Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Peer News, a.k.a. Civil Beat, emerges as a gated community

by Larry Geller

Check it out at It’s a soft opening, with real news to follow starting May 4, not so far away.

Strangely, I learned it was up and going from a Chinese-language Google Alert:

Peer News in China

Yes, everyone is watching Pierre Omidyar it seems. There is already considerable comment for the Googling, which is what happens when something so anticipated finally bursts its chrysalis.

The site is typographically attractive. There, I’m working on my critical nature by starting off with one of the first good things I noticed.

After waiting so long for “Peer News” I had to say “Civil Beat” 100 times to myself to see if it might transform into something as trippy off the tongue as “LA Times” or “SF Chron,” but so far I guess I haven’t got it.

[I find that I’m hesitating to write anything about Peer News right now, remembering the stumbling startup that killed New Pacific Voice, of which I was a part. Foolish but brave, I write on, however.] [Yes, I’m a bit envious.]

An article by Katherine Nichols caught my eye. Yes, it’s only a placeholder, but it ended:

You, too, can download the 269-page document. But why would you want to? That’s what I’m here for.

There’s no link to the report so I could not download it, which would be a convenience and should be an adopted rule, if I may suggest that. But I actually feel insulted a bit. Yes, I would want to download it myself and no, I don’t need interpreters of the news.

Ok, it’s a soft opening. Scratch all that. But what seems solid is that Civil Beat is a gated community rather than a civic square. By charging $20 a month and requiring a PayPal account it discriminates against those who can’t or won’t pay that cost of admission.

What exactly will $240 a year buy? That’s a lot of plate lunch or even sushi.

It’s the price of admission to the gated community so that I get to participate. My opinion, though, is really worth only the proverbial two cents on today’s wild west web. If that much. Actually, I’ve often felt that the Advertiser should credit back some of my subscription if I have to read their editorials. There’s a novel idea. Pay me to read crap.

So should I pay to be part of a discussion with people who are not really my peers? Where is the peer in this Peer News? This is the great experiment, I guess.

Nor do I think I want to pay $240 a year for something without sports or comics.

As if to underline this, my Advertiser bill came in yesterday. A full year (including Sunday comics, ads with discount coupons, Dave Shapiro and Lee Cataluna) is only $226.20. And my sub supports their website, which is Hawaii’s best source of breaking news.

Hon Adv Sub

<—52 weeks $226.20, no PayPal account required.

Now, this next find is enticing: the issue of how many jobs the train will bring. The end of it segues into a pitch to join in for a discounted $4.99. .


I wouldn’t mind offering that Mufi’s rail may not bring many jobs if contractors hire cheaper out-of-state or foreign workers.

Just like Peer News did.

Picking the best and brightest meant bringing in staff from the Mainland. Nothing wrong with that, just making the comparison with Mufi’s rail project. Pierre Omidyar went for quality that he couldn’t find right here in Hawaii. Contractors may go for affordable labor, which they can’t find here in Hawaii. Local content laws, if any should be applied, might run into problems under federal law.

But I won’t pay to say that, not yet, anyway.

So that’s my first impression. Let’s see what May brings.


Beg your pardon, Larry, but not all the best and brightest came from the Mainland.

With so much CORRUPTION, often our best source for REAL NEWS TIPS was from the Star Bulletin's Topix- Anonymous Tips. But Star Bulletin recently shut this down- WHY ? Yes there was Junk, but lots of good stuff too. Afraid Civil Beat will miss the REAL stories with their Gated Community.

Just in Koolauloa: New Hauula Firehouse & funky Private Land Condemnation by City, Kahuku's Missing HUD Money & Housing, BYU & PCC cuts Polynesians to make a large US-Asia Business School & Business Retreat Center, Large new Mormon town proposed at Malaekahana(Gunstock Ranch) between Laie & Kahuku, Will large eyesore Poly-Style Laie Marriott only be built after Mufi runs ? Will new Laie Marriott employ mostly new BYU students as old Laie Inn employees go homeless, Former Turtle Bay developer's LA's Oaktree Capital's Prez & CEO huge Obama donors-Environmental Prez, Seven Hawaiian's arrested & pepper sprayed in Laie land dispute- upcoming trial, The HI Department of Commere & Consummer Affairs (DCCA) squirrels away millions that could/should be used for rural Olelo TV training at Kahuku High School, Koolauloa Water for Windward farmers under control of who ?

Enough FLUFF! Real News PLEASE- esp if you want me to $$.

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