STAR-BULLETIN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
Superferry: Friend or foe?
Minority shouldn't decide its fate
What happened to free enterprise in our country? Some very vocal people have banded together to speak "for the people of Hawaii." They say we don't want the Superferry. I say let the Superferry do business. If the people of Hawaii don't want it, they'll be out of business very quickly.
The whole environmental impact statement garbage is just that. It's just an excuse to stop a legitimate enterprise from doing business. No study before the ferry operates is going to be able to determine its impact. Such a study would be a guess. With all the millions of dollars the state and Superferry have invested, it makes no sense to keep the ferry from operating while this guess or study is being done. It effectively would put the Superferry out of business and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.
Come on, Legislature, step up and do the right thing: Override the decision of the judge. Don't let a few very vocal naysayers determine who can do business in our state.
Don't abuse the legislative process
What a shame that Gov. Linda Lingle and her allies in the Legislature are pushing for a special session for the Superferry. After months of telling us that we on Kauai were wrong to "single out" the Superferry for special treatment, they have proceeded to "single out" the Superferry for special treatment of a whole different kind.
They have engaged in much handwringing about potential damage to Hawaii's "business climate," while attempting to undermine Hawaii's "democracy climate."
We must all carefully consider the long-term implications of the legislative process being abused to cater to the whims of a corporation. We must not buy the lie that what's good for business is always good for the people.
I sincerely hope that if any special session is called, it is initiated and directed by brave legislators calling for the impeachment of the governor.
No rudder, no prop, no harm
What the environmentalists don't tell you is that 95 percent of all fatal whale strikes are due to propeller/rudder strikes, not bow strikes. There are no propellers on the Superferry. Bow strikes causing death are almost nonexistent. A bulbous bow traveling through the water creates a bow shock (water pushed out in front of the bow) and resultant bow wave. The faster a boat travels, the further out in front the bow shock is created. When the bow shock strikes a whale or dolphin, it pushes the mammal to the left or the right of the bow, and it is carried alongside the ship by the bow wave. Those who have traveled on board a ship at sea, including myself, have observed dolphins surfing the bow wave and even cutting back and forth in front of the bow. The bow shock gives them that margin of safety.
This is not the case with other interisland carriers. Because of their slow movement, a bow shock or wave can be almost nonexistent. A whale being struck by the bow of a barge or slow-moving ship would be pushed underneath the barge or ship and carried back into the deadly blades of a propeller, slicing though the skin and blubber, then being hit by the rudder. These modes of travel are far more deadly than any Superferry.
Selfish opponents hurt farmers
Opponents of the Superferry love to feign concern for their fellow islanders and state that they are just watching out for the "aina."
But consider this: Local farmers on Oahu have to ship their produce to Kauai and Maui on interisland flights, which are 1) really, really expensive and 2) do not allow refrigerated containers (leading to loss of product and increased risk of bacteria), both of which force local farmers to keep their prices up to cover their overhead.
The Superferry would help local farmers by allowing them to bring their produce to the other islands to supply the grocery stores and outlets that residents of Maui and Kauai utilize on a daily basis with fresh, refrigerated and less costly produce.
For that matter, lots of local merchants could branch out to the other islands and increase their profits and bring diversity to islands like Maui and Kauai. Too bad the selfishness of a few has to cause so much suffering for their fellow Hawaiians and locals.
Session would be about money
In reference to Thursday's article about a special session of the Legislature regarding the decision on the Superferry, I find it interesting that a survey of only 600 people, 150 on each of the "main" islands, could seriously be taken as a mandate of the need for a special session. Surely there is a way to find out the true feelings of the different islands and to what each has to gain from the Superferry. If a special session is called, then we can all know that it is a money issue rather than a freedom of travel issue. I say, no EIS, no Superferry. With all the time they have had, and the concern for its need, why didn't it just get done to satisfy all the islands involved?
Consistency is the best policy
Isn't it better for businesses to know that Hawaii's laws are upheld and respected by the government? It seems to me that would provide more surety to anyone wanting to do business in Hawaii.
The courts have ruled. It is clear. A project requiring an environmental review, such as the Superferry, must perform that review before the project commences. This is common sense.
To convene a special session to tinker with the courts' decisions to help one private, politically connected business would send a bad message to our existing businesses. It would say that some businesses are more equal than others. What does this say to all our businesses that have dutifully followed the law?
The Superferry and the administration chose politics over community engagement and lost. The message from the courts is clear: Don't gamble with Hawaii laws!
Opponents should speak up
To those who are opposed to the Hawaii Superferry and who have remained silent thus far:
Please, speak out now at this critical time. Speak, if not for yourselves, then for the aina, which has no voice and needs our protection. Speak for your children and the future generations of Hawaii. Speak out for the undeniable laws of the land.
