Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Musings: Firestorm

Just as I was about to get up for my walk, a strong, chill wind blew in and deposited heavy rain that gave way to a blue- and pink-striped sunrise through the clouds.

Made me think about the hot, dry Santa Ana winds that are spreading the blazes through some of the most beautiful, and expensive, parts of Southern California.

There’s something about fire — especially big, uncontrollable fire — that gives rise to apocalyptic thoughts and talk. It’s a common theme in reggae music, where more than one artist warns: “He’s coming with fire this time.”

Compared to uncontained fires breathing down your neck, the Superferry special session that starts today seems fairly irrelevant, although it’s also potentially disastrous for our state, and I’m not just talking about the environment.

For one, there’s the whole perception of "politics overriding the legal process," to borrow a quote from Big Island Mayor Harry Kim’s statement that was read at yesterday’s Senate hearing at Kona.

Of course, it’s now moving well beyond perception to actual reality.

And then there’s the political and social divisiveness that will inevitably follow adoption of any Superferry bailout bill.

As Maui County Council Chairman Riki Hokama predicted in the Senate hearings on his island, passage of such legislation will spark "a social and political revolution" unlike any seen since the movement that brought Democrats to power in Hawai'i during the 1950s.

Fortunately, there’s still a possibility all that backroom wheeling and dealing just might fall apart.

"It may unravel what all parties have agreed upon — meaning the Senate, the administration and the House," said House Speaker Calvin Say, according to this morning’s Advertiser.

Interesting, how the public is not included in that consensus.

Gov. Lingle, meanwhile, continues to ramp up the rhetoric, claiming in her proclamation: "This special session is not just about one company or one vessel, it is about the long-term economic well-being of our state, and about giving our residents, farmers and civil defense agencies options when traveling between the islands.

"Allowing this transportation alternative to resume will also restore the reputation of our state as a fair place to do business."

Sure it’s fair, if you’ve got a fat bank account and friends in high places.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about this whole Superferry scenario is the prospect of Lingle and her cronies getting away with their dirty deeds.

But then, as the reggae artists say, “He’s coming with fire this time.”

Finally, the Garden Island carried an article this morning on tests of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system that will be carried out at PMRF tonight, and more specifically, on the blessing bestowed by “spiritual leader” Tom Takahashi, who named the missiles “Ku‘uipo, or sweetheart, and Kekai o ke kai, boy from the sea.”

There’s something scary and sick about a world where missiles are blessed and given sweet Hawaiian names. Are we really that craven?

But then, as the reggae artists say, “He’s coming with fire this time.”


Anonymous said...

Besides the Superferry bill, the Senate will be holding confirmation hearings on various gubernatorial appointments. Of particular import is tommorow's hearing on the nomination of Laura Thielen as Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. What is Laura's position on protecting the natural and cultural resources of the islands? It is well known that Laura is good friends with the problematic administrator of the State Historic Preservation Division, Melanie Chinen. Will Laura replace the incompetent Melanie Chinen with someone that understands historic preservation and cultural sensitivity? Please tell your readers, especially Puanani Rogers, my friend, about this. Laura Thielen's confirmation hearing before the Senate is scheduled for Thursday, October 25, 2007, at 10:30 A.M. For more details see the following link.
If you are concerned about Melanie Chinen and the protection of cultural and historical resources in the State of Hawaii, you are urged to testify at this hearing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I put the wrong time for the hearing tomorrow for Laura Thielen. It is a 2:45 P.M. For more information on Laura and Melanie, the following link is useful.

Anonymous said...

Super Ferry Hearing on HB1 tomorrow 9am.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
9:00 a.m.
State Capitol
415 South Beretania Street
HB 1

Requires the Department of Transportation to perform an environmental impact statement (EIS) for certain improvements made to commercial harbors. Permits operation of large capacity ferry vessel company prior to completion of EIS upon meeting certain minimum conditions. Establishes a temporary Hawaii Inter-island Ferry Oversight Task Force.

Pending Referral to TRN/FIN


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Joan Conrow said...

I was not aware of Thielen's friendship with Chinen; however, Kauai attorney Joe Moss, whose opinion and integrity I respect, did write a letter to the Garden Island expressing supporting for Thielen as a friend of the environment.