State representative Joe Souki and I don't agree on many things, but I have to concur with his assessment that the recent special session of the Legislature was something of a setup.
Wasnt that (session) special?
What can little old Hawaii do to stop a worldwide slump in tourism? Gov. Ben Cayetano's call for the special session might have been a mistake because, according to Souki, "It raises the hopes of the public. What do they expect 76 legislators to do in a week? Solve all the problems of the economy?"
Well put. Although I think he may not be giving the public enough credit. Considering the state Legislature's history of never finding a decision that cannot be put off until tomorrow, I seriously doubt there is a correlation between the gathering of legislators and public "hope." I suspect a more accurate description of public reaction to the legislative rabble congregating is one of fear, apprehension, alarm, queasiness and suspicion.
I'm sure there is no truth to the rumor that Cayetano is Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle's covert campaign manager, but the Republicans hardly could have engineered a better show of ineffectiveness than to herd whiny Democratic legislators into a special session. Sure, some Republican lawmakers were present, but only in a more or less theoretical sense. (The terms "Republican" and "lawmaker" can be wed only in a whimsical context since Republicans have about as much power to "make laws" as House Speaker Calvin Say has to make electricity through the process of cold fusion.)
Yet you could almost hear Republican State Sen. Sam Slom begging Cayetano, "Please don't throw us in that briar session!"
But the governor did. He tossed the whole bunch of them into the briar session. Then he chucked in a proposal to spend $1 billion on state construction projects to spur the local economy and said, "Take that with you!"
One billion? Was he insane? Was he mad? Was he Lingle's campaign manager? Not only could the Democratic legislators not come up with $1 billion for construction, they couldn't even utter the words. The best they could do was cough up some pocket change to promote tourism (10 mill doesn't go as far as it used to) and a couple of bucks to hire unemployed people to catch frogs and swat skeeters.
Legislators kicked around the usual shop-worn ideas to help the economy, such as gambling and rigging government contracts, but surprisingly refused to consider tried-and-true underground money-makers like heroin distribution, loan-sharking, white slavery and gun-running.
Lamenting the odious session, Souki groaned, "I hope we don't become the scapegoat," which says volumes about the amazing resiliency of the human spirit: There's always hope.
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