By B.J. Reyes
As the big ball drops on another year, it’s time to look back … list style.
So without further ado, the Star-Bulletin Political Radar Team brings you the Top 10 Flubs of the past year.
Once again, there were no hard and fast criteria for this list. A “flub” was loosely defined as anything that brought embarrassing fallout or unwanted attention to a person or cause. The other common thread among our selections is that all of those involved should have known better.
We began doing this last year, but, of course, that was during better economic times — when we could afford to list 10.
In this recession, we have instituted restrictions of 40 percent, and thus will only be giving you a Top 6 List. Whoever heard of a “Top 6″ countdown? Well, nobody. Then again, before this year, had anyone ever heard of cutting school days to make up a budget deficit?
Cue David Letterman …
6. Greg McMackin.* The UH football coach (and highest-paid state employee) brought unwanted attention to himself and the football program when he used a gay slur at the Western Athletic Conference preseason media day. He was suspended and accepted a pay cut the following day.
5. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. The venerable senior senator from Hawaii catches heat after a Washington Post story details how Central Pacific Financial, which was founded in part by Inouye and “where he has invested the bulk of his personal wealth,” received $135 million in federal bailout money after a phone call from Inouye’s office.
4. Todd Apo. Hours after he voted against it, the City Council chairman is accused of political horse trading for changing his vote on creating a separate “homeowner” class for property tax valuations after meeting privately with Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who strongly supported the bill. Both deny that any deals were made.
3. Kevin Cronin. The state’s Chief Election Officer (who also made this list last year) comes under heavy scrutiny from the Legislature for mismanaging the department and leaving it without the needed funds to carry out the 2010 elections. Cronin ultimately resigned, effective Dec. 31.
2. Georgina Kawamura. The state Budget Director takes the blame after it is learned that a clerical error resulted in an additional $44 million to the state’s already billion-dollar deficit. Instead of ending the 2009 fiscal year on June 30 with a positive balance of about $8 million, the books should have shown a $36.8 million shortfall.
1. Gov. Linda Lingle, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, State Department of Education, State Board of Education and Hawaii Government Employees Association. Furlough Fridays for public school students.
Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night!
* Ordinarily, this being a political blog, McMackin would not have made the list. But a Top 5 list seemed too little.