Pierre Omidyar Comments on His New Venture and Hiring Former Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald

Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington at Imiloa Astronomy Center announcing the beginning of HuffPost Hawaii.

Pierre Omidyar and Arianna Huffington at Imiloa Astronomy Center announcing the beginning of HuffPost Hawaii.

As many of you know, I’ve had an interest in journalism for some time now. I’ve been working on Civil Beat for three years and through my philanthropic work at Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund, we’ve supported many efforts around the world related to media, citizen engagement, and government transparency and accountability.

Separate from my work with Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund, and as part of my growing interest to preserve and strengthen the role journalism plays in society, I explored purchasing The Washington Post over the summer. That process got me thinking about what kind of social impact could be created if a similar investment was made in something entirely new, built from the ground up. Something that I would be personally and directly involved in outside of my other efforts as a philanthropist.

I developed an interest in supporting independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible, all in support of the public interest. And, I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens. I think there’s more that can be done in this space, and I’m eager to explore the possibilities.

Right now, I’m in the very early stages of creating a new mass media organization. I don’t yet know how or when it will be rolled out, or what it will look like.

What I can tell you is that the endeavor will be independent of my other organizations, and that it will cover general interest news, with a core mission around supporting and empowering independent journalists across many sectors and beats. The team will build a media platform that elevates and supports these journalists and allows them to pursue the truth in their fields. This doesn’t just mean investigative reporting, but all news.

As part of my learning process, I recently reached out to Glenn Greenwald to find out what journalists like him need to do their jobs well. As it turns out, he and his colleagues Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, were already on a path to create an online space to support independent journalists. We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas, and decided to join forces.

I believe that independent journalists like Glenn, Laura, and Jeremy play an important role in our society. We’ll be working with them and others, but we have a long way to go in terms of what the organization looks like, people’s roles and responsibilities — all of those things still need to be worked out.

I’ll be sure to update you along the way as the new organization progresses.

Pierre Omidyar


HuffPost Hawaii Looking for Big Island Bloggers

Yesterday, Thursday, Sept. 5 – Pierre Omidyar, publisher and CEO of Honolulu Civil Beat, alongside Arianna Huffington, chair, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post hosted a private Hawai‘i Island reception to celebrate the launch of HuffPost Hawaii. This all-new, vibrant online news site, which debuted on Sept. 4, aims to provide a high-quality, dynamic blend of real-time news, views and community discussion about Hawai‘i.

Arianna Huffington and Former Executive Director of the Big Island Visitors Bureau George Applegate

Arianna Huffington and Former Executive Director of the Big Island Visitors Bureau George Applegate

The Huffington Post, the Pulitzer Prize-winning source of news, opinion, entertainment, community and digital information, and Honolulu Civil Beat launched HuffPost Hawaii. The Huffington Post’s newest edition offers real-time local news and perspectives, along with national and international coverage, to both local and global audiences. To celebrate its launch, HuffPost Hawaii will host a series of events this week, including an industry talk with local media, receptions on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island, and a panel on “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power,” an editorial initiative that will feature prominently on HuffPost Hawaii.

“Beyond being a major tourist destination and home to more than one million people, Hawai‘i occupies a unique place in our collective imagination,” said Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. “In addition to its history, diversity and unique culture, Hawai‘i’s natural beauty and Aloha spirit have made it a world capital of unplugging and recharging. As we focus on The Third Metric and redefining success beyond money and power to include well-being, wisdom and giving back, there is so much that Hawai‘i can teach the rest of the world. We are delighted to be partnering with Honolulu Civil Beat in order to tell the islands’ most important stories—and, just as important, to help the people of Hawai‘i tell their stories themselves—while at the same time bringing those stories to the rest of America and to our growing international audience.”

Arianna and Pierre visited the Nawahi

Arianna and Pierre visited the Nawahi Hawaiian Immersion School before meeting with business and community members. Photo HuffPost Hawaii

HuffPost Hawaii features a dynamic blend of high-quality content ranging from slideshows of Hawai‘i, guides to local attractions and the topics that matter most to Hawai‘i residents, such as the state’s education system and economic development. And of course, HuffPost Hawaii will showcase local bloggers sharing their voices and unique perspectives.

