Editor's Notes

Our cover story this week profiles the three Hawaii residents who were selected from the many nominees to our first-ever Local Heroes celebration. Jointly sponsored by Honolulu Weekly and Kilauea Lodge in Volcano, Local Heroes was designed as a thank-you to the many islanders who work hard in relative obscurity to enrich and improve the lives of others.

We’re defying expectations left and right this week. Right, as in Emily Hobelmann’s Q&A with Rep.

The economic meltdown that began in the summer of 2007 lurches now into 2010, with no end in sight. A well-publicized decision by Legislative leaders to scale back today’s opening ceremonies was intended as a sign that leaders understand and respect the struggles Hawaii residents face.

Let us be among the very last to wish you a happy new year and offer our 2010 greetings. We’re as excited as anyone to be in a new decade–the last one was a little rough.

In this, the decade’s last edition of Honolulu Weekly, we’ve taken a light approach. Yes, dear cynics, that’s partly because sources (and staffers) are harder to come by during the holiday season.

It’s a good time of year for good news, and this week we’ve made an effort to highlight a couple of things that are going right around here. Our cover story this week features good news from the public sector–Kevin O’Leary’s piece on the Board of Water Supply is sure to upend some assumptions–to the arts, where Adrienne LaFrance talks to some of the people responsible for making a real difference in the quality and quantity of live entertainment in Honolulu.

Comes with video

On Sunday, the Honolulu Advertiser featured what looked like two front pages, including a fold-over section–the industry term is a “spadea”–featuring a big report on statehood. Above the fold was the headline “Statehood: The Next Fifty Years,” and underneath a photo collage was the main story, titled “Survey says: Statehood has been positive.” The story itself is a straightforward rundown of some of pollster John Zogby’s findings about how Hawaii residents view our state.

Comes with video

Shortly before 8 o’clock on Tuesday morning, I was on the phone with Tim Vandeveer of Defend Oahu Coalition, listening to him outline a meeting to be held that night regarding development plans at Turtle Bay Resort. Suddenly it sounded like Tim had fallen into a jet engine.

I made a mistake two weeks ago in this space, and I want to correct it here. Our recent piece on rail, which ran in the 11/18 issue, was based on original reporting by Curt Sanburn, and made a strong case for the reopening of the City’s selection process for the new rail line.

Comes with video

We have a piece on rail by Curt Sanburn this week. Sanburn, a former Weekly editor who famously penned a blistering profile of then-Councilman Mufi Hannemann years ago, contacted the publisher last month with the thought that the Weekly should do a piece on what he felt were problems with the City’s selection of heavy rail technology, and with the process that lead to the choice.

Comes with video

The Surfrider Foundation, one of the country’s most consistently effective environmental organizations, has plenty to celebrate this year, including the hiring of its first statewide coordinator and the national organization’s 25th anniversary. With that in mind, the group’s Oahu chapter is hosting a statewide conference this weekend–also a first–to plan for the upcoming year.

UH football / We’re a long way from the 2007 University of Hawaii football season, in which the Rainbows–sorry, the Warriors–went undefeated through the regular season and appeared in the Sugar Bowl. The entire state joined along for the ride that year, and the team’s success brought tremendous pride to the Islands, and a particular kind of pride, too, of a sort we hadn’t experienced before.

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor / With those words, printed on the back page of the paper’s introductory issue in 1990, Honolulu Weekly was born. The founding idea: To build a newspaper that would tell the kinds of stories that didn’t appear anywhere else, give voice to people and issues and perspectives that had no other home and challenge the status quo by asking the questions that mattered.

Welcome to Hawaii. Despite our mild-mannered image, we can be a pretty rowdy bunch, actually–you just have to pick the right issue.

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot, With a pink hotel, a boutique, And a swinging hot spot. Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” That’s Joni Mitchell, of course.

Welcome to our annual Bar Guide. It’s more of a bar issue, really–there’s no way to list all of the dozens of amazing and worthwhile watering holes Honolulu has to offer, so this year we didn’t bother to try.

In 1976, an Irish receptionist named Betty Williams witnessed the senseless deaths of three young children in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during a confrontation between British soldiers and an Irish Republican Army operative. Overcome with grief and outrage at the endless death toll of The Troubles, Williams became instantly radicalized as a peace activist.

Now what? Our semi-centennial semi-celebration passed, in the end, with neither a whimper nor a bang.

As we noted last week, it’s been a quiet summer on the statehood front. Maybe people aren’t quite as excited about the semi-centennial as many news and media organizations predicted: It seems like broadcast and print outlets have been hyping 50th anniversary stuff since the second half of 2008, no doubt expecting a lot of energy from all sides of the statehood-sovereignty spectrum.

Comes with video

We hope you enjoy our celebration of the Best of Honolulu 2009. There are a lot of similar offerings out there in the publishing world these days, but Honolulu Weekly’s annual Best of Honolulu issue is the genuine article.

We’re smack in the middle of Hawaii Conservation Week, and if you hadn’t heard about it, or about the big related conference in Waikiki, that’s probably a good sign. For sure, the Hawaii Conservation Conference is an impressive gathering of economic and ecological minds, local and global policy experts, cultural practitioners and others, and as recently as a few years ago, a celebration like Conservation Week would have been impossible for sustainability-minded folks to miss.

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note / Is Honolulu the eighth meanest city in the United States when it comes to homelessness? That’s one of the conclusions of a report released last week by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

We’re happy to have the work of Pegge Hopper on the cover this week in celebration of our anniversary. When our publisher approached Hopper about a piece, Pegge immediately offered a reimagining of a bright, earthy image she’d put together years ago.

The Aloha Airlines shutdown–can you believe that wasn’t even a year-and-a-half ago? It seems like twice that long.

Remember Honolulu-opoly? It was one of what I’ve since learned were countless localized versions of the iconic capitalist board game, but back in small kid time I found it amazing that Milton-Bradley knew so much about our islands.

This week