Can you tell the Lingle Adminstration’s heart isn’t in the Superferry Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)? Does it show that they would rather just forget about the whole thing, unanimous Hawai`i Supreme Court ruling or not? I mean, on Tuesday Superferry attorneys—backed by guys from the state Attorney General’s office—tried to keep Randy Awo, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) chief conservation enforcement officer, from testifying before Judge Joseph Cardoza about the alleged Oahu imu rock smuggling operation he and his agents busted open the day the Superferry came to Maui. I can understand the Superferry lawyer’s hesitance to hear Awo—his actions give tremendous credibility to residents worried that the Superferry will speed the trampling of secret fishing, surf and, apparently, imu rock spots. But the AG’s office? Ultimately, the AG and Awo work for the same boss—that would be Governor/Superferry booster Linda Lingle—so their moves to keep Awo from talking about the Superferry’s actual environmental impacts look, well, really, REALLY bad. Then again, this same administration is also trying to fast-track the EIS—according to today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin, state Transportation Department officials have even asked if they can ignore Hawai‘i’s procurement laws and give a million-dollar, no-bid contract to the firm Belt-Collins to do a “determination on the impact of ferry operation at the harbor [in Kahului] and whether the use of the state facility will necessitate further study and mitigation measures.” Tell me—are there any state laws the Lingle Administration does want to enforce?
THURSDAY, Sept. 13
So this morning Fred Guzman opened his morning radio show (The Talk of Maui, Fox News 900, KNUI) with his concerns that we as Americans were getting a little too blase about civil rights—a little too quick to hand them over in exchange for security. I don’t know why he’d be concerned about this, unless he read yesterday’s Associated Press story on the state Board of Education Special Programs Committee’s decision to all school administrators to use drug-sniffing dogs and carry out “unannounced” locker searches. “We support any type of action or initiative that will deter the whole notion of having drugs on campus,” Valerie Sonoda of the Hawai`i State Parent Teacher Student Association told the committee, according to the AP. Since drugs are obviously the greatest threat to human history since Hitler, Stalin and galloping dandruff, obviously we should send in the dogs and bust open the lockers whenever the principal feels like it and, oh, what the hell—let’s also censor the school paper, expel students for dress code violations and ring the campus with metal detectors, armed guards and more dogs, except these will kind of look like Hitler and will have galloping dandruff. Now that sounds like a safe, drug-free place for our kids to learn about stuff like the Bill of Rights and Martin Luther King, Jr.
FRIDAY, Sept. 14
You know who’s the big winner in all the chaos over the Superferry, right? Cary & Eddie’s Hideway in Kahului, that’s who. Have you traveled through the re-striped intersection of Pu‘unene and Ka‘ahumanu? If you want to turn left from Pu‘unene onto Ka‘ahumanu and you’re not too careful, you’re going to end up in the dedicated lane that heads straight into both the Superferry entrance and the Hideaway. Since few cars these days are headed to the Superferry, that means the potential for tons of new business for Cary & Eddie’s! They can’t lose… unless Hawai`i Superferry, Inc. executives make good on their threat to leave the state if they’re forced to stand down for the EIS preparation. According to today’s Honolulu Advertiser, Superferry bosses “have told the state Senate they need to know within the next six weeks whether they can operate or they have to leave the islands.” If that happens, the state might just go ahead and re-re-stripe the Pu‘unene intersection to the way it used to be and that would be terrible! Well, for Cary and Eddie’s…
SATURDAY, Sept. 15
Looks like there’s hope for Cary & Eddie’s after all: with all the contempt for irony we’ve come to expect from desperate public officials, Governor Lingle has asked the state Legislature to hold a special session to pass a special law granting a special exemption to Hawai‘i Superferry, Inc., allowing the company to run their fast auto ferry service as usual while state officials do an EIS on their fast auto ferry service, according to today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. “The court is not the last say,” Lingle told the paper. “It is the opinion of the court at that time. I don’t think anybody should feel that there is anything wrong with the Legislature passing a law to overturn what the court said.” Woohoo! For years now, Lingle and her minions have been whining that asking for a Superferry EIS was “singling out” the company, since (much slower) cruise ships and freighters never had to do environmental studies. But now, given the Hawai‘i Supreme Court’s recent unanimous ruling calling for an EIS, Lingle is now singling out the Superferry for special treatment. Show of hands of those surprised? Anyone?
SUNDAY, Sept. 16
Man, Hawai‘i is on the cutting edge for civil rights—and I do mean edge. And you thought drug-sniffing dogs in the schools were all we had to worry about. Not even close! “Hawaii now has the dubious distinction of being the first state ever to subject its teachers to a blanket policy of random drug testing,” American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) official Graham Boyd said in a recent press release from the organization’s state chapter. Needless to say, the ACLU finds random drug testing of anyone—including librarians—to be offensive. But he, we don’t care anymore about civil rights, so this isn’t a problem, right?
MONDAY, Sept. 17
Kids are our future, you know. Well, them and the librarians.
TUESDAY, Sept. 18
This just in: the state now says it wants competitive bids for an EIS on Superferry harbor improvements. Isn’t life grand?
Anthony Pignataro did speak up when they came for the librarians, even though he was not a librarian. MTW