“The Huffington Post has enormous reach into communities around the world and now here at home in Hawai‘i. The partnership with Civil Beat is full of opportunity as we look to leverage that platform to share Hawai‘i’s unique assets as well as our challenges,” said Pierre Omidyar, co-founder, CEO & publisher of Honolulu Civil Beat. “ We’re eager to see what voices emerge from across the islands, and which stories people feel are important to share with others. I believe this partnership has the power to shape the world’s perception of Hawai‘i and there’s an open invitation to every resident to be a part of that.”

Those interested in becoming a community blogger for HuffPost Hawaii can email the editorial team at hawaiiblogs@huffingtonpost.com.

HuffPost Hawaii brings together the resources of The Huffington Post and Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawai‘i’s largest news organization dedicated exclusively to civic affairs journalism. Honolulu Civil Beat has hired a new editorial team to manage HuffPost Hawaii’s content, editorial direction and daily operations. Honolulu Civil Beat will continue to operate as a standalone local news site, serving as a vibrant platform for civic engagement and a reliable source for public affairs news and investigative reporting.

After meeting with community and business members, Arianna and Pierre visited Richard Ha's Farm Hamakua Springs.

After meeting with community and business members, Arianna and Pierre visited Richard Ha’s Farm Hamakua Springs Country Farms. Photo HuffPost Hawaii

HuffPost Hawaii’s debut follows the May launch of HuffPost Japan, a partnership between The Huffington Post and Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest newspaper. HuffPost Hawaii is uniquely positioned to be a journalistic platform for bridging Asia and the Pacific while sharing Hawai‘i’s aloha spirit with the rest of the world.

Stay connected to HuffPost Hawaii on Facebook (Facebook.com/HuffPostHawaii) and Twitter (@HuffPostHawaii). Launch events for Ke Ka’apuni: A Tour of Hawai‘i will be tracked via the hashtag #AlohaHuffPost.


Arianna Huffington and Pierre Omidyar Roll Out HuffPost Hawaii – Visit the Big Island

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington and eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar (also founder of Civil Beat) are on the Big Island right now and just finished a luncheon with business and community leaders at the Imiloa Astronomy Center.

eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar and Huffington Post Founder Arianna Huffington are greeted at the Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawaii.

eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar and Huffington Post Founder Arianna Huffington are greeted at the Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawaii.

They were here to announce their new start-up “HuffPost Hawaii“.

Huffington states:

Aloha! I’m here for the launch of our newest edition, HuffPost Hawaii. We are delighted to be partnering with Honolulu Civil Beat, a beacon of journalism in Hawaii focusing on public affairs and investigative reporting, with deep roots in the local culture. In its three years, Civil Beat has committed itself to the mission of its founder, Pierre Omidyar — who also founded eBay — and has created a “a vibrant civic square.”

They arrived a little after 12:00 this afternoon and then were ushered into a private room where Huffington and Omidyar held a conference call with some folks on the mainland and talked about their trip so far.

They were very relaxed and only a few of us were allowed in the room

They were very relaxed and only a few of us were allowed in the room

Once the livestream began, we all had to be completely quiet in the room as the microphones were very sensitive.

I had never heard Arianna speak before and then all of a sudden she had this accent that I couldn't even tell where it was from!

I had never heard Arianna speak before and then all of a sudden she started speaking and she had this accent that I couldn’t even tell where it was from!

Here is a link to the Livestream that was posted on HuffingtonPost Live earlier today (folks in attendance did not even see this): Aloha, HuffPost Hawaii

After the Livestream, Arianna and Pierre got a short tour of the Imiloa Astronomy Center where they learned about what was going on at the place.

Touring the Imiloa Astronomy Center

Touring the Imiloa Astronomy Center

After the tour of the center, they moved into a ballroom where folks from the community were invited to a luncheon hosted by the two.

Honolulu Civil Beat Engagement Editor Gene Park (center on phone) hard at work.

Honolulu Civil Beat Engagement Editor Gene Park (center on phone) hard at work.

After the lunch, Arianna and Pierre talked to audience members about their new upstart and why they started it.  They also invited folks to contact the HuffPost Hawaii if they would like to blog for them.

Arianna and Pierre talk to community members.

Arianna and Pierre talk to community members.

After their short introduction and talk… they took time to mingle with community members.

Pierre and some blogger dude!

Pierre and some blogger dude!

Arianna and that same blogger dude!

Arianna and that same blogger dude!

