The utterance at the state Legislature that produced the most consternation wasn’t a word at all, but four letters: PLDC.
The University of Hawaii's Board of Regents has found a way to retire a large financial deficit of the athletic department, a victory for many residents who consider major college sports in Hawaii a necessity.
A favorite childhood memory, said state Sen. Gilbert Kahele, was watching the crop-dusting planes fly over Hawaii island fields and wondering what it would be like to be a pilot himself.
In the end, the administration of Gov. Neil Abercrombie was thrilled at the outcome of its watershed-protection plan, even though it followed a zig-zag path.
Even the most attentive political junkies can miss things at the state Capitol. A lot of things.
It's graduation weekend for many Hawaii high school seniors, who are marking what is often a bittersweet moment: completion of their primary educational credential and a parting from many classmates whose lives are about to diverge.
Legislators learned nearly three years ago about "dysfunctional" practices in the state's Airports Division leading to the resignation of a high official. Now, the state auditor has released a report about the extraordinary scope of "questionable practices" during that period, fiscal 2009 and 2010, based on government documentation — but a broad investigation by the state attorney general is needed to determine whether prosecution is warranted.
The spot known as Thomas Square has a revered position in the history of Hawaii, far more so than anyone looking at it today might guess.
The state Legislature created an agency 37 years ago to devise an urban plan for Kakaako, at that time covered with warehouses, car repair shops and various rundown structures.
Honolulu water ratepayers' response to a doubling of the billing fee is suffering from what could be described as Last Straw Syndrome. Costs are going up on everything, including the water rates. The boost is meant to cover long-overdue maintenance of the city's water system, and everyone gets that they have to pay up for something like that.
The mentally ill and substance abusers make up more than a third of Honolulu's unsheltered homeless and account for an inflated drain on public resources in their cycle through hospital emergency rooms and jail.
High school graduation day looms for many isle families, a lei-bedecked occasion filled with balloons, parties and happiness.
You can't blame the Hawaii consumer for being flummoxed by the data just issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The performance of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in providing leases to Native Hawaiians has been disgraceful for decades — and strong oversight, federal and state, is needed to put it squarely on the right track.
Few states have so many people living in as tight quarters as Hawaii does — so what people do, even within their four walls, can have a greater effect on their neighbors.
The announced retirement of University of Hawaii President M.R.C Greenwood has sparked the inevitable round of speculation.
The prospects for Kapolei growing into a fully fledged second city are getting brighter. With the economy recovering, retailers and restaurants have been added to Oahu's "second city," with commercial development from Fort Weaver Road to the western stretches of Kapolei going forward.
The sellout of a lottery among middle-class buyers in March for a planned condominium tower on South Street was a strong sign of a need for affordable housing in Kakaako.
There are 3,700 acres of land, formerly under the control of the Navy, that were turned over to the state as part of a national series of base closures.
Despite some lingering uncertainty, Hawaii's economy appears to be mending, and developers who have waited in the wings are showing more confidence in their projects.
Long before sustainability became fashionable, ancient Hawaiians built an extensive aquaculture system across the archipelago that included more than 400 fishponds that contained prized fish for ali‘i.
The now unavoidable June 30 expiration of Hawaii's media shield law, a model statute nationally, will deal a blow to advocates of robust news reporting. They must press forward to resurrect its protections in the next session of the Legislature.
A natatorium was erected along with arches in 1927 to honor the veterans of World War I but the pool was closed in 1979 after being deemed a health and safety hazard.
Hawaii is at a crossroads. Most of the efforts to plan for its future have positioned Oahu as the population center of the state. And while that surely will remain true, there will be enough of a shift that residents of the neighbor islands will need to take a firmer grasp of the reins to have any kind of preferred future.
Congress appears nearing enactment of legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration system that, while focusing on illegal immigrants who crossed the U.S. southern border, would have a positive effect on Hawaii.
Until very recently, nearly all news involving Hawaii's tourism industry was golden.
