Abercrombie Staff, Cabinet in Flux; Occupy Wall Street Movement Uses Social Media to Organize in Hawaii; Hawaii Legislature Unveils New Web Site

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Governor AbercrombieAbercrombie Staff, Cabinet in Flux 

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has hired public relations expert Jim Boersema as his new communication director.  Boersema, a retired Army colonel who owns part of the exclusive Zanzabar Nightclub in Waikiki, resigned as Senate communications director last week.


Boersema has extensive public relations experience. For two decades, he was a partner in Starr Seigle Communications, once Hawaii’s largest full-service marketing firm before it was purchased by McNeil Wilson Communications.

Before that, he worked as Director of Corporate Communications for Bank of Hawaii and as Director of Communications for then Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii Benjamin Cayetano.

He is the senior vice president and secretary of Unity House, an organization founded by Arthur A. Rutledge in 1951 to help families of Hawaii’s union members, that filed for bankruptcy and then successfully reorganized its debt and sold its key assets in 2011. He also has been a strong advocate for legalized gambling, although Hawaii is one of just two states to have outlawed all forms of legalized gaming.

Boersema has won a number of awards, and that includes being a three time winner of the Silver Anvil, the nation’s highest public relations award.

His education background includes a BA Journalism degree from Michigan State University; an MA in Asian Studies from Sophia University in Tokyo; an MBA from the University of Michigan, and a degree from the Army’s Command & General Staff College.

Boersema will replace communications director Josh Levinson, one of four of Abercrombie’s key staff members to resign last week.


Others to resign include Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye, Deputy Chief of Staff Andrew Aoki and Deputy Communications Director Laurie Au.

In addition to the departure of four top members of Abercrombie’s team, six of Abercrombie’s cabinet members also have left since the governor took office last December.

Most recently, Sunshine Topping resigned as head of the Department of Human Resources Development; Ed Texeira resigned as vice director of state Civil Defense, and Denise Wise stepped down as director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.

Occupy Wall Street Movement Uses Social Media to Organize in Hawaii

The Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City is protesting everything from the “1 percent that has stolen the world”, to high unemployment to global warming.

Now people of a similar mindset are using social media to organize here in Hawaii.

An Oahu version of the group met over the weekend, arguing first about its name – should it be Occupy Hawaii, Occupy Oahu, Occupy Honolulu or should the word Occupy be used at all?

They are teaming up with local Hawaiian sovereignty activists and union members in Hawaii to grow the movement.

Groups also have organized on the neighbor islands.

Law enforcement is especially concerned because the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference will be held on Oahu beginning November 7.

That meeting, which will bring leaders from 20 countries including President Obama, is expected to attract additional protestors from around the world.

There already is an anti-APEC meeting web site here offering more reasons to protest against the event.

Hawaii Legislature Unveils New Web Site

The Hawaii State Legislature’s newly designed website is up and running.

The site, which is supposed to be easier to use, gives the public new tools to follow legislation, see hearing notices, and submit testimony.

The web address is www.capitol.hawaii.gov.