• ‘V’ Is for Vulnerable

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    “The PayPal 14,” WikiLeaks, online protest and protecting free expression in the digital age.

  • Pierre Omidyar: My Next Adventure in Journalism

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Civil Beat founder and publisher explains a new project that is rocking the media world.

  • HCDA Responds to Community Questions About Kakaako Plans

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    The Hawaii Community Development Authority has responded in writing to public concerns about Kakaako development plans and pending projects. 

    In a 20-page letter released Tuesday afternoon, the agency addresses dozens of questions about infrastructure, traffic, affordable housing, view planes and wastewater. The questions were posed at a community meeting held by legislative and county elected officials July 30.

    Read the Q&A for yourself here.

    HCDA’s next meeting is Wednesday.

    — Nathan Eagle

    Kakaako condos at night. (Daniel Ramirez via Flickr)

  • VIDEO: Gary Hooser Speaks Out at Kauai’s Anti-GMO March

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Thousands have taken to the streets of Lihue this Sunday chanting “No More GMO.”

    Dubbed the Mana March, residents are marching in support of Bill 2491, which would require biotech companies on Kauai to disclose what pesticides they are using, where and in what quantities. The bill also sets up buffer zones between GMO fields and public spaces.

    With four biotech companies operating on Kauai, some say the island has become “ground zero” for the GMO debate.

    Residents, teachers and schoolchildren on the west side of Kauai have worried for years that the chemicals the companies are spraying are making them sick and hurting the environment. The biotech companies say this isn’t true and that their practices are safe. 

    Civil Beat caught up with Kauai Councilmember Gary Hooser, one of bill’s sponsors, at Sunday’s march. Here’s what he had to say:

    Photo: Gary Hooser, middle, at the Mana March. (Sophie Cocke, Civil Beat)

    — Sophie Cocke

  • Hawaii News Coverage Expands with Launch of HuffPost Hawaii

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    A note from Civil Beat’s publisher about what the nascent partnership will mean.

  • OHA Donates $.5M to Native Hawaiian Career Readiness Efforts

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Pacific Business News reports that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has given half a million dollars to a local nonprofit that encourages college and career readiness among low-income Native Hawaiians.

    Parents and Children Together, or PACT, aims to provide educational and social services to families in need. Its Ready to Work and Career Support Service project offers recruitment and assessment services, educational classes and job training and placement, among other services.

    The program is part of PACT’s Economic Development Center, which helps Native Hawaiians find jobs. 

    — Alia Wong

  • Aloha, World! Huffington Post Partnership Takes Hawaii Global

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Civil Beat and Huffington Post plan to launch new website in the fall.

  • March 12 — At The Legislature

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    A selective digest of bills and briefings of interest Tuesday at the state Capitol. Click on the links for times, locations and details.

    • Senate Bill 331 Increases the minimum wage.

    • Senate Bill 98 Reduced taxes for low-income earners.

    • Senate Bill 532 Workplace breastfeeding accommodations.

    • House Bill 1412 Mooring of Hawaiian canoes in boat harbors.

    • House Bill 52 Prohibits biased-based policing.

    • House Bill 1314 Liquor license for distillery pubs, beer-labeling.

    • House Bill 369 Sets up a Residential Kitchen Fire Task Force.

    • Senate Bill 967 Legislature must approval big UH salaries.

    • House Bill 120 Post major patient care violations online. 

    • House Bill 1432 Funds statewide aging and disability resource centers. 

    • Senate Bill 883  Bargaining units for state cops and EMS.

    • Senate Bill 286 Count military as residents for voting.

    • Senate Bill 381 Public financing for Big Island elections.

    • Several measures on recycling.

    Photo courtesy kretyen.

    —Chad Blair

  • U.S. House Passes Violence Against Women Act

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Politico has this story. Excerpts:

    The Violence Against Women Act is finally headed to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

    The House voted Thursday to accept the bipartisan Senate bill, 286-138. Eighty-seven Republicans joined 199 Democrats to support the bill. No Democrats opposed it. …

    Hawaii Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa voted with the majority.

