WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12
Hey, everybody: yesterday Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona (as a member of the media, I’m contractually obligated to put the “Duke” in whenever I refer to him) told us all to think about holding a constitutional convention. According to an Associated Press story in today’s Maui News, the question of whether to have a convention—which would involve a bunch of delegates (undoubtedly chosen by some political/mystical criteria to ensure their honesty and/or pliability) thrashing out issues of education, the environmental and “government accountability”—is going to be on next year’s ballot. Oh, joy. And what’s so funny about a constitutional convention? you might ask. Absolutely nothing, unfortunately, which is why this bit didn’t work out nearly as well as I hoped.
THURSDAY, Dec. 13
The Superferry is here! The Superferry is here! And so were at least a hundred protesters! My favorites, of course, were the couple dozen kids from Hui Malama who were hanging on the fence right at the harbor’s edge, yelling “Go Home Bastard!” and “Go Home Bitch!” to the hapless Superferry passengers as they drove by on the pier. There were some clever and subtle signs, too: “F. Lingle and Her Ferry,” “Lingle Souki Love Boat” and “Lingle, you’re showing too much Bush.” Funniest moment of the morning? When I asked a nice Department of Land and Natural Resources officer whether anyone had been arrested in the water. “This is Maui, brah,” he said, not needing to elaborate further. Of course, I had to leave early so I could play “Find Your Hero!” with the 400-page Mitchell Report on steroid use in Major League Baseball, which even before the report was considered to be an honest institution only by people who didn’t know what the words “institution” and “honest” actually meant. Word of caution to anyone inclined to take seriously this voluminous report, written by a team led by former U.S. Senator/current Boston Red Sox director George Mitchell: Jose Canseco’s 2006 shameless “memoir” Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big appears in the footnotes. Repeatedly.
FRIDAY, Dec. 14
Very curious op-ed piece in today’s Maui News. Written by Wailuku attorney James Krueger and carrying the snappy headline, “Company knows how to eliminate the danger from ditches in Haiku,” the story bashes East Maui Irrigation Company—and specifically company chairman G. Stephen Holaday—for failing to take actions that Krueger says would have prevented the deaths of Cheri Hurd and Lucy Smith, two girls who drowned in an EMI ditch on Sept. 23. Krueger further mentioned a 1988 incident in which a boy drowned in an EMI ditch, prompting company officials to talk “about how to avoid another such death.” Though the piece ends with a note identifying Krueger as representing the plaintiff in a lawsuit stemming from the 1988 incident, it neglects to mention that Krueger filed a similar suit on behalf of Hurd and Smith. How do I know Krueger is involved in that case as well? The Nov. 13, 2007 Maui News story “Lawsuit filed in Haiku ditch drownings tragedy.”
SATURDAY, Dec. 15
Even more people show up at Kahului Harbor to protest the Superferry’s arrival than on Thursday. No kids hanging on the fence separating Pier 2 from the harbor beach, though—the Maui Police had screened that off with yellow caution tape. Ah, yes, the Maui police—seemed to be a lot more of them standing around the protesters than on Thursday. In fact, one sergeant even brought a video camera, which he used to film everyone who decided to come out to this stretch of public property and exercise his or her right to free assembly. You know, like the way that one guy in the Mercedes had a right to hold out a sign saying “One less car on Maui” as he drove into the Superferry lot, or the way that other guy had the right to yell “Don’t come back!” as the car passed him. Isn’t freedom beautiful? You know what else is beautiful? The Honolulu Advertiser story today on how “some” members of the brand-new Hawai`i Superferry Task Force are questioning whether the inspections company personnel carry out on vehicles entering the ferry will do any good. Will somebody please remind me why it’s so awful to force the Superferry to wait until an environmental review is completed?
SUNDAY, Dec. 16
It’s very nice to see that accountability is alive and well in the governor’s office. “I am glad to be part of something that is important to the people of Hawaii,” Barry Fukunaga told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in a story today about how he rose from retired Democrat to state Transportation Department Director to guy who gave Hawai‘i Superferry a pass on doing an EIS to Governor Linda Lingle’s chief of staff. You know, in some organizations, a person who orchestrated a plan that later gets shot down by a unanimous Supreme Court decision tends not to rise the top of the promotions list. It’s nice to see that here in Hawai‘i—which is apparently very friendly to business, if our friends at the Superferry-friendly Legislature are correct—such people as Fukunaga can still find a home on the public payroll. And we owe it all to Lingle. “She [Lingle] is very people-oriented, very concerned about what we do for the state and the welfare of the state,” Fukunaga said.
MONDAY, Dec. 17
Weeks like this make me really miss Joe Sugarman.
TUESDAY, Dec. 18
Got an otherwise routine press release from Senator J. Kalani English this afternoon. The topic was English’s desire to include Hana Harbor–and it’s crumbling, unsafe pier–in a big, new $842 million State Harbors Modernization Plan, but held the real juicy stuff until the last paragraph:“Ireceived a report that a Young Brothers vessel carrying goods to Maui was forced to remain outside Kahului Harbor while the Superferry was docked,”English said.“I understand that wass because of security measures, but we should not have to decide between serving inter-island travelers and serving our rersidents’ daily needs.”
Anthony Pignataro is now available in Twitter form at twitter.com/apignataro. MTW