Thursday, August 18, 2011


DO YOU SMELL THAT?: They say that justice delayed is justice denied but what about news? Well, they also ask, who needs yesterday's papers?

While it's widely acknowledged that our local newspaper is, um, shall we say, "content challenged," perhaps their worst feature is the lack of timely reporting of government doings unless it's a spoon-fed and regurgitated press release from the county's public information officer.

This "when we get around to it" style of journalism is not just an affront to those who have a need to be informed but makes it particularly difficult to get involved in government when, say, there's an article on Tuesday about a bill that passed out of a council committee at the previous Wednesday's meeting and is due for final approval the following day- leaving less than 24 hours to arrange to be there to give testimony.

But while today's Kaua`i newspaper is devoid of coverage of yesterday's meeting, real journalism is happening- not just the next day but item by item in real time- not far away.

And wouldn’t you know it? It's none other than our old friend Micheal Levine, late of the Kaua`i press corps who has taken up residence at Honolulu Hale and is using 21st century technology to do his reporting for "Civil Beat".

A look at his daily "Inside Honolulu" column shows no less than 9 blurbs in covering and posting the actions of the Honolulu City Council at various times throughout the day, with the headings:

10:36 a.m. The 'Million-Dollar Baby Toe'
10:51 a.m. Godbey Confirmed As Corp Counsel
11:19 Council Sends Ag Property Tax Bill To Mayor
12:26 p.m. Council To Defer Laie Hotel Vote
12:49 p.m. 'You Got Shafted, I Got Shafted'
3:06 p.m. Laie Hotel Deferred One Month
3:54 p.m. Mililani Senior Development Gets OK
4:22 p.m. $1 Million Settlement Approved
5:38 Council Advances Campaign Sign Rules

Why even the lowly Hawai`i (Island) Tribune Herald has an article today about a controversial bill taken up at their council's Wednesday meeting.

But it’s a rare occurrence when we get coverage of Wednesday's meeting by Friday with the usual routine being a Saturday or Sunday entry... usually a muddled attempt by a certain story-telling-challenged individual- whose name rhymes with Slazumbuja- apparently trying to make sense of what he saw.

It gets worse by the day. For today's news of a $215,000 settlement of a sexual harassment suit filed by PMRF firefighters against ITT one had to turn to the pay-walled Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

And for news of the scandalous allegations of misconduct on the part of the "old" Kaua`i Independent Foodbank- made by the "new" Hawai`i Foodbank- you had to turn to Bob Jones' last two columns in "Midweek." Or you could check out Joan Conrow's "heads up" on the story where the news that the reason for the non-coverage may just be that the publisher of the local paper sits on the "old" foodbank's board of directors.

All we got today was a confusing account of some plea agreement- from who knows how long ago- in what appeared to be a dispute between Kilauea neighbors that resulted in threats.

At least the local paper does serve one constituency- the fishing community is happy to have something in which to wrap their catch. Either way, if you leave your catch lying around for a few days the fact that it stinks is bound to be evident.


Note: While the local newspaper remains silent on their naming of victims of crime as we discussed on Monday, we did receive the following comment purported to be from Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri Carvalho:

I have no idea how the paper's new police beat reporter Tom LaVenture got the list, although I suspect it was from the indictment, which by law, is public record.

As you correctly noted, the victims' names did not appear on any official county press release page or the prosecuting attorney's page at the county web site. It is for those very reasons that you state below:

"It's bad enough to list the victim of a burglary, letting potential crooks know who might might be making themselves a good target for another burglary. But to list the name of an abuse victim and potentially subject the person to the unwarranted taunts, ridicule and shame that many times unfortunately accompany such situations, is just plain professional misconduct"

that the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney(OPA) has NEVER released victims' names to be published.

Thank you for addressing this issue, as the OPA strongly seeks to protect against the revictimization of victims.


Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho

Kauai Prosecuting Attorney

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