BY CHARLES MEMMINGER– “Status-quo is not acceptable. We need more progressive, daring, and assertive leadership. Let’s all work hard to make Hawaii better.”

Right on, brother! State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz posted that daring and assertive credo on his Facebook page. And then, apparently to show that he means business, he introduced a bill in the state Senate to make it a crime to trap cats. And not just to trap cats, but to sell equipment that can be used to trap cats.

I’m not even kidding here. I know. I make a lot of weird stuff up. And this sounds like something I’d make up. A senator, who, during the worst financial times of generations, when the state is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, decides to devote his time to the criminalization of trapping cats? Are you freakin’ kidding me? Is anyone actually in charge of the state Senate?

Do those legislators understand how hard it makes my job to come up with weird stuff  if they do it first. Dela Cruz blithely introduces a bill to stop people from trapping cats and what am I supposed to do? Write a column about making it illegal to trap geckos? Or mongooses? No, I can’t. Because compared to seriously suggesting making trapping cats a criminal offense, trapping geckos and mongooses isn’t even funny. Damn you, Donovan!

I have to imagine that Senate President Shan Tsutsui was a tad dismayed when he learned of Dela Cruz’s idea of daring and assertive leadership involved introducing to a bill making it illegal to trap cats. As I understand it, Tsutsui gave his fellow Democrat senators a pep talk during a private meeting while the sole Republican senator, Sam Slom, was left to walk his cat on a leash in the Capitol rotunda.  (Walking a cat on a leash currently is still legal in 33 states.)

A source told me here’s how that meeting went:

Senate President Shan Tsutsui: “Now listen folks, I’m the youngest senate president in the history of this body. Don’t make me look bad. I’m already getting the Doogie Howser treatment from the entire Senate republican caucus. We have to take a cue from the national midterm election results and realize that most people want their elected officials to concentrate exclusively on improving the economy and creating jobs.

Donovan Dela Cruz: And cats.

(Tsutusi raises an eyebrow in Dela Cruz’s direction and then continues.)

Tsutsui: So, knowing that the people of Hawaii have put their trust in us to focus on the economy I’m going to ask you all to pledge that you will submit no bills this session that do not pertain directly to easing the state’s dire economic crisis.

Dela Cruz: And cats.

(Tsutsui shoots daggers with his eyes at Dela Cruz.)

Tsutsui: We are going to have to come up with daring and assertive ways to create jobs in Hawaii. And I’m not talking government jobs. We’ve got too many of them already. We need to create jobs in the private sector. Jobs that create private income that we later can tax to the hilt. See? It doesn’t do any good to raise taxes on government workers because we are already paying their wages with taxes. We need to focus like a laser on private enterprise.

Dela Cruz: And cats.

(Tsutsui spins savagely toward Dela Cruz!)

Tsutsui: What the hell is with the cats? Cats, cats, cats! What’s wrong with you?

Dela Cruz: (Meekly) I just think something should be done about the cats.

Tsutsui: What cats?

Dela Cruz: Feral cats.

Tsutsui: Feral cats? Are you mad?  What do feral cats have to do with the economy? Or creating jobs?

Dela Cruz: People are trapping feral cats.

Tsutsui: What do I care? You are driving me crazy with your cats! Let people trap feral cats! Let them cook them and eat them! Sell them into slavery! I don’t care as long as it creates jobs and helps the economy.

Dela Cruz: But I want to make a crime to trap cats.

Tsutsui: (Trying to regain his composure) I told you I’m the youngest senate president in the history of Hawaii, right?

Dela Cruz: Yep.

Tsutsui: I asked you not to make me look bad, right?

Dela Cruz: Yep.

Tsutsui: I told you I don’t want any bills introduced that aren’t related to helping the economy or creating jobs, right?

Dela Cruz: Yep.

Tsutsui: Okay. Now let’s continue.

Dela Cruz: But about the cats …

Tsutsui: THE CATS! THE CATS! WHY DO YOU TORMENT ME WITH CATS?!

Dela Cruz: It’s just that I feel strongly about cats. Trapping them. I’m against it.

Tsutsui: You realize that if Dickie Wong was still president of the Senate he’d have you put to death? Dickie Wong wouldn’t let you carry on about cats. Are you a secret Republican operative out to sabotage my senate presidency?

Dela Cruz: (Contrite) No, sir.

Tsutsui: Do I have your promise that you’ll that you will not utter the word “cat” in my presence again?

Dela Cruz: Yes, sir.

Tsutsui: And that you will abide by my edict that no state senator will submit any cat-related bills of any kind during this session of the legislature?

Dela Cruz: I will.

Tsutsui: Thank you. Now, folks, let’s get down to the business of doing the people’s business.

(On Jan. 19, 2011, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz introduced SB 13 which would make it a crime to trap feral cats using a trap or to sell traps to catch cats.)

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Charles Memminger is a national award-winning columnist, screenwriter and author. His first novel, "Aloha, Lady Blue" will be published nationally Jan. 22, 2013 by St. Martin's Press. Memminger is a senior writer at Communications Pacific, Hawaii's premier communications, marketing and PR firms. Memminger's commentary represents his personal views and are not affiliated with any organization. To keep up with developments regarding "Aloha, Lady Blue," like him at: http://www.facebook.com/charles.memminger. E-mail him at cmemminger@hawaii.rr.com