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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 13, 2010

Capitol resurrects that old ferry tale

By David Shapiro

Legislators had their tentacles into everything as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Hanauma Bay was closed to the public because of an invasion of jellyfish. That's what happens when the Legislature takes a day off to go swimming.

• Maui Rep. Joe Souki wants lawmakers to resurrect interisland Superferry service as a state operation. Very funny. The only way the state knows how to run a ferry is out of business.

• Responding to the furlough Friday furor, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill requiring Hawai'i public school students to spend 190 days a year in class. Whether their teachers will join them is another question.

• The House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would allow the state to sell a license for a single casino on O'ahu. If it works, we can extend the concept and license a single house of ill repute. Oh wait, we already have the Capitol.

• It was tough going for Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona as the Legislature killed his proposals for a volunteer sports authority and an independent elections office. I warned him he'd lose his air of authority if he cut off the mustache.

• Mayor Mufi Hannemann got 39 lawmakers to help him pressure Gov. Linda Lingle to approve a final rail EIS he hasn't given her yet. The way it was orchestrated, you could almost hear Gladys Knight and The Pips singing "Midnight Train to Nowhere."

• The state may delay paying $500 million in tax refunds and medical claims until after July 1 because of the budget deficit. What a journey it's been for the Lingle administration. They came in as world beaters and go out as deadbeats.

• Hawai'i's largest Toyota dealer extended service hours and increased staffing to repair customers' sticky gas pedals. That's a novel idea. If it was the state, they'd send everybody on furlough.

• A man accused of calling 911 and threatening to kill President Obama during his holiday visit got off with a misdemeanor and four days served after telling the judge he was drunk. Only in Hawai'i is that an affirmative defense.

And the quote of the week ... from gambling industry lobbyist John Radcliffe to lawmakers: "Making gambling legal in Hawai'i would be the most intelligent thing the Legislature could do this year." Whew, if that's true it pretty much guarantees they won't do it.