Arianna writes:

…By bringing together Civil Beat’s local journalism expertise with the Huffington Post’s global platform, HuffPost Hawaii will be a powerful forum for storytelling and the exchange of ideas, a place to celebrate Hawaii’s way of life and to put the spotlight on what needs improving. It has been such a pleasure working with Pierre Omidyar, as well as Civil Beat’s general manager Jayson Harper and of course Civil Beat’s editor Patti Epler, who I’m thrilled will be HuffPost Hawaii’s editor-in-chief. Our team at HuffPost Hawaii will also include associate editors Gabriela Aoun and Chloe Fox, and social media editors Gene Park and Carla Herreria…

More here on Arianna’s opening post for the HuffPost Hawaii: Aloha! Introducing HuffPost Hawaii.

Omidyar Fellows Accepting Applications for 2013 Class

Emerging leaders statewide are invited to apply through June 30 for the program’s second cohort

The Omidyar Fellows — a program launched in May 2012 by the Hawaii Leadership Forum — has opened applications for its 2013 class. Applications for the rigorous and comprehensive leadership program are now being accepted online at www.OmidyarFellows.org/hawaii through June 30, 2013.

Developed by Bill Coy, director of leadership learning for the Hawaii Leadership Forum, the Omidyar Fellows curriculum is tailored to meet the unique and diverse needs of participants. The customized program includes a kickoff event and series of orientation activities, one full-day session each month, executive coaching, and conversations with current leaders. In addition, Fellows learn new skills, network with peers, self-reflect, and participate in personal growth opportunities.

Omidyar Fellows 2012 Class

Omidyar Fellows 2012 Class

“Last year we were fortunate to receive more than 150 applications from many engaged and dedicated individuals seeking leadership development for the benefit of not just themselves, but their organizations and their communities as well. We were impressed by the strong representation from all islands and sectors and the overall level of understanding and commitment to Hawaii” said Kalei Stern, director of Omidyar Fellows. “We look forward to engaging with the community and the next generation of leaders to build a strong second cohort of Fellows.”

Omidyar Fellows is looking for applicants who represent a wide range of sectors including government, nonprofit, for-profit businesses, and labor unions.

The ideal candidate for the Omidyar Fellows is someone who has:

  • Demonstrated, as a leader, the courage, commitment, passion, and capability to get things done
  • Solved complex problems within an organization or community
  • Developed a working style that incorporates problem solving, original thinking, collaboration, and innovation
  • Earned leadership responsibilities beyond his/her years of employment based on track record of accelerated achievement
  • Demonstrated engagement in the community beyond professional responsibilities
  • Arrived at an understanding of Hawaii’s cultural, social, and political contexts

As the current inaugural class nears the halfway point of the 15-month program, the Omidyar Fellows program hopes to build upon the momentum of its first year and bring these exciting opportunities to a new group of up to 15 up-and-coming local leaders. The program is designed with the goal to inspire and equip emerging leaders with the skills needed to affect positive, lasting change in Hawaii.

According to Colton Ching, a current Omidyar Fellow and vice president of energy delivery at Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., the program is already succeeding. Ching said, “Through the Omidyar Fellows program I have learned important lessons on leadership and developed lifelong friendships with my cohort that will be invaluable in my professional career.”

The 2012 fellows will be graduating in November 2013. Selected participants for the second Omidyar Fellows class will be announced in September, and their program will begin in October 2013.

For additional information about Omidyar Fellows and Hawaii Leadership Forum please visit www.OmidyarFellows.org/Hawaii. Omidyar Fellows is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OmidyarFellowsHI and Twitter at www.twitter.com/OmidFellowsHI.

Pillars of Peace Hawai’i Welcomes Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

Pillars of Peace Hawai’i – a program of the Hawai’i Community Foundation – announced today plans to co-host peace leader Aung San Suu Kyi on her visit to O’ahu this month. The trip, which will be Aung San Suu Kyi’s first visit to the islands, will allow her to share her message of peace and compassion while gaining an understanding of Hawai’i’s unique culture, history and aloha spirit. Other organizations co-hosting her visit include Rotary International, East West Center and the Myanmar Association of Hawai’i.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

While in Hawai’i, Aung San Suu Kyi will participate in several private events hosted by Pillars of Peace Hawai’i, including a speech titled “Peace Takes Courage and Compassion,” followed by a question and answer session with public and private high school students. Tickets are being distributed to students through their respective schools.

