Honolulu Lite


Remember to lock House
(and Senate)

I've often suggested in this space that it would be cheaper and better for life in Hawaii overall if, after we've elected a gaggle of state legislators, we simply pay them all not to meet.

Let them strut around town pretending to be political royalty, and let them harrumph their way through luncheon speeches at the Rotary, but for godsake don't let them get together in anything larger than groups of three because that's when the mischief begins.

Disregarding my plea, state senators and legislators were allowed to group en masse last week for the opening of the legislative session. The perennial grand conglomeration of elected pooh-bahs, draped in leis and swaying gently to the lilting chants of protesters outside, brings tears to the eyes, or should, would the police have the foresight to lob a few pepper gas canisters into the big square building. Alas, the politicos were allowed to muster unimpeded with the predictable result that before sundown the air above the Capitol District hung heavy with costly plans, intrusive schemes and frightening plots, all -- if realized -- destined to invade both our purses and privacy.

Most elected officials believe they have the best interests of their constituents at heart, a palpable self-delusion and clear evidence that it is imperative that we disallow these people to assemble.

Within moments of congregating, certain members of the gathering were cheerfully propounding programs to put Hawaii on the road to becoming a nasty little police state.

Sen. Cal Kawamoto and Rep. Joe Souki -- happily clueless to the near coup d'état that resulted from the "Talivan" camera traffic enforcement debacle -- now want to sic Big Brother cameras on red-light runners. Ticketing every driver whose bumper creeps across an intersection line no doubt would be a big revenue producer, but Mssrs. Kawamoto and Souki seem to have missed the obvious message of the Talivan Uprising: 1) Don't treat people like cash cows, and 2) Just leave us the hell alone.

In fact, there should be a big sign in the Senate and House chambers that says, "Just Leave Everyone Alone."

While Souki and Kawamoto's continual quest to put us all under video surveillance is annoying, Senate President Robert Bunda's plan for mandatory, Gestapo-ish drug testing of public school students is truly frightening.

Schools are institutions of education, not criminal investigation. If Bunda and his buddies want to spring surprise urine and hair tests on each other, that's fine. But, curiously, they never subject themselves to such assaults on personal privacy.

The only way to keep Kawamoto et al. from trying to improve our lives is to keep them from meeting. Someone please padlock the Capitol doors before they improve us to death.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail

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