***Commentary*** Mayor To Be Featured Speaker At Big Island Press Club Scholarship Dinner On July 31


Mayor Billy Kenoi

Mayor Billy Kenoi

Just in from Big Island Press Club (BIPC) Gleanings Editor Rod Thompson: Mayor Billy Kenoi will be the featured speaker at BIPC’s annual Scholarship Dinner in two weeks. 

I write this as a commentary because 1. I am biased in favor of BIPC being a  member myself 2. I want to complain about the cost of the event set for 5:30 p.m., Friday, July 31, 2009.

Granted, $28 accesses you to a smorgasbord of mahimahi, chicken, kalua, pork, lomi salmon, poi, rice, and cake at the Hilo Seaside Hotel’s Coconut Girl and the pleasantry of Mayor Billy Kenoi.  

Big Island Press Club has been protecting the public's right to know on this island since 1967

Big Island Press Club has been protecting the public's right to know since 1967

“Kenoi hasn’t said what his topic will be, but do we need to ask?” Rod Thompson wrote. “The mayors of all counties, plus the governor, have been deeply involved in trying to figure out how to keep the state and county governments at least partly operational, while cutting back on government employee incomes in one manner or another.  Some questioning from the audience may also be directed toward the mayor’s feelings about the recent County Council reorganization…Is all of this way too serious? Listen. The economy is still in a mess. But Billy Kenoi is a funny guy. Come.” 

Fine, I’ll fork up nearly $30 that I could be spending on diapers for my kid.  Journalists are commoners and we should not be acting so high maka maka by charging so much for our events.  Actually, I’m just giving the board of directors a hard time. They know me as a perennial complainer about the cost of BIPC functions.   I reality, I begrudgingly pay the cost of the dinners arranged by the board, trying not to miss the few functions we have throughout the year; it’s always a good time seeing fellow members. 

Okay, now that I’ve stepped off my soapbox about the need for us to charge less for BIPC functions,  I have to tell you that this dinner is for a great cause.  BIPC scholarships will be awarded to promising young students who will pursuing a degree in journalism.  

Regarding Mayor Billy Kenoi, I sure hope he knows he’ll be standing in a room full of journalists and others interested in the public’s right to know and he won’t be able to dodge questions about his view on the Council reorganization.  

Did you saw today’s letter to the editor from Likeke Ric Bumanglag, of Kailua-Kona? Her letter is a great illustration for why the mayor needs to come out with a definitive statement about the reorganization and try to calm the storm brewing to split the island. 

“Why have we in West Hawaii not heard adequate responses from all of our Hawaii County politicians in regards to to all the East Hawaii/West Hawaii county split rhetoric?  Billy Kenoi, we — as ohana of our county — put you and our elected officials in office to serve all of our people.  This also means addressing ALL concerns regardless of what side of the island a county representative “represents.”

 We are one county, not only politically but also culturally. We split our county (virtually or otherwise), we split our aloha. We split our aloha, we split our ‘aina; and indeed we split our ‘aina we split our people! Auwe!

Do your jobs by explaining your actions that have caused a lot of frustration and discomfort to many of our ohana. A positive step is to have ALL council members respond as a responsible team directly to voters in West Hawaii. Failure to communicate effectively to our people means you are all not worthy of holding office! That being the case, voters must then find the-leadership that will heal our island — not split OUR island!
Likeke Ric Bumanglag

Suffice it to say, I sure hope the mayor decides to come out with a message about “J And The We’re-Walking-On-Sunshine Boys” either before or at the $28 BIPC dinner! You can bet your bottoms I’ll be raising my hand to ask him, if someone doesn’t beat me to it.

If you would like to support my favorite club and attend the scholarship dinner, call (808) 982-6631 or email bearinpuna@gmail.com.  If you RSVP and you are a no-show, don’t think you can’t pay the $28.  As Rod pointed out in his notice, “the restaurant will have already bought the food for you, so you must pay even if you don’t show.”

