Monday, October 01, 2007


Superferry: Has Lingle's arrogance ignited a movement?

by Larry Geller

I was just listening to a podcast interview with Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan, of course, is credited with revitalizing the antiwar movement in this country. It seemed that no matter how many petitions were signed, no matter how many people marched on Washington, George W. Bush was determined to ignore the will of the people. It gets kind of discouraging. I'll admit to feeling quite hopeless that we will ever regain control of our own government. Cindy, starting with her establishment of Camp Casey, gave me hope. It was magic.

In the interview with Progressive Review editor Matthew Rothchild, Cindy admitted that if Bush had come out to meet with her it would have been all over. She would have simply reported on the meeting the next day. But he didn't meet with her, and the rest is history. She is currently running against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. I (almost) wish I lived in San Francisco, I so want to vote for Cindy. She can pull this off! Now, that's hope.

No, the war hasn't ended, but people have been galvanized to action because Bush was too arrogant to come out and talk with Cindy, whose son was killed fighting in his war.

Back here in Hawaii, if Lingle had not passed out papers with an explicit threat at the Sept. meeting with Kauai residents, had she sat down with them in a spirit of mutual aloha, had she been the least open to their views and opinions, perhaps she could have won over some hearts and minds.

If the daily papers had done a craftsmanlike job in covering the meeting, perhaps more people would be sympathetic to the effort to improve interisland transportation in the state. Well, shouting and the F-word sell papers and have a great impact on TV. Poor governor, getting treated like that! Pua ting.

But Kauai residents, particularly those who attended or knew someone who attended the meeting, knew that the news coverage was rigged against them.

Just as peace demonstrators at Camp Casey grew from a couple of hundred to over 15,000 because the arrogance with which they were treated galvanized a movement, the governor's attitude and subsequent press coverage seem to have done the same on Kauai.

Joan Conrow, Kauai journalist and now blogger, reports that the governor has not yet learned her lesson:

Meanwhile, it appears the "unified command" is still preparing to do battle against the people of Kauai. A very reliable source reports the Coast Guard has 10 rigid hulled inflatables hidden behind trucks and shipping containers at Nawiliwili Harbor.

This is just like Bush refusing diplomacy and threatening his "enemies" with military action. It doesn't work very well. Far from winning hearts and minds in Kauai (and the other Neighbor Islands, I might add), threats only increase polarization and guarantee further confrontation in the future.


Traditional media might review their responsibilities

The Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin should make note that this may be the first major community event that has been covered more completely and professionally in the blogosphere than in their "traditional" news pages. People hungry for background and detail did not find it in the papers, they found it on the Internet. The Advertiser finally caught up a bit with reality on the ground on Sunday, trailing the blogs by more than a week.

Update: I somehow missed that the papers did mention threats of arrest and the governor's "unified command" earlier, before the paper distributed at the meeting. In fact, the threats were mentioned in a front-page story in the Honolulu Advertiser on September 13.

Honolulu media have a bad habit. They cover political events selectively and count on readers having no other information than what ultimately sees print or gets onto the 6 pm news. TV cameras are very visible at  legislative hearings. Almost inevitably they show up early to hear the bigwigs (typically administration representatives) then pack up their tripods before other organizations and ordinary citizens have spoken, and before the crucial questioning before the vote. The meat of the hearing is often towards the end when the legislators grill folks on their testimony. But there are no TV cameras and usually no print reporters left in the room (sometimes it happens).

Let me give you an example unrelated to the Superferry. The repeal of the gas cap was a hot issue, and so legislative hearings were hot news. When Senator Ron Menor raked the Public Utilities Commission representative over the coals on his testimony towards the end of the hearing, there were no reporters that I recognized in the room. It was only then that it came out that the PUC had been setting the gas cap as high as the law allowed rather than as low as it allowed. What a difference it might have made if the newspapers had reported that ugly bit of news. The controversy alone was hot and sold papers, but reporters' bad habits kept the real news from the public.

Bloggers don't have deadlines and I think they are very willing to stick with an issue for what it is intrinsically worth. They have no word counts imposed on them. They don't have to sell copies of their blogs and they don't get paid salaries. So guess what--it's inevitable that many issues will be better covered on the Web than in traditional media.

If they don't get burned out on things Superferry, stay tuned to Ian Lind and Joan Conrow. Should the governor come down on the citizens of Kauai, you'll find decent coverage on the web. And often, pointers to where you can help take action if you're so inclined.


I believe that Governor Lingle's arrogance in the Superferry meeting on Kauai has spurred a statewide community sick of: (1) federal arrogance in the Bush Administration; (2) state arrogance in the executive branch as recently seen in the Governor lecturing the populace on child endangerment and its consequences; and (3) media arrogance as seen in the television (Faux News) and newspapers. I detest pablum - most especially if sugar and cream have been added to it. It is for this reason that I do not subscribe to the Honolulu dailies. My first read for current events here in Hawaii are the Honolulu Weekly (although I noticed that their starting to move center right), Maui Time and the blogs. The editors and publishers of the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star Bulletin have in my opinion abandoned critical journalistic research and reporting for the Almighty dollar found in business advertisements. The writing certainly details the "who", "what", "when" and "where" questions. What is missing is the "why?" Those who are sick of being left in the dark and treated as second class citizens will continue to rise up against gubernatorial incompetence. Blogs, in my opinion, play an important role in creating an informed citizenry when traditional media has failed in its responsibilities.

I know the SuperFerry is currently overshadowing all other seemingly insignificant incomptance - until an accident happens.

TheBoat Honolulu people ferries:

I'm surprised that the Melissa Ann is so open to the outside lower level to go up the upper level. There is no proper saftey enclosure. There is a railing but the lower railing closer to the floor is 3 foot high rebar. After seeing the state exempt itself from it's own laws, maybe Mufi learned a Neat Trick and exempted DaBoat from safety retrofitting?

The Melissa Ann was waddling from Aloha Tower to Barbers, and on the way back was "smoother".

I call DaBoast and complained that kids could just fly fight out of the open exposure because there is nothing but air and a two inch lip to hold them back. She no understand because she was never on the little ferry and assured me that it must've passed all U.S. Coast Guard safety requirements.

I think someone in charge of public safety should go and check why the Melissa Ann is hazardous to any person who is less than four-foot and seven-inches.

It seems that Hanneman has no intention of continuing this demo project of 6 months and plans(?) to have it fail from the beginning in order to say later: "See TheBoat didn't work! We MUST have the train!". Planned? or just an example of what he will do in the future, when he gets a hold of 8 billion for a stupid train?

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