It’s A Slam-bang News Season

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - December 14, 2005
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We’re on a slam-bang final two weeks of 2005. That’s most unusual in what’s normally a no-news holiday period. So here we go with fetus killing, face transplants, Mufi muffs it, a Kitty cat fight, and Mr. Shiraki’s tee times on our dime:

* The state Supreme Court upheld the decades-old Hawaii view that you cannot “murder” a fetus. A fetus is an unborn human baby more than eight weeks after conception. Good call by the justices since a fetus cannot live outside the mother’s womb, therefore it cannot be a “person” in the law.

* Now I’ll lose all those pro-choice cheers by wishing for the U.S. Supremes to uphold laws requiring notification of parents of minor girls asking for abortions, except in emergency life-and-death situations.

Because (1) parents are legally responsible for a minor’s welfare and (2) most of us can agree that not all minors can make informed decisions. We don’t let them vote. (Of course there are many adults I wish weren’t allowed to vote.)

I’d make that for-notification argument where any medical procedure for a minor were at issue, except in a life-threatening case where it’s not practical.

* We need to be less uptight about those new facial transplants. Some are saying “ooh, what are the ethical problems?” No, you won’t look like the donor. No you can’t have one to escape the police. You can escape a life of horrible facial disfiguration.

* Locally, CommPac CEO and Linda Lingle confidant Kitty Lagareta claims her firm has been stiffed on a mass-transit consultancy contract - hinting at Mayor Mufi Hannemann rewarding friends. That drew GOP City Councilman Charles Djou into the fray. He’s asked the feds to investigate the whole city consultancy contract on mass transit. U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Hannemann quickly marked Djou as a rail-transit obstructionist (he voted against the tax increase for it). I smell a big pile of political poop here.

The mayor is losing luster fast over potholes, development issues and halting curb-side recycling when, by coincidence, one of his election backers didn’t have the winning bid for it.

Curbside recycling is not some new and untested technology, Mufi. Let’s get on with it! You’re losing traction as well as luster.

* I’m fascinated by a story in about a Hawaii Labor Relations Board hearing on city electrical engineer Earl Shiraki.

It seems Shiraki was fired because he was taking off early some days to go golfing. His union, HGEA, refused to defend him, saying he was fired for good cause. Shiraki says everybody knew he did that for years, and that plenty other electrical, plumbing and building inspectors do the same. says all the workers called before the HLRB took the “Fifth,” saying they would not testify against themselves.

It sort of reminds me of the refuse workers’ “uku pau” tradition - quitting early if they rush and cover their routes faster.

HawaiiReporter went rather hyper-spaced-out by asking in its headline if public safety is being compromised by golfing inspectors. That’s not the issue. They do the inspections. They just save up some lunch periods, do some work at home and duck out early for golf.

But it’s a bad practice fraught with abuse possibilities and should be nicked.

Shiraki, apparently, is the designated fall guy.

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