Bathrooms, politicians and pigs.

Yes, there was definitely a theme here at Civil Beat this week.

No sooner had a Honolulu council member been slapped with a record $6,500 ethics fine, than the Honolulu Ethics Commission confirmed it was investigating how the Honolulu Fire Department handed out a consulting contract.

We toured the “Dirty Dozen” of Honolulu’s public restrooms and made a video about it. And in the latest story from our “It’s Your Money” series, Nick Grube reported that Honolulu spends $1,400 per head on pig control efforts — nevermind that there are amateur hunters out there willing to do the job for less.

On a more serious note, we took time on the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence to muse on one of our most sacred American traditions: freedom of religion. Chad Blair wrote an essay putting Hawaii politics into the context of the age-old debate: Does the First Amendment uphold freedom of religion — or freedom from religion?

Here are this week’s must-reads:

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