Daily Archives: April 3, 2008

Thursday (2): Denver, yes or no?

Several people contacted me after seeing a notice on Daily Kos that Hawaii is one of a handful of states that hasn’t filled the “State Blogger Corps” seat being made available by the organizers of the Democratic National Convention. Selected state bloggers will be given press credentials and allowed to sit with their state delegations. I ended up submitting an application “just in case”, and then started trying to understand the logistics before deciding whether it makes sense to go further. What a mess.

Of course, there’s not a hotel room anywhere in Denver for the week of the convention, and as far as I’ve been able to tell the window for seeking housing assistance or getting into the block of rooms set aside for media has already closed. We know some people in Denver who might have a floor or even a room that I could beg use of if other options don’t exist, but I have to admit being more than a little daunted by the prospect of the convention chaos.

And I’ll have to make a decision and put money down on airline reservations, etc., before having any idea whether I have any chance at landing the state blogger credentials.

Oh my.

Thursday…Another airline goes down, award comment criticized, EWC fundraiser, etc.

First Aloha, and now ATA pulls the plug in the same week. I know state economists are saying that this is just a ripple in a big pond and won’t have that much impact on the state’s economy, but that seems like too rosy a view. Between the two carriers, that’s quite a few passengers who won’t be able to find seats for trips to the islands unless another carrier beefs up their schedule substantially, and under current conditions is that going to happen any time soon?

Now a bit of reader email to process.

A friend at the Star-Bulletin jumped on me for my somewhat flippant shorthand summary of the relative annual Hawaii Publishers Association competition.

In your column about the Pai Awards, you open your paragraph with “Star Bulletin makes pretty, Advertiser makes news.”

It is worth pointing out that the Star Bulletin won awards for spot news reporting, coverage of the Hokule’a voyage to Micronesia, awards for editorial series, sports reporting, and for info graphics. All of these categories contain “news.”

Yes, the Advertiser won more “news” awards than the Star Bulletin, but would it be too much to ask for you to at least give the Bulletin credit for competing against the much larger and better-resourced Advertiser year after year?

The fact that we won 25 awards this years and they won 17 takes a back seat to the “pretty vs news” angle – you’re a good reporter and a great guy but we are a much smaller organization with far less resources and I don’t ever remember seeing any mention of that in your blog when we win more awards than them – which is pretty often.

Okay, that’s a good point and now it’s been mentioned.

If you’re looking for an interesting evening a week from Saturday (April 12), check out the East West Center Association’s annual fundraising dinner at the Luana Hills Country Club in Kailua. Money raised allows EWC students to travel to professional conferences. This year’s program includes an excellent buffet dinner, art bazaar, live auction, and cultural performances by EWC students. I’m told folks from The Willows recently took over the food service at Luana Hills, so this is your chance to check it out and support a good cause. The link includes a reservation form as well as the contact for further details.

From a former Hawaii journo:

I happened to be in Honolulu on March 22, when news broke that Aloha was soliciting, as the Advertiser put it, offers “to sell the entire airline or parts of it.”

A friend and I were both struck by the disconnect between the unambiguously dire implication of that development and the lack of any discussion of possible closure, not just in that story but in any other local coverage we saw. I expected maybe something along those lines as the week went on, but didn’t see anything in the local print media dealing with the possibility of a shutdown.

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair, but it seems reasonable to wonder whether people got too complacent after all the recent bankruptcy filings and missed what should have been a huge red flag; when an airline in bankruptcy proceedings announces it’s trying to sell itself in pieces, you have to believe that shutdown is a very real possibility.

Hmmmmm. Seems like a very good point as well.

Another reader had this comment about the situation on Molokai:

Back on Feb. 14, after the revised EIS for the La’au plan came out, things were starting to get very nasty on Molokia (see below). When Molokai Ranch pulled all its advertising from the Molokai Times, I tried to alert the S-B because you’d think they would be concerned about a major company trying to censor a local paper from printing dissenting opinions. But neither the S-B or Advertiser ever checked into this… had they talked to both sides over there, they might have seen where the stand-off was heading.

“Tim Kline of the Molokai Times asked me to let everyone know that Molokai Ranch has pulled it’s advertising from the Times. Tim stated that John Sabas on several occasions had threatened Tim that if he didn’t stop including letters and articles from Walter, Degray, [and others opposing the development], that the Ranch would pull it’s advertising. Tim has refused to do so and so consequently they are pulling the plug.”

Noted: This week’s announcement that Kaheawa Wind Farm has locked up a deal with the U.S. Department of Energy for research in wind power technology, just a couple of months after Gov. Lingle promoted the company, and while Hawaiian Electric is allegedly dragging its feet on the company’s expansion proposal.

There’s a letter from Kent Smith, one of the company’s principals, on page 263 of the e-mail disclosed from Linda Smith’s mailbox (see “Inside the Governor’s Mailbox”).

While we filed a formal notice with MECO/HECO ( called a NUGG) of our desire and intention to expand Kaheawa Wind Power project over 20 months ago they have just sent us formal notice that they will not consider it at this time. Their stated “excuses” ( I won’t dignify them as “reasons”) make NO technological, engineering, financial, soonest integration sense. Our subsequent/continuing, behind the scenes, dialog with them has not gone anywhere. We therefore MUST challenge their specious decision.

Friday afternoon Mike Gresham met with 3 of the PUC members to inform them of our intended filing of formal complaint of the utilities action. Their response was not one of criticism of our proposed action.

Interesting, although I’m sure HEI has their version as well. And I’ve got to wonder whether such informal contacts with commissioners are proper, given all of their formal procedures.