered and highly automated spherical pen for farming yellowfin and bigeye tuna off the Kohala coast. West Hawaii Today.

The Food Basket will make local produce available to all residents through its new community supported agriculture program, beginning next month. West Hawaii Today.


GMO initiative will appear on Nov. 4 ballot; council defers. Maui County Council members declined to take action Thursday on a voter-initiated bill to impose a moratorium on genetically engineered crops until they can be proven safe. Maui News.

A bill seeking a ban on the use and sale of polystyrene disposable food service containers in Maui County comes up for review before a council committee on Monday. Maui Now.

A popular Hawaii train tourist attraction on Maui is set to close after 45 years in business. Associated Press.

End of the line for ‘important part of the history of Maui’. Lahaina Kaanapali & Pacific Railroad has taken some 15 million passengers through West Maui on its iconic "Sugar Cane Train" ride since 1969. Its last riders will be going aboard Aug. 1. Maui News.

An affordable rental multi-family apartment project is proposed for construction on eight acres of land in the South Maui community of Kīhei. Maui Now.


The Kauai County Council voted down two charter amendment proposals that would have let voters determine whether public access and open space projects should receive more taxpayer money and if the council vacancy process should change. Garden Island.

Though Kauai County tax officials acknowledged that they do not know how many island residents saw increases on their tax bills, some county officials say another look at recent reforms to county tax laws must be taken to find equitable solutions. Garden Island.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Abercrombie and Ige debate in Waimea, opens Honolulu office for Schatz, crowded field in Congressional District 1 debate, Chinese spy ship stirs ire, officials' disclosures delayed, counties' home rule rights in GMO case, Kulani prison wins lawsuit, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii 24/7 screen shot 2014
Abercrombie and Ige at Waimea forum, Hawaii 24/7 screen shot
Hawaii 24/7 streamed the forum between Governor Neil Abercrombie and Senator David Ige live Wednesday night (July 23) from Waimea School cafeteria.

Ige and Abercrombie Agree on Some Things in Waimea Forum. Leading Democrats for Hawaii governor see eye to eye on invasive species, Banyan Drive and unfunded liabilities. Civil Beat.

The gubernatorial debate was brought to the Big Island on Wednesday as Gov. Neil Abercrombie squared off against challenger state Sen. David Ige in Waimea. With few major policy differences, both sought to make the case for their leadership abilities and knowledge of neighbor island needs. Tribune-Herald.

State Sen. David Ige's approach to public service is rooted in three simple principles: Be open and honest in communication; be respectful and listen to all views; and do the right thing in the right way. Star-Advertiser., a national progressive advocacy group, has opened an office in Honolulu to help coordinate a get-out-the-vote drive on behalf of U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary for Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Tuna, Conservation and the Race for the U.S. Senate. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa discuss the Obama administration's proposal to create the largest marine sanctuary in the world in Hawaii's backyard. Civil Beat.

Voters are beginning to cast their votes in Hawaii's primary election. Associated Press.

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson stood out Wednesday as the only Democratic 1st Congressional District candidate to still fully support the U.S. Department of Interior's continuing to look at re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians. Star-Advertiser.

The most interesting moment in Wednesday night’s hourlong forum featuring the seven Democratic candidates trying to represent Hawaii in Congress for the next two years came when the moderator, KITV anchor Yunji De Nies, asked them who they’d vote for if they couldn’t cast a ballot for themselves. Civil Beat.

The state House has sought to intervene in the legal dispute over Rep. Calvin Say's residency, arguing that the House, and not the courts, has exclusive jurisdiction over the qualifications of its members. Star-Advertiser.

Twenty-Eight incumbent State House Democrats are running unopposed in the Primary Election and will automatically advance to the General Election, November 4th.  But one of them, former House Speaker Calvin Say, is being challenged in Court to prove his residency in his House District. Hawaii Public Radio.

The majority of the approximately 150 members serving on various state boards and commissions affected by the state's new financial disclosure law will not have their information made public until next year. Star-Advertiser.

The public won’t see the financial disclosure statements filed by most of the current members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, Public Utilities Commission, Hawaii Community Development Authority or 12 other powerful state boards until next summer at the earliest. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Health Connector, the state's Obamacare program, has been unable to produce a fully functional website since it launched in October. That's especially troubling, because CGI Group got $53 million for its creation and another $20 million for operation and maintenance. Hawaii Reporter.

The "soft power" side of China's participation in Rim of the Pacific war games was on display Wednesday on its hospital ship about 46 miles north of Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Asia Matters: RIMPAC and Chinese Spies. Are we surprised that a Chinese ship is dogging U.S. forces during a major military exercise? Civil Beat.

