Changing The Channel At KHON

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - February 08, 2006
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The most talked about local story this month? The seeming implosion of KHON-TV, Channel 2. Anchor Joe Moore went on-air-public about his unhappiness with the newest Mainland owners. General manager Rick Blangiardi resigned. Then several other key people.

But don’t bet on a meltdown. Changes in management, layoffs and new technology come with pain and resentment. KGMB-9 went through all that in the ‘80s. It suffered, too, but is back as a challenger for No. 1.

KHON could possibly do better in its diminishing news ratings if it lost Moore and promoted the universally well-liked Leslie Wilcox as chief anchor.

It was politics-as-sidewalk-theater as Outrigger Enterprises and the Waikiki Improvement Association hung City Councilman Charles Djou out to dry.

Both had urged him to press for a law to shut down street performers at night on Kalakaua Avenue. Djou went to the mats for those powerful constituencies, rounded up the votes and got a anti-street-performer bill passed 7-2. Mayor Mufi Hannemann threatened a veto, but 7-2 is veto proof.

Auwe. Outrigger and the WIA switched horses and went with Hannemann’s idea of a talk-story compromise with the performers. Djou’s votes evaporated.

Hannemann came up looking very potent. Djou was left looking like the council’s village idiot.

three star

Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona’s one big idea since he took office - banning alcohol at Aloha Stadium - was 86’ed. The Stadium Authority needs the money from inside beer sales and doesn’t want the wrath (or absence at games) of tailgating fans.

Aiona’s idea rests in that crowded political bin labeled “To Be Studied More.”

What we seem to lack in Honolulu is institutional memory among the frontline journalists and great wisdom on the part of their editors.

I got smacked in the face by this realization as I read through a piece in the Star-Bulletin last week by reporter Mary Vorsino.

It was called “Voices of the Homeless” and was a great topic - how the homeless have no effective lobby for housing and programs in the Legislature. I wanted to shout “hooray”!

Alas, who should be the tug-your-heart subjects of this important piece of reporting? Marie Beltran and her husband, John Keawemauhili.

Let me tell you about Marie and John. (Actually, any veteran journalist can tell you about them - the same story I’ll lay out here.)

Marie and John have been professional beach livers for more than a dozen years. They’ve been offered shelter by several agencies for most of those years. They say they prefer beach living. The police kick them off; they move back.

They seem to enjoy keeping a step ahead of the cops and the social service agencies.

They and their kids could have been in shelters and help programs years ago.

The truly homeless are something we have to deal with better than we have.

Journalists and their editors do not help when they tell us that Marie and John and their five children and 12 grandchildren live (again) at Mokuleia Beach Park because they have nothing else.

That’s not true.

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