Latest Articles

  • East Honolulu City Council Candidates Stake Out their Differences

    · By Sophie Cocke

    When it comes to key policy issues facing the city of Honolulu, not a lot separates the two attorneys running for the District 4 Honolulu City Council race. 

    Tommy Waters and Trevor Ozawa both think housing the homeless should be a top priority. They oppose hikes in property taxes, they want to bring down housing costs by building in Honolulu’s urban core and they want to tackle the island’s traffic gridlock.

    Waters and Ozawa even share the “born and raised” in Hawaii status that gives local politicians that added cachet.  

    Still, the candidates worked to carve out their differences — their experience and their approach to politics — at a Honolulu Board of Realtors’ candidate forum at Waialae Country Club on Thursday.

    Moderated by Elise Lee, chair of the board’s city affairs committee, about 70 realtors attended from the east Honolulu district that includes Kahala, Aina Haina, Diamond Head, Kaimuki and Hawaii Kai. 

    City Council candidates Trevor Ozawa, left, and Tommy Waters, right.

    Courtesy of the candidates

    A Question of Experience

    The men are facing each other in a run-off election. Waters, a former legislator, had a healthy lead over Ozawa after the Aug. 9 primary, with 33 percent of the vote to Ozawa’s 26 percent in a four-way race. 

    Since then, Ozawa has positioned himself as the political outsider, not beholden to powerful interests, in particular he’s distanced himself from many of the unions that are supporting Waters. 

    “I don’t have any baggage that

  • County Councils Agree to Lobby State for More Hotel Tax Revenue

    · By Nathan Eagle

    UPDATED 9 a.m., 9/17/2014

    County officials agree on at least one thing as they prepare to lobby the Legislature next year: They want more funding for local government services ranging from roads to rescues.

    But Kauai, Maui, Big Island and Honolulu council members and mayors have different ideas on how to go about boosting their revenues.

    Council members plan to ask state lawmakers for a bigger share of hotel taxes. The mayors, although not opposed to more Transient Accommodations Tax money, may double down on new revenue proposals with a request for the authority to levy up to a 1 percent county surcharge on the General Excise Tax.

    Hawaii State Association of Counties member Ikaika Anderson, center, speaks as HSAC President Mel Rapozo, right, listens Monday at Honolulu Hale.

    Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

    The counties’ success in getting either through the Legislature next session, which starts in January, could make a difference in the number of lifeguards at beaches or the amount of potholes that get filled. It could also determine whether the counties have to increase property taxes — the only tax they have direct control over — or raise other fees to maintain their current slate of services.

    In the case of Honolulu, Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to keep the county’s 0.5 percent GET surcharge that it’s using to fund the 20-mile-long rail project. The surcharge, which voters approved, is set to expire in 2022 but Caldwell says Honolulu would like to

  • The Mayor’s Money: Caldwell Expands Office Budget in Tight Times

    · By Nick Grube

    Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to boost his budget by 70 percent, which is more than any other city department.

  • HUD Tells Honolulu to Pay $3 Million for ORI Grant Mismanagement

    · By Nick Grube

    The city and federal agency are still at odds over how to make the nonprofit comply with grant rules.

  • Urban High: Rail Lets Honolulu Grow Up

    · By Nick Grube

    City and state officials are working to increase urban density around the $5.26 billion rail project.

  • ‘Tis the Season: See What Gifts Honolulu City Agencies Got This Year

    · By Manjari Fergusson

    Gifts valued at nearly $700,000 were approved by the City Council for city government agencies.

  • Unions Spared From Taxes After Honolulu Mayor Defers His Own Bill

    · By Nick Grube

    Caldwell says he pulled his bill after council chairman introduced an amended measure that went too far.

  • Deedy Trial: A Hung Jury Means Federal Agent Could Be Back In Court

    · By Nick Grube

    Judge says new trial will be set for next summer despite jury’s inability to agree on whether he committed murder.

  • Who’s Really to Blame for Honolulu’s Budget Woes?

    · By Nick Grube

    The Caldwell administration and Honolulu City Council are pointing fingers while city services are reduced.

  • Who’s the New Guy Running Things at Honolulu Hale?

    · By Nick Grube

    Mayor Kirk Caldwell has hired a chief of staff to help him improve communications with the Honolulu City Council.

  • Will Court Delays Let Honolulu Argue Rail Is Past Point of No Return?

    · By Nick Grube

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ponders whether it can decide Oahu rail’s future.

  • ORI Refutes Any Wrongdoing, Says Honolulu ‘Caved’ to HUD

    · By Nick Grube

    An attorney for the embattled nonprofit slams the federal housing agency and city.