Thursday, May 08, 2008


Arms race on Kauai over Superferry? KKCR program today at 4 p.m.

by Larry Geller

I can't stop wondering why the Superferry issue keeps coming up. Probably because the underlying conflicts have yet to be resolved. None of them.

But it seems that Kauai is deep in the throes again. Hey, it's May already and it's still not going back there, but it's clear that Kauai is in the Superferry's cross hairs again.

Following new CEO Admiral Tom Fargo's broadside that it will be up to the people of Kauai when the Superferry returns (he can stay home and watch them duke it out on TV, how cool), no fewer than three polls are running simultaneously to find out, kind of, whether he'll see any action or not.

There's the Garden Island poll (lower left of page), one by County Councilperson Mel Rapozo (upper right), and even a Maui News poll for some reason (these links won't be good in just a few days, if you're going vote, vote soon).

Also waiting in the wings looking through their crosshairs are the Kauai Police, whose new police chief, Darryl Perry, is taking advantage of his first 100 days of popularity to bulk up his force with riot gear and Tasers and stuff.
While reviewing the 25 tasers and riot shields requested in the budget at a cost of $29,800, discussion turned to the August protests over Hawaii Superferry’s first two trips to Kaua‘i.

Rapozo said that officers seemed unprepared and improperly outfitted to handle the hundreds of demonstrators who rallied at Nawiliwili Harbor.

He questioned if 25 riot shields was enough, noting that similar protests will likely occur again for a different controversial issue or whenever the interisland catamaran decides to resume passenger-vehicle service to the Garden Isle.

“The Kaua‘i Police Department was not prepared for what happened,” Perry said, referring to the Superferry protests.

The department still lacks the necessary equipment to handle such a situation “instantaneously,” but operational plans are now in place to partner with other agencies to effectively respond, he said.

He said this is the first phase of an equipment upgrade, noting his preference to the term “protective shields” rather than “riot gear.”
And you'll recall that I wrote some time ago about a secret procurement by the Harbor Police of body armor and maybe some stuff many of our fighting forces don't have in Iraq (actually, they could be ordering bazookas, we'll never know because the order is under seal).

A confrontational protest would give these paramilitary folks a chance to break heads and practice using their Tasers. I hope no one seriously wants to give them that opportunity. Wouldn't it be better to just let them play with their new toys around the police barracks and let it all rust in a few years?

If/(when) the Superferry decides to venture back to Kauai, it would be better if it didn't leave a wake of broken heads, tased bro's and drowned surfers. Brains work better than brawn anyway.

To learn what this arms buildup portends for the Garden Isle, tune in to KKCR at 4 pm today (Thursday). They stream from if you can't pick up their wave from wherever you are.

See also this Island Breath article and this one. Isn't Photoshop great?


Good post, Larry. I agree.

Aloha, Brad

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