WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4
Governor Linda Lingle loves to talk about how her administration offers “economic incentives” to television and movie companies to come to Hawai`i—incentives like 15-20 percent refundable tax credits. What she doesn’t like to say is she’s perfectly happy keeping those tax credits a secret from the taxpayers who ultimately have to pay for them. “Film and TV production companies get an estimated $28 million in tax credits annually in Hawai`i, but the state will not release the names of the companies benefiting from the program,” reports the Honolulu Advertiser today. According to the paper, state officials insist that saying who benefits from the tax credits would hurt the poor production companies. “The productions would have a problem making the information public—particularly their financial information—for competitive reasons,” Hawai`i Film Commissioner Donne Dawson said in the story. And by all means, we must protect the loyal, valiant film production companies. If we didn’t bow down to their every whim, bend over for their every request, they might just pack up their cameras, lunch wagons and incredibly hot actors and go film elsewhere, like Canada or Australia or that one Tahitian island Marlon Brando used to own.
THURSDAY, Oct. 5
On this, the National Day of Resistance against George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, well over a hundred people braved the heat and humidity to march from Maui Community College to the state office building in Wailuku. It was a festive, eclectic bunch, too—though I’m not sure what the guy dressed like a Footlocker salesman was trying to say—all marching up Main Street as they chanted and banged on drums and carried signs saying “Bring Them All Home,” “Maui For Peace” and “Torture Is Evil.” And I’m proud to say that I joined them, though by “joined them” I really mean “watched them from a table near the window of Main St. Bistro while dining on a fried chicken sandwich with mac salad while they yelled and chanted and cheered in front of the Main Street Promenade.” Isn’t freedom wonderful? Of course, there will be some naysayers out there—and don’t think that I don’t know who you are—who will describe my actions as “lazy,” “useless” and perhaps even “lazy”—oh, wait, I said that already. Anyway, they’ll say I sat by and did nothing while good, hard-working people took time off from work to march in the hot, hot sun and show their contempt for a war gone mad. But what these people don’t know is that I had to sit in that restaurant for nearly an hour waiting for the marchers to pass by. In a hard wooden chair, too! And to top it all off, my chicken sandwich was kind of hot and rather messy and I didn’t have nearly enough napkins! Who made the bigger sacrifice now? Sherman was right—war is all hell.
FRIDAY, Oct. 6
Speaking of war, we’ve got both good and bad news in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. In a victory for state environmentalists, Earthjustice and attorney/failed Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate David Henkin, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Army violated environmental laws when it brought a Stryker Combat Brigade to Oahu and the Big Island. The ruling was quite harsh, ordering the army to “cease all Stryker-related activities.” Now the army reacted exactly as you’d think the army would react: they pledged to comply with the preceding court decision that ruled they could do as they wished with the Stryker armored vehicles, yet they also promised to “take action as appropriate” with the new decision. The army had insisted that they needed to operate the Strykers—which are larger and better armed than armored cars but smaller than tanks—in Hawai`i because of the jungle terrain, but the appeals judges didn’t buy it, noting that the weapons were designed to fight in cities. Is it any wonder Republicans want to chop up the 9th District? Celebration though, should be short-lived, because the Star-Bulletin also reported that Congressmen Neil Abercrombie (D, Hawai`i) and John Murtha (D, Illinois) announced yesterday that because the war in Iraq is going so well for the insurgents, death squads and terrorists that the President Bush will have to call up every National Guard unit we have to deal with it. You know, unless Bush would be willing to end the war. That could happen, right?
SATURDAY, Oct. 7
Yeah, that’ll happen about the same time Bush starts speaking in complete sentences.
SUNDAY, Oct. 8
Fascinating Associated Press story in today’s Maui News about a new state Tax Review Commission report on the failure of Hawai`i’s technology tax credit—the most generous of any state in the Union—to create any jobs. Since 2001, the state has handed out $185 million in tax credits to encourage companies to set up shop in the state and bring in lots of high paying, high tech jobs. Like most corporate welfare, this credit apparently hasn’t done a bit of good for anyone but the corporations themselves. In fact, the study shows the number of high tech jobs in the state dropping 2.7 percent between 2001 and 2004. The study’s authors seem mildly surprised by this, even though the AP reported that, “companies don’t have to create jobs to receive the credit.”
MONDAY, Oct. 9
Today the Sierra Club’s Hawaii chapter surprised no one by endorsing Democrat Mazie Hirono in the Second District race. But what is surprising is that I’ve yet to receive some ridiculously inflammatory email from the National Republican Congressional Committee using this news to question Hirono’s patriotism, willingness to cut taxes, etc. Guess they’re too busy dealing with the question of whether news of recently disgraced Congressman Mark “Maf54” Foley (R, Floriduh) will completely trash any hopes of the GOP retaining their grip on the U.S. Congress.
TUESDAY, Oct. 10
Anthony Pignataro thanks you for asking. MTW