32 replies
  1. Pua
    Pua says:

    I don’t understand why people think the mayor should comment or intervene in the council. I don’t see Lingle organizing the legislature. Frankly, I don’t think mayors should get involved in council organization. Kenoi has enough to do without wading into that mess. Harry Kim didn’t have any control over council organization and neither did Yamashiro, Inouye, Akana, Carpenter, Matayoshi or any other mayor.

    The mayor has to work with the council regardless of who is chair or who runs committees. Except for the Arakaki years, the council chair has been musical chairs in the past 15 years or so. It’s what you get when you throw nine people into a room and each thinks he/she has a mandate from the people or god in some cases.

    As for the pay raises: they were granted last year before the election. Yagong has a salary from another job, Ford has retirement pay, Hoffman has retirement pay. It’s easy to say take a salary cut when you have other sources of income but I don’t think Yagong would be calling for a 22% pay cut if it was his only income.

    Hoffman’s call for a 5% cut is more rational but hey you don’t need a vote. Yagong, Ford and Hoffman can donate back to the county 22% of their salary with out a vote! All of this smacks of grandstanding. It would make more sense if it was in conjunction with employees taking a 5% cut to show solidarity but what is going on right now is just a show.

    By the way, if you checked out their salaries, Ashida, Crawford, Takaba, Todd, Ley and others are already getting paid less in the Kenoi adminstration then they did in Kim’s.

    And if you can go to the dinner, please do. It’s a good cause and usually an entertaining evening with good company.

  2. damon
    damon says:

    I heard through the grapevine that a blogger like me is not welcome into the BIPC.

    I’m thinking of changing my blog name to “Big Island Reporter” and then hiding any affiliation with my name behind.

    If the Press Club Really wants to empower people of this island… they will stop being so secretive of many of their on goings.

    Please Tiffany… What is the difference between the current Bloggers that are members and me?


    Damon Tucker

  3. damon
    damon says:

    You know what…

    I think I’ll just change over the name of the FBI Blogs to

    “Hawaii Press Club Bloggers”

    What the fuck will the BIPC do if I change the FBI Blogs to that name?


    I’m getting sick of controllers on this island!

    I think Big Island Press Club could care less if you change the name of your blog directory to Hawaii Press Club bloggers… It really is your prerogative. — tceh

  4. damon
    damon says:

    I hope that some members of the BIPC would show some thoughts on this thread…

    We all know Tiff’s blog is “hot” now.

    Speak up and have a voice….

    I’m seriously contemplating setting up a different type of press club on this island…

    One that is for open thoughts and not controlled… Oh wait… maybe I should market the http://fbiblogs.com pfft…

    Advertisers… Money… go to hell…

    FREEdom of Expression is great… Charge folks for it… pfft. (RJ Pfft)

  5. damon
    damon says:

    Tiff –

    Any results on the names of the actual names behind this elite club might be released?

    It seems very strange that a club that calls for open government is so secretive in its own ways.

    I’m pissed off… people making anonymous emails about the way I blog and the way I receive information… pfft.


    Recall that in a comment under this post about Ivantatum, I said, “It’s funny that you ask about who and how many BIPC members, because whether or not that’s your business is the subject of a debate within the club. I am of the belief that we should not advocate for openness and transparency if we aren’t willing to abide by those principles ourselves. But others note we are a club, not government, and they are concerned about the release of information about themselves, for fear of cyber stalking…”

    I can tell you that when I served as the Big Island Press Club president eight years ago, we had over 60 members. We probably have maybe a dozen more now, if that.

    There are some members who have a genuine fear of cyber stalkers. Please conscientious of that, and be careful not to appear as if you are cyber stalking Big Island Press Club, okay?

