TIME FOR A NEW CLICHE
Looks like there was a little shakeup in the governor’s office. On Oct. 6, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie’s press secretary sent out a media statement saying Amy Asselbaye, his chief of staff (who spent 18 years working for Abercrombie), and Andrew Aoki, the deputy chief of staff, had both resigned and would be out by the end of the month. Ironically, both officials gave the same reason for their sudden–and there was no warning of any of this–departures: “to spend more time with their families and young children.”
Then the next day, Honolulu Civil Beat reported that Josh Levinson, the governor’s communications director, was also vacating the State Capitol because of, a) Asselbaye’s and Aoki’s departures and b) “his own desire to see more of his family.”
I laughed out loud when I read all this. No one with the tiniest knowledge of political affairs will see that reason as anything other than complete bullshit. I can’t think of a government official who didn’t resign in the last 20 years for any reason other than to “spend more time with their families.” It’s beyond cliche, and frankly, we’re past due agreeing on a new idiom to explain the surprising and uncomfortable staff shuffles that plague every administration on the planet. Something that, while still not giving out any detailed or particularly honest information, is not immediately recognizable as a cover story designed to divert attention from the actual reason.
How about something with more local Hawaiian flavor, like, say: “Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye resigned yesterday so she could spend more time surfing.” Everyone likes surfing, right? Or “Josh Levinson will leave the governor’s office at the end of the month so he can spend more time this winter watching whales.”
Not sexy enough? How about this one: “Deputy Chief of Staff Andrew Aoki stepped down yesterday because something way, way cooler came along.”
Yeah, that feels about right.
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FRIDAY PEACE PROTEST RUNDOWN
There was something reassuring but also depressing about the fact that the only laws being broken at the Oct. 7 anti-Afghanistan war/Wall Street corruption demonstrations at the State Office Building in Wailuku were copyright laws. Then again, nothing says Down With Corporations like pasting peace signs onto copyrighted images of Ironman, Homer Simpson and even Mickey Mouse (careful–Disney is litigious as all hell!) and then rendering them as line drawings for kids to color.
There were a few dozen people demonstrating when I walked over around 3pm (some of those may have been waiting for the bus–it was hard to tell), but there were a couple dozen more a few hours later when I walked by.
Their signs spoke of a general lack of trust concerning the continuing war in Afghanistan as well as the “Federal Resere [sic].” One woman was carrying a curious sign labeled “Fair and Balance,” despite the fact that that’s pretty much been the motto of Fox News for the last decade. There was also plenty of literature to pick up, ranging from denunciations of the Afghan and Iraq fighting to U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki’s “extrajudicial murder” (he was blown up by a CIA-controlled Predator drone a few weeks ago).
These people mean well, but seeing the same folks (Hi Nikhilananda!) stand on the same streets and wave the same signs doesn’t bode well for the radical left on Maui. With an average demonstrator age hovering around 60, groups like Maui Peace Action really have to step up their campus recruiting activities.
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GOODBYE LAIRD AND GABRIELLE
Looks like the housing market is worse than anyone thought. I know this because last week the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that none other than surf legend Laird Hamilton and his wife, volleyball legend Gabrielle Reece, just sold their Peahi home. That’s right, the guy we’re supposed to blame for the popularity of stand-up paddling (as well as credit for kick-ass tow-in surfing) will no longer be living in a 6,400 square-foot house on a 10-acre parcel overlooking Jaws.
Of course, given Maui’s depressed real estate situation, Hamilton and Reece basically had to fire-sale their place. Yeah–the Star-Advertiser reported that the purchase prices was a measly $2.4 million (down from a $2.75 million asking price). Ouch!
Oh, and the reason America’s true power couple are bailing on Maui? The Star-Advertiser says it’s “because they’re spending more time at the property on Kauai.”
Which, when you’re wealthy and powerful, is the same as saying “spend more time with my family.”