Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Musings: Winding Down the Year

Great flashes of lightning lit up the sky and the thunder was rockin’ and rollin’ last night, causing Koko to tremble so violently that the bed was actually vibrating. So we went out into the wild night, during a break in the rain, and once she discovered what was happening, that seemed to calm her and we both settled down to sleep.

Sleep was all I wanted the first night back in my own bed after a week of staying up way past my usual bedtime and a long day of travel back to Kauai from Portland. It’s a nice city, not too sprawling or congested, and the downtown has a river running through it and buildings that aren’t scraping the sky.

Aside from daytime temperatures being 40 to 50 degrees cooler than Kauai, at least while I was there, I noticed a few other differences. For starters, folks were driving much smaller cars, and SUVS and pick-up trucks of any size were scarce. The people living there were also a lot whiter, and not just from lack of sun, and the food prices were about 30 percent lower.

It has a rather sizable homeless population, too, which seems to be comprised primarily of men, as opposed to the families you see here. Or at least, it was mostly homeless men who crowded the downtown library — a facility whose size and collection I haven’t experienced since leaving college, and it was even open on weekends — the cold afternoon that we stopped in.

All manner of public transportation was available, from trolley cars and buses to an above-ground rail, although we walked a lot, which was just fine with me, and there was an abundance of little coffee shops that always seemed to be full.

It was fun to do the city thing for a while, and even more fun to spend time with my family, although I must say that I was glad when I heard birds singing at the Honolulu airport and even gladder when I got home and received Koko’s enthusiastic greeting.

I like to be back in my own digs as the year winds down, so I can put things in order before the year starts. Apparently I’m not the only one who likes to tie up loose ends: the Hawaii Superferry Oversight Task Force has just released its final report to the Legislature, and a hat tip to Dick Mayer for noticing. (Click on the 12-29 report).

I had to download a new version of Adobe reader to access the report, but when I did I saw the panel, which is due to be disbanded this month, noted that many of the issues that need to be studied are beyond its purview. Still, it came up with a number of recommendations that should be implemented, including:

Establish an alternative night route during whale season and conduct further studies on the impact of marine mammals, give recognition and consideration to Hawaiian cultural customs and practices (presumably some that go beyond giving the ship a Hawaiian name), limit the restrictions on fin fish, octopus and limu for personal consumption and fund data collection for future natural resource issues.

Most notably, it recommends repealing the repeal date of Act 2, which was set to expire in 13 months, to ensure the EIS is completed and there’s opportunity for public review.

Hmmm. I wonder how that whole issue might be impacted by the case now before the Hawaii Supreme Court?

Anyway, I don’t have time this morning to go into the report in detail, so check it out and share your observations.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

welcome back, and happy new year. thank you for your blog in 2008, and thank you in advance for it in 2009.

MauiBrad said...

Re: "Establish an alternative night route during whale season and conduct further studies on the impact of marine mammals...

...Most notably, it recommends repealing the repeal date of Act 2, which was set to expire in 13 months, to ensure the EIS is completed and there’s opportunity for public review."

Act 2 is set to expire in about 6 months. The reason DOT/OTF is recommending repealing Section 18 is because that is one of the key points that creates an unconstitutional "closed class of one" in Act 2. This proposal is a shot across the bow of the State Supreme Court. Furthermore, when the Legislature voted on Act 2, many of the Legislators assumed they were voting on a bill that would sunset. Amending Act 2 to get rid of the sunset now could permanently exempt all 'large capacity ferry vessels' from Chapter 343 in perpetuity. This has nothing to do with the fact the DOT/Belt Collins have been dragging their feet on the EIS timetable that the Lingle Admin. created for itself.

Regarding the alternate route around Penguin Bank only at night, that is a watered down version of what Dr. Mobley and Greg Kaufman recommended to HSF and the OTF, that the southern alternate route go around Penguin Bank day and night every time it is used at least during the whale season.

This OTF Final Report is repleat with deception, half measures, and inaction.

Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

Repeal Sec 18!! Do it fast!!

Joan said...

Thanks, Anon. 11:53 am, for reading and your words of encouragement.

Anonymous said...

very welcome.

and id ask about the whales, but im fearful of being deleted ;)

Anonymous said...

"Smart alecky" is hard to define, but Joan knows it when she sees it.