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POSTED: Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nakakuni named U.S. attorney

Florence Nakakuni has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. attorney for Hawaii, according to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

She is the first woman to hold the job.

“;Flo Nakakuni is deserving of this honor, and I am confident that her considerable legal experience and success as a federal prosecutor will help her handle this great responsibility,”; Inouye said in a release.

Nakakuni, 57, replaces Ed Kubo, who has served as Hawaii's U.S. attorney since 2001.

A 1978 graduate of the University of Hawaii law school, Nakakuni has been an assistant U.S. attorney for 24 years, most recently chief of the drug and organized-crime section.

Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Nakakuni worked as a counsel at the Navy Office of General Counsel at Pearl Harbor.

Sakamoto to seek state's No. 2 job

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State Sen. Norman Sakamoto says he will run for lieutenant governor next year.

Sakamoto (D, Salt Lake-Foster Village) joins a long list of Democrats considering the race for the No. 2 spot.

Sen. Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau) and Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu (D, Waipahu-Waikele) have also formally started campaigns for lieutenant governor.

Sen. Robert Bunda (D, Kaena-Wahiawa-Pupukea) and Rep. Lyla Berg (D, Hahaione Valley-Aina Haina) have both said they are seriously considering the race.

Bunda and Hooser are in the middle of their four-year Senate terms and would have to resign their legislative seats to run for lieutenant governor. Sakamoto, Berg and Karamatsu are up for re-election next year, which they would have to forgo in order to run for lieutenant governor.

Also considering the race is former state Rep. Brian Schatz, chairman of the Hawaii Democratic Party. Candidates for political office cannot formally file with the state Elections Office until February.

Yesterday, Sakamoto, 62, Education Committee chairman for nine years, said he will base his campaign on the need for a better state educational system and economic opportunity.

Big Island mayor vetoes Puna tent bill

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi vetoed a bill on Monday that would have allowed eligible Puna landowners to live in tents for up to two years while building their homes.

The Hawaii Trib-une-Herald reported yesterday that Kenoi took issue with restricting the temporary dwellings to Puna, which he said could stigmatize the district and depress property values.

“;Because of the disparate treatment of county residents under this bill, it could be challenged in court, and I would not want to spend county resources to defend it,”; Kenoi, an attorney, said in his first veto message to the County Council.

It was unclear whether the Council will try to override Kenoi's veto. The bill passed by an 8-0 vote, with one absent member, on Sept. 2.

At least six votes are needed to nullify a mayor's objections and force a bill into law.

In a written statement, Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole, the bill's author, said it is too soon for her to say whether she will continue the effort to “;put mercy, compassion and understanding”; into building laws.