Daily Archives: December 24, 2012

PBS Newshour on the Hawaii senate vacancy

Here’s the take of the PBS Newshour on Hawaii’s open senate seat, broadcast last night.

GWEN IFILL:

Let’s move to another state and Hawaii. Very dramatically, last week, Senator Daniel Inouye died. And in a letter written to the governor, who gets decide who picks his seat, he actually stated his preference about who he wants to succeed him.

CHRISTINA BELLANTONI: Yes, he did.

There are a lot of interesting elements with this. And one thing, it actually is very similar to what happened when Teddy Kennedy passed away in Massachusetts. In fall 2009 — or actually in summer 2009, he sent letter to Deval Patrick saying basically that he really wanted them to change the law in Massachusetts so that somebody would be able to fill that seat during the critical time when they were debating health care reform.

And then somebody would run for the special election. Well, in Hawaii, basically, what Daniel Inouye said was, I really want someone to be able to fill my seat. And I really hope that is Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who has not been there very long. He’s very close to her. He said that he felt that she would represent him with fervor, represent the state with fervor and sort of be in his own mold.

And he said he respectfully requested that. What is interesting about this is Gov. Abercrombie, a former member of Congress himself, didn’t release that letter. The senator’s — the late senator’s office is the one who released that letter. There’s some political pressure going on and it’s essentially as they’re having this fiscal cliff negotiation, so that is why it mirrors 2009.

GWEN IFILL: Gov. Abercrombie, Shira, is it a slam-dunk that Colleen Hanabusa, who was on the dying man’s lips practically, gets this job or are other people still trying to figure a way in?

SHIRA TOEPLITZ: Well, what’s going to happen this week is the Hawaii Democratic State Central Committee is going to meet.

And they’re going to give, according to state law, the governor three names of people who he could appoint to the seat. As long as Colleen Hanabusa makes that list — and it is looking very, very likely that she will — the governor will most likely appoint her. It would be very difficult for the governor to ignore such a legend as Daniel Inouye’s last and final wish to appoint this woman to his seat.

Interesting take, although I don’t think that Gov. Abercrombie will feel locked in by the Senator’s recommendation.

But we’ll see very shortly.

Holiday greetings from Kaaawa!

Greetings from Kaaawa

Getting beyond “he said this, but they said that” reporting

Star-Advertiser reporter Rob Perez has continued his digging into Honolulu’s contract for auto towing with two stories on overcharging by the current contractor, Leeward Auto Wreckers.

I’m a fan of Rob’s reporting, but there are some things I don’t understand.

One is the tendency to sidestep documents in favor of quotes from sources about the documents.

Take the most recent towing story (“1 in 5 city towing bills inflated, invoices show”) was published yesterday, December 23. It reports on a review of recent invoices for tows by the contractor.

Perez reported:

Most of the inflated bills from Leeward Auto Wreckers involved vehicles that were picked up near the company’s Pearl City lot but were towed to a Kapolei lot instead, adding an extra eight to 10 miles roughly to the tab, the newspaper found.

At the $7.50-per-mile rate that the company charged until recently, that added an extra $60 to $75 to the bill.

Good stuff. Getting into the invoices gave the story substance. But….

According to the story, city spokesman Johnny Brannon said the contract requires towing to the nearest storage lot in order to reduce costs to the vehicle owners.

In a recent interview, Hans Tandal, Leeward Auto’s operations manager, told the newspaper that the contract did not require the company to tow cars to the nearest lot.

That directly contradicted what Brannon subsequently told the newspaper. Tandal did not respond to a phone message asking about the contradiction. [emphasis added]

I fully expected the next step would be to bust through the “he said – they said” standoff by quoting from the contract itself, but that didn’t happen. Instead, readers were left with the unresolved contradiction.

It seems to me that a lot of reporters and/or editors prefer this approach. Perhaps reporting competing quotes is thought to add some dramatic tension that would otherwise be lost. Or perhaps this is designed to keep the reporter out of the role of arbiter of such disputes, even when there’s an objective answer available (in this case, the terms of the contract itself).

