The Sunshine Blog: PRP's Public Service, Tulsi Gabbard's Latest Thing, And Where Are You IAM? - 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, observations and other stuff you should know about public information, government accountability and ethical leadership in Hawaii.

If I were a carpenter: When Pacific Resource Partnership began publishing the Hawaii Directory of Public Officials in 2018, it raised eyebrows at the State Capitol and other political circles. PRP, of course, was at the time a super PAC funded by contractors who do business with the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters.

Some eyebrows remain raised. The carpenters’ PAC today brands itself as Be Change Now, and it is still in the business of spending big time to influence the outcomes of elections and policy. Last year, it forked out more than $2 million in advertising to get Ikaika Anderson elected lieutenant governor. But the campaign amounted to little more than a lame smear, and Sylvia Luke won the LG gig handily.

PRP still publishes the government directory — the latest is the 2023 edition — but not directly through its PAC. It comes instead from Partners for Democracy (“Building Leaders in Hawaii”), an “initiative” of PRP that bills itself as a “nonpartisan civic leadership training program for those with a deep interest in running for public office or advocacy campaigns.”

The Sunshine Blog understands how the casual user does not see a difference between the two groups. PRP’s logo is on the cover of the printed booklet, which is freely distributed at the Capitol.

The same logo is also on the website of the KĀKOU civic engagement app, which PRP says “makes it easy for users to engage with elected officials and participate in the legislative process.”

The handy little print directory, available at the Public Access Room on the fourth floor of the Capitol, used to be published by the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs. But that’s a nonprofit, nonpartisan and “independent research and educational” hui, not a group tied to the largest construction union in the state. In fact, PRP / Partners for Democracy saw five of 10 of their participants winning office in 2022.

Seems a little incestuous, no? Imagine the Teamsters Union publishing The Congressional Directory.

Chain of demand: The former Hawaii congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, tweeted last week about her pride and honor to serve as commander of the 440th Civil Affairs Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado. She’s an officer in the Army Reserve and apparently got a promotion.

That was June 5. Three days later she was defending Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the anti-vaccine activist running for president, on Fox News. She compared the Kennedy scion to herself when Gabbard ran for president in 2020 but was torpedoed — in her view — by the Democratic National Committee, which backed Joe Biden, the eventual nominee.

Then, on June 9 Gabbard slammed the “Harris/Biden Admin” for “failing their most basic responsibility: defending our country’s borders.” Harris/Biden, not Biden/Harris.

And on June 10, following the blockbuster news of Donald Trump’s federal indictment, she blamed her own commander in chief, Joe Biden, for what she described as a flagrant partisan attack: “This could be the final nail in the coffin of our democracy. Every American, regardless of political affiliation, must condemn it.”

So much for respecting the chain of command.

Similar tweets followed over the weekend. And on Monday came this declaration: “Today’s Dem Party, MSM, & ‘woke’ activists are undermining families, stripping away parental rights, sexualizing our kids, mutilating/poisoning kids with ‘gender-affirming care,’ and normalizing pedophilia and infanticide. We must stop this insanity before it’s too late.”

In case you haven’t guessed, Gabbard’s name is among those circulating as a potential running mate for the eventual Republican nominee. Again.

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Blast from the past: An astute reader recently reminded us that citizens have been pointing out the Hawaii Legislature’s head-scratching way of doing things for a long time. He sent a link to this very clever video created by I Aloha Molokai, a small band of Molokai activists, in 2012.

Led by Molokai award-winning musician Kanohowailuku Helm and produced by the veteran photojournalist and filmmaker PF Bentley, it speaks perfectly to the problems we’re still grappling with today.

Back then, their fight was against Big Wind, the state’s plan to build a bunch of wind turbines on Molokai and Lanai and then make a statewide electric grid of sorts by connecting the islands with a very long undersea extension cord.

In this video, Helm explains the ins and outs of how legislation gets passed to his very confused friend, Uncle Sam.

IAM produced a number of videos that are well worth revisiting today, including The Sunshine Blog’s current favorite pet peeve, “Aloha With Reservations” and a voters guide to bring common sense to Hawaii. You can find these and others in Civil Beat’s archives; they were published as Community Voices.

Here’s one from 2012 that’s definitely worth another look in 2023 — “What’s The PLDC?” — about the Public Land Development Corp. that was the brainchild, ultimately rejected, of Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz who is now pushing projects through other iterations of the PLDC, like the Agribusiness Development Corp. and the Hawaii Technology Development Corp.

The Blog has no idea what Kanoho and PF are up to these days. But we could use their sharp eye and political commentary — more than ever.

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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)

LOVE the video! "Vote yes, to vote no." That's actually a thing with respect to the state legislature.

Natalie_Iwasa · 3 months ago

I've always tried so hard to like Tulsi but she has lost her mind. She just saying stuff they wanna hear. Hope she getting paid well.

BigDaddy · 3 months ago

Tulsi Gabbard is using all the Republican catchphrases to speak to the illiterates that inhabits this country. She has no business having any sort of platform, she's simply out for power.

Scotty_Poppins · 3 months ago

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