After a mere two hours of deliberation, the University of Hawai’i Faculty Senate voted today to reject the proposed $50 million research center with the U.S. Navy. Thirty-one faculty members raised their hands in opposition to the deal, which would put UH on a very select list of public universities that conduct secret military research for the Department of Defense, while just 18 opted to support it. According to today’s Honolulu Advertiser, the faculty members were originally going to do the vote by secret ballot, but decided to just do the thing out in the open after seeing so many protesters line the hall. Now the swab-jockeys still have hope—UH interim President David McClain and Manoa campus interim Chancellor Denise Konan are the ones who have to make the final decision, and they’re being real cagey right now.
THURSDAY, Nov. 17
For some reason that hasn’t really been made clear, state transportation honchos are now saying Wackenhut security guards at Kahului Airport aren’t up to specs. “They are not in line with the level of service that the state and the public expects and deserves,” Deputy Director of Airports Brian Sekiguchi said in a statement quoted in today’s Maui News. “The safety of the public and the people who work at the airport is a top priority for the administration…” Wackenhut’s “level of service” isn’t in line with what we want or deserve? What gave him that idea? Was it the time when a Wackenhut guard made a citizen’s arrest on a Pacific Wings employee in the airport manager’s office? Or was it the time when a Wackenhut guard threatened—on videotape, mind you—to “kill” a Pacific Wing’s employee? I mean, sure, that “I going shoot this fucker in the head” Wackenhut guy was arrested and charged with making second-degree terroristic threats, but come on! How is that not in line with Wackenhut’s expected “level of service?” They’re just security guards, hired to protect us from dangerous suicide bombers and nutcases who drive their SUVs into the baggage claim terminal from time to time. Even they have to let off steam now and again.
FRIDAY, Nov. 18
Unless something pretty close to miraculous happens soon, the U.S. Senate will not vote on the Akaka-Stevens Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill this year. It was supposed to come up for a vote a couple months ago, but then Hurricane Katrina drowned New Orleans and everyone started pushing recovery appropriations and such. But since then, no one has been really in a hurry to get it back into the Senate schedule, even though Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R, Tennessee) promised Senator Daniel Akaka (D, Hawai’i) that there’d be a vote this year. “Frist is sincere, but you know how tough it is when time is running out,” Akaka said in today’s Honolulu Advertiser. Still, Akaka remains optimistic, telling the Advertiser that he’s been talking to Frist every day about finding time to vote on the contentious bill that right-wing Republicans hate because they say it will lead to Hawaiian secession and left-wing native Hawaiian activists hate because they say it won’t lead to Hawaiian secession. Oh, and Akaka’s asked his co-sponsor Ted Stevens (R, Alaska) to call Frist, too. Now I don’t want to seem like I’m piling on, but Akaka helped Stevens out by voting for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and all he’s asking of Stevens is that he call Majority Leader Frist? Man, that’s not how logrolling works! You’ve got to get in there and twist some arms! Stevens owes you big time!
SATURDAY, Nov. 19
Great news everyone! The North West Cruiseship Association (NWCA) has just announced that it’s ditching the hated, ridiculous, completely toothless Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it has with the State of Hawai’i regarding the pouring of sludge and sewage into the ocean and things of that nature! It’s in yesterday’s Honolulu Advertiser if you don’t believe me. In fact, I’ve got the story right here and it says in plain language that… oh, wait a sec. Yeah, I really should read stories all the way through before I start yelling like the town crier. See, they are ditching the MOU all right, but only because a new, even weaker state law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2006 and they say the old MOU is now redundant. Yeah, that’s not good at all. Sure, NWCA member Norweigan Cruiselines says in the article it will still abide by the MOU, but for how long? What about the other cruise lines? Is it that they’re not making enough money? Sure they pull in billions of dollars each year, but with inflation and all, that really isn’t so much anymore. Is that the reason? Come on, tell me. I can take it.
SUNDAY, Nov. 20
I’ve got nothing.
MONDAY, Nov. 21
Tonight marked the last of 11 “Talk Story” meetings on the big plans of developers Bill Frampton and Dave Ward to build many, many homes in Olowalu. Ostensibly the meetings were designed to let the general public help plan Olowalu Town LLC’s big project before county planners begin to take the whole thing apart—but the actual execution said otherwise. Just three of the 11 “community-based planning workshops” took place after normal business hours, meaning most people interested in the future of Olowalu had no chance to attend because they were busy at work. How bone-headed is that?
TUESDAY, Nov. 22
Actually, it’s quite clever. Frampton and Ward, as well as landowners Jim Reilly and Peter Martin, don’t need the public galvanized behind them—they just need the public to stay neutral. And what better way to do that than by blanketing the island with full-color brochures advertising all kinds of gatherings with the developers? Even if the public can’t attend, the mere offer is enough to get most people to think that the whole Olowalu development thing must be nice. That’s good enough to keep throngs of angry residents out of planning hearings, and that practically guarantees approval. Isn’t PR grand?
Anthony Pignataro is willing to put up with a lot of crap, but believes that paying $2.75 ATM fees is really going too far. MTW