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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, John Hill and Richard Wiens.


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

Open House: The Hawaii House of Representatives wants to hear from the public on possible legislative action prompted by the Lahaina wildfires.

Speaker Scott Saiki said Friday that the six working groups formed to evaluate topics will hold public hearings on substantive recommendations of each working group.

A brush fire razed Lahaina in West Maui, Aug. 8. (Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2023)
The Hawaii House of Representatives is seeking policy proposals in response to the Maui fires. (Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2023)

“Community input is critical to each report,” Saiki said in a press release Friday. “We welcome the public’s involvement and encourage the public to submit any suggestions or comments directly to the co-chairs of the working groups.”

The preliminary report from the working groups is due Nov. 1 with a final version expected Dec. 15. The 2024 session begins Jan. 17.

Click here to sign up for informational briefing notices (go to the Participate tab near the top of the page). Your Sunshine Bloggers, of course, already have signed up.

The state Senate still remains mum on whatever it plans in response to the greatest disaster in decades on our shores.

Mazie says she needs money: “We ran the numbers after yesterday’s mid-month deadline, and unfortunately, it’s clear that we didn’t hit our goal.”

That comes from U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who asked supporters on Saturday to “chip in just $10 or any amount before tomorrow’s mid-month deadline.”

Usually incumbents and veteran politicians like Hirono have little trouble attracting campaign donations. Is it because the senator, who is running for reelection next year, might be vulnerable?

Or maybe it’s because she seems to be governing mainly through press releases, which, honestly, aren’t getting much attention these days. Just this week she released three items in which she said she had “questions” for President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as the U.S. Navy’s next top officer, for the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and for a panel of experts about the rise in book banning in schools and libraries.

The Blog doesn’t recall reading about any of those anywhere except our inbox.

  • A Special Commentary Project

ACLU vs. ACLU: Usually it is the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii that is on the plaintiff side of lawsuits. But a recent case filed in First Circuit Court on Oahu names the ACLU as the defendant. The plaintiff is a former employee.

Monica Espitia is a former ACLU employee. (Screenshot 2021)

Monica Espitia, who worked for the ACLU from 2019 to 2022, alleges discrimination based on race, gender and sex that contributed to a hostile workplace, which led to her termination. Defendants include Josh Wisch, who was at the time the ACLU’s executive director.

The lawsuit suggests that the ACLU did not uphold the core values of equity, diversity and inclusion it is publicly committed to.

Off and running: Alfred “Braddah Al” Keaka Medeiros said this week he is running for the District 22 state Senate seat currently held by Democrat Maile Shimabukuro.

Joining him for the announcement at the Queen Liliuokalani Statue at the Capitol was Sen. Kurt Fevella, one of only two Republicans in the 25-member Senate.

Medeiros (whose motto is “We got we”) is running as a Republican, but he said in an Instagram post that he wants to appeal to many folks whether “it’s our Hawaiian community, MMA community, Cannabis community, etc.”

He says he’s a Kanaka Maoli from Waianae who is not a politician but wants to “bring back the values of what our Alii Prince Jonah Kuhio instilled in Hawaii.”

District 22 represents Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waiaanae, Makaha and Makua. Hawaii may be mostly blue, but there is a rising red tide on the West Side of Oahu.

Fast facts: For those of you following the money like we are — and there’s plenty of it flowing these days through government and private hands ostensibly to the victims of the Aug. 8 fires — here’s the latest from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

More than $103 million in federal assistance has been approved for more than 5,500 households. That includes $24.1 million for individuals and households and that number breaks down even further into $11.6 million for housing assistance and $12.4 million for other needs.

Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $79.2 million in disaster loans for Maui homeowners, renters and businesses.

More than 830 federal responders are still on Maui assisting survivors.


Read this next:

The Actions Of Hawaii’s Youth Will Determine Its Future


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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, John Hill and Richard Wiens.


Latest Comments (0)

Braddah Al wants to appeal to the MMA community. That mentality should make us all more likable and employable — driving gravel trucks.

Peaceful1 · 5 months ago

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