Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii's Political Arena

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“Kawamoto on Segway Centered”

”Kawamoto Gets Segway; Get Out of the Way”


Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee Cal Kawamoto, D-Waipahu, now is the proud owner of a Segway, that is the fancy scooter with handlebars, large wheels and a base to stand on that glides smoothly and quietly from place to place.

The scooters, valued at more than $5,000, were first brought to Hawaii two years ago and introduced at the Hawaii State Capitol. Kawamoto was the first to try out the scooter and based on his performance that day, and the subsequent law he helped pass allowing them on the sidewalk, a warning to pedestrians: Watch out and get out of the way!

His model is rumored to be a custom model — with a basket on the front to hold campaign materials and moneybags on the back to hold checks from his campaign fund to charities.

”Hawaii Media Should Not Throw First Stone at KITV”

At a time when media ethics are being questioned nationally, Hawaii is having its own debate over what media should accept and not accept in terms of gifts, freebees and compensation.

There is supposed to be a line between news, public relations and advertising, though that line often is blurred or removed all together, especially when it comes to the influence big advertisers and big government have over the media.

The debate over media “ethics” is now focused on KITV (ABC affiliate) because the management accepted two all expense paid trips to Japan this week for a reporter and cameraman sponsored by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. The HVCB wanted a Hawaii media to document Gov. Linda Lingle’s public relations effort and tourism recruitment effort in Japan. ”’The Honolulu Star-Bulletin”’ also was offered the deal, but declined. The general manager of KITV, after a number of negative press stories, said KITV would refund the money to the state.

But the subject did not drop there. Democrats took the opportunity to slam the governor. House Speaker Calvin Say said the HVCB should never have funded the trip, and blamed the governor for the media mess.

The governor’s chief of staff, Bob Awana, responded in a written statement from Japan saying he is “disappointed that the Senate President and House Speaker would knowingly make false statements.”

“The costs for the KITV news crew are the responsibility of the station and/or HVCB, and not the Governor’s Office. They are simply trying to distract the public from the real issues, which are the Governor’s efforts to promote Hawaii’s tourism, stimulate the economy, and exercise strict fiscal discipline,”Awana says.

Other media harped on KITV’s lack of ethics and in fact covered the fact they weren’t invited on an all expense paid trip as a news story.

Sure, KITV should have paid for its own trip, but the other media cannot throw the first stone. Hawaii media takes freebees all the time.

In the name of full disclosure, when I freelanced for ”’Midweek,”’ the U.S. Army paid for me to go to Ft. Polk in Louisiana to watch the men and women from Hawaii’s 25th infantry division prepare for a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

But I was not the only one on an all expense paid trip to the muddy cold banks of Louisiana. KHON, KITV, KGMB and KHNL sent reporters and cameramen on the trip at the Army’s expense. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin also sent a reporter and cameraman. The only media not to accept the trip was ”’The Honolulu Advertiser.”’

In return, the military did expect positive coverage for Hawaii’s troops, which was given to them. Yes they deserved the positive coverage and the whole operation was impressive and captivating. But the military public relations officer was extremely strict with what questions could and could not be asked, and that put a big damper on interviews with America’s military leaders.

The main person being protected was Hawaii’s own General Eric K. Shinseki. Hawaii reporters on the trip, who were invited to a small reception and press conference at his home, were not allowed to ask him any questions relating to his job or the Sept. 11 terrorism attack on America and only could ask him personal softball questions.

The trip was well planned by Hawaii’s Army, but the mainstream in Hawaii’s media, with the exception of The Honolulu Advertiser, did accept a free trip and lodging and in fact, had plans to go to Bosnia on the Army’s dollar last August for two weeks.

So the bottom line is the only media with the right to criticize KITV for accepting the trip is ”’The Honolulu Advertiser,”’ as long as its editors and publishers were consistent in its policy not to accept big freebees.

”Celebrating America’s Second Amendment”

Hawaii’s National Riffle Association sponsored a fantastic event last week — the 2003 Public Shooting Sports Fair — at the Koko Head Shooting Complex. Many of Hawaii’s families attended.

Children were presented with Eddie Eagle safety messages and materials and earplugs. The adults and organizers dressed in costume according to what booth they visited.

For those people who believe firearms are not sports or family related, they should stop reading the mass media and attend one of these HRA events. Safety and proper handling of all firearms always is the first consideration at every booth and with every coach there. The experience is invaluable for those who attend.

And there was an abundance of events for families to try such clay sport shooting, archery, air guns, antiques, trap, skeet, cowboy guns, black powder muzzleloaders, action pistols, hunting firearms, bullseye pistols, high power rifles, military small arms, silhouette shooting and many others.

In one area, the American Living History section, participants dressed in historic American military uniforms from as far back as the Revolutionary War.

Max Cooper, the legislative spokesman for the Hawaii Rifle Association, had a costume from the Revolutionary War along with an authentic black powder rifle with a musket and an ax. He allowed me to shoot it. No I did not hit the target, but was close. The experience, however, gave me a glimpse at how difficult it must have been to fight with such weapons more than 200 years ago.

