Friday, November 27, 2015         


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A new era in government arrives with unspoken costs

By David Shapiro


The coronation pavilion at Iolani Palace was center stage for this week's "flASHback" on the news that amused and confused:

» Linda Lingle's "New Beginning for Hawaii" officially gave way to Neil Abercrombie's "New Day in Hawaii." Sincerest hopes that we're not on another new road to old disappointments.

» Abercrombie, sworn in as governor wearing a cream jacket, a pink shirt and a flowery paisley tie, said he took inspiration from the Dalai Lama and Protestant philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Not to mention Checkers and Pogo.

» As Hawaii Supreme Court Justice James Duffy began to administer the oath of office to Abercrombie, his wife had to remind him, "Put your hand up." I guess he was still stuck in the campaign mode of having his hand out.

» Speaking of which, Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz asked invitees not to bring gifts to the inauguration, but to drop the goodies off at their offices. Or they could save themselves the trip altogether and just make direct deposits to their campaign funds.

» Schatz challenged the local citizenry to move beyond the partisan extremes being seen in mainland politics. Golly, 68 Democrats and eight Republicans in the Hawaii Legislature isn't extremely partisan enough for him?

» Dissidents in the state House continued their attempts to unseat veteran Speaker Calvin Say, complaining that he and his committee chairs won't accept change. Paper currency, checks and credit cards make campaign accounting so much more convenient.

» Mayor Peter Carlisle said Lingle's $350,000 audit questioning the finances of the $5.5 billion Oahu rail project was an "appalling waste" of taxpayer dollars. You know we're in trouble when the only point of agreement is that our money is being wasted.

» City Councilman Rod Tam, facing sentencing next month on 26 counts of theft and falsification for meal expenses he charged the city, told his Council colleagues goodbye as his term neared an end and said he'd spend more time with his family. Well, on visiting days, anyway.

» A judge placed a gag order on a $55,000 settlement Hawaii County paid to a paving company over allegations that the county violated its own procurement code. I doubt Big Island taxpayers needed a court order to start gagging.

» With budgets tight, the University of Hawaii and the Air Force postponed plans for a telescope on Mauna Kea to hunt for killer asteroids. I'm sure the end of the world can wait a few years until the economy improves.

And the quote of the week ... from the late Senior U.S. District Judge Samuel P. King: "Every judge has an obligation: If you see something wrong in the community, you speak out against it." His public trust was never broken. R.I.P.

David Shapiro can be reached at or

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