Civil Beat Staff

James Gonser

Reporter James Gonser covers public safety issues for Honolulu Civil Beat. He joined the news organization in September 2022.

He began his journalism career at Pacific Business News as a reporter and photographer in 1988 and subsequently worked at the Sun Press weekly newspapers in Kaneohe covering crime and community news.

He also worked at The Honolulu Advertiser as a community news reporter and editor for a decade until the newspaper was absorbed by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in 2010.

He then taught journalism at the University of Hawaii Manoa and Chaminade University and was the staff advisor for the UH student newspaper Ka Leo O Hawaii.

Most recently, he worked as a public information officer for the Hawaii Department of Health and as Assistant Director of Communications for the Hawaii House of Representatives.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Hawaii Manoa.

He moved from California to Hawaii in 1977 and made the islands his permanent home. He is a world traveler, plays American folk and blues on guitar, and loves animals. He lives in Honolulu with his wife Grace and her cats.

Honolulu Mayor Wants Guns Banned From Many Public Areas Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2018

Honolulu Mayor Wants Guns Banned From Many Public Areas

Blangiardi will ask the City Council to draft a law restricting residents with legal firearms in their possession from many public and private spaces. But gun advocates say it’s a lawsuit in the making.

Taxpayers To Cover Legal Expenses For Honolulu Police Officers Involved In Makaha Crash Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Taxpayers To Cover Legal Expenses For Honolulu Police Officers Involved In Makaha Crash

Commissioners made no conclusions on accusations that the officers caused and fled the scene of a car crash but said state law mandates that they deserve legal representation.

‘A Career Of Sacrifice’: Honolulu Police Grapple With Hiring New Officers While Keeping Veterans Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

‘A Career Of Sacrifice’: Honolulu Police Grapple With Hiring New Officers While Keeping Veterans

Offering better pay, working conditions and flexible scheduling could help retain veterans, but challenges dealing with mental illness and providing affordable housing place roadblocks on recruiting new officers.

What’s Up With These Skyrocketing Electric Bills? Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2015

What’s Up With These Skyrocketing Electric Bills?

Despite Hawaiian Electric’s warning that bills would increase when the Oahu coal plant closed, many people are shocked by just how much their monthly bills are going up.

Honolulu Prosecutor Charges Murder Suspect In 1972 Killing Reno Police Department

Honolulu Prosecutor Charges Murder Suspect In 1972 Killing

Tudor Chirila, 77, is being held in Reno, Nevada, pending extradition to Hawaii to face trial for second-degree murder.

Hawaii Gov. Ige Rules Out Special Legislative Session To Fix Court’s Grand Jury Ruling Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Hawaii Gov. Ige Rules Out Special Legislative Session To Fix Court’s Grand Jury Ruling

The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office called for a special session following the Hawaii Supreme Court’s decision that invalidated the use of preliminary hearings to indict serious felons.

Prosecutor Will Not Bring Charges Against Police Officer In Fatal Kalaeloa Shooting David Croxford/Civil Beat/2022

Prosecutor Will Not Bring Charges Against Police Officer In Fatal Kalaeloa Shooting

An officer’s body camera and witness statements helped determine that the 2019 shooting was self-defense, the prosecutor said.

HPD Chief Expects To Issue First Concealed Carry Gun Permits In October Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2018

HPD Chief Expects To Issue First Concealed Carry Gun Permits In October

HPD is slated to hold its final public hearing Oct. 4 before issuing new rules governing firearm permits and licenses.

Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office Seeks Special Session to Reverse High Court’s Grand Jury Decision Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office Seeks Special Session to Reverse High Court’s Grand Jury Decision

The Honolulu prosecutor’s office says the Supreme Court ruling could result in 168 convicted felons being released unless indicted by a grand jury.