Category Archives: Business

Company proposes reef burials off Hawaii Kai

A company is proposing to build artificial reefs in two locations on Oahu using human remains encased in balls of concrete.

Hawaii Memorial Reefs is scheduled to present its proposal to the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board at its regular meeting tonight, Tuesday evening, July 26.

According to the meeting agenda:

A proposed seven-acre artificial reef in Maunalua Bay (“Paradise Reef”) would provide an alternative to traditional burial by incorporating cremated remains into concrete “reef balls” to serve as memorials and reef-building materials – Richard Financ, www.HawaiiMemorialReefs.com

The company is targeting Maunaloa Bay off Hawaii Kai, and another reef at Ko ‘Olina, according to its website.

There is no indication whether the company has obtained or applied for state permission to utilize these reef areas for commercial purposes.

Already, the proposal has drawn opposition from two organizations.

In written testimony, Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui said the burial reefs are inappropriate in the heavily-used waters of Maunaloa Bay.

Traditional Hawaiian practices of canoe paddling, fishing and surfing take place in Maunalua Bay. To add an underwater cemetery to these waters is not appropriate and will interfere with these practices. Who wants to canoe paddle over an underwater cemetery?

A second organization, Aha Wahine, which describes itself as a Native Hawaiian organization registered with the Department of the Interior, cited conflicts with traditional practices and “potential harm to the bay” in opposing the proposal.

Hawaii Memorial Reefs LLC was registered to do business in Hawaii in July 2012, according to state business registration records. It was register by Richard Filanc III, who is listed a manager of the limited liability corporation.

The Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board meets tonight at 7 p.m. in the Hahaione Elementary School Cafeteria.

Tough talk from a PR pro

Longtime public relations pro Kitty Lagareta posted some cogent thoughts about the PR industry and Honolulu’s current rail crisis.

She began with a link to an article from Pacific Business News published four years ago (“Honolulu rail project cutting PR budget by 70%”).

Then she continued.

Four years later, things have, unfortunately gotten much worse. I’m in the public relations business, but increasingly I prefer to call it the communications business because so many people seem to think that if you are in “PR” your job is to “spin” information to make it appear better than things really are…even some in the profession believe this is their job. Early in the rail debacle Mayor Hannemann hired a lot of “PR” people to do exactly that–spin his concept that had no valid data to support it–although, I do believe he actually did convince many of them that this project would not only be his great legacy, it would also be theirs. Many good and ethical PR people have come and gone from this project because they eventually refused to “spin” information that wasn’t true. Some, just gave up when they realized the public could no longer be fooled by pretty pictures, promises, and nice words that didn’t match the facts. In reality, the real public relations professionals are about facts and truth, they believe the public has a right to information that affects their lives whether in the public or private sectors, and they know that “spinning” is for liars and the truth always rises to the surface. Forever grateful that I’ve never been involved in this mess, although I do believe that honest, factual and transparent communications…something Mufi Hannnemann knows nothing about…would have been at least one ingredient that might have shifted the current path this train is on. If Mayor Caldwell hadn’t been mentored so thoroughly by Mufi on communications, perhaps his path would be different now, too.

[reprinted with permission]

Say hello to Oceanic-Charter Communications

Oceanic-Time Warner Communications is going, although the company website still boasts the TWC name.

Say “Hello” to Oceanic-Charter Communications, which apparently will soon carry Charter’s Spectrum brand.

I’ve been wondering about how little local news coverage there’s been the takeover of Oceanic Cable’s parent company, Time Warner Cable, by Charter Communications. The deal closed last month, but it barely made a ripple here.

The Star-Advertiser ran an Associated Press national story when the deal closed, but I don’t recall anything local.

Since Oceanic has had such a large presence statewide for so long, the silence is noticeable.

The newspaper came around to the issue through the back door on Sunday in a column about control of broadcast rights of Hawaii high school athletics (“Hawaiian Telcom hopes to gain access to high school sports programming“).

The article reports on questions raised about Oceanic’s current lock on high school and UH sports.

It references comments Hawaiian Telcom filed with the FCC as part of the Charter-Time Warner docket.

I found two, the first dated August 25, 2014 and the second dated October 13, 2015.

The Star-Advertiser reported:

Oceanic, the dominant provider in the state with a reported 76 percent video market share and 69 percent of consumer broadband sales, has exclusive contracts with the University of Hawaii, the public high school Oahu Interscholastic Association and the Hawaii High School Athletics Association, which represents all schools, public and private, for state championships.

And then this caught my eye:

The OIA reportedly receives approximately $100,000 from their contracts with Oceanic, with additional monies paid to the HHSAA, but parties declined to discuss terms.

Wait. Is it possible that the broadcast contract covering Oahu’s public school teams is exempt from disclosure by routing it through the nonprofit OIA? Does the Department of Education know what the terms of the deal are? Is the contract a public record?

Interesting questions.

I hope we see some clarification of this point in light of the state’s public records law.

Reporting catches up with The Donald

Reporting is finally catching up with Donald Trump.

It’s taken a while to do the digging into his long paper trail, but the results are most interesting.

The New York Times dropped a blockbuster today (“How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions“).

It details how Trump loaded up his Atlantic City casinos with mountains of debt that doomed them to financial collapse, while in the process shoveling millions to himself. Lots of those involved–Trump’s investors, bondholders, vendors, contractors, employees–they lost money, while Trumped brags about how well he did there.

Patch.com summarized with “10 Takeaways From NYT’s Blockbuster Report On Donald Trump’s Atlantic City Casinos.”

The Washington Post presented their own reporting on the same bit of wheeling and dealing (“As its stock collapsed, Trump’s firm gave him huge bonuses and paid for his jet“).

USA Today also weighed in with a slightly different set of facts (“Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills“).

Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will “protect your job.” But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found he has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans…who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.

The Atlantic chimed in with their own road map to a laundry list of past controversies (“The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet“).

As you can see, it’s a great week for reading!

Big changes at Civil Beat

In a column published early today, Civil Beat editor Patti Epler announced that the online news site is adopting a “free and nonprofit” model beginning immediately.

Epler writes:

Along with that, we have transitioned to a nonprofit organization. Our application is pending with the IRS. And in the meantime, we have joined the Institute for Nonprofit News, a coalition of more than 100 nonprofit newsrooms across the U.S., including the Texas Tribune, Voice of San Diego, the Center for Public Integrity and many, many others.

We’re also switching to a membership model, very similar to that used by other public media outlets. INN is acting as our fiscal sponsor so that, effective immediately, all contributions to Civil Beat are tax deductible.

And if you haven’t been a Civil Beat subscriber previously, this means good news for you.

As of today, the CB pay wall has been taken down, and its news resources–past and present–are available to all for free.

This means that you can read Epler’s column for yourself.

And you can also read my column today about two proposals being considered by the Honolulu Charter Commission, one of which would dismantle the city’s system of neighborhood boards. I’m quite critical of the recommendation, especially given the manner in which it was developed.

So enjoy having access to Civil Beat’s news and commentary.

Implicit in this changeover seems to be an admission that the subscription model, which aimed at allowing CB to become a self-sustaining business, didn’t get the desired results. I hope that this reset will bear fruit.