comscore David Shapiro: Our emperors and empresses had no clothes in 2019 | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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David Shapiro: Our emperors and empresses had no clothes in 2019

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                                Louis Kealoha walked by himself to federal court on Oct. 22, 2019


    Louis Kealoha walked by himself to federal court on Oct. 22, 2019

It’s the last Sunday of 2019, and we “flASHback” on the year’s news that amused and confused:

>> A federal jury took only a day to convict former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his former prosecutor wife, Katherine, for corruption. It set a new speed record for unplugging a power couple.

>> City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and Corporation Counsel Donna Leong took paid leave after being named targets of the federal probe. You know we’re in trouble when the hottest municipal dance craze is the perp walk.

>> The Oahu rail project also drew federal subpoenas, as the city sought public input on Hawaiian names for train stations. Possibilities were endless: Auwe, Pilau, Kukae, Pupule, Lolo, Pilikia …

>> The Legislature OK’d a new $350 million Halawa stadium as part of a public-private development to include housing, hotels and retail. It’s never to soon to set the stage for the next federal grand jury.

>> After collecting 18.5% pay raises themselves, legislators denied a minimum wage increase for the needy. House Speaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi invited the working poor to call 1-800-AINOKEA.

>> State judges were unhappy to receive raises of barely 1% after what legislators got. They’ll have to equip the bench with tip jars.

>> Gov. David Ige declared the 2019 Legislature a success even after his priorities were mostly ignored and some of his Cabinet appointees derailed. Success for Ige is when he pinches himself and he’s still governor.

>> Ige vowed to clear Mauna Kea for telescope construction, then dumped the problem on Big Island Mayor Harry Kim after being outmaneuvered by protesters. That’s what happens when he goes to a battle of wits unarmed.

>> Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson brought star power to the protests. He stood out as the only rock up there that wasn’t sacred.

>> Ige dined with Donald Trump at the White House on grilled shrimp and fried potatoes but stressed, “It wasn’t McDonald’s french fries — it was White House french fries.” Same potatoes, different clown mascots.

>> Tulsi Gabbard announced she’d run for president, picked a fight with Sen. Mazie Hirono and feuded with Hillary Clinton, but insisted, “I’m not thinking about politics.” The only thought on her mind is TULSI.

>> Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a City Council bill regulating vacation rentals despite its admitted flaws, saying, “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.” In our city, it’s more like not letting the fiascoes get in the way of the boondoggles.

>> With trees down, power out and traffic signals malfunctioning from a major storm, Caldwell declared, “It’s all hands on deck.” It was nice to have their hands briefly out of our pockets.

>> The mayor unveiled a pedestrian safety plan called “Look All Ways.” If only he’d taken his own advice before he got run over by a train.

Reach David Shapiro at

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