Showing posts with label Rep. Faye Hanohano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rep. Faye Hanohano. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hawaii could host America's Cup, Morita under investigation, Honolulu to get smart grid, sustainability bill spurs ethics complaint, lobbyist finally registers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy America's Cup
America's Cup courtesy photo
Hosting the America's Cup could mean hundreds of millions in economic activity for Hawaii and priceless exposure for the islands' tourism industry. When word spread Monday that billionaire Larry Ellison, the owner of 98 percent of Lanai, has set his eyes on the islands to hold the 2017 America's Cup yacht race, the reaction in Hawaii was quick and mostly positive. Star-Advertiser.

Larry Ellison's vision for the 35th America's Cup in 2017 includes regattas raced around the globe leading up to the winners racing AC60 yachts in Hawaii for the Louis Vuitton Cup, with the winner of that race facing defending champion Oracle Team USA's AC60 in the waters off Honolulu for the America's Cup. Pacific Business News.

Plenty of measures that have been proposed in the Hawaii Legislature no longer have a shot this session, including bills to ease access to medical marijuana and outlaw shark and ray fishing. Associated Press.

A former state representative and current chair of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is being investigated for illegally building and operating a Hanalei bed and breakfast for more than a decade.The state Department of Land and Natural Resources alleges that Hermina ‘Mina’ Morita and her husband, Lance Laney, ran the vacation rental Taro Patch Hale without permission, and built the secluded North Shore vacation getaway in a state conservation district without the proper permits. Garden Island.

Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim is one of two state senators running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and one of seven candidates in the race. Kim has been described as the CD1 frontrunner, has proved very effective at raising campaign money for the race and currently leads in the polls. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers are clashing with the Executive Office on Aging over whether Kupuna Care services should be provided to poor seniors — a disagreement that flared up in a committee hearing on aging program funding Monday. Star-Advertiser.

The March for Meals drew hundreds of Hawaii seniors to the State Capitol to lobby lawmakers for funding for Kupuna care. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii lawmakers are hashing out ways to get air conditioning into the state’s public schools. Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland said Monday that students and teachers in her school district have become sick and a pond of fish has died because of the heat. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are proposing charging a fee to insurers that are not participating in the state’s insurance exchange under President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s prisons are crumbling under the weight of overcrowding and neglect. The newest facility — Halawa Correctional Center in Central Oahu — is more than 20 years old and bursting at the seams. Civil Beat.

Long-time lobbyist goes legit. The tale of how media inquiries brought a prominent land development lobbyist to register with the ethics commission. Hawaii Independent.

The Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations expects statewide employment will jump 4 percent by 2015. In its latest forecast, the state anticipates that statewide employment will expand by 26,880 jobs from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2015. Tribune-Herald.

Great news for jobseekers -- statewide employment is expected to grow by 4%, or 26,880 new jobs, in the next two years. Hawaii News Now.

Glenna Owens, the director of the Department of Education's Food Services Branch, says school-grown food cannot be served in any school cafeteria, primarily for food safety reasons. Civil Beat.

Details in the autopsy report of Hawaii's former health director who died after a plane's ocean landing reveal how traumatic the ordeal was for her. The autopsy report obtained by the Associated Press on Monday says Loretta Fuddy was "markedly afraid" while waiting for help to arrive after the small plane crashed off Molo­kai on Dec. 11. Star-Advertiser.

Military service-members in Hawai’i received a 14.7 percent housing allowance increase in January, which is a tax-free subsidy to help pay for housing in the civilian market. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for March 11. Associated Press.


Hawaiian Electric Co. will soon start testing a smart-grid program on Oahu that will wirelessly transmit real-time information on customers' electricity use to the utility, allowing HECO to integrate more renewable energy into its grid and respond faster to power failures. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's revamped Housing First plan will provide 180 to 200 permanent residences for homeless individuals and families, 110 of them by June 2016, city housing officials told the City Council Budget Committee on Monday. Star-Advertiser.

During a Monday briefing before the City Council's Budget Committee, Community Services Director Pamela Witty-Oakland said the city is considering a voucher program for its Housing First initiative, which seeks to find shelter for the chronically homeless before focusing on issues of drug abuse or mental health. KITV4.

Former Kaneohe Ranch CEO Mitch D'Olier has turned his attention from the Windward side of Oahu to Honolulu, with his take on the island's so called "Third City" of Kakaako. Pacific Business News.

City Ethics Commission Director Chuck Totto took his case for more money directly to the Honolulu City Council Budget Committee on Monday. He's been fighting with Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the administration for months over what he sees as an effort to undermine his office by cutting short its cash flow. Civil Beat.

Sharie Shima, Hawaii's first broadcast meteorologist, has died. Shima, the longtime KHNL and KITV weathercaster, died over the weekend at the age of 52. Hawaii News Now.


A bill that would allow so-called “sustainable living research sites” skirt county building codes in Maui and Hawaii counties is moving through the state Legislature despite opposition from several state agencies and an ethics complaint against the bill’s sponsor. West Hawaii Today.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider a proposal Friday to use an old pipeline to transport biofuel from ships docked at Hilo Harbor. The 10-inch pipe was initially constructed in the 1960s to transport asphalt products to the former Shell Oil location near the harbor entrance. Tribune-Herald.

A South Kohala factory is up for auction, before it ever was used for production. Big Island Carbon’s Kawaihae plant was built through a combination of private financing and a $5 million federal stimulus loan. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County officials have downsized proposed improvements to Alii Drive, while still attempting to create a wider space for pedestrians walking on the mauka side of the road fronting the Kona Islander Inn and the Kona Alii condo building. West Hawaii Today.