The general public is invited to view the student event online by tuning in to a live stream on the Pillars of Peace website at www.pillarsofpeacehawaii.org. For those unable to watch the live stream starting at 10:25 a.m., the talk will be available for playback after the event concludes.

“We can learn a great deal from Aung San Suu Kyi and her nonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Community Foundation. “At the same time, the Pillars of Peace program creates an opportunity to share with global peace leaders Hawai’i’s unique example of multiculturalism to carry with them wherever they go around the world.”

Those wishing to hear Aung San Suu Kyi speak in person can purchase a ticket to the Rotary International’s Rotary Global Peace Forum dinner where Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver the keynote speech on Saturday, Jan. 26. More information on the Rotary Global Peace Forum is available at http://peaceforumhawaii.org/.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit is part of the ongoing Hawai’i Community Foundation initiative, “Pillars of Peace Hawai’i: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha,” which launched in April 2012 with the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. One of the program’s goals is to bring global peace leaders to Hawai’i to exchange ideas about the many forms of peace that exist here in the islands and around the world. Through these visits, the program hopes to spark dialogue about the roles of compassion, diversity and culture as key components for practicing peace.

In addition to hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Pillars of Peace Hawaii has sponsored peace leaders Archbishop Desmond Tutu and John Hunter, founder of the World Peace Game for students. Pillars of Peace Hawai’i is a program funded primarily by the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation, a $50 million charitable fund established in 2009 by Hawai’i residents Pierre and Pam Omidyar.

That's me on the far right taking his picture. (Photo by Dallas Nagata White)

That’s me on the far right taking his picture. (Photo by Dallas Nagata White)

For more information about Pillars of Peace Hawai’i, please visit www.pillarsofpeacehawaii.org. For up-to-date information on Aung San Suu Kyi’s January visit, follow Pillars of Peace Hawai’i on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pillarsofpeace and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PillarsofPeace


Aung San Suu Kyi is a Member of Parliament of the Union of Burma and is a founding member of the National League for Democracy. Early in her career, she worked in the office of the United Nations Secretariat in New York and was a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for South East Asian Studies at Kyoto University and the Indian Institute for Advanced Studies in Simla. Following her return to Burma in 1988 and winning an election by popular vote, she was placed under house arrest until 1995, and again during 2000 to 2002 and 2003 to 2010. Aung San Suu Kyi has received more than 120 awards and honors internationally, including: Nobel Peace Prize (Oslo, Norway, 1991); Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding (India, 1995); Congressional Gold Medal (USA, 2008); Honorary Canadian Citizenship Parliament Hill (Ottawa, Canada, 2008); and Legion of Honor [Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur] (France, 2012).

Hawaii Resident Makes Forbes Magazine: Inside eBay Billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s Battle To End Human Trafficking

Hawaii residents, Pierre and Pam Omidyar are investing millions to end modern-day slavery with their organization Humanity United. Find out how in this issue of Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/11/08/inside-ebay-billionaire-pierre-omidyars-battle-to-end-human-trafficking/

Data from CAST shows how many enslaved people from various countries the LA-based group has helped free from the vicious trafficking cycle.

…When eBay went public in 1998, Pierre Omidyar “skipped ‘regular rich’ and went straight to ‘ridiculous rich,’ ” he says. He and Pam, a molecular scientist and his college sweetheart from Tufts, decided immediately that they’d give the vast majority of their wealth away within their lifetimes (they’ve since signed the Giving Pledge). Both just 31 then and worth more than $7 billion, it was a serious, overwhelming proposition. It took a few early years of earnest, scattershot check-writing across a handful of charities before they focused on trafficking as a target…”

More Here: Inside eBay Billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s Battle to End Human Trafficking

Wordless Wednesday – A Picture With Me and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Last week I had the privilege to cover His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Hawaii.  One thing you never ever want to do when covering an event like this… is to ask someone like this for a picture with him.

Many folks have asked if I got any pictures taken of me with him and I myself just felt blessed that he held my hand and I was invited to the event.

Then I started thinking about things and other photographers that were on hand and it turns out one of the best photographers in the State of Hawaii, Dallas Nagata White, was able to capture a picture of me sitting in the front row of the media section while we were given the opportunity to ask questions of His Holiness.

