Monday, April 06, 2009


Delusions of Superferry returning to Hawaii

by Larry Geller

I think our state legislators must be under a lot of pressure. They’re working long hours. According to this KHNL story, some are thinking of trashing our environmental laws in order to bring back the Hawaii Superferry, so it can lose more money.

A plan to rescue the Hawaii Superferry is underway. Sen. Fred Hemmings (R-Lanikai, Waimanalo and Hawaii Kai) says there's a chance a bill can be passed this session that could open the doors for the ferry service to come back.

Aha, I should have known. There are reasons why Republicans are almost as extinct here as giant interisland ferries—they just don’t fit in Hawaii.

But between her opposition to civil unions and her willingness to bend or break the rules on behalf of this one company, Sen. Colleen Hanabusa is looking much like a Republican herself:

Senate president Colleen Hanabusa (D-Nanakuli, Makaha) says a task force is looking into Hawaii's environmental laws to see if they need to be updated.

"And let us be clear: the legal challenge was on Kahului only," she said. "So technically the Superferry could operate from Oahu to Kauai, from Oahu to the Big Island."

Ok, Sen. Hanabusa, if it could have operated, why did it leave?? Because it was losing money by the ton, and because, perhaps, it has use as a military vessel. And just what kind of a task force has been put together? A task force designed to destroy our environmental laws? Do you represent your constituents in Nanakuli and Makaha or this particular ferry company?

Hanabusa’s attack on our environment is curious; at the very end of the KHNL article she offers a simple alternative which would make changing the laws unnecessary:

Senate president Hanabusa also says there's another fix for the Superferry to come back. They could swap out the Alakai for the other catamaran that was recently built. It has a built in ramp on the boat, which means, like Matson or Young Brothers, it would not need to go through an environmental review process because it does not use harbor improvements.

Like I said, legislators have been putting in long hours… the reason why Hawaii Superferry didn’t just swap the two vessels is most likely (I hate to sound like a broken record) that the business was losing money. The boat was too big to break even. If they had the choice to swap boats, they didn’t take it.

It could make a great military transport, though, that remains to be seen.

Besides, all she has to do is pick up the phone and ask Thomas Fargo if the ferry would return if the laws she is talking about trashing were trashed. She could ask him if he could swap ferries. It ought to be possible to get some commitment before forming task forces to change valuable laws. Fargo used to run a whole navy, he could reply definitively about her swapping idea, you’d think.

So in summary, Hanabusa proposed that there was an alternative available for Hawaii Superferry to keep operating. She said they could have swapped the old one for the catamaran with the ramp, and used it between Oahu and any of the Neighbor Islands that they wished. But they didn’t. Why? Because they didn’t want to. They’re probably very happy to be outta here.


Yep, that's it, Larry.

But Hanabusa (looks very tired), Hemmings, Slom, and Lingle are in denial, will not admit any mistakes, and cannot see what is really going on here, even on the same day that Gates at DoD announces two new HSV leases available.

You are the second or third person I know who thinks Hanabusa is behaving more like a Republican.

I don’t know why people- including Hamabusa who should know better- are repeating this nonsense that recently appeared somewhere about the built-in ramps NOT requiring an EIS. If you examine the DOT emails, as Derrick DePledge did and wrote- the ramp was left off the SF precisely because by actually touching the boat to the permanent dock it would trigger an EIS, according to the DOT plotters. The barge system was put in place precisely because, by not actually having the boat come into physical contact with the dock they thought they could use that “technicality” to get around the EIS.

And by the way this whole thing is Leland Kim’s effort to continue his unabashed cheerleading, news-bending he engaged in during the whole debacle. First he dug up (quite literally since most thought he was dead) the delusionally senile ex-AG and then talked to “say anything” Hemmings.

Geez Leland- give it up already.

Andy, I had thought that an EIS was needed anyway, but I wasn't sure so I didn't write anything. Besides, I don't want to encourage the lege to stomp on valuable environmental law.

The ferry isn't repainted yet. I suppose it could go off to war, or something, and come back later to Hawaii, but unless the fundamentals change and it can somehow make a profit, why would they do that? And why doesn't Sen. Hanabusa see that? Sen. Hemmings has to say what he has to say, he's being who he feels he has to be. But Hanabusa needn't emulate a Republican dinosaur, she's supposed to be a leader with ambitions to move on to even higher office. That requires, to me, demonstrating sound logical thinking as best one can in the face of the challenges that are out there.

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