A defiant state Rep. Faye Hanohano insists her behavior has been mischaracterized and she has been unfairly "thrown under the bus" by the House leaders who reprimanded her. Star-Advertiser.


A bill to reallocate funding for repairs to the Kalakupua Playground at the Fourth Marine Division Memorial Park in Haʻikū will be considered at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 11. Maui Now.

Maui County agencies are reconsidering how much government employees should travel by air for work after recent deadly plane crashes on Lanai and Molokai. Associated Press.

The Lanai plane crash that killed two Maui County Planning Department workers and injured three other county workers has some county and state departments rethinking air transportation to Molokai, Lanai and Hana, officials said last week. Maui News.


Officials from The Kauai Bus say they are facing staffing challenges as they expand morning and afternoon routes to reduce overcrowding during peak times of the day. Garden Island.

United States Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will be the guest of honor when the Kauai County Committee on the Status of Women hosts its gathering from 6 to 8 p.m. March 19 at the Kauai Museum courtyard. Garden Island.

Kauai Humane Society has launched an investigation after receiving disturbing photos of a chicken killed by what appears to be a blowgun dart. KHON2 has learned that other chickens have been targeted as well, and it’s happening in an area frequented by locals and tourists.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Native Hawaiian nation advances, Senate panel clears Wilson Supreme Court confirmation, Hanohano reprimanded, Wooley nominated for environmental post, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Native Hawaiian protest sign (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees, standing alongside some of their critics, announced Thursday they will help facilitate and fund steps to "build a Hawaiian nation" once the Native Hawaiian Roll is complete but stay neutral in the effort. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has gathered 170,000 names for an official registry of Hawaiians so they can come together to form a governing entity. It is in the process of confirming their ancestry. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state senators made light work of the last handful of bills to cross over to the House before a legislative deadline. The chamber passed seven bills Thursday, covering topics ranging from drones in the air to marine life in the seas. Associated Press.

State House Speaker Joseph Souki on Thursday issued a reprimand to Rep. Faye Hanohano, concluding that her behavior at committee hearings has been unacceptable, in violation of the House's code of conduct and disruptive to the workplace. A public admonishment of a fellow lawmaker is extremely rare but less severe than other options House leaders had considered against Hanohano, such as censure or removing her as committee chairwoman. Star-Advertiser.

House Speaker Joe Souki has publicly reprimanded Rep. Faye Hanohano for her “intimidating” conduct after substantiating complaints that she made racially charged remarks to a college student and state employees. Souki sent her a letter Thursday threatening to remove her from all five of her committee assignments if she fails to behave properly and let her know that House leadership will be watching her closely until the legislative session ends in May. Civil Beat.

In a unanimous vote of confidence, the state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on Thursday recommended the confirmation of Circuit Judge Michael Wilson for the state Supreme Court. Senators rejected the Hawaii State Bar Association's conclusion that Wilson is "unqualified" for the nomination and condemned the unsubstantiated allegations about Wilson's character that surfaced during the bar's review process.Star-Advertiser.

In a tense — and sometimes intense — confirmation hearing that one state senator called "frickin' surreal," the Senate Judiciary and Labor committee on Thursday unanimously approved sending Mike Wilson's Hawaii Supreme Court nomination to the floor of the Senate. Civil Beat.

The chairwoman of the Hawaii House Agriculture Committee says she intends to fight for a bill that would establish a task force to study genetically modified foods. But Democratic Rep. Jessica Wooley said Thursday she thinks the bill doesn’t include enough meaningful regulation. She says she would like to see labeling of genetically modified foods because many people want to know whether their groceries include those ingredients. Associated Press.

State Rep. Jessica Wooley has been named the new director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Wooley, an attorney known for her environmental advocacy, to the post Thursday. The appointment is subject to state Senate confirmation. Star-Advertiser.

For Hawaii Rep. Jessica Wooley, being nominated by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to lead the state’s Office of Environmental Quality Control is a pretty big deal. But some worry that Wooley’s departure could change the way the Legislature deals with the highly contentious issue of genetically modified organisms in food and farming. Civil Beat.

A bill that would create a public funding program for state House elections is getting mixed reviews. Tribune-Herald.

It usually takes about two weeks to process a tax payment. But businesses and individual taxpayers now complain that the state is taking five to six weeks. Hawaii News Now.


The chants of more than 500 Campbell High School students, teachers and parents echoed throughout the state Capitol on Thursday in a second rally to get legislators to push for air conditioning in public schools. Students from all grades held up signs like "No A's and B's in 100 degrees" and "Need to stay cool in school" as they waved at passing cars and then marched around the Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell welcomed a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership to Honolulu this week to provide technical assistance on creating a vibrant culture and arts district in urban Honolulu anchored by the redevelopment of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center complex. KHON2.

Members of the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee are requiring developers of a controversial luxury hotel-condominium project in Waikiki to increase the space between their two towers, pay for sewer upgrades, improve landscaping and make the area more friendly to pedestrians. Civil Beat.

The Howard Hughes Corp.’s two ultra-luxury condominium high-rises in Kakaako, which began the sales process last month, is expected to start construction this summer, the Texas-based developer said in its 2013 annual report to shareholders. Pacific Business News.

A Honolulu City Council Committee approved a plan to build a second luxury tower in Waikiki today, on the same block that another high-end building is already under construction. Hawaii Public Radio.


Hawaii County officials want garbage diverted from the Hilo landfill and turned into something useful. While waste-to-energy incinerators are the first thing that comes to mind, the ultimate facility may not be a burner. West Hawaii Today.

DLNR seeking input on fishpond restoration permittingWest Hawaii Today.


Maui County Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa was admitted to a hospital after slipping and falling on her way to a meeting Wednesday night. Star-Advertiser.

A contested case hearing involving permits and instream water flow standards at Nā Wai ʻEhā or “the four great waters” in Central Maui, begins next week. Maui Now.

The Maui Fire Department has appointed its first battalion chief of ocean safety, who will help facilitate the long-awaited merger between the department and the county's Division of Ocean Safety. Maui News.


One of two runways at the Lihue Airport lacks a 1,000-foot Runway Safety Area, or overrun zone, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. The plan is to shift the runway southwest, toward the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, to provide for the necessary clearance. Garden Island.

Eleele resident Debralynn DeSilva Carveiro filed her nomination papers on Thursday to run for mayor in this year’s election, becoming the first person so far to try unseat Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Garden Island.


Ikehu Molokai — the project proposed jointly by Princeton Energy and Molokai Ranch with the goal of lowering the island’s electricity rates and creating a 100 percent renewable energy source – has changed directions since its inception. Molokai Dispatch.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Developer tax break could boost tourism, GMO battles on two islands, property tax hike for Oahu, bill privatizing hospitals advances, Hawaii Island's tech gap, Ige opens Honolulu campaign HQ, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki and Diamond Head (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Hawaii lawmakers are considering giving a tax break to hotel developers to help expand the state’s lucrative visitor industry. The industry pulled in more than $14 billion in 2012 but a recent report by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization suggests that the industry’s growth rate is on the decline. Civil Beat.

The legislative calendar is littered with deadlines, and a big one looms this week: first crossover. If one chamber (House or Senate) is going to send a bill to the other chamber to become law, it has to pass the originating chamber by first crossover on Thursday. To allow time for possible amendments, both chambers will be racing Tuesday to vote on their bills before sending them over. Look for lengthy floor sessions in both chambers that day. Associated Press.

There are no bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings or events scheduled for Monday at the state Capitol. That’s because senators and representatives are preparing for voting tomorrow and Thursday, the 25th and 26th days of the 2014 session. Civil Beat.

It's been three weeks since Hawaii news outlets began reporting on complaints about state Rep. Faye Hanohano alleging abusive behavior and racial prejudice. And yet, the Puna lawmaker still chairs the Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs. While House leaders have expressed a desire that Hanohano step down from her position, as of Sunday she had not. Civil Beat.

Several of Hawaii’s religious leaders are supporting the effort by Democratic legislative leaders to increase the state’s minimum wage. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii’s minimum wage would rise by almost $3 in three years under a bill the state Senate advanced Friday. Associated Press.

A proposal to raise the fee distributors pay for the recycling of nondeposit glass containers appears to have stalled in the state Legislature, leaving the collection of those bottles in limbo for another year. The problem is that the 1.5-cents-per-container fee for wine bottles and other glass containers not included in the HI-5 beverage container program doesn't come close to covering the cost of recycling, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

A movement to commercialize breadfruit in the isles has slowly been taking root in recent years, and a bill moving through the state Legislature aims to give a much-needed boost to the fledgling industry. Senate Bill 3023 proposes appropriating an unspecified sum in the upcoming fiscal year for research, development and marketing of breadfruit, or ulu. Star-Advertiser.

The seed research and development industry in Hawaii shriveled a bit over the last two years following a decade of robust growth, though the unique sector of farming remained the state's biggest crop by value. Recent estimates by the Hawaii field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service put the value of seed company spending statewide at $213 million for the 2012-13 season ended in June, down 10 percent from $238 million in the 2011-12 season. Star-Advertiser.

David Ige's quest for governor may lack a lot of campaign funding. But the opening of his campaign headquarters didn't lack political power. Hawaii News Now.

Commentary: Abercrombie gains an edge in wider gubernatorial field. Star-Advertiser.

The nominating committee for the state water commission is meeting this week to review applications to fill a vacant seat. The committee will send a list of at least three qualified people to the governor. The governor will nominate one person from the list to fill the position. The Senate will vote on the nomination. Associated Press.

Bank of Hawaii is closing the accounts of Iranian nationals living in the state, a move that is angering Iranian activists and civil rights supporters. The bank cites U.S. sanctions against Iran, issued from the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the agency responsible for regulating the economic sanctions between the U.S. and Iran. Civil Beat.

Territorial Savings Bank has received regulatory approval to convert to a Hawaii-chartered savings bank from a federal savings bank. The state's fifth-largest bank had been organized first in 1921 as a mutual building and loan association. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for March 3. Associated Press.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to raise tax rates on owners of luxury homes and hotel/resort properties to help close a $46 million revenue "gap" and balance a proposed $2.15 billion operating budget for next year. Star-Advertiser.

Los Angeles developers seeking the city's permission to exceed a Waikiki building-height limit and other concessions for their controversial Kuhio Avenue hotel-condominium project have given more than $100,000 to Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Honolulu City Council members' political campaigns since 2011, campaign finance records show.  Civil Beat.

The last remaining businesses at the Kapalama Military Reservation near Honolulu Harbor have been given a month-long reprieve before they have to leave to make room for a major renovation that will turn the complex into a shipping container terminal. Pacific Business News.

After several years of service complaints from riders, Honolulu City Councilman Breene Hari­moto says he will introduce a resolution in the next few weeks that would compel a management and operational audit of the Handi-Van system. The program is run by Oahu Transit Services, a nonprofit entity that's partly a city entity and partly an independent operator. Star-Advertiser.

Former state Rep. Tommy Waters, who left the House of Representatives in 2008, wants to return to public service. Waters, an attorney, is seeking the District 4 seat being vacated by Councilman Stanley Chang, who is running for Congress. He joins a field that already has Natalie Iwasa and Trevor Ozawa. A fourth potential candidate, Scot Johnson, has pulled election papers. Civil Beat.