Yep... that's me on the far right in this picture wearing a Sig Zane shirt. Go figure... even His Holiness the Dalai Lama has more hair then me! (Photo courtesy of Dallas Nagata White)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama “Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha” – Part 2

On Sunday, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, held a public talk at the sold out Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii Manoa Campus.

Sponsored by the Hawaii Community Foundation and The Pillars of Peace, His Holiness spoke on “Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha.”

Here are some pictures from the talk provided by the Pillars of Peace:

Willie K was part of the entertainment on the second day of His Holiness the 14th Dala Lama of Tibets second day of public talks

Pillars of Peace host Pierre Omidyar introduces His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet for his public talk, “Advancing Peace Through the Powere of Aloha”.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet talks to a crowd of 9,000 about the role of peace and compassion in daily life

The Halau Hula Olana, or Schoo of Living Hula, surrounded His Holiness on stage with a moving closing performance.

You can listen to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibets speech by clicking here: Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha

His Holiness the Dalai Lama “Building Peace on a Foundation of Aloha” – Part 1

The Hawai’i Community Foundation has started an organization called the Pillars of Peace and it’s goal is to bring world leaders to Hawaii in the future for public talks about things that are going on in the world.

Ehunuikaimalino member Hero Wooching shares a moment with His Holiness on stage. (Photos courtesy of Pillars of Peace)

Ebay Founder Pierre Omidyar and his personal ties to His Holiness the Dalai Lama made it possible for the Dalai Lama to make his first visit to Hawaii since he was last here in Maui a few years back.

Here are some of the pictures that were released from his visit:

His Holiness enjoys a moment with preschoolers from Aha Punana Leo O Honolulu, a Hawaiian Immersion School.

His Holiness greets Hawaiian singer Anuhea Jenkins

His Holiness greets Taimane Gardner after her electrifying ukulele performance

His Holiness is presented with a pu, or conch shell, an integral component of Hawaiian Culture, by Troy Kanuha

His Holiness talk with Princess Abigail Kawanakoa, the most direct descendant of the last queen of Hawaii, at Iolani Palace

His Holiness thanks a group of three and four-year-olds from Aha Punana Leo O Honolulu School.  The Children performed “Hele Au,” a song about their school sung in the Hawaiian Language, to welcome His Holiness to the Bishop Museum

His Holiness presents a khata to Princess Kawanakoa

His Holiness tours the Bishop Museum with Board Chair Allison Gendreau (right) and his translator (left).  His Holiness is wearing a lei of kou, or orange blossom, grown on the museum grounds.

His Holiness was presented with a Mahi’ole at the Bishop Museum.  In olden times Mahi’ole were symbols of high rank.

Virginia Hinshaw, Chancellor of University of Hawaii at Manoa and Robert M. Witt, Executive Director of Hawaii Association of Independent Schools welcomes His Holiness to the Stan Sheriff Center for his talk to students, “Educating the Heart”.

To listen to the Dalai Lama’s talk from Saturday, click here: Educating the Heart

Hawaii Makes Progress in Moving Public Notices Online… Deep Pockets At Civil Beat Could Spell Trouble for Local Papers

This has been a busy two weeks in on line legal notice activity. Hawaii has a bill which has passed the Senate unanimously. California has a new very clever bill proposed. Virginia’s Press Association succeeded in convincing legislators to water down the bills attempting to save the state money.

*Virginia*’s Legislature, which had the most promise for passing 8 state wide bills to move notices on line, caved to the pressure of the Virginia Press Association. As of our last report http://legal-notice.org/blog/virginia-2-line-legal-notice-bills-pass-va-house-delegates-large-margins, only two bills remained alive which could potentially save the taxpayers money without continuing to subsidize the printed newspaper industry.

* House Bill 234 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+HB234  would have reduced the amount of information required to be published in the newspaper about a time-share being sold under foreclosure. It  passed the House by a huge 98-2 margin on February 14. Prior to the bill going to the Senate and bowing to lobbying by the Va. Press Association, the wording that would have reduced the amount of information required to be published in print, was changed and the requirement to publish an absurd amount of information in print was reinstated. The bill, whose purpose was to “reduce the amount of information required to be published” was neutered and ultimately will save the state nothing while reserving the subsidy to newspapers. The bill will most likely be signed.

* House Bill 1193 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=HB1193 would have required local public bodies to post required procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website and makes newspaper publication optional. It passed the House of Delegates 78-21 but was set aside by the Senate’s Committee on General Laws and Technology by a 10-4 margin.

