HNL's Chuck Totto at June 13th Democracy Under the Influence Talk

"Don't Charge Your Dinner Bill to the City" A discussion on ethics at Honolulu Hale with Chuck Totto of the City & County of Honolulu Ethics Commission. Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 5:30 p.m. - R&D *, 691 Auahi St. View Larger Map RSVP on the Common Cause registration page. These events are cosponsored by Common Cause Hawaii, Kanu Hawaii, and League of Women Voters of Hawaii. *Biased editorial note: the Morning Glass/Stumptown coffee here is awesome.

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AAJA Film Screening of Vincent Who? May 1st, Laniakea YWCA


The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Hawaii chapter, Media Council Hawaii and other organizations will present a screening of the award-winning documentary film Vincent Who? at the YWCA Laniakea. The screening will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in Fuller Hall. After the film,  filmmaker Curtis Chin, civil rights expert and attorney Mari Matsuda, and community organizer and attorney Hoyt Zia will lead a panel discussion on the issues in the film.





Tonight! - Why You Should Come to Sunshine and the Social Web

The excitement is really building for our panel discussion tonight, thanks to the culmination of a variety of events happening in Honolulu and around the nation.

First off, Carmille Lim, from the League of Women Voters Hawaii, will be joining us to provide her experience and fluency in social media and political activism. Civil Beat's Deputy Editor, Patti Epler who was originally set to join us, but will instead be following the GOP caucuses here in Hawaii. In following with the spirit of the evening, she's also asked community members to contribute to the fact gathering for Civil Beat's reports on the caucuses (more info at the link.)

Second, R. Elton Johnson III wrote a great editorial in the Star Advertiser today entitled, Government needs to shine a brighter light on the public's business. It's behind the paywall, but is an excellent report on state legislation and certainly worth reading. In particular, it's a reminder of what sunshine is all about,. He wrote:

The goal of sunshine with respect to public agency meetings in our state government is articulated pretty well at the first section of Hawaii's Sunshine Law (Hawaii Revised Statues Chapter 92): "In a democracy, the people are vested with the ultimate decision-making power. Governmental agencies exist to aid the people in the formation and conduct of public policy. Opening up the governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation is the only viable and reasonable method of protecting the public's interest."

Third, in addition to this week being Sunshine Week, it is the first week of the annual South by Southwest music, film, and interactive conference and festival in Austin, Texas. Our Twitter feed has exploded with the #sxsw hashtag and brilliant quotes, ideas and innovations worth sharing. Jennifer Pahlka, of Code for America, wooed an audience today with lines like:

"We have built an amazing consumer Internet…what we need to do now is build the citizen Internet"

Fourth, Lee Rainie and Aaron Smith of the Pew Internet & American Life Project released a very interesting and timely study yesterday on Social Networking & Politics. From the overview of the study, they wrote:

“Social networking sites have become places where political conversation, debate, and proselytizing occur, especially during campaign seasons. These new arenas of political discussion have drawn attention among political activists and have been a major focus of activity particularly since the campaign of Barack Obama aggressively embraced them in the 2008 presidential campaign. At the same time, some analysts have expressed concerns about the impact of social networking sites on the broad political culture.”

Last, not that you needed much more than that to remind you of how awesome this Sunshine Week is shaping up to be, but if you look outside you window in Honolulu right now, you'll also recognize the return of that bright star over our islands. Hope to see you tonight at the GreenHouse!

Sunshine & the Social Web - Panel Discussion Tuesday, March 13th

Sunshine and the Social Web: Citizen Power through New Media Tools

A Panel Discussion With:

Tuesday March 13, 2012 // 6-8p.m. // At The GreenHouse 

Media mergers have limited the number of professional journalists working in Hawaii today. Coverage of public offices and issues has suffered while citizen interest remains. Can social media and citizen journalism fill the content void and ensure we have the information needed for a healthy democracy?  How can citizens use technology to promote government transparency and public engagement?

Come celebrate Sunshine Week with Media Council Hawaii and Common Cause Hawaii as our esteemed panelists help answer this question and others on government transparency and the public right to know. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

Hope you can join us! RSVP to

Tomorrow, Feb. 8th: Democracy Under the Influence Meetup with Gary Hooser

"Hearings and Horse-Trading" 

  • Wednesday, February 8, 2012
  • 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Laniakea YWCA, Room 307.

Continuing the DUI series, this meetup will be a behind the scenes look at power and politics. The guest speaker will be Gary Hooser, Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control and former State Senator.

These events happen every second Wednesday of the month while the legislature is in session. They are organized by Common Cause Hawaii, Kanu Hawaii and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii. Tomorrow's talk will be streamed live online at

NPR's Neal Conan To Join Panel on Hawaii Journalistic Ethics, Feb. 28th

National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation host, Neal Conan will sit with MCH Board member, and Associate Professor of Journalism at UH Manoa, Gerald Kato for a panel discussion on journalistic ethics, at 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 28th in the UH Manoa School of Architecture auditorium (map link). Entitled, “Keeping a Clean Shop in the Marketplace of Ideas: A Discussion of Journalistic Ethics,” Civil Beat Editor John Temple and The Star-Advertiser's Mike Gordon will also participate in the panel moderated by Hawaii Public Radio's Executive Talk Show Producer, Beth-Ann Kozlovich. The discussion will be open to the public. Tickets $10, free to students with ID. Seating is limited. Call 955-8821 for reservations.

Neal Conan has served as NPR's Bureau Chief in New York and London, executive producer of All Things Considered. He is coming to Hawaii on tour with a multi-media program called “First Person: Seeing America.” For more details go to HPR's website.

FreePress Launches 'Who’s Hiding Behind That Ad?'

"If you flip on your local television station and watch for an hour or so, you’re likely to see at least one: a political ad that attacks a candidate for public office. If you live in a 'battleground

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state,' you’ll see as many as 12 political ads an hour," wrote FreePress's Senior Director of Strategy, Tim Karr in an email. "Iowa just experienced this on-air onslaught of misinformation, offering the rest of us a preview of what television viewing will be like across the nation as Election Day 2012 nears. While we may not be able to stop this barrage of ads, Free Press has a plan to expose their funders," he added. Currently, broadcasters are required to upkeep "public inspection files" that contain information about political advertising for public examination. The files should contain names of groups that purchase political advertising time and costs involved. According to Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, media companies are expected to see more than $3 billion in revenues in 2012 from political advertising. Yesterday in the Hawaii, Civil Beat ran this editorial , citing recent poll findings "that the state's registered voters believe the wealthy — whether corporations, labor unions or individuals — have an outsized impact on elections and the decisions of members of Congress." To determine how large of an impact private wealth will have on the 2012 elections in Hawaii, examining the public file of the state's broadcasters is a good place to start. Look for a local effort by MCH to hold broadcasters accountable for their public files during this election cycle. Updated: Check out On the Media this week for more discussion on a new FCC proposal to put the public files online. Transcripts for the shows are available at their site Monday.

Democracy Under the Influence Meetups

Last month, MCH attended the first in a series of meetups entitled, "Democracy Under the Influence" held by Common Cause Hawaii in partnership with Kanu Hawaii and League of Women Voters of Hawaii. Former UH Political Science professor, Neal Milner spoke on the coming campaign season and answered questions from the roomful of attendees.

The second meetup theme is "Ethics, Gifts, and Fancy Dinners" and will be held on: Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30pm at the Laniakea YWCAThe event is free and open to the public. For more details, visit Common Causes Hawaii's website here.