Back when people survived plane crashes into the ocean

I received an email early today from Dave O’Malley, who writes and does graphics for the Vintage Wings of Canada website.

These free stories are subscribed to by more than 14,000 people worldwide. We do this to honour aviation history and our veterans and civilian aviation heroes. Vintage Wings owns and operates 16 WWII fighters and trainers in flying condition and we fly at air shows and hold youth leadership programs and events.

He explained that he’s been searching for a photo of the old Honolulu Airport to illustrate a story about the famous ditching of a Pan Am passenger plane that went into the ocean between Honolulu and San Francisco in October 1956 after two of its four engines failed.

Amazingly, by today’s standards, all of the 31 people aboard survived.

At that time, the Coast Guard stationed a ship mid-way between Hawaii and the west coast for just such emergencies.

He requested permission to use one of my collection of photos showing Boeing StratoCruisers at Honolulu Airport in 1952. The photo shows my parents and sister, Bonnie, with the planes in the background.

My parents & sister

Check out their website and the many interesting tales!

New Report: Reduce crime by investing in economic justice and policing

Don’t miss this story from the Washington Post, which reports the conclusions of a new study on criminal justice reform by the White House Council on Economic Advisors (“Obama’s advisers just revealed an unconventional solution to mass incarceration“).

The report compares approaches to reducing the nation’s crime rate, and concludes that indirect solutions will result in greater crime reduction than simply spending more on prisons and incarceration.

According the Post:

They forecast that hiking the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $12 would reduce crime by 3 percent to 5 percent, as fewer people would be forced to turn to illegal activity to make ends meet.

That’s more than the 1 to 4 percent reduction projected to result from a $10 billion increase in spending on prisons.

Here’s another tidbit from the Post story:

The most effective way to reduce crime would be to spend more money on policing, the report projects. Research consistently shows that departments with more manpower and technology do a better job of protecting the public, and the United States has 35 percent fewer officers relative to the population than do other countries on average.

I’ve never seen that statistic before, and will have to check the report itself for additional information.

If it’s true, then we have substantially fewer police officers, but have far more people in prison than other countries.

In any case, the report itself can be found here.

Click here to view the highlights of the report in what appears to be a presentation about the report by the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.

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.

Flying home from Colorado

Romeo We visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo earlier this week. It’s a sprawling zoo that runs up the hillside on the mountains on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. At this point, I don’t know whether this is a private or public zoo. But it is a wonderful and apparently popular zoo, and we had a great time exploring it. It’s a bit embarrassing to make the comparison to Honolulu’s now unaccredited zoo.

We happened to be entering this part of the bear’s exhibit when this bear decided to relax in its small pond.

Our friends asked the zoo staff whether the bear hunted the fish. Well, it seems the bear likes the shallow water, while the fish stay on the deep wide when the bear is around.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is a space saver. We’re on our way back to Honolulu starting very early today, Mountain Time, so won’t have a chance for a regular post today.

Hopefully I’ll be back here tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, click on the photo to see a larger version.

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.