This Week in Review
September 07, 2006
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30
Looks like no county ballot measures this year. The Maui News is reporting today that voters won't get to see either the COMET proposal that would revamp the way the county collects property taxes or the initiative that would legalize medicinal marijuana on any 2006 ballot. Stop me if you've heard this before: initiative organizers couldn't gather the requisite signatures needed to put the measures before the voters. It's that old 20 percent rule. In the case of COMET, which was a county charter amendment, organizers needed to get the signatures of at least 15,298 registered voters—roughly 20 percent of the county's registered voters in the last general election. According to the News, they came close—to within 9,000 signatures! But in the case of Maui County Citizens for Democracy in Action's "Legalize It" measure, which would just change the County Code, the group needed just 8,301 signatures—roughly 20 percent of those who voted in the last mayoral election. They apparently came closer, with about 7,000 signatures. In other words, more pissed off stoners and stoner wanna-bees than pissed off property owners were willing to take a stand and sign their name to a petition. That, my friends, is Maui.
THURSDAY, Aug. 31
Couple interesting things about the Sierra Club Hawai`i candidate endorsements that came out today. Mostly, that the venerated environmental organization refused to endorse anyone in the Daniel Akaka/Ed Case U.S. Senate Campaign. According to Lance Holter, the club's Hawai`i chapter political chairman, it's because the executive committee could never muster a majority vote for Akaka because of his votes to allow oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) or for Case because of his pro-Iraq War views and votes. "If you take ANWR away from Akaka, he's stellar," Holter told me. "If you take the war away from Case, he's stellar. But we wanted a candidate who's a clear-cut leader on the environment." The club bit the bullet and agrered to endorse the primary winner. Over in the Second District Congressional campaign, the Sierra Club had the opposite problem. There an embarrassment of riches led the group to endorse two Democratic candidates—State Senator Gary Hooser from Kauai and State Representative Brian Schatz. Indeed, Holter said the committee toyed with the idea of including former Lt. Governor Mazie Hirono and private attorney Matt Matsunaga in a four-way endorsement, but eventually decided that was going a bit too far.
FRIDAY, Sept. 1
So the Honolulu Advertiser's reporting that the political science heavyweights on Oahu are saying Case bested Akaka in last nights big televised debate on PBS Hawai`i over which man is the better Democrat to run for the U.S. Senate in November. "I thought that the senator obviously looked halting and was very dependent on his notes," University of Hawai`i—West Oahu history professor Dan Boylan said in this morning's Advertiser. "As a debater, as someone standing up and taking questions, Ed Case was much better, much stronger and left a much stronger impression." Now keep in mind that Boylan is also a columnist for the Advertiser-owned publication Midweek, and he's one of just two "political analysts" quoted in today's story saying Case took the debate. But let's assume for the moment that they're right and Case really did show up the 81-year old Akaka and present his views better: he got across to the audience that he wants to stay the course in Iraq—presumably, as Generalissimo George W. Bush has said, until a peaceful Iraqi democracy can defend itself against the hordes of "evil-doers" preying on it; he feels Senator Akaka is too old and powerless to lead the state into the future; Case is a moderate whereas Akaka is too liberal. And so it goes—in fact, it's all exactly what Case has been saying since he first started campaigning. I'm so glad we all had to suffer through an hour-long debate so we could hear that nonsense put forth so articulately.
SATURDAY, Sept. 2
Why did I pick this weekend to move from Lahaina to Kihei?
SUNDAY, Sept. 3
I'm not kidding—Why?
MONDAY, Sept. 4
No better way to celebrate Labor Day than by reading a McClatchy Newspapers wire service story in today's Maui News about how workers' wages have been declining even in times of skyrocketing productivity and corporate profits. So much for the old truism that rising productivity—up 33 percent in the last decade—leads to a higher standard of living. Oh, and guess when the trend of stagnant or even declining wages begins: that's right, kids—2001, the year Bush took over the White House. Ain't life grand?
TUESDAY, Sept. 5
I get a kick out of kicking Ed Case because of his ridiculous support for fighting in Iraq—after three years, it must be obvious even to a Washington insider like him that the mere application of greater force to the Iraqi insurgency hasn't done a damn thing to stop it—but he's right about one thing: he's got a better pro-citizen voting record than Daniel Akaka. And that's not my opinion, either—it comes from the Washington-based non-profit organization Public Citizen, which was formed by longtime consumer advocate and leftist agitator Ralph Nader to push a pro-citizen, anti-corporate agenda in Washington. Anyway, according to a record of more than two dozen bills posted on the group's website (www.citizen.org), Case voted for the interests of working people over Corporate America 84 percent in the most recent congressional term: he voted for windfall profits taxes on Big Oil; against liability shields for drug makers; against limiting patients rights to sue for malpractice; against repealing the estate tax; and, of course, against drilling for oil in the Arctic. Akaka? Public Citizen rated him at just 74 percent.
Anthony Pignataro is a world-renowned writer, filmmaker, painter, inventor, theologian and statesman, yet can barely comb his hair. MTW
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