Wednesday, November 28, 2007

 

Opposition to Superferry grows, and a Hawaii blog makes the Federal Register


by Larry Geller

I heard the sound of nearby thunder this morning and turned off the computers. But the sound continued even as the lightning storm moved out to sea. What could it be?

... And the beat of the hoofs of those approaching armies was like to the sound of distant thunder ever coming nearer and nearer and louder and louder. And the cloud of dust behind those armies was like the smoke of a great conflagration rising up into the sky. And in the midst of those clouds he could see the flashing and blazing of polished armor catching the sunlight and flinging it off again as those armies rode rapidly down the slopes and toward them.

Thus those armies came together with great uproar and thunder and a flashing like to flaming lightning in the midst of a storm. And King Arthur ran to his horse and mounted nimbly thereon, and he spurred back to meet his army, and an esquire who rode with that army gave to him a good stout spear of ashwood.

So those two armies met with a shock that might have been heard a league. In that shock of meeting one recoiled from the other by the force of the assault it had itself delivered. And many knights fell in that first assault, and most of those that fell died as they fell. For the horses pressed upon them with their hoofs and many died beneath that pressure. And after the horsemen came the yeomen afoot, and these ran hither and thither and slew many who yet lived.

Then those knights who were still a-horseback cast aside their spears, for they could not longer use their spears in that narrow pass, wherefore they cast them away and drew their swords. And with their swords they hewed about them from right to left, and from left to right. And so, in a while, the ground was littered with cantles of armor and with men lying dead or dying beneath the hoofs of the horses.

So that fierce battle began a little before the prick of noon, and it continued for all that afternoon, and it continued through the twilight of the evening and until the falling of the night.

[The Story of the Grail and the Passing of Arthur, by Howard Pyle]

King Arthur had enough experience to pull off a battle like that. It takes experience. My fear for the Superferry protests is that the Coast Guard and the harbor police have the armor (maybe some cantles were in the recent secret state procurement of body armor and equipment, who knows) while potential protesters lack experience in these matters.

Protesters could end up in a lot of trouble if they go up against Lingle's "Unified Command." I think anyone might be concerned, regardless of opinion on the ferry itself, that an epic clash not take place on any of the Neighbor Islands. The security zones will be enforced with glee, no doubt. What concerns me most is that some people derive real pleasure from bashing protesters with batons or worse.

The Oahu dailies are hyping the ferry again, and have not even questioned John Garibaldi on exactly what community outreach he is doing (none, apparently, see this Garden Island story Ferry outreach slow in coming) (hat tip to Joan Conrow). You would think the handful of journalists who have been covering this story might ask a hardball question (assuming the editors allow them, of course). This hype sets up a certain frame.

It sets up the frame that the Superferry is only good for Hawaii. Nevermind the harm it may do to many, never mind that the Superferry investors will be receiving more from our state government than school kids sweating in hot classrooms or those who cannot work enough jobs to pay rent. It is a setup. It tries to pit the ordinary public against those who still think that the ferry deal should have been done differently.

And the number of opponents is not diminishing. An open letter has been circulating that achieved 185 signatures a couple of days ago. I was going to copy the whole thing here, but decided to omit the names attached. Hey, it's an open letter, why not include the names? Well, I heard on Democracy Now this morning that 20,000 names a month are added to the "list" of those who will be searched at airports and decided not to make it easy for anyone to harvest 185 names from my blog. So here is the letter (thanks to Andy Parx) with the names omitted:

An Open Letter to John Garibaldi of Hawai`i Superferry and Hawai`i State officials

We, the undersigned residents of Kaua`i respectfully decline to participate in any of the reported  “outreach” efforts  of the Hawai`i Superferry (HSf).

The law may or may not say that it is legal for the HSf to come to Kaua`i. But even if the HSf can come to Nawiliwili, we Kaua`i residents don’t have to either like or acquiesce to it.

We undersigned will not and cannot “put  behind us” the disrespect and violation of our constitutional right to a safe and healthy environment, as both Honolulu newspapers have editorially suggested.  It is, in fact, still in front of us.

The past and current actions of the State and the HSF are unacceptable. Our  environmental, cultural, social and economic rights have been stripped (Act 2) as have our rights to local planning processes, which were also “exempted” (HRS §  266-2) by the State.

We will not meet with those who would willfully violate our rights just because they can and ask us to forgive the self-same trespasses they continue to promulgate.

We the undersigned  discourage visitors from taking advantage of the denial of our rights by coming here via the HSf. and we will use any and all legal means to discourage people from bringing their cars on the HSf, should the HSf and State decide to violate our rights to a clean, safe and healthy environment

We the undersigned welcome our visitors who travel and stay in accordance with our current infrastructure capacity through our official planning processes and designated methods of accommodating the up to 30,000 visitors who are here every day now.

Whether or not the HSf  can conduct an EIS that  “mitigates” the impacts of all those vehicles as well as secondary impacts across the island remains to be seen, as does their ability to comply with our county permitting regulation. Though these two “exemptions” appear to be legal according to some, we the undersigned will not respond to any “outreach” that does not start with compliance with those protections before the HSf comes to Kaua`i.

In addition, we the undersigned call on the Kaua`i County Council to declare HSf a public nuisance under State law (HRS § 46-17) due to the “dust, pollution, vibrations, noise and smoke” of  up to 560 cars coming on and off the HSf as well as as many as 200 more picking up and dropping off passengers all converging upon the dock.

The Governor turned away a petition with 6,000 signatures, so I doubt she'll pay attention to this. I'm sure the Coast Guard already has a couple of copies and may have sent the names to the Bushites already.

Oh, mustn't forget—a Hawaii blog has been mentioned in the Federal Register, announcing a Coast Guard rule for a protective zone around the ferry. Yes, recognition at last. Check it out. The document is hard to get to on the GPO website, so I've stored away a copy of it here.

Groups opposing the lawful operation of the HSF continue to vow to impede its transit utilizing these same dangerous tactics. These opposition groups have started several internet forums to encourage and coordinate support for their efforts. The danger such obstruction tactics pose is illustrated by an article posted on November 5, 2007, on Surferspath.com, a popular Web site for Hawaiian surfers.

At last, a local blog gets federal recognition.  [Update: Doug corrected me in a comment to this post. Surferspath is not a Hawaii blog. Darn, more egg on my face. Sorry.]

The Coast Guard quoted from the non-violent resistance letter that was posted on the  Surferspath website and views it as a threat (see their text). From reading the rule, and from the fact that it is being put into effect without the usual public comment period, I appreciate the advice in the letter all the more. Yes, preparing a will might not be a bad idea. Getting ready for the worst would be prudent, since the worst has been described in great detail in the Coast Guard's rule.

As you read it you can hear the sound of distant thunder in the distance, the hoofs of approaching armies.

I sincerely hope that the "Unified Command" will not have the chance to get their jollies by testing out their shiny new riot gear on live protesters. Being put on a no-fly list may be the least punishment that would be administered by our newly militarized law enforcement. They may decide to crack heads.

 



Comments:

Correction: Surfer's Path is not a Hawaii blog, they are not quite clear about exactly where, but it seems that they operate out of the UK.
 


Oops.

Thanks, I corrected it in the post itself. I should have checked.
 

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