The Beat

  • Civil Beat’s Chad Blair Makes List of 2015’s Best Political Reporters

    ·By Gene Park
    Chad Blair, you’re the best around. Blair, a founding staff member of Civil Beat, was included in a list of the best political reporters in the U.S. in 2015, as compiled by Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post’s The Fix blog. Cillizza, a marquee name in national political journalism, called local and state capitol reporters “most under-appreciated reporters in the political world.” The list is compiled every two years to honor the scribes covering local and state-level politics. We like to think Blair is very appreciated not only in our offices, but also
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  • UH Report: UH Manoa Athletics Big Part of Hawaii’s Economy

    ·By Chad Blair
    The University of Hawaii at Manoa Athletics Department is “a significant part” of Hawaii’s economy. That’s according to a report produced by the Shidler College of Business, which says that in fiscal year 2013-14, the department generated $66 million in local spending on labor, goods and services. The report was commissioned by the athletics department and prepared by graduate students under the direct supervision of Professor of Business Economics Jack Suyderhoud. Brendan Urban, an offensive lineman for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, during last season’s football game with
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  • Keystone Pipeline Vote Fails First Test in US Senate

    ·By Chad Blair
    The U.S. Senate’s first vote to cut off debate on its Keystone XL pipeline legislation failed Monday night on a 53-39 vote. That’s because, as The Hill reports, “Democrats mounted their first successful filibuster of the new Congress.” Sixty votes were need to invoke cloture and thus limit debate. The Hill explained, “That means Republicans who had hoped to pass a Keystone bill this week are now preparing for even longer debate over the pipeline. Republicans immediately continued their series of votes on the pipeline Monday night.” Republicans believe Keystone
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  • Hawaii Receives $11.6 Million to Help the Homeless

    ·By Marina Riker
    Hawaii will receive $11.6 million of Continuum Care awards to help combat homelessness, it was announced Monday. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave 45 Continuum Care awards to non-profits and government programs that help homeless individuals and families. The Continuum Care program supports organizations that provide services and housing to the homeless while promoting self-sufficiency. A number of Hawaii Department of Human Services and a number of Honolulu City and County programs will receive funding for projects that provide supportive housing and rental assistance. The award is similar to
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  • Read Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s First State of the State Address

    ·By The Civil Beat Staff
    Mister Speaker, Madame President, former governors, distinguished justices of the courts, representatives of our congressional delegation, members of the Hawaii State Legislature, other elected officials, honored guests, family and friends, Aloha. I am honored to be here today to deliver my first State of the State address. It is, of course, a homecoming of sorts with so many familiar faces and friends. Yet there is one major difference since I last sat among you: I am a year older with a few more grey hairs. To say that the last month has been an
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  • Ige Appoints Kim to Be Special Adviser to the Governor

    ·By Nathan Eagle
    Hawaii Gov. David Ige has found a new home for Elizabeth Kim. He wanted her to head the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, but had to withdraw the nomination last week after realizing she was ineligible due to residency restrictions. Gov. David Ige has appointed Elizabeth Kim to be special adviser to the governor. Shawn T Moore/Office of the Governor The Constitution requires any governor-appointed department heads to live in the state for at least a year immediately preceding the
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  • US House Cancels Votes as Blizzard Nears Northeast

    ·By Chad Blair
    The U.S. House of Representatives has canceled votes for Monday evening because of a massive snowstorm hitting the Northeast. “Originally, the House was to consider six bills to combat human trafficking on Monday evening, but with the National Weather Service issuing blizzard warnings from coastal New Jersey to Maine, lawmakers were having trouble making it back to Washington,” according to The Hill. A snowy New York City in 2010. Flickr: Sarah_Ackerman “Republicans are also delaying a vote on a controversial border security bill that had
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  • Who’s the Best Political Reporter in Hawaii?

    ·By Patti Epler
    The Washington Post’s political columnist, Chris Cillizza, is looking to compile a list of the best political reporter in every state. And he needs our help. It turns out that after two weeks of asking, 18 states including Hawaii are big slackers. Not a single nominee. Here’s his latest post on the WaPo blog — The Fix — that tells you how to vote (add a comment on the story or tweet him. Use #fixreporters.) Of course, I think Civil Beat’s very own Chad Blair is the best. He’s been a reporter for
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  • Obama Proposes Protecting 12.3M Acres of Arctic Refuge

    ·By Chad Blair
    President Barack Obama plans to propose protecting 12.28 million acres of the Arctic from oil and gas drilling, the Interior Department said on Sunday. As Politico reports, the president’s move has upset Alaska’s congressional delegation, especially Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski. “The announcement sets up a major fight with congressional Republicans, who have been spent decades unsuccessfully trying to open the refuge to oil exploration,” says Politico. “The refuge is currently closed to fossil fuel development and only Congress can open up the area to drilling.”
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  • Measures Would Force Real Estate Trusts to Pay Hawaii Taxes

    ·By Anita Hofschneider
    Hawaii Senate President Donna Kim and House Finance Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Luke have separately introduced bills to remove a long-standing tax break for real estate companies that own lucrative properties in Hawaii. The measures, S.B. 118 and H.B. 82, would get rid of the dividends paid deduction for real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Hawaii. Currently REITs, which own 291 properties in Hawaii worth more than $13 billion, don’t have to pay state corporate income taxes as long as they pass on their earnings to shareholders. The tax break exists at both
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  • Going to DC on a Friday? Takai Says, ‘Wear Aloha’

