Latest Articles

  • No More PLDCs: Hawaii’s Top Gov Candidates Talk Development

    · By Anita Hofschneider

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s push to develop state land through the now-defunct Public Land Development Corp. was unpopular, to say the least.

    The agency was supposed to use private-public partnerships to bring in more revenue for the state, but its exemptions to environmental laws and county zoning policies infuriated environmentalists and residents of neighbor islands who didn’t have representation on the PLDC board.

    The three top candidates vying to replace Abercrombie hope to avoid a similar misstep as more development controversies loom. City planners are considering a 11,750-home development called Hoopili, and City Council

  • Donations Flow Into Hannemann Campaign, But Debts Still Unpaid

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has raised thousands of dollars in his bid for governor, but he has more debt than any of his competitors. 

    Running on the Hawaii Independent Party ticket in the Nov. 4 general election, Hannemann had $174,812 on hand as of Aug. 9, the end of the last campaign finance reporting period. But he owes a local law firm, advertising company and others almost half of that amount.

    In all, Hannemann has $82,703 in unpaid expenditures. His Democratic rival, state Sen. David Ige, reported $6,770

  • Three Candidates, Three Views on Future of Fast-Growing Kakaako

    · By Anita Hofschneider

    Discontent with Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s policies in the state redevelopment district of Kakaako may have contributed to his political demise in the Democratic primary last month.

    Abercrombie accomplished what no other Hawaii governor had done since the district was carved out in 1976 — overseeing the addition at least another 4,500 housing units that will be built or permitted by the time he leaves office.

    But many residents have criticized the governor’s influence on the state redevelopment agency in charge of Kakaako and questioned whether the area’s infrastructure is prepared for such

  • Takai Says He Wants to ‘Knock Some Sense’ into Congress

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Editor’s Note: Civil Beat plans to sit down with Mark Takai’s opponent, Republican Charles Djou, in early October, which was his earliest opportunity.

    Mark Takai is tired.

    He woke up at 3:30 a.m. Thursday to start calling people on the East Coast about his bid for Congress, reaching out to labor organizations for support and thanking others who helped him win the Aug. 9 primary over six other Democrats.

    Takai has worked the equivalent of a full day before arriving at Civil Beat’s office for an hourlong Editorial Board meeting later

  • Denby Fawcett: What Makes Cam Cavasso Keep Running for U.S. Senate?

    · By Denby Fawcett

    Republican Cam Cavasso is making his third consecutive bid to fill the U.S. Senate seat once held by the late Dan Inouye.

    Cavasso is a Christian fundamentalist, a socially conservative champion of views that often fall flat in Democrat-dominated Hawaii.

    I have been curious for some time to find out why the relatively unknown, underfunded Cavasso keeps running for office when his proposals consistently fail to capture the imagination of most of Hawaii’s liberal Democrats.  And when he has had to struggle to raise money in each of his two previous attempts

  • Hawaii Candidates, PACs Could Soon Be Writing Checks for Campaign Violations

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Dozens of Hawaii candidates for elected office and political action committees are facing fines Wednesday before the state Campaign Spending Commission for various violations.

    In all, the commission’s agenda — its longest in years — includes 20 proposed conciliation agreements, mostly over failing to file campaign finance reports on time, and 19 dockets for complaints including the use of campaign money for personal expenses.

    There are some major names up for minor offenses. 

    Attorney Michael Green, foreground, looks at the agenda as the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission meets

  • Denby Fawcett: Who the Heck Is David Ige?

    · By Denby Fawcett

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige was barely known to Hawaii voters when he trounced Gov. Neil Abercrombie last month in the biggest upset of an incumbent governor in a primary election in U.S. history.

    Today, the 57 year-old Ige’s name is widely recognized here but most residents still don’t know much about him as a person or as a candidate.

    They probably are unaware that he kept his parents in the dark after prestigious colleges such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology accepted him, and to this day he irons his own

  • Ige Loans Himself $50K in Final Days Leading Up to Primary Win

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Democratic state Sen. David Ige loaned his campaign $50,000 in the final days leading up to his huge primary win over Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Aug. 9.

    Heavily outmatched in fundraising, Ige scraped enough money together to conduct last-minute polling, run a few more ads and visit the neighbor islands in the two weeks before the election.

    Ige has drained his campaign account down to $17,799 after factoring in the loans, according to his final primary finance report, which covers July 26 to Aug. 9.

    Gov. Neil

  • Hawaii Monitor: Puna Voters Had Practical Problems, Not Legal Defects

    · By Ian Lind

    When Tropical Storm Iselle hit the Big Island on August 8, it did more than take down trees, block roads, and knock out power for thousands of residents. It also derailed the normal procedures for the primary election, forcing a one-week delay in voting for two hard-hit precincts, blocking some residents in adjacent precincts from getting to the polls, and exposing shortcomings in planning for emergencies by state election officials.

    Under other circumstances, it seems likely the resulting problems might have been seen as among the many burdens to

  • Chad Blair: Republicans on Parade

    · By Chad Blair

    I’ve seen this parade before.

    Dozens of hopeful candidates from diverse walks of life, hopeful, excited, sporting banners and signs and buttons and T-shirts and stickers and websites, all believing this will be the election year that Hawaii elects more than a token representation of Republicans.

    I saw this parade just two years ago, when Linda Lingle and Charles Djou went down to defeat in runs for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

    I saw it as well in 2010, when Djou lost his re-election bid for the 1st Congressional District, Cam

  • Another Day in the Life of Hawaii’s Election Chief

    · By Nathan Eagle

    It was all too familiar — the faces, the room, the intermittent tension.

    State lawmakers and concerned citizens took turns Friday accusing Hawaii Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago of disenfranchising voters as Elections Commission members nodded and prodded him for answers.

    “How many mistakes and how many errors are we going to allow?” state Sen. Sam Slom asked after calling on the commission to fire Nago, just as he did after the 2012 general election when dozens of precincts ran out of ballots.

    Election Chief Scott Nago

  • ACLU Files Election Challenge on Behalf of Puna Voters

    · By Nick Grube

    Big Island voters who were unable to get to the polls due to Tropical Storm Iselle may get an opportunity to cast their ballots if the American Civil Liberties Union prevails in a lawsuit filed with the Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday.

    The ACLU of Hawaii levied the complaint against the state on behalf of six Big Island voters, all of whom live in the rural, storm-ravaged Puna district and all of whom were not allowed to vote because they were trapped by fallen trees and power lines.

    “This lawsuit is not