Posts Tagged ‘Superferry’

steven valiereSo, word on the streets of Kauai is that if you were among those arrested for blocking the Superferry from entering Nawiliwili Harbor August 26 and 27th… the cops might be looking for you! Originally, arrested protesters were released due to a mix of reasons including the fact that, for many, officers filed the charges too late, and for others that there was, as reported in the StarBulletin, “insufficient evidence to bring charges because the police were distracted, focusing on the public’s safety.” There were also claims that there were too many discrepancies between the Police Officers and Coast Guard for charges to stick. Many on land were arrested if they were wet, not because they were specifically seen protesting in the water – while protesters on land tried to assist by giving them dry clothing before being spotted by the cops. Others, like surf artist extraordinaire Steve Valiere (dad of surf pros Evan and Shane [who was also arrested]), who was actually knocked of his board by Coast Guard boats and his board confiscated (and still not returned) is being cautious. As reported in the The Garden Island (kauaiworld.com) article “Protestor Charges Not Filed in Time”:

However, the lack of closure is being cited as unsettling by some defendants, as the possibility remains that they could be re-arrested and brought back to court. …Seven defendants made District Court Judge Trudy Senda’s call list, a list initially created to help expedite cases that might otherwise fall through the system’s cracks. The system was designed roughly two years ago so that those who had been arrested and assigned court dates but whose charges hadn’t been filed would be taken off the court docket. However, those who make the call list don’t necessarily have their cases dismissed, as prosecutors have the option to re-prioritize them.

Thoughts are that Lingle and company have every intention to let that baby cruise -despite the touring Legislative meetings in which a majority of the Hawai’i public made pleas for an EIS before allowing the Superferry to sail. And “re-prioritizing” these arrests will make those charged more fearful of getting involved; because instead of a misdemeanor they will be facing a more severe felony charge if are arrested again.

As Kauai activist Hope Kallai aptly put it, they’re skimming our front lines [of active protesters]. So far as I know, only Dayne Gonsalves and Rob Pa (leaders of the Kingdom of Atooi, who recently brought the Superferry issue, and sovereignty, all the way to Washington and therefore on the list of activists to watch) have been re-arrested and out on bail, though others have been unofficially warned. There’s no word if Police are threatening to go after the four children who were also arrested during the protest – though no one would put it past the powers that be to use them to dissuade the parents, as Lingle made it clear parents would be charged with child endangerment if their kids were found protesting again.

Hopefully a lawyer who’s not too busy doing pro-bono on the Pflueger case on Kauai or otherwise busy with Superferry actions will step in to help those in Kauai fighting these charges.

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Postscript: I emailed Kauai Senator Gary Hooser concerning this subject and asked if he had any further information or personal opinion regarding the matter. As one of the few true representatives of his constituents concerning the Superferry, Senator Hooser is being flooded with emails, and warns, though all will be reviewed, due to volume responses may be delayed. Despite that, in less than 15 minutes he wrote back:

Thank you for the email on this matter. Yes, I read in the paper of the arrests but have no additional information at this time. I was surprised also and thought all of these cases had been settled or thrown out. The Kauai Police Department is part of the County and I have no control over County issues however I will try to find out more about this. gh

Senator Gary L. Hooser; Senate Majority Leader; Hawai’i State Senate; Seventh Senatorial District – Islands of Kaua’i & Ni’ihau; Office: (808) 586-6030 Toll Free: 274-3141, ext. 66030; Fax: (808) 586-6031 Email: senhooser@capitol.hawaii.gov

P.S. Please visit the Hawaii Senate Majority Caucus website at www.hawaiisenatemajority.com and the official State of Hawaii legislative website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov

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Check in for updates on the Superferry Bill:

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Ian Lind

(art by -arrested Kauai protester- Steven Valiere)

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toy boatPossibly the final chance to get your voice heard regarding the Oahu-centric Superferry, as they decided to kindly offer public hearings on all the neighboring islands affected. But what are these hearings exactly?

No matter the rulings, ultimately stopping the Superferry seems out of the people’s hands. These hearings -which are being called “Public Informational Hearings” and are to be attended by Members of the Senate committees on Judiciary and Labor, Energy and Environment and Transportation and International Affairs– seem to mainly be about appeasing the public and allowing them to restate their opinions on…a bill that is already written! Which may be voted on in a special session on Wednesday in O’ahu! And that will likely allow commencement of Superferry operations. Will they be adopting certain protections in place prior to an Environmental Impact Study being completed? The Starbulletin reported:

State lawmakers’ final draft of the Superferry-savior bill rejects the 29 conditions that environmentalists and ferry opponents had demanded be part of any measure to keep the boat afloat. Legislators unveiled the final draft of the bill yesterday and noted that while the environmentalists’ demands were not included, the proposed law includes about 20 new pages that reference Hawaii environmental impact law. The bill would allow the Superferry to restart service to Kauai and Maui while the state does a months-long study of the environmental impact of the interisland service.

