Rediscovering Honolulu

·By Treena Shapiro

When I was given the Honolulu Beat at Peer News, I assumed that years of experience covering local government would be an advantage. Well, you know what they say about assumptions. As it turns out, I was even wrong about the name of the organization I would be writing for. Welcome to Civil Beat!

Here, covering Honolulu means looking beyond what’s happening at Honolulu Hale and the municipal building (and, yes, beyond Kapolei Hale, too). The city’s history has been shaped by important decisions made at City Hall, as well as the state Capitol, in Washington, D.C., and board rooms, not to mention in the voting booth.

The city’s $5.3 billion rail project is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Mayor Mufi Hannemann may be the driving force behind the plan, but seeing it through requires buy-in from the City Council, state Legislature, governor, Federal Transit Administration and, in this case, the voters, who approved the use of steel-on-steel technology in 2008. And it doesn’t stop there.

I’ll try to answer your questions about the project. My other focus as we begin will be Honolulu Planning. Of course the two issues are related. As the mom of two kids, the question I keep asking when I’m doing this work is what kind of future are we giving them? Now that Civil Beat is live, I hope you’ll let me know your thoughts on important Honolulu issues — including what you would like to see me cover.

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