Friday, November 16, 2007

Musings: That Choking Feeling

Although the roosters start crowing well before dawn, the wild chickens don’t actually rise until it starts to get light. Their path from the valley, where they roost, is right behind my house, so even if I try to sleep in, the high-pitched cheeps of numerous chicks, and low clucking moans of the hens, serve as an effective alarm clock.

Noticed both the Advertiser and Star-Bulletin yesterday featured pictures of the Superferry with a rainbow in the background, and the Bulletin included a reference to new beginnings. Of course, rainbows as hoailona — mystical signs — can be read many different ways. And this particular one appeared in a very dark sky.

The Advertiser yesterday also ran an article that included some tough talk by Maui attorney Isaac Hall about political consequences for lawmakers and the comment: “A strong coalition has formed and it's not going to stand by and take this," he said.

“There are some social impacts to ramming a project down the throats of Hawai'i's people ..." he said. "People on the street are not happy with what is happening with the Hawaii Superferry."

Problem is, it’s not the people-packed streets of Oahu, which is why I’m not convinced there will be any political consequences. Still, his statement did make me recall one sign at the most recent Superferry protest: Help us, we're choking — Superferry shoved down our throats.

Yes, many are experiencing that uncomfortable choking feeling, which gets me wondering when Hawaii Superferry is going to launch the ho`oponopono and community goodwill processes it proposed before Judge Cardoza gave it the green light. If the ferry is due to run in a couple of weeks, it seems they’d best get started. Just like when is Gov. Lingle going to make the Neighbor Island visits she mentioned when she fancied herself becoming the peacemaker in this jammed up process?

And when do you suppose we're all going to engage in that long overdue discussion of conflicting values Judge Cardoza keeps talking about? Wanna bet nevah?

Several friends have taken a more laid-back approach to the Superferry controversy, saying there’s no reason to get fret because the fuel-sucking ferry will die an economic death. Now they’re pointing to rising oil costs and Matson’s recent fuel surcharge hike as evidence their prediction will be correct.

Speaking of economics, I’ve noticed a few signs — beyond the “for sale” ones that have been posted in front of numerous properties for many months now — that Kauai real estate sales and new construction are dramatically slowing, even in the luxury market that has largely driven it in recent years. Earlier this week, 12 people who work for Kealia Kai were fired because those luxury lots aren’t selling, and I got a direct-mail piece from a roofing contractor trying to drum up business.

More telling, an electrician friend who has been doing only new construction for the past several years has taken on some remodel jobs, as well as energy-saving projects at a major hotel.

Finally, I wanted to point out an article in yesterday’s The Garden Island that may represent a first in the history of Kauai: the planning commission actually denied permits for a CPR project. And because the three-story buildings proposed for the 72-lot Koloa Creekside Estates — with a name like that, it’s gotta be a mainland developer — “fail to fit in with the historic character of the Koloa community,” no less.

Pinch me, I must be dreaming — which is always better than choking.


Larry said...

No, you're not dreaming. Go back to the start of your post.

The chickens are just coming home to roost.

The Creekside developer planned to exploit but the consequence is non-approval.

As to the Superferry, if it fails as a passenger ship and goes military, then chickens will be coming home on Oahu also. Trouble is, the publicity may create a frenzy to get on board and go see what all those folks on Kauai were trying to protect, must be good stuff...

Anonymous said...

Getting on board that ferry may be costly and way too rough for any chickens. The ferry barge broke loose in Kahalui harbor(see today's Maui News) and it was only 5/6, not the 15ft it can get in the winter. A couple of tugs pushed it into a pier so little damage was done. First big surf may be here next Thursday says Glenn.

I'm thinking the big boys should get out their big toy and run it up and down the chop to see what shakes loose. I continually feel these guys are way in over their heads.

The National Geo Traveler Magazine (Nov/Dec 07) has a list of the 111 Islands rated with sustainable tourism and destination stewardship in mind. Kauai is a 21st (there are several) "still beautiful but increasingly overbuilt." ..."poor presentation of Hawaiian culture" and too much chopper noise rounded out the comments. Molokai was #6. "seems like old Hawaii" and they would like to keep it that way. Maui at 27th with "exploding development" and "could be damaged by its own success" and seems" like a slice of Los Angeles invading Paradise Lost".Some of these folks have been here! Oahu was 37th....Aloha spirit is missing. The coolish Faroe Islands were 1st and St. Thomas last.

I'd like those tourist board marketers to get grip on what they're up to.

Anonymous said...

Spoke too soon. HSF goes for cheap to Maui but no rides to're getting outreach first.

Anonymous said...

The spirits that protect Maui may still have the last laugh. Anybody who's been on Maui for at least one winter knows how rough the swells in Kahului Harbor can get. 15 ft waves is not unusual after a storm.

Periodically even larger boats, like an NCL ship recently, have broken from their moorings in Kahului Harbor.

I just hope the DOT in its infinite wisdom doesn't force the Young Bros. barges to move in order to help out the ferry. If people think Valley Islanders are mad now, just wait to see what happens if they find out their critical supplies are being delayed because the Young Bros barges have nowhere to park.

Anonymous said...

I think the super ferry craze is going to wear off as soon as enough passengers get sea sick and/or they get tired of taking such a long trip to another island.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't realize that the Kahului Harbor was so wave sensitive. Hopefully I'll get to take a good look at the harbor from overhead when I fly in on Mokulele in 2 weeks. Do they have a break wall like Hilo or Kawaihae? If they don't that might be the next thing that DOT (taxpayers) might have to build.