The sun came out briefly this morning, just for a minute or two, but it made a longer appearance late yesterday afternoon when it suffused the lush landscape with golden light. Everything is so vibrantly green after feasting on all this rain.
I was reveling in the afternoon sunshine when I saw farmer Jerry, who was on his way to a meeting, while vowing he was not going to become a professional meeting-goer. It’s tough, because when you care about issues, you want to speak up if you’re given the chance, but then you run the risk of sacrificing your own life for endless meetings. And it gets tougher when you and others keep making the same good points, but no one heeds your words.
Jerry directed me to the cover story, “What School You Went,” in this month’s Hawaii Business magazine. It’s a good read for both kama`aina and malihini — at least those who want to understand why island culture, which depends on connection and cooperation, is so different from continental culture, an issue I touched upon in Sunday's post. It helps explain why the people at a meeting are often more important than the meeting itself.
Speaking of meetings, Kauai folks who view Gov. Lingle as their personal “pet peeve” are gearing up for her Wednesday appearance at the Humane Society luncheon. According to an email from Katy Rose, the message is: “We can let her know that we expect her to ‘Treat Kaua'i Humanely’. EIS first!” (They’re talking about the Superferry, of course, in case you just crawled out of a hole.) If you and your pets are in the mood, meet at 10:30 a.m. at the entrance to the Resort Quest at Makaiwa – on the makai side of Kuhio Highway between Foodland and Coconut Marketplace. If you can’t make it then, stop by at 1 p.m. when the guv is set to leave.
The Superferry was set to leave Honolulu this morning and head over to Maui for that crucial realignment with the pier and barge, according to a report in today’s Advertiser. I found it interesting that only the standard 100-yard moving security zone for large vessels will be in effect today, while the “temporary fixed security zone in Kahului Harbor will not be in effect until Thursday.” That’s the day Superferry is supposed to make its first commercial run to Maui since the law was upended to allow it.
The security zone differentiations don’t make sense to me. If the purpose of the "fixed security zone" is to ensure public safety and the Superferry’s ability to transit the harbor, as we’ve been told, then why isn’t it in effect today? Demonstrators could just as easily try to blockade the boat in the water today as Thursday, because if the alignment doesn’t occur today, the boat can’t unload passengers and cars later in the week.
So what, then, is the real reason for a "fixed security zone?” To ensure the Superferry can access the harbor only when it’s loaded with paying passengers who might demand their money back if there are delays? To spare Superferry passengers a close-up encounter with demonstrators? Or is its true purpose — and now we're entering the realm of my own pet peeve — primarily to intimidate people who want to engage in lawful protests and/or acts of civil disobedience?
We have Gov. Lingle, self-appointed head of the “unified command,” to thank for the "fixed security zones" at Kahului and Nawiliwili Harbors. They were, after all, imposed at her behest, although the Coast Guard has to bear the rap as the bad guy enforcers.
We have Rep. Calvin Say to thank for appointing Colette Machado, Sara Peck, Kauila Clark and Jeff Mira to the Temporary Hawaii Inter-Island Ferry Oversight Task Force — and Ian Lind to thank for noticing that action on the House blog.
Mira, president of Honsador, is Kauai’s rep. I don’t know too much about him, but according to an article done by my friend Anne O’Malley, even though he runs a construction materials business, he advocates a balanced approach to growth. If anybody else has views on the other panelists, please share in comments.
According to the Superferry bailout bill, the goal of the task force “shall be to study the State’s actions regarding the establishment of the operations of any large capacity ferry vessel company as a whole and to examine the impact, if any, of the operations of any existing or proposed large capacity ferry vessel” on such things as marine life, water and cultural resources, public safety and security, spreading invasive species, traffic, economic consequences, harbor infrastructure and “any other natural resource or community concern.” I love that last catch-all phrase.
A total of 13 persons are supposed to be appointed to this task force. I haven’t heard of any others, so if they’re out there, please let me know. The panel is also supposed to submit monthly status reports of its findings and recommendations to the lege and the gov at the end of each month — beginning December 2007. Since it’s already Dec. 11, and they have a very broad mandate, it seems they’d best get started.