The awaited Federal Court arguments over the Honolulu Rail, on August 21st, was like an operetta in which the audience was so large that it sat on the stage. People filled the fixed seating and then the jury box and then the floor of the court itself.

Congressional hopeful Tulsi Gabbard’s Aug. 16 resignation from the Honolulu City Council is saving taxpayers at least $150,000 for a special election.

Meetings are being held throughout the Islands on draft rules to govern the Public Land Development Corp., an entity created by the state Legislature under a bill spearheaded by Sens. Malama Solomon and Donavan Dela Cruz to spur private development of public lands and could accelerate development around rail tarnsit stations and in Kakaʻako.

The National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) is considering a petition to remove green sea turtles in Hawaiʻi from the Endangered Species List so they can be hunted. The action would require local honu to first be designated as a Distinct Population Segment (DPS).

On August 15th, the Honolulu City Council voted unanimously to pass two resolutions introduced by Councilman Tom Berg. Resolution 12-173 urged Mayor Peter Carlisle to restore the bus service to what it was before cuts and reroutings began to take effect June 3rd.

Below is the Weeklyʻs report on the results of top and key races in the August 11 primary election, with a look ahead towards the November 6 general election. Total Hawaii turnout at the polls was 290,724, or 42 percent of registered voters.

By capturing 44 percent of the vote, former Gov. Ben Cayetano has made it clear the Honolulu mayor’s race is a referendum on high-speed Rail.

The Rail issue is also proving to be a major factor in some Honolulu City Council races. Former state Rep.

Tulsi Gabbard — upset winner in a lopsided victory (54 vs. 33.6 percent) over conservative Democrat Mufi Hannemann — is riding a wave of political celebrity she doesn’t even need.

Tulsi Gabbard’s victory wasn’t the only upset in the Primary. State Rep.

This past week (8/6/12), in one of the Star-Advertiser’s most comprehensive investigative stories ever, Allison Schaefers examined RCO Hawaii LLC, a law firm which successfully lobbied this spring to open up non-judicial foreclosure advertising to weekly newspapers. Prior to this, only the Star Advertiser was allowed to publish the very lucrative notices.

For a while, the elevens had it. On July 11, the Honolulu City Council voted 7-2 in favor of Bill 11 would have ended all commercial activity at Kailua and Kalama Beach Parks.

The Save Haleiwa Beach Park Coalition and park users Cora Sanchez and Steve Baldonado have filed suit against the City and County of Honolulu in State Circuit Court in order to stop the City from closing Haleiwa Beach Park Mauka and selling the land to private hotel developer Andy Anderson. The challenge is also timely in light of city plans for other parks.

On July 26th, the city Zoning Board of Appealrs (ZBA) heard oral arguments in the appeal of a variance approval for Kyo-ya’s planned 26-floor tower at its Moana Surfrider Resort. Replacing the current seven-story building, it would “encroach 74.3 percent into the coast height setback and coastal setback,” according to the argument submited by petitioners’ lawyer Linda Paul.

The yoga in schools program of Stretch Your Imagination, a local non-profit, has been accepted into Sunset Beach Elementary’s curriculum for fall and spring. Students will learn yoga poses, breathing and meditation as a means to reduce stress and improve concentration, self-esteem, health and academic achievement.“The goal is to create sustainability in that we could leave the school after two years but leave behind the mats, blocks, and straps and the teachers could continue the program,” explains director Brynne Caleda, who has just wrapped up a two-year pilot program at Ala Wai Elementary that will continue next year, and runs after-school programs at Mid Pac, Montessori Community, Le Jardin Academy and the Kaimuki and McKinley Elementary and Middle Schools.

Through Aug. 4, Hokuleʻa is anchored in Pokai Bay, Waianae, welcoming visitors, before being prepped for its three-year, around-the-world voyage.

Welcome to the Islands of Oz, whose citizens have been held in thrall for more than 100 years by big businesses and the politicians they’ve bought. First, our wages, benefits and opportunities were held down by the industrial plantations that required a cheap, uneducated, docile labor pool and grew crops for export, not for eating, while diverting precious water from streams and food crops.

For an official ceremony of state, the opening of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission’s call for registrants (see cover story, p. 6) proved to be a disarmingly emotional event, filled with genuine smiles, laughter and tears.

A recent survey by PATCH (People Attentive to Children), a non-profit organization that helps parents find quality, affordable childcare and trains professionals in early education and childcare, found that of 1,467 Hawaii residents, 80% of parents looking for childcare referrals needed infant or toddler care, but often (30%) were “not able to find any providers with infant openings.” Supply simply does not meet demand, according to PATCH Executive Director, Katy Chen, who says that Hawaii has faced this problem for years, forcing parents to find childcare places that are not licensed and hence unregulated and potentially unsafe. “There has not been a notable increase in birth rates in Hawaii over the last couple of decades, but the percentage of working mothers in Hawaii has increased by 50% over the last 30 years, thus requiring a higher demand for childcare,” Chen says.

1. Final Senate Dems televised debate: Ed Case vs.

More than 100 protestors, many in face masks and bearing signs that read, “Say No to GMOs,” lined Kunia Road outside Monsanto’s Oahu operation on Thursday, June 28. The goals, organizers said, are to spread awareness about the potentially toxic practices surrounding cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMO), to let the multinational agrochemical company know that these risks are not acceptable in Hawaii, and to urge landowners to replace seed company tenants with local food producers.

“Be the change you want to see”, said Pono Shim, president of Enterprise Honolulu, quoting Mahatma Gandhi in his opening statement for the two-day, fifth annual Hawaii Farm to School Conference on June 1. One hundred and fifty-five teachers, garden educators and parents attended workshops on topics such as composting, school gardens and providing local and healthy foods on campuses.

The outlook is bright for local green jobs, according to a new study, “Foundations for Hawaii’s Green Economy,” by Kimberly Burnett, Ph.D., and Christopher Wada, Ph.D., of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO). One key finding based on original research is that the number of jobs in natural resource management–currently measured at 3,278–is projected to grow by 1.5 percent in the next 3-5 years.

Hawaiʻi has some of the cleanest beach water in the nation, according to the new “Testing the Waters” report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which recently ranked Hawaiʻi’s water quality seventh in the nation. The environmental non-profit analyzed water samples at more than 3,000 beaches in 30 states.

On Sunday, June 3, Hawaii State Sen. Will Espero became the first legislator to participate in a (De)Occupy Honolulu “General Assembly,” weekly attention-getting meetings at Thomas Square.

This week