The arrow’s pointing up but this one’s debatable. As everyone including the oft-mentioned man under the rock knows by now, the House followed the Senate’s lead and passed the bailout bill version 2.0; Bush—eager for a photo op featuring him looking proactive and presidential rather than like a lame duck in the crosshairs—promptly signed the thing. Hawaii reps Mazie Hirono and Neil Abercrombie both sided with the “ayes” this time around after helping defeat the initial proposal. Quoted in Pacific Business News, Hirono said, “The emergency financial rescue package… while far from perfect, contains noticeable improvements over the proposal we considered Monday.” Biggest difference: the last one was a bailout, this one is a “rescue package.” See?
With Hawaii’s—and the nation’s—summer of economic discontent officially in the books, the grim numbers start pouring in. This set comes courtesy of Oahu-based consulting firm Hospitality Advisors: Overall, state hotels saw revenue plummet $136 million from June to August over the same period last year. Of that loss, $92 million came from room revenue and $44 million from food and beverage, spa, retail and other services.
Those who thought they’d never see the return of the $3-and-change gallon of gas were proven wrong this week. With prices falling statewide, several stations on Oahu started offering four quarts of fuel for under $4. Drivers on Maui weren’t treated to that dramatic numerical alteration, but they did enjoy a price drop of 16 cents per gallon compared with last month—bringing the average per-gallon cost down to $4.51, according to AAA figures. Diesel dropped even more dramatically on the Valley Isle, declining 29 cents a gallon.
File this under “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”: Former Aloha Airlines executive Stephanie Ackerman has taken a job with the unimaginatively dubbed Oahu outfit The Gas Co., as reported in PBN. OK, so they deal in natural gas and not jet fuel—still, pretty shrewd career move to go from an industry that’s hurt by rising fuel costs to one that reaps the rewards.
Quick update on Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO Rex Johnson, whose ongoing travails have repeatedly garnered ink in this space. (Quick recap for the uninitiated: Johnson got into trouble for forwarding naughty messages on the company computer and was slapped with a pay cut; then the Honolulu Advertiser got its hands on the e-mails and ran a story, leading to umbrage from heavyweights like Gov. Lingle that forced the board to reconsider Johnson’s employment status.) Over the past week-plus, HTA has twice delayed a hearing on the matter, citing an inability to get enough members to line up their schedules and fly in from neighbor islands. However this turns out, you’ve gotta think Rex is already a loser because of the indigestion this career uncertainty has most certainly caused. MTW