    Also, yes, fyi, you are welcome to join the Big Island Press Club… what needs to be decided by the board is whether or not you would qualify as a professional. You, advocating against any professional standards and saying that you are not a journalist but a communications specialist with a blog, would be considered an “associate” member. I argue that I’m not like you and should qualify for professional status as a journalist with a blog. — tceh

  6. damon
    damon says:

    It is an interesting study… and it’s weird that I’ve come back home to the Big Island and this discussion is taking place now…

    When it was long decided on the mainland.

    Not to offend anyone at the BIPC… but it’s bogus to be controlled by any agency or asked to do be controlled in anyway for something you enjoy doing long before you get introduced to an organization.

    Big Island is behind the times… Sorry if I have to be the resident ass at times to say hey… Our Press Club Controls the Politics of this Island.

    I’m here to say fuck you folks that want control… lets give power to the people.

    Remember tiff…

    Enabling others goes much farther then controlling others…

    Share what you can… and learn from others… but don’t be jealous and fall for the fake shit.

    I totally disagree with you about the Big Island Press Club (BIPC) controlling the island politics. That’s a ludicrous supposition on your part. You’ve never even been to a BIPC board of directors meeting, or any BIPC function, really. If you did, you would know who many of our club members are and who serves on the board of directors, and you most certainly would know better than to make such a reckless and misinformed statement.
    It appears to me like you’re being unnecessarily antagonistic toward the club.
    Watch it. BIPC is for a good cause. I’m deeply committed to the club, and I resent you for trying to make trouble for no reason other than to make trouble.
    I would like to avoid censoring you, but I’m going to kindly ask that you go easy on dropping the f bombs, okay? Try writing “eff” or “effing” instead of being so dramatic with the f word.
    Thanks ahead, you faka.
    – tceh

  7. damon
    damon says:

    So be it… we have differences in opinion.

    I respect you and your feelings for this… and sorry for really getting pissed off about a real issue.

    I know 100% the BIPC is for a good cause… that doesn’t mean that they could get with the times and really make a difference.

    How can I be antagonistic about a club that I don’t know nothing about. I know of the board members and a few people linked.

    All of the board members I have respect for… how can I have disrespect for someone I don’t know?

    Pfft… open government starts with those that report on it.

  8. Peter S
    Peter S says:


    The $28 covers the all-you-can-eat meal, the cost of the room rental (though I’m not sure if that’s part of the charge in this case) and the cost of three lei and the complimentary meals for the speaker and two scholarship winners. It’s not a moneymaker, just the cost of a nice dinner. It’s not cheap, but we try to keep the number of these events down to two a year.

    As for the other guy who’s making comments about the press club, I already said it’s a ridiculous misreading of a comment by Mr. Weatherford that this organization would try to control him and other bloggers. Now he’s going off to say that we control the politics of the Big Island. Yes, it’s true, and I engineered the council reorganization from the saddle of my unicorn. Seriously, this obsession with our little group is beginning to bother me. I’ve tried to give sensible, reasonable answers to every query, but I can’t respond any more to anybody who throws the F bomb in my direction. Tiffany, you have the patience of a saint.

  9. damon
    damon says:

    I’m sorry… I’m fired up… and I may lose a few folks that want to be listed on the FBI Blogs…

    But I would like some sort of an explanation from the BIPC that the following blog members of the current http://fbiblogs.com may not be accepted into the BIPC club based on the fact that they are bloggers and not elitist.

    Mind you… there are many BIPC members blogging already. Was there a cut off date?

    Someone from the BIPC please explain to me why some of the following folks listed below would be excluded from your elite organization?

