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.

City Installs Sign Detailing Deaths On Olomana Trail To Inform Hikers Of Risks Courtesy: Jim Ireland/Honolulu EMS

City Installs Sign Detailing Deaths On Olomana Trail To Inform Hikers Of Risks

Six people have fallen to their deaths from the mountain in the last decade, including two this year.

Bill To Prohibit Concealed Guns From Sensitive Places Passes First Reading at Honolulu Council Michael E. Cumpston via Wikimedia

Bill To Prohibit Concealed Guns From Sensitive Places Passes First Reading at Honolulu Council

Following three hours of public testimony Tuesday, Bill 57 will next be heard in the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs committee.

Honolulu City Council To Take First Look At Sensitive Places Gun Bill As Public Weighs In Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2015

Honolulu City Council To Take First Look At Sensitive Places Gun Bill As Public Weighs In

The bill’s supporters say we must keep guns out of public areas frequented by children but opponents believe citizens with guns will provide a deterrent against crime.

Prosecutors Roll The Dice On New Enforcement Measures Targeting Illegal Gambling Rooms David Croxford/Civil Beat/2022

Prosecutors Roll The Dice On New Enforcement Measures Targeting Illegal Gambling Rooms

Increased criminal penalties are intended to give investigators an ace up their sleeve in their efforts to stifle the operations and the criminal activity that can accompany them.

Hilo Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Defrauding Covid-19 Relief Programs Wikimedia Commons

Hilo Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Defrauding Covid-19 Relief Programs

Carey Mills is the first person sentenced for Covid-19 fraud in Hawaii and must pay $957,575 in restitution to the Small Business Administration.

Honolulu Police Chief Tries To Rebuild Community Trust One Group At A Time Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Honolulu Police Chief Tries To Rebuild Community Trust One Group At A Time

Business professionals question the chief on homelessness, police staffing and how they can support the department.

Honolulu City Council To Take Up Restricting Guns In ‘Sensitive Places’ Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Honolulu City Council To Take Up Restricting Guns In ‘Sensitive Places’

The City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting Nov. 29 to hear a bill that would restrict weapons from being carried in schools and other public places.

Hawaii Sheriff’s Division Recruiting Prior To New Statewide Police Force Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

Hawaii Sheriff’s Division Recruiting Prior To New Statewide Police Force

Sheriffs are competing with county police departments for officers to fill their ranks and convert into the new Department of Law Enforcement.

Hawaii Struggles To Revise Gun Laws After Supreme Court Decision Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Hawaii Struggles To Revise Gun Laws After Supreme Court Decision

Honolulu is the only county in the state that hasn’t yet finalized new concealed-carry gun rules, leading to a backlog in permit applications.