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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Words to the wise, or otherwise

By David Shapiro

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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It's the little things we say that give life its zing, so we'll end the year with some of the most memorable words of local newsmakers in 2009:

• From former Rep. Jim Shon on the budget challenge facing Gov. Linda Lingle and the Legislature: "How do we absorb the pain as painlessly as possible?"

Not by using their brains as brainlessly as possible.

• From Honolulu Council Chairman Todd Apo on municipal governance: "The public deserves a council that is stable, understandable, and that provides a level of collaboration and leadership in its lawmaking and policy setting."

And until we get the council we deserve, we'll have to keep making do with the council we have.

• From Sen. Shan Tsutsui on the budget deficit: "It's going to take more than the executive and legislative branch to figure this thing out."

We can always pray to the ecclesiastical branch.

• From Rep. Gene Ward about news coverage of the economy: "If people lived by the headlines, they'd say we're going to hell in a handbasket. You guys who buy the ink by the barrel are really doom and gloom."

Is he kidding? In this economy, I can barely afford to buy ink by the cupful.

• From state Sen. Josh Green on a 13 percent raise paid to HMSA chief executive Robert Hiam as the health insurer lost $36 million: "This is an outrage. His board should fire him and hire someone with a conscience."

That meant a lot coming from one of the legislators who got a 36 percent raise while the state swam in red ink.

• From House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro on the state budget: "I don't believe in pulling rabbits out of a hat, or wishing upon a star, or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

How else could legislators have scored 36 percent pay raises in this economy?

• From Donna Mercado Kim on public criticism of tax increases: "To our critics, I would like to say, 'Please come and walk in our shoes for 60 legislative days.' "

Very funny. After saying that, she hosted a Waikk fundraiser to hit up power brokers for campaign donations to use against any challengers who tried to walk in her shoes.

• From Board of Education member Janis Akuna on the board's refusal to pass a budget: "Are we supposed to actually make a decision based on probability?"

It might be a nice change from decisions based on fantasy.

• From the state Ethics Commission on UH spending $2 million to send 600 people, including families and guests, to the 2008 Sugar Bowl: "The commission found no evidence of bad faith on the part of the University of Hawai'i."

That's Hawai'i logic: Lousy judgment - evidence of bad faith = ainokea.

• From U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye after his hearing on how Hawai'i is spending federal stimulus money: "I leave this place 'up.' I feel good."

The man can still handle a James Brown tune, can't he?

• From state labor chief Darwin Ching on plans to seek a $61 million loan to cover shortages in the unemployment fund: "We'll be insolvent, but we won't be bankrupt." That's Lingle-nomics in a nutshell.

• From UH football coach Greg McMackin after a tough road trip to Louisiana Tech: "There's no whining in football."

Except when coaches lose. Or don't think they're paid enough. Or don't like their facilities. Or get caught gay-bashing.

• From Hawai'i Democratic Party chairman Brian Schatz on the 2010 elections: "The party that will be successful is the one that can articulate a way to navigate through this difficult economic period."

That's the problem all articulation and no navigation.