Please write to Gov. Linda Lingle, our state senators, legislators, Hawaii's newspapers and Superferry officials. Mahalo.
Dream come true, then dashed
After hearing that a "ferry system" became a reality, my dreams as a child also became a reality.
Ways of traveling between islands have always been in many islanders' minds. I worked in the hotel industry and our main office was located in Honolulu. Flying back and forth between Kauai and home, with just a carry-on bag, was not the way to live.
On Kauai, car rentals became expensive, and bus service was just as limited as today. I would ship my car back and forth, by barge, when possible.
Now, we have the "super" large cruise ships that take up half the harbor, churn the ocean bottom with large propellers, possibly injuring ocean life, and possibly are carriers of diseases. Then a ship equipped with jet propulsion and better navigational "seers" carries all your luggage with your own transportation with your family, all at once.
After watching the news footage and seeing the "locals" yelling, waving signs and banging on cars, I felt so shame that locals could act like that. Being born and raised on poi, I watched, looking for the Hawaiians, but didn't see any, did you?
I think there were 90 percent followers and 10 percent leaders, who did a good job of stirring up the youthful and the uneducated people who had no knowledge or reason to protest. I wonder how many adults felt so good about their actions, as did their children watching.
Ruling unfair to residents, business
Once again the minority, behind a sympathetic court, has proven that just a few can ruin things for the majority here in Hawaii nei. The biggest problem with this issue is that there are those with the power to halt beneficial public projects who obviously don't see any problem with changing the rules in the middle of the game (after- the-fact environmental impact statement requirement). This ideology is not only unfair and unsportsmanlike, but it is bad for economic development and downright un-American. Such actions perpetuate the fact that Hawaii can be bad for business and employment.
The activists have also once again proven that they care more for nonhumans than they do for the multitude of benefits that the Superferry would have provided for the people of Hawaii, had it been allowed to resume business.
Perhaps the Legislature would be justified in changing state laws to legalize the Superferry for the benefit of the state and the vast majority of its people. Revive the Superferry now!
COURTESY HAWAII SUPERFERRY
The Hawaii Superferry "Alakai" received a friendly greeting on its arrival in Honolulu Harbor June 30.
Kowtowing is what legislators have in mind
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa has outed her legislative colleagues about just what makes the legislative machine go around with her comment reported in the Star-Bulletin's Friday edition about whether the Legislature will rescue the Superferry.
I doubt that the street expression to describe her assessment of what the Superferry officials must do to get some positive action is printable in a family newspaper, so let's just call it a demand that the insecure little lawmakers get their individual egos stroked.
Hanabusa complained about Superferry officials: "Except through their high-priced lobbyists, they have not approached many of the senators or representatives who now hold the key as to whether or not they will ever be able to operate."
I guess that Hanabusa is explaining that rational and logical arguments about why the Superferry should or should not operate in Hawaii aren't nearly as important as some one-on-one quality begging time.
So I would guess her message to Superferry officials is to come on down to the Capitol and be ready to pucker up.
Democrats will be judged by reaction
Sen. Colleen Hanabusa is irritated, it seems, at every attempt by Hawaii Superferry to put its case before the public (Star-Bulletin, Oct. 12). She is also irritated at the public's 70 percent support for HSF, dismissing it as the product of the HSF's own public relations efforts. She is mistaken. The public sees the equities of this situation clearly. They see out-of-control lawsuits and misguided pseudo-environmentalists as the source of Hawaii's predicament.
Our Senate Democrats desperately need to avoid vacillation and half-measures. They must be just and fair.
HSF, for its part, now must decide if the bone it is thrown from the coming special session is sufficient to permit a rational ferry operation. If not, it will be forced to sail out of the state.
The future of the Democratic Party in Hawaii is at stake.
All citizens deserve consideration
A comment by Sen. Colleen Hanabusa about e-mails favoring the Superferry quoted in Friday's Star-Bulletin begs for a response.
Hanabusa (and other senators) need to realize that even though those e-mails came from a template at the Superferry Web site, they nonetheless were from residents of the state who took the time to go to the Web site and generate an e-mail. She shouldn't discount those voters out of hand.
She also belabors Superferry officials for not calling on her personally. I presume she also wants them to show up with hat in hand and bowed head, followed by a little okole kissing.
When a state senator discounts e-mails from her constituents, then perhaps it is she who should learn some humility.
Law should have been followed from start
I support the Superferry. What I don't support is how the current administration is dealing with its mistake.
I'm sure most of our state's population would love to have an alternate means of travel throughout the islands. But not if it means breaking our laws. The current law that requires an environmental impact statement should not be quickly changed by a special session without a vote from the people. There was a reason why the state put this law on the books in the first place. If legislators can just go change any law they want without input from the people of the state, then democracy in Hawaii is dead!
