The Maui News comes out every single day, but for some reason felt that it was best to run its Halloween coverage today, two days after the fact. “Celebration keeps Maui police busy” was the headline on its inevitable story dealing with mayhem stemming from the Lahaina Town festivities. Too bad the accompanying story didn’t back up the headline. After first reporting that Maui PD busted “about 20 people” Halloween night—20 people! And the SWAT Team wasn’t called?—reporter Lila Fujimoto went and reported that the total evening crowd hovered around 30,000 people. Oh yeah—20 out of 30,000 were arrested, and that was enough to keep Maui’s finest “busy.” Now to be fair, I walked down Front Street on the night in question, and I saw many police officers. Not all 90 cops who pulled Lahaina Town duty that night, but I saw a good couple dozen. And I can say for a fact that those fine peace officers I saw were very busy standing around, checking out the crowd like the rest of us. On a side note, the story added that the cops busted one topless chick, which is totally wrong on two levels: first, because society shouldn’t be bringing the hammer down on hot chicks who pop their tops, and secondly because out of 30,000 people, there should have been way more than just one woman out there “seen topless.”
THURSDAY, Nov. 3
Have you noticed that Hawai’i always seems to jump onto nationwide trends pretty late in the game? Take today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin story on two Hawai’i Island residents filing suit against their former employer Wal-Mart, alleging systematic “time shaving” practices that robbed them of back wages by failing to pay overtime, billing for breaks never taken and altering time sheets to make it appear workers went home after lunch. What took these guys so long? According to the story, there are already 40 other similar class action lawsuits pending against the retail giant. In fact, one of the attorneys representing the Hawai’i Island workers said “thousands” of current and former Wal-Mart employees could join the suit. For its part, a Wal-Mart spokesperson denied any wrongdoing, but did leave open the possibility that the whole matter could the be the result of bad managers running off and “doing the wrong thing.”
FRIDAY, Nov. 4
Kinda like how President George W. Bush insists that any torturing of prisoners in Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan and whatever secret gulag we’re running in Eastern Europe is being done by “bad apples” and isn’t part of any systematic program run by intelligence officials.
SATURDAY, Nov. 5
We who are lucky enough to live in Hawai’i often look at those who chose to live in other parts of the world—like the wide open plains of the American Midwest, for instance—as being less sophisticated, cosmopolitan or even, dare I say, intelligent than the rest of us who call paradise our home. We should forget all that, because when that apocalyptic bird flu pandemic that President Bush says is just around the corner finally does wipe us out, the people in the Midwest are going to come out on top. That’s right, folks—bird flu won’t touch them, because they’re readying themselves now by eating lots and lots of kim chee. Sauerkraut, too. No word on straight coleslaw—with or without pineapple—but they’re definitely stocking up on kim chee and sauerkraut. Seems they’ve picked up reports of some Korean scientist—his or her name is unclear—who supposedly cured avian influenza-infected chickens by feeding them the popular spicy cabbage side order, and now everyone from Santa Fe to St. Louis is asking for the stuff by name. “We’re taking this very seriously,” Frank’s Sauerkraut marketing vice president Chris Smith said in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. “People are stocking up on sauerkraut like bottled water before a hurricane hits.” While American scientists say they have no clue as to whether pickled cabbage cures bird flu, Smith said we shouldn’t take any chances: “I think ‘rather safe than sorry’ is the mindset.”
SUNDAY, Nov. 6
State transportation and health officials want to build a quarantine tent at Kahului Airport to help prevent the dreaded bird flu from coming to Maui via airliner, according to today’s Maui News. Anyone presumably showing symptoms of bird flu on the flight over—coughing, sneezing, dying—would then get moved to the area, which would be sealed off from the rest of the terminal. Honolulu International Airport is already testing a pilot quarantine program. No word on whether health officials would feed passengers suspected of being infected with the avian influenza virus any kim chee while in quarantine.
MONDAY, Nov. 7
Boy, Makena Resort vice president Roy Figueroa really has his panties in a twist. The normally staid, professional face of turning the wonderful Makena wilderness into Wailea South got kind of huffy at today’s Maui County Cultural Resources Commission hearing. “I have problems with people who label the work of others as shoddy or unprofessional,” he told the gathering, according to The Maui News account of the hearing that actually comes out tomorrow but I felt like writing about today. Figueroa is naturally referring to the slow growth citizens’ group Maui Tomorrow, which has lately been grabbing headlines for the way it showed how other Makena developer Everett Dowling was perfectly willing to live with a shoddy and unprofessional archaeological report that minimized the number of sites worth preserving on his 11 acres of Makena. Figueroa apparently insisted that his company wants to preserve Makena history, though he also apparently downplayed the fact that resort construction would end up isolating any such sites on the golf course with strictly controlled access. See, everybody wins!
TUESDAY, Nov. 8
By the way, The Maui News account of the Cultural Resources Commission hearing included the line that Makena Resort’s plans “would only include 1,100 luxury homes, condominiums, apartments and a time-share hotel.” With that kind of backing, I don’t see what Figueroa has to worry about.
Anthony Pignataro really wishes he got more hate mail. MTW