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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 13, 2009

Council leaves our wallets lighter

By David Shapiro

It was a grim week without a lot to take amusement from, but a few things are worth examining as we "flASHback" on the headlines:

  • A law signed by Gov. Linda Lingle tightens rules that reserve the "Made in Hawai'i" label for products that are 51 percent locally produced. Products must be 100 percent made in Hawai'i to be stamped "Ainokea."

  • Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann set up a committee to explore a possible run for governor next year. It's kind of like a Rottweiler exploring the rib roast on the dinner table.

  • Hannemann would be renewing a nasty rivalry with U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who's already announced for governor. Elections are usually about raising the most money, but with these two, it's who boils the biggest pot of mud.

  • The City Council socked Oahuans with increases in property taxes, vehicle registrations, bus fares, parking meters, zoo admissions and golf fees. Why don't they just garnishee our paychecks already?

  • Of all the taxes and fees hiked by the council, budget chairman Nestor Garcia was surprised that higher parking rates at Kapi'olani Park near the zoo drew the most public outcry. Hey, in times like these, the monkey house is the only place left to hide.

  • Hannemann was annoyed that new Councilman Ikaika Anderson engineered a lower property tax increase than the administration wanted. Wow, just sworn in and he's already under the mayor's skin. I knew the kid had potential.

  • Rail critics fumed when the council gave Hannemann $1.1 billion for the first transit link from Kapolei to Waipahu. The mayor actually hopes his elevated train carries him on a much shorter ride: across Punchbowl Street from the third floor of Honolulu Hale to the fifth floor of the Capitol.

  • On the police blotter, an alleged bank robber was arrested after he left his picture ID on the counter, a guy suspected of stealing a cop's guns was captured after a high-speed chase, and a Kaua'i dude allegedly entered a yoga studio to steal a purse, got beat up by the yoga students and crashed into cars and street signs trying to escape. Some people were born to make the rest of us feel smart.

    And the quote of the week ... from Mark Edmund "Duke" Bainum: "Leaders must not only be true, they must also care." He was one of the good ones who lived it like he spoke it. R.I.P.