Dissenting opinions are awesome. Whether you agree with them or not, they’re usually brimming with vim, vigor and righteous indignation. For a prime example, see the state Water Commission’s decision in the Waihe’e River and Waiehu, Iao and Waikapu streams (aka Na Wai Eha waters) contested case, released June 10. The entire thing is worth a read (or at least a skim) if you care about this issue (and you should), but the juiciest bit is at the end, when Commissioner Lawrence Miike spells out his dissent. Miike accuses the Commission of “consistently choosing presumptions in favor of HC&S and to the detriment of stream restoration” and says that it has “failed in its duties…as trustee of the state’s public water resource.” Of course, impassioned words don’t restore stream flows, but environmental groups, including EarthJustice, have said they’ll appeal. In a statement, EarthJustice attorney Isaac Moriwake called the decision—which restores 12.5 million gallons a day, far less than the 34.5 million gallons recommended last year, and restores no water to the Iao and Waikapu streams—a “miscarriage of justice” and promised that “it will not stand.”… Caught my first Na Koa Ikaika game last week—a Friday night matchup against the Tijuana Cimmarones—and I’m pleased to report: good fun. The stands were mostly full and, though it’s clear Mauians are still warming up to the team, there were plenty of enthusiastic cheers. It didn’t hurt that Na Koa put on a hitting clinic, plating eight runs in the second inning alone and going on to win 15-2. (As of this writing they’re 10-8, in second place in the Golden Baseball League’s South Division and 5-1 at Maehara Stadium.) There are also, my wife and young sons were glad to discover, diversions for those who can’t sit through nine innings of baseball: burgers, dogs and other ballpark fare; free bounce castles for the keiki; and on-field promotions and gimmicks (my favorite was a father and son who took turns trying to whack a ball off a tee and over the right field fence; they came up woefully short but got a nice ovation nonetheless). Bottom line: this is a welcome addition to entertainment-starved Central Maui, particularly for sports fans accustomed to rooting via television. To check out a schedule, stats and more, go to www.nakoaikaikamaui.com ….
Lt. Gov Duke Aiona’s been busy signing and vetoing a number of bills while Gov. Lingle continues her oddly timed journey to the East. However, it doesn’t appear HB444 will be among them. Aiona has made his feelings on the civil union bill abundantly clear and as acting Governor he can theoretically do what he pleases. But, despite pressure from his religious base, it looks like he’ll let the Governor follow through on her promise, spelled out in a June 2 AP story, to make a decision after she returns from Asia on June 19, two days before she has to tell the legislature which bills she plans to veto. Lingle has said generic stuff—she called HB444 “difficult” in the AP piece and said that her decision will “affect people on both sides” (gee, really?)—but hasn’t indicated which way she’s leaning. Considering she’s never been afraid to speak her mind and debate issues publicly (even dead ones; see Spin Cycle, page 6), this is, for lack of a better word, curious….
President Obama reaffirmed his ability to give convincing speeches when he delivered his first Oval Office address this week, about—what else—the BP oil spill. And he said the right words, promising to “make BP pay” and adding that “we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy.” There were even some concrete details, including a six-month moratorium on deep water drilling and the establishment of a commission “to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.” It’s a start; certainly we can’t expect the President to wave a magic wand. This issue, like the well at its center, goes deep. There’s oil on all of our hands.