Unprecedented rates of arrivals, with a record 7.99 million visitors last year spending $14.3 billion — and 8.5 million forecast for this year.
For the past 30 years, voters in Hawaii's primary elections have been able to vote for candidates they prefer without being registered with any political party — but the Democratic Party here wants to challenge that system in court.
Hawaii statewide politics has never been this exciting — or exhausting, depending on your point of view.
Readers of the
Star-Advertiser’s online edition can respond to stories posted there. The following are some of those. Instead of names, pseudonyms are generally used online. They have been removed.
The “war on terror” is probably a misnomer. Terrorism is a tactic used in the pursuit of a limited goal, an instrument to cause mayhem rather than to defeat an enemy. In the final analysis, the best way to neutralize such an instrument may be to find ways of responding with the least degree of disturbance to daily routines.
The reason to take a measured approach when changing community habits can be summarized in one word: education. The City Council is attempting to redefine what's proper behavior at city parks by declaring smoking a prohibited activity in most areas where people gather.
Across the nation, 41 other states have found a better way than we have to help the most vulnerable of their mentally ill population. Here, many of those in this group, people who are so ill that they've lost the ability to care for themselves, also have family or loved ones who can intervene on their behalf.
The state stands on the verge of a promising campaign for leveraging the value of school lands for the benefit of public education. This may end up being the only scheme for public-land redevelopment that survives this legislative session, after the repeal of the controversial Public Land Development Corp.
Family pets are popular in Hawaii — and with an expected boom of apartment rentals in urban Honolulu, the time is right to make it easier for landlords to accept pets by mitigating concerns about pet damage in rentals.
Following the example set by the city, the state is beginning a process of extricating itself from direct ownership and management of its affordable-housing properties.
Gary Hooser, former state lawmaker and head of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control, had seen his share of public-policy debates.
The term "perfect storm" is bandied about too casually, but there's one that now truly seems to be bearing down on Hawaii.
Along with Hawaii's statehood in 1959 came the responsibility to make available for lease 200,000 acres of land, for $1 yearly per lease, that had been ceded to the United States for Native Hawaiians unable to afford home purchases in the regular market.
As a policy goal, the campaign to expand access to preschool is a good one, and making use of Hawaii's existing network of private preschools is logical.
There is no doubt that keeping tabs on city personnel and vacancies is a fluid proposition, but there should be a better way for budgeting so that funds meant to fill positions simply are not siphoned off for other uses.
There are so many raw emotions to sort through following a heinous attack such as the one Boston suffered during its iconic marathon on Monday, and even more raw information.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled three years ago that political action committees consisting of corporations as well as labor unions and other special interests have a First Amendment right to spend freely on elections.
Little has been done in recent years of economic stagnation to deal with the increasing liability for the costs of health care for retired state and county employees.
Making the rounds upon becoming president of Hawaii Pacific University, Geoffrey Bannister told then-Mayor Peter Carlisle in the summer of 2011 "that I was new to town, that if anything was coming up that looked interesting, he'd probably hear about it before I did, and I asked him to let me know."
There's bad news and good news about Honolulu's rail transit system. First, the bad news: There's less money than anticipated, and needed modifications will result in higher costs.
The challenge presented by Hawaii's "silver wave" — the surge of elders growing infirm as the baby boom generation retires — has many facets, not the least of which is the accompanying increase in those with mental illness also requiring nursing care.
Requiring an archaeological inventory survey (AIS) before a new project is built is one of the concessions Hawaii made to preserving its history.
Organized labor has suggested for years that employees of a large business in Hawaii should be guaranteed by law to keep their jobs in case the company is sold. Such job security, though, would be unprecedented and could result in major problems for companies being put up for sale.
The public has only limited means to constrain state lawmakers in the conduct of their business. Legislators are not even covered by most of the conflicts-of-interest provisions of the state ethics code, for example.
