The Sunshine Blog: Honoring Ian Lind And A 2024 Campaign Begins Amid The Zombie Apocalypse - Honolulu Civil Beat

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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.

Judicial notice: Veteran investigative reporter Ian Lind is slated to be honored by the American Judges Association at its annual conference next week for his many years of reporting about courts and the justice system.

The American Gavel Award for Distinguished Reporting about the Judiciary “recognizes legal journalism at its best, and highlights the importance of journalism in educating the public about the legal system and the fundamental principles and values upon which that system is based,” the association says on its website.

Lind, who many of you know has been following in painstaking detail the murder and organized crime case of Honolulu businessman Mike Miske, was nominated for the award by Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Sabrina McKenna. Her 18-page nominating letter lists so many examples of Lind’s work over the past decade that The Sunshine Blog couldn’t count them all.

Ian Lind

“Critically,” she wrote, “his reporting provides information regarding the judiciary no longer covered by daily newspapers and local TV stations. He has published numerous informative and important articles regarding the federal and state judiciaries as well as cases filed therein. For example, Ian Lind has often used his journalistic voice to support the independence of the judiciary. He has written many articles from 2011 to 2023 bringing public attention to attacks on the independence of the judiciary as well as other issues critical to an independent judiciary.”

McKenna singles out Lind’s coverage of the Miske case, noting he’s written more than 100 articles about the case. Many of those have been for Civil Beat, we are proud to say.

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Lind has actually been doing our most noble line of work since 1993 when he joined the Honolulu Star-Bulletin as an investigative reporter. Prior to that he was the director of Common Cause in Hawaii and in his younger years worked as a political operative for a time, for which The Blog forgives him.

Check out this recent post on his own blog,, for the story of how and why Lind decided to become a journalist. Meanwhile, a big and well-deserved congrats to our friend, colleague and fellow Elk.

Nothing to see here, folks: The Sunshine Blog couldn’t help but laugh at Senate President Ron Kouchi’s press release announcing the upcoming resignation of Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran, who is abdicating his Senate seat to help his law firm take on cases seeking legal and financial accountability for the Maui wildfires. Those cases likely will be against Hawaiian Electric Co., the county of Maui (where Agaran lives and represented in the Legislature for 14 years) and the state.

Keith-Agaran had made it no secret that if push comes to shove he would shove the Senate gig and stick with what promises to be a lucrative law practice. As Keith-Agaran told Civil Beat’s Nick Grube and reported in The Sunshine Blog last week: “I’m not wedded to staying in the Legislature.”

State Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran

And this after questions about Keith-Agaran’s conflict of interest had been laid out in the local and national media and addressed by both Kouchi and the State Ethics Commission. Surprise! “No conflict.”

And yet, Kouchi said in a press release: “Although not privy to the reasons for his decision, Senator Keith-Agaran’s reasons must have been thoughtfully and carefully considered. Senator Keith-Agaran is a brilliant legislator whose integrity is beyond reproach and his leadership, experience, and calming influence, will be sorely missed in the Senate.”

One question The Blog wishes someone like perhaps Kouchi would answer: Why is Keith-Agaran not resigning until Oct. 31? Is there something going on in the Legislature between now and then we should know about?

Campaign trail: High school teacher and former union boss Corey Rosenlee made it official this weekend: He is running again for the House seat in District 39 which includes Royal Kunia, Village Park, Honouliuli, Hoopili and part of Waipahu.

The longtime social studies teacher at James Campbell High School ran for the seat in 2022 but lost in the general to Republican Elijah Pierick.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee during DOE salary session held at McKinley Adult School.
Former HSTA President Corey Rosenlee during a DOE salary session. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019)

Rosenlee, who is the former head of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, ran against Pierick, at the time a political unknown who has proven to be one of the most conservative politicians in the Legislature.

“It’s time for leadership that puts people before politics,” said Rosenlee. “The current representative for District 39, Elijah Pierick, has abandoned the public trust by pushing a radical right-wing agenda that opposes women’s rights, defunds programs for the homeless and retirees, and denies the existence of climate change. We deserve a representative who will defend civil liberties, advocate for essential public services, strengthen emergency preparedness and climate resilience, and uplift the well-being of our keiki.”

Rosenlee’s campaign announcement comes about a year before the 2024 primary, on Aug. 10, which he’ll need to get through first if he hopes to take out Pierick in the Nov. 5 general.

Items worth mentioning: The mea culpa take on Honolulu’s infamous police corruption case is finally out on bookstore shelves. “Louis Looks Back: The Rise and Fall of Honolulu’s Top Cop” by Mary Zanakis gives the convicted former police chief a platform to explain his side of the story. Civil Beat reporter Christina Jedra did an advance on the book’s release a few months ago, and you can read about it here. The author and the publisher swear none of the proceeds are going to Kealoha, who is still in an Oregon prison.

Honolulu ranked No. 15 in a list of cities best prepared to survive a Zombie Apocalyse. This ahead of a new spinoff series of the head-scratchingly popular “The Walking Dead.” Houston ranked No. 1 due to its plethora of gun shops and plentiful supply of ammunition.

And you kind of had to be there for this one, but Hawaii’s Build Beyond Barriers Working Group has been up against the Sunshine Law in its recent meetings, allowing whatever testimony comes its way. That testimony has quickly devolved into anything but civil, as evidenced at the meeting last week.

The two-hour meeting turned into a free-for-all, with most speakers using the opportunity to vent frustration and voice broad criticisms against the working group, the emergency proclamation and Gov. Josh Green generally.

When one speaker, who identified herself as Jessica Wortham of Maui, implied that government officials had set the Lahaina fire on purpose as part of a scheme to take Lahaina’s lands from private owners, state housing chief Nani Medeiros finally stepped in and asked the speaker to focus on agenda items.

“I don’t care about your agenda,” Wortham said. “Your agenda can kiss my ass.”

Read this next:

Neal Milner: Grand Policy And Longterm Litigation Mean Little Right Now To Lahaina Survivors

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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)

Hahaha, good one.

Fred_Garvin · 3 weeks ago

Mahalo to everyone who took the time to leave a comment here. I appreciate every one. Thank you. I'll try to keep it up.

ilind · 3 weeks ago

Congrats and Mahalo to Ian Lind! Well deserved! Sen Keith-Agaran does indeed need to explain why he’s taking 2 months to step down for his senate post. I guess being a public servant just can’t compare to chasing the biggest ambulance ever, with its lucrative payoffs. True colors revealed, and no surprise here, but why wait?

RussellR · 3 weeks ago

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