Another thing that strikes me as odd is that Perez never reports any information about the company or its owners. His stories quote Hans Tandal, identified as the company’s operations manager.

It’s always been my approach to provide some details that could eventually lead to filling out our understanding of the situation. So here’s what I gleaned from a quick sweep. At least the ownership and officers of Leeward Auto Wreckers would certainly be relevant to the stories. And I would think that further digging into the background of the company and its principals would likely yield some interesting results.

Here’s what state business registration records show.

MASTER NAME LEEWARD AUTO WRECKERS, INC.
BUSINESS TYPE Domestic Profit Corporation
FILE NUMBER 14475 D1
STATUS Active
PURPOSE SCRAP METAL PROCESSORS
PLACE INCORPORATED Hawaii UNITED STATES
REGISTRATION DATE Oct 14, 1966
MAILING ADDRESS 91-209 KUHELA ST
KAPOLEI, Hawaii 96707
UNITED STATES
TERM PER
AGENT NAME PACIFIC ACADEMY & ACCOUNTING SERVICES, INC.
AGENT ADDRESS 85-979 FARRINGTON HWY SUITE C
WAIANAE, Hawaii 96792
UNITED STATES

Officers
NAME sort OFFICE sorted help DATE sort
TERNORA,ALBERT P/D Dec 31, 1996
TERNORA,MARCELINA V/S/D Dec 31, 1996
BATHE,BILL T Dec 31, 2001

Other companies in which Ternora is listed as an officer:

C O M P A N Y I N F O R M A T I O N FileBusiness Name/TypeAddress
14475-D1 LEEWARD AUTO WRECKERS, INC.
Domestic Profit Corporation91-209 KUHELA ST
KAPOLEI, HI 96707

46912-C5 HAWAIIAN STEAKHOUSE LLC
Domestic Limited Liability Company (LLC)91-209 KUHELA ST
KAPOLEI, HI 96707

63962-C5 ATDE LLC
Domestic Limited Liability Company (LLC)765 AMANA ST STE 500
HONOLULU, HI 96814

65378-C5 ALBERT’S PLACE LLC
Domestic Limited Liability Company (LLC)91-209 KUHELA ST
KAPOLEI, HI 96707

97616-D1 ALBERT’S TOWING, INC.
Domestic Profit Corporation91-209 KUHELA ST
KAPOLEI, HI 96707

The morn before Christmas….

Ms. Harry

A poem originally for Christmas 2002, and some of the cats are no longer with us…

Twas the morn before Christmas, and all through the house,
many felines were stirring, perhaps chasing a mouse.
Mr. Rooster shouted out his cock-a-doodle-doo,
while cats of all sizes ’round the house they flew.

Ms. Kili was clawing up the screen door in front,
while her sister, Ms.Wally, on the roof she did hunt.
Lindsey stood guard ‘neath plumeria trees,
and Leo observed from a distance, and sneezed.

Silverman’s out where grass grows so tall
and Miki’s still sleeping in bed down the hall.
Duke, once a kitten,
now’s being a good dad,
teaching Toby, the youngest,
the tricks, good and bad.

And Harry brought a stocking
from somewhere to show
we’re into the season, despite lack of snow.

Then up from the yard came a terrible sound,
and I ran to the door in a long reckless bound.
Howling and yowling and mewing and such,
greeted my ears, it was all far too much.

And out from the back a strange man did appear,
red clothes and white beard, all reins and no deer.
“I’ve got me a sleigh,” he said with all smiles,
but the nearest reindeers about three thousand miles.

He tried chickens and dogs and neigborhood kids,
but none pulled that sleigh away from our digs.
Nine cats could just about pull a full load,
but try hitch ’em up and they all just explode.

The last that we saw him, all dressed in bright red,
he was down on Kam Highway, dragging his sled,
and at home nine fat cats, with no harness in sight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.