Thursday, December 13, 2007
Protests challenge myth of Lingle's popularity
It's not just the Superferry that Neighbor Island residents are protesting. Increasingly they are focusing attention on Governor Lingle. It may be that the ferry affair shook something loose that is taking on a life of its own.
(Image captured from Akaku public access television)
A Star-Bulletin breaking news report, Superferry resumes service to Maui, noted that there were "Impeach Lingle" signs among others held at today's Superferry protests:
About 100 protesters gathered at Kahului Harbor to protest the Superferry’s arrival on Maui. At about 10:30 a.m., 80 people lined Kaahumanu Highway outside Kahului Harbor holding signs that read “Give back our Harbor,” and “Boycott the Superferry.”
Another small group of protesters lined the beach holding signs that said, “No Superferry,” and “Impeach Lingle.” A few protesters paddled into the harbor on surfboards and a canoe. Frank Zajac, who was on the canoe, said, “We’re really not happy the Superferry is coming without studying all the potential problems.
The signs were also noted in this Maui News article, Superferry’s return to Maui met with noisy but peaceful protesters:
Near street corners, a few dozen protesters carried signs saying, "Impeach (Gov. Linda) Lingle" and ’’Boycott the Superferry." A handful of demonstrators also shouted "go home" to Alakai passengers in their cars and trucks.
Lingle herself was on Kauai to receive an award from the Humane Society. Even there, she was met with protests, as reported in this Garden Island story, Protesters greet Lingle:
WAIPOULI — Upwards of 50 protesters gathered at the site of the Kauai Humane Society annual membership luncheon yesterday to catch Gov. Linda Lingle on her way into the event.
Lingle was invited by the nonprofit to talk about new laws that will better protect Hawai‘i pets. But the demonstrators, many of whom showed up with their own four-legged friends, said they wanted more protection afforded to marine mammals.
Rich Hoeppner, member of environmental group 1,000 Friends of Kaua‘i, which filed suit against the state and Hawaii Superferry, stood with a few dozen others near the entrance to the ResortQuest Kauai Beach at Makaiwa yesterday afternoon. Holding a sign that read “Whale Killer,” Hoeppner said it should be no surprise that residents were using the visit as a forum to express their displeasure.
“Here she is passing laws to support the Superferry that I guarantee are going to kill whales — and to have her honored for wildlife is total insanity,” he said.
So far I have not caught any reports of the "Impeach Lingle" signs in the Advertiser, but I'll keep watching.
The theme is popping up here and there on the Neighbor Islands and on the web. Two letters in the Haleakala Times recently followed that theme. The first was titled "Impeach Lingle" although the phrase did not appear in the letter. Headlines are usually assigned by the editors, not by letter writers. The second did, indeed, call for impeachment and observed,
Never in my memory has there been a call to impeach the governor. What a disgraceful position for Linda Lingle.
While there hasn't exactly been a "call" for impeachment, the fact that the subject has been raised is certainly an indication of strong displeasure. Googling "impeach Lingle" brings up 181 hits, a small number by Internet standards, but significant if it grows over time.
Whether or not there are grounds for impeachment, it's likely that the bumper stickers will persist as reminders that Lingle's popularity may at this point be a myth.
"A handful of demonstrators also shouted "go home" to Alakai passengers in their cars and trucks."
This really rubs me raw. Last time I checked people from Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii, were welcome here on Oahu anytime, no matter how they got here. This whole debacle has been an eye-opener to just how provincial and xenophobic our fellow State residents feel towards O'ahuans. It's one thing to have a beef with Superferry, it's quite another to forget that we're all in this boat we call the State of Hawaii together. Shame on the protesters who feel it's ok to insult and harass Oahuans (a friend was threatened with physical harm!) just because they come on the ferry.
The number of protestors on 12/13/07 in all areas of the harbor were 2 to 3 times those reported in the Honolulu newspapers. Here are pics of the whole thing:
BTW, today, 12/14/07, I was getting more pics and with two other people counting the number of people and vehicles getting off and on the ferry. While we were just quietly counting to ourselves, one of the people getting off shouted at us, "Go Home!" I felt like shouting back, "I am home, you!, go home," but instead just shook my head in disgust and kept my count. The numbers are even less than yesterday. I wanted the numbers to calculate how much they lost today. I'll post the info. on my blog. Aloha, Brad