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Doi's honesty and principles set him apart from the pack

By David Shapiro
The difference between Nelson Doi and most current political leaders is that when Doi talked about taking care of his people, he meant the people in his Hawaii island community — not his campaign donors.

State's laxity on little tasks can't bode well for big stuff

By David Shapiro
I've had issues with the state's laxity in cashing checks since the Cayetano administration, and it's discouraging to learn from June Watanabe's Kokua Line report Wednesday that little progress has been made in 20 years.

Now that Chicago has won, Hawaii should just move on

By David Shapiro
Now that Chicago has been chosen for Barack Obama's presidential library over Honolulu and New York, Hawaii should wish the Windy City well and move on to other priorities.

Diverse activities can exist with respect on Mauna Kea

By David Shapiro
I'm not one to knock telescope protesters atop Mauna Kea for their belief that Hawaii's highest mountain is a sacred place deserving of protection.

Dedication, practice bring young rockers to Blaisdell

By David Shapiro
The first time my granddaughter Sloane played guitar in public was at a recital a few months after she began taking lessons at 7, grouped with nine other students to strum Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars songs.

It takes 2 tries, but governor gets it right with DLNR pick

By David Shapiro
You seldom get a second chance to make a first impression, but Gov. David Ige may have found a way with his inspired appointment of respected conservationist Suzanne Case to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources after he was forced to withdraw development lobbyist Carleton Ching.

Ending rail near Aala Park seems like a viable option

By David Shapiro
Gov. David Ige had the right instinct when he doubted an extension of Oahu's rail excise tax was needed this year, and hopefully he'll hold firm as the Legislature waffles.

Ige's DLNR fiasco echoes dark days of Abercrombie

By David Shapiro
For David Ige to recover from his doomed appointment of Castle & Cooke lobbyist Carleton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources, he needs only to recommit to memory his central campaign promise: "Do the right thing the right way."

Disagreeing with Gabbard earns branding as a bigot

By David Shapiro
The Hindu American Foundation of Washington, D.C., commented in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Thursday that it's been a difficult month for Hindu Americans, citing the battering of a strolling grandfather by an Alabama cop, the vandalizing of two Hindu temples near Seattle and the rude snub by an Idaho legislator when a Hindu chaplain prayed.

Fixation on IS semantics casts doubt on Gabbard

By David Shapiro
Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's repeated bashing of President Barack Obama for referring to the Islamic State as terrorist rather than radically Islamic is becoming silly.

Ige maintains silent stance over land agency nominees

By David Shapiro
The ill will Gov. David Ige generated by naming Castle and Cooke lobbyist Carleton Ching to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources is compounded by his adamant refusal to explain his rationale for turning over state lands — our precious jewels — to a guy known for making bling.

Small agencies like the zoo have big management woes

By David Shapiro
When my daughter was a baby in the early 1970s, we'd visit the Honolulu Zoo most Sunday mornings so my wife could sleep in after a long week of nighttime breast feedings.

Caldwell, HART maintain haphazard rail budget path

By David Shapiro
Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation can blame their own doublespeak for hostile public and legislative reaction to pleas for bonds and more taxes to cover rail cost overruns.

Ige quietly plods away as Caldwell slams panic button

By David Shapiro
Gov. David Ige campaigned for office on his mentor George Ariyoshi's old mantra of "quiet but effective."

UH is ill-positioned to take its time seeking a new AD

By David Shapiro
The University of Hawaii's lack of urgency in putting its athletic house in order is confounding.

Get a realistic rail budget or the bucks stop here

By David Shapiro
City officials have been so misleading for so long in spinning the construction costs, timetable and operating expenses for the $5.26 billion rail system that few believe what they say anymore.

Eloquence of our leaders never fails to spice the year

By David Shapiro
It's time to start closing out 2014, so I offer 10 favorite news quotes that nicely framed the year: From former Gov. Neil Abercrombie: "We're back, we're on track, we're in the black." It turned out that he forgot the most important part: "I'm getting sacked."

Use sale of HEI to ensure state's clean energy future

By David Shapiro
Since Florida-based NextEra Energy announced it will buy Hawaiian Electric for $4.3 billion, many public officials have hoped the new owner will better HEI's dismal record on reducing fossil fuels and cutting rates.

Ige has potential to bring peace back to isle politics

By David Shapiro
Gov. David Ige, who made a campaign promise to do the right things in the right way for Hawaii's future, hit many of the right notes as he set the tone in his inaugural speech.

Upcoming elections to see generational shift in power

By David Shapiro
However the general election turns out, it'll represent the most significant youth movement in Hawaii's highest offices since the early days of statehood.

