A Bumpy Ride For Neil’s Canoe

Larry Price
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Wednesday - November 02, 2011
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The latest political show has been in the governor’s court.

Earlier this year Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced he wanted all members of the Stadium Authority to resign. Some did, and some did not, and regardless the University of Hawaii football season commenced and things settled down.

Then state Civil Defense vicedirector Ed Teixeira resigned over a power play involving “a change of direction” that he did not feel comfortable with. That shocker was followed by the resignation of four important, high-ranking members of the governor’s team, including his longtime chief of staff, who said they resigned to “spend more time with their families.” His Human Resources director, Sunshine Topping, has since joined Hawaiian Airlines as director of recruiting.

There are still a number of judicial battles going on with the HSTA and other unions fighting the governor’s “last, best offer.” The good news there is he doesn’t have to testify in the trial, which is sure to drag on for awhile.

While the governor was fielding questions about resignations in his cabinet, in a push to impress members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, the homeless population that would be visible to the visiting delegates was being rousted. The governor’s office says his latest action against the homeless was not a “sweep,” but the culmination of months of planning with homeless and their advocates to improve their circumstances. Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation, with help from the Honolulu Police Department, said it was relocating the homeless camps as they reappear every six months. Each sweep excuse me, relocation will cost the city about $200,000!

With all this momentum building, the governor decided it was a good time to go to the Conference of Governors in China to make friends and tout the blessings more visitors from China would mean in dollars to Hawaii, with members of the Hawaii Tourism Authority in full support.

While he was in China, protesters were preparing their assault on the APEC conference, and security measures are being planned every day. They even got a warning from Mayor Peter Carlisle about obeying the law.

Meanwhile, a Public Policy Polling survey this month mysteriously fell from out of nowhere, timed perfectly to appear on Abercrombie’s return from China, and he immediately scheduled a news conference to talk about his victorious China vacation. To no one’s surprise, the poll put the governor’s job approval rating at 30 percent, the lowest approval rating of any governor in the nation. When you consider what the poll was measuring, who asked the questions and the reliability of the poll, it’s clear it was all part of the plan. The governor humbly accepted the blame for his administration’s missteps, and said he would like to be judged on how he delivers on his policy approach to the homeless situation and work force housing in the “fourth quarter” of his service.

So, all of those resignations came at a good time, China’s in the bag, the homeless policy is working, and maybe the governor will lead the protesters to the Convention Center to mingle with the leaders and his friend President Obama. Nothing to worry about, it’s all part of the plan: a little guy fighting for the masses.

And remember, he’s not your friend, he’s the governor. And don’t worry about the canoe that went huli. A kayak will do for now.

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