Attacking football in Hawaii isn’t the best way to win friends—a lesson Gov. Abercrombie is clearly prepared to learn the hard way. In widely publicized remarks made last week, Abercrombie blasted the NFL Pro Bowl, which returned to Honolulu in January after a one-year hiatus, calling the $4 million annual fee Hawaii pays to host the game “egregious” and dismissing the event as “stupid.”
“You’ve got this spectacle of these multimillionaires and billionaires out there arguing about how they’re going to divide it up,” said Abercrombie, referencing the league’s ongoing labor dispute. “And then they come and ask us to bribe them with $4 million to have a scrimmage out here in paradise.”
The current deal was brokered, in part, by former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who ran against Abercrombie in a contentious Democratic gubernatorial primary. Asked about the situation, Hannemann—who currently heads up the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association—told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser there’s a need for “some education, some relationship building, if you will.”
Perhaps more like relationship repairing—or severing.
Mayor Arakawa made water a tent-pole issue even before announcing his candidacy, and after he was elected his initial budget proposal featured more than $60 million in water sourcing and wastewater projects. This week, the Mayor signed the County Council’s version of the budget—which shaved some $25 million off his Department of Water requests—but still praised the Council for doing “a commendable job.”
Among the allocations Arakawa lauded were $16.2 million for a revamped public radio system, $17 million for a new Kihei police station and $24 million in restored non-profit funding—a sticking point that riled up the community and divided the Council.
Overall, the budget expands county spending by nearly 10 percent compared to last year, a fact that surely won’t sit well with those who already think government spending is out of control.
In April, we told you about the Big Island TSA screener who was arrested for stealing money from an undercover agent posing as a Japanese tourist. And of course you know about the agency’s controversial nude scanners and aggressive pat-down procedures, which sparked near riots during the holidays. Now, on Oahu, TSA announced it’s firing more than 30 workers for failing to properly screen checked bags.
“TSA holds its workforce to the highest ethical standards and we will not tolerate employees who in any way compromise the security of the traveling public,” said administrator John Pistole in a release. TSA says the security lapses occurred daily at Honolulu International “during the last few months of 2010.”
Sounds bad, but hey—if you were looking at naked pictures and touching strangers’ junk all day, you’d be distracted too. ■