Friday, December 16, 2011

Did the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Purge Comments Exposing Pro-Gambling Front Group? Why Didn't Seasoned Political Reporter Investigate Further?

On July 24, 2011, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran a story entitled "Entrepreneurs get rolling on Waikiki casino idea," by Richard Borreca whose pieces on politics appear in the Star-Advertiser on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

Borreca wrote on the overnight emergence of the so-called "Citizens for a Better Way," a pro-gambling advocacy group for which Liz Hata Watanabe was recruited as spokesperson.

The Hawaii Free Press reports that the following was among comments originally attached to the article:
“Borreca stays in the shallow end of the pool once again. Major players? Liz is consistent: 100% track record of failure. With all of biographical info he puffed her up with, why omit an important fact -- her bankruptcy filing in June, 2011, which details her train wrecks and the $300,000 plus she stiffed her creditors for. She is a success only at self-promotion which you and others facilitate at the expense of reality. Coelho was an advisor to Mufi. More relevant was that he was the managing director for less than a year and eased over to Director of Customer Service. After three years with Salem, he is soon to be retired and moving to the Mainland. Whoever hires Radcliffe, though, gets something for the money -- newspaper space even if the stories are fantasies.”
Now consider the power of press censorship. The article as it currently appears at has been purged of that comment and any others that may have been left originally.

Is it as the writer of the comment above suggests, that Borreca lacks skills as a true investigative political reporter?  Or that Borreca or perhaps editors at the Star-Advertiser are supportive of legalized gambling?  Could it be that Borreca is a friend of lobbyist John Radcliffe?  Or that Radcliffe consistently makes himself available to Borreca?

That Borreca failed to consider how it was that Radcliffe would claim he wasn't behind Citizens for a Better Way (CFBW) and yet he was answering questions about the organization and its activities is alarming.

That the Star-Advertiser's seasoned political reporter failed to recognize it would take someone with experience and a lot more true sophistication than the likes of Hata-Watanabe to pull of the comprehensive political advertising campaign sponsored by CFBW is disturbing.  That he failed to push either Watanabe or Radcliffe on the question of who was financing their effort or investigate such further -- especially in light of Watanabe's $387,000 bankruptcy and lack of political fundraising skills.

That he never mentioned Hata-Watanabe's troubles with the Honolulu Liquor Control Commission which are well documented in the public record. That he wasn't aware of or failed to report on Watanabe's one season-wonder TV show "Hawaii's Big Deal Poker Tournament" or probe who bankrolled that venture.

Or that Hata-Watanabe's husband is a veteran officer with the Honolulu Police Department which hands down is opposed to the legalization of gambling in Hawaii. And specifically has opposed the stand-alone Waikiki casino that Watanabe and her benefactors are so eager to see approved. (See testimony by HPD Captain Jerry Inouye opposing HB 781).

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