The Beat

  • Another Shark Sighting Closes Maui Beaches

    ·By Chad Blair
    For a third time this week, a Maui ocean user encountered a shark in murky water. This one happened today around 10 a.m. That’a according to officers for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (aka DOCARE), who report that two women from Kihei — ages 53 and 46 — “were about 200 yards off Waipuilani Beach Park, stand-up paddle boarding in five to six feet of water when one saw a shark approaching the other’s board.” DLNR explains that one of the women said a tiger shark
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  • In Race for Hawaii Governor, Ige Leads — in Fundraisers, That Is

    ·By Chad Blair
    Fresh poll numbers for Hawaii’s top political races (sans the federal offices) are expected any day now, but by another metric there is already a clear frontrunner: David Ige, the Democratic Party nominee for governor, has held 15 campaign fundraisers since the Aug. 9 primary. They have ranged from the high rollers — e.g., up to $2,500 a head at the Waialae Country Club — to more modest events — $40 apiece at the Koolau Ballrooms. Several have been with Ige’s running mate, Shan Tsutsui — like this one for $1,000 per person at
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  • Predictions for Hawaii’s 2014 Elections from National Analysts

    ·By Chad Blair
    Early voting has begun and the general election is just under two weeks away. Who will win the big races in Hawaii — for governor, the U.S. Senate, the 1st Congressional District and the 2nd Congressional District, according to the national experts? In short, Democrat David Ige has the edge over Republican Duke Aiona for governor, as does Democrat Mark Takai over Republican Charles Djou in the CD1 contest. Democrats Brian Schatz and Tulsi Gabbard, meanwhile, need not fear Republicans Cam Cavasso and Kawika Crowley in their Senate and CD2 races, respectively. Here’s the
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  • Hawaii Family Advocates vs. United Public Workers

    ·By Chad Blair
    Two important groups in Hawaii have issued their candidate endorsements for the general election and — no surprise — there is not a lot of overlap. It’s an example of how there remain clear ideological divisions in our aina, in spite of all-in-the-ohana pretensions. One group, the Hawaii Family Advocates, supports these legislative candidates who voted against same-sex marriage legislation last fall: Richard Fale (a state House representative now running for state Senate) and House Reps. Clift Tsuji, Justin Woodson, Mele Carroll, Jimmy Tokioka, Gene Ward, Isaac Choy (who actually skipped the
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  • Schatz Endorses Preschool Ballot Campaign

    ·By Alia Wong
    Sen. Brian Schatz is publicly supporting the campaign to pass a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to use public funds to pay for private preschool programs. The Good Beginning Alliance campaign — “Yes on 4″ — already has the support of a range of business groups, private preschool providers and Native Hawaiian advocacy organizations. It’s been raising and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. Advocates say the passage of Question No. 4 is key to expanding access to preschool for more of the state’s 4-year-olds. They say it would allow the state
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  • Hawaii Rep. Awana: Don’t Dump Illegal Fireworks on Waianae Coast

    ·By Nathan Eagle
    Hawaii Rep. Karen Awana sharply criticized a plan Monday that calls for using a rural property on the Waianae Coast as a place to store and dispose of a large cache of illegal fireworks. The commercial-grade fireworks are the remnants of a stash that was involved in the 2011 explosion at a Waikele storage bunker that killed five people. “This plan to bring hazardous fireworks into our backyard is downright exasperating,” Awana said in a statement. “Both the state and city have used the Waianae Coast as a dumping ground for far too
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  • Hawaii’s Technology and Cybersecurity Czar Moves On

    ·By Nathan Eagle
    Hawaii’s highly celebrated technology and cybersecurity czar started a new job Monday as the U.S. Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary and chief information officer. Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia spent the past three years helping the state develop and implement a 12-year plan to pull itself out of the dark ages and into the information age. He started work in Hawaii as the state’s first chief information officer after the lawmakers created the position in 2010. He held that position from July 2011 to February 2014 when he became Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s
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  • FAQs on Ballot Question Raising the Judicial Retirement Age

    ·By Chad Blair
    The Hawaii State Judiciary says that it has been receiving “quite a few inquiries” regarding constitutional amendment Question No. 3, which will appear on this November’s ballot along with four other questions. That question asks voters to decide whether judges’ mandatory retirement age should be raised from 70 to 80. The Judiciary can’t take a position on the matter, but it has released some frequently asked questions to help the media and the public: Q: What language will be presented on the November ballot? A: Hawaii voters will decide whether to extend the mandatory retirement age
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  • 9th Circuit Says Hawaii Gay Marriage Suit Is Moot

    ·By The Civil Beat Staff
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has vacated a federal district court’s judgment in Jackson v. Abercrombie. The lawsuit challenged Hawaii’s 1998 ballot decision to give the Hawaii Legislature the authority to restrict marriage to one man and own woman. U.S. District Court Alan Kay in 2012 upheld Hawaii’s prior marriage law excluding same-sex couples. But last week the 9th Circuit “remanded to the district court with instructions to dismiss the case as moot because the Marriage Equality Act,” according to a press release from Honolulu law firm Alston Hunt Floyd
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  • Appeal Denied for Federal Relief for Iselle Damages

    ·By Chad Blair
    All eyes are still on Hurricane Ana as it gradually moves away from the islands, but the Hawaii Tribune-Herald has this article regarding news Friday about the last big storm to pass through: Hawaii County officials announced an appeal for federal relief funding for damages wrought by Tropical Storm Iselle was denied. The Oct. 7 appeal was submitted in response to an Aug. 28 decision by President Barack Obama to not declare a major disaster in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle. The storm, which made landfall
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  • Hirono Cancels Guam Trip Due to Hurricane Ana

