Published in Honolulu Weekly April 12, 2006
Media Watch
Editors at Metropolis Magazine learn the truth about Jeremy Harris

By John Pritchett

There, was the smiling face of Jeremy Harris on the Metropolis Magazine website, posted on March 27 for an article titled “A conversation with Jeremy Harris.”

With a circulation of 57 ,000, Metropolis Magazine is published monthly and examines contemporary life through design--architecture, interior design, civic planning, and preservation and explores the economic, environmental, social, cultural, political, and technological context.

In early February, Metropolis teamed up with Miami architect Bernard Zysocvich and several other organizations in South Florida for a conference called “Tropical Green.” Susan Szenasy, editor in chief of Metropolis Magazine gave the opening remarks. She explained that conference organizers choose to start the two-day conference with speeches from two former mayors, but they were no shows. One of the substitutions was Harris.

After Harris’ paid speech, Metropolis Contributing Editor Andrew Blum talked with Harris for what would become the “conversation with Jeremy Harris” referred to on the website. Next to Harris’ photo read the following: “Jeremy Harris, former mayor of Honolulu (1994-2005), led the first bureaucratic and infrastructure overhaul in Honolulu history. This specialist in urban ecosystems talks with Andrew Blum about the future of cities and countering the effects of environmental catastrophe.”

Wait just a minute! Hold the phone here! Harris led the first infrastructure overhaul in Honolulu history? Right. And I’m Napoleon Bonaparte.

This statement is not only false, but exactly the opposite is true. After all, about 48 million gallons of raw sewage was recently dumped in the Ala Wai because of a known, critical sewer main that was neglected for 8 years by the Harris administration. Let’s see. “Infrastructure.” isn’t that roads? Potholes? Anyone?

In a telephone conversation on Friday, April 7, Editor Randi Greenburg said she had received several emails from Honolulu residents about the discrepancy, and with my phone call, she decided then and there to pull the feature. In an email the same day, Executive Editor Martin Pedersen wrote, “Thank you for calling us. We’ll alert the organizers of the conference about Harris’ less-than-stellar green credentials. Thanks again for setting the record straight.”

Since leaving office, Harris has been on the speaking circuit, touting his accomplishments as Honolulu mayor and thumping on the (tax-payer funded) coffee-table book, The Renaissance of Honolulu: the Sustainable Rebirth of an American City. But now, the editors at Metropolis may have removed the wool from over their eyes.


© John Pritchett