The legislative session may be over, but good government groups are still sifting through bills that were introduced this year. Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of Hawai‘i are calling attention to the practice called “gut-and-replace” or “Frankenstein” bills. That’s where the contents are so drastically changed, they no longer resemble their original form. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii on the Hill, which showcased 48 local organizations' products, services and missions to congressional members and staff in Washington, D.C., concluded Wednesday night with a "Taste of Hawaii" exhibition, an invitation-only "open house" event at the Russell Senate Office Building. Pacific Business News.

State takes disciplinary actions against professional and vocational license holders. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations on Tuesday announced the award of six grants designed to strengthen local small businesses through training programs. West Hawaii Today.


Oahu property owners unhappy over significantly higher tax bills based on a tax rate 71 percent above last year are demanding relief from the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Queen’s Medical Center West, which just opened in May with more than $100 million in renovations, is turning away dialysis patients on a daily basis, causing long waits in the emergency room and transfers across town, partly because an executive there said dialysis facilities are not “cost effective” there yet. Hawaii News Now.

Former military barracks at the old Barbers Point Naval Air Station might become affordable rental apartments as soon as April under a more than $10 million renovation plan detailed Tuesday at a public hearing. Star-Advertiser.

It’s day three and there’s already some confusion and fear over the state’s new food safety rating program. Some customers don’t know what the program is and which restaurants are safe. KHON2.

Framing the GMO debate through dance. Hawaiʻi-based dance theatre troupe Wai Company uses its medium to address GMOs with an informed and balanced portrayal. Hawaii Independent.


A judge cleared the way Wednesday for the state’s reopening of Kulani Correctional Facility. Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara granted the Department of Public Safety’s request for a summary judgment against Ohana Ho‘opakele, a Hawaiian group who sued to block the reopening of the minimum security prison 20 miles southwest of Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

County Council candidate Ron Gonzales says he is qualified to run in District 9, despite a persistent buzz on the coconut wireless that he doesn’t live in his district. West Hawaii Today.

Candidates for the House District 5 and 6 seats discussed how they would encourage agricultural efforts that range from cattle ranches to coffee farms and diverse market-garden operations. West Hawaii Today.


Alexander & Baldwin's 600-unit housing project in north Kihei, targeted to working families, received initial approval for community plan amendments and zoning changes from the Maui County Council on Tuesday. Maui News.

The release of $500,000 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday and the anticipated release of another $1.75 million approved by the state Legislature will facilitate the new Lanai Community Health Center facility's groundbreaking, hopefully in September, with possible completion by the middle of 2015, said the executive director of the center. Maui News.

If you’re going to visit or do some camping at the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, you better take a lot to drink because we just heard that there’s no longer any drinking water there. Maui Time.


The question of whether or not counties have the authority to regulate pesticide use and genetically engineered crops was at the center of a federal court hearing on Wednesday challenging Kauai County’s new ordinance imposing buffer zones and disclosure requirements on biotechnology firms. Civil Beat.

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday rejected a proposed charter amendment to regulate the use of pesticides and growth of genetically engineered crops by large agri-businesses. Associated Press.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Obama records Abercrombie radio ad, Kauai GMO lawsuit in federal court today, hundreds die awaiting Hawaiian Home Lands lawsuit settlement, Kauai property owners get steep tax hikes, restaurants adjust to new health inspections, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii hotel pool party ©2014 All Hawaii News
Stronger hotel room demand in May broke a yearlong occupancy slump, helping Hawaii's hoteliers hit three monthly performance records while achieving the nation's highest room rates. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama has recorded a radio advertisement for Gov. Neil Abercrombie's re-election campaign, describing the governor as a partner who made "gutsy decisions" to tackle a state budget crisis and invest in early childhood education. Star-Advertiser.

Candidates for Hawaii Governor Jockey for Credit in Fixing State Pension System. Ige, Abercrombie, Aiona share views on plugging Hawaii's $27 billion hole in unfunded liabilities. Civil Beat.

There are less than 20 days left before the Primary Election, August 9th, and there are no polls to provide a point-in-time look at how political candidates are doing. Hawaii Public Radio.

Four years after the state was found liable for breach of trust in a class-action lawsuit, more than 2,700 Native Hawaiians or their heirs are still waiting for the state to pay damages for failing to deliver Department of Hawaiian Home Lands homestead lots on a timely basis. Star-Advertiser.