    Aaron Stene

    Andrea Dean

    Andrea Jasper

    Andrew Cooper

    Anna Webb


    Barbara Uechi

    Baron Sekiya

    Bobbie Sullivan

    Brad Cavanagh

    Bree Wee


    Charles Bohannan

    Damon Tucker


    David Corrigan

    Devany Vickery-Davidson

    Greg Henkel


    Janice Crowl

    Jay Fitzgerald

    Karen Welsh


    Larry O’Brien

    Leslie Lang

    Margaret Wille

    Nancy Cook Lauer

    Richard Ha

    RJ Mendoza

    Sonia Martinez

    Tim Sullivan


    Tom Lackey


    Wayne Joseph

    BRIAN JORDAN says:

    First, Damon do you have anything else to do than post your name over and over?. Not that I read anything you write anymore. Thats not meant as an insult it’s just how I respond to that kind of behavior. Perhaps you might save up all of you little tidbits and make a coherent paragraph? With my typos I have problems making a coherent paragraph of my own. Second, are all of the above named, people regular columnist? I belonged to the BIPC until an irresponsible reporter CHOSE to try an hurt my family and family name. NO apology just libel. Bad reporters have little more power than you if they are not accurate. Most have an agenda. The Lady who temporarily tarnished my reputation got a County Job. Just like her Male Counter part who wrote falsehoods.

  11. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    Sometimes you can be endearing, but a lot of times you are quite simply an ass. If any one of those people that you listed wants to join the good cause that is the Big Island Press Club, I will happily sponsor their membership. Some of the people you listed ARE ALREADY IN THE CLUB, so I’m not sure what the bleep you’re trying to say! Sorry but I am growing weary of your typewritten diarrhea… Seems to me like you’re some sort of cyber tagger, spray-painting graffitti all over my site… If it was articulate or the least bit artistic, I wouldn’t be so bothered. I’m beginning to wonder if you’re bi-polar, because this is real manic behavior. I mean, look at your comments above. You’re obsessing on BIPC membership, just like you did with Friends of Puna’s Future… You said nothing about the mayor’s intent to speak… You just distracted people and tried to make people suspicious of a noble club, drawing a line in the sand to separate bloggers and journalists. Please, that is not building community; that is being destructive. Remember my motto if you are going to be hanging out here all night while I sleep, blog with aloha… Can you imagine the next time I see you in Malama Marketplace. Envision me flashing you the bird x 2… It’s going to be a showdown. The guns are loaded… And practicing the draw…

  12. Pua
    Pua says:

    I thought you had to be a journalist in order to join the BIPC? You can be sponsored and join?

    Irrespective, it’s still a good cause and usually good company.

  13. Steve Offenbaker
    Steve Offenbaker says:

    To Pua:
    Your really missing the point on the 22% pay raise. Very simply put, the County of Hawaii will run out of Money before the next budget. Both the UPW and the HGEA contracts have expired, the governor and the Mayors are trying to get concessions from the Unions. Anything they agree to will be approved by THE COUNCIL.

    So, Billy walks into a room and says “Please take a 5% pay cut so we don’t have to lay off and I’ll go back to the Council so they can approve”

    If I were running a Union the first thing out of my mouth would be, “so let me get this straight Mr. Kenoi, you would like me to ask the hard working county employees to keep up there fine levels of productivity on less money, 5% less in fact, and to finalize the deal we will get it approved by the guys that just took a 22% pay increase for their part time jobs?

    So yes Pua it is a show, it’s a show that at least a few of the Council Members (Ford, Yagong, Hoffmann) are willing to put their money where there mouth is.

    As for the admin appointments they are considered “new” appointments and their pay scales reset with the new administration.

    As for Ford, Yagong, and Hoffmann donating back to the county they could do that, it would require a resolution to be approved for each Council member after each pay period. Council pay is set by the Salary Commission and the Charter forces the County to pay what they say to pay. The code requires that teh council accept all donations so each time (every pay period) would require new legislation.

    I really for the life of me can’t figure out how anybody can defend J Yoshhimoto and the “we’re walking on sunshine boys” at this point.

    also as for Naeole remember that by being elected Vice-Chair she just got a pay raise, another pay raise that is. I say she needs to earn that money and run a Council Meeting, Let’s put Waiwi, Depleted Uranium, C-17 flyovers, DLNR eradication efforts, or green harvest on the agenda, something big, something with alot of debate, alot of discussion, alot of people coming in to testify and see what happens, J says Emily can do it, well the tax payers are putting their money where his mouth is, let her run a meeting and prove it.

