COURTESY HAWAII SUPERFERRY
The Hawaii Superferry undergoing sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico prior to its arrival in Hawaii.
sink or swim?
Superferry operators cut corners and lost
Please stop blaming the Superferry's problems on others, especially so-called environmentalists.
Concerned citizens on all islands demanded years ago that the Superferry conduct an EIS. Anyone who knows anything about the state EIS law should know that state sponsorship of the Superferry project triggered environmental review. The same would have applied to cruise ships or any other new harbor user in the same situation.
Instead of following the law, the Superferry operators hired sophisticated law and PR firms to help them evade it. They were arm-in-arm with the state agency arguing that community members didn't even have standing to enforce the law in court.
Had the Superferry spent all that time and money doing the required EIS, it would have been done by now, and free to operate without undue risk to our environment and rural communities.
But no, the Superferry wanted to do it the hard way.
They got away with it for years. But, as I have warned in a previous letter: Should the Hawaii Supreme Court set them straight, "no one should be surprised -- especially the state administration and the Superferry."
The Superferry took a calculated business risk and lost, and now has no one to blame but itself. When will developers finally learn to stop cutting corners with the law and our environment?
Let Oahu residents vote on supporting neighbor islands
What nonsense about letting residents from each Hawaiian island vote on how and who they restrict to their aina. From what I understand, most people who will be using the ferry service are people who live in Hawaii and have families on the neighbor islands.
We may as well let Oahu residents decide who uses their island for connecting flights to the mainland (hmmm, the malihinis no like that I bet), major hospitalization, major sporting events, shopping, and the list goes on.
As for other complaints about plant viruses, weed seeds in tire treads, pests, drugs, guns, homeless people or the other hallmarks of beautiful Honolulu/Oahu -- wow, never knew Kauai and Maui don't have those problems! Get real, that's all over the place, not just in Honolulu!
This ferry service is for all of Hawaii's people, not just the guys from Oahu. I look forward to taking my truck over on the weekend to tailgate at Aloha Stadium before a Hawaii football game. If Maui and Kauai no like the ferry over there, send 'um here to the Big Island. Me and my friends go take 'um. Go Warriors.
Protesters would make lovely fish playground
A solution to the Superferry dilemma presents itself: Let's gather all the "environmentalists" onto a lifeboat, tow it out to sea and sink it. This will create a new artificial reef, making all the fishies happy, and will allow the rest of us to go about our business free of this nonsense. I think we can do this without an environmental impact statement, as I believe environmentalists are mostly organic.
Christopher G. Boucek
Box-like ferry is an eyesore
My apartment overlooks the Superferry's route. I am generally pleased with my ability to watch boat traffic in and out of Honolulu Harbor. I grew up in New York City and Boston and have been keen on boats since my first ride on the Staten Island Ferry when I was 3 years old. The romance of the sea runs in my veins. I've sailed extensively.
But I was appalled when I saw not a boat, but a big, ugly, black box on the water cruising by below me. It reminds me of just another overbuilt concrete condo here on Oahu ... even its paint job has no aloha spirit! Sink it.
Trust-fund hippies are being selfish
Some people of Maui and Kauai should realize that limiting competition in a free-market environment resembles more of a communist mentality. The Hawaii Superferry had performed all necessary preliminaries prior to operations. Now, trust-fund hippies on Kauai and a judge on Maui wish to prevent interisland commerce to benefit their own selfishness. What about the threat from invasive species from international shipping containers? Why aren't they prohibited from docking and unloading shipments?
Perhaps Maui and Kauai should discontinue inbound tourism from airlines, as well. The threat from invasive species from island to island is an oxymoron. This is clearly an example of self-interest from a small minority who wish to prevent a service that would benefit society. Increased competition from a free market will benefit consumers wishing to choose from more than just one method of travel.
Whether the Superferry will thrive or die should depend on the economics of the vessel and its competition, not small, special-interest minority groups who wish to decrease the benefits to society as a whole.
Future investors can learn from mistakes
As a resident and business owner on Kauai, I believe I speak for all of us in expressing my hope that this whole Superferry controversy does not work to divide the islands. For those of us opposed to the ferry, our concerns about the situation are not a personal attack directed to the people of Oahu. Rather, our opposition stems from a deeper desire to protect the land we love so deeply, our clean ocean and our keiki. Surely the people of all Hawaiian islands can relate to this.
The state and the Superferry investors have argued against abandoning the project at this point because millions of dollars have been poured into it thus far. Maybe this entire fiasco should serve as a textbook example of how not to handle a risky business venture in Hawaii. Maybe it should play put as a case study of how not to take on a huge transportation project in an area with significant social, environmental and cultural considerations without first taking the time to research the possible ecological concerns, to seriously question the communities involved and to consult with respected leaders on all the islands. Maybe the next time, the project would actually have a chance of success.