Once again, state politicians confront a delicate political problem: Should they get a raise? In the last few weeks, salary commissions for both the city and state have recommended pay increases for lawmakers and other government officials.
The high-tech expert hired by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to upgrade the state's aging computer and technology systems received a national award for extraordinary achievement last month, so Hawaii's "F" in a national rating of how states provide online access illustrates the complexity of the problem.
June Mather is largely done raising her four kids, who are now in college or beyond, and she's glad she made the decision to take charge of their K-12 education herself. Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but she listens, unconvinced, to the current proposals moving Hawaii toward universal preschool.
Honolulu has a truly horrible problem with homelessness, and perhaps now we've finally reached a tipping point where there's the political will to tackle it.
Noy Worachit is 20 years old and thankful to her foster parents for continuing to allow her and her 2-year-old daughter to stay in their home even though their state support ran out when she turned 18.
Act 210, the so-called journalists' shield law, protects reporters and their sources of information from subpoenas in certain criminal and civil proceedings. The act is similar to protections provided in 48 other states and the District of Columbia.
It's ironic that when the first Merrie Monarch Festival convened in 1964, it was designed as an attraction for tourists to help Hilo recover economically from the devastating tsunami of 1960 (there had been another scare that year, but the really bad one happened four years earlier).
The University of Hawaii is behind in its needed repairs and maintenance — part of a broad problem with its overall handling of construction projects.
In a still-recovering economy, it makes sense to provide modest tax relief for many of Hawaii's small-business owners, especially when they pay some of the highest income tax rates in the country.
The Public Land Development Corp., a streamlined state and private partnership approved by the Legislature two years ago for development projects, has been met with rightful public fury, and legislators must not waver now in the need to repeal it.
Today's obsession with celebrity culture is pushing and pulling at the thin boundary between public-figure access and that person's right to privacy.
The roads in Hawaii, where it's high season for driving all year round, show the scars of their overuse.
The absurdity of the notion that North Korea poses a threat to Hawaii or Guam with nuclear missiles doesn't mean that it should be laughed away. The Obama administration's policy of "strategic patience" over the past two years needs revision to end Pyongyang's repeated provocations.
Hawaii has competed successfully for decades to lure the film industry and should continue the effort — but it need not sweeten the pot at this stage.
For nearly a century, foreign-built ships have been blocked from carrying cargo directly from the mainland to Hawaii, resulting in higher prices for consumers.
The University of Hawaii administration has embarked on a fact-finding mission with a goal that all should recognize as critical: delivering college education with improved efficiency.
Potentially ending what has to be one of the most hard-fought labor battles in decades, the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the state of Hawaii have come to terms on a contract for the next four years.
Hawaii needs to join the 21st century by adopting the standard of care for rape victims in its hospital emergency rooms, and this session lawmakers are poised to do so by passing House Bill 411.
Something strange is going on at the state Capitol, especially in the House chambers.
All eyes are on Colorado and Washington state as Hawaii and other states consider if and when to similarly legalize marijuana.
Hawaii has been ahead of other states for years in providing supervised after-school programs, so it is unfortunate that intermediate and middle school students have been left out.
The time to make the streets of Honolulu more presentable is long past, so it's a great relief to see that a new ordinance discouraging the trashing of sidewalks with bulky items will take effect May 1.
Three teenagers were seriously injured late Saturday afternoon after being thrown from the bed of a pickup truck in a collision in Waialua, a reminder of the danger of riding unrestrained in the backs of trucks.
The decade that has elapsed since the start of the war in Iraq has left an imprint that is sure to endure for decades into the future.
In the aftermath of the Stevie Wonder debacle, University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood told Manoa faculty union leaders in October that her "much more fundamental concern" was the university's freedom "to make our own personnel decisions independent of political pressure."
Alvin Au, chairman of the Downtown Neighborhood Board and lifelong resident of the area, offers a hopeful assessment of developments in his childhood neighborhood of Chinatown.