  14. Dave Smith
    Dave Smith says:

    Pua, no you don’t have to be a journalist to belong to the BIPC. In fact, historically most of the members are not. There are several categories of membership, including professional (I believe this requires that a majority of their income be from journalism), associate (public relations’ types and such), and general members (the public at large). There also have been student and senior/retired members, although I’m not sure those categories still apply. I believe there are different dues structures for the various categories.

    Prospective members must be sponsored by a member, and then their name is circulated among the membership for comment. I can’t recall anyone ever being denied membership, although at the rate Damon’s going he could establish a precedent.

    And I’m pretty sure Peter S meant Mr. Tucker, not Mr. Weatherford, who does not (currently) have his own blog.

    And Peter, where did you get your unicorn saddle? I tried to adapt the one from my griffin but it was a lousy fit.

  15. rj
    rj says:

    For the record, some time ago I expressed interest in joining the BIPC, and Tiffany was very cordial in explaining the details as a student member- also I had briefly met Rod at Mayor Kenoi’s first press conference duing the Tsunami Drill and he also gave me some information.

    I’m not interested in the BIPC at this time because I have enough on my plate as it is. I’m also not interested in making nice with some people who have been shady to me, and to other people who just want to make things better. (Sorry, that is how I’ve been seeing it.)

    Now for the Mayor speaking at the BIPC meeting……

    good luck, kiddo.

    RJ, I’m concerned that your impression of BIPC is that the club is comprised of “people who have been shady to me” and “other people who just want to make things better” … could you clarify your statement above? Club membership for students is $5 annually, and I would most definitely sponsor you. I don’t understand why you aren’t interested in such a good cause… Like Damon, are you referring to Noelani Whittington, when you refer to “people who have been shady” to you? — tceh

  16. damon
    damon says:


    I find it ironic that one of the BIPC members was awarded the Lava tube award this year:

    “The Lava Tube Award is given annually to highlight the worst violation of government openness in the state.”

    “BIPC has given its 2009 Lava Tube Award, recognizing offenses against open government, to Noelani Whittington, spokeswoman for the county Department of Public Works.

    Noelani is also a member of BIPC, making this the first time the award has been given to one of our own members.”

    I’m still waiting for an apology for that little fiasco.

  17. Dave Smith
    Dave Smith says:

    Oops, my mistake. Peter was talking about someone misreading James’ comment, not about a comment by James. Sorry.

    But the saddle question still stands.

  18. Rod Thompson
    Rod Thompson says:

    Wow, I wrote a simple announcement and there’s a flood of comment. Here are some responses. 1. Tiffany, I wish the price were cheaper. We went to the Coconut Grill in January. (I’m amused that you have it listed as the Coconut Girl.) The reason we are going back now is because this is the best deal there is. Or do you want to hold the meeting at McDonalds? We DO hold our Christmas meeting at a private home to lower the cost.
    2. Dave Smith is right; there are several categories of Press Club membership, most costing $25 per year. Adjusted for inflation, that’s roughly half of what membership cost in the 1970s. Being sponsored is very much a technicality. If you are still breathing and take a bath or shower at least once a week, we will get you sponsors. 3. Damon Tucker is right; we are all, all of us, every single one, out to get him. The SHOCKING thing is the secrecy inside the club. I didn’t even know that Peter Sur has a unicorn.

  19. damon
    damon says:

    Everyone talks about the SPJ codes of Ethics…

    What about the PRSA Code?



    Core Principle Protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.


    To maintain the integrity of relationships with the media, government officials, and the public.

    To aid informed decision-making.


    A member shall:

    Preserve the integrity of the process of communication.

    Be honest and accurate in all communications.

    Act promptly to correct erroneous communications for which the practitioner is responsible.