Abercrombie's swan song falls short of being graceful

By David Shapiro
Fellow Democrats who gave Gov. Neil Abercrombie an abrupt heave-ho in their August primary have mostly laid off of him since his humiliating defeat, not wanting to kick a guy while he's down.

Humorous bonding moment teaches unexpected lesson

By David Shapiro
I was in Kailua town with my 10-year-old granddaughter, Nakaylee, when we came upon a hen with a half-dozen fluffy yellow chicks in tow. "The babies are so cute," Kaylee squealed. "I want to catch one and take it home for a pet."

Affable Ige must now show he can firmly take the lead

By David Shapiro
After David Ige's surprise announcement that he would challenge Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, a backyard pundit whose patience with the bombastic Abercrombie had worn thin emailed me, "It's about time we had another George Ariyoshi, a local boy with brains and respect."

Elders' plush world comes at expense of youths' future

By David Shapiro
My expressions of approval that this year's election will bring a younger generation of political leaders to power in Hawaii has drawn ire from some fellow senior citizens.

Gubernatorial rivals play guilt-by-association game

By David Shapiro
The 2014 governor's election, which could shape public policy in Hawaii for the next eight years, has devolved into a shabby battle of guilt by association between the two major-party candidates.

Cachola scores re-election despite a dubious record

By David Shapiro
In baseball, it's three strikes and you're out. In local politics, it's three strikes and you get to circle the bases to re-election unopposed. For Rep. Romy Cachola, the first strike was when he was accused of amassing votes for his 2012 election to the House by "helping" elderly voters in his nursing home-rich Kalihi district with their mail-in ballots.

Pitiful state of main roads reveal government gridlock

By David Shapiro
Mayor Kirk Caldwell's road crews recently came to Enchanted Lake to repave the miles of roads and side streets in our sprawling Kailua subdivision.

Bills would benefit the city, but also help the homeless

By David Shapiro
A rule of good management is to never let anybody get comfortable in a bad situation. That's why the City Council was right to rein in the homeless overrunning Waikiki by giving police tools to clear the sidewalks and control urinating and defecating in public spaces.

Isle Dems in Congress must stay alert to their situations

By David Shapiro
I had a conversation with U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz when U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was still deciding whether to run against him or Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Schatz guessed Hanabusa would run against him to try to fulfill Inouye's wish that she succeed him.

Rush by city, not lawsuits, to blame for rail's expense

By David Shapiro
City transit officials are tiresome in their dishonest attempts to blame citizen lawsuits for massive cost overruns that are shredding their promise to build Oahu's $5.26 billion rail line on time and on budget.

UH leaders should assess need for Manoa chancellor

By David Shapiro
University of Hawaii President David Lassner's decision to fire Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple barely a month after his own appointment has raised the frustration of UH critics to a fever pitch.

Old leaders need to make room for younger talent

By David Shapiro
Back in the 1990s when the Internet's impact on news began to be felt, media critic Jon Katz accused newspapers of what he called "raging old-fartism."

Employing can-do attitude can turn entire day around

By David Shapiro
It was looking like a really bad day. I had a meeting in town with the Howard Hughes Corp., but my car's back end was shimmying like a twerking Miley Cyrus.

Cayetano's negativity taints heated race for U.S. Senate

By David Shapiro
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano is using the attention he's getting as a victim of negative campaigning by Pacific Resource Partnership to fuel his own negative campaign against U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz.

Teacher fights, sound bites steam up start of summer

By David Shapiro
Hawaii's summer doldrums are starting to look a lot like an election as we "flASHback" on the month's news that amused and confused:

Races for legislative seats lack the thrill of top tickets

By David Shapiro
Hawaii's 2014 election has drawn refreshing competition at the top of the ballot, with most action set in motion by the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

At new luxe Kakaako condo, only the richest need apply

By David Shapiro
Few news stories induce a gasp in nearly every paragraph, but last Sunday's account of the groundbreaking for the Howard Hughes Corp.'s 36-story Waiea luxury condominium at Ward Center was such a story.

Take cue from Hawaiians and end enrollment effort

By David Shapiro
The chaos created in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs by CEO Kamana'opono Crabbe has squashed what little credibility existed for the Native Hawaiian Roll, Kana'iolowalu.

Protesters of UH candidate didn't bother to listen first

By David Shapiro
Each week seems to bring a new example in Hawaii of civil public discourse being hijacked by self-righteous dogmatists waving placards with trite slogans. It was at the University of Hawaii this time, where retired Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski was picketed, booed and hissed.

