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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maybe bookies can help budget

By David Shapiro

It's time to call in the bookies as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• State tax collections were 9 percent below what the Council on Revenues predicted, ballooning the budget deficit. We'd get more accurate forecasts from the Chinatown betting line.

• It's rumored that President Obama plans another Hawai'i family holiday. That would add a special touch to our celebration of the Twelve Furlough Days of Christmas.

• Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona tried to broker a deal on school furloughs while Gov. Linda Lingle was traveling, but nobody answered his call for a meeting. Now he knows why Lingle had to go to China to get a little respect.

• The Honolulu Police Commission is under fire for adding names to the list of finalists for a new chief turned in by its selection committee. The City Council will meet Monday to try to fix the dispute unless the fix is already in.

• Legislators questioned what distorted values could cut monthly state payments to poor, disabled people from $450 to $300 in this economy. Perhaps the same distorted values that gave legislators a 36 percent pay raise?

• The state's "Recreational Renaissance Plan B" drew sharp criticism in hearings around the state. Now we know what the "B" stands for: bupkes.

• Hawai'i's primary election date may have to move up under a new federal law. That'll make it more convenient for the majority to get not voting out of the way earlier.

• Surveys ranked Honolulu No. 100 out of 200 "best performing" cities and Hawai'i the 19th-worst state in fiscal health. You know, we've been at the bottom so many times that mediocrity looks strangely good.

• KHNL owner Raycom Media Inc. denies that its newsroom merger with KGMB is a "sale" despite its payment of $22 million to KGMB's owners. Isn't that what hookers say when they do transactions in "roses"?

• The Walt Disney Co. is remaking Mickey Mouse with a hipper image. If they give him too much of a clue, the Council on Revenues will have to find a new numbers cruncher.

And the quote of the week ... from 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Wallace Tashima in upholding school furloughs: "What's the least bad of all the choices?" One clue: The U.S. education secretary called our choice the most "mind-boggling."