Mayor Billy Kenoi on Friday unveiled his biggest budget yet, for the first time asking the County Council to spend more than the previous administration spent. The $412.6 million budget is 4.6 percent higher than last year’s, and 2.3 percent higher than the budget in place when Kenoi took office in 2008. West Hawaii Today.

Lorraine Inouye wants a rematch. After losing narrowly to state Sen. Malama Solomon in the 2012 Democratic primary, Inouye of Paukaa is challenging her again for the 4th District post. Tribune-Herald.

Nearly three decades after signing 99-year leases with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, several dozen homesteaders in this arid and isolated region of the Big Island still are waiting for the agency to deliver the one thing critical to their ranching and farming lots: water. Star-Advertiser.

Cable outage exposes islandwide flaw. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii could issue up to $50 million in special purpose revenue bonds to support a company’s plans to turn agriculture waste into biofuel and animal feed. Tribune-Herald.


A group of Maui residents has launched a petition drive to put before voters a proposal to suspend all farming operations involving genetically engineered crops in Maui County. Some 8,500 signatures must be submitted to the county clerk by March 31 to put the initiative on the county's November ballot. Star-Advertiser.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee has advanced a bill to allow management of the state's struggling public hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, to be shifted from the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. to a nonprofit hospital corporation. Maui Now.

A state Senate bill that provides for the transfer of state public hospitals to a private nonprofit has undergone substantial revisions since it was introduced early this year by Senate Health Committee Chairman Josh Green and Sens. Suzanne Chun-Oakland and Maile Shimabukuro. Maui News.


Four organizations that support Kauai County's new ordinance pertaining to pesticide use and cultivation of genetically modified crops are seeking to intervene in a federal lawsuit that aims to block its implementation. Star-Advertiser.

All four Kauai legislators said they support minimum wage increases and recognize the need for it, but what differs among some of them is how that vision should be carried out. Garden Island.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Schatz-Hanabusa still tied for Senate, GMO could be on Maui ballot, food safety rules tighten, Hanohano meets with speaker, minimum wage opposed, Kauai mulls redistricting, drones on the Big Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, Hawaii
Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa
Just five months before the first votes are cast, likely Democratic primary voters are evenly split on who to support for the U.S. Senate. A new Civil Beat Poll shows U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa with 40 percent each. Another 20 percent are not sure who they'll vote for. This is the third time Civil Beat has polled the Schatz-Hanabusa matchup in eight months, and there has been very little movement in either direction for either candidate.

Scientists revealed the results of a comprehensive study relating to the levels of radiation in the Pacific Ocean as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. As it relates to Hawaii, the findings were positive. Hawaii News Now.

A new wide-ranging set of food safety rules went into effect Monday for some 10,000 restaurants, lunch wagons and food establishments in Hawaii, but the state Health Department will not begin enforcement until June. Peter Oshiro, state environmental health program manager, said inspectors will visit every food establishment in the state to explain the new rules before enforcing regulations that require everything from gloves for those who handle food to patron notification of the risk of eating raw and undercooked food. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate Health Committee held an emotional hearing Monday as senators began vetting Gov. Neil Abercrombie's appointee for director of the Department of Health — a position left vacant when Director Loretta Fuddy died in December after a plane crash off Molokai. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Faye Hanohano met privately Monday with House leaders to give her side of the controversy that has swirled around her conduct. Hanohano, who had postponed two previously scheduled meetings with House leaders last week, spoke with House Speaker Joseph Souki, House Vice Speaker John Mizuno, House Majority Leader Scott Saiki and others for about a half-hour. Rep. Marcus Oshiro accompanied Hanohano in what he described as "moral support." Star-Advertiser.

The public may soon see more timely and detailed reports from people who are paid to try to influence policy decisions in Hawaii. That’s good news for a state with lax lobbying laws. A nationwide survey conducted two years ago found Hawaii lagging far behind — especially when it comes to disclosure — and the Legislature has done little since then to address the problem. Civil Beat.

Senate Bill 2609, which raises the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017 and eliminates the tip credit, has a hearing set for Wednesday in Senate Ways and Means. Civil Beat.

Mentally and physically debilitated prisoners in Hawaii are likely to gain easier access to parole hearings under changes state agencies are making. Associated Press.

Six of the seven announced Democratic candidates for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District seat stepped up efforts to separate themselves from the rest of the field during a forum Monday, while attempting to make special appeals to a largely older crowd. Sponsored by the Hono­lulu-based Kokua Council, which advocates for seniors, the forum drew about 50 people to Harris United Methodist Church in lower Nuuanu. Star-Advertiser.

Candidates in the crowded race for Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s seat met for the first time today in a face-to-face political forum hosted by the Kokua Council in Honolulu. Hawaii Public Radio.

In the months since the Sandy Hook mass shooting that left 26 students and staffers at the Connecticut elementary school dead in December 2012, Hawaii has stepped up its security and safety training at public schools to prevent similar tragedies here, school officials told lawmakers Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers want to help the state’s seniors avoid a situation where they’ve fallen — and can’t get up. The Legislature plan to allocate $80,000 for a new “fall prevention coordinator” position in the state Department of Health’s Emergency Management Division. Hawaii Reporter.

In the last seven years there have been 13 security breaches at Iolani Palace or on the palace grounds. Some of the incidents have resulted in the destruction of irreplaceable treasures. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is trying to make it easier to check whether a professional in Hawaii is licensed. The department said Monday more than 375,000 Hawaii licenses can now be accessed on mobile devices. Associated Press.

State roundup for February 25. Associated Press.


