This Week in Review
September 14, 2006
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 6
Funny how all those selfish, selfish Upcountry people keep using water. Whattaya guys doing up there? Showering every day? Drinking four to five glasses of water like the doctor recommends? How dare you! Don't you know there's a shortage on? Well, the nice County Water Director George Tengan asked you nicely a couple weeks ago to start cutting back on your water usage, and you didn't do it. So now it's Mandatory Cutback Time! Maybe! "It's over 10 million gallons a day," Tengan said of water usage in today's Maui News. "People need to start conserving water; otherwise we are going to have to order mandatory restrictions." Good thing Tengan didn't say anything about asking the Mayor and County Council if they might want to, you know, hold off issuing new development permits until the question of where we can get new water sources is settled. No need for the land developers to face any hardships if we can squeeze as much water as possible out of local residents.
THURSDAY, Sept. 7
Wonderful news, everyone! Hawai`i is dead last in collecting child support payments from deadbeat dads! That's right, kids: in 2005 the state collected just 41.36 percent of overdue accounts, according to an Associated Press story running in today's Maui News. Now you can bet state Attorney General Mark Bennett did the honorable thing and admitted that, hey, this is not a good thing. "Last year we distributed $83.58 million in child support," he told the AP. "That is the 42nd-highest total in the country, and we are the 42nd state in terms of population." Okay, so he was a bit defensive, though he did admit that, "There's always room for improvement." When you're already at the bottom, can you really get any worse?… Oh, and while I was thumbing through today's News, I noticed one of those Maui Land & Pineapple Co. ads trumpeting various employees. This one, on heavy equipment operator Amelia Ordonez, says she was named after Amelia Earhart, who she identifies as "the first woman aviator." Yeah, that's great except that Earhart was actually the first woman aviator who flew solo nonstop across the Atlantic. History isn't really clear on the identity of the first woman aviator, though the smart money's on either Eleanor Roosevelt or Greta Garbo. Anyway, I know Maui Land is really busy these days suing people for using the word "Kapalua" but there's no reason something this simple should have slipped by.
FRIDAY, Sept. 8
On this day of no military significance whatsoever beyond the fact that two American soldiers got killed in Afghanistan—wasn't that mission "accomplished" even earlier than in Iraq?—Maui Peace Action announces that it's endorsing state Representative Brian Schatz for the Second District Congressional seat. "Based on his articulate and in-depth answers, Maui Peace Action believes that Brian Schatz will energetically and articulately represent Hawaii interests on all the important issues," reads a MPA press release sent out today. "He will also be a strong voice for ending the occupation of Iraq, opposing pre-emptory attacks on other countries, and scrutinizing the U.S.'s heretofore uncritical economic and military support of Israel when he deems its actions contrary to the best interests of the U.S." Schatz made a name for himself earlier this year by trying to get the super-secret National Security Agency to cough up info on any Hawai`i resident phone calls they may have monitored as part of their even more secret Just Spy On Everyone plan for thwarting future terrorist acts. Schatz's work went for nothing, but who knows what he could have found out had he been part of a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives…
SATURDAY, Sept. 9
Wow, that was fast: now Tengan's saying that Upcountry water usage was down two million gallons a day Thursday and Friday, according to today's Maui News. It's such a huge drop (Kula rain may have played a role) that Tengan says there might not be any mandatory restrictions after all. Of course, fire fighters are using a lot of water these days trying to put the Pali out, which started burning again today, forcing officials to close the road to and from Lahaina again. Hell of a summer we're having, ain't it? Hell of a summer.
SUNDAY, Sept. 10
And another thing: on those TV and radio spots for political candidates, is it absolutely necessary for them to end with the line "I'm Candidate Whoever, and I approved this message"? I mean, it's all fine and cool when someone else is narrating the ad and then the actual candidate appears at the end of the spot and says he or she approved the message, but when the ad is just the candidate speaking, isn't it kind of obvious that he or she approved the message?
MONDAY, Sept. 11
Big news for all you idle rich out there: you better act fast if you're thinking about buying one of them $300,000-$850,000 multiweek timeshares out at the Ritz-Carlton Club in Kapalua Bay. Now keep in mind that the average price of a timeshare nationwide is a little under $16,000, though that's usually just for one week a year. These timeshares are going for at least 18 times that amount. And they're going quick, too: according to today's Honolulu Advertiser, the Ritz-Carlton has already sold $23 million worth of the timeshares in just two months. Does this mean we're now going to see a similar jump in Rolls Royce and Bentley rental cars?
TUESDAY, Sept. 12
Always beware the political candidate who attacks his opponent for taking "special interest" money. Democratic Congressman Ed Case has been doing just that in his bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, and it's not the best of tactics, according to Ian Lind's blog this week (www.ilind.net). Lind—using data from the Federal Elections Commission—shows that in August 2006 Case benefited handsomely from the National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee, which spent $602,017 on behalf of Case. Rather than donate the money straight to Case's campaign and run into federal donation limits, the nation's largest and most powerful real estate lobbying organization just gave the loot directly to two firms. The first, Fenn Communications Group, got $385,000 to put out some slick television ads while the second firm, Terris Barnes & Walters, received $216,417 to conduct a direct mail campaign. Hey, it's all a perfectly typical and legal way to run an American political race. But it also positively reeks of that old "special interest" stench.
Anthony Pignataro wrote, but did not approve, this column. MTW
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