Two federal court rulings on health exchange subsidies won't affect business owners or residents in Hawaii, which has its own state-run exchange called the Hawaii Health Connector. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Mark Dunkerley said the company's financial performance is on an upward trajectory and that the second half of the year should be even better. Star-Advertiser.


Some 40,000 gallons of raw sewage had flowed into Palolo Stream as of Tuesday afternoon as city workers scrambled to plug an overflowing manhole that had been polluting the waterway for 14-plus hours. Civil Beat.

City to halt free trash pickups for condos, non-profits in 2015. KHON2.

Oahu restaurants are working to improve the food safety ratings they received from the state. On Monday, health inspectors visited 12 restaurants and handed out six yellow cards and six green cards. KHON2.

The state Health Department is giving Kamehameha Schools 60 days to clean up three alleged illegal dump sites on its Kapalama Heights campus. Hawaii News Now.

Construction Boom Leaves Behind Residents With Greatest Housing Need. Just 5 percent of about 4,500 new housing units in Kakaako are affordable for low-income people, according to a state agency. One 204-unit building is the exception. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Bob Benyo, owner of the company cited for towing advertising banners behind a plane over Honolulu in violation of a 36-year old city law, is no neophyte blindsided by a local ordinance. So why has he provoked a legal and political confrontation over Honolulu’s ban on aerial ads? Civil Beat.


It was a crowded house at Tuesday’s forum for House and Senate hopefuls at Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona — crowded with candidates, that is. About 80 people listened to the contenders make their cases as the electorate prepares to thin the field next month. West Hawaii Today.

Sen. Malama Solomon and former Sen. Lorraine Inouye: Two Hawaii Island career politicians. Two women in agriculture. Two very different personalities. Star-Advertiser.

The county Department of Water Supply followed its regular policies and procedures in awarding spigot permits for commercial water haulers in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, the county’s legislative auditor told the Water Board in a recent letter. West Hawaii Today.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee explains position on Thirty Meter Telescope. Hawai‘i Island Trustee Robert Lindsey tells the Independent why he pushed for OHA to withdraw from the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case. Hawaii Independent.

Heavy brush resulting from recent rains, followed by abnormal dryness, has created the ideal conditions for wildfire, and a Waimea-based nonprofit is urging residents to take precautions before the threat occurs. West Hawaii Today.

Maui County officials say they are looking for a new home for its motor vehicle division and some of its tax offices because the new owners of the Maui Mall want to rent space to commercial enterprises instead. Associated Press.

Maui County will have a little more time to find a new location for its Maui Mall service center, with mall owners agreeing to a one-year extension to 2016 with an option to extend the lease into 2017. Maui News.

The state Department of Health launched a new Food Safety Code program in Hawaiʻi that utilizes color-coded placards to indicate compliance status. Maui Now.


The legal battle over GMOs continues. Today a U.S. district court judge will take up the case of a lawsuit filed by 4 large agribusinesses against the county of Kaua‘i. They’re suing to overturn a new law that would require them to disclose the presence and use of pesticides and genetically modified crops. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Kauai County Council’s decision to repeal the county’s annual Permanent Home Use tax credit last year, coupled with rate hikes, is bringing tax bill shock to many residents. Garden Island.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kids Count ranks Hawaii middling, more sign on to Obamacare, Honolulu police and fire helicopters grounded by bankruptcy, Morita sued for bed and breakfast, Caldwell endorses Abercrombie, vets to help Takai, wave energy planned, feds to ban bee-killing pesticide in Hawaii wildlife refuges, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hula girls in Hawaii ©2014 All Hawaii News
Overall, the Aloha State placed in the middle of the pack, like last year, at 25th out of 50 states in rankings released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The KIDS COUNT Data Book gauges the welfare of kids using 16 measures in the categories of economic well-being, education, health and family/community. Star-Advertiser.

The rate of people without health insurance in Hawaii has dropped below 6 percent since the implementation of the federal health care law, state officials said Monday. Officials said at a joint House committee briefing that roughly 75,000 people in Hawaii don’t have health insurance, down from well over 100,000 last year. Associated Press.

The state Office of Information Management and Technology told lawmakers at a Monday briefing it plans to create a single portal at that will help direct consumers to either Medicaid, the government insurance program for low-income residents, or the Hawaii Health Connector, the troubled online exchange created by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Star-Advertiser.

With the Aug. 9 primary fast approaching and the Nov. 4 general election not far behind, Civil Beat asked the top gubernatorial candidates what they thought about the issue of accessing public records in Hawaii. We interviewed the incumbent, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, and his Democratic primary opponent, state Sen. David Ige. We also talked to the expected Republican challenger this fall, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona. A spokesman for Hawaii Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann said the candidate couldn’t fit in an interview, and questions submitted to the campaign were not answered.  Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday endorsed Gov. Neil Abercrombie for re-election, stressing an improved relationship between Hono­lulu Hale and Washington Place. Star-Advertiser.

