Some people, today’s Honolulu Advertiser tells us, are “beginning to question whether the Lingle administration and the state Legislature acted wisely” on the issue of Hawai`i Superferry. Really? I thought last second state Supreme Court rulings, Temporary Restraining Orders, $5-inter-island passenger fares and human chains of surfers stretched across Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai to be standard operating procedure in Hawai‘i. At least Governor Linda Lingle has managed to find the real victim here—and it’s not all those stranded passengers caught in the middle, residents and environmentalists who’ve felt jerked around for three years or even the Superferry executives and their employees who were told one thing only to be snapped back at the last second. “This does hurt the visitor industry,” Lingle told the Advertiser. “It also hurts our reputation as a place to do business and to be treated fairly.” A place to do business? That’s Hawai‘i’s reputation? Since when?
THURSDAY, Aug. 30
No really—since when?
FRIDAY, Aug. 31
What a coincidence: just two days after Hawai‘i Superferry, Inc. asked for a Sept. 6 evidentiary hearing on the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) dragging them down (instead of an immediate ruling based on the law), today’s Maui News is reporting that Wailuku attorney Isaac Hall rejected a secret deal proposed by Hawai‘i Superferry (HSF) lawyers back in 2005 to do a private, “limited” environmental review. HSF attorney Lisa Woods Munger “proposed cooperating with the plaintiffs to hire a consultant to conduct an environmental study, which would be of an ‘agreed-upon scope,’ but not subject to Hawaii’s Chapter 343 environmental law review,” the News reported. Telling the News that she was “stunned,” Superferry Maui Advisory Board member Madge Shaefer (and Superferry booster) said this is proof that “They [Hall and his environmentalist clients] just care about shutting down the Superferry… I would respect them more if they just admitted that.” I’m stunned, too, though mostly because, according to the story, Hall wanted to keep this whole thing under wraps, but was thwarted by the News, which had obtained what he called “confidential” documents detailing the proposed deal. “Parties in court cases will never participate in good-faith negotiations if their confidential communications are publicized,” he told the paper. “The Sierra Club, Maui Tomorrow and the Kahului Harbor Coalition will not participate in this unauthorized and unethical effort to circuitously place inadmissible evidence before the court.” Look, Hall—I agree with you that this is probably a ploy to throw mud on you and your clients, but come on: you know that reporters (including me) will run stories on “confidential” documents as often as we can because, well, it’s our right and duty to do so. Besides, what difference does a two-year-old, obviously half-hearted Superferry settlement offer make these days? The Hawai`i Supreme Court has ruled that the state Department of Transportation needs to do a full Chap. 343 environmental review of the Superferry. You have the legal as well as moral high ground here—why get all agitated now?
SATURDAY, Sept. 1
I just realized that you can’t spell “Idaho” without “ho.”
SUNDAY, Sept. 2
Sorry to keep blasting away at the Superferry, but if the company officials and public relations flacks quoted in today’s Honolulu Advertiser are actually telling the truth, then we won’t be hearing about the Superferry for much longer. According to today’s paper, back in March, David Wilson of McNeil Wilson Communications said in a little-noticed online interview that, “If there is an EIS, Superferry is leaving.” And in a more recent interview with the paper, Superferry CEO John Garibaldi used the word “show-stopper” in describing the effect a full, state-funded EIS would have on his new fast ferry. Not to put too fine a point on all this, but these guys are being babies. You’d think having to do an EIS put such immense restrictions on development that everything in Hawai‘i has ground to a halt over the last couple generations. Was this thing so precariously balanced on a knife edge of federal loan guarantees (over $180 million!) and corporate welfare that the slightest breath of wind—and that’s all environmental law is in this nation, I kid you not—would be enough to topple it into the briny depths? If so: damn!
MONDAY, Sept. 3
Which reminds me—so a number of us around the office have been kicking around the idea of what will become of the boats should Garibaldi and his crew jump ship and swim away. The answer, in my opinion, is that the Superferry Alakai and her still-being-built sister ship would go to the military. This yesterday’s Advertiser teased with the line “Some Superferry opponents believe the Alakai and a second ferry could be used to transport the Army’s Stryker brigade vehicles.” Believe? The only reason opponents believe that is because Superferry super-investor John F. Lehman—a former U.S. Navy Secretary!—has said exactly that. “The Superferry is strong enough to take Stryker vehicles,” he said in the March 28, 2005 Pacific Business News. That article went on to report that, “the Superferry plans to operate a Westpac Express, essentially to carry military equipment and ferry vehicles from Oahu to the Big Island on a daily basis.”
TUESDAY, Sept. 4
It’s probably much too late to do anything about it now, but anyone who tries out the microwave hot dog recipe (recipe? Isn’t there a button on the microwave marked “hot dog?”) posted on the Honolulu Advertiser website will face serious and unmitigated disaster of nearly Biblical proportions. “Place hot dogs on a microwave-safe plate; cook on high (100 percent) power until done, about 1 minute,” states the recipe, somehow leaving out THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of microwaving hot dogs—you must POKE HOLES in the hot dog before cooking! If not, the hot dog will explode! I’ve seen it happen! Oh, the humanity!
Anthony Pignataro is not kidding, people. MTW