Here’s a fresh rundown of developments involving Hawaii elected officials and departments:
The governor’s office made the best out of bad news from an updated count on Hawaii’s homeless population. “Administration Initiatives to Address Homeless Situation Working,” blared Tuesday’s press release. Buried a couple of paragraphs down, however, was this important factoid: The total statewide homeless count inched up 52 people — “less than 1 percent” — since the last count in January 2009. Could have been worse given the economy, said officials.
Exactly how many homeless were counted won’t be made public until next week, however, when the Honolulu Department of Community Services is expected to release combined state and county numbers. One positive indicator that was announced this week: The number of total unsheltered homeless fell by 215 to 2,299, helped by a doubling in the state’s inventory of shelter units over the past three years — something the Lingle administration does deserve credit for.
The state Senate Ways and Means Committee wants answers on contracts with CGI Technologies and Solutions and Securitas Security Services, USA. An informational briefing on the former will be held June 23 at the Capitol, while a hearing on the latter is set for June 29. Lawmakers want an audit of the Montreal-based CGI Group to examine its $25 million contract for a delinquent tax system and other contracts. The Securitas contracts, meanwhile, involve parking, taxis and vehicle identification at Honolulu International Airport, and the purchase of Grove Farm land for the main airport on Kauai.
Gov. Linda Lingle has left China and is on her way to Japan to promote Hawaii tourism. Among the talks, meetings and dinners attended by the governor included hearing from Lu Yong Xiang, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s National Congress and head of the Chinese National Academy of Sciences. Lu, according to Lingle’s office, says China is interested in scientific exploration via Mauna Kea’s observatories.
And, in case you missed the details of Honolulu’s furlough plan that begins July 2, there will be fewer work days to take care of car licensing, obtain park and camping permits, hang out at recreation centers and swimming pools, drop of refuse and recycling materials at centers, pick up tickets at the Blaisdell Box Office and traipse through botanical gardens. Untouched are emergency services, landfill operations, trash and recycling pickup, TheBus and TheHandi-Van, Hanauma Bay, Honolulu Zoo, Royal Hawaiian Band gigs, golf courses, traffic contraflow conning and walk-in voting at Honolulu Hale.