Oskar's K-town Underground
Coast Guard failed in its duty to passengers
Unbelievable, disgusting, disappointed. As a passenger on the Hawaii Superferry on that fateful Monday, when the rights of more than 200 passengers were infringed upon, and the law ignored, by a small group of protesters in the harbor, those were the words that came to the forefront. Being aware that the previous day, the demonstrators had taken to the harbor to protest the Superferry, I find it incredible that Capt. Charlie Ray, who is serving as acting Coast Guard commander of the Hawaii district, didn't immediately formulate a plan to deal with the reality that the Superferry would experience the same protesters on Monday, when attempting to enter the Kauai harbor.
The Coast Guard was woefully unprepared to handle the situation last Monday. Many passengers watched in amazement while the two CG semi-rigid inflatables circled the surfers like Australian cattle dogs. Once they had the surfers confined into a group, why didn't they move them slowly toward the shore, where the Kauai Police Department could make arrests? But no, they herded them into a little tight group right in the middle of the harbor entrance. After about one hour sitting outside the harbor entrance, six or eight outrigger canoes approached the Superferry, to within 100 feet. At that time a larger CG ship was standing by, about 75 feet from the port side. The canoes approached the Superferry and passed between the Superferry and the CG ship, but still no action was taken to enforce the 100-yard off-limits area.
About one hour into the standoff, a Coast Guard C-130 landed, with reinforcements from Oahu. A short while later, two more inflatables joined the parade of the other inflatables circling the surfers. After about three hours, the Superferry captain came into the first-class lounge and stated that the Coast Guard was sending more reinforcements; however, they would not arrive until after 11 p.m., and he had made the decision to just return to Oahu.
In order for Ray to cover his rear, he stated that they weren't terrorists, and that the Coast Guard acted responsibly in handling the situation. Sir, as a retired Marine, I say to you, "You are wrong." If you were a Marine, I'm confident that you would be charged with "dereliction of duty."
By failing to appropriately plan for the actions of protesters on that Monday, Ray showed a disregard for those 200-plus passengers and their rights. His inaction and lack of planning have given a wonderful organization, the Coast Guard, a black eye.
A few activists incited bad behavior
After Hurricane Iniki devastated Kauai, I and many other Oahuans went over to help our island neighbors. We were openly greeted with aloha and gratitude by the people there.
That spirit was not there when we chose to visit Kauai by means of a different vessel, the Hawaii Superferry. We were greeted and treated with much anger and hatred by a few who call themselves Kauaians. Their behavior and actions were shameful and harmful. These people were incited by nonlocal activists and followed them foolishly. I know that the majority of Kauai locals are not that way. But it spoiled the true feeling of the "friendly isles."
Three decades ago, these same types of activists blocked the building of the H-3 freeway, which was vital to thousands of Windward motorists. But these activists didn't care and were only determined to stop progress anyway they could. Many years later, the courts got the courage to deny these activists the right to block the H-3. This freeway was completed, but at the cost of several billion dollars over the original cost. Thanks to the activists and their followers, we taxpayers had to pay for it. Today the H-3 is enjoyed and helpful to thousands of motorists, including the activists and their followers.
This episode will happen again if the judges on Maui and Kauai don't consider the welfare of the entire state and still allow the activists to have their way and to deny people of Hawaii the right to travel and visit all islands on the Superferry.
Henry Hanalei Kim
Superferry fiasco will be governor's legacy
Did Gov. Linda Lingle's administration really think there would be no resistance to what she hoped would be her legacy to the people of Hawaii with her Superferry?
Who should we believe, the unanimous ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court or the governor with her special interest in the ferry? Let's not forget that Lingle received campaign contributions from the Superferry in her run for governor.
The people of the neighbor islands will not put up with any backroom deals or failures to look after our best interest and that of our islands. The only special interest that should be acceptable is to our ocean, the environment, our islands and its people. Not to big business.
The governor should fix the multitude of problems on the neighbor islands and not add to them by sending hundreds of more cars a day to our shores. Her Superferry legacy has been tainted. Take responsibility for your failure to do what was required by law and for the fallout that has come from that failure.
Maybe Oahu should refuse to share, too
Aloha is to share. The Superferry controversy has not shown aloha. Oahu people are willing to share with Maui and Kauai people the one less wave to surf, the one less sale item to purchase, the one less handicap parking space (using a rental car), and more. Oahu, the Gathering Place, welcomes Maui and Kauai people. Why are people on Maui and Kauai not willing to share with Oahu people?
