This Week in Review
November 02, 2006
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25
So Judge Joel August is "confused" about how exactly the proposed Hawai`i Superferry will change/alter/expand Kahului Harbor. In fact, today's Maui News says he's so concerned that he might even "reconsider" his Aug. 17 ruling that the Superferry people didn't have to do a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The problem is that harbor expansion graphics which ran in an old Maui News
story show a great deal more expansion than maps provided to the court
by Hawai`i Superferry. Frankly, Judge August said, it all smacks of
"segmentation"—an illegal practice of getting a big project built in
small steps that at no time alert residents to the scale of the
ultimate goal. Would Hawai`i Superferry do that? The same company that
lobbied long and hard to convince the courts they didn't have to do a
full environmental review, which would have made segmentation nearly
impossible? Say it ain't so!
THURSDAY, Oct. 26
So this morning Democratic candidate for Governor Randy Iwase and his running mate Malama Solomon
dropped by the office. Nothing special, really—they were in town and
doing some old-fashioned door-to-door politicking. Nice people. Got no
campaign, but they're nice people. At one point Iwase mentioned all the
polls being run by the Lingle camp. "So what are your internal polls
saying?" I naively asked. "Oh, we don't have any money to do polls," he
said. Apparently, they don't have the money to do much of anything.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, from Sept. 24 to Oct.
23 Iwase spent $68,000 while Governor Linda Lingle doled out $1.8 million. The only thing shocking about these numbers is that the supposedly all-powerful Democratic Party Machine would allow such a depressing disparity.
FRIDAY, Oct. 27
Now Windward Oahu legislator Cynthia Thielan is complaining that Dan Akaka won't debate her in the race for the U.S. Senate.
"I believe that if the voters of Hawai`i are permitted to see us side
by side, they can compare our records and our plans for the future,"
Thielen said in a release quoted in today's Honolulu Advertiser.
"A debate is the democratic thing to do." Hmm… let me see if I can
divine Akaka's logic here. Akaka agreed to a debate with upstart
Congressman Ed Case in the
Primary Election, and he was lucky to get out alive. Why on earth would
Akaka go through that again, especially since Thielen's platform is
more progressive than either Case's or Akaka's?
SATURDAY, Oct. 28
Looks like the U.S. Army has lost another Stryker Brigade vote again, according to today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Yesterday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
handed down a temporary injunction halting all construction activities
with the controversial unit until the Army releases a new environmental
review that looks at all places it could deploy the armored unit that's
best suited to urban warfare, rather than just jungle-covered Hawai`i
like the old one said. What's fascinating about this story isn't that
progressives have won a big environmental and cultural preservation
victory against the federal government—the Army's previous
environmental documents said the Stryker training range would harm
ancient Hawaiian cultural sites—but that the Army is fighting over a
weapon that isn't even popular within its own ranks. Think of the
Stryker as a giant armored car—it has eight wheels, not tracks, and
much thinner armor and smaller armament than a tank. An internal Army
report on the Stryker obtained by the Washington Post
in March 2005 says that troops in Iraq wrap the vehicles in an armored
cage against grenades—which is so heavy that soldiers have to check
tire pressure three times a day—but even that only works about half the
time. The vehicle's engine, drive train and computers are also
failing much faster than the Army anticipated. The Stryker's grenade
launcher, its main armament, also can't hit a target if the vehicle is
in motion. Of course the Army loves its Stryker, says it's working out
all the defects and wants to have them in Hawai`i as soon as possible.
SUNDAY, Oct. 29
Just a couple weeks to go before councilman and failed mayoral candidate Dain Kane's
biggest claim to fame—his ordinance banning smoking from restaurants
but not bars—gets swept away by a far more draconian state law. Today's
Advertiser has a big story on
the new law, which goes into effect Nov. 16. After that day, no one
will be able to smoke in or 20 feet from the entrance to any
restaurant, bar, shopping mall or any other building, with the
exception of private homes, tobacco stores, specially designated
smoking rooms in hotels and prisons (doing away with their smoking
would shatter the already precarious cigarette-based economy upon which
most prisoners survive). Establishments caught allowing smoking will
face fines starting at $100 for the first offense, and individuals
found smoking in violation of the law will look at $50 fines. These
numbers are, of course, dependent on a little thing called
"enforcement," which in the case of Kane's ordinance, was never that
MONDAY, Oct. 30
Sad story in today's Honolulu Advertiser on Congressman Ed Case
(D, 2nd District). The guy who gave up his perfectly safe House seat on
the theory that he could topple longtime Senator Akaka only to lose
badly in the Primary Election has decided to sit out the General
Election in Vietnam and Cambodia. With his party poised to take over
the House—which could have propelled Case to a committee
chairmanship—he's now musing to the Advertiser about trying to get a $1.34 million brown tree snake
control bill passed before he has to leave and "get a real job." It's
funny—all Case had to do a year ago was announce that he was running
for reelection. That's it. No one in the party would have said a word
and he undoubtedly would have beaten whichever Republican was foolish
enough to contest the seat.
TUESDAY, Oct. 31
Guess not running for office can be just as important as running.
Anthony Pignataro has somehow made it this far in life without having to get a real job. MTW
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