It was blustery and gusty and very dark, though not especially early, when Koko and I went walking this morning. As we edge toward Sunday’s solstice, the sun is late in rising.
The moon, exactly half, was made ghostly by racing clouds and the loathsome albezzia creaked and groaned in the wind as the inflatable Santa down the street took a wild Superferry-kine ride in his madly bobbing sleigh.
For those who just can’t get enuf of the Superferry, here’s a link to yesterday’s oral arguments before the Hawaii Supreme Court. The issues are the constitutionality of Act 2 — the special legislation that allowed the boat to run without an EIS — the public’s right to have a proper EIS done on the project and whether attorney fees for Isaac Hall, who has been challengng the state and HSF on this matter, should be limited to $200 per hour.
It seems only fair that Isaac should be awarded more than 200 bucks an hour. After all, yesterday he went up against two attorneys for the state and three for HSF, all by his lonesome. And shoots, the state has already pissed away well over $40 million on this boondoggle. What’s another mill or two for ole Isaac? God knows he’s earned it as one of the few attorneys in the state willing to do what’s right instead of sell out to liars, cheats and land thieves.
Besides, the state could make HSF pick up most of the tab, because according to the auditor’s report, this whole fiasco was driven by the company’s demands, anyway.
Yesterday I chatted with Rep. Mina Morita — she’s on vacation, skiing in Mammoth — about the auditor’s report. Her take on it:
“Everyone was criticized, and rightfully so. This was bringing out the worst in politics. They (lawmakers) were not even thinking things through, but trying to please and help their friends.”
As you may recall, Mina and Kauai Sen. Gary Hooser were among the few who voted against Act 2. Mina made a good point when she noted that an even bigger issue than HSF’s environmental impact is its financial viability “and they still haven’t proven that.”
Mina went on to say that overt end-runs of HRS 343, the state’s EIS law, aren’t the only concern here. She’s also worried about the more subtle erosion of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC), which implements that law.
“They’re so short-staffed and they play a really important role. With the budget cuts, for many years there’s been a dismantling of that office. We’re going to have to pay special attention to what happens to OEQC.”
We also need to pay special attention to the ongoing problem of domestic violence, what with a record 11 women being killed this year in Hawaii and untold others beaten and/or emotionally abused. The Advertiser and KGMB teamed up for a multi-part series that does a good job of expressing the underlying dynamics of power, control, secrecy, shame and fear.
Of course, drugs and alcohol often play a role in so many troubled families. I interviewed two women yesterday who run a social services program on Kauai, and they said they are now seeing great-grandparents raising children because the grandparents and parents are in jail, many for ice. Incarcerating multiple generations isn’t going to solve this problem. We need to stop treating addiction like a crime and provide rehab services, while addressing the socioeconomic issues that so often are the root cause.
A friend who lives in Illinois was telling me that many of the folks she works with at a concrete plant, as well as those in the local construction trade, have prison records. She wrote in an email:
Once again, it is the glaring discrepancy of what blue collar people do time for vs. white collar crime. Incredible.
Yes, just take a look at Wall Street, where the perps made off like bandits and the feds stepped in with billions to cover their crimes. How many of those Armani-suited crooks will ever see the inside of a cell, even the country club prison kine, or be forced to turn over their ill-gotten gains?
Meanwhile, the bruddahs do time at KCCC and are ordered to pay restitution from their $10-an-hour jobs.
Justice ain’t blind. It’s just tends to look the other way when the rich and powerful are doing the lyin’ and cheatin’ and thievin’.
And on that note, be sure to check out the documentary "Noho Hewa," which will be screened at 6 Saturday night at the KCC performing arts center. Garans, it'll make you think, and likely cry a little, even if you're not the thinking, crying type.