Pubdate: Thu, 25 Mar 2010
Source: Maui Time Weekly (Wailuku, HI)
Copyright: 2010 Maui Time Weekly
Author: Jacob Shafer

Coconut Wireless



"We need to consider what drug prohibition has done to the vital 
profession of law enforcement. It has divided police officers from 
the communities we serve, alienated us from young people, sent our 
call-loads through the roof, placed huge financial strains on police 
budgets and, sometimes, my colleagues have been injured or murdered 
while enforcing these drug laws. Every police officer should question 
whether the War on Drugs is worth fighting, particularly when there 
are other policy options that would result in less crime, addiction, 
disease and death." That was David Bratzer, a Canadian police officer 
and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), who I 
interviewed in January while he was honeymooning on Maui. Last week, 
some out-of-town cops visited the Valley Isle with a different 
message. As reported in The Maui News, members of the Los Angeles 
Police Department and the California Narcotic Officers' Association 
showed up for a "medical marijuana summit" in Kahului, where they 
discussed the evils of decriminalization. As previously noted in this 
space, SB2213, a bill that would allow "compassion center" 
dispensaries, is currently moving through the legislature. Among the 
measure testimony is a letter from Jay Fleming, also of LEAP. Here's 
an excerpt: "As a former officer, I know the voice of police is 
crucial in the dialogue about drug policy.

But in the case of medical marijuana, physicians, caregivers, and 
patients are the ones who should be making decisions about medical 
care. It is inappropriate for the police to substitute our judgment 
for that of physicians and those in need of the care of physicians." 
Seriously, can we get some of these cops to move to Hawaii?.. Want 
faster Internet? Don't tell me-tell Google. The tech giant plans to 
pick one community to test an "experimental high-speed fiber 
network," according to a missive from Akaku. To nominate Maui (the 
deadline is March 26) go to ... On 
March 19, the County issued two press releases.

The first was about Mayor Tavares declaring March Women's History 
Month, and featured a quote from the Mayor touting the "major roles" 
women have played "in shaping the future of our community." The 
second release was a response by the County to a gender 
discrimination lawsuit filed last week by the Hawaii ACLU on behalf 
of three Baldwin High softball players and their coach.

The suit names the state Department of Education (DOE) and the 
County, and claims the softball team is being forced to play on an 
inferior field, a violation of Title IX, also known as the Patsy T. 
Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. "The County does not 
discriminate on any basis," says the release, adding that the 
County-owned field where the softball team practices "is in excellent 
condition and offers a number of amenities." Last week, a judge 
disagreed and issued a preliminary injunction against the DOE and the 
County. According to the ACLU, a "court-appointed expert will 
recommend short term, immediate improvements to alleviate some of the 
more egregious disparities between the boys and girls playing 
fields." This being Women's History Month and all, that's a good 
thing, right?..


Last week I attended a media conference on Oahu with Publisher Tommy 
Russo, mostly to hear remarks by John Temple, editor of the 
soon-to-launch Peer News. Peer News is the brainchild of eBay 
co-founder Pierre Omidyar of Oahu.and that's about all anyone knows. 
What will it look like? How will it fit into Hawaii's rapidly 
shrinking media landscape?

And, most essentially, how will it make money?

Not by selling ads, said Temple. Instead, he said they'll encourage 
users to participate, along with reporter "hosts," in creating and 
discussing issues, in a forum that sounds like a heavily moderated, 
newsy version of Wikipedia (though Temple said that comparison may be 
misleading). As of this writing, the site remains under construction, 
but Temple said a launch is imminent. As a journalist, media consumer 
and Hawaii resident, I'm rooting for Peer News to succeed, even if 
I'm still not certain what, exactly, it is. If the idea is to get 
people to pay to read and interact with the news (I'm guessing, but 
as Temple said, "there are only so many business models") I must 
confess I have my doubts-with few exceptions, news pay walls have 
failed wherever they've been erected.

This is one case where I'd love to be proven wrong..


According to a survey conducted by Reader's Digest and reported on 
this week in Pacific Business News, Hawaii has the 49th worst roads 
in the country, ahead of only Louisiana. Frankly, I'm shocked-who 
knew Reader's Digest was still around?
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart