I laid in bed and watched the day approach through the skylight before getting up to join it. I knew it would be cold, windy and gray outside, so figured no sense add dark to the equation.
We hadn’t gotten far in our walk when Koko turned around and spotted my neighbor Andy and his dog Momi approaching, and after that, there was no more going forward for us until Andy caught up.
These gusty tradewind days remind of the Barf-o-Meter Index, which Brad Parsons developed — can it really be two years ago? — to chart the likelihood that Superferry passengers would be puking.
And that reminded me to tell Andy of an email that found its way into my inbox detailing plans to establish another interisland ferry service.
Apparently Heart of Hawaii has retained Clifton M Hasegawa & Associates, LLC, who is both a mediator and a renewable energy consultant, to assemble a team to make it happen — the “H4 Team.”
According to the email, which was written by Hasegawa, the first order of business is completing an EIS, which will take an estimated 14 to 24 months:
Additionally, we intend to meet with environmental, community and cultural groups to fully understand any objections they have raised previously and to address any concerns they may have prospectively.
“Oh, and they’ll be taken care of just like that,” said Andy, snapping his fingers.
As for the boat, the “H4 Team” plans to check out the availability of the Alakai and Huakai, reportedly now doing relief duty in Haiti, or build or acquire vessels of similar design. The email notes:
The choice of route is critical.
So they plan to hit ‘em all: Oahu to Lihue, Kahului, Hilo and Kona.
They’re right up front about possible military uses of the ferry, and plan to use screening personnel and “agricultural and artifact declarations” to resolve those pesky problems of invasive species and “resource depletion.”
This is a related concern particularly felt by Maui and Kauai residents who are concerned about people from Oahu taking large quantities of rocks, 'opihi (a sea limpet that is considered a delicacy), and other natural resources for Oahu use.
That made me think about a conversation I had recently with a woman on Oahu, who asked what Kauai’s objection to the Superferry was really all about. Was it all environmental? she wondered.
I explained that was a big part of it, but there was also resistance to the ferry being forced upon us and having no say in the matter, no opportunity to participate in the process. She could relate to that.
Then I said, “And there was this feeling that it was really primarily for the benefit of the people living on Oahu, that they would come over here in large numbers and overwhelm Kauai, its beaches, parks, roads, surf spots. It was hard to see what was really in it for us.” She could not relate to that. In fact, it kind of pissed her off.
But hey, that’s the way it is, and calling a ferry “H4” in reference to a fourth freeway for Oahu underscores its purpose, which is to help move people off that overcrowded, overused rock and onto the other islands.
“Maybe the people on Lanai would like it, since they’re complaining about their expensive airline tickets,” Andy ventured.
“Yes, they could add routes to Molokai and Lanai and unite all the islands, just like Kamehameha,” I said, which prompted Andy and me to agree I might be able to find work on the “H4” marketing team.
So do you suppose there really is money in an interisland ferry service, or is this latest venture hoping to take advantage of state subsidies? And perhaps federal ones, too, seeing as how Hasegawa’s website includes a photo and references to how his father fought with Sen. Inouye in the 442nd.
Of course, you can’t talk about the Superferry without also talking about Linda Lingle, and Andy noted he’d seen her on TV last night, standing to the right of GOP hotshot and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, “scowling and looking very Republican.”
We’ve all long speculated that national is the only place that Linda can go, and so the positioning, literally, has already begun, since Barbour — reportedly “a top pick of GOP insiders” — has said he’ll consider a 2012 Presidential run following the November elections.
Heck, you never know. Maybe Lingle and the Superferry will both rise from the dead at the same time.