In a symbolic and theatric display, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Governor Neil Abercrombie met in the middle of the Punchbowl Street crosswalk Monday as a sign of unity between Honolulu Hale and the State Capitol. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: Matters of church and the state are traditionally separated in the United States, but not always. There is a current push by some conservative Christians in Hawaii to urge pastors to speak out from the pulpit in support of gubernatorial hopeful James “Duke” Aiona and other so-called “family values” Republican candidates. Civil Beat.

Most of the candidates running for Hawaii’s First Congressional District – minus Senate President Donna Mercado-Kim -- appeared before a group of nearly 300 realtors today. Hawaii Public Radio.

19 days before the primary election, Congressional District 1 candidates participated in a forum, with one notable exception. Donna Mercado Kim had to pass due to a conflict with a scheduled commercial shoot. Hawaii News Now. and its Vote Vets Action Fund will blitz the television airwaves in the next week or so with $100,000 in advertisements in support of 1st Congressional District candidate Mark Takai, the national political action committee is expected to announce Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Federal wildlife refuges in the Northwest and Hawaii will phase out a class of pesticides that are chemically similar to nicotine because they pose a threat to bees and other pollinators key to crop growth. The region covering Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii is the first in the agency to ban neonicotinoids. Associated Press.


Honolulu Fire Department and Honolulu Police Department helicopters remained on the ground on Monday with both departments suspending routine flight operations. The city made the drastic move after learning the company that’s been maintaining the police and fire helicopters is filing for bankruptcy, and is no longer insured. KHON2.

Those who want to restore the deteriorating Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium dominated a meeting Monday night designed to gather public input on what impacts the city must consider before it can proceed with an environmental study on the proposed demolition of the historic structure. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Health on Monday began posting brand new color-coded placards in restaurants across the state that will let diners know whether they have passed safety inspections. Pacific Business News.

Starting on Monday, the state Department of Health is posting new color-coded placards at Oahu restaurants to display health inspection status. Star-Advertiser.

The bill in July for a typical household using 600 kilowatt-hours a month went up from June by more than a dollar to $217.24, according to data released Monday by Hawaiian Electric Cos., the state's largest utility provider with service to Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii first state to plug into wave energy. Power buoy to connect to Marine Corp Base Kaneohe. KITV4.

The University of Hawaii says the U.S. Navy is investing $9 million more in a Kaneohe wave energy development project. The university said Monday the funds will help the Manoa campus' Hawaii Natural Energy Institute conduct additional underwater surveys with its partner Sea Engineering Inc. Star-Advertiser.

A former guard at the Halawa Correctional Facility accused of smuggling methamphetamine into the prison is expected to plead guilty. Associated Press.

The war over aerial banners in Oahu's skies escalated Monday afternoon with Hono­lulu police arresting the pilot of an Aerial Banners North airplane at Dillingham Air Field. Star-Advertiser.

Gunky, rodent-filled brown water caused by last weekend's storm has kept untold thousands of people out of the ocean and cost Hale­iwa's Surf N Sea revenue in the form of lost kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. Star-Advertiser.


The county Department of Finance is taking a dim view of a proposal by Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille to give some homeowners a bigger tax break on their primary residence. West Hawaii Today.

Golfers will get a look at proposed changes for the Hilo Municipal Golf Course at a meeting today. Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation staff will provide a presentation as well as seek input on the improvements now in the design phase. Tribune-Herald.

The first group of 21 inmates arrived this morning at the newly reopened Kulani Correctional Facility. Big Island Now.


The environment is the economy" is a refrain frequently heard in this year's campaigns. In the 2014 Primary Election, environmental issues are in the spotlight more than ever before. Maui Weekly.

A public meeting to discuss a plan to address an anticipated $13 million budget shortfall for state hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the hospital's auditorium. Maui News.


Hanalei resident Michael Sheehan is suing Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chair Hermina Morita and her husband for damaging his property and polluting the Hanalei River, as well as the County of Kauai for conspiring to cover up the couple’s illegal activity. Garden Island.

A second water safety officer has filed a suit against the county and Kauai Fire Department for retaliation. The plaintiff, Carl Ragasa Jr., is with the Ocean Safety Bureau. He filed his complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii on July 7. He is represented by the Honolulu firm of Agsalda and Fukui. Garden Island.