Plant, political happenings produce powerful stench

By David Shapiro
And the quote of the month … from Foster Botanical Garden's Scot Mitamura on the corpse flower's stink: "It takes so much energy to produce the scent. The scent comes out in pulses and it also heats up."Kind of like the closing days of the Legislature.

Obamacare fiasco bursting with officials' incompetence

By David Shapiro
The bungled rollout of Obamacare is a lesson on why so many people are leery of expanding government: It does big projects poorly and then runs from accountability.

Attacks on BOE chairman amount to religious bigotry

By David Shapiro
Attempts by gay rights activists and atheists to unseat Don Horner from the Board of Education because he's a volunteer Bible teacher with New Hope Diamond Head are an outrageous display of religious bigotry.

Prison changes a hard sell with guards playing hooky

By David Shapiro
Gov. Neil Abercrombie was on Hawaii island last month touting his planned overhaul of Hawaii's prisons to 26 corrections officer recruits hired to reopen the Kulani Correctional Facility in July.

Wonton soup saves the day in another bout with illness

By David Shapiro
There's something mystical about the healing power of wonton soup. I've been coming off a miserable stomach bug that landed me in the emergency room in a state of dehydration.

Housing First is a key start to tackling homelessness

By David Shapiro
One of the sorriest times in recent city history was when former Mayor Mufi Hannemann abruptly threw the homeless out of Ala Moana Park during one of our worst rains ever so they wouldn't blight a festival he planned at the park.

Abercrombie's about-face on HCDA rewards war chest

By David Shapiro
If the Legislature doesn't restrain the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which governs Kakaako, some buildings could exceed the existing 400-foot height limit by 250 feet and stand as close as 80 feet apart.

Abercrombie gains an edge in wider gubernatorial field

By David Shapiro
Republican James “Duke” Aiona thinks voters have “buyer’s remorse” after the recent Hawaii Poll showed him leading Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a rematch of the 2010 election that Aiona lost by 17 percentage points.

Once a beacon, UH dulled by the dim bulbs in politics

By David Shapiro
An article on the University of Hawaii from May 24, 1958, in the Saturday Evening Post provides thought-provoking contrasts between then and now.

Mayor's campaign promise on rail is a mixed bag so far

By David Shapiro
When Kirk Caldwell was elected mayor of Honolulu, I listed actions I thought he needed to take if he was to keep his campaign promise to "build rail better."

Slim, casual memoir offers enriching look at late judge

By David Shapiro
"Judge Sam King: A Memoir" is a welcome final visit with one of modern Hawaii's greatest minds and finest sons. A proud part-Hawaiian, King's life was long in years -- 94 -- and distinction.

Overbearing legislators are tarnishing their images

By David Shapiro
The Legislature opened its 2014 session by honoring previous generations of lawmakers, and here's hoping the elders imparted some tutelage about when legislating was less of a public display of personal ego.

Starting anew by taking the words out of my mouth

By David Shapiro
Inexplicably, some public officials are offended by my writings, so we'll start the new year by burying the hatchet and making a fresh start.

Isles must halt desperate push for Obama's attention

By David Shapiro
The state is poised to offer President Barack Obama a piece of Hawaii's choicest oceanfront land in Kakaako for either his presidential library or, more likely, a think tank or conference center where he could hang out part time after he leaves office.

Hannemann’s odds worsen as bullying past resurfaces

By David Shapiro
The state Supreme Court has handed former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann the last thing he needs as he plots a political resurrection — a stinging reminder to voters of what they don't like about him.

Promises and poop spewed from isle politicians in 2013

By David Shapiro
Newsmakers say the darndest things, and it's time to review my favorite quotes from 2013:

Smiles followed wherever mom brought her songs

By David Shapiro
For my mother-in-law, Veronica Ibera, there was never a wrong time to sing. She had a piano in her living room that she taught herself to play and a lovely voice, with which she'd break into song in the car, at the market, while keeping a careful eye on her grandchildren in the park.

Mainland stigma of being a Jew fades in diverse isles

By David Shapiro
Retired political science professor Neal Milner and I were discussing his new book, "The Gift of Underpants," about his experiences growing up Jewish in Milwaukee and living his adult life as a Jew in Hawaii.

Attempt to close primaries a vote for less participation

By David Shapiro
U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright saved the local Democratic Party from itself by throwing out its ill-advised lawsuit seeking to close Hawaii's open primary elections. The party sued to exclude from its primary those who won't publicly identify themselves as Democrats.

Ma’afala’s opposition to law prompts need for amends

By David Shapiro
Tenari Ma’afala is a big man, both in physical stature and in importance as the head of the Hawaii police union, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. When he testified before the Legislature that “you would have to kill me” to enforce a gay-marriage law, clearly he expected his words to carry big weight with lawmakers and the public.