Proposed military cuts could have negative impact on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Pacific University has completed a draft environmental assessment for its proposed conversion of Aloha Tower Marketplace into an extension of its downtown Hono­lulu campus sprinkled with some retail and restaurant use. Star-Advertiser.

Walmart plans to hire 150 people for its new Downtown Honolulu store, which will open this summer in the former Macy’s department store, the discount retail giant said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Plan expands types of events OK'd for Stan Sheriff Center. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo announced Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration granted a Certificate of Authorization for the use of an unmanned aircraft to assess wiliwili trees on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Earlier this month, five men stood outside of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, their gaze locked on what resembled a miniature spaceship hovering above their heads. The object: a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), or drone. Its implications: many. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Pacific University Oceanic Institute’s long-planned $5 million Feeds Research and Pilot Production Facility to be developed at the University of Hawaii at Hilo on the Big Island is finally getting some traction with the filing of a draft environmental assessment. Pacific Business News.

Kamehameha Schools will be buying the Hualalai Academy campus, the closing school’s board president says. West Hawaii Today.

Access to water in dry Kawaihae was one of the top concerns about the state’s proposal to add water lines to the small boat harbor under construction there. A Department of Hawaiian Home Lands official noted the draft environmental assessment, issued in December, said the water line and road construction project will increase demand on the region’s water system. West Hawaii Today.


Come November, the citizens of Maui County could be voting on a temporary suspension of all genetically modified crop production in their county. The only thing standing in the way of a public vote on the matter is the collection of 8,500 signatures. Kauai County Councilman Tim Bynum said it is a more comprehensive moratorium than the one proposed in the original version of Bill 2491, which would have placed a moratorium on field expansion. Garden Island.

The battle against genetically modified farming is heating up on Maui, where residents are pushing a citizens’ initiative to temporarily ban the use of such biotechnology. While Hawaii doesn’t allow residents to bring statewide ballot initiatives, the Maui County Charter has a provision for county-level efforts. Civil Beat.

Four Upcountry farms and one farm labor contractor were fined by the United States Department of Labor last year for violating minimum wage and other federal standards for migrant fieldworkers, prompting Maui County to adopt a code of conduct for agricultural employers. Maui News.

The Maui County Council on Friday passed a bill to honor raises in five departments and appropriated $864,000 to assist with the costs of landfill operations and refuse collection and Department of Environmental Management compliance with regulations. Maui News.

A total of 24 Maui residents have pulled papers for the upcoming 2014 elections since the candidate filing period began on Feb. 3. Maui Now.

Three people were appointed to the Molokai Planning Commission and a longtime Maui educator was named to the Maui Planning Commission as the Maui County Council approved the mayor's nominees to various boards and commissions Friday. Maui News.

The Maui County Department of Water Supply filed a draft environmental assessment for a 1.44 million gallon per day exploratory well in West Maui. Maui Now.


A coalition of Kauai residents and public interest groups, represented by the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, filed papers in federal district court Monday to intervene as defendants in the legal challenge of Ordinance 960, formerly Bill 2491, which regulates pesticides and GMOs on the island. Garden Island.

Bob Stout minces few words when it comes to proposals to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage: It’s not a good idea. Garden Island.

The County of Kauai Charter Review Commission will consider five redistricting proposals next month, when its members will decide whether voters will take up the question during this year’s general election. A report released by a special Charter Review Commission committee Monday suggested that the entire governing body reconsider its initial proposal to establish seven geographic districts and elect Kauai County Council members based on the district in which they both reside. Garden Island.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Abercrombie, Ige tied in poll for governor, Hawaii ranked high in shark attacks, Hanohano on the hot seat, Maui group wants GMO regs, no new taxes for Hawaii County, HECO execs get raises, Caldwell to deliver state of the city, more news from all the Hawaian Islands

Hawaii governor Democrats
Abercrombie vs. Ige
A new Civil Beat Poll suggests that state Sen. David Ige has a shot at unseating Hawaii's incumbent governor, Neil Abercrombie. Ige and Abercrombie are tied at 37 percent apiece among likely Democratic primary voters, the poll shows. And more than a quarter of those voters, or 26 percent, say they are unsure of who they'll vote for.

Hawaii tallied the second-highest count of shark attacks of any place on Earth last year, according to the University of Florida's annual International Shark Attack File report released last week. Only Florida had more shark attacks, with 23. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of Hawaii legislators have written Gov. Neil Abercrombie urging him to reappoint their former House colleague to lead the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. As Civil Beat reported Wednesday, the governor could be disappointed that PUC Commissioner Mina Morita has not helped advance aspects of his energy agenda and that the PUC has been slow in issuing opinions. Morita may have raised the governor's ire due to the PUC's rejection of a Big Island biofuel contract and the commission's ongoing delays in letting an inter-island cable plan go forward.

The top thing to watch for this week in the Hawaii state Legislature is what didn't notably happen last week: a promised meeting among House leadership to discuss possible censure of Rep. Faye Hanohano. Associated Press.

In drafting legislation to regulate the budding unmanned aerial vehicle industry, legislators nearly excluded all uses of the devices, except by law enforcement — the opposite of their intent. Star-Advertiser.

After an informational briefing highlighted the medicinal values and outlined the path and roadblocks to implementation of marijuana dispensaries, Rep. Della Au Belatti calls for "steady, measured and reasonable dialogue" on the subject. Hawaii Independent.

Measure regulating dietary supplements gets little attention. Star-Advertiser.

The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is urging taxpayers to support the state's election campaign fund. The league asked last week that taxpayers indicate on their income tax returns that $3 for individuals, or $6 for joint filers, should go to the fund. Associated Press.

