The Week in Review
June 12, 2008
Wednesday June 4
End of an era here at Maui Time, editor Anthony Pignataro has moved on leaving behind a legacy of fine journalism and public service to our Maui community. Mahalo, and best of luck Anthony.
Another packed house at the Maui County Council's Planning Committee meeting this week. Once again the committee is taking up the Bed and Breakfast/Transient Vacation Rental (TVR) mess and heard testimony from 27 people Tuesday. The Maui News reported that following the meeting it was "not immediately apparent whether they would vote or move forward," with the committee's bill package. Obviously this hearing is yet another example of Maui's stunning bureaucratic efficiency.
Legal B&B owner and former Vice President of the Maui B&B association, Eva Tantillo said the meeting was nothing new. "It's hard to say what the take was because it was all public testimony. It's the same thing as the last two years, different people saying the same thing," she said. "It needs to get out of committee and voted on by the whole council."
On the Orwellian front, a small article today in the Honolulu Advertiser reported that the Hawaii Tourism Authority will sponsor a program to increase video surveillance in Waikiki and parts of the Big Island in the name of crime prevention. According to the article, Maui County officials are considering similar programs. Big Brother (or is that Big Braddah?) is watching.
THURSDAY, June 5
Molokai Properties Ltd., — after shutting down operations in April which included Molokai Ranch – has also announced it will be shutting down its utility operations on the island in August. The move will essentially leave water and waste operations up in the air for over 1,000 residents in Maunaloa and Kaluakoi. Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares found herself backpedaling a bit following an apparent misunderstanding that had Molokai Properties issuing press releases claiming the county would take over the utility operations. This prompted Tavares to tell The Maui News, "I don't know what meeting he (Molokai Properties CEO Peter Nicholas) was at."
The U.S. Navy conducted a test today of its Aegis ballistic missile defense system by taking out a scud roughly 100 miles off the coast of Kauai. This a few months after the same vessel, The USS Lake Erie, shot down an "errant" satellite a couple months ago. All this posturing and flexing of military muscle is fine and dandy, but with a $40 million price tag per test, you'd think they'd call it good at 26. Besides, how big a threat are Scud missiles these days? Weren't we already shooting those down in the first Gulf War?
Friday, June 6
Hey, we set a record! Unfortunately, it's for the highest average price for a gallon of gas in state history. I know, not as awesome as you thought. A gallon of regular gasoline in Hawaii now costs an average of $4.16 per gallon. According to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser the average gallon of regular gas in Wailuku rose to – Ouch — $4.49 per gallon, shooting up nearly seven cents in a week. As the price of crude continues to rise, there seems to be no relief in sight. In fact, the only thing in sight is more of our hard-earned cash being spent at the pump. Suddenly the subtle humiliation that comes with riding a moped doesn't seem all that bad. Guess it's time to trade in the Hummer.
Saturday, June 7
The Associated Press reports that the national unemployment rate rose to 5.5% last month calling it "the biggest one-month jump in decades." It was also another grim week on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted nearly 400 points. Oil costs are soaring, the dollar is in free fall, unemployment is up and the stock market is hurting. Think we're still teetering on the edge of a recession, or have we completely fallen over the edge?
After what seemed like an endless campaign, Barack Obama finally locked up his party's nomination following the departure of Hilary Clinton from the race. Her concession speech praised supporters, called for party unity and threw support firmly behind Obama, Maybe now the Democrats can get down to the real business at hand, defeating the Republicans in November. Hey, not that they haven't been doing a bang-up job these past 8 years.
Update on the utilities mess on Molokai today. The state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) slapped a big "not so fast" on Molokai Properties Ltd. telling the company they cannot shut down utility operations until a suitable entity is found to take over water and sewer services. So, while state and local officials play "hot-potato" with another privatized public works project gone sour, at least the people of Molokai will still have running water.
Sunday, June 8
An exciting weekend in the world of sports. Triple crown hopeful Big Brown finished dead last in the Belmont. Although it was history making, it wasn't exactly what everyone was hoping to see. And in the NBA the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers rekindled their long-standing rivalry with the C's taking the first two games of the seven-game championship series in Beantown. The series returns to L.A. this week. I know it's not this paper's prerogative to report on sports but it's nice to take your mind off the politicians, the economy, soaring gas prices and the war in Iraq once in a while isn't it? That is the point after all.
Monday, June 9
Another round of rate hikes for the nation's airlines. The Honolulu Advertiser ran an AP story today explaining how surging oil costs have forced nearly every major carrier to jack up ticket prices by an average of $20. Can't think of a place where this is felt more acutely than on an island archipelago 3,000 miles from the nearest continental land mass. If you're planning a trip to the mainland this summer, better book it soon because plane tickets seem to just keep going up.
Tuesday, June 10
Anyone want to start up a carpool? Or, to really save some cash, you could double me on your moped. MTW
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