    Hanabusa said in a statement, “I am happy to vote in support of this version of the Violence Against Women Act, which received bipartisan support in the Senate, because it includes vital protections for all women. Excluding certain groups, whether it is members of the LGBT community, Native Americans, immigrants, or victims of human trafficking, violates the core principle that we stand in support of the safety and security of all American families. I only wish that we were allowed to vote on VAWA sooner. …”

    For video of Hanabusa’s floor speech on VAWA, click here.

    —Chad Blair

  • UH Students Turning to Sugar Daddies To Pay for School?

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Scholarships and financial aid don’t always cut it. 

    So, when it comes to paying for tuition, some students at the University of Hawaii are getting creative. 

    According to SeekingArrangement.com — the world’s largest “Sugar Daddy” website — the UH is one of the country’s fastest growing “Sugar Baby” schools. 

    That’s right — a growing percentage of female UH students “are turning to the ‘Sugar Baby Lifestyle’ to fund their education,” says the press release. About 219 percent more UH female students have signed up on the website since 2012.

    Sugar daddies are rich, older men who shower lavish gifts on young women, or sugar babies, in exchange for their companionship. 

    Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of SeekingArrangement.com, said,

    “While some may argue that these women are just using men for their own personal gain, I believe that they are proactive in pursuing a higher education.” 

    Nearly half (44 percent) of the website’s population is comprised of college students. Other schools that made the list include Georgia State University, New York University and Temple University.

    Photo courtesy of SeekingArrangement.com

    — Alia Wong

  • Librarians: C’mon Publishers, Sell Us Your E-Books

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    The state librarian’s report Tuesday touted a national push for three of the world’s largest publishers to sell e-books to libraries. 

    Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association, had this to say in a Sept. 25 letter included in the Hawaii state librarian’s report:

    We librarians cannot stand by and do nothing while some publishers deepen the digital divide. We cannot wait passively while some publishers deny access to our cultural record. We must speak out on behalf of today’s — and tomorrow’s — readers. 

    Check out the state librarian’s full report, and Sullivan’s letter, here. 

  • A Letter From Civil Beat

    · By Pierre Omidyar Sara Lin and Patti Epler

    Join us in making Hawaii a better place.

  • Budget Update

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Capitol Watch reports: 

    House and Senate conferees, including the chairs of Ways and Means and Finance, held a quick meeting on House Bill 2145, the reincarnation of Senate Bill 2012, the Senate’s plan to issue $500 million in bonds to fund capital improvement projects.

    The bill had seemed dead until the House agreed Thursday (April 26) to appoint conferees.

    Rep. Sharon Har said the House was still reviewing HB 2145 but also had a new draft for the Senate’s consideration. Sen. Ron Kouchi said both sides had made “considerable progress” in the last 24 hours.

    The mood seemed hopeful, and Marcus Oshiro, though clearly exhausted, was cracking jokes. The conferees will reconvene at 4 p.m. on HB 2145, in the same room where they are set to take up HB 2012, the budget and CIP bill.

     Is there now an end in sight to the Senate-House standoff?

  • Civil Beat Editor to Join Washington Post as Managing Editor

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Temple helped Honolulu website earn recognition for serving community.

  • Cachola ’99 Percent’ on Run for House

    · By Pierre Omidyar

    Romy Cachola is term-limited and cannot run for re-election in the Honolulu City Council. So what’s next for the Council veteran?

    He told Inside Honolulu minutes ago that he’s “99 percent” sure he’s going to try to return to the Hawaii House of Representatives, where he spent more than a decade as a Democrat before coming across the street.

    Cachola’s home, near the corner of Kalihi and King, sits in the 29th House District currently represented by Vice Speaker Joey Manahan. If, however, redistricting changes the boundaries, Cachola could instead end up in the 30th District, represented by John Mizuno.

    Mizuno and Manahan, perhaps not coincidentally, are already talking about running for Cachola’s Council seat. Presumably, they would arrange the races to avoid a primary showdown between two heavyweight Democrats.

    The remaining 1 percent that Cachola left open? He said he’d consider a run for the Hawaii Senate in the event that the seat for his district (No. 13) becomes vacant. That would only happen if Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland left her job.