As mentioned in the Big Island’s newspaper, the Hawai’i Tribune Herald (featuring its dependable one-sided reporting, blog-worthy spelling and vocabulary [well, blogs are oft more eloquent], reprinted AP articles, and finally, thankfully, listing information on some local government shindigs and a few links…hey, save a tree, check that shit online!):

“We refer to this as an informational briefing because it comes before the bill is formally introduced, but we expect to spend more time listening than talking,” said Sen. Brian Taniguchi, D-Manoa, McCully, who will be acting as chairman of the combined committees. “Those who could be affected by the Superferry’s operations should take the time to review the draft bill and share their concerns or comments.” The draft bill and instructions on how to submit written testimony are available on the Legislature’s Web site, http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Do some grand finalé research first, then attend with your important opinions. Get their early to sign up (or click here for fax or email instructions) to be heard…well, if you can condense your thoughts in a two minute time-frame. The blog Dissapeared News humorously called them “Speed Dating” hearings. With a reader adding: “Speed dating is a nice metaphor for the Senate hearings – just hope that it doesn’t turn into ‘date rape’.”

Hawai’i residents -other than those from O’ahu- should really look at the actual time and cost to travel to the outer islands with your car via the Superferry. If you are supporting this big boat because you think you’re going to enjoy some super savings and easy inter-island travel – think again!
…Post posting, I’ll add my some excess never published from a previous Superferry article I wrote regarding fees:

Though you’ll be hard pressed to score Go! Airline’s advertised $19 seats -I see a few available in June 2008, for example…and need to be supa-quick to snatch up the sporatic 24-hour $9 fare-war specials- for the most part airfares now run a reasonable $39 plus tax and airport fees each way for something to and from Oahu. It’s not so bad.

Of course, you may have read the articles reporting on Go! / Mesa Airline’s big plans for Hawai’i. They were welcomed by the people after telling them their goal was to offer affordable inter-island air travel, yet eventually it was uncovered that perhaps they never had the public’s interests in mind when emails detailing their real goal – to eventually put Aloha Airlines out of business and then raise rates even higher than they were before they arrived! There is a suit filed by Aloha and another by Hawaiian Airlines – see “dontflygo.com” for more info. Part of the problem, is businesses like Mesa who go into markets with their bargain fares and big federal subsidies, then leave once those subsidies end, claiming “it would not be profitable to continue flying to [insert city here] after the subsidy ends… We’ve done the calculations, and it just doesn’t make sense…” leaving the public scrambling and competing airlines still recuperating. And Mesa, they take the money and run.

Was this a business model admired by Superferry heads? Who knows – though other Superferry operations have gone in such a way. One thing we do know, is that one of their original selling points to the public was that the were going to offer an affordable alternative mode of inter-island travel. The cost? It was supposed to be half the cost of airfare.

Many tried to take advantage of the $5 introductory fare for the first Superferry voyages (only to be turned away from Kauai, or get themselves and their cars stuck on Maui when the return voyages were canceled!) – but the regular fare will be much higher, as “Doug” announces on his Poinography blog “Warning: prepare yourself for sticker shock“. Though maybe we need to give some leeway considering gas prices were lower at the time they were estimating fares [now there’s a fluctuating 28.3% fuel surcharge], and that airflights might have been higher then… still yet….

A roundtrip Superferry trip with surcharge would cost an average of $120 per passenger, and an additional $140 for one small vehicle (peak days cost more and again the price is higher to then get to a neighboring island). Also, your infant or child under two-years, who flies free on the airlines, will cost $17 each way. Surfboards, coolers, and any over-sized luggage are an additional fee unless they are in or atop your car. Same with dogs….inside the car (that should be interesting if it’s a typically hot Hawai’i day). That’s not necessarily a bargain in comparison to airlines, but there are advantages.

Unfortunately, these advantages seem most relevant only if you are going on an extended trip, potentially sleep in said vehicle, and are going to fill your car with everything from surfboards to doggy. When you add up a surf vacation via airline for the week: avg. $100 round trip, $25 each way, (dog another $25 each way), $150 car rental per week (best rate usually Alamo via the Costco website or Steve at Rent-a-Wreck on Kauai or Maui Surf Report on Maui), $300 hotel (though many residents have friends or family to stay with when visiting, and rates from camping to hotels vary)… you could be spending some bucks for a safari to another island.

