Town Square

Thursdays at 11am on HPR-1 with a rebroadcast at 7pm

Town Square, hosted and produced by Beth-Ann Kozlovich, is one of the oldest of Hawaii Public Radio's public affairs programs. Since its inception in 1999, Town Square has provided an interactive forum for political, social, educational and cultural issues of local, national and international importance. Often the conversation includes guests and participants from outside Hawaii, giving access to newsmakers and those yet to make news. Discussions are lively and almost always, civil.

Ways to Connect

Many bills dealing with medical marijuana are still on the move at the Legislature. Proponents hope that this is the year when lawmakers finally pass measures to create a system of functional dispensaries and associated laws to support access, transport, and use 14 years after Hawaii got its medical marijuana law. Our panel looked at what's still alive as crossover is just a few weeks away. 

What’s in it for Hawai‘i ratepayers if the NextEra purchase of HEI actually happens? Part of the answer is we don’t know, but panelists Ted Peck, President of Tian Shan Renewable Energy, Blue Planet Foundation Executive Director, Jeff Mikulina and Life of the Land Executive Director Henry Curtis consider the possibilities on this edition of Town Square.

  Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith is an ordained minister who took her vow of poverty and put it into action. She spent the past four years living with the poor, the marginalized and the homeless. She lived for three years in the U.S. “under the stars” and for the past year has been on a global journey. She's in Hawaii to consider the plight of the homeless here - and with us on Town Square.

For parents of autism spectrum kids nationwide, the big issue after diagnosis is where to get treatment and how to pay for it…and Hawai‘i is no different in that…with this exception: Hawai‘i is NOT one of the 38 states with legislation to make sure autism diagnosis and treatment are covered by insurance. That may change if one of a pair of bills moves to a successful conclusion this session. Our panel tonight: Big Island Sen. Josh Green MD, Lorri Unumb, the head of state government affairs for the New York-based non-profit Autism Speaks. And Neurodevelopmental pediatrician Ryan Lee from Honolulu’s Shriners Hospital.

  Should the UH jettison fossil fuel investments from its endowment fund? That’s the question a task force appointed by the UH Regents will consider…and so will our panel.

  The 2015 legislative session opened for  business this week - next on Town Square our annual look at the issues that Neal Milner, Colin Moore and I will be watching. So what's on your list?

Credit Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation / Credit Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation


On this Town Square, a progress report on Honolulu's rail project with Mayor Kirk Caldwell and HART Executive Director & CEO, Daniel Grabauskas. 

Climate Change with Stuart Scott (Deputy Director General of the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization and Founder of the United Planet Faith & Science Initiative), John J. Marra (NOAA Regional Climate Service Director, Pacific Region; East-West Center Adjunct Fellow), and Eric Enos (co-founder and Executive Director of Ka‘ala Farm, Inc., a Wai‘anae based community organization that has operated the Cultural Learning Center at Ka‘ala for nearly three decades.)

  Tonight another run at a difficult conversation: race and justice in America - and in Hawaii. Our panel looks at a new study now underway to measure conscious bias. It's a project of UH law professor Justin Levinson. He and other guests consider what few of us want to imagine: that we all may hold some deep seated prejudice.

On this edition of Town Square we take another look at the affordable housing issue.  We’ll discuss Rent Control with Jenny Lee from the Hawaii Appleseed Center, and Civil Beat Deputy Editor Eric Pape. 

The weekend that started with Black Friday, brought Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, then ended with Giving Tuesday. So how much  does Hawaii benefit from a named day to give and does it impact what charities receive the rest of the year?  Our panel takes on those questions on this edition of Town Square.

  You may know his ever changing menu and the spot on King street that his restaurant has occupied for well over a decade…but how much do you know about Chef Mavro? You will this week when we take a Thanksgiving break and talk about the food of life and the life of food with George Mavrothalassitis.

On this edition of Town Square, a look at the relationship between the Hawaii Health Connector and state medical providers.  Hawaii Health Connector director Jeff Kissel, Executive Vice President of Hawaii Pacific Health, Dr. Ginny Pressler, and Senator Josh Green answered your questions.

The Institute for Human Services is planning a program to help some homeless people return to their home states and it wants to spread the word that Hawaii is not the place for mainland homeless people to come. Our panel will look at the specifics of saying Paradise isn't for everyone.  Guests: Colin Kippen, Homeless Coordinator for the State of Hawai‘i; Connie Mitchell, IHS, Executive Director; Greg Payton ,Partners In Care, Executive Chair;  Larry Geller,Community Advocate.

The election is over, now what? Neal Milner and Colin Moore weigh in on where we go from here. We’ll consider what the election results mean and how they set up the next legislative session – and what may happen in Washington.

