The Sunshine Blog: Journalists On A Train And Other Items Of Interest (To Us At Least) - Honolulu Civil Beat

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The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.

Short takes, outtakes, our takes and other stuff you should know about public information, government accountability and ethical leadership in Hawaii.

Riding that train: There were so many members of Hawaii’s media on a preview ride of Honolulu’s new rail system Thursday morning that, had some sort of disaster occurred in the islands at the same time, there likely would have been no one to report it.

The Skyline trip began at 9:30 a.m. at the Halawa–Aloha Stadium rail station, traveled to the end of the line in East Kapolei, and then returned 45 minutes later to where it started. Your Sunshine Blogger was aboard and shares these observations:

  • The best thing about riding the rail are the views — the mountains, the ocean, the neighborhoods, the shopping centers, the fields — that just cannot be fully appreciated driving along H-1 or other area roadways.
  • The “train” is actually four rail cars connected to one another. An open gangway allows passengers to move freely between cars.
  • The best views are at the front and the back of the driverless rail cars, where you’ll find a single captain’s chair. Look, there’s the Arizona Memorial! Look, there’s Highway Inn!
  • While there are nine stations along the 11-mile segment, the rail car Transit System Map lists 21 stations, including the last two — Kakaako and Ala Moana. But, as everyone in the state knows by now, the city has run out of money and can’t quite get there. “Under construction,” the map optimistically explains.
  • You cannot eat, drink, smoke or relieve yourself on Skyline, nor at the rail stops. But the AC is neither too cold nor too warm, and the WiFi is strong.
  • Regular riders of TheBus may recognize that the recordings announcing bus stops feature the same person voicing the rail stops on Skyline. It’s Puakea Nogelmeier, a kumu hula, scholar, researcher and writer.
  • Members of the media were required to sign a waiver agreeing not to sue if something went wrong on the preview ride leading to bodily injury, property damage, permanent disability or death.
  • Lori Kahikina, the HART head honcho, was not along for the ride. Probably dodging all those reporters.
Ashley Aurellano PBS Hawaii production coordinator videos Skyline train media members media preview tour
Ashley Aurellano, a PBS Hawaii production coordinator, took video along the mauka side of Skyline during a media preview on Thursday. Skyline will open to the public June 30. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Coming soon to Civil Beat’s Instagram and other social media: many more photos of the Great Media Train Ride by ace photographer Kevin Fujii.

Off the rails: The closer the rail comes to officially opening on Friday, the more people are getting worked up about it. These are the kinds of things The Sunshine Blog reads out loud to newsroom colleagues and thought you, dear readers, might also like to hear what these people are saying.

The city’s plan to call Honolulu’s new rail line the Skyline “is an insult to Hawaiians,” Randal O’Toole says in an email that appeared to be sent as a Letter to the Editor. (Note to Randal and others: we don’t run Letters to the Editor. But they do make good Blog fodder.)

“This name lacks creativity or any Hawaiian flavor and could just as well be applied to rail transit lines in Detroit, Baltimore, or Miami. In addition to having a Hawaiian aspect, the name of the train should at least hint at the trials and tribulations Hawaii went through to build it.”

  • A Special Commentary Project

O’Toole asked ChatGPT for its thoughts. The AI came up with these: the Hula High-Cost Choo Choo, the Fiscal Fiasco Flyway, the Waikiki Wallet Wrecker. Leaving The Blog to wonder where the “Intelligence” in AI comes from.

O’Toole himself suggests the Pu Pi Line, a portmanteau of Hawaiian and English words. “In English, ‘pu pi’ is a childish word for something that is full of waste, which is a perfect description of Honolulu’s rail line.”

Dumbest press release of the week: Speaking of things we read out loud in the newsroom, this press release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources earned a unanimous eye roll.

RARE HAWAIIAN LAND SNAILS REACH TOP SPEED OF 50 MILES PER HOUR,” the headline declared in bold, all caps.

But … wait for it … they were actually being driven in vehicles on H-3 from Kailua to Pearl City, from one lab to another. Ha ha.

Click bait? Snail bait? As someone once said, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

Quick hits: • Former Gov. Ben Cayetano doubts that koa digging sticks are very expensive at all, certainly not the $400 price tag reported in a recent Civil Beat article.

Sorry, Ben: Amazon lists the sticks for $354.

• Hawaii State Sen. Stanley Chang continues to raise campaign cash on the mainland. He held a fundraiser at Astro Beer Hall in Washington, D.C., on June 20. Suggested contribution: $100, $500, $1,000, $2,000, $4,000.

• Gov. Josh Green is set to pad his 2026 campaign war chest at a fundraiser in Denver, Colorado, on Sunday. The person in charge is Lori LaFave of LaFave and Associates, a D.C.-based fundraising and political consulting firm. The location is Harman Hall, a ritzy locale described as Denver’s most iconic residence. Suggested donation: $1,000, $3,000, $6,000.

Green is in nearby Boulder for a few days to attend the 2023 Western Governors Association Annual Meeting. Don’t worry, LG Sylvia Luke is running things. (Insert snide remark here.)

• And former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard continues to appear on Fox and continues to criticize people named Biden. She was on “Gutfeld!” last week, which the Wall Street Journal says has host Greg Gutfeld riding “anti-woke” humor to ratings stardom.

Read this next:

Eric Stinton: Why I Have A Pride Flag In My Classroom

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About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.

Latest Comments (0)

Along the rail route are stone pillars with reliefs designed by WTC Architects, with in-laid carving-like depictions of stories that involved careful research of the place and place name, so important in Hawaiian culture, where is station is located. Each of these reliefs on the pillars tell a story, and all this was done to project a sense of Hawaiianess along the rail route. Then, the rail decision makers, typifying more waste, and more importantly, disrespectfully ignoring the work and significance of Hawaiian culture and tradition, give the rail a name like "Skyline"? Go figure!!

LKG · 3 months ago

Sorry...Tulsi WHO??

WhatMeWorry · 3 months ago

"Hunter Biden get a slap on the wrist, while dictators use federal law enforcement and govt institutions as their own personal goon squad to go after political opponents"I give you credit for including that here.

Nikita808 · 3 months ago

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