Category Archives: Media

Good reporting on Senate President Kouchi’s financial ties to developer

Just back from the mainland, and digging through the backlog of email and newspapers.

I enjoyed Kevin Dayton’s story in Sunday’s Star-Adveriser, which raised questions about possible conflict of interest in Senate President Ron Kouchi’s financial ties to developer Kevin Showe, part-owner of thousands of acres of Big Island land being proposed for a state purchase or land swap in SB3071.

Dayton traces Kouchi’s ties with Showe through the Senate president’s financial disclosure statements.

Dayton reports:

Kouchi’s annual disclosure form filed with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission shows he was a shareholder in a real estate company called Leahi LLC from 2011 to 2015, and Kouchi’s 2016 ethics filing values that investment at between $100,000 and $150,000.

Leahi LLC lists Showe Land & Marine LLC and Kauai Development Manager LLC as its members, and Kevin Showe is listed as member and manager for both of those companies.

Leahi was involved with a group that was formed to purchase the site of the former Kyo-ya Restaurant at 2057 Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki, which was sold to Japanese investors last year for $30.5 million. Kouchi said the $100,000 to $150,000 in value listed on his ethics filing this year represented his share of the proceeds from that sale.

In addition, Kouchi reported being paid between $175,000 and $350,000 as community relations director for Showe Land & Marine since his election to the Senate in 2010, according to my own count.

Kouchi lost a bid for Kauai County mayor in 2002. He was elected to the county council in 2006, but narrowly missed reelection in 2008. In 2010, he was appointed to the State Senate by then Gov. Linda Lingle, and elected in his own right in that year’s General Election.

During his 2008 run for the council seat, Kouchi’s campaign material said he had worked for Showe’s company beginning in 2005. At that time, Showe was a partner in the Kauai Lagoons project, what was expected at the time to be a $1 billion resort development.

The proposed project is a multi-faceted resort featuring 520 acres of
residential oceanfront property, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course,
breathtaking coastline views, full-service spa, restaurant, and a 38-acre
freshwater lagoon with marina.

Kauai Lagoons is a collaboration with Marriott Vacation Club
International (MVCI) — a subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:
MAR) — an affiliate of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC, and Kauai
Development LLC.

An estimated 750 homes will be developed, including Ritz-Carlton
managed, private ownership condominiums and townhomes; bungalows and
condominiums managed by Grand Residences by Marriott; Ritz-Carlton Club
deeded, fractional ownership residences; Marriott Vacation Club timeshare
villas; and estate home lots.

The Kauai Lagoons development project became one of Hawaii’s casualties of the recession, and is now getting off the ground under new ownership.

I don’t know how Kouchi managed that apparent conflict of interest as he served on the county council while also representing Showe’s interests in the development. That’s another bit of political history that needs to be sorted out.

Dayton reports that Kouchi facilitated at least a couple of meetings to discuss the possible Big Island land deal.

Kouchi said he set up a meeting between the late Sen. Gil Kahele and Showe shortly after Kahele (D, Hilo) took office in 2011 to allow Kahele to make a pitch for the deal, and attended a meeting last year between Kahele and state Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairwoman Suzanne Case to discuss the Kapua lands.

Exactly who stands to benefit isn’t clear, since the state seems to have a legitimate interest in protecting the area from development, while Showe and his partners will obviously stand to benefit from a sale or land swap.

Newspapers losing their big advantage over bloggers

Here’s another sign post along the long, winding road towards the death of professional journalism.

Jim Romenesko’s blog reported on a memo from the managing editor/content of the Bay Area News Group: “‘WE WILL BE ELIMINATING A LAYER OF VALUABLE EDITING’.”

The bottom line: The company is laying off its copy editors.

I had to look up what newspapers are owned by BANG. According to Wikipedia, they include:

San Jose Mercury News — the flagship paper of the group

Contra Costa Times

Oakland Tribune

Santa Cruz Sentinel

The Argus (Fremont)

The Daily Review (Hayward)

Marin Independent Journal

The Reporter (Vacaville)

Times-Herald (Vallejo)

The memo describes the changes.

The bottom line is that we will be eliminating a layer of valuable editing across most of the copy desk — what is known in desk parlance as the rim. The result:

* Staff stories that go inside sections will not be copy-edited. The assigning editor will be the only read. (In sports, late stories that do not go through an assigning editor will continue to be read on the desk, once.) Stories for our East Bay weeklies will not be copy-edited./CONTINUES

* Staff stories for section covers will receive one read on the desk rather than the current two.

* Proofreading will be reduced.