Session on gay marriage spurs people to get involved

By David Shapiro
After early speculation that the Legislature's special session to legalize same-sex marriage could be wrapped up in as few as five days, democracy is proving to be not so tidy — and that's a good thing.

Fundraisers keep gov warm during the federal freeze

By David Shapiro
We had a government that was closed, a governor who was absent and a state website that was hamajang as we "flASHback" on the month's news that amused and confused:

Leaders' failure causes isles to lose out in GMO debate

By David Shapiro
If you stick around long enough, all history eventually repeats. So it is that the current pitched battles on Kauai and Hawaii island over genetically modified crops have the oldie-but-moldy feel of the fight on the Big Island in the mid-1970s over fluoridating the water supply.

Raising their pay is an issue all lawmakers can agree on

By David Shapiro
For all of its bumbling and inefficiency, give our government credit for the one thing itexcels at: taking care of its own.

Advocates of gay marriage need be generous in victory

By David Shapiro
Several months ago, before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, I was chatting with a 9-year-old about her diverse circle of friends.

Getting rid of artwork takes protecting sacred too far

By David Shapiro
Forays by Native Hawaiians into art criticism are taking a troubling turn toward cultural Talibanism. First, Rep. Faye Hanohano banned state-owned art by haoles, Japs and Pakes from her Capitol office.

Isles' lack of support should give Obama pause on Syria

By David Shapiro
President Barack Obama should rethink a military strike against Syria over nerve gas attacks if he can't even get support from his birth state's congressional Democrats.

King's journey was uphill, attitudes of the day show

By David Shapiro
Today is the 50th anniversary of perhaps our greatest triumph of participatory democracy: the 1963 March on Washington to demand civil rights for blacks.

Abercrombie's main threat to re-election is his own ego

By David Shapiro
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's surprising 50,000-vote victory in 2010 over the better-funded and heavily endorsed Mufi Hannemann boiled down to a simple political dynamic.

Legislators should beware the parties' thought police

By David Shapiro
After 45 years of witnessing impurities of every imaginable kind in local politics, the recent fixation in both major parties on ideological purity is mystifying.

More power to Abercrombie, others who don't act their age

By David Shapiro
Afew people took issue with an item in my Sunday "flASHback" column that described Gov. Neil Abercrombie's issuance of an emergency decree a day before Tropical Storm Flossie didn't arrive as a case of "premature evacuation."

Golojuch corrals legislators who stray from party gospel

By David Shapiro
Michael Golojuch Jr., chairman of the Demo­cratic Party's gay caucus, brazenly declared himself the "new sheriff in town" after he initiated sanctions against 11 Demo­cratic legislators who proposed a constitutional amendment on traditional marriage.

DOE accepts that students improve with digital tools

By David Shapiro
After being slow to embrace the idea, it's nice to see the Department of Education showing enthusiasm for putting a tablet or laptop computer in the hands of every public school student.

Petitions and cash come-ons should be below Capitol Hill

By David Shapiro
Among the annoying contrivances of modern political campaigning are the endless email blasts from candidates begging for expressions of support and monetary donations.

Brouhaha over police raises just a pretext to raise taxes

By David Shapiro
You'd think Honolulu suffered a financial calamity judging from the panic at City Hall after arbiters awarded unionized police officers pay raises totaling 16.8 percent over four years.

Rewrite law on civil unions to call them gay marriages

By David Shapiro
When the Hawaii Legislature and governor decided two years ago to allow gay couples to enter into civil unions, critics derided it as "marriage by another name," and that's pretty much what it was.

Slom proves he's bipartisan by being quarrelsome to all

By David Shapiro
State Sen. Sam Slom has been called the loneliest man in American politics as the only Republican surrounded by 24 Demo­crats in the Hawaii Senate.

Isles vital to mission prep as America heads for Mars

By David Shapiro
As NASA studies how to achieve President Barack Obama's call for a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s, Hawaii has a couple of significant pieces of the action.

Isle economy doing well, so Abercrombie will, too

By David Shapiro
Hawaii governors live and die by the health of our economy, and its robust condition ahead of the 2014 election is the main reason Gov. Neil Abercrombie is flying high despite low approval ratings throughout his first term.

Living longer than Dad did builds confidence that kin will have healthier futures

By David Shapiro
I'm fortunate to come from a family that has been relatively long-lived. My mom lived well into her 80s, as did three of my four grandparents and all of the uncles and aunts I've been closest to.