It is sad to see a small group of Maui and Kauai people resisting progress. The Superferry burns cleaner than the tugboats, fishing boats and other small craft. Maybe all the businesses should stop sending products via ships to Maui and Kauai. Businesses should be environmentally akamai. Let's get an environmental assessment for all ships, tugboats, small craft and container ships to Maui and Kauai.
Let Kauai choose its own path
From the beginning, many Kauaians have had serious concerns about aspects of the Superferry operations. Others were supportive of this new way to travel interisland. As with other important issues facing Kauai, people wrote letters to the paper and talked about it on the radio, organized community groups, gathered petitions, made bumper-stickers, protested peacefully at the "open house," and talked about it over dinner and around the water cooler. Great exercises in public discussion, demonstration, democracy and the American way.
But that's as far as it went. With the governor's blessing, backed by big bucks and the military, and being totally Oahu-centric both physically and philosophically, it was full steam ahead; Kauai be damned.
Then, just days before ferry service was scheduled to begin, the Hawaii state Supreme Court unanimously decided that an environmental assessment was indeed necessary, and the exemption the Superferry had been granted was illegal. There was short-lived relief and celebration by those demanding that this public environmental review process be carried out.
But rather than complying with this ruling from the state's highest court, the ferry brain trust decided to move up its launch date several days and offer the now-famous $5 fares. Many people on Kauai were furious. The arrogance of the Superferry people; we already knew they didn't care what we thought of their ferry -- after all, our little island is what they're selling to Oahu -- but to disregard the state Supreme Court and subvert the legal process was unconscionable. So people of all social, economic and racial background spontaneously showed up at Nawiliwili Harbor by the hundreds. It was definitely not a "dissident minority group," as portrayed by the Superferry spinners.
Protesters were expressing that Kauai wasn't given any consideration regarding the social, economic and environmental impacts of the Superferry. Apparently, even the Supreme Court couldn't slow down this juggernaut.
So, while I strongly oppose mob behavior, intimidation and violence, which we came close to experiencing in Nawiliwili, apparently the only thing the Superferry people understand is this type of outraged community stand. Let's remember that nobody got injured during these protests, except a couple of overzealous protesters who got pepper-sprayed by cops. There were no fights, no vandalism, no bottle or rock throwing. Just a lot of frustrated, motivated protesters, from all walks of Kauai life, all spontaneously agreeing that this was the time to make a stand. And make a stand we did.
Member, Kauai Westside Watershed Council
Ban the dastardly ferry, but don't stop there!
Ban the Superferry!
Yes, the protesters have it right. The monster is going to cause too much traffic congestion on the neighbor islands and, besides, it might spread invasive species and hit a whale! But let's not stop there!
Let's seize the day! Why stop at one small, silly boat? Let's require an environmental impact statement from all those Navy vessels, too! Why, one aircraft carrier makes the Superferry look like a canoe! How are you going to turn something that's as big as a skyscraper out of the path of a whale? Impossible!
And invasive species? Do you know where the fleet has been? I'll tell you. Places that have plenty of snakes and diseases, like Guam, Bangkok and Bangladesh! And while we're at it, let's get an EIS on all those sailors, too. We don't want them renting cars and driving all over the place on Kauai and Maui.
We also need an EIS on Matson container ships. No way can a whale dodge one of those babies! They're as big as aircraft carriers, and I'll bet they carry lots of bad critters. They have to. They stop in Long Beach! Besides, when's the last time you looked in your closet? We don't really need all the junk they bring over here, especially the cars that are going to cause more traffic problems and the food that's making us fat. We don't need Young Bros., either! Yup, one of these days, I'll bet you a barge is going to pop a whale.
Cruise ships! Have you seen how big they are? I'm surprised they haven't hit about 10 whales already! Call for an EIS! Their passengers just spread money all over the place. Nope. Don't need 'em. Likewise fishing boats, yachts, jet skis, dinner cruises and outrigger canoes. Just too many of them. And surfers. Too many of them, too. Leave the whales in peace.
Gov. Lingle is worried about Hawaii's anti-business image. Who cares? Neighbor island businesses don't need any more customers. That would just lead to more development, and more jobs. For sure, there's enough jobs over there already. Better to force their grads to seek employment on Oahu or the mainland. Young folks should get off their rocks and see the world!
Oh, I forgot airplanes. We should require all overseas flights to obtain an EIS -- definitely those from Las Vegas. Whoa! Lots of bad things in that sinful place! Who needs tourists anyway? Who needs businesses? Hooray! We can all be farmers and raise our own food just like the Ancient Hawaiians!
Yeah, protesters! Keep up the fight!
C. Richard Fassler