  In the last of  our series of conversations with gubernatorial candidates Ige, Hanneman and Aiona.  This week we talk with GOP candidate Duke Aiona.  How does he assess the race to this point and the issues that he hopes will swing voters his way?  Today at 5pm on HPR2

  Next in our series of conversations with gubernatorial candidates Ige, Hanneman and Aiona: this week we talk with Mufi Hannemann. What is he saying that's shaping the overall conversation about the race and the candidates who all want to be Hawaii's next governor?

Host Beth-Ann Kozlovich talks with Gubernatorial candidate David Ige about his campaign for Governor and his position on the issues facing our state.

There are candidate forums a plenty over the next six weeks before Hawai‘i votes on November 4, but how much access will you have to the people asking for your vote? On this Town Square, CD1 GOP candidate Charles Djou stepped into the studio for a live one hour conversation.  Topics include: minimum wage, Medicare, immigration, Hawaii's economy and much, much more on this edition of Town Square.

  ... and whether those plans are in sync with the State's. We'll look at best practices with Mathew  Doherty, the Director of Initiatives for the US Interagency Council on Homelessness; Jenny Lee, staff attorney at Hawai'i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice; and Kathryn Xian, Executive Director of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery.

  The journey from the original 9/11 attack to today.  As the enemy has changed and keeps morphing while attracting nationals from the western world, is the U.S. responding well enough?  Our panel will consider that question and others through the course of the show.  

  Your news feeds in twitter, Facebook and whatever else you use are probably filled with pictures of people taking the ice bucket challenge. Now the ALS awareness campaign started by one family to challenge some friends has gone beyond viral raising millions of unprecedented dollars. We'll talk with the head of the Golden West region, one of its trustees and the executive  director of the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations about this unlikely campaign and the creativity that's translating into cash.  

The benefits of breakfast have filled conversations for decades, but a lot of kids -for whatever reason- don't eat it. On August 18, the Kona Pacific Public Charter School made history: It was the first to offer universal breakfast to all students in their classrooms. We took an in-depth look at the program with guests Christ Hecht, the school's Executive Director, the head of the Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network ,Lynn Finnegan and Gavin Thornton, Deputy Director of the program's partner, the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice.  

  For years we were warned that Hawai‘i was due for a hurricane. Tropical Storm Iselle made that warning real. Now after a few weeks, and as Big Island districts dig out, how would you grade Hawai‘i’s response before, during and after the storm? Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and State Emergency Management Agency Executive Director, Vern Miyagi join other TBA panelists to consider that question…and how Hawai‘i preps for next time.  

Wars continue and we seem shocked when civilians – especially children -are maimed or killed. But the US has historically engaged in practices to win wars that have injured and killed civilians – its own and those in other countries. So how does this affect our judgments of war and why do we often want war to be waged with compassion? Next on Town Square, a conversation few want to talk about: the strategy of war. Brad Glosserman, Executive Director of Pacific Forum CSIS and HPU Social Sciences Chair Carlos Juarez guest.

Youth Activism, Island Style. What defines it, how much power does it really wield and what social change is it driving? Our panel includes the founder of 808 Urban, John “Prime” Hina, Lisa Grandinetti  from the Aikea Movement and Kanu Hawai‘i executive director, James Koshiba.  

  Midway through the Reagan years, the US entered into the Compact of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia. Today, many people understand little about it or the Pacific Islander experience in Hawaii. Next in our series based on the book, the Value of Hawaii2, we’ll talk with two contributors- Innocenta Sound-Kikku and Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner -and UHM student, Kat Lobendahn, who works with the Palolo Pipeline Project geared to help Pacific Islanders.  Today at 5pm on HPR2

Four years ago, a collection of essays took Hawaii by storm. The Value of Hawaii quickly fueled conversations and went on to be taught in university classrooms. Now the Value of Hawaii 2 is out. Tonight we’ll get an overview of the this new group of essays, written by authors all under 40…as are the new editors Aiko Yamashiro and Noelani Goodyear Ka’opua. We’ll talk with them tonight on Town Square as we start our series about the Value of Hawaii 2.

  Some say you have to grow into classical music…the same may be true for the standards that fill the American Songbook. We'll see what  Fascinatin' Rythm host, Michael Lasser has to say From hapa haole tunes to the ones generations worldwide keep rediscovering, we’ll hear stories of the romance, sly wit and the craft of the songs that really  get to you.

  It’s the first week of June…and that can only mean one thing: it’s time for the Maui Film Festival. Join us for our annual preview of some of the films that take on public policy and social issues.  We’ll hear from four filmmakers about the impact you may already be feeling from the subjects of their work, even if you might not know it.