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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sharks spared, but not schoolkids


By David Shapiro

A legislative nod to kindred spirits starts us off as we plant tongue in cheek and "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Lawmakers reached a last-minute deal to ban the sale and possession of shark fins in Hawai'i. In the end, cultural and environmental disagreements were set aside in the name of professional courtesy.

• The Humane Society described the measure as a "wonderful day for Hawai'i's sharks." If Hawai'i's schoolchildren bite a few surfboards, can they have a turn on the priority list, too?

• Speaking of the schools, frustrated parents released their own plan to end furlough Fridays. It would require Gov. Linda Lingle, the Board of Education and teachers union leaders to sit with their hands folded until they learn to act their age and play nice.

• The United Public Workers chief wants Sen. Donna Mercado Kim to apologize for taking it as a threat when a prison guard angry about budget cuts said it would be Kim's own fault if she was shot while driving around. Was she supposed to take it as a safe-driving tip?

• Mayoral candidate Panos Prevedouros joined the Republican Party, saying Hawai'i has too many Democrats and lawyers and too few Republicans and engineers. Apparently, we can never have too many politicians who say things that make absolutely no sense.

• Legal fees to defend the city's $5.3 billion commuter train are at $635,000 and rising. Rail is turning out to be a great jobs generator for lawyers.

• Congratulations to Hawai'i's senior Sen. Daniel Inouye on becoming a grandfather for the the first time. Where the handprint on the birth certificate usually goes, young Maggie got an earmark.

• Back at the Legislature, lawmakers advanced a bill to prohibit the state from seizing legal firearms from citizens during an emergency. Poor Donna Kim had better keep her eyes open the next time she's fleeing a tsunami.

• Thousands of consumer complaints against businesses and licensed professionals would be kept secret under a bill nearing passage in the Legislature. Protecting sharks is getting to be a major theme of this session.

And the quote of the week ... from Rep. Roy Takumi on why the popular A-Plus after-school program is a target for fee increases: "A-Plus is not considered educational. It's just a safe place to keep your children." So how is that different from the regular school day?