June 16, 2005
WEDNESDAY, Jun. 8
In an unusual though not completely unexpected development, time and space bent back on itself, allowing me to see the June 9 Honolulu Advertiser while it's still today, June 8. Not much news to report, other than the fact that Annette and Ernest Callo are suing the state. They're the parents of Denise Callo, who died April 13 when she actually drove off a section of the old Pali road that provided a vista next to the new Pali road. Callo died along with a 16-year-old male passenger when she screwed up a u-turn trying to get back to the highway and rolled off the cliff. A 16-year-old female passenger and her infant daughter somehow survived the 150-foot plunge into the rocks below. Callo's parents say everything would have been cool had there been a barrier along the edge of the old road segment. I completely agree, though to be fair everything also might have been cool had Callo not been legally drunk and stoned on grass when she tried to make that turn.
THURSDAY, Jun. 9
Governor Linda Lingle is barely out of Hawai'i a day—off to Asia for a little glad-handing and deal cutting—and Lt. Gov. James Aiona is already waving around that bill-signing pen. Today he made it legal for cops to snag DNA samples off all felons—not merely murderers and sex offenders. Now I'm a huge fan of using new DNA evidence to get wrongfully convicted guys sprung from prison, but look carefully at this statement from Aiona's press release on the new law: "With new technology, DNA collection can now be done by buccal (mouth) swabs, a method as unintrusive as fingerprinting." And as we all know, fingerprinting isn't intrusive at all—which is why everyone who's arrested—not merely convicted—gets inky fingers. So how long will it be before cops are swabbing every mouth that gets hauled in?
FRIDAY, Jun. 10
Former State Senator Vincent F. Yano died May 11 at the age of 83, but The Maui News ran his obit today. Yano sat in state Senate from 1963 to 1970, but then lost to future governor George Ariyoshi in a bid to be the Democratic Party's 1970 Lt. Gov. candidate. The brief obit has plenty of information on Yano's working for Legal Aid Society, helping the mentally ill and helping legalize abortion in Hawai'i, but precious little on the fact that he was one of many, many people who sought riches dealing real estate while holding the public trust. In the 1960s, Yano was a member of an intimate hui—with Ariyoshi, of all people—that bought and sold 60 acres in Kula. Yano wasn't nearly as a big a player as some at the time—Ariyoshi, for instance—but he was a player.
SATURDAY, Jun. 11
SUNDAY, Jun. 12
Of all the neighbor islands, Maui actually has the most restrictive laws governing home construction on agricultural land, according to today's Advertiser. No, really. See, on islands like Kauai and the Big Island, no one who wants to build a giant million-dollar estate on ag land has to carry out a "farm plan"—saying they will grow trees or keep a horse or something—until they've built at least two "farm dwellings." But on Maui—aka, Land of Big Brother—owners have to put their farm plan in action if they put up a second building. This is interesting, because the paper reports that Maui has the most ag subdivisions going up in the neighbor islands. In fact, developers at Launiupoko, Ukemehame and Pu'unoa are willing to brave not only our island's ghastly restrictions but also lawsuits from private citizens alleging that such construction totally violates agricultural zoning to keep driving nails. But keep in mind that Maui isn't going crazy—ag land builders here, like elsewhere, are still exempt from those pesky developer fees that the county uses to build roads, schools and other examples of government gone haywire.
MONDAY, Jun. 13
It's always great when The Maui News runs a letter to the editor that's better researched and more articulate than the unsigned editorial running on the very same page. This happened today, concerning Maui Police Chief Tom Phillips' recent decision to stop his officers from filling out reports on minor traffic accidents. "We want them [the officers] to spend the quality time on the criminal issues," Phillips told The Maui News, which accepted his statement uncritically and even opined that the chief "should be commended for seriously looking at his options in how to best utilize his limited manpower…" But barely six inches to the right is a letter from David Lee of Kihei that reduces the editorial to the level of mere public relations. Lee, who also thought Phillips was right to keep Maui PD officers out of fender benders, wrote that there were plenty more ways for the department to marshal their limited resources. "Why are there often upwards of three and four police cars at every traffic stop and minor call?" Lee asked. He added that cops should also stop wasting their time "investigating miscellaneous accidents at homes and businesses" and "Stop worrying so much about seat belts." Couldn't have said it better myself.
TUESDAY, Jun. 14
The State of Hawai'i is now officially doing business with the People's Republic of China. Yesterday, our own Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom sang in Beijing's Great Hall of the People—which the Honolulu Star-Bulletin called the "home of China's rubber-stamp Parliament"—as part of festivities to celebrate the opening of our state's trade and tourism office. That makes Hawai'i only the second U.S. state—behind Nevada, wouldn't you know—to open such offices in China. Ironically, the Star-Bulletin reported, the office opening took place on the same day that Chinese officials canceled a meeting with Governor Lingle without saying why. As you all know, Lingle is currently touring Asia with members of the super-group Cream. No word on her reaction.
Anthony Pignataro is currently filming a gripping, edgy documentary on the life and times of Paul Linke, the actor who portrayed fun-loving Officer Arthur Lee "Grossie" Grossman on the television series CHiPS. MTW