This Week in Review
August 31, 2006
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23
So now Upcountry is running out of water. Something about a drier than usual summer combined with increased usage, according to today's Maui News. Hmm… more people moving to Maui every day, more building going on—sure sounds like an increase in water usage to me. In fact, things are so bad that county water supply director George Tengan says his office is asking that Upcountry residents voluntarily cut back their water usage or else face potential mandatory cuts further down the road. West Maui's is having a dry summer, too, though Tengan stopped short in The Maui News article of saying they were facing possible conservation measures. This is all fine and perfectly acceptable—if you believe that the last thing the county should do right now is stop approving new timeshare, condominium, hotel, residential and commercial development. Whoever said new development needs water?
THURSDAY, Aug. 24
Great news, everyone! We've found the solution to that horrible ridiculous traffic jam that runs from the Westside to Central Maui! There's no need ever again to sit and stew in your car for an hour or more as you slowly creep over the Pali. And we all have Island Air to thank. "We understand the difficulty of driving between West Maui and the rest of the island, and we strongly support the Lahaina Bypass Now Committee," said Island Air Chief Operating Officer Les Murashige in a company press release. "We will continue doing our part to improve connections between Hawai`i's communities." You see, starting Sept. 5 the carrier will offer a direct, non-stop daily flight from Kapalua Airport to Kahului Airport. And this will save us all… wait a sec—it's headed the wrong way! You want to save on traffic, Murashige, then you need to run planes from Kahului to Kapalua—and they shouldn't be those little eggbeater prop jobs, either. I want to see Boeing 747s taking off every 15 minutes all morning, then reversing the flights from Kapalua to Kahului during the early evening hours. Maybe then you'll be able to "improve connections," but anything less than that just smacks of a publicity stunt.
FRIDAY, Aug. 25
Speaking of big deals, the fact that 12 people are running for the 2nd Congressional District seat is a very big deal, though mostly for the voters. The fact that voters have a rich plethora of talent to choose from to replace Democratic Congressman Ed Case gives us reporters hives. Colleen Hanabusa, Matt Matsunaga, Gary Hooser, Brian Schatz, Mazie Hirono, Clayton Hee and Ron Menor are all progressive, experienced, pro-environment, anti-Iraq War candidates who would make fine congressional representatives—far preferable to Case, in fact. This is a good thing: democracy should be about multitudes of choices over pre-packaged, pre-digested either/or votes. But for reporters, who always prefer simple two-person races to immensely complicated dozen-candidate free-for-alls, having so many names and agendas running around is confusing and tough. The Maui News has done minimal coverage of the race so far, and today the Honolulu Advertiser weighed in with a big story lamenting the difficulties of the race—specifically, how no one candidate has broken away from the pack or even attacked one or more of the others. "The problem with this kind of collegial campaign is it makes it difficult to rise above others with similar views and political experience," wrote Advertiser Government Writer Treena Shapiro, who also managed to get 1st District Congressman Neil Abercrombie to agree, adding that the race "doesn't make for great TV." Wow, 2nd District voters are faced with a more than half a dozen good choices for their congressional representative: what a tragedy that they'll have to do a little research and find out which one they like best.
SATURDAY, Aug. 26
How come our governor's race can't be like that?
SUNDAY, Aug. 27
MONDAY, Aug. 28
Score one for Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) in that old game of "Which Big Company Gets the Best Corporate Welfare?" The Advertiser's reporting today that the cruise line has just booked a deal with the state Department of Education to pipe hundreds of Maui school kids aboard its vessels. Something about the cruise line getting a line on recruiting future employees while the students learn… about… high-priced vacations? Anyway, NCL is stoked. What's next, a cruise line reality show? Hey… Speaking of big wastes of time, looks like the Maui County Council really got its money's worth when it knocked two whole cents off the county gasoline tax six weeks ago. In a surprise of the ages, it doesn't seem that retail gas stations passed on any of those tax cut savings onto consumers, so says today's Maui News. "If that impact hasn't happened, we've defeated the purpose and basically lost revenues," Councilmember and mayoral candidate Charmaine Tavares says in the story. Oh, but it's worse that that: not only did the council's tax cut apparently rob its Highway Fund of about $1.3 million a year, but it also gave current Mayor Alan Arakawa a chance to tell the News that the whole tax cut thing was not only too small for consumers to notice in the first place, but was also a little more than "an election-year cut."
TUESDAY, Aug. 29
You know what's brave? Ed Case's attack ads bashing Daniel Akaka with Congress.org's "Power Rankings" classifying him as the 71st most powerful U.S. Senator (out of 100) when those very same rankings list Case as the 410th most powerful U.S. House member (out of 435). For those of you who love math, this means Akaka is more powerful than 29 percent of the Senate while Case outranks just six percent of the House. That's a hell of a campaign tactic.
Anthony Pignataro is pretty sure Farrah Fawcett has always been like that. MTW
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