The state water commission’s decision to delay action in the East Maui stream case is being hailed as a victory for Native Hawaiian and environmental advocates—and in a way it is. At the very least it reveals a chink in Hawaiian Commercial Sugar’s armor, an indication that the plantation’s grip on the island’s water supply may be slipping…. A few weeks ago I wrote that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources conducting an “internal investigation” into the damage it caused to a South Maui reef was kind of like building a road on the moon—sounds impressive but leads nowhere. Now comes word that DLNR has asked the feds to step in. The Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will investigate the incident, which occurred December 2 and involved DLNR workers inexplicably dropping dozens of 1,200-pound concrete pieces—designed to serve as an artificial reef habitat—on live coral. According to a December 20 Maui News report, an “emergency assessment” by the federal agencies is due in mid-January and by March, we’ll get a “rapid ecological assessment.” I guess “rapid” is a relative term…. After their odd little spat back in September, Gov. Lingle and Sen. Shan Tsutsui have reportedly patched things up enough to get the new Maui jail (set to be built at Puunene, replacing sugar cane with inmates) back on track. For those who missed the story, Lingle pulled the plug on the project a few months ago, supposedly after reading negative comments Tsutsui made in The Maui News. Even after his powwow with the Governor, Tsutsui was still questioning the jail’s design and size in a December 26 Maui News story, and wondering how it would be paid for. So is Lingle gonna read that story and throw another temper tantrum? Before you laugh, remember: this is the legislature and the Governor we’re talking about—anything (except cooperation and reasonable discussion) is possible…. Maui’s first professional baseball team in more than a decade has a name: this spring, get ready to cheer your Na Ikaika Koa (roughly: mighty warriors)! Could have been worse—at least it has a local, cultural feel—but, as a coworker pointed out, it’ll make coming up with a team cheer a bit challenging….
Interesting wrinkle in the ongoing scuffle between shipping companies Young Bros. and Pasha Hawaii, which have been locking horns over Pasha’s attempts to move in on Young Bros.’ turf. In an opinion presented to the Public Utilities Commission, state Consumer Advocacy director Dean Nishina fired shots at both companies, saying Pasha hasn’t provided adequate proof it’ll serve “the public interest,” but adding that Young Bros. shouldn’t assume interisland shipping is “a natural monopoly,” according to a December 16 Pacific Business News dispatch. Whether Pasha is the company that successfully challenges Young Bros. remains to be seen, but they’ve certainly proven a pesky thorn thus far…. What makes a city “literate”? That’s the question researchers at Central Connecticut State University considered when they ranked America’s Most Literate Cities (pop. > 250,000) for the fourth straight year. Honolulu slipped six slots to number 28, putting it near the middle of the pack, which sounds about right. But I must call into question one of the criteria used to create the rankings (which is, to be honest, the only reason I’m writing about this): number of bookstores. Seriously? Isn’t that kind of like measuring how much a community loves music by how many cassette tapes residents own?…
Two weeks ago, I mentioned Sarah Palin in this space and promptly learned she was headed to Maui for a West side vacay. The story got weirder when she cut her stay short after photographers snapped her wearing a McCain visor with the name of her former running mate blacked out. (In a statement issued after the fact she said it wasn’t a dig at McCain but rather an attempt to “go incognito,” though perhaps a better plan—and I’m just spitballing here—would have been to buy a new visor.) The good news for Sarah? That blunder has already been forgotten. The bad news? A new, juicier one has taken its place. As pointed out by multiple sources (not sure who caught it first), in the chapter of her book Going Rogue titled “Drill, Baby, Drill,” Palin uses the following quote, which she attributes to basketball coach John Wooden: “Our land is everything to us… I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it—with their lives.” One teeny problem: the quote is actually from Native American activist John Wooden Legs. Calls to mind another John Wooden quote, something I believe he actually said: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” Jacob Shafer, MauiTime