ACLU Is Choosing The Wrong Battles

The American Civil Liberties Union Hawaii has gone from one of my favored nonprofits list to one of my least-favored and please-do-not-donate list.

Something’s gone haywire with the Hawaii ACLU.

It’s about the homeless. The ACLU chooses its legal battles because it has limited funding.

It has chosen the homeless versus city laws that seek to constrain their access to parks, sidewalks, storefronts, public bathroom facilities and public buildings.

If we were only dealing with local residents temporarily dis-housed, I’d say let them stay a while. We’re not. We have many vagrant Mainlanders here for the weather. We need them out of our parks and off our sidewalks. They can’t camp where I can’t camp. We have adequate shelters for the homeless. The park-sidewalk gang refuses to go there.

The ACLU has gone astray, and that began with its defense of T-shirt sellers in Waikiki many years ago.

So it’s now on my not-such-good-guys list.

Most candidates for political office this year were asked, “What would you cut to make budget?” Neil Abercrombie said he’d prioritize. Duke Aiona said he’d audit. National Republicans say they’ll reduce spending and not raise taxes.

The president’s deficit-reduction commission has no mortgage-interest reductions, no child-care tax credits and no pre-tax medical “flex plan” breaks on the table.

You want that? Probably not. And if you earn more than $200,000 a year, you probably don’t want to be in a higher tax bracket, either.

But if not that – and maybe killing that $400 million a year for public television and radio – what?

You won’t stand for cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. We could trim Social Security by taxing income indefinitely and refusing payments to millionaires, but those alone won’t do the trick.

To balance the federal budget by 2015, excluding interest payments on debt, would require $240 billion in savings every year for the next four years.

Our governor candidates basically said, “Don’t worry, I have a plan.”

They know voters always forget.

I have a good memory. I’ll not forget. I’ll remind you, and them.

Those local TV political debates? So-so. The one fiasco was the Abercrombie Hannemann encounter on Hawaii News Now. Like a game show, with anchor Keahi Tucker simulating that backstage bimbo-questioner on Dancing With The Stars. I’m hoping for innovation in 2012. Perhaps some real debates, National Forensic League-style? Or at least some slug-it-out, back-and-forth format.

No more of that “your 60 seconds are up, now on to another question on another topic from our panel.”

Were you among those getting many daily (sometimes hourly) e-mail alerts from the Aiona-Finnegan campaign?

Some of us joked: “Duke and Lynn are now going to the bathroom.” “Duke and Lynn have just emerged from the bathrooms.”

The issue of residency for our members of Congress can logically be reduced to this: A 1st District member should live somewhere on Oahu. A 2nd District member preferably should live on some Neighbor Island.

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