Disadvantages? Okay Big Island residents, did you want to go to Maui via the Superferry? I mean, we can see the island from our coast, shouldn’t be that long of a trip. Well, are you ready for a 4 1/2 hour boat ride -passing Maui- to Oahu, get there late in the day, then I’m not certain what you do in the meantime, but you better find a car or taxi unless you brought yours, then get a room I guess, ’cause you won’t be leaving Oahu ’til the next day at 11am, when you get to go through the boarding process all over again and sail for another 3 hours. After two days of inconvenience, you will need a good night sleep so you’re ready to really start your vacation…. ugh…

Is your desire to surf Tunnels with Andy Irons worth filling Kauai with the coqui frogs they do not want? Personal vehicles by the hundreds per day potentially carrying pests of varying sorts is not comparable to Matson shipping mostly new vehicles and mainland vehicles. If you are for the Superferry and for some of the environmental precautions, add many more hours to your trip because the ship needs to go much slower to prevent marine disasters with whales and other marine life. And if a spray wash of the vehicle is adopted –which still yet wouldn’t kill off the beloved fire ants that are inside the car (hey, on Big Island you find them in there all the time now!)— add more time in the harbor boarding. Okay, not a soap box moment, but until they put precautions in place it’s not okay to allow government and big business to ignore state laws and think the concerned kama’aina should stand idly by.

Are there positive aspects to a Superferry? Sure (and as a Big Island resident I could consider investing in a VW Bus and take advantage of a few surf trips – I just don’t see that my personal pleasure is worth the overall ill-effects – and without an unbiased commission overseeing an EIS we can’t be absolutely certain what those effects truly are). Does it suck that the state could be out hundreds of thousands of dollars, employees out of jobs, and the company in debt if the project goes under? Of course. Those contributing state funds could have been used on schools, teachers, highways that are already congested with traffic in areas that aren’t equipt to handle more!, etc.) But let’s keep clear on why this happened in the first place and what’s the most respectful resolution.

Be there … or don’t complain:

KAUAI: Sunday, October 21, 2pm, King Kaumali’i Elementary School Cafeteria, Hanama’ulu (turn by 7-11). This is the one to go to! How will the people of Kauai react?

MAUI: Monday, 3 p.m., Baldwin High School Auditorium in Wailuku.

BIG ISLAND: Tuesday, 3 p.m., Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona.

More Recommended Reading:

Superferry Timeline: Honolulu Advertiser

Gary L. Hooser on “The Superferry Fiasco” & his personal blog

Local blog Poinography!’s Superferry Update

Hawaiian Kingdom’s Opinion

Impeaching Lingle: Dissapeared News, Larry Sinkin Letters.

Other YahooGroup posts

Ian Lind’s reporting is worth a look

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Superferry Hawaii SurfersAfter much ballyhoo regarding Hawaii’s Superferry, it seems that the State (which supported the project with a little bit of government funding – $40 million, that is) is going to let the Superferry continue its operations, at least to Kauai, while it’s awaiting word on whether or not it will need an environmental impact study (EIS). The service that began end of August was shut down after the first trip when activists got a judge to issue a TRO for its use of Maui’s Kahului Harbor and Kauai surfers, bodyboarders and kayakers took to the water to block Nawiliwili Harbor.

There are many issues at hand as to why people are protesting, even residents who ultimately support a ferry service between the islands. From invasive species to protecting whales in their breeding grounds, people simply wanted the company to perform a proper EIS (which is required for new projects like this that could easily have an impact on the environment). But that costs money, takes time, and somehow “those in charge” seemed to think once they got going with the project, that it would be too late to stop them.

In the end the only way to stop the ferry to Kaua’i was by physically blocking the harbor. Hawaii Superferry EIS“Well, we had tried … quote, unquote the legal way, and …[they] turned a deaf ear to us. So what was there left to do? To bring this to a head… to bring it to the attention of general public,” protester Dennis Chun said. As to why they waited til the last hour to protest…fact is, the public has been requesting to be heard by state and Superferry officials since the project was first announced.

Now Governor Linda Lingle is calling these same people “lawless” and instead of admitting the EIS should have been done and working on a better compromise, she’s bringing out the big guns. As reported in the Honolulu Advertiser:

The Coast Guard, under the authority of an emergency order, will create a security zone to allow protesters to demonstrate between Kalapaki Beach and Kuki’i Point but will use an ocean containment boom to physically separate them from the harbor entrance and the ferry’s path. The ocean boom is similar to what is used to clean up oil or chemical spills. A separate security zone will exist 100 yards around the ferry itself. Protesters who violate the security zone could face 10 years in prison and $10,000 fines. Federal civil penalties could be up to $25,000. The Coast Guard also warned that surfboards, kayaks and canoes used by protesters to violate the security zone could be seized and forfeited.

