Category Archives: Sunshine

Throwback Thursday: Freedom of the Press Award – 1985

In March 1985, I received a “Freedom of the Press Award” from the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. At the time, I was working as director of Common Cause Hawaii, and was heavily involved in lobbying for strengthening amendments to laws providing public access to government meetings and records.

According to a Honolulu Advertiser article about the award:

Ian Lind, executive director of Common Cause/Hawaii, was honored by Hawaii’s professional journalists yesterday for “taking a strong stand for freedom of information and rigorously supporting an independent press, often in unpopular circumstances.

Howard Graves, president of the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, told an audience of about 70 that Lind is “an industrious foe of closed government” and “a nagging toothache in the centers of power.”

That’s about the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me!

After the event, I visited my parents. The photo was taken at their house in Kahala, looking out into the back yard. A weird time warp, since it’s now our house and our back yard, very different (after renovations) but also the same.

SPJ Hawaii award

Download the free app for Hawaii Court info

Check out the state judiciary’s (relatively) new app for iPhone or Android. It’s been available for a couple of months, but I just noticed it a week or so ago. It’s available for download from the courts’ website.

The app makes it very easy to do a quick check of available court records from phone or tablet.

Here’s their description:

The Hawaii State Judiciary is proud to introduce a free mobile app that is available for both iOS and Android devices. The Hawaii Courts Mobile app can be used to access court records, learn more about jury service, or obtain information about free legal services.

“This app will provide easy access to a wealth of information about our courts,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald during his State of the Judiciary address. “Today, it is now available at the fingertips of anyone with a mobile device….and we are only the second statewide judiciary in the country to offer this service to the public. We hope to continue building upon the app’s features and services in the near future.”

Website analytics show that 37% of website users are viewing the Hawaii State Judiciary’s website from their mobile device or tablet. The mobile app is a way to better reach the mobile users and provide information in a format that makes it easier to navigate the legal system.

The mobile app can be downloaded by searching terms such as “Hawaii Courts” or “Hawaii State Judiciary”. Please call the Communications and Community Relations Office if you have further questions about the mobile app at 808-539-4909.

Download Using the Appropriate Link Below:
For iphone
For Android

This morning at the beach park

Every day is different.

Same walk, same places, about the same time. Every day.

But each day is somehow different. Subtle variations in wind, clouds, tides, temperature, shadows, light, can transform the world in subtle ways.

And so it was this morning.

Waialae Beach Park at 7:33 a.m. A little less than a quarter-mile from our house. We were on the back end of our early morning walk, heading for home.

Thursday, February 2

Reporting of Maui sunshine law complaint criticized

A blog post by Kauai journalist Joan Conrow took the Garden Island newspaper to task for apparently basing a story on a Maui sunshine law complaint solely on a press release from the authors of the complaint.

The complaint was filed with the Office of Information Practices by the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), headed by former Kauai county council member Gary Hooser.

HAPA alleged “egregious violations” of the sunshine law by Maui County Council Chair Mike White.

According to the Garden Island:

After Election Day, on Nov. 9, documents show that White met, either in person or via phone or electronic means, with multiple members of the Maui County Council, discussed the council organization and came to a decision that involved agreement by a quorum — all without public notice and without a public meeting being held.

Conrow points out that the one-sided Garden Island story contrasted with a report in the Maui News, which included comments from White and reference to prior OIP rulings.

From the Maui News:

White countered in an email to The Maui News that an opinion letter published by OIP on Nov. 14, 2002, confirmed that incoming council members are not subject to the state Sunshine Law until taking office. He added that the complaint filed by HAPA is “highly political and unsubstantiated.

“This is the same political organization that trained many of the ‘Ohana Coalition candidates, including my opponent, that ran against sitting members in the last election,” White said. “This organization and their supporters are using fear tactics and intimidation to try and get their way.”

Click here to read a summary of the 2002 OIP opinion, or the opinion’s full text.

The opinion confirmed White’s view that new council members are not subject to the law until they take office. In addition, the opinion notes a provision allowing limited private discussions about the selection of officers.

The sunshine law provides:

Discussions between two or more members of a board, but less than the number of members which would constitute a quorum for the board, concerning the selection of the board’s officers may be conducted in private without limitation or subsequent reporting.

Interestingly, the 2002 opinion was made in response to a request by then-Garden Island reporter, Tony Sommers.