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Hannemann sticks to transit during hopeful transition

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The talk was economics, but I wish the words had been more economical, as we once again plant tongue in cheek and "flASHback" on the week’s news that amused and confused:

» The latest figures show that the city’s lagging transit tax collections rebounded to a record $18.5 million last month. Newly resigned Mayor Mufi Hannemann was heard muttering, "Now they tell me."

» Hannemann outlined an economic plan in his campaign for governor that included bringing back the bankrupt Hawaii Superferry. Think of it as Rail II, but running on twin hulls instead of steel tracks.

» His Democratic rival Neil Abercrombie has his own program for economic stimulation, including food self-sufficiency. He figures if the Obama plan to spend our way out of the recession doesn’t work, we can try eating our way out.

» The leading Republican candidate for governor, James "Duke" Aiona, said his economic plan will focus on jobs. Like getting one.

» Economist Paul Brewbaker pooh-poohed concerns about the large state debt, arguing, "When you say billions, people have a cow about it, but a billion dollars is not that much money anymore." The takeaway message from this is that we’re paying economists way too much.

» Gov. Linda Lingle said her nomination of Katherine Leonard as chief justice of the state Supreme Court is the most important job she’s filled in her eight years. Close behind is the travel agent who booked her gubernatorial junkets.

» Councilman Rod Tam, who filed to run for Honolulu mayor despite the criminal probe he faces for misusing his city meal allowance, said the investigation is mere "speculation." I wonder if he also has an alternate definition for "incarceration."

» Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration on the Big Island is proposing to stick 6,000 disabled veterans and the poorest property owners with higher taxes. It goes to show that no matter how bad off you are, there’s always something the government can do to make it worse.

» Hawaii is among the states with the biggest drop in the well-being of our children over the last decade, according to the Kids Count Data Book. Between this and Furlough Fridays, we should change the state motto already to "Keiki o ka ainokea."

» Police arrested a burglar in Kaimuki after he broke into a home and fled wearing the female resident’s clothing. The nipple slip was a dead giveaway.

And the quote of the week … from Duke Aiona on the qualities that would make him a good governor: "I am objective, I am analytical, I am dispassionate, but that doesn’t mean I am not compassionate." Throw in confabulation and you’ve got the politician’s equivalent of a full house.

David Shapiro can be reached at or


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