WEDNESDAY, May 31
Been wondering lately whatever happened to Chris Halford (R, 11th District). He’s the guy who’s been silently representing South Maui in the state Legislature for the last 12 years. Anyway, he’s not yet pulled papers to run for reelection, and we’re getting near the deadline. No one else has announced for that seat, probably since the Democratic Party bungled the job so badly back in 2004. That’s when Halford’s challenger was former Maui Weekly writer Cort Gallup, who shouldn’t have even been on the ballot because he was a Canadian citizen. Anyway, it’s hard to decide which candidate slipped into greater obscurity after the race. With mostly mediocre marks from the Sierra Club, gun lobby, Chamber of Commerce and labor groups, Halford has spent more than a decade doing not much of anything in the state House of Representatives. After all, he’s a Republican—there’s not much those guys can do in Honolulu unless your name is Linda Lingle. And for the most part, this was fine with Halford. This is remarkably similar to something Halford said last year. “The opportunity for a minority member is to be a constructive critic when the Legislature is misguided,” Halford told the paper in April 2005. “I see that as my job.” Considering that the Democrats still look to control the state House and Senate this time around, I guess Halford’s job is secure.
THURSDAY, June 1
I’ve always thought it was funny that most polls conducted on the American people show a sizeable majority feels the Republican Party is more trustworthy concerning national security. This is amazing for a variety of reasons—Who was president during the worst terrorist act ever to hit American soil? A Republican—but seems especially funny in that it still seems to be true despite the ruinous Iraqi war, flaccid Hurricane Katrina response and that mad, terrifying national debate on whether we should be in the torture/secret prison business like our old friend the Soviet Union. But hey—no one’s perfect. And President George W. Bush knows this better than anyone, which is probably why he’s letting the Department of Homeland Security—during an election year—slash the anti-terrorism funds they send out to the states. New York City and Washington, D.C. are crying the loudest, but even the great State of Hawai’i is being hit, with our share of the HS pork dropping from $22 million to a paltry $13 million. Did I mention this is an election year? Yeah. Anyway, just about everyone in Congress—including a lot of Republicans—are pissed, and not simply because this is an election year. Seems some of them feel it’s utter insanity for a U.S. President to create a monster federal bureaucracy dedicated to national defense, then start to defund that bureaucracy because of what can only be described as poor management. Heck of a job, Bushie.
FRIDAY, June 2
Good news for anyone who feels it’s important to restore water flow in West Maui streams. Which is everyone, right? Well, everyone except Wailuku Water, which used to be part of Wailuku Agribusiness, which used to divert all that water to its sugarcane fields. Anyhoo, that’s all done now, according to today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. See, Mayor Alan Arakawa—who’s currently running for reelection against a bunch of people—just signed a $476.8 million budget that includes a $7 million payment to Wailuku Water for West Maui stream water rights. Sure, some of that water will go for the new residential and commercial development that seems to sprouting all over the island, but some will also go towards stream restoration and taro farming.
SATURDAY, June 3
Mystery solved on that big Chris Halford question. Guess he wasn’t being dramatic after all—today he announced that his days of representing South Maui anymore in the state House are over. And wow, this sounds familiar: “It has been constructive for Maui to have a person in the minority,” Halford’s quoted as saying in The Maui News announcement of his decision not to run again. Constructive? By not being able to get bills or amendments passed? By not having the opportunity to chair committees? By having to sit at the card table with the other kiddie Republicans every time the grown-up Democrats want to throw a party? What’s constructive about all that?
SUNDAY, June 4
So about 60 passengers on Norwegian Cruise Line’s vaunted Pride of Aloha got quarantined today after they came down with the flu. But everything’s cool because NCL gave everyone of the sickly passengers a $200 credit for compensation. Woohoo! That means the next time they take a cruise aboard the Pride of Aloha they can blow it in Captain Cook’s Cigar Club! Or the Blue Hawai’i Bar and Nightclub! How about the Plantation Club? Or Captain Cook’s Bar? Yeah. By the way, was NCL serious when they designed the Pride of Aloha? They know that Native Hawaiians view Captain Cook, plantations and especially the movie Blue Hawai’i as horrible symbols of haole oppression, right? Possibly not, if they really believe, as the NCL website insists, that the Pride of Aloha is “a sleek, beautiful ship that delivers world-class amenities and accommodations, along with a friendly crew ready to share their warm and welcoming ‘Aloha Spirit’ with you.”
MONDAY, June 5
Hey, speaking of tired politicians withering away in the minority, I got a newsletter from U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (D, Hawai’i) today! And it’s full color, too—he’s really getting his money’s worth from that “Prepared, Published and Mailed at Taxpayers Expense” line at the bottom of the flyer. Anyway, it’s jammed with reasons why we should reelect Akaka this year. The first and most prominent, of course, is that only Danny Akaka dares say that President Bush “Must Articulate Clear Plan for Iraq Withdrawal.” Akaka bravely feels that Bush’s insistence that future administrations will have to extricate this great nation from Iraq is “completely unacceptable.” See, Akaka wants a plan for withdrawal now—not three years from now. Right now. A plan. Not an actual withdrawal—that would be crazy. And by “be crazy,” I mean “make too much sense.” Heck of a job, Danny.
TUESDAY, June 6
Of course, Akaka’s election opponent, U.S. Congressman Ed Case (D, 2nd District), doesn’t even want an Iraqi withdrawal plan. Mmm… choice.
Anthony Pignataro still misses Roxy Music. MTW