The Week in Review
November 29, 2007
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21
Well, Charlie Jencks finally got his Wailea 670 project passed out of the county Land Use Committee. All those years of bitching, moaning, crying, whining, letter-to-the-editor writing, public speaking and making big campaign contributions has finally paid off. Sure, the committee dropped a few "conditions" on Jencks' bid to build 1,400 housing unitshalf of which will be million-dollar mansions!—commercial center and private golf course in South Maui, but the overall approval of the project was never in doubt (Council Chair Riki Hokama's no vote—for the simple reason that we ought not to be approving such a big project when island water use is so precarious—was kind of a shocker, though). Of course, Jencks and Honua`ula Partners LLC still need to get Maui County Council approval, which is at least a month away. But considering that the Land Use Committee and County Council have identical memberships, the Wailea 670 vote probably won't be the most contentious issue we've seen this year.
THURSDAY, Nov. 22
Okay, it's time for me to be petty. The cover of today's Maui Scene—published by The Maui News every Thursday—says the issue contains an "exclusive" interview with musician/activist/biofuel booster Willie Nelson. Indeed! Well, the Scene piece is exclusive—except for the fact that yesterday we published a story based on our own interview with Nelson. What's next? An "exclusive" interview with some guy who happened to be on the street when they drove by? Look, the Maui Scene story is basically decent, though it is much longer than our piece. But it does contain virtually the same excerpt from Nelson's new song "Peaceful Solution." What's more, our story—written by Associate Editor Starr Begley and titled "American Icon, Maui Style," included Nelson's ruminations on the field of bathroom acoustics! Now that's an exclusive to be proud of!
FRIDAY, Nov. 23
BCS… BCS… BCS…
SATURDAY, No. 24
And in the Here We Go Again department, the Pacific Business News reported yesterday that something that calls itself the Maui Health Care Initiative Task Force wants a $70 million hospital in West Maui. While this is nothing like the monster Malulani Heath Care Center South Maui residents wanted a few months ago—the West Maui hospital would have just 25 acute-care, long-term and assisted living beds—it will have to jump through the same certificate of need hoops set up by the state Health, Planning and Development Agency that doomed the old Malulani proposal. So here's looking at another six months of drawn-out, hearings packed with understandably worried residents!
SUNDAY, Nov. 25
With the price of crude oil edging ever so closer to the magic number of $100 a barrel (I think that's one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but don't quote me on it) and local gas prices topping $3.60 a gallon, I guess it's as good a time as any for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin to assess the effectiveness of the state Legislature's new gasoline price transparency law. I'm sorry—"effectiveness" is the wrong word. I should have written "ineffectiveness." "I don't think that the implementation of the law by the [Public Utilities Commission] PUC is providing the kind of transparency that we need to be able to determine all of the factors that are contributing to Hawaii's high gas prices," state Senate Energy Chairman Ron Menor (D, 17th District) said in today's Star-Bulletin. See, the problem is that while the big oil companies and refiners are filing weekly reports with the PUC, they contain so much "confidential, competitive information" that the PUC won't release anything meaningful to us consumers. Yeahhhh… just what did the PUC think was going to be in those reports? See, the whole idea behind the law was that the companies would tell us how they come up with prices for gasoline, but the companies consider the way in which they come up with prices for gasoline to be proprietary information—which means consumers can't see any of it. Of course, none of this would happen if this state had a PUC that saw the word "Public" as referring to consumers instead of oil companies (or a system of infrastructure based on internal combustion engines, but that's another rant entirely).
MONDAY, Nov. 26
Oh no! The Honolulu Advertiser is reporting today that Judge Joel August has reversed himself on potential Hawai`i Superferry traffic, so tomorrow state Department of Transportation guys will be out "restriping" the Pu`unene-Ka`ahumanu intersection in Kahului. Actually, that should read "re-restriping," since those guys already "restriped" the intersection back in August. As if we needed more proof that no one in state government really knows what they're doing where the Superferry is concerned. Of course, the real victim here is Cary & Eddies Hideaway. As it stands now, those who aren't familiar with the lanes traveling on Pu'unene towards the ocean run a risk of missing the turn onto Ka'ahumanu and getting forced to stay on Pu'unene as it dead-ends at… Cary & Eddies. Think of all the new business they're getting from people who ordinarily would never see the place! Now that 19;s going to end because Judge August ruled the traffic lanes must go back to the way they used to be. The Superferry hasn't even begun sailing, and she's already wrecking havoc.
TUESDAY, Nov. 27
By the way, just so we're on the same page: this weekend The New York Times reported that even though the Bush Administration is "elated" over the recent decrease in violence in Iraq, his administration has vastly scaled back what it expects of the troubled Iraqi government. I kid you not, the Bush Administration has gone from asking the government to restraining secular death squads, sharing oil revenues throughout the country and ending corruption to getting them to "execute their budget." That's what our mighty Surge and all the killing and the thousands of dead American soldiers and the tens of thousands of dead Iraqis is all about, kids! Getting the Iraqi government—which, let's not kid ourselves, actually serves at our behest—to pass a budget! And if they don't pass the budget? Can we go home then?
Anthony Pignataro really wants to help that nice Nigerian prince who emailed him the other day. MTW
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