    ·By Chad Blair
    U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii was expected to be in Guam today and tomorrow to meet with community leaders and to discuss issues related to the Compacts of Free Association and veterans affairs. But Hurricane Ana changed all that. I had blogged earlier today that Hirono’s visit was to coincide with a visit from U.S. Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kiaaina. According to the Guam Women Chamber of Commerce, “both officials will be the guest speakers at the group’s special general membership luncheon meeting at the Hilton Guam Micronesian Ballroom on
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  • Gabbard Wants CDC to Increase Incubation Period to Prevent Ebola Spread

    ·By Chad Blair
    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard today called on the Center for Disease Control to implement stricter incubation guidelines for people who have been in contact with patients “confirmed or suspected” to have the Ebola virus. According to a press release from her office, Gabbard is calling on the CDC to increase the quarantine and restriction period from the 21-day standard to 42 days, “based on the latest scientific studies and the World Health Organization report that the incubation period for the deadly Ebola virus can extend as long as 42 days.” On Friday, Gabbard called
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  • Windward Community College Gets $9.9M for Native Hawaiians

    ·By Alia Wong
    Windward Community College says it will develop a Hawaiian immersion childcare center and improve its science, technology, engineering and math programs with a new $9.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant, which lasts five years and is titled “Hanai a ulu: Feed and Grow—Nurturing student parents and STEM at Windward Community College,” is aimed at enhancing Native Hawaiian students’ success. Forty-two percent of the college’s students identify as Native Hawaiian. Windward Community College will use its $9.9 million grant to support Native Hawaiian education.
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  • Do You Have a 7-Day Disaster Supply Kit?

    ·By Chad Blair
    Kudos to Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine for sending out a reminder of the need for a 7-day disaster supply kit. The city’s Department of Emergency Management advises Oahu residents to prepare one. Strong winds, flooding rains and storm surge could result in evacuations. “With Hawaii’s remoteness it could be as long as a week before a full disaster relief operation can be initiated,” says the department. “Hawaii residents need to be prepared to take care of all of their emergency needs and those of their family for at least seven days
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  • Special Edition on Storm Risk Tonight on PBS Hawaii’s ‘Insights’

    ·By Chad Blair
    Libraries and schools are closing, flights may be changed and lots of events are being canceled on several islands in anticipation of a potential hurricane arriving as early as Friday. Check out this link to see what’s been canceled as well as this link. Add to the list of changes the latest episode of “Insights” on PBS Hawaii, which was originally scheduled for tonight at 8 p.m. and featuring the Kauai mayoral candidates. The program has now been postponed due to preparations for Tropical Storm Ana. In its place, PBS Hawaii will
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  • Hawaii’s Highest-Paid Public Employee Coaches Football

    ·By Chad Blair
    A Deadspin article features 40 maps and surveys that explain sports in America. One map that caught my eye “reveals an absurd truth about the bloated college sports system in the U.S.: in most states, the highest-paid public employee is either a football or basketball coach,” says Deadspin. It adds, “Though most of the money for these huge salaries comes from team revenues, not tax dollars, these big-time college football and basketball programs as a whole are still usually a net financial negative for universities. In fact, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to
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  • Hirono in TV Ad for Kentucky’s Alison Grimes

    ·By Chad Blair
    The Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign in Kentucky has a new web ad appealing to women voters to “shatter the glass, break the ceiling.” According to The Courier-General, Grimes has been getting “a lot of assistance” from the Senate’s 16 Democratic women, and several of them are in the ad — including Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Screen shot of Allison’s Grime’s website. alisonforkentucky.com Meantime, Hirono sent out a request to supporters yesterday asking campaign contributions be sent to Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu
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  • 65 Years of Hawaii Hurricanes, Tropical Storms and Depressions in One Map

    ·By Nick Grube
    Here’s a map that shows just how lucky Hawaii has been when it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, courtesy of the Weather Underground and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Tropical storms and hurricanes crisscrossing the Pacific since 1949 have missed the Hawaiian Islands more often than not. NOAA As you can see, the state has only received two direct hits from hurricanes since 1949, although that hasn’t prevented other storms from wreaking havoc here. For instance, in 1982 Hurricane Iwa became one Hawaii’s most devastating hurricanes, causing
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  • The Hill: EPA OKs New Pesticide for GMO Crops

    ·By Anita Hofschneider
    The Environmental Protection Agency has green-lighted a new pesticide despite criticism from environmentalists, the Hill reported. The herbicide known as Enlist Duo is intended to be used in conjunction with pesticide-resistant genetically modified corn and soybeans created by Dow AgroSciences, which the Department of Agriculture approved last month. The EPA found that the herbicide is safe and not linked to Agent Orange, as some critics claimed. Still, the environmental group Earthjustice lambasted the approval. “It’s very disappointing that EPA is giving the green light to a massive increase in use of 2, 4-D, which
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  • More Than $11M Spent on Oregon GMO Labeling Ballot Measure

    ·By Anita Hofschneider
    Millions of dollars are being spent to influence Oregon residents who will vote in November on a ballot measure that would require labels on genetically modified food. Biotech companies and other opponents of GMO labeling have spent $7.2 million so far, according to a report by the Associated Press. Monsanto spent $1.6 million, followed by PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods. Meanwhile, supporters of GMO labeling spent $4.2 million. The major spenders included the national nonprofit Center for Food Safety and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. More than 3,000 Oregon residents also donated to
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THE FACE

· By PF Bentley Eric Pape and Chad Blair
Comments

We invited 10 candidates for high office in Hawaii to talk about hard times in their lives, and how they were affected. Listen to to their revealing responses.