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Anita Hofschneider Earns Civil Beat Membership in the League of Yellow Journalists!

Characterizing her report on the relationship between the public housing vacancies and homelessness as “amateur” and “belittling any decent standard of professionalism and reader intelligence”, State Director Dayton M. Nakanelua takes a hard stance against author of the report: Anita Hofschneider of Civil Beat.

We, the men and women working under the jurisdiction of this Union in the State of Hawaii, in order to build and maintain a strong organization and provide for the defense of our common interests, promote the welfare of our members and families, uphold the rights and dignity of our labor and its organized expression, have determined that we shall be guided by the following principles:

…g. Basing ourselves on these principles, we are pledged to work, individually and collectively in pursuit of these aims:

…4) To support and encourage the spread of honest news and to encourage the newspapers and radio stations which give working people factual reporting free of anti-union bias.

-UPW Constitution

“The United Public Workers Union is, at its heart, guided by our Aims and Principles. This is nothing more than a weak attempt to lambaste our Union,” says State Director Dayton M. Nakanelua, referring to a July 13 Civil Beat report by Anita Hofschneider [Why are 175 Public Housing Units Sitting Vacant While Honolulu Struggles to find Housing for the Homeless (2015)].

“To compare the median price of a home in Hawaii to the price of renovating a low income housing unit is yellow journalism at best. These are not homes for sale,” he continues, “Our public housing system should be used as a transition to something better, where the real issues of homelessness can be tackled through the provision of social services.”

“To compare the median price of a home in Hawaii to the price of renovating a low income housing unit is yellow journalism at best. These are not homes for sale,” he continues, “Our public housing system should be used as a transition to something better, where the real issues of homelessness can be tackled through the provision of social services.”

Characterizing the report as “amateur” and “belittling any decent standard of professionalism and reader intelligence”, Nakanelua expresses his disappointment with Civil Beat–-an online publication staking a claim in investigative and watchdog journalism. “The article definitely lacks balance. I was not contacted for comment,” says Nakanelua.

Apart from the suggestion that public housing is the be all end all answer to our homeless issue, the State Director questions Ms. Hofschneider’s sources, particularly to support her claim that the civil service exempt team was less costly. “Less costly than what?” he asks. Referring to the lack of job security and morale issues that arose when the exemption was not applied as outlined in the law, Nakanelua says, “The article implies that we should stand for workers being subjected to substandard working conditions and wages.That’s not what we are about.”

He also points to the article’s failure to acknowledge the Union’s efforts, as the advocate for a multi-skilled worker program. The Union has advocated for the program for several years--well before the civil service exemption went into effect in 2012.

“The estimated cost to fix a unit is a clear indicator,” Nakanelua says, “That the public housing system is being poorly managed. To let a unit fall into such disrepair is inexcusable. Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) has done a poor job of advocating for the funding needed to employ the necessary personnel to perform routine maintenance and inspections. As it is, after the cutbacks under recent administrations, our BU 01 members are part of a skeleton crew. The Union is committed to being part of the solution, and the Union’s original and continual proactive approach to push for a Multi-skilled Worker Program, an agreement that has taken more than 10 years to cement with HPHA, is the confirmation of our dedication to that end.”

Click here for the report and a sample of Hofschneider's substandard journalism.

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