WEDNESDAY, July 26
Sad, sad day today for my colleagues and me. See, today’s the day that Ashley Fitch, who until a few weeks ago worked as our account executive/advertising coordinator/food writer, got on a big jet plane and moved to New York City. Frankly, we found her reasons for leaving—a killer job working for an old friend; a salary much, Much, MUCH higher than she was making here; rent-free access to a Tribeca apartment so spacious it would make the Friends cast drool—to be shallow and unpersuasive. Hello! This is Maui! What does New York City have—aside from endless shopping, museums, art galleries, theaters, sporting events and millions of people, celebrity and otherwise—that Maui doesn’t have? In any case, we at Maui Time look out for our own. After all, in her year at the paper, Ashley basically did all the bitch work that us “professionals” found beneath us, and in gratitude we did what any bereaved coworkers would do: Samantha and I took her to Cafe des Amis in Paia, filled her full of hummus and Pinot Grigio and then turned her loose at Kahului Airport with what looked to me was an excessive amount of luggage. Aloha Ashley, you will be missed.
THURSDAY, July 27
Bad news in today’s Maui News for the Apana family. Seems that for a three-year time frame Maui Trucking, Inc. President Edward Apana and Secretary/Treasurer Roger Apana weren’t paying out state withholding taxes to their employees like they should have. Pleading guilty, the Apana boys promised to pay more than $59,000 in restitution. Each also agreed to pay a $2,500 fine and do 200 hours of community service in exchange for not having to go to prison. For those lacking long memories and/or access to newspaper article databases, Roger Apana—the uncle of former Maui County Mayor/current mayoral candidate James “Kimo” Apana—ran into trouble in May 2004 when the state health department fined the company he runs, Maui Scrap Metal, Inc., more than $202,000 for violating state solid waste rules by operating an “unpermitted” scrap yard.
FRIDAY, July 28
There are 10 Democrats running for Ed Case’s 2nd District congressional seat, yet the two Republicans in the race—State Senator Bob Hogue and former state Representative Quentin Kawananakoa—have taken to sniping at each other. Don’t you just love that? Anyway, Kawananakoa is pissed that Hogue—an active, current state Senator—won’t give up his column in Midweek. Hogue—did I mention he’s a state Senator? Or that he made this week’s Better Know a Candidate (pg. 6)?—refuses to do so. In fact, the good state Senator says in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin—which publishes Midweek—that he won’t dump the column because “[T]his is what I do for a living.” Then Hogue turned around and said he needs every advantage he can get because he lacks “a million dollars”—a dig at Kawananakoa being richer than God. Jumping into the fight for no good reason is Governor Linda Lingle, who says Hogue should keep his column, even though she gave up her weekly radio appearance and Republican nut job Jerry Coffee just gave up his own Midweek column when he decided to run against U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka. “I read him from time to time, and I never noticed anything political,” Lingle told the Star-Bulletin. “The [radio] program I was doing talked about programs and certain legislators, and it is two different situations.” Nothing political in Hogue’s columns? Hogue writes about three things: sports heroes, kids who want to be sports heroes and sports heroes who used to be kids. Who’s gonna disagree with that? It’s a politician’s dream column!
SATURDAY, July 29
By the way, Lingle’s rich! Well, her campaign is. So far the people who really, really want to see Linda Lingle get reelected have raised $5.8 million. That’s a huge war chest, considering Lingle’s Democratic opponents are a rag-tag group of political unknowns and has-beens. Unless of course Lingle wants to start handing money out to troubled Republicans running for office, thereby making critical allies that she’ll need for a future run at the U.S. Senate? Or is the vice presidency she wants? Anyone doubt she eventually wants to run for president?
SUNDAY, July 30
On the same day intern Gena Gammie spots what she says is a rare but huge Hawaiian Monk Seal just off Ma’alaea while surfing, I see a balding guy wearing shorts, sneakers, red cape, blue goggles and a Superman shirt wandering around the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. Coincidence? I think not.
MONDAY, July 31
Big story in today’s Maui News that puts some numbers on what most West Maui residents and workers have been saying for the last year: traffic has gone from Bad to Horrible to Apocalyptic. Seems that even state transportation officials now agree—there are more cars on the Honoapi’ilani Highway between Ma’alaea and Lahaina today than there were two years ago. Imagine that. And guess what? A lot of them seem to be visitors. In fact, from 2003 to 2005, there was an astounding 37 percent increase in the number of rental cars on the island. The story seems to put a lot of the blame on cruise ships—there have been a lot of them dropping anchor in Lahaina and Kahului the last couple years—but here’s another thought worth considering: timeshares. You’ve noticed the new Starwood complexes in North Beach, right? And they’re building more every day, both for Starwood and Intrawest. Yup, North Ka’anapali is a real boomtown for tourists, which means traffic is only going to get worse. Now as an island we’ve got two options: county officials can stop green-lighting so much construction or state officials can start paving some new bypass highways. Both seem equally impossible.
TUESDAY, Aug. 1
Anthony Pignataro has a kickass MySpace page, but it’s in a legal-size notepad. MTW