In *Hawaii*, we reported last http://legal-notice.org/blog/hawaii-senate-committees-vote-bill-which-allows-moving-public-notices-line that Senate Bill 2233

http://www.capitol.hawaii.measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2233 had made it out of multiple Senate Committees. Since then the Senate Ways and Means Committee slightly watered down the bill (State-wide notices can be moved out of the statewide paper and into a local paper and county-wide notices can be published on line) and recommended passage. *The Senate unanimously passed the bill 25-0* and it is now in the House where the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on March 15.

Hawaii is unique in that there is a very well written on line newspaper, Honolulu Civil Beat, that has a deep-pocketed owner who could be influential.

*Florida* took the first step in moving notices on line. Both the House and the Senate passed the bill and it was sent to Governor Rick Scott for signing. HB937 http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bill/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=48170 appears benign. It saves the state and local governments no money. It just mandates that notices published in print are also published on line.

The newspapers see this as a victory but it sets them up for the next round of legislation which should say that notices will no longer need to be in print (see below).

We’ve saved the best for last. *California*, the largest state and the most technologically progressive (as well as the most troubled financially) has proposed the most thoughtful bill yet from any state since we’ve been covering this issue. Instead of enforcing that the government publish notices, http://totalcapitol.com/?bill_id=201120120AB1902 in detail expands the definition of newspaper of general interest to on line

Ironically, the need for this bill came from the situation that exists in many rural areas where the print newspapers have now deserted them while on line publications have come in to fill the void of news provider.

We will examine this in our next post as this bill successfully refutes the independence issue which the newspapers have successfully used to protect their franchise. This measure could be heard in committee by March 24.

West Hawaii Mediation Center Receives Challenge Grant From eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar and the Hawaii Community Foundation

The West Hawai‘i Mediation Center (WHMC) has been awarded a $25,000 Challenge Grant from the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.  The grant will be used to support mediation services and conflict resolution education for youth in West Hawai‘i.  In order to receive this grant WHMC must secure matching funding by December 31, 2011.  “This is a huge honor for us,” said Janie Chandler-Edmondson J.D., Executive Director.  This grant is an opportunity for us to increase our capacity.  It has been a challenge to meet the increasing demand for services, and without this grant we would be unable to serve the growing community need.”

PHOTO: Courtesy West Hawai'i Mediation Center. Left to right: seated, George Robertson, Sherman Warner, Chris Helmuth; standing, Janie Chandler-Edmondson, William Chillingworth, A.K. Shingle, Holly Algood, Steve Bess.

A low or no-cost provider of mediation services to individuals, small businesses and communities since 1988, WHMC has seen a marked increase in clientele over the last two years.  “Especially in this economy, our client base has grown as the need has grown,” said Chandler-Edmondson.  “There are more people who don’t have access to legal service, and may not be able to hire an attorney for divorces, custody issues, landlord-tenant disputes and similar issues.”

“We’ve seen great growth in the mid to lower income segment.  About 50% of clients make less than $25,000 per year,” said Chandler-Edmondson.  “It went up from 30% in just the last year or so.”

In addition to its other services, WHMC has designed and implemented a Peer Mediation program called “Working it Out!” to help empower children with effective communication and conflict resolution skills.  Research shows that school-wide programs can reduce teasing, bullying and violence in elementary and middle schools by as much as 50%, with early intervention and continuous support.

“We have worked with teachers and counselors in several North and South Kohala Schools to set up school-wide mediation, mentorship and communication workshops, and we have numerous requests for the program,” said Chandler-Edmonson, “but expansion is limited by funding support.”

Serving between 700 and 800 clients per year, WHMC uses a sliding scale fee basis to provide service to people at every income level.  With a client satisfaction rating of 90%, they are able to help people resolve disputes without necessarily involving the court system.

“63% of cases end in agreement,” said Chandler-Edmondson.  “And although people don’t always reach an agreement… with mediation, they have the opportunity to speak and be heard.”  In other words, even in the cases where parties “agree to disagree,” people can reach an understanding without having to bring the issue before a court of law.

“That’s empowering!” said Chandler-Edmonson. “The court can make decisions for you, but in mediation the parties create resolutions tailored to work in their own lives.  When people are able to resolve disputes themselves, when they learn to communicate effectively, they can build on that for the future, and that helps build better communities.”

