The Civil Beat reported the lack of voter enthusiasm and reduced in-person voting options resulted in a 10% drop in statewide voter participation. Oahu had only two places to vote in person on election day, Kapolei and Honolulu Hale. The wait times at Honolulu Hale reached over an hour as the 7:00 pm deadline to vote approached. Many voters failed to receive their ballots in the mail and others still preferred to vote “old school.” 10,000 people voted in person versus the 6,600 that cast ballots at the polls two years ago. As expected, Dr. Josh Green won the gubernatorial race receiving 65% of the votes. Republicans did flip two races where the incumbents were charged with drunk driving and had their charges dropped on technicalities. The voters in those two districts decided to hold their representatives accountable for their behavior.
In typical bureaucratic behavior, the U.S. Navy is discussing with federal officials on how much they will participate in a roundtable discussion convened by the state and federal environmental regulators. According to the regional commander, “defense officials in Washington, D.C., are working out details about what level of participation there will be from the Navy.” Work on the plan to chart fuel remediation contamination has been stalled for the past couple of months.
The Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation does not have a solution for the 21 “Hammerhead” cracks along the rail route. 13 of the cracks can be filled with epoxy to keep out moisture and eight require more extensive repairs. The limited rail service will be pushed out until the repairs have been approved and executed.
Pacific Business News’ Kam Napier highlighted the latest rule allowing Hawaiian Electric Company to charge the public higher rates during peak electricity usage from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. He argues that the higher rates punish those working-class families who can’t shift their electricity usage to earlier in the day because they are at work. The shift in peak usage to later in the day is a result of the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) focus on adding solar energy to the islands renewable energy capacity.
The City and County of Honolulu is running out of time to name its new landfill location as the Board of Water Supply (BWS) rejects the six sites identified by the city. All six sites are located above Oahu’s aquifer system that has become a source of increased sensitivity due to the U.S. Navy’s jet fuel contamination of the Red Hill Shaft. The city does have the option of appealing and contends that the new landfills double liner design will protect the aquifer below from chemical contamination.
An Alaska Mokulele partnership has added a third interisland solution for mainland visitors joining Hawaiian and Southwest Airlines. The new agreement starts in 2023 and is about booking convenience for Alaska Airline customers. The new partnership will offer 10 interisland flights daily to Kapalua, Hana, Hilo, Waimea, and Kohala. There are existing Mokulele flights to Molokai and Lanai.
Hawaii’s healthcare worker shortage continues to grow. The chronic shortage started long before the COVID-19 pandemic and has grown to 3,873 job openings for nurses and nurse aids. There are hundreds more job openings for medical assistants, personal care assistants, and phlebotomists (people who collect blood samples).
Moana Loa erupted for the first time since 1984 at about 11:30 on 11/27/2022 providing spectacular views of lava fountaining in a growing summit lake. The vents are on a level part of the mountain and the lava is headed towards Hilo. Scientists describe the path as the best possible route placing Hilo far from danger. If it continues, the lava could take a week before hitting the outskirts of Hilo. The eruption was accompanied by earthquakes, the largest measuring 4.2 on the Richter Scale. Here is a link to drone footage over the flow.