Thursday, November 29, 2007

Musings: Things