Taking a break from the big Wailea 670 project in South Maui, the Maui County Council Land Use Committee held a hearing on the Maui Land & Pineapple Company’s not quite as big Pulelehua deal on the Westside. The committee didn’t do anything about the project, but did listen to a lot of public testimony. And what’s more, the hearing actually took place at five in the evening, which made it possible for working people to attend. Could it be that I’ve been reading Land Use Committee Chairman Mike Molina all wrong? Is it possible he scheduled the Pulelehua hearing for the early evening because of ML&P’s insistence that it will include 450 affordable homes (the plan also includes 450 unaffordable homes), which means working people have a direct stake in it? And that he ordered the Wailea 670 hearings for the middle of the day in tacit recognition that working people didn’t have a chance in hell of ever living there?
THURSDAY, Sept. 6
In a fine example of the art of good timing, today I happened to get a copy of the “Inaugural Issue” of Hawai‘i Superferry’s official Hahalua magazine (was the mag named after the Superferry Alakai’s $20-cover charge forward lounge, or was it the other way around?) and watch the National Geographic Channel’s episode of Man Made dealing with the construction of the Alakai. That show was mostly just a bunch of lame attempts at dramatic tension—The shaft’s out of alignment! The paint’s pealing! The water jet fan blade is busted!—but the mag actually made me nostalgic over the poor girl, still floating dockside in Honolulu because all those bad, bad environmentalists—and the Hawai`i Supreme Court!—insist on getting an EIS before service can begin. Did you know former right wing U.S. Navy Secretary John Lehman is now Hawai‘i Superferry’s majority owner? Or that all pets traveling on the Superferry have to stay in the car hold? Of course, those revelations pale before the magazine’s three-page article on the battle over the Alakai’s “brand identity.” And it was a real fight, believe me. “They were facing deadlines for developing the interior of the ship before the branding process could possible begin,” branding guru Dave Koch of Star Seigle Communications revealed in the story, possibly for the first time ever. “Our solution was simple, but effective… Fore to aft, the team decided to use carpeting with a wave pattern.” The whole magazine—and Hawai‘i Superferry, I suppose—is like that.
FRIDAY, Sept. 7
Yeah, I got nothing.
SATURDAY, Sept. 8
So today President George W. Bush deigned to visit Oahu, telling reporters there that his recent trip to Iraq’s embattled Anbar province “encouraged” him. “My resolve is stronger than ever,” he told the assembled press corps. “I believe we will succeed.” Clearly, Bush is far more of a geopolitical genius than I gave him credit for, since he was able to assess both the tactical and strategic effects of our vaunted counter-insurgency Surge in Iraq in just six hours. That’s right—Bush was breathing Iraqi air for less than a standard workday, yet he’s now able to see the breadth and depth of the war like never before. Quick question: why do we still listen to this guy? Yes, he’s the president—it says so right on his windbreaker—but by my count, he’s never once been correct about the war in Iraq. Remember, his invasion back in March 2003 was supposed to be a blitzkrieg operation: topple Saddam Hussein, scoop up all of his Sarin bombs and nuclear warheads that everyone in the highest levels of Washington was saying he had in abundance, install some democrat as the new president because Iraqis can’t get enough of democracy and then get everyone the hell out. Think about that, and how far away that fantasy is from today’s Iraqi reality: sporadic power outages; suicide bombers; Abu Ghraib torture; thousands of private mercenaries operating above the law; Shiite on Shiite killings; and absolutely, positively no weapons of mass destruction (or punishment for any high officials for letting any of the above happen, but that’s another story entirely). But in six hours, Bush can tell that none of that matters and everything’s going to turn out fine in the end. Just like in that one movie—what was it called? Oh, yes: Apocalypse Now.
SUNDAY, Sept. 9
Oh wow, look at this:despite the insistence of Governor Linda Lingle and state Transportation Director Barry Fukunaga that Hawai‘i Superferry, Inc. is being “singled out” to do an EIS, today’s Honolulu Advertiser highlights a bunch of instances around the state where harbor improvements for cruise ships triggered an EIS. No, I’m not surprised, either.
MONDAY, Sept. 10
Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Superferry opposition has generally followed two separate tracks. There’s the environmentalist crowd, worried about whales and invasive species, and then there’s the local crowd that doesn’t want people from other islands trampling secret fishing spots and the like. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court validated the first crew a couple weeks ago, and there’s a tiny bit of news in yesterday’s Maui News that would reinforces the concerns of the local opposition. “State conservation enforcement officers confirmed that they are investigating a report of three Oahu men who loaded three truckloads of imu rock [from Paukukalo] without a permit,” reported the News. “Investigators reportedly located three trucks loaded with beach rocks at the Hawaii Superferry terminal lot at Kahului Harbor.”
TUESDAY, Sept. 11
Man, rock smugglers don’t waste any time.
Anthony Pignataro is currently developing new brand identities for the terms “surge,” “bipartisanship” and “brand identity.” MTW