Ironically surf legend and devoted Republican and State Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings had urged last week that the Coast Guard or the Hawai’i National Guard ensure safe Kaua’i passage for the ferry and stated he was pleased with the new restrictions. “This is a good business that has a right to do business in Hawai’i,” Hemmings said. “It has given Hawai’i a black eye to have a handful of ill-informed protesters stop a business from legally operating. I’m glad the Coast Guard and other government agencies are doing their job.” While the Republicans are determined to protect businesses, the Democrates are concerned about military being used to control the people.

State Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kaua’i, Ni’ihau), said he plans to send a letter to Superferry today asking that it keep its service to Kaua’i suspended until the courts rule on whether it can continue during an environmental assessment. Hooser said he is worried about potential confrontations between protesters and the Coast Guard. “I’m concerned about the escalation in rhetoric coming from the Coast Guard and I want to diffuse the situation,” he said. On Kaua’i, environmentalists and others who question the ferry accused the Coast Guard of turning Nawilwili into a “war zone.” “We should not be using military and police forces to enforce political decisions,” said state Rep. Hermina Morita D-14th (Hanalei, Anahola, Kapa’a).

Jeff Mikulina, director of the Sierra Club’s Hawaii chapter, criticized the move to resume service. “It is highly inappropriate for Superferry to travel to Nawiliwili before an environmental review is complete,” Mikulina said. “Not only is such a trip contrary to state law, it belies common sense. We study and prepare for adverse impacts before they happen, not after.” Interestingly, the usually extreme Sierra Club seemed to have the perspective with the most middle ground, claiming all they have wanted from the beginning was an EIS and even without it … would be willing to consider allowing Superferry to sail again under very strict controls. Before Lingle’s decision, Mikulina had hopeful stated, “Perhaps in the short term they put [in place] extreme measures to protect for those things then we understand what the impacts are and can go back and revise them. That could be an outcome.” But the State didn’t seem to want to bargain or budge.

And while the Coast Guard claims, “[We have] an obligation to facilitate commerce”, Rich Hoeppner, of People for the Preservation of Kaua’i, said the Coast Guard should have asked Superferry officials to wait. “The Coast Guard had two options,” he said. “They could spend millions of dollars on additional personnel and equipment, or make one call to (Superferry chief executive John) Garibaldi and tell him they wouldn’t protect him until he gets an EA as the Supreme Court requires. They chose to make it a war zone.” If the ferry returns to Kaua’i, “we’ll probably be here to show our displeasure,” Hoeppner said. Some of the Kaua’i protesters, who went to Oahu to explain their position, warned Superferry officials that the next confrontation will make the last one “look like a picnic” if the ferry tries to go to Kauai without an environmental assessment.

Lingle Press ReleaseIn a statement released yesterday, Governor Lingle announced that the ferry will be allowed to resume service, on a temporary daylight schedule, with the help of the US Coast Guard, Mayor Bryan Baptiste, Department of Public Safety, Transportation and Land and Natural Resources. The Superferry web site, which includes a slightly skewed “Latest Press Coverage” section, listed her announcement, as well their Voyage Status:

We are suspending service to and from Kaua‘i through Tuesday, September 25. We will be offering service between Kauai and O‘ahu starting on September 26. The voyages on September 26 and 27 will operate earlier in the day than our normal schedule. Until the schedule is finalized those voyages will not be available for purchase. Full details will be forthcoming. We are pleased to learn that Hawaii Superferry will be able to resume service to and from Kaua‘i commencing September 26. The Governor, the U.S. Coast Guard, and various state and county agencies have provided Hawaii Superferry with assurances regarding the safety of our passengers, employees and the members of the community when Kaua’i service is resumed.

Lingle also didn’t fail to mention that anyone who is “planning to recruit children or teenagers to participate in illegal protests that they could be held liable for child endangerment.”

So with the TRO rejected by a Kauai judge last week (and only perhaps if a permanent restraining order gets granted during a hearing September 17th), we shall see how it goes when the Superferry is set to begin its Oah’u to Kaua’i service again on September 26th. Of course to the surfers, as in any High Surf Advisory situation, be safe!

cuz don’t take superferry

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For more info on the boycott check out superferryimpact.com, boycottsuperferry.org or check back for my more detailed piece on the pro’s and con’s of the Superferry.

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View the raucous Superferry meeting with Kauai residents & Linda Lingle (9/20)

Superferry’s Kauai service halt is stayed (9/22)

KauaiWorld: Superferry showdown – Protesters delay landing

Kaua‘i legislators oppose Superferry special session

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