University of Hawaii Board of Regents Vice Chairman James Lee has been passed up by Gov. Neil Abercrombie for another term on the board. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Education has convened a working group to review an experimental sex-education program in public schools that has been criticized by Republican lawmakers. The program entitled Pono Choices was developed by the University of Hawaii for seventh-graders. Big Island Now.

Hawaii’s online health insurance exchange hopes to boost enrollment by targeting younger adults. The Hawaii Health Connector is making an aggressive push this weekend aimed at so-called “invincibles,” those who see insurance as an unnecessary expense. Associated Press.

The president and the executive staff of Hawaiian Electric Co., the state’s largest electric utility, received higher base salaries in 2013, but their total compensation for the year was lower compared to the year before, according an annual report for parent Hawaiian Electric Industries. Pacific Business News.

In her keynote address at Sunday's opening of the 17th biennial Ocean Sciences Meeting, National Geographic explorer Elizabeth Kapuuwailanui Lindsey shared a memory about her late mentor, Pius "Mau" Piai­lug, the esteemed Micronesian navigator whose work to preserve traditional way-finding practices influenced generations of modern Polynesian voyagers. Star-Advertiser.


When Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell delivers his second State of the City address this week, it won't be at Honolulu Hale, or even Kapolei Hale in the  "Second City." For the first time, it will be delivered at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Park. Hawaii News Now.

Thousands of ocean scientists are in Hawaii this week for a conference at the Hawaii Convention center. Their goal is to address major marine issues around the world. Organizers feel hawaii is the perfect place to begin the discussion. KHON2.

Beginning Monday, February 24, a tree care company hired by the city will begin the removal of two mature monkeypod trees growing along Kapiolani Boulevard. Hawaii News Now.


Increases in property values coupled with an improving economy should provide enough revenue to balance the county budget without having to raise property taxes this year, despite across-the-board salary hikes for county employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. West Hawaii Today.

State Rep. Faye Hanohano's recent remarks and actions have roiled the state Capitol, but in her home district of Puna her constituents remain divided about the alleged misconduct. In Pahoa, a once-sleepy town that has mushroomed into a bustling gathering place for people living in the region's many sprawling subdivisions, there are those who still support Hanohano and those who shake their heads at the mention of her name. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Center at West Hawaii has a new director. The University of Hawaii Board of Regents Thursday night hired Kenneth “Marty” Fletcher to helm the community college, which will become the University of Hawaii at Palamanui. West Hawaii Today.

A former president of Hilo Little League has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars in league funds, plus money from two youth soccer teams, a pageant organization and a car repair and alignment shop. Tribune-Herald.

Five Maui County residents are looking to gather at least 8,500 signatures for a ballot initiative that would force genetically engineered food growers, such as Monsanto, to "prove that their crops are safe," supporters said. Maui News.

As the state Public Utilities Commission continues to gather public testimony to determine whether a Maui-Oahu undersea power cable would be in the public interest, Upcountry residents were able to ask energy officials and experts questions about the proposal during the Kula Community Association meeting Wednesday night. Maui News.

A total of 1,331 humpback whale sightings were recorded during the Pacific Whale Foundation’s annual Great Whale Count held on Saturday. Maui Now.

A workshop that will include officials from Google, who will help small businesses take advantage of online opportunities, will be held March 19 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Maui News.


Four Kauai charter schools will continue to operate thanks to a shot of emergency financial support. The Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs approved $1.5 million in emergency funding to 17 Hawaiian-focused public charter schools for the 2013-2014 school year to address the budgetary shortfalls the schools have faced over the past five years. Garden Island.

Several teachers at Kilauea Elementary School are feeling such pressure to implement a new pilot program called the Educator Effectiveness System, they’ve sent a letter protesting the measure to the Hawaii Board of Education and the Hawaii Department of Education. Garden Island.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Raising the minimum wage, building prisons, lobbyist influence, UH president sought, Ethics Commission examines lawmakers' expense accounts, VA to allow water catchment loans, embattled Kauai police commissioner resigns, Maui college chancellor retires, Mufi may run, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii bartender (c) 2014 All Hawaii News

State House and Senate leaders have reached an understanding on raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour by January 2018 and expanding a tip credit to 75 cents, but an influential state senator wants a debate over the tip credit before signing off on the agreement. Star-Advertiser.

Public Safety Director Ted Sakai told lawmakers Wednesday that officials are evaluating 13 design-build proposals and alternative funding ideas submitted by private firms and partnerships hoping to help the state build new jails and more prison space. Sakai didn't offer up much detail on any of the proposals to a joint meeting of the state Senate and House Public Safety committees. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said Wednesday that he would seriously consider running for governor as an independent if his allies collect enough signatures to get certified as a new Hawaii Independent Party. Organizers have until Thursday afternoon to collect the necessary 706 signatures from registered voters for a petition to the state Office of Elections. Star-Advertiser.

Lobbyists Test Another Path to Influence. Civil Beat.

Should state lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars to keep their aloha shirts clean and their suits pressed? What about legislators using public money to send flowers to the family of a friend who died? Or buying a birthday cake for a staff member? The state Ethics Commission began Wednesday to examine the way Hawaii’s 51 House reps and 26 senators spend their legislative allowances each year. The commission did so after receiving complaints from a couple of lawmakers. Civil Beat.

The state legislature wants the state administration to track body fat on children ages 2 to 18 years old. Senate Bill 2351 requires primary care physicians and pediatricians to provide an annual body mass index measurement to patients from age two to eighteen years and then tally that up and report the age and body mass index statistics to the Hawaii health information exchange. Hawaii Reporter.

State House leaders hope to meet privately with state Rep. Faye Hanohano to discuss how the chamber should respond to several complaints about her conduct. Among the options, according to House sources, would be for Hanohano to apologize; for House leaders to remove her as chairwoman of the House Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee; or for the House to censure her. Star-Advertiser.

