For anyone who’s been following our coverage of Hawaii, it goes without saying that public records are the backbone of a lot of what we do at Civil Beat.

Requesting the records, and then sharing what we learn from them with our members is a big part of our effort to bring transparency to how we spend government funds. Our biggest stories these last few weeks centered on records:

  • Nanea Kalani showed us how workers with the City and County of Honolulu were paid overtime to illegally dump concrete rubble and other debris into a Waianae stream bed.

  • Robert Brown studied the Honolulu Police Department’s daily arrest log (a public document) and offered a glimpse of what police are doing — and not doing — to address prostitution in Hawaii.

Continuing in that vein, we opened this week with stories by Nanea Kalani about the salaries of employees of the City and County of Honolulu:

In the coming months, you can expect to see us step up our efforts to incorporate public records requests into our reporting.

At the same time, we’re keeping an eye on what’s ahead.

Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie hasn’t even been sworn in yet for his first term, but his defeated opponent James “Duke” Aiona, says he’ll could be back. Aiona leaves public life on Monday but strongly hinted he’ll run for governor again in 2014.

Aiona has stated that raising his association with Transformation Hawaii may have contributed to his loss, and Chad Blair took a much deeper look at Aiona’s views on religion and government based on a 2007 essay:

Chad also gave us a thoughtful piece this week on William Aila Jr., the Waianae harbor master who turned out to be Abercrombie’s surprise pick to manage half the state’s land:

Lastly, it is the holiday season and downtown Honolulu has come alive with twinkling lights and decorations. Adrienne LaFrance, in between penning “Inside Honolulu” posts this about Mayor Peter Carlisle‘s new Cabinet appointments (many of them Hannemann-era hands), reports hearing Christmas music on a constant loop at Honolulu Hale.

Iolani Palace has been festooned with colorful banners and lanterns, too, as the state preps for the inauguration of a new governor. We’ll be live-blogging the event, sharing timely updates, analyses, pictures and more. So be sure to check back on Monday!

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