This mystery airplane bill won't fly
WHEN I playfully and without malice aforethought referred recently to the period when the state Legislature is in session as the "Silly Season," I didn't realize how silly it was going to be.
But this could be a first in silliness, even for the Hawaii Legislature: Hearings are scheduled on someone's nutty idea for the state to buy its own private airplane, but nobody knows who that someone is. Yes, a true orphan, this bill has no mommy and daddy, just an adopted auntie, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who claims the foundling bill was left on her doorstep. Apparently without even a note pinned to its diaper.
You have to be suspicious of an idea so stupid as spending a couple of million dollars to buy an airplane when nobody will even take credit for drawing up the bill. I mean, someone with an office, a computer, software for creating an official bill (Legislate This! Version. 2.01) had to put this turkey together and then leave it on Auntie Hanabusa's doorstep in the dead of night.
KAUAI Sen. J. Kalani English, chairman of the Transportation Committee, has scheduled a hearing but claims the bill isn't his. He thought it came from the governor, but the Governor's Office says it's not theirs. Curiously, Hanabusa said someone gave the bill to her in full flower ready for action, but she can't remember who. (Shouldn't a Senate president know from whence bills come?)
I say put everyone under oath and find out who gave birth to this odious creature.
A private airplane, forsooth! For use, according to the mystery author, by "the governor, state executives and others" for official state business. Why would a private airplane be needed in a state with at least three interisland airlines competing in a vicious price war that has nearly resulted in a $1.99 fare to the Big Island? And who are the "others" that will have use of the family airplane? ("Hey, Mom and Dad, can I have the keys to the plane tonight? I need to run over to Kauai to pick up Uncle Kalani's laundry.")
The biggest clue that a state owning a private airplane is a dumb idea is that Alaska is attempting to get rid of its own albatross, a $2.3 million jet that it has been trying to sell on eBay but can't. If Alaska, where every town on the map is described as "extremely remote," doesn't need an airplane, Hawaii sure doesn't.
Strangle this bill in its crib or return it to sender, whoever that mystery progenitor might be. Not to do either would just be too silly, even for the Silly Season.
Buy Charles Memminger's hillarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org