Looks like there are more problems with the Maui General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC). And why not? It’s got 25 members—too many to allow for chummy, easy consensuses but too few for a raucous convention. The committee—charged with nothing less than deciding what on Maui should get preserved and what should get paved over—has been around since January. It ran into problems during the summer when some pro-development members accused other slow-growth members of not putting a vote to send the Maui County Council a letter asking for a land development moratorium on the agenda (the county’s attorneys eventually nullified the vote, saying it was illegal). Anyway, last night the election of a chairperson and vice-chairperson was on the agenda—all legal according to the Sunshine Law and Hoyle—but didn’t get done either because the panel couldn’t come up with a consensus. What did we expect, considering the committee’s make-up? The slow-growth members—like Dick Mayer and Lucienne de Naie—will always fight the developer shills—Mercer “Chubby” Vicens, Warren Suzuki—and vice versa. And the real work of the committee (actually coming up with the county’s new General Plan) hasn’t even started yet. Why can’t all this island’s boards and commissions be this interesting?
THURSDAY, Nov. 23
Just in time for one of the busier travel days of the year, The Maui News is on hand to tell us that there’s no parking at Kahului Airport. Okay, so there’s parking—1,100 spaces, to be inexact—but they’re taken pretty much all the time these days. “Right now, we’re almost full,” Scott Ishikawa of the state Department of Transportation says in the paper today. “Airport parking is going to be at a premium.” But have no fear! There’s a “contingency plan” to open up an old rental car lot and a grass field for additional parking, should the need arise. And that will allow an extra 100 cars to park at the terminal! Look, I know it’s tough to park at the airport, but it’s tough to park most places on Maui. So in a way not having adequate parking at the airport is a more than adequate way to get tourists acclimated to life on our fair isle. And for you locals out there who have to deal with Kahului Airport parking on a more or less regular basis, take heart in the fact that the rest of Hawai`i’s airports aren’t doing too well either.
FRIDAY, Nov. 24
Guess what every big airport in the state except Kahului is getting? More parking spaces! Today’s Honolulu Advertiser says there’s a big state plan to add a thousand spaces to Honolulu International, 900 to Lihue Airport, 797 to Hilo International, 725 to Kona Airport and zero to Kahului Airport. Honolulu especially will cash in. According to a report by the Economic Momentum Commission report quoted in the paper, the airport will turn into a “state-of-the-art facility with an authentic Hawaiian experience.” Apparently when most people think of authentic Hawai`i, they visualize a bustling terminal lined with jet airliners. I know I certainly do. But look on the bright side—in the next five years Kahului Airport will add an expanded ticket lobby, new jet bridges, more gates, new escalators, all new airfield lighting, an improved airport perimeter road and a brand new air-conditioning chiller plant. A new chiller plant! That’s as authentic Hawai`i as you’re going to get!
SATURDAY, Nov. 25
Lame duck Mayor Alan Arakawa surprised no one yesterday when he vetoed the Maui County Council’s new workforce housing law requiring 40 to 50 percent of all new residential developments sell at prices affordable to working class people. According to today’s Maui News, Arakawa’s reasoning was that the new law would discourage builders—who make lots more profit from big, expensive houses than little, affordable ones—from taking on residential projects, though he also said that there are “more than enough” affordable homes getting ready for final approval. I suppose most people—considering that the council approved the law by a vote of eight to nothing and the fact that the mayor’s out of a job in early January—expect an easy override of Arakawa’s veto. And I suppose they’re right, though I believe “most people” also thought that developers would actually build the affordable homes they agreed to build under the old rules that predated the council’s new workforce law.
SUNDAY, Nov. 26
In my opinion, there’s been entirely too much focus on the negative aspects of President George W. Bush’s visit to Hawai`i last week. Yes, a Honolulu motorcycle cop tragically died of injuries sustained in a presidential motorcade escorting accident that injured two other officers. And yes, person or persons unknown did beat up and rob Bush’s 25-year-old acting White House Travel Office director as he strolled through Honolulu’s International Marketplace at 2 a.m. And while that sounds like a lot of tragedy for a visit that lasted barely 17 hours, we must not forget that Bush’s trip here had many positive outcomes. Like the fact that Governor Linda Lingle got to sit next to Bush during dinner at Admiral William Fallon’s (head of U.S. Pacific Command) house. “He [Bush, not Fallon] was very relaxed at night after coming back from Asia,” Lingle said in yesterday’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. “It was much more of a social setting rather than a foreign policy discussion, but obviously it came up because we’re all interested in it… We joked about the elections here. I told him he was in all my opponent’s ads.” See? Good times.
MONDAY, Nov. 27
Lots of pissed off residents waving signs and protesting outside the state Department of Health offices in Wailuku this morning over the recent decision nixing Malulani Health’s application to build a private hospital in Kihei, saying such a facility would rob Maui Memorial of personnel and resources. Keep in mind this group is entirely different from the pissed off residents who want a hospital in West Maui. No word on when they’ll picket the state office building.
TUESDAY, Nov. 28
Such good times.
Anthony Pignataro has produced numerous movies and television programs, including the enormously unpopular When Celebrities Attack! series. MTW