Attitude of Kauai audience disappoints Lingle
Gov. Linda Lingle says she has no regrets about going to Kauai to face protesters and demonstrators opposing the restart of the Hawaii Superferry, adding that the reception was far from polite.
Lingle told reporters yesterday that she had "never experienced the level of rudeness" as she did appearing before a largely hostile crowd of 1,000 at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Center Thursday. Members of Lingle's staff said besides boos and jeering, members of the audience cursed Lingle and shouted obscenities at her.
"I have been going to public hearings for 25 years, but I have never seen the personal rudeness that went on not just against people who were there to share information, but to their own fellow residents," Lingle said.
Residents of Kauai and Maui, concerned about added traffic, plus plant, animal and insect pests and whales in the path of the ship, have sued to block Superferry operations until the state finishes the environmental assessment process ordered by the state Supreme Court last month.
Lingle has defended her administration's approval of the Superferry, saying the ship met all required regulations.
The purpose of Lingle's trip to Kauai was to listen to residents' complaints and to explain the security procedures put in place after the angry protests last month that stopped the ferry service to Kauai.
Yesterday Lingle said she interrupted the proceedings Thursday night when Kauai protesters were shouting down Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara.
"I had to speak out when they were jeering the Coast Guard," Lingle said.
"These same people risk their lives when our families are lost on a boat at sea," Lingle said during the Lihue meeting as the crowd booed and jeered.
"While you may disagree with decisions made by the state governor, I think the Coast Guard deserves a respectful reception and gratitude for the work they carry on every day," Lingle said to some applause.
The Coast Guard will enforce a security zone around the 350-foot ship and also in Nawiliwili Harbor while the ship is docked. Unauthorized people entering the zone will be subject to arrest.