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Editorial | On Politics

Three up and three down: Government strikes out

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You look up and down the bench and you have to say to yourself, ‘Can’t anybody here play this game?’"

Casey Stengel said that about his 1962 Mets ballclub that lost 120 of its 160 games.

If the baseball coach who had won five championships with the New York Yankees were alive today, he might say the same thing watching Hawaii’s state and city government swing and miss the slow pitches.

First up is Louis Kealoha, Honolulu’s chief of police, whose initial reaction was to lash out at critics when security video was released of an off-duty police officer repeatedly punching a woman in a restaurant.

Kealoha and the department were criticized by legislators and even the usually mild-manner Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Apparently the entire story of the attack and the HPD response is complicated, but Kealoha’s first response indicates a police department lacking a modern public communications policy.

Next up was the discovery that by banning anyone from sitting or lying on public sidewalks, that the Waikiki homeless do not just disappear, they actually move somewhere else.

The location in question last week was to Fort DeRussy beach, which the Star-Advertiser reported had become a nighttime haven for the homeless. While HPD does move the homeless people off city beaches, it doesn’t have the authority to roust them from Fort DeRussy sands, which is a state beach running from Hale Koa Hotel to the jetty by the Outrigger Reef on the Beach.

State beaches are run by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which, according to Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, was told about the discrepancy last fall.

Casey would have loved it when a plan comes together like that.

The last strike would be the job we are all doing moving Hawaii off fossil fuel and into the brave new world of alternative energy.

No breathing politician can go more than two hours without promising not just good schools and safe streets but also energy independence.

Last week, legislators asked Hawaiian Electric to check in with an update on how we are doing.

In 2012, the solar industry reported that one-quarter of all Hawaii construction expenditures was for installing solar photovoltaic systems on rooftops.

Today the industry reported that half of its skilled workforce is out of work.

Also today, 4,500 homeowners are on a waiting list to have HECO approve their solar systems.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim wanted to know why HECO was taking so long when it was state policy to find and encourage alternative energy.

Instead of rushing, HECO said it needs to slow down installations because there is an unanticipated worry about the stability of the electrical grid.

"You were talking about just a 6 percent (per year) increase when we have grown far greater than that, as you’ve shown. That is my problem. Nobody anticipated this growth," said Kim. "You supported tax credits. You supported us giving loans. You supported all of these programs to encourage people, encourage the industry."

"You should have figured that out. The more we give incentives, the more we give tax credits, the more you are going to encourage people, and that was the plan, encourage people," said Kim.

Strike three.

Richard Borreca writes on politics on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Reach him at

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