The rats woke me at 4, banging around by the pipes in the wall. Yes, they’re still on the scene, but I’m hopeful not for much longer. Since we were up already, Koko and I headed out and walked in the silent world of blackness, the looming hulks of mountains silhouetted against a backdrop of sparkling stars.
And then, because it was so cold, we went back to bed and awoke again to sunlight. I took advantage of that brief early morning period of minimal traffic to run errands in Kapaa. I never cease to be delighted by the beauty of the windward mountains when they’re free of clouds and revealed in all their glory, from Kalepa to Kalalea. Crystal clear days like this don’t happen all that often, and yesterday I took a mid-day break to enjoy a bit of beach time.
Despite the stellar weather, Hawaii Superferry continues to log dismal passenger counts. Yesterday, Brad Parsons reports from Maui, the ferry offloaded 140 to 150 people, one moped and 58 to 60 vehicles, including 15 to 20 military vehicles. (“The variation, he says, “was due to four vehicles loaded on top of other vehicles, counting all was less than 20.) Just 47 to 50 vehicles got on for the return trip to Oahu.
And Disappeared News yesterday posted a contribution from Life of the Land’s Henry Curtis gleaned from the PUC, which granted HSF’s request to extend its discount fares through June 5. To justify the request, HSF disclosed on Dec. 21, 2007 that it’s been carrying about 150 passengers per voyage, while the planned passenger load is about 410 passengers per trip.
It’s clear the ferry is doing poorly in terms of attracting passengers, even with discounted fares. What’s less clear is why a second run was added to Maui when the Superferry isn’t even covering its costs. Although such a move doesn’t make economic sense, it does make sense if the vessel is simply trying to log miles. And with yesterday’s National Guard transport, Superferry has demonstrated it can successfully move military vehicles and personnel. I’ll get into that more deeply in my next Lifting the Veil post, which unfortunately has been delayed by a heavy work load.
Clarity, it seems, is starting to slowly emerge in the KKCR dispute. The Garden Island reported today that programmer Kaiulani Huff wasn’t terminated from the station, but just put on 90 days suspension, at which time she can “reapply.”
That’s certainly a different message than the one originally sent to Kaiulani, but since it comes from station manager Gwen Palagi, who was on vacation when all the recent turmoil began, it seems official, and is good news to those of us who like to have her back on the air.
In the meantime, it does seem the recent events may be motivating folks to get more involved in working for significant changes at the station, including better community outreach. One oft-cited method of improving participation is moving the station out of Princeville to a more centralized, ethnically diverse location.
However, according to a memo from board member Sandy Brodie, such a relocation could take up to three years and would require a new FCC application approval.
In light of that, Brodie recommended the Board seek a long-term lease at the existing facility and work to improve reception through a microwave link system. No mention was made of using remote broadcast systems to allow programmers to participate elsewhere around the island, an idea that has been advocated by some for a number of years, without success.