Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Honolulu Weekly scores with investigative piece on civil unions vote

by Larry Geller

Kick me. And kudos to Adrienne LaFrance.

I wrote a couple of articles related to the way the Hawaii House postponed indefinitely, without a roll call, the civil unions bill HB444 last Friday. In one, I said that because we don’t know who voted for postponement, those who might want to take this vote into consideration on election day 2010 might look at the bill history to see who voted for or against it last session.

That was all I could think of. Today’s Honolulu Weekly has a feature story, Roll Call, by Adrienne LaFrance, which puts mine to shame. Really, I would kick myself, if it were possible, for not doing a good job with this.

So what did LaFrance do that I am admiring so much? Why, all it took was to ask the legislators how they voted!  So obvious, right? Kick me.

Check it out at the above link. Note also those many who declined to respond. That says something about them, I think, as leaders. Perhaps the Weekly will accept “late testimony” from those who did not commit an answer for whatever reason and add those to the article. My guess is that they wouldn’t get many.

I am also very impressed that LaFrance asked each legislator for a comment on their vote. Read them, they tell a lot. Some respondents were direct about their vote, either way. A couple are kind of …. well, you decide.

I would like to re-refer you to my article on how a group in Utah dealt with replacing an incumbent. They ran a recruiting ad in Craigslist as part of the process (the ad is included in my article).

LaFrance’s list provides ammo for taking down an incumbent even if it is just by voting on election day. It’s not necessarily an act of revenge, though some may feel that’s necessary. The issue of civil unions will come up again. It could face a different set of representatives next time.

I think Hawaii voters might also be able to identify with this: When one of the Utah citizens’ initiative group asked why run someone against a Democrat, the reply was "To reclaim our party."

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LaFrance's article is what democracy and journalism really are all about. It is like a sharp blade that cut through the days of crap that all of the dailies statewide printed.

The Honolulu Weekly had really declined in content the past few years. Investigative reporting on which a democracy is dependent has mostly disappeared since the days of Chad Blair and Bob Reese.

As a native New Yorker, I was raised on the original Village Voice. That imprinted me as to what to expect from a weekly paper. Well, this is not New York. The Weekly doesn't have enough pages to do much more than it does, I suppose. I can wish for the Village Voice but I'm not likely to get it here.

When the Weekly soars, it's a great thing to watch. And they can.

Unfortunately, Bob Rees is no longer with us and he was a tough act to follow. Chad is around. Maybe he can be let loose at the Peer News or something.

LaFrance is a beacon of truthiness, justiciousness, and the hotness of a 19th century American steam engine...

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