    ·By Chad Blair
    Is it Friday? That means staff in U.S. Rep. Mark Takai’s Washington, D.C., office must be clad in aloha attire! A press release from the congressman’s office says folks will celebrate the local tradition of “aloha Fridays” by wearing aloha-print clothing to work. “I want to bring some of Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage to Washington,” Takai said in a statement. “This is a fun way to display our traditional aloha-print wear, and our pride in our Hawaii roots.” Rep. Mark Takai, center and possibly donning a $100 Sig Zane, and his D.C. staff
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  • Ige Taps Castle & Cooke Lobbyist to Lead Land and Natural Resources Department

    ·By Sophie Cocke
    Gov. David Ige has nominated Carleton Ching, Castle & Cooke Hawaii’s vice president of community and government relations, to chair the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ching replaces William Aila, who has been named deputy director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. “Stewardship of Hawaiʻi’s unique resources is one of the most critical tasks of state government, and Carleton Ching has the heart, knowledge and skills to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources,” Ige said in a press release. “No one understands better the complex
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  • Hawaii House Democrats Unveil Majority Package — Without Any Bills

    ·By Nathan Eagle
    House Democrats held a press conference Thursday afternoon at the Capitol to announce the majority caucus legislative package but offered little in the way of details about any of the priorities they plan to focus on this session, which convened Wednesday. Fixing public infrastructure, facilitating business and increasing participation in government will be the main themes, Majority Leader Scott Saiki told a foyer full of reporters. The plan is to focus on “festering” issues that have long-plagued the state, he said, before turning it over to committee chairs to broadly discuss what they
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  • Ex-Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle Accepts New Job in Illinois

    ·By Richard Wiens
    Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle is headed for Illinois to serve as the chief operating officer for Gov. Bruce Rauner, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Then-Gov. Linda Lingle stands next to her portrait during its unveiling, Nov. 22, 2010. Office of the Governor Lingle was the sixth governor of Hawaii, serving from 2002 until 2010. Prior to that, she served as Maui County mayor, council member, and chair of the Hawaii Republican Party. She was also the 2012 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, losing to Mazie Hirono
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  • New Maps Chart Homeless Across the Nation, Hawaii Ranks #1

    ·By Sophie Cocke
    Hawaii holds the ignominious distinction of having the most homeless per capita for four years in a row, according to interactive maps created by Movoto, a real estate brokerage firm based in San Mateo, Calif. In 2014, there were 487 homeless people per 100,000 Hawaii residents — 219 were unsheltered and 269 sheltered. Hawaii’s homeless numbers have been the worst in the country since 2011 — in 2010, the state ranked third. You can check out the maps here. Screenshot, Movoto maps  
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  • Gabbard: Obama ‘Has Not Accurately Identified Enemy’

    ·By Chad Blair
    Like her three Hawaii colleagues, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard had good things to say about President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday — namely, about helping the middle class, taking care of infrastructure like bridges and airports and reforming Wall Street. But Gabbard, a military veteran, also reiterated concerns she expressed recently to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about her frustration that the administration “refuses to recognize who our enemy is. And unless and until that happens, then it’s impossible to come up with a strategy to defeat that enemy. We have to recognize
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  • Hirono Reiterates her Opposition to Repealing the Jones Act

    ·By Richard Wiens
    Sen. Mazie Hirono is continuing to defend the Jones Act in an interview with Politico, after a floor speech last week in which she voiced strong opposition to  an amendment that would dismantle the Jones Act. The Jones Act requires that goods shipped between U.S. ports be carried by vessels built in the country and owned and operated by Americans. During last year’s election season, many candidates for Hawaii offices said its repeal would reduce the high cost of living here. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, is pushing an amendment to
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  • Takai Named to U.S. House Natural Resources Committee

    ·By Richard Wiens
    U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, the newest member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation, has been named to the House Natural Resources Committee, which deals with issues such as fishing regulations, native affairs and energy production. “I am excited to serve on such a crucial committee for our state,” Takai said in a statement Wednesday. “The Natural Resources Committee plays an important role in the preservation of our island home, and I look forward to forging real solutions for our citizens while on this committee.” “I have long been a proponent of sustainability and ending
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  • Calvin Say Challengers Ask Souki for Action

    ·By Chad Blair
    An attorney for six residents of House District 20 has renewed a request to have the Hawaii House of Representatives rule on Rep. Calvin Say’s residency qualifications. Lance Collins of Maui wrote to Speaker Joe Souki on Friday on behalf of his clients, led by Ramona Hussey. It’s the third time the residents have asked Souki to act on the matter. Their argument is that Say lives in another district and thus cannot represent Palolo, St. Louis Heights and the other neighborhoods of District 20. But Say has long maintained that the area is
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  • Aiona Named Head of Hawaii Family Advocates

    ·By Chad Blair
    Hawaii Family Advocates has appointed Duke Aiona as its interim executive director, “a change that will strengthen the organization’s ability to speak for families across the state,” according to a press release from the group. Aiona, the unsuccessful Republican nominee for governor in 2010 and 2014, said in a statement, “It is an honor and privilege to be offered this opportunity to serve as the Interim Executive Director of Hawaii Family Advocates.” Aiona added, “I am grateful to the outgoing president, Jim Hochberg and the members of the board for
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