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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where integrity, conviction clash

By David Shapiro

Between the budget hustle in the Legislature and the jousting for the Windward City Council seat, politics lead the way as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

  • Some 400 protesters held a "tea party" at the state Capitol to denounce high taxes, but legislators advanced a variety of tax increases anyway. They must figure tea drinkers don't vote.

  • Lawmakers complained of a "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't" dilemma when they voted to trim their 36 percent pay raise to 31 percent. Either way, their wallets are damned fatter.

  • The top three candidates for the late Barbara Marshall's $52,446 council seat have spent $270,000 campaigning including $110,00 of their own money. Either they have lousy business sense or the job has greater profit potential than we realize.

  • Police issued warnings to Windward council candidates waving signs at busy intersections and on medians. Drivers complained the politicking was distracting them from their cell phone calls.

  • Hawai'i real estate prices are falling because of the economy, but the city's estimated cost of buying land for rail transit has more than doubled. Economists call this elasticity. I call it a government project.

  • The City Council Budget Committee voted to sink TheBoat after learning the commuter ferry costs taxpayers a subsidy of $120 per roundtrip. Heck, we should be able to get two or three train rides for that price.

  • Honolulu Councilman Rod Tam says he's running for lieutenant governor in 2010. It sounds like a dream job for the guy who seriously proposed paid nap breaks for government officials.

  • Community objections halted plans for "swim with the sharks" tours off Maunalua Bay. Promoters decided they could offer a similar experience with less hassle by giving tours of neighborhood boards.

  • Hawai'i Sen. Daniel Akaka's proposed Plain Writing Act would require federal documents to be written in understandable prose. Here's a crazy idea: Why not start by applying it to the Akaka Bill?

  • Hawai'i residents are among the least stressed-out in the nation, according to a medical survey. I don't know whether to credit our aloha spirit or our ainokea attitude.

    And the quote of the week ... from Sen. Robert Bunda on the stalled civil unions bill:

    "Many of my colleagues were criticized for choosing the integrity of the process over voting their political convictions." Where else but politics do integrity and convictions come into conflict?

    Reach David Shapiro at (Unknown address).