“The mediation process is about creating a safe space where parties can talk in a calm way, and work towards a solution,” said Chandler-Edmondson.  “Conflict is not necessarily a bad thing.  Conflict is an opportunity for two people to create a positive, constructive resolution to something that is not working… Without conflict nothing would change.”

With a team of 48 trained volunteers, two full time staff and an active Board of Directors, WHMC  is a non profit organization and member of Mediation Centers of Hawai‘i.  Training and refresher training sessions take place several times during the year and are open to everyone.

“Anyone willing to learn to listen to what someone else is telling them and to help communicate that to other people,” said Chandler-Edmondson.  “Anyone can be a volunteer mediator.  We have realtors, therapists, insurance workers, teachers, lawyers… Your background doesn’t matter, because people are not looking for advice.  What our team does is help people figure out how to communicate with each other in a safe place where people can talk and be heard.”

In order to receive the grant, WHMC must secure matching funding by December 31.  The Center is enthusiastic about this opportunity and has dedicated fundraising efforts to meeting the challenge.  Contributions will be used to support mediation and conflict resolution education services and will be acknowledged as a matching donation to the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund Challenge Grant.

For more information, please call WHMC at 808-885-5525, email info@whmediationcenter.org or visit www.whmediation.com.

Honolulu Civil Beat is Not Pierre Omidyar’s First Attempt at an Online Venture

Well we can’t say that Pierre Omidyar hasn’t tried something similar to the Honolulu Civil Beat before and it appears that it wasn’t as successful as he may have thought it could be.

I just checked out Bayosphere and it’s pretty bland.

Bayosphere, launched in June last year, has close to 100,000 unique visitors a month, but Gillmor has acknowledged the experiment hasn’t turned out the way he had hoped. Gillmor, a former Mercury News columnist, received funding from the Omidyar Network, an investment group founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and from tech entrepreneur Mitch Kapor.

I guess in April 2006, Omidyar also helped finance Backfence which also looks pretty barren.

Backfence’s Susan DeFife has said that the startup planned to expand and now we see how they plan to proceed, at least in the San Francisco Bay area. Both Backfence and Bayosphere were funded initially by the Omidyar Network. (Bayosphere raised about $200,000 in total, part of it from Mitch Kapor.)

But like I’ve said… I’ll be patient of this venture… and just wish that I had a billionaire financing my blog.

Question… Would You Fork Out $240.00 a Year for Online News?

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar has had a soft launch with his new attempt at making news profitable online with the Honolulu Civil Beat and I myself am pretty disappointed that it isn’t going to feature neighbor island news at this time.

I sure won’t be paying $240.00 a year to basically be allowed to make comments on the site… However, what I could do… is simply take snippets of their news and allow any Joe Blow that wants… to make the comments on my site for free.

So I ask the question… would you be willing to pay $240.00 a year to billionaire Omidyar to run what at this point, just looks like a contributory news site run by folks that were hand selected by the billionaire?

[polldaddy poll=3105023]

eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar Starting Online Paper in Hawaii

Pierre Omidyar http://www.omidyar.com or http://ebay.com

Well the buzz has been out for a few days now that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is going to be starting up an online newspaper geared towards the Hawaii audience.

Of course I applied for the position of “Editor” for this new online start up, however, I also encourage others to apply for the position that he initially tweeted about:

Very excited to finally be able to tell someone about our new local news venture. Help us build it! http://bit.ly/23O8p4

I was pretty stoked that he was quite receptive to my tweet telling him about the FBI Blogs that I started and currently administer.  I recently tweeted him the following:

Would be great to somehow tie in blogs to your new project. Let me know if http://fbiblogs.com is of interest.

And I was shocked and stoked that he actually responded with this:

@damontucker I agree. Lots of great bloggers here. Your site looks great. about 2 hours ago from Tweetie in reply to damontucker

What I think would be really cool, is if he decided to bring on neighbor island representatives and accepted bloggers as a form of media… and hey… we’d love to get a nickle now and then if things work out!

Any rate @Pierre I hope you do look at some of us neighbor island folks in this new venture that you are taking upon yourself.

Wish you the best of luck Pierre, even if I’m not one of the lucky ones chosen and I wish the best to those that are.  Hawaii has long lacked a great online paper and I can only do so much with the FBI Blogs!