I say let them do the assessment, which might only take a few months, instead of calling everyone back for a special session (which will cost the state a lot of money in its own right). There might be no need to have a full-length EIS. If the Superferry really wants to operate in Hawaii, it will wait. If not, then the state and the taxpayers will bite the bullet. Maybe we will pay closer attention to who we vote for governor next time.
Ferry must face the consequences
I have no sympathy for the position that Hawaii Superferry is being destroyed by overregulation and an unfriendly business environment in Hawaii. The Superferry is in an uncomfortable financial position now because it tried to circumvent the EIS -- had it complied, it would now be operating with no problems. Why rewrite laws to allow the Superferry to operate before the completion of the EIS? It shouldn't be rewarded for trying to break the rules in the first place.
Lingle, Superferry trying to serve people
Anyone who knows me is aware that I'm not close with the current state administration, but I must give the governor credit for her leadership in the Superferry situation. I don't believe the governor is kowtowing to big business while ignoring environmentalists and others with concerns regarding Superferry; rather, Gov. Lingle is trying to responsibly bring about progress that will benefit all of Hawaii's people, and in doing so is taking quite a political risk by upsetting a significant group of one-issue people. I know from experience how a one-issue-oriented group can sink a person's political career, so I commend the governor for staying the course to do the right thing.
Superferry CEO John Garibaldi and his team have also worked very hard to address environmental concerns with the ship's service. They've provided lookout personnel and sonar equipment to watch for whales, and they've also pledged to amend their Maui routes during the annual whale season to avoid collisions with these endangered animals. Superferry leadership has also vowed to ensure that dirt-caked vehicles do not board the vessel, so as to prevent the spread of unwanted plants and pests between islands. There really is no difference between a vehicle traveling via ferry or on a barge -- not to mention the fact that an arriving Superferry that brings vehicles will likewise load up and take vehicles when it leaves, thus having no impact on infrastructure.
The Superferry will provide a service that is desired by the vast majority of Hawaii's people. Let's give it a chance.
Whitney T. Anderson
Editor's note: Whitney Anderson served for 20 years in the state House and Senate, representing Windward Oahu.
Performing an EIS is the American way
What is an environmental assessment, and what is an environmental impact statement, and what do they do? An environmental assessment can have one of two findings. It can have a finding of no significant impact or a finding that would require an environmental impact statement.
A finding of no significant impact means that the action being considered will have minimal (insignificant) environmental impact. A finding of a need for an environmental impact study would result in an environmental impact statement, EIS. The EIS would consider a range of alternatives or actions that includes a no-action alternative (what if there wasn't a Superferry, for instance) and compare that to a number of possible scenarios (what if it traveled at night only, or day only, or at specific times, or with limited travel schedules, or to one island or two). EAs and EISs are tools to help in decision-making.
Of course, the public is involved in the EIS process through scoping sessions and public comments. Resources are managed to benefit the community, the people. We live in a democracy and resources are managed to benefit the majority of the people. The Star-Bulletin's poll (Oct. 7-8) should be used in an environmental study along with a discussion of how it was conducted and what the findings mean.
Native rights, property and access are quite easily overrun by the discussion of providing for the public good, but a good EIS puts the arguments and discussion on the public record. On the record, they can continue to be discussed and argued, and if the argument is compelling enough they will be addressed. This is the system that America made. Whachugonnado?
Respect wishes of neighbor islanders
We all need to start thinking about how the Superferry would affect not only ourselves but others as well. For most of us who live on Oahu, the Superferry would allow us to travel to the neighbor islands with more convenience; no more hauling coolers, fishing poles or surfboards to the airport. Just toss our stuff into a truck and go. This would be the only time most of us would be affected by the Superferry -- when we are travelling interisland.
If we look at the neighbor islanders, however, this has the potential to greatly affect their day-to-day lives. More cars would result in more traffic. There would probably be more people fishing, hunting and surfing at their beaches, and using their parks and forests because of the ease of accessibility. These things have the potential to greatly impact their quality of life, and not for the better.
I hear many Oahu residents grumbling about how we need the Superferry. The truth is most of us don't. Most of us want the Superferry simply so we don't have to deal with the hassle of car rentals and so we can bring whatever we feel like. Neighbor island residents are fighting for their quality of life. Since this project is going to affect them much more than the typical Oahu resident, shouldn't we be listening to them and respecting their wishes?
Don't opponents care about employees?
Almost 250 employees of the Superferry received pink slips due to the stoppage of the ferry. Hope this is only temporary. No thanks to all who did not let the Superferry sail into Maui and Kauai. At least let the Superferry sail until the environmental impact statement is completed.
I guess every one of you feels good and proud. I wonder if you have jobs to live on that you don't have to worry about? Have some compassion and understanding.
Francis K. Ibara