Saturday, September 15, 2007


Get Lingle to release withheld funds as precondition for special session

by Larry Geller

Governor Linda Lingle is considering calling a special session of the Hawaii State Legislature so that a law could be passed allowing the Superferry to operate while an environmental assessment is to be completed. 

I (and many others, I'm sure) don't think it's the right thing to do. There should have been an EIS in the first place, and if the Superferry is so darn safe for whales etc. it would have passed easily and be making money for its investors today.

But if the Legislature is considering a special session, I heard a great suggestion today--legislators should first exact a concession from the governor.

Before even calling a session, the governor must agree to release the $3 million that the Legislature apportioned for the pedestrian safety law. That's right, cash up front or no special session.

Is that fair? You bet it is. The governor peevishly refused to release that money when the Legislature overrode her veto of the law. As a result, most likely some people will needlessly be killed in crosswalks. It's no laughing matter. Nor is her continued support of big business at the expense of ordinary people.

If she really feels contrite, there is other money not yet released for needed social services that she might let go of as a goodwill gesture.

The Legislature should still weigh the pros and cons of letting the Superferry get away with breaking the law before giving them a free pass. I'm not saying that for $3 million anyone should cave in on that. We still expect a critical debate on the issue should there be a special session. They should not buck the courts and the objections of so many people and county councils. Objections to the way the ferry project has been done are strong and should not be ignored.



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