Hawaii’s political shift change is in its final stretch as we "flASHback" on the week’s news that amused and confused:
» Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie named a Maui events promoter to plan a series of inaugural festivities for him on all the major islands. He wants to send an early message that he won’t let the previous administration out-Klompus him.
» Gov. Linda Lingle said she’ll take six months off after she leaves office before deciding whether to run for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka’s seat in 2012. To wind down from eight years as the state’s chief executive, she’ll read, reflect and veto the alarm clock.
» Lt. Gov.-elect Brian Schatz appointed a pair of attorneys as his chief of staff and deputy chief of staff. Is he planning a sale on legal name changes?
» Nestor Garcia promised a new style at Honolulu Hale now that he’s taken over as City Council chairman from Todd Apo, who resigned to begin a job with Walt Disney Resorts. Apo was all Mickey and Donald; Garcia is more Bugs and Daffy.
» Mayor Peter Carlisle hasn’t figured out how he’ll deal with an expected $100 million budget shortfall, but said he opposes raising property taxes or continuing worker furloughs. I hope he realizes that this isn’t like his old job, where he could throw himself on the mercy of the court.
» Speaking of Carlisle’s old gig, Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro took a break from giving jobs to the politically connected and announced he’s adding a "courthouse dog" to his team. Pono, a 3-year-old black Labrador, has been specially trained to tell the woof, the whole woof and nothing but the woof.
» City Councilman Gary Okino resigned from the Democratic Party, but some activists still want to discipline him for supporting Republican opponents of civil unions. It seems this is a party you don’t get to leave until the cool kids kick you out.
» Two local bands are battling in court for the right to bill themselves as A Touch of Gold. Why not let them sing it out and see which act Kaneshiro’s dog wags her tail for?
» The Western Athletic Conference is adding Denver University, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State to replace departing powers Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State. The University of Hawaii is evaluating whether it can get better competition by staying in the WAC or joining the OIA.
And the quote of the week … from retiring state Sen. Fred Hemmings on the emergence of religion as a major issue in this year’s Hawaii elections: "As much as I believe in a higher power, I don’t think it is an asset in an election." Not until He backs up His word with campaign donations.