Monday Monday…lack of insider sources, another blank check sought for West Oahu, campaign tidbits, more good bookmarks

A question from a reader came in overnight and seems an appropriate way to start a week that was launched with House passage of the landmark health care reform bill.

When you read those great NYT stories on the inside stuff of the health care bill, don’t you wonder why OUR reporters never seem to have any insider stories on Lingle and her advisers and how they arrived at furloughs and layoffs, or Mufi’s people and how they strategized rail?

You mean none of our journalists have any insider sources?

It’s a bit alarming. No, more than a bit!

The lack of such reporting is even more surprising given how small this town is. Or perhaps that’s looking at it backwards. Perhaps because it is such a small town, this kind of reporting is more difficult.

It would be interesting to hear other reporters comment on this.

Two House committees are scheduled to consider a pair of resolutions this morning that would give broad blanket approval for the sale of a portion of the land set aside for the proposed UH West Oahu campus.

HCR 316 and HR 231 represent an attempt to circumvent a bill passed last year (Act 176) that requires a vote of the Legislature to give advance approval for sale or transfer of most state-owned land.

But in testimony last week, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs pointed out that these resolutions do not include the information required by Act 176, including a specific description of the land to be sold and an appraisal of the value of the land. These resolutions would, in effect, be blank checks to the university administration to sell the land at any price.

One additional difficulty is that the land was donated to the state by Campbell Estate with the stipulation that construction begin by the end of 2011 or the land will revert to the donor. Would it then be legal to sell part of the land before those conditions are met? What happens if the state sells a portion of the land but then is forced to give the land back because some other factor, such as environmental impact or lack of necessary funding sources, eventually stalls the project? Sounds like a legal nightmare.

Gary Hooser’s bid for the L.G. spot picked up the endorsement of the Hawaii Nurses Association last week.

Earlier this month, former state representative and Dem Party chair, Brian Schatz, got the endorsement of four Kauai Democratic heavyweights, including former state Rep. Ezra Kanoho and the party’s Kauai vice chair, Steven Nishimura.

John White, former chief of staff for Congresswoman Mazie Hirono who previously worked for the late City Council Member Duke Bainum, appears to have a substantial campaign underway for the council’s District II seat. The district stretches from Mililani Mauka, across the North Shore, through Koolauloa (including Kaaawa), and all the way to Ahuimanu. White held two fundraisers in December and has another scheduled for March 31.

Here’s one to put away into your back of tricks: A searchable database of federal employees. I can’t tell how comprehensive it is, but it includes 3,800 in Hawaii. The listings include name, city, job title, grade, and salary. Data are for 2008. It’s found on the web site of the Asbury Park Press.

WikiFoia includes links to other less inclusive federal employee data.

And if these aren’t already on your list for regular checks, you should add bookmarks to two lists of current investigative stories, ProPublica’s “Investigations Elsewhere” and Investigative Reporters & Editors “Extra! Extra!“.

One response to “Monday Monday…lack of insider sources, another blank check sought for West Oahu, campaign tidbits, more good bookmarks

  1. A similar searchable data base for State of Hawaii employees would be terrific. Many states have these, but not ours.

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