Following the extensive advice of a consultant, the Legislature is finally moving ahead on overhauling Hawaii's school bus system to put the brakes on a process that has sent costs careening out of control.
Mauna Kea is a natural treasure for what is barely there — clouds, dust, light pollution — and a national treasure for what is there, in abundance: astronomical discovery.
Loud protests have all but doomed a 2-year-old law aimed at streamlining state and private partnership for development projects: the ill-fated Public Land Development Corp. (PLDC).
The eyes of the world, of believers and nonbelievers alike, turned to Vatican City the moment white smoke plumed from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel, the ancient signal amplified instantly by myriad forms of digital communication. From Rome to Hawaii — where Catholicism occupies a dominant role in faith, social service and cultural spheres — the news reverberated strongly.
The push for better disclosure about food products containing a genetically modified organism has grown more heated and energetic this year, with the introduction of state legislation to require labeling stating that the product contains GMOs.
Hawaii law requires that the three-person board deciding public employee labor disagreements involving the county and state governments "execute all of its responsibilities in a timely manner," but that has become next to impossible because of cutbacks in the board's staff.
Sunshine Week, which is being observed this week across the nation, raises the profile of a critical aspect of American democracy:
the right to information about, and access to, government officials and the "people's business" that they handle.
Lilia Quindoza Santiago will not forget the year stolen from her by the Philippines' regime of Ferdinand Marcos, but she stands to receive compensation four decades later.
Ferdinand Marcos was highly popular among many Filipinos in Hawaii throughout his reign and still has strong remembrance, "particularly among old-timers," says Rose Churma, president of Hawaii's Filipino Community Center.
Plotting a course through a legislative session usually involves an uncomfortable degree of guesswork. Navigating the last several years of rocky fiscal landscapes has been a challenge, and it's a mercy that Hawaii has emerged from that into a somewhat rosier economic state.
Only five months after walking away from federal mediation talks to reach a new labor contract, the Hawaii State Teachers Association has decided to renew the effort. This time, the extra attempt must be taken seriously — by all sides — to end what has been a vexingly prolonged stalemate.
When is it the most opportune time for government to compel businesses to bump up what they pay their lowest wage earners? Never, of course.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell proposed a week ago to issue bonds at a low rate to repair Honolulu's badly needed streets, which would be a significant change.
The state Senate has tabled a measure aimed at the preservation of Kawela Bay and other coastal areas of the Turtle Bay Resort expansion site.
As we routinely document our personal lives on Facebook and Twitter — our political views, work habits, family, what we ate for lunch — it might seem like our lives have become an open book.
Hawaii's controversial proposal to tax a penny for every ounce of sugar-sweetened beverage may have been shelved by the Legislature
this session, but its objective in fighting obesity should not be quelled.
The minimum wage has gone up many times since the first national standard was set in 1938. But each time, it seems there's been a battle.
The trust deficit between the University of Hawaii and the Legislature, already an enormous chasm between them, just keeps getting deeper and deeper.
Hawaii's elections, like those across the country, have been overtaken in an excessively large measure by those with the money to influence the outcome.
Hawaii takes pride in being a multiracial ohana, frowning on vulgar references to the origin of people by race.
awaii is embarrassed virtually every election by low voter turnout and the state Legislature is grasping for ways to lure
people to the polls.
Fiscal policies are changing significantly from former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle to new Mayor Kirk Caldwell, but that doesn't mean extravagant.
Not that elected officials on the home front don't have enough strictly local concerns to handle, but Hawaii voters have got to be hoping that lawmakers and Gov. Neil Abercrombie are keeping the latest federal fiscal bombshell in mind and adjust their legislative priorities accordingly.
Hawaii — urban Honolulu in particular — continues to struggle to gain a foothold in overcoming a mounting homelessness problem.
Motorists on Oahu were so angered 11 years ago when cameras were used to catch motorists speeding that then-Gov. Ben Cayetano halted the program after just three months and the following Legislature repealed its authorization.