Tuesday, January 2, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Cayetano message says little

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Staff Writer

The fax came into the newsroom and made its way to my desk. I took a look, blinked twice, and did an anticipatory knuckle-crack.

Ben and Vicky’s holiday message.

I searched in vain for a highlighter pen. Or one of those teacher-type red ones. Or even the green-ink kind they use at the Hawaiian Airlines counter.

Vicky and I extend our warmest greetings to the people of Hawaii and wish everyone a happy holiday and a very healthy and prosperous New Year.

OK. Safe so far. Forgot the okina in Hawai’i, but maybe the state can’t afford stuff like that.

We envision a future of positive and meaningful changes in the year ahead that will allow us to continue the course of growth that has turned our economy around.

Meaningful changes are so much nicer than meaningless ones, because when a change doesn’t mean anything, it’s not much of a change, is it?

As we adjust to the opportunities and challenges that await us, we will continue to build a brighter tomorrow by meeting our responsibilities to protect the environment and celebrate our diverse cultural heritage, while making sure that our citizens enjoy the highest possible standard of living.

Forget the pen. Get me a machete.

All those juicy buzzwords packed into one sentence. If they had just been able to work in "paradigm," it would have been perfect. I think what the gov and Mrs. C were trying to say is that we should live well and do our thing without wrecking the place.

The spirit of aloha is the glue that holds us together. With the help of friends and loved ones who share our commitment to the ideals that set us apart as a community, Hawaii will fulfill its unique destiny as the Aloha State. If we remain true to that which has guided and sustained us, and continue to care deeply about each other, the most cherished dreams and aspirations of our children and ourselves will be realized.

Glue? Aloha is glue? I’ve heard of Aloha Shoyu and Aloha Tofu, but this must be one of those high-tech, big-money, lotsa-jobs-for-locals businesses Joe Blanco’s been working on.

OK, maybe I’m not being fair, but what’s most disappointing about the official holiday message is that it doesn’t say anything. This from a man who can always be counted on to say something — sometimes something brash or careless or ill-timed, but always something.

Maybe politicians are expected to say lots of words that don’t add up to much, especially when it’s just an insignificant New Year’s letter and not some big announcement. Maybe the governor is just like the rest of us, sending obligatory cards to aunties we never visit and friends we haven’t seen in years.

But the thing is, the man who’s looking for his legacy gave up the chance to say something he could be remembered for, and ordinarily, he does such a good job at it.

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