On this, George Washington’s birthday, I think it helpful to let you know that George W. Bush has for the last five years allowed our vaunted intelligence agencies to carry out a classified program reclassifying more than 55,000 previously declassified government documents. Many of these documents, government accountability activists have discovered, have been pulled from the public eye solely because they show how stupid our vaunted intelligence agencies have been in the past. Now in all fairness, I must mention that the reclassification effort dates back to Bill Clinton’s presidency, but I haven’t heard George “My views are one that speaks to freedom” Bush utter one mangled syllable to stop it. Oh, and need I mention that doing so is a violation of the law? I suppose I do, if for no other reason than the fact that a disturbing portion of this nation still believes Bush is telling the truth when he says he supports freedom and democracy.
THURSDAY, Feb. 23
There’s a kick-ass letter by retired Haleakala National Park Superintendent Don Reeser in today’s Maui News. The occasion? A chance to slap around Hawaii Superferry CEO John Garibaldi. See, back on Valentine’s Day Garibaldi planted a big wet one on himself in a Maui News op-ed piece he wrote entitled “Superferry supports public forums.” “We have had extensive public meetings, we plan to have more,” Garibaldi wrote. “Over the past year, Hawaii Superferry officials have reached out and met frequently—publicly and privately, formally and informally—with groups and individuals on Maui and all the other islands we plan to serve.” Not quite, wrote Reeser—who has long said that the Superferry could make it much easier to move invasive species from one island to another. In fact, Reeser wrote that Garibaldi and his as-yet unbuilt Superferry have never really asked for public comment. “I don’t recall any meetings [with Garibaldi] that I consider public, because I would have been there,” wrote Reeser in today’s News. “He did speak to my Rotary Club and other similar groups, but this was clearly promotional, not a forum for community input.”
FRIDAY, Feb. 24
Nice to see that new archaeological survey of super-developer Everett Dowling’s Makena lands seems to be progressing. Hard to believe now that he—and the Maui County Planning Commission—said all the old land surveys showing no ancient Hawaiian sites were fine, considering that archaeologist Lisa Rotunno-Hazuka has so far found 30 new, previously undiscovered sites in her current survey. In fact, The Maui News today mentions that Dowling has agreed to redesign his 71-luxury condo project (asking price for each unit: around $3 million) to take the new burial sites into account. Thirty new sites, where the county Planning Commission said there were none. Isn’t life just full of new surprises?
SATURDAY, Feb. 25
SUNDAY, Feb. 26
Big story in today’s Maui News about a very big deal: Maui Land & Pineapple and Alexander & Baldwin are teaming up to plan development in and around Hali’imaile village. Hear that? They’re going to be acting as one. “It is not a joint venture, A&B Properties Vice President Grant Chun told the News. “But we had a feeling we needed to look collaboratively at the needs for growth in the community.” Okay, so they’re not exactly cozying up by the fireplace. But they’re going to be churning out some really great plans! “We don’t have any set plans for anything, but we’ve been thinking about this for a long time and looking at it logically, this is a place where there can be expansion,” MLP Vice President for community development Randall Endo told the News. Okay, so the planning part of the plan is not really going on at the present time. See, these corporate guys have to be a bit cagey here, since the county’s big effort to write a new General Plan is just beginning. In fact, the News says that’s what spurred these two big landowners to get together and do whatever it is these guys want to do. See, Maui Land’s bid to get one of its own—Vice President Warren Suzuki—on the General Plan Committee is really going to pay off!
MONDAY, Feb. 27
So Maui County mayoral hopeful Charmaine Tavares is so worked up over Lahaina traffic—and the promise of infinitely more traffic in the near future—that she will support a complete moratorium on all Westside development if it isn’t addressed soon. See, talk of the Lahaina Bypass has become fashionable again. You all remember that mythical road from Ka’anapali to Lahaina (perhaps even Launiupoko, since a lot of people seem to live there now)? It’s so much in vogue that Maui Land & Pineapple Executive Vice President for community development Bob McNatt says his company is starting a “grass-roots” campaign to fight for the Bypass, which state officials say will cost a stunning $100 million and possibly take another decade to build. This is not so strange—McNatt needs that road for his future Westside building projects like Kapalua Mauka and Pulelehua—without, driving through Lahaina will become so intolerable they might as well just shut the whole thing down and turn the town into a used car lot. Of course, everyone wants the Lahaina Bypass. Mayor Alan Arakawa wants it. Tavares wants it. Maui Land wants it. Governor Linda Lingle says it’s one of her top transportation priorities. All great, except nobody wants to pay for it. So nothing gets done. Simple, right?
TUESDAY, Feb. 28
Nine Democratic state Senators—including Maui’s own J. Kalani English (D, 6th District)!—have signed onto a resolution asking the state Attorney General to investigate the apparently crude ways Lingle’s office solicited more than $800,000 from companies to help pay for all her overseas trade missions since 2003. Specifically, they want to know just how many “special benefits” companies could get for their contributions—you know, above and beyond whatever companies get for normally contributing to political campaigns.
Anthony Pignataro hates surprises. And mysteries. And black licorice. Especially black licorice. The red kind is okay, but not the black. MTW