POSTED: Thursday, May 28, 2009

Increase in city fuel tax not likely

A proposal to raise the fuel tax by 3 cents a gallon was kept alive by the City Council, but is not expected to advance any further.

The fuel tax proposal was passed by a 6-3 vote yesterday and now goes back to the Budget Committee, where Chairman Nestor Garcia said he will not hold a public hearing on it, killing the measure for this year.

The proposal was among many that were introduced at the start of the budget process as the Council examined all revenue sources to help make up a projected $50 million deficit in the city's operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

However, it was not included in the budget document, Bill 14. The Council's deadline for completing the budget is June 10.

Supporters of the fuel tax proposal, Resolution 09-93, said they voted in favor of it to keep the measure alive for discussion.


Lawyer to oppose Aiona for GOP bid

John Carroll, a longtime Honolulu lawyer who was trounced in the 2002 Republican gubernatorial primary, announced yesterday he will take on Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona in next year's GOP gubernatorial primary.

Carroll, 79, who launched an exploratory campaign committee yesterday, faces an uphill battle against Aiona, 53, who already has been endorsed by Gov. Linda Lingle and is being assisted by the state Republican Party.

Lingle defeated Carroll, a former state senator, in the 2002 primary by 89 percent to 9.5 percent. But Carroll said he can make headway against Aiona next year by emphasizing conservative positions on policy issues that contrast with Aiona's stands.

“;I am committed to running,”; Carroll said in an interview after he met with supporters yesterday. “;I'm the only candidate in the race who is opposed to the Akaka Bill.”;

The legislation, named after U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, would establish a governing entity for native Hawaiians. Carroll contends the measure, now pending in Congress, would create “;a whole new race-based entitlement-based government”; in Hawaii.

Rep. Neil Abercrombie is the only announced Democratic candidate.



State to cull feral animals in Mauna Kea

State conservation officials are shutting down the 52,741-acre Mauna Kea Forest Reserve on Tuesday and Wednesday for an aerial shooting effort to reduce the number of feral goats, sheep and other animals.

The aerial shooting from helicopters, mandated by a federal court order, helps to preserve habitat for native birds by allowing the growth of native mamane trees, which the feral mammals feed on, the state said.

Native birds such as the palila, a finch-billed Hawaiian honeycreeper, rely on the mamane seeds, flowers, buds and leaves for 90 percent of its diet, officials said.

Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the public. Interested individuals are asked to meet at the Kilohana Checking Station and at Mauna Kea State Park at 7 a.m. on Tuesday or at the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Hall in Waimea at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

The state said the carcasses will be available by permit only. Call 974-4221.