Saturday, October 6, 2007

Musings: Rainy Days

Oh joy, the rains have returned. I love lying in bed and listening to a downpour, checking out the waterfalls after a few days of heavy rain. I’m not alone in my fondness for precipitation, either. Even when it rained those 40 days and nights last year, my enthusiasm wasn’t dampened. During that time I often ran into friends who shared the same mantra: “We love the rain,” we’d say almost in unison, our eyes shining.

Yesterday, after spending hours at the computer refining an article on deadline, I headed for the beach, as I typically do in the late afternoons. It had been raining at my house, and along the coast, too, where the ironwoods are greening up and the naupaka leaves have grown plump. The showers broke long enough for me to get in a leisurely swim and fill a very flat tire in the parking lot. Those portable compressors that plug into a car lighter are so handy. I drive on narrow roads with numerous potholes, and sometimes there’s just no escaping a puka encounter, which breaks the bead on my small tires.

I heard a psychic say that Kauai is returning to her usual rainy ways, which in years past deterred folks from flocking to the North Shore. Ever since Iniki, though, it's been uncharacteristically dry on the windward side, and both tourism and the population have boomed. But those halycon days are over, she predicted, and Waialeale will no longer be so open and welcoming. The island herself is closing down for some much needed liquid restoration.

The Maui courtroom drama is nearly pau; closing arguments are Monday, and then Judge Cardoza is expected to rule. From my reading of the law, it seems pretty clear that environmental studies must be completed prior to commencing any action — or in this instance, letting the Superferry run.

But in a case as politicized as this one, anything is possible, and Cardoza did issue that original bad ruling that was later overturned by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

I’m intrigued by Garibaldi’s admission that Superferry’s operating expenses total some $650,000 per week. It seems impossible to me that they can achieve the kind of consistent volume needed to break even, much less generate a profit.

Heck, they couldn’t even fill the boat when they were offering those special $5 fares. I haven’t tried to book a trip myself, but everyone I know who has — just for the sake of research — found it’s still a lot cheaper to fly and rent a car. And you don’t have that barfing over the rail factor to deal with, either.


Anonymous said...

Here’s a possible lead for you. A copy of this was sent to Christie Wilson at the Honolulu Advertiser.

State Environmental Council to hear petition for rulemaking from Housing Finance and Development Corporation to exempt from an environmental assessment the acquisition of land and buildings for affordable housing (at Kukui Gardens) from an environmental assessment.

After getting burned in the Superferry Supreme Court decision that portrayed her administration as being “pro-big business” the Lingle administration (through Housing Finance and Development Corporation Executive Director Orlando Davidson – formerly Deputy Director of DLNR and Executive Director of the Land Use Research Foundation) will ask the State Environmental Council, a body of fifteen citizens appointed by the Governor among whose primary duties is making rules to implement the Chapter 343, HRS, process, to exempt the acquisition of land and buildings for affordable housing from the environmental assessment process. The Lingle administration is hoping that public perception of her “pro-business at-any-cost” strategy will change as she asks the Council to pass the rule that she sees as “pro-homeless and poor.” What is behind this? Does Lingle hope to salvage her sinking ship of state? Is this an attempt to divide and conquer the anti-Superferry community? Hope you can write a story investigating this. For source documents, please see¤tViewtype=2&event=2507240&viewperiod=1 (Agenda for Environmental Council meeting on Friday, October 12, 2007)

Kam Yuk Lee

Larry said...

"Anonymous" has been a busy commenter. Similar comment over at my blog. Good job, actually.

But I think this is interesting from a number of viewpoints, mainly, why so many attacks on laws protecting the environment? If an EA is required, why not do it to find out if there are environmental issues that need to be addressed?

At least that's my take on the previous comment. You wrote about rain and Kauai and the North Shore... if exemptions are granted, all that and more could be paved over while we stand by and give up the protection these laws were intended to provide.