In the western section I had more success. Under the guidance of Ron “Clell” Miller and the Single Action Shooters of Hawaii Club, I hit the targets with an 1871 open top colt, 38 caliber, and an 1873 Colt Army Black Powder Original. These were genuine cowboy guns like the ones Clint Eastwood uses in his Western movies The club was just written up in Gun World Magazine.

Then on to another booth where I was coached by Ian Onaga of the Midpacific Pistol League. There I hit every one of the 12 targets I aimed for with a 9 millimeter and 44 magnum. Now that is packing power.

There is nothing more important for women then to know how to protect themselves. Attending firearms fairs or classes can go along way to empowering women as well as men and in teaching people of all ages about safety.

See the schedule for future HRA events on its Web site linked to on HawaiiReporter.com’s front page.

”New Laws on the Books”

Gov. Linda Lingle signed bills from the 2003 Legislature into laws this week, including one controversial bill that allows pharmacists to write prescriptions for the morning after or abortion pills. Being that the governor is pro-choice, this is not a surprise. But many of her supporters were angered over her support of the bill. The governor earlier vetoed a related bill that would mandate Hawaii’s hospitals dispense the morning after pill to sexually assaulted female victims. She vetoed this bill because it mandated the act, and St. Francis Medical Center, a Catholic hospital, says it is against the Catholic religion to do so and would not comply.

Here is a list of the bills signed most recently:

*RELATING TO THE OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS, SB1156 provides that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shall establish and maintain a registry of all Hawaiians wherever such persons may reside and provides that inclusion in the Hawaiian registry shall be based upon genealogical records sufficient to establish the person’s descent from the aboriginal people inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.

*SB254 SD2 HD1 CD1 (ACT 218), RELATING TO AGRICULTURE, amends an existing appropriation of capital improvement funds to provide for the demolition of the bridge in the Puukapu Homesteads, Second Series Puukapu, South Kohala, Island of Hawaii, and the construction of a new bridge.

*SB773 HD2 (ACT 219), RELATING TO UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, requires the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, under certain conditions, to make a re-determination of entitlement for unemployment insurance benefits using an alternative base period, thereby allowing more people to qualify for the benefits.

*SB1326 SD1 HD1 (ACT 220), RELATING TO EDUCATION, conforms HRS to the Hawaii Content and Performance Standards test, by allowing the DOE to adopt a program which provides opportunities for students to develop competency in a second language.

*HB857 SD2 7 (ACT 221), RELATING TO CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES, requires the governor to accept public comments for a period of 60 days if an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is required for a proposed site or for the expansion of an existing in-state correctional facility.

”Washington Times Report Focuses on Hawaii’s Strategic Location”

The Washington Times in its July 9 edition says U.S. and North Korea officials met in Bangkok yesterday to discuss access to American defectors living in North Korea — part of a 7-year effort to account for U.S. soldiers who never returned from the Korean War.

Gov. Linda Lingle is quoted in the article saying she has been approached by the Pentagon about relocating to Pearl Harbor a “striker brigade” for rapid forward deployment to deal with North Korean threats and terrorist moves in East Asia.

In an interview with the Japanese news agency Kyodo Lingle says the brigade would consist of an aircraft carrier, advanced transport aircraft and other strategic resources.

The Pentagon has brought up “the forward deployment of more resources to Hawaii, such as a carrier group or a striker brigade, moving C-17s into Hawaii, more aircraft,” Lingle says.

The Times reports a striker brigade is a more mobile group that can get to a theater a lot faster than conventional forces. “The Pentagon would not confirm that specific plan, saying only that the administration’s new defense strategy calls for restructuring of the U.S. “global posture because of the different security environment,” the Times reports.

See the full story at


”QVC TV Shopping Network Holds National Product Search”

QVC TV Shopping Network will hold a national product search, August 8 and 9 at Company’s World Headquarters in Pennsylvania.

Hawaii entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their consumer products to QVC for inclusion in the network’s home shopping television channel at the e-commerce leader’s National Product Search on Friday, Aug. 8 and Saturday, Aug. 9 at QVC Studio Park, located in West Chester, PA.

The product search will provide inventors, designers and manufacturers of Hawaii products with a forum to share their innovative consumer products with QVC representatives from the merchandising, product development and vendor relations divisions.

Dennis Ling, administrator of DBEDT’s Strategic Marketing and Support Division, said this is a good opportunity for Hawaii. “QVC introduces hundreds of products to its viewers each week. Hawaii’s unique and high quality products should have special appeal this diverse consumer market.”

Each potential vendor will be scheduled a time to meet with QVC representatives to “audition” his or her product. In addition, QVC will be hosting free seminars and workshops for attendees.

For more information, visit https://www.QVCproductsearch.com or call toll free 1-888-639-4836.

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