Friday, October 12, 2007

Musings: Low Road Low Down

My mind is an effective alarm clock. When it clicks on, sleep is over, which is why I was out walking in the dark this morning. Koko and I startled a feral cat feeding on a dead bird in the road. I felt badly about disturbing its meal, but glad, when a big-wheeled truck rumbled by, that it hadn’t become road kill itself.

Overhead, a Newell’s shearwater uttered its donkey-like call as it headed back to its colony with food for its chick. Somehow it had once again successfully navigated the perils of power lines and bright lights in the nightly journey between its home in the mountains and food source at sea.

The wind gusted through the ironwood trees, and they sighed — oh, how I love that sound! — as they released the raindrops from their needles onto the shell ginger below. About three-quarters of a mile into my walk, it started to rain, but we didn’t turn back. I always feel so alive in all that aliveness.

Ran into my neighbor Andy, who had sensibly brought an umbrella, and we chatted briefly about stamp auctions before I headed home. The rain got heavier as the sky grew lighter, exposing flattened chickens, and all the geckos and toads that had perished in the night. When you’re a walker, you notice road kill.

Gov. Linda Lingle’s drive for a special session to bail out Hawaii Superferry isn’t turning out to be a cruise, as she might have hoped.

Sen. Gary Hooser, back on Kauai last night after a “fairly contentious meeting” of the Senate Democratic caucus, reports “no clear consensus” among his colleagues for such a session.

About a third feel, as he does, that Superferry officials gambled that they wouldn’t have to comply with state environmental laws. “They lost, and we don’t want to gamble on the environment” by letting the vessel run while the state does an EA, he said.

Another third want to help the Superferry; company officials contend the business can’t survive without operating while the EA is done.

And the final third want to see what’s on the table, in terms of proposed legislation, before they commit.

The first proposal floated by Lingle’s attorney general offered “nothing for the community or environment, it was all for the Superferry,” he said. It would allow the ferry to sail “no matter what” and the draft legislation would supercede all state, county and federal laws.

“There’s no way that’s going to fly,” Gary said, so now lawmakers are waiting to see what else the Administration has up its sleeve.

So far, the Kauai delegation is united in its opposition to a special session.

But if a session is held, Gary said, it will follow the standard legislative process, which allows for committee hearings — and, fortunately, public comment.


Anonymous said...

Re: "Low Road Low Down:" I'd like to see our governor take the high road on this issue and let the judge's ruling stand. If the SF is somehow still allowed to run, it will be our way of life here and the environment that will be the roadkill.

Anonymous said...

Tidbit from the Maui News (in a longer article about how the Superferry’s email campaign is backfiring):

“If there is a special session, [Sen. J. Kalani] English said, he will demand as Senate transportation chairman that public hearings be held on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island before the Legislature takes action.”

Good for him!

Joan Conrow said...

Mahalo for sharing that tidbit, Scott, and it's good to see Ed Tanji, the longtime Advertiser contributor on Maui, contributing his journalistic skill to this story as editor of Maui News.

Anonymous said...

Well so far we here in West Hawaii have Josh Green, Cindy Evans and of course Bob Herkes "chickening out" over the issue of impeaching da Gov for violating the law. I wonder where they will stand when the special session happens? As Kalani English from Maui said, once the special session convenes, they also have to take care of the numerous confirmations or the confirmations will die (i.e., no Laura Theilen heading DLNR).