Rep. Faye Hanohano is in hot water again over allegations of racially discriminatory behavior. Tribune-Herald.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs today announced it will resume its policy of allowing homes with water catchment systems for use as collateral for VA loans. Big Island Now.

What you need to know about the state regulatory entity responsible for addressing ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees. Hawaii Independent.

The University of Hawaii is advertising for a new president. The university said Wednesday print and online advertisements will appear in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Midweek and Pacific Business News in Hawaii. Nationally, the ads will appear in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Star-Advertiser.

State Senate leaders were upset after Hawaii News Now revealed that the state's new safety check program has a big problem: common household cleaners such as rubbing alcohol and nail polish wipe away the printing from new safety check decals.

Hawaii has the lowest number of Obamacare enrollments in the nation, through its Hawaii Health Connector, leading lawmakers on the House Consumer Protection Committee to consider a $15 million a year state funded replacement. Hawaii Independent.

The number of new motor vehicle registrations in Hawaii rose nearly 15 percent in 2013, according to a report from the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, which attributed the increase to low interest rates and strong affordability. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for February 20. Associated Press.


Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to raise or begin charging fees for more than 40 permits and services tied to land use hit a snag at what was expected to be a final vote at a City Council meeting on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's plan to begin charging Oahu property owners $10 a month for trash pickup cleared its first hurdle Wednesday but appears to have a long way to go before it becomes law. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha could see another salary bump in the coming fiscal year. So too could his deputy and assistant chiefs.Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police have a new weapon in their crime fighting arsenal – and it pairs a camera with a computer. Police say the Automated License Plate Technology will help them in their fight against crime, but there are people who are concerned about their right to privacy. KHON2.

A bill moving through the state Legislature would require all Hawaii government agencies located near a planned rail station form a consortium to study how Honolulu’s rail transit project will affect the local workforce and housing. Pacific Business News.

For many Hawaii residents, the rural town of Wahiawa in central Oahu is just a place you drive through when traveling to the beaches on the North Shore or commuting to urban Honolulu. But Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz is hoping to change all that. Civil Beat.


Home rule was back before the Hawaii County Council Wednesday morning at the West Hawaii Civic Center. West Hawaii Today.

Native Hawaiian practitioner Kalani Flores recognizes Mauna Kea for more than its scenic views and pristine hiking opportunities. With a hearing scheduled for 8 a.m. today in Hilo’s Third Circuit Court, Ching and Flores visited the mountain to pay their respects. Tribune-Herald.

The State Department of Health has introduced new, more stringent regulations for food safety in commercial establishments.  Under the old rules, low income and homeless feeding programs were exempted from some of the provisions.  But that's changing, and it will have a direct impact on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Public Radio.


University of Hawaii Maui College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto will retire this fall, after leading the Maui campus for more than two decades. Sakamoto, who is credited with pioneering distance learning opportunities across Maui County's three islands, will retire at the end of October, UH announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Beginning March 1, Maui Memorial Medical Center will be transitioning from a paper-based records system to an electronic medical records system that officials say will improve patient care and safety and could even earn the hospital about $4 million in federal funds. Maui News.

It's a racial rant that has been seen by more than a quarter of a million people.  A 21-year old man, with a criminal past, was caught on cell phone video unleashing racial statements against a Kihei couple and their friends at Kalama Beach Park. Hawaii News Now.

An adult humpback whale was freed of hundreds of feet of small gauge line during a successful disentanglement effort conducted this morning in waters off of West Maui, marine officials said. Maui Now.


A Lihue man under federal investigation regarding gambling allegations has resigned his post as a Kauai Police Commissioner. Bradley Chiba is allegedly under investigation for illegal gambling. He was serving his fourth year as a commissioner. Garden Island.

Stella Burgess, a longtime South Shore resident, community leader and director of Hawaiian culture for the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, died late Tuesday night at her Koloa home with family and friends surrounding her. She was 61. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wilson nominated to Hawaii Supreme Court, big wins for Honolulu rail, PUC's Morita in trouble, Department of Education focuses on Hawaiian immersion, more accuse Rep. Hanohano of racism, lawmakers mull drones, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Supreme Court justice nominee Michael Wilson poses with Gov. Neil Abercrombie
Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday announced the nomination of Circuit Judge Michael Wilson to fill an upcoming vacancy on the state Supreme Court. Wilson would replace Associate Justice Simeon Acoba, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in March. Wilson's nomination for a 10-year term on the court is subject to confirmation by the state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today appointed a man of many hats to the state Supreme Court. Michael Wilson, a judge with Oahu’s First Circuit Court since 2000, will replace Associate Justice Simeon Acoba, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 next month. Big Island Now.

The Board of Education adopted sweeping changes on Tuesday to two policies governing Hawaiian education and immersion schools, a move that garnered the support of hundreds of advocates who hope the revisions will address many of the issues that have plagued the programs for decades. Civil Beat.

In what Hawaiian language advocates called a bold and monumental step, the Board of Education on Tuesday made substantial policy changes to its Hawaiian language immersion program, including a mandate to create an Office of Hawaiian Education under the schools superintendent. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources on Tuesday complained about the behavior of state Rep. Faye Hano­hano, portraying the representative as "abusive in authority, racially discriminatory and inappropriate" to the department's staff. House leaders have said they intend to assign a special committee to look into Hano­hano's conduct after receiving several complaints. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal for police to monitor people with unmanned aircraft without due process. Police, hobbyists, filmmakers and regulators told lawmakers Tuesday that the state should protect people's privacy. But they urged lawmakers not to curtail the many uses for unmanned aircraft beyond police surveillance, including commercial photography, search and rescue operations, resource management and recreational use. Associated Press.

