About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs May 23, 2012

Hawai`i Wildlife Fund is cleaning up an anchialine pond today and invites volunteers to help again next Tuesday. The organization will also roll through the Independence Day parade in Na`alehu June 30, educating the public on cleaning up the coast. Photo by Julia Neal
THE NEW STATE SENATE SEAT on Hawai`i Island, which covers Ka`u from Honu`apo into Volcano and Puna, will be filled during the upcoming primary and general election, three federal judges confirmed yesterday. They turned away a request for an injunction to possibly delay the elections until voting districts could be redrawn. 
Judge Kobayashi, from
Hawai`i. 
     The plaintiffs claimed that non-resident military, as well as students from out of state and the non-resident incarcerated were unfairly deleted from the population count used to carve up the voting districts after the 2010 census. The census showed significant population growth on the Big Island and prompted the state Reapportionment Commission to assign a new state Senator to this island and take one away from O`ahu. Unhappy O`ahu voters organized the legal offense, coming up with eight plaintiffs, four of them in the military or veterans. According to Civil Beat, more than 100,000 military personnel, their dependents and students were excluded from the population count used to draw the voting districts.
Judge Seabright, a
former adjunct professor
at University of Hawai`i.
     The court, however, said that the decision on whether to include the non-resident population is one that should be determined by residents of Hawai`i, rather than federal judges. The judges agreed with Deputy Attorney General Brian Aburano who argued that halting the elections to redraw the districts would create chaos in the elections. The judges said invalidating the redistricting plan now would be "spawning chaos rather than confidence in the election process."
     The lawsuit, however, is not over. It goes to trial with the plaintiffs claiming the plan violates the federal Equal Protection Clause. Civil Beat quotes the decision of the judges: "Although we recognize that the right to representation is fundamental, 'a federal court cannot lightly interfere with or enjoin a state election.” 
Judge McKeown is one
of three federal judges
working on the
Hawai`i elections case.
     U.S. District Judges J. Michael Seabright and Leslie Kobayashi and U.S. Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote: "the equities and public interest tip overwhelmingly in (Reapportionment) Commission's favor." Their decision says plaintiffs did "not show that Hawai`i attempted to single out non-resident service members, service member dependents, or non-resident students for any reason other than their lack of permanent residency... The record shows that the means Hawai`i chose to achieve the result were rational and, even using the standard urged by (plaintiffs), pass close constitutional scrutiny." Even though judges rejected the injunction, the issue will proceed to trial, but won’t affect the elections. 
     Candidates for the new Senate seat are House Rep. Bob Herkes, Steven Hirakami, Wendell Ka`ehu`ae`a, Russell Ruderman and Gary Safarik. The candidates for the Senate seat from Honu`apo to Kona Airport are incumbent Josh Green, Michael Last, and John Totten.

Wil Okabe, Hawaii State Teachers Association President.
Photo from HSTA 
PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS completed voting on a contract at midnight last night and results were expected today. The results, however, could be challenged by the state, which claims that the proposed contract between the union and state negotiators is no longer valid. During an earlier vote, the teachers rejected the contract, but Wil Okabe, leader of the 13,000-member Hawai`i State Teachers Association union, called for a revote that started last Thursday. A major issue in the contract is tying teacher evaluation and compensation with student improvement. The federal Race to the Top program, which is providing $74 million to Hawai`i public schools is asking for more teacher accountability. 

Ed Case, former House of
Representatives member
who represented Ka`u,
Volcano and beyond.
MAZIE HIRONO AND ED CASE are neck and neck in a poll released by the Case campaign yesterday. The poll, conducted by Public Strategy Group, Inc., among likely voters in the Democratic primary Aug. 11 reports 46 percent favoring Case and 45 percent Hirono, with 9 percent undecided. “The Democratic primary for U.S. Senator in Hawai`i remains very competitive, with the key match-up question between likely primary voters slightly favoring Case over Hirono within the margin of error. His lead increases with larger Democratic primary voter turnout because typically incremental voters in a Democratic primary tend to be more independent and/or moderate groups that strongly identify with Case.

 Case, with a strong 65-30 favorable/unfavorable rating, enjoys higher favorable ratings and lower unfavorable ratings than Hirono,” a statement from the Case campaign contends. 
Current House of Representatives
member Mazie Hirono who
represents Ka`u,
Volcano and beyond.
     The Case campaign has slammed Hirono for turning down prime time television debate opportunities. Hirono’s campaign released a statement saying, “It is difficult to comment on a poll that seems to have little meat and information about how it was conducted and therefore doesn’t meet any level of transparency. Mazie has been out meeting and talking with residents. The feedback she has been getting has been nothing but positive and encouraging. We are confident that the voters will decide that she is the best person to serve as Hawaii’s next U.S. Senator.
     “As for the former Congressman’s remarks relating to the upcoming Democratic State Convention and debates, the people of Hawai`i want a Senator like Mazie Hirono who attacks Hawaii’s and the country’s challenges with personal determination and a cooperative style. Not someone who attacks other people with personal pettiness and a divisive approach,” said the Hirono campaign.
OIL IS DOWN TO $90 A BARREL on the commodities market. However, gasoline prices in Ka`u, are lagging behind the lowering cost. Ka`u Gas in Pahala was selling regular this morning for $5.02 a gallon. The Na`alehu 76 $4.72, Kahala Gas in Ocean View $4.72, Ocean View Market – if you pay with a credit card - costs $4.72. Pay cash and get it for $4.67. Lowest price in Ka`u is at Kahuku Country Mart at $4.66 a gallon.
HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND is looking for volunteers to help clean up an anchialine pond in Ka`u today and again next Tuesday, May 29. Contact Megan Lamson at 769-7629 or meg.hwf@gmail.com.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. meets tomorrow, 5:30 p.m., at Ocean View Community Center. For more, call 929-9910.

AARP DRIVER SAFETY TRAINING is available Friday. Mike Last teaches this four-hour class that has no driving, tests or exams. Current members pay $12 and non-members by $14. The class is open to everyone. For more, call 929-8422.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM.