WEDNESDAY, Feb. 21
Okay boys and girls, today I want to introduce you to a very good friend of mine. His name is Irony, and he and I hang out now and then. Anyway, he’s really cool and lately he’s been popping up in the damnedest places. Like the latest issue of Hawaii Business magazine (February 2007). And though he concealed himself so well that I don’t believe the people who published the magazine had any idea he was there, I didn’t have to read very far into the issue to find him. But there he was in the page 18 story “Lanai Harvests Luxury Homes”—a brief piece on the growing popularity of living on Lanai. “The other islands are becoming a little busy, a little congested and people are starting to turn to Lanai as one of the few places that still offers the Old Hawaii lifestyle,” says Mary Hakoda in the story. Isn’t it great how the author capitalized “Old Hawaii” right there? That’s how you know that my friend Irony is hanging around. See, Mary Harkoda said all that because she’s a broker with Island of Lanai Properties and makes a living selling $2.5 million condominiums that front the Challenge of Manele golf course and include two-car garages, covered lanais and possibly even a spa. If anything just screams “Old Hawaii,” it’s gotta be a $2.5 million luxury condo.
THURSDAY, Feb. 22
Hey Hawaii Superferry people: somebody never gave the State Environmental Council the word that your boat is going through without the need for a pesky Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). I mean, they’re just an advisory body and all, part of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control—Anna Nicole Smith’s infant daughter probably has more power than they do—but today they did vote nine to one (with one abstention) that the Hawai`i Department of Transportation (HDOT) should have required a full environmental review before giving Hawaii Superferry, Inc. (HSF) the go-ahead. And as expected, anti-Superferry groups are already cheering their victory. “Not insignificant was testimony that HDOT had set precedent by doing its own 561 page EIS for the Oahu Intraisland Ferry System in 1989,” reads a Maui Tomorrow Foundation press release sent out soon after the vote. “Throughout the hearing, the Council’s legal counsel and the HSF legal counsel argued to defer a ruling, and question the Council’s legal ability to take any action. The Council, however, saw this issue as an exact area in which their interpretation was sanctioned, and felt that the Courts and the public could well benefit from the Council’s own interpretation of their rules.”
FRIDAY, Feb. 23
Here’s a fun fact: according to the latest numbers put out by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), there are 3,449 licensed real estate brokers and salespeople—active and inactive—in Maui County. That’s 2.5 percent of the population! Or put another way, one out of every 40 residents in the county is a licensed real estate professional.
SATURDAY, Feb. 24
Kinda says something, doesn’t it?
SUNDAY, Feb. 25
You see that full-color ad for the proposed Malulani Hospital in today’s Maui News? “State Senators [Roz] Baker, [Kalani] English & [Shan] Tsutsui Have Turned Their Backs on Babies Like Lily,” the ad says in big bold letters over a picture of a tiny premature baby, presumably this “Lily” that the good legislators allegedly have it in for. Paid for by an organization calling itself Supporters Holding Accountable Maui’s Elected Senators (SHAMES), which itself is apparently a radical splinter group of People United to Support a Second Hospital (PUSHH), the ad alleges that “Lily” had to go to Oahu because there “is no neonatal care available” at Maui Memorial Medical Center. “Why don’t they [the senators] care about babies like Lily?” the ad asks. “Why are they opposed to needed new facilities on Maui?” Ads as subtle and measured as this have been running in the News for the past few days—some merely say that the good state senators “turned their backs” on doctors and heart patients—and while it goes without saying that Baker, English and Tsutsui are crying foul, the kicker is that some members of PUSHH also despise the SHAMES ads. “I think it’s very detrimental to our cause,” Hermine Harman, PUSHH co-chairwoman, said in a Maui News piece yesterday.
MONDAY, Feb. 26
The cruise industry is growing faster than ever, and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) has just announced that it brought in $2 billion during 2006, but somehow managed to show a $131 million loss on the year. Their stated reason for such a miserable year, which should cheer up Wall Street and utterly depress the rest of us, is really quite simple: labor. Specifically, NCL is blaming their decision a couple years ago to run interisland Hawai`i cruises with all-American crews working ships flying U.S. flags, according to a report posted today on the Pacific Business News website. “Looking ahead, we face the challenge of an unprecedented 1.6 million capacity days of low-cost foreign-flag competition in the Hawaii trade during 2007,” NCL CEO Colin Veitch said in the report. “We, therefore, are closely examining all options in our efforts to bring NCL America to profitability.” So there goes the dream of NCL bucking the ugly, global trend of cruise ships possessing American names but flying foreign flags and carrying poorly paid, Third World crews. Not even four years ago Veitch had told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that though labor costs on his Hawai`i ships would be double that of other vessels—American crewmembers demand American pay rates, after all—his company would cope through “innovative re-engineering” of ship operations, like contracting out laundry.
TUESDAY, Feb. 27
No kidding: laundry. Seemed like a no-brainer to me.
Anthony Pignataro knows what it is like to do laundry. MTW