Opponents fighting a proposed state ban on unmanned aerial vehicles packed a capitol hearing room today. Hawaii Public Radio.

A measure now before Hawaii lawmakers would restrict the use of these unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to law enforcement, and only if the search warrant calls for the technology. KHON2.

Hawaii has the lowest number in the nation of enrollments through its Obamacare exchange, Hawaii Health Connector, according to a Feb. 12 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission
Hermina Morita, who was tapped by Gov. Neil Abercrombie three years ago to lead the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, won’t be nominated for a second term, according to the senator who chairs the committee that oversees the commission. Sen. Roz Baker, who heads the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, told Civil Beat Tuesday that she asked to meet with the governor after hearing reports that Morita wouldn't be reappointed, but he refused. Star-Advertiser.

House Bill 1499, which has a hearing today, proposes a constitutional amendment to ask whether freedom of speech should include spending money to influence elections. Civil Beat.

Equality Hawaii, channeling resources from several gay rights and civil liberties organizations, directed more than $509,900 worth of lobbying to help pass a gay marriage law in a special session of the state Legislature last fall. State lobbying disclosure reports filed with the state Ethics Commission show that Equality Hawaii spent more than $101,600 of the money on media advertising. Star-Advertiser.

Thanks to a new law in Hawaii, the public can examine the financial interests of state lawmakers before elected officials take action on legislation that might personally benefit them. In the past, the public generally had to wait until the legislative session was over to view lawmakers' financial disclosure statements. That made it hard to spot potential conflicts of interest and raise objections when it matters most. But last year the Legislature finally passed a bill that moved the filing deadline up four months, from May 31 to Jan. 31, barely two weeks after the 2014 session opened. The session will wrap up May 1. Civil Beat.

Hawaii News Now has discovered a potential problem with the state's new vehicle safety sticker program.  A Kalihi mechanic worried that if he can easily wipe numbers off the sticker decals, crooks can as well.

Scientists in Hawaii are seeking the public’s help in documenting locations where the state butterfly can be found, saying they don’t believe the insect’s population is doing as well as it should be. Associated Press.

State roundup for February 19. Associated Press.


Two federal court rulings Tuesday all but assured Honolulu’s $5.2 billion rail project will be built between East Kapolei and Ala Moana Center. Not only did judges in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals find that the project complied with federal law, but the plaintiffs in the cases, who have been fighting against rail for decades, have said they don’t plan to appeal the decisions. Civil Beat.

With two new decisive court wins, Oahu's rail transit project is poised to take shape along the island's southern coast without more roadblocks from its staunchest opponents. A federal appeals court panel unanimously ruled Tuesday that the 20-mile, 21-station elevated rail line complies with environmental law. On a lower court level in the same case, visiting Judge A. Wallace Tashima ruled Tuesday that transit officials followed proper procedures in choosing a rail route to Ala Moana Center instead of a route to the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s $5.16 billion rail transit project received a green light Tuesday in separate rulings from the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court. Pacific Business News.

If there’s one thing that the Hawaii Community Development Authority can’t be faulted for, it’s a lack of transparency. Hawaii Independent.

A decades-long debate over the best way make more homes available to the neediest families continues at the Hono­lulu City Council on Wednesday. Three resolutions aimed at creating more affordable housing units for those most in need are on the Council's agenda. Star-Advertiser.

City Councilman Ron Menor wants to make it easier for those at the lowest income levels to benefit from rules that require developers to set aside affordable housing units. Star-Advertiser.


A compromise by the developer of the luxury Kohala Kai subdivision was enough to get a thumbs-up Tuesday from the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

A proposed North Kona development hit a new roadblock Tuesday afternoon, when the county’s Planning Director announced he couldn’t find any authority to expand an urban area into an agricultural area. West Hawaii Today.

Coffee growers are hoping for a venti-sized check from lawmakers this year as the coffee berry borer spreads to all corners of the Big Island. On Thursday, the state’s House Finance Committee will consider a bill to provide $3 million to help farmers fight the beetle, triple the amount allocated or approved last year. Tribune-Herald.

Driving down Queen Kaahumanu Highway at 45 mph, residents and visitors may not realize how much water flows beneath the barren-looking lava fields, Fred Cachola told County Council members Tuesday morning. West Hawaii Today.


A series of community meetings to discuss proposed permitting and scheduling improvements at Park facilities in Maui County is scheduled to take place in February and March. Maui Now.

Maui County high school students are invited to take part in the inaugural Congressional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academic Competition, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced. Maui News.

A member of the Kauai Police Commission is a target of a federal investigation into illegal gambling. FBI agents searched 37-year-old Bradley Chiba's home in Lihue on Super Bowl Sunday on the suspicion he was booking illegal bets on football games. Hawaii News Now.

The smell of rotten eggs, county officials admit, has been a longstanding and uncomfortable problem that has plagued businesses and residents in the Wailua Houselots area for several decades. Garden Island.


Island Air, which has been focusing its resources on Lanai, said Tuesday it will discontinue service to Molokai. The last flights will be on April 1. Star-Advertiser.

Island Air, the Hawaii interisland airline owned by Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, will discontinue service to Molokai effective April 2, the airline said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

The Molokai Planning Commission, a board of volunteer residents tasked with reviewing land use ordinances and amendments, is seeking to revise and update its 25-year-old administrative rules. Maui News.

It appears the island of Niihau will remain part of the County of Kauai, at least until the end of the decade. Instead of moving forward with establishing a new, independent county, a trio of committees in the Senate voted Tuesday to create a five-member working group to study the proposal. Garden Island.