Week 17: Heard About the Election?
The moon was incredible over Honolulu this week. One morning, I saw it sliced in half by a band of clouds. But by the time I got my cell phone camera out and tried to capture it, the scene had almost lost its magic.
Sometimes it seems politics here moves as quickly as those clouds.
The political week at Civil Beat started with Chad Blair capturing an event I think it's fair to say you could only find in Hawaii, Sunday in Moiliili With Dan. I'll always remember seeing one of the most powerful politicians in the United States, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, participating in a saimin-eating contest on a middle school stage. It ended in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island, where Chad chronicled a two-hour live Democratic gubernatorial debate, The Familiar and the Fresh From Mufi and Neil.
In between, Chad and other reporter-hosts at Civil Beat shone the light on the political season in a number of ways. They covered the issues, our focus at Civil Beat. They asked the kinds of questions that we hope help you decide who deserves your support. (Check out the topic pages on Neil Abercrombie, James "Duke" Aiona and Mufi Hannemann to read their answers to our 10 questions for the governor candidates. Scroll down the pages to find them.) And they checked out what the candidates were saying in our Fact Check feature.
- Forum Shows Diversity of Ed Board Candidates
- Gov Wannabes Want Business Climate Change
- Fifth Floor Diplomacy From Duke, Mufi 'n' Neil
- Hannemann's Honolulu Hale Examined
- Gov Candidates Pitch Housing, Homeless Plans
- 10 Questions for the Governor Candidates
The strangest story had to be the one with the headline, Business Exec Disavows Anti-Mufi Letter As Forgery. The 2010 governor campaign has had its bizarre moments, but I don't think anything has quite approached what happened when the president of one of Honolulu's major engineering firms posted a letter on his website announcing that somebody had sent a letter under his signature — a letter he says he didn't write or sign — making scurrilous claims against Hannemann and a few of his supporters.
Who did it? Somebody with a grudge against Hannemann? Or could it have been a plant by someone who was sick of seeing Hannemann take the brunt of the blame for low blows? We don't know. But we do know that Russell Figueiroa, president of R.M. Towill Corp., says he has reported what happened to "the authorities" and that his attorneys are looking into "the unlawful" use of his name.
See what I mean about a full moon?
Whoever was behind that letter was, to put it kindly, loose with the facts. The author(s) didn't even spell Figueiroa's name correctly. But maybe that's just the way things can sometimes get in politics. Our Fact Checks found some candidates walked a narrow road. But others, it turned out, had their own troubles with accuracy.
Some examples of the latter:
- Prevedouros: City Collects $500M for Roads Per Year
- Carlisle: Commute From Kapolei Takes Three Hours
- Prevedouros: FTA Gives Rail “Low” Rating
But don't say we don't report when the candidates get things right. Here are some examples:
- Aiona: 99 Percent of State's Businesses are Small
- Hannemann: I Graduated Cum Laude Twice
- Ching: Community Search Warrants Best Option in Fight Against Drugs
- Kaneshiro: I Will Use Nuisance Abatement and Asset Forfeiture Laws to Fight Drugs
- Prevedouros: Water Mains Break Daily
- Carlisle: Half of Union Carpenters Unemployed
The primary election season is in full swing, and we'll be picking up its beat even more in coming weeks.
Soon Adrienne LaFrance will be taking you on a long day's ride with the three top mayoral candidates. She shadowed each one from morning until night and we'll share her experience for three straight days. Then she'll give you a series of reports on the candidates on the issues. Robert Brown will share what the City Council candidates told us in response to our 10 questions for them. Michael Levine will remind you that when this round is over, the 1st congressional district will surface as a critical battleground, and he'll tell you which voters the candidates will be fighting over. And, of course, Chad will be rocking the boats of the governor candidates, starting with his coverage of the debate scheduled for Monday night on Hawaii News Now.
But don't worry, we haven't forgotten that life still goes on beyond politics.
Just as this week we also kept the focus on the environment and education, next week we'll have some other surprises for you.
And, yes, you can expect to find a lot more information about how the state pays its employees on our website. Coming soon: What's going on in the University of Hawaii system, with its more than 7,500 employees.
DISCUSSION: What did you think about the past week of political coverage at Civil Beat? What do you think we should be covering? Share your thoughts.