The big moon — full at 6:51 tonight — proved elusive during my walk this morning, hiding behind thick clouds mauka. Orion, Venus and other celestial objects lit my way until dawn broke, bringing with it the lightest shimmer of rain.
It seems that Gov. Linda Lingle is a bit elusive, too, in the truth department, anyway, as evidenced by her most recent attempt to undermine the Supreme Court's integrity.
But her last jab at the justices backfired yesterday when Thomas R. Keller, administrative director of the courts, issued a statement refuting Lingle’s assertion in an Oct. 13 Advertiser article that “The Supreme Court, for whatever their reason was, decided to wait over a year-and-a-half to reach a decision and to do it two days before this service was set to begin.”
In fact, as Lingle well knows and the statement points out, it was Superferry that shortened the time frame by advancing its start date by five days and announcing $5 promotional fares. That was the same stunt that irked so many people on Kauai, who saw it as Superferry deliberately thumbing its nose at the court.
"Furthermore, the resultant decision in the Superferry case was delayed due to a request from the Superferry's attorneys to postpone oral argument….citing scheduled vacations to the mainland as the reason,” according to the statement. “Although the attorney for the Sierra Club objected to the Superferry's request to delay the hearing, the request was partially granted in that oral argument was postponed to Aug. 23. The Supreme Court issued its decision that same day.
"The implication that the Hawaii Supreme Court deliberately timed its decision to occur 'two days before' the Superferry was scheduled to start is wrong and does a disservice to the people of Hawaii by undermining their trust in the justice system,” the statement says.
A judiciary spokeswoman had earlier responded to Lingle’s criticism that it took the court nearly 18 months to act, explaining that “when court deadlines were extended, it was at the request of a party,” the statement says, noting as well that “while the Superferry appeal was pending, the supreme court decided many cases."
When confronted with the statement, the Lingle administration reportedly said it wanted to clarify the concerns expressed in Keller's statement before commenting, according to an Advertiser article this morning.
Come on, Linda, just admit you were being deliberately misleading in an underhanded attempt to sway public opinion your way.
Of course, Lingle’s not the only disingenuous one in this scenario. Superferry head John Garibaldi yesterday testified before the Senate that "there was never a communication from them [the state] to us that an environmental assessment was needed," according to another Advertiser article.
Records obtained for Rep. Morita’s complaint to the PUC show that Superferry officials were engaged in meetings with high-ranking administration officials to discuss precisely that issue. Superferry likes to pretend it was the victim in all this, when in fact Superferry officials were actively lobbying state and federal officials for an exemption to an environmental review.
Sen. Gary Hooser also notes in his blog: “Since 2004, I have found that many of the things told to me initially by the Hawaii Superferry proponents have turned out not to be true.”
And that leads me to my final point. Why isn’t the Legislature conducting its probe into the Lingle Administration’s mishandling of this affair BEFORE it allows Superferry to operate?
What if Marion Higa’s audit finds malfeasance, corruption, bribery or other illegalities? Why compound the mistakes of the Lingle Administration with a legislative stamp of approval?
This rush-rush special session is based on Superferry’s claim that it can’t remain in Hawaii without operating during the EIS. But at this point, it seems neither the Lingle nor Superferry officials have sufficient credibility to be taken at their word on much of anything.