Abercrombie to enter Governor's race
An official familiar with Abercrombie's plans says the 10-term congressman will make his announcement through an Internet video to be released Sunday.
Crisis? What Crisis: Hotel Occupancy back up to 75%
Deep discounts on Hawaii hotel room rates are having an effect. Hotel occupancy is up to 75%, only two points below where it was a year ago....more visitors from Korea and Australia. (While Dems were busy coming up with make-work schemes, the Governor and Lt Gov went to Asia and got Pres. Bush to ease Korean visa rules)
RELATED: Relaxed U.S. visa rules could bring surge in tourism, KHNL: Korean Air to get bigger plane
Hooser pushes for floor vote: Hawaii civil unions bill stalled amid procedural concerns
(Here are the real concerns) Some senators said privately that Senate leaders are having second thoughts because of the large demonstration against civil unions at the state Capitol last month and the thousands of telephone calls and e-mails urging them to drop the issue. Supporters of civil unions are also doing outreach, but it appears the opponents have had the momentum since the bill left the House. (And some Senators may face election challenges by anti-Gay-marriage opponents in 2010.)
Star-Bulletin: One senator, who asked not to be named, said that Sen. Gary Hooser said in caucus he wanted a vote on the bill by the entire Senate.
FBI probed judge in Pali trial (Mayor-to-be-Governor, why not a judge, too?)
Town presided over the murder case of Motta, Joseph and Kevin "Pancho" Gonsalves when it was being actively prosecuted in state court from 2004 to 2006. Over the protests of prosecutors, he made a series of rulings about Motta's bail status in the state case that are referenced in a secret FBI informant tape-recording that was unsealed in federal court yesterday.
Town's Motta bail rulings apparently prompted FBI interest in the judge, because agents sent an informant to tape record a conversation with Motta on Oct. 30, 2004, in which the informant repeatedly questioned Town's integrity, at one point suggesting that the judge had been "paid off."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Brady, prosecutor in the Pali case, said the tape was made as part of an FBI investigation into drugs, gambling and other crimes unrelated to the Pali murders.
Joseph's defense lawyer, Reginald Minn, said earlier in the trial he believed the tape recording was aimed specifically at Town because informant Jonnaven Monalim brought the subject up over and over again.
Motta never implicated the judge in any impropriety and told the informant, "I gotta respect Judge Town."
Motta testified yesterday that Town is "man of true integrity."
Monalim, cousin of both Motta and Joseph, took the witness stand late yesterday afternoon and said he had agreed to become an FBI informant in February 2004.
The conversation was taped after a party to raise funds for Motta's legal defense was held on the Big Island. Tickets to the event cost $100 apiece and Monalim said he bought $1,000 worth with cash supplied to him by the FBI.
RELATED: Malu Motta: “I need one governor so he can pardon me.”, Kenoi Fundraiser payout? Gotti lawyer on Pali murder case
Revised projections expected to shuffle budget (Dems fight for tax increase)
Freshman state Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran, who represents Central Maui, called Lingle's plan "a starting point, but it likely falls short of balancing the budget in a way that provides a foundation for sustainable economic growth." (And what does 'sustainable' mean?) Keith-Agaran said he's not sure if Lingle can realistically avoid impacts to necessary public services and the social safety net without considering additional tax revenues. (That's what 'sustainable' means)
UH student arrested at campus demonstration (entire semester listening to Marxists, but not a minute listening to preachers)
If you tell college students to fear god or burn in hell, you may have a problem on your hands.
It didn't sit well with a fumed UH student, who was arrested after taking a camera belonging to the church group " Cry to God Ministries" and smashing it on the ground. The group's six members make tempers flare.
"Don't come where you're not wanted. This is hurting people, they're not just saying things to make people uncomfortable," said student Phallon Debose. (And academic Marxism is all about making people comfortable.)
Train Robbery: Senate panel approves raiding transit fund
Over the objections of city officials, unions and developers, the Senate Ways and Means Committee has approved a bill to take $150 million out of the city's $300 million rapid transit fund.
Almost all of the senators on the money committee described their vote as "with reservations," indicating that it has little support.
Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, committee chairwoman, said the bill is "not intended to stop rail or jeopardize it in any way."
Pork Cutlet: Stimulus will bring $43.8M to Hawaii for transit work
The state Department of Transportation will receive $2.93 million, and the remainder will go to the City and County of Honolulu, state transportation spokeswoman Tammy Mori said.
The city plans to spend some $40.9 million on the construction of transit facilities at Middle Street and Wahiawa, parking lot improvements at Pearl City, reinforcement of bus stop pads and the purchase of 60 large-capacity hybrid buses. (Meanwhile back on the Big Island Malu Motta associate Billy Kenoi is still trying to figure out what "shovel ready" means....see WHT: "Slow Ride")
The state has been designated to also receive some $126 million in highway funds under the federal stimulus package.
The state and counties will be meeting to discuss their needs, before a decision is made on how the funds will be divided, Mori said.
Transportation officials plan to make an announcement by March 17 on details of the projects funded by the $126 million.
Hawaii County Housing dept. moving forward (unless sued)
The county's Office of Housing and Community Development is moving ahead with its two main projects -- Kaloko Transitional Housing and an emergency shelter in Kona's Old Industrial Area. "If nobody decides to file suit, we can tell the contractor to begin," he said....
That project is a priority because the county's transitional housing in Kawaihae must be closed because of Environmental Protection Agency concerns over a cesspool at the location, county Housing Administrator Stephen Arnett said. "We need to get those people moved out," he said.
Secret plaintiffs appeal Kamehameha lawsuit
Their families fear for their safety if their names are made public. But Kamehameha alumnus Jan Dill says anyone who lays claim to resources left by a Hawaiian princess to educate Hawaii's children should "stand up and be known." (first bribe, now threaten....Voucher system would solve the whole problem)