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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 15, 2010

Passing the bucks around in politics

By David Shapiro

It's "show me the money" time in the local political season as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

• Political donors have poured $3 million into the special election to fill for six months the U.S. House seat in the 1st Congressional District. It seems the buying and selling of politicians is Hawai'i's most recession-proof industry.

• A University of Hawai'i study says tiger sharks use mental maps to guide their search for food. It's the same process by which the pols find their way from fundraiser to fundraiser.

• The Campaign Spending Commission cited underdog Republican gubernatorial candidate John Carroll for two minor violations and fined him $100. The poor guy, there goes half his war chest.

• Local Democrats led by senior U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye put the pressure on the national party to butt out of the Hawai'i congressional special election. Things got so tense that Inouye demanded to see President Obama's birth certificate.

• Former TV news anchor Ramsay Wharton announced she'll run as a Republican against two-term U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono in the 2nd Congressional District. The challenger will have an uphill battle to pierce Hirono's aura of invisibility.

• Officer Chad Giesseman, Honolulu's top cop on DUI busts, said the excuses he hears most often from drivers over the limit are "I gotta use the bathroom" and "family emergency." It sounds like the City Council trying to balance the budget.

• Premature births have declined in the United States for two years in a row, increasing only in Hawai'i. Our children get a head start on being left behind.

• Attorney Michael Green said of a client who got five years for pimping an underage girl on Craigslist, "He's really a decent, decent young man." Only as seen through a lawyer's money-colored glasses.

• Retiring senator and big-wave champ Fred Hemmings shrugged and said he was going surfing after House politics killed his farewell bill to create North Shore surf reserves. Nothing relieves political frustration like an endless summer.

And the quote of the week ... from congressional candidate Charles Djou, defending his City Council votes to pursue federal stimulus money he considers wasteful: "If the U.S. Congress is going to engage in stupid, foolish behavior and give away money, I definitely think the city government should go out there and try to get some of that money." At least he doesn't waste irony.