Sour Poi Awards 2006
Celebrating the best of the worst of 2005 – follies, foibles and bizarre moments.
By Michael Keany
HEY, HOW 'BOUT: "THE BOWS?"
In May, the University of Hawai'i was forced to defend its use of the "Warrior" nickname for the men's sports teams, during an NCAA investigation of about 30 schools using names or mascots "often associated with Native American imagery." UH Athletic director Herman Frazier stood up for the Warriors, and their unofficial mascot Vili the Warrior, saying, "The term 'warrior' is associated with cultural traditions that are unique to the Islands."
VENDOR: 1, TAILGATERS: 0
In August, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona proposed a total ban on alcohol for UH football games at Aloha Stadium, to cut down on unruly behavior. Bad news for tailgaters, and bad news for Center-plate, the vendor that holds exclusive food and beverage concession rights in the stadium. But in a closed meeting on Sept. 29, the Aloha Stadium Authority approved a compromise solution: no drinking in the parking lot, but all the $5 cups of beer you want to buy inside.
A HUNKA-HUNKA BURNING BUS
O'ahu Transit Services pulled all 10 of its new $749,000 hybrid buses off the road in October. Turns out the buses' Earth-friendly engines tend to catch fire–there have been three incidents in the year the buses have been in service. The hybrids are out of service until officials can figure out how to keep them from igniting while out on the road.
IT'S ALMOST ENOUGH TO KILL OUR APPETITES. ALMOST.
2005 was a sad year for Hawai'i foodies. Free pizza delivery became a thing of the past, Punahou School raised the prices of its famous malassadas from one to two scrip, Subway nixed its long-running Sub Club program and researchers found that eating Spam, Portuguese sausage or other delicious processed meats can lead to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
COULD I GET THOSE DOILIES IN TRIPLICATE?
The State Ethics Commission fined a state employee $500 in May for running a small crafts business out of her office. She had been making crafts while on the clock, and would also sell items to agency co-workers and take orders over her work phone. Daniel Mollway, the Ethics Commission's executive director, said, "As far as I know, this is still somewhat of a common problem. You have state employees who have an awful lot of down time who are basically sitting around large tables making things."
AH, THE ALOHA SPIRIT!
In July, a Connecticut tourist walking along Ali'i Drive in Kailua, Kona, was assaulted by three men who pulled up beside him in a dark SUV and jacked him for his wallet. Five minutes later, four different guys jumped out of the bushes and demanded the tourist's wallet. He no longer had one, so the thugs punched and kicked him, then ran off.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Service decided internally to change all of the 967 ZIP codes on O'ahu to 968 ones by June 1. In preparation, district manager Edward Broglio notified the mayor's office with details of the plan. From there, news of the change erupted through the coconut wireless, sparking a small fire-storm of complaints and worry from citizens in the 18 affected areas. The day after the public's freak-out, the U.S. Postal Service announced it was scrapping the ZIP code reshuffle.
ALOHA UNDER FIRE
Use of the shaka by Hawai'i National Guard soldiers in Iraq was restricted in August after a general took offense when he received one at a guarded checkpoint at Camp Victory. A total ban on the friendly hand signal was later relaxed to allow soldiers to shaka each other, as long as they weren't on duty, and as long as the shaka wasn't directed at a senior officer.
HOW WILL HE AFFORD TO FLY INTERISLAND NOW?
After helping shepherd Hawaiian Airlines though its bankruptcy last year, former Hawaiian Airlines trustee Joshua Gotbaum asked for a bonus of $8 million. This on top of the $50,000-a-month salary he had received, not to mention the $10,000 per month he had gotten for expenses. U.S. bankruptcy judge Robert Faris wasn't sympathetic, and awarded Gotbaum just $250,000.
THE WAR ON COMMON SENSE
The Lingle administration spent at least $500,000 from a federal anti-poverty fund to pay for anti-drug-abuse advertising. A public service campaign run by Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's office spent Temporary Assistance for Needy Families monies on print ads and television spots featuring local celebs Bryan Clay, Jasmine Trias and Bethany Hamilton. Lillian Koller, the state human services director, defended the ad campaign as "a good way to get people out of poverty."
SMILE, YOU'RE ON MORON CAMERA
After pulling over a man in Ko Olina, police officers noticed a video camera in his car fitting the description of one that had been stolen in a Makakilo burglary the night before. When the officers returned the camera to its owner, he discovered some new footage: The burglar had used his newfound toy to videotape the rest of his heist and escape, and his voice could be heard on the tape describing the burglary. Police promptly arrested the burglar.
U'S ALL AROUND
After five years of extensive consultation, design and pilot testing, the Department of Education unveiled new "standards-based" report cards for elementary schools this fall. The cards replace the traditional A-F grading system in favor of M's (meets with excellence or proficiency), N's (approaching proficiency) and U's (well below proficiency). The Hawai'i State Teacher's Union promptly rejected the cards as confusing, complicated and bulky.
WE BELIEVE THE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE
In September, a 13-year-old Central Middle School student missed the point of the school's "good behavior" token program when he tried to take a younger student's tokens by punching him. When an adult teacher's aide stepped in to stop the fight, the 13-year-old shoved him, too, and was eventually arrested by police.
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