UH president sheds light on governor's interference

By David Shapiro
The big headline from Tannya Joaquin's fine Hawaii News Now interview with retiring University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood was about state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim's inquiry on her son's UH law school application.

'Rainbow Warriors' decision a rare problem-solving win

By David Shapiro
It's always welcome news when local officials manage to solve a problem, and University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay appears to have done so on the weighty matter of naming UH sports teams.

Music lessons, quality time with grandkids sound sweet

By David Shapiro
This week marked 21⁄2 years since I started my granddaughters Sloane and Nakaylee in music classes with Ilisa Peralta at Island Guitar.

Schatz, although appointed, is the incumbent in '14 race

By David Shapiro
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­busa said she's running against U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz for the late Daniel Ino­uye's old seat to give voters a say in the matter.

To dislodge the old guard, young Dems must do battle

By David Shapiro
Young candidates hope to start a generational change in Hawaii politics in next year's election, but it could as likely turninto a last stand by old-guard Demo­crats that cements our political status quo for another decade.

Democrats file lawsuit to tighten grip on power

By David Shapiro
If you think Democrats have a lock on Hawaii political power now, see what happens if the party succeeds in limiting who can run for office as a Demo­crat and who can vote in Demo­cratic primaries.

American dream teeters on brink of a nightmare

By David Shapiro
My first thought after hearing of the Boston Marathon bombings was about a fear that’s been on my mind a lot lately: What kind of world are we leaving our grandchildren?

Unsteady Spears can learn much from Funicello's life

By David Shapiro
Few things illustrate the changes in our society during my lifetime better than the two breakout stars, a generation apart, from Walt Disney's "The Mickey Mouse Club."

Officials' proposals at odds but all tackle homelessness

By David Shapiro
It's good to see Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the City Council moving to take real responsibility for Oahu's increasingly vexing homelessness problem.

Resolution might codify Hanohano's racist message

By David Shapiro
A grudge by some legislators against the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts may still be on even after state Rep. Faye Hano­hano's apology for her racially abusive threats to SFCA staff for placing works by non-Native Hawaiian artists in her office.

Lack of censure amplifies Hanohano's ugly racist rant

By David Shapiro
Whatever the 2013 Legislature accomplishes on policy, the thing for which it'll most be remembered is Hawaii island Rep. Faye Hano­­hano's racial tirade over artwork by non-Native Hawaiians placed by the state in her office.

Souki-led House majority has delivered solid agenda

By David Shapiro
House dissidents who toppled former Speaker Calvin Say in favor of Joe Souki were criticized here and elsewhere for not articulating a policy agenda that elevated the coup above a power grab.

Oh, he'll fix the roads … but it's going to cost you

By David Shapiro
It was encouraging to see Mayor Kirk Caldwell take ownership of Oahu's rutted roads by promising to fix them and setting a deadline.

PLDC disaster affirms why public distrust is deserved

By David Shapiro
The Public Land Development Corp. sneaked into town like the proverbial thief in the night, and, sadly, it appears to be going out the same way — if it's going out at all.

All-mail voting might work but it needs fraud insurance

By David Shapiro
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposal to conduct future Hawaii elections by mail remains alive in the Legislature with Senate Bill 854, which would start a planning process that could lead to all-mail voting in 2016.

Honolulu's horrible roads need swift funding, action

By David Shapiro
A Facebook friend described a recent 4,000-mile driving trip on the mainland and reached the conclusion of many from Hawaii after such travels: "It suddenly occurred to me with shocking clarity that not once did we encounter more potholes anywhere on the mainland than I bounced over on the Pali today."

End the fuss, legislators, and make gay people equal

By David Shapiro
It's time for Hawaii to end our 20-year battle over same-sex marriage and join the tide of history that is moving the United States toward marriage equality.

Mayor right to call out state on skimming city's rail tax

By David Shapiro
Honolulu taxpayers should cheer Mayor Kirk Caldwell's attempt to recover a 10 percent surcharge the state is skimming from the excise tax Oahu residents pay to finance the $5.26 billion rail project.

New leaders in the House mum on plan for the money

By David Shapiro
It's showtime for the band of former dissidents in the state House of Representatives who are finally taking the reins of power after years of battling outgoing Speaker Calvin Say for control of the House.

Inouye's musical surprises inspire instrumental return

By David Shapiro
Of all the stories I read about U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye's passing, most intriguing was one that appeared on the DCist website under the headline "Late Sen. Daniel Ino­uye Was the Biggest Punk in Congress."

It was Abercrombie's call, not Inouye's, so he made it

By David Shapiro
The adage that you can't take it with you applies to political power as well as material wealth.

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