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Civil unions issue leads to stumbling and bumbling

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Gov. Linda Lingle put civil unions on her possible veto list, and the Business Roundtable put the bill on its stumble-around-looking-stupid list as we "flASHback" on the week’s news that amused and confused:

» Lingle said the nearly 20,000 letters, e-mails, faxes and phone calls she’s received on civil unions are her most ever. The previous record was folks wanting to know what in the world she was thinking when she hit the road to stump for Sarah Palin.

» With member companies in revolt, the Hawaii Business Roundtable backtracked on its letter urging Lingle to veto HB 444, saying use of the word "veto" didn’t mean its executives opposed civil unions. Did they think "veto" was Latin for "ring the wedding bells"?

» After criticizing gubernatorial rival Mufi Hannemann for late notice of a Pittsburgh fundraiser, Neil Abercrombie was fined by the Campaign Spending Commission for late notice of a Washington fundraiser. He always said he’s the voice of experience.

» Tax revenues to build the city’s $5.5 billion commuter rail system fell sharply in May. The Hannemann administration said there’s no need to panic until there’s also a drop in train-related campaign donations.

» Hawaii’s new U.S. Rep. Charles Djou said he and his family are sleeping on air mattresses in a month-to-month rental in Crystal City, Va. He didn’t really expect his $1.4 million campaign to get him to Oz, did he?

» Senior Sen. Daniel Inouye rebuked Djou for proposing to suspend the Jones Act so foreign ships can help clean the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Inouye scolded, "I knew John Paul Jones when he was a deck mate in the colonial oyster fleet."

» The Honolulu Ethics Commission gave Councilman Rod Tam three years, interest-free, to repay the city $13,700 for falsely reporting meal expenses. The next thing you know, they’ll be offering corruption on layaway.

» The council restored Tam to the committee seats he lost after being censured for abusing his meal allowance. Instead of giving back his expense account, however, they’re putting him on food stamps.

» Swank shops along Waikiki’s "Diamond Coast" are getting a new neighbor: discount clothier Ross Dress for Less. Or, in the case of the expanded swimwear section, Undress for Less.

» Researchers on the Big Island are studying why coqui frogs sing. Because it beats the heck out of croaking?

And the quote of the week … from Lingle on her deliberations over civil unions and other potential vetoes: "I’ve been in public office a very, very long time, and my personal opinion is not necessarily the one that I end up with." Her campaign contributors have trained her well.

David Shapiro can be reached at or


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