CIVIL BEAT CHECKS LINGLE–HARD!
In October 2007, then-Governor Linda Lingle testified before a state House committee on legislation she was pushing that would grant a special, unprecedented exemption to Hawaii’s environmental laws for a single corporation: Hawaii Superferry, Inc. Both Lingle–the Superferry’s greatest booster, then or since–and the few Democrats arrayed against her knew the stakes were high.
“Do you realize this is a major policy shift?” Representative Marcus Oshiro, D-Wahiawa, asked Lingle. “We are asking for special legislation for one project. Do you understand the enormity of what you are asking us to do?”
It was a visceral moment in the fight over the high-speed auto ferry–by far, the most divisive political battle in Hawaii in the last few decades. Of course, Lingle did not understand the importance Oshiro was speaking of. What’s more, she still doesn’t have a clue.
“Remember that nothing was done wrong with the Superferry–nothing,” Lingle said at the terribly exclusive Pacific Club on Oct. 11 during an appearance for her U.S. Senate campaign, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. “Let me elaborate. Some people talk about an EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] when they talk about the Superferry. There was never an EIS required of any inter-island vessel. Not before and not since, that I’m aware of.”
In an Oct. 28 story, Civil Beat fact checked those assertions from Lingle and found, to no one’s surprise, that she’s wrong, Wrong, WRONG. Turns out that, yeah, the fight over the Hawaii Superferry was a disaster for state officials, corporate investors and Linda Lingle herself.
“Lingle said ‘nothing was done wrong with the Superferry.’” stated the Civil Beat story. “That’s false. The Hawaii Supreme Court twice invalidated actions taken by the state related to the Superferry… Lingle may disagree with the court, but it’s the court that gets to decide what’s right and wrong under the law, not a governor who wants to exert executive authority.”
And as far as her second assertion (the caveat “that I am aware of” notwithstanding), Lingle is equally wrong.
“But her statement is misleading at best and also inaccurate,” Civil Beat reported. “An EIS wasn’t required of the Superferry. It was required of the harbor improvements [needed to accommodate the Superferry]. And other harbor improvements related to ferries between Maui, Lanai and Molokai were required to undergo an Environmental Impact Statement.”
One final note: though the Civil Beat story is a satisfying read, it ultimately won’t matter in the campaign to replace Senator Daniel Akaka. Lingle will go on repeating her specious Superferry assertions as if the Civil Beat article never appeared.
It’s because she has no other choice. The truth can’t possibly help get her elected, so she has to make the best of it.
NEW SHOPPING CENTER!
And now for some really, really great news: Central Maui is getting a “major new commercial center!”
That’s right, kids–work will start this week on a $50 million, 200,000-square-foot retail center for the still-under-construction Kehalani subdivision between Wailuku and Waikapu, according to the Oct. 30 Maui News. There’s going to be a Foodland and a gas station and a Longs Drugs and a McDonald’s!
What’s more, the whole deal is “designed with a ‘Main Street’ feel incorporating retail buildings, landscaping, indoor and outdoor gathering spots, and the potential for mixed-use buildings,” according to The Maui News article. (Note: the development’s “Main Street” feel is more of a Platonic Ideal Main Street, reminiscent more of Disneyland’s Main Street than Wailuku’s actual Main Street, which is just up the street from Kehalani and doesn’t really have a lot of landscaping or “outdoor gathering spots,” unless you count the lawn in front of the Church of the Good Shepherd, where nice people hand out free meals to the homeless on weekends.)
Anyway, isn’t all that just wonderful? Developer Stanford Carr certainly thinks so: “We are really proud of what we are able to do for the community,” he told the News.
This is what we all want, right? Didn’t we all agree decades ago that we want the same supermarkets and fast food franchises distributed evenly across the island? You know, so that every town on Maui looks like every town on the mainland–makes it easier and more comfortable for out-of-towners, I suppose.
Independently owned and operated coffee houses and cafes tend to frighten consumers and leasing agents with their strange offerings and lack of “brand penetration.” And everyone knows people don’t read anymore, so bookstores are out, and when was the last time anyone went to a museum?
So what else are we going to build on this rock except more McDonald’s and Longs Drugs? Anyone?
JOBS GO NORTH AND SOUTH
It was no “Kim Kardashian Gets Divorced After Just 10 Weeks Of Marriage,” but did you happen to catch Pacific Business News’ Monday story on how Hawaii last nearly 3,000 retail jobs during the recession? Stanford Carr’s great Kehalani shopping center gift notwithstanding, Hawaii really took it in the shorts over the last four years, at least as far as retail employment is concerned.
Of course, only three U.S. states are actually doing well jobs-wise, and two of those have the word “Dakota” in their name, so it’s not like we’re really that bad off.