Thursday, September 10, 2009


The stink carried ‘round the world

by Larry Geller

Hawaii does get into the news occasionally. Our sun and surf may not make headlines, but when our papers ran all those alarming swine flu stories, we got notice. Not the kind that attracts tourists, unfortunately.

Here we go again.

For a short moment we’re really notorious, it seems. This time it’s not flu but B.O. We’ve spread the word that we have bus riders so smelly that it requires legislation to get relief. Yes, it’s Rod Tam’s infamous smelly people proposal that has gone viral, mutated into a civil liberties story that is making its way around the world. The Honolulu City Council has found a new and original way to put us on the map.

Look, here’s a British professor expounding on a potential legal challenge to Tam’s proposal:

Professor Robert McKeever, head of department at London Metropolitan University’s department of law, governance and international relations, said that it was the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment that the lawyers were considering. [The Telegraph (UK), Proposal to ban smelly people from buses causes a stink, 9/7/2009]

It’s fun to imagine what would happen if this proposition became law. As a commenter on that website asked, if an accused passenger went to trial, how would they present the evidence?


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