This is going to place a new level of responsibility on reporters and, especially, assigning editors. Many of the ways in which the desk bails us out — often without us noticing — will disappear. That will mean:

* All assigning editors must run Tansa on stories before moving them to the desk, and all proper names will have to be cq’ed. Grammar mistakes that make it through an assigning editor are highly likely to appear in print.

What does this mean in practice? A lot less finished writing overall. Most likely bad for newspapers and for newspaper readers.

After all, much of what has separated bloggers and reporters has been the service of editors and copy editors that reporters copy would normally get before going public.

Now, if the Bay Area News Group is an indication, newspapers are losing that advantage.

Peeking into a great video/film archive

I ended up wasting a bit of time yesterday exploring the historical video snippets available at the website of ‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i.

According to the website, the collection includes “over 10,000 videotapes and 300 motion picture film reels about Hawai?i from the 1920s – 2000s.”

There’s obviously some fabulous archival material. Unfortunately, most of the items available online at this point are only short excerpts digitized from longer films and videos, but even the tiny tastes are fabulous.

Sources include:

HKG Pilot Project

A collaborative effort between ?Ulu?ulu and local archives, museums, libraries, television stations and independent producers to create a representative digital collection of Hawaiian film and video. ?Ulu?ulu digitized approximately 300 hours of video and film footage submitted by Pilot Project Participants:

Bishop Museum
CLEAR (The Center for Labor Education and Research)

University of Hawai?i at M?noa Library

Hula Preservation Society

Kamakak?okalani Center for Hawaiian Studies (UH M?noa)

L?na?i Culture and Heritage Center

Lyman Museum and Mission House

N? Maka o ka ??ina

PBS Hawai?i (KHET)

Juniroa Productions – Independent production company dedicated to perpetuating Native Cultures, living Hawaiian Values and serving communities underrepresented by mainstream media through creative and innovative storytelling.

KGMB Television – News, Programming, Sports and Promotional Media from the CBS-affiliate television station in Honolulu.

Ted Shibuya – Footage (1950s-60s) shot by Ted Shibuya, one of the first television news cameramen in Hawai?i.

Victoria Keith Productions – Independent production company that has been making documentaries about Hawaiian culture, environment, and land issues since the mid 1970’s.

Of course, I looked for myself and found that I made several appearances, including a speech I gave at a 1982 Kahoolawe rally. Then I found lots of other fun stuff. Several minutes from the 1975-76 Crater Festival. John Radcliffe talking about his run for Congress in 1988, if I recall the year correctly. Neil Abercrombie, Judy Sobin, and Martin Wolff on the campaign for a seat on the city council’s 5th District, also in 1988.

Check it out and let us know interesting tidbits you find.

Former HPR news director launches public relations service

Kayla Rosenfeld, former news director at Hawaii Public Radio and communications specialist for the state Department of Human Services, has launched her own solo company, Wild Rose Communications!

Here’s how she describes her effort:

As sole proprietor of Wild Rose Communications, I offer a menu of thoughtfully tailored services to meet your personal and small business needs. These include, but are not limited to, public relations, research, emcee, conference planning, document editing, website management, public speaking coaching, and writing summary reports. Areas of focus and interest include environmental conservation, marine science, the Asia-Pacific region, the healing arts, and human services.

And her self-description:

I describe myself as a Humanitarian, Communicator, Health and Wellness Enthusiast, Environmentalist, Feminist.

I am a seasoned broadcast journalist, and an organized capable communications professional. I have 15 years of experience in public relations, government and non-profit communications, journalism, radio news reporting, issues of the Asia-Pacific region, and environmental education.

If you know Kayla, you know that she puts everything into her projects. She’s a straight shooter, a hard worker, and a talented story teller in various media.

Check out the Wild Rose website, which features some of her current clients, and also serves as an archive of her previous radio and video productions. Check back frequently for content updates.

If you have leads on possible gigs that would fit Kayla and Wild Rose Communications, email her directly. or give her a call (or send a text) at 808-230-5960.

A good read–Living through a social media backlash

Here’s one for your Sunday reading: “The Weird Redemption of SF’s Most Reviled Tech Bro,” by Lauren Smiley, from

It’s long, the kind of length we don’t see that much of these days. And it’s well written. And it’s built around a complex mix of important issues.

It’s the tale of a dot com high flyer in the politically charged atmosphere of San Francisco, where the backlash against the elite high tech world has been fierce.

It a tale involving the downside of social media, of the dramatic measures needed to recover from a online faux pas, if recovery is possible. It’s the story of the seemingly intractable problem of homelessness in another large city.

And it’s great storytelling.

Find a comfy place to read and do it.