    Preserve the free flow of unprejudiced information when giving or receiving gifts by ensuring that gifts are nominal, legal, and infrequent.

    Examples of Improper Conduct Under this Provision:

    A member representing a ski manufacturer gives a pair of expensive racing skis to a sports magazine columnist, to influence the columnist to write favorable articles about the product.

    A member entertains a government official beyond legal limits and/or in violation of government reporting requirements.”

  20. Peter S
    Peter S says:

    I’ll give you a good price on the unicorn, but first my cabal is busy oppressing the People, so now is not a good time.

  21. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    OMG, Rod you must not be reguarly following my posts. or you missed references to “Woodland Center” and my commentary about growth and development and the McDonaldization of Society.

    No, Rod, not McDonalds, the beach, a park. I would love for us to have a bbq smorgasbord at a beach park for our scholarship dinner. We could arrange for it to come out to less than $28/plate and it would be a totally difference ambience.

    But let me assure you, though, that $28 is fine, knowing we’re all going to fly in on our unicorns and share a meal. Hopefully Toni can join us and tell us about the Montana and the Pony Express.

    I do enjoy Coconut Grill. Yes, the typo is amusing but needs to be corrected. I enjoy the Hilo Seaside. It’s vintage, and right on Reed’s Bay.

    You guys and your unicorns…

  22. damon
    damon says:

    Quick question… what happens to the money if one doesn’t get accepted?

    I’m thinking of applying… however, I don’t see anything about denial of membership or what happens if you are denied membership.

    Can someone … I have the sponsors ready… I’m worried I will still be denied.

    Does one get their money back if they are not deemed worthy after applying?

    There are lots of organizations to apply money to make a difference.

    I want to make sure my dollar goes the most.

    Many organizations are asking me to be a member and solicit money from me to become part of their “Gig”.

    What organization on this Island can make an impact in next years election… w/ very little cost :roll:

    This next election season is gonna be one to remember here on the Big Island folks.

    Social media and online presence has jumped leaps and bounds because of a few crucial people on this island.

    Let’s quit being haters of those that want change and let’s start thinking about the future of this island and the kids that will be inhabiting it long after we are gone.

  23. rj
    rj says:

    Mahalo Tiffany for your offer of sponsorship, but I am unsure if I will continue to reside on the Big Island- I could be here for another two years or I could be out in January of 2010. As someone who is interested in journalism- I wouldn’t want to make a commitment to a group that I couldn’t keep. If it is possible to continue to be a member even after a relocation to another island, then I wouldn’t have any reservations and I would love to join.

    As for the “shadiness” sometimes I find members of the BIPC to be very condescending. Some have critiqued Aaron, Damon, Myself and even BIC in a very unfair way. I am not well versed with the standards of journalism and usually have mana’o diarrhea. When non-journalists start to blog and interpret the news to them- should we be held to those standards? I get the impression that professional journalists think we should- but even if we lack the experience and training? I think it’s more unfair than shady to impose standards on those who are doing something different, but somewhat similar.

  24. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:


    You can mostly certainly be a member on this island or any island… Big Island Press Club is the state’s longest standing media org…

    As for the critics, some of them fellow BIPC members, to hell with them if they choose to live their lives standing on the sidelines judging and criticizing. Journalists, BIPC members, everybody really, needs to have a little more aloha and a lot less righteousness, in my humble opinion…

    This venture, which is really about me writing and practicing my art everyday, is easier said than done.

    What’s fun, RJ, is win critics become fans…

    No worries, whatever you decide to do…

    I’m committed to BIPC and BIC and Big Island.

    See you July 31!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Tucker posted on Tiffany’s blog, “Our Press Club Controls the Politics of this Island.” ( http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/?p=6851#comments […]

  2. […] Tucker posted on Tiffany’s blog, “Our Press Club Controls the Politics of this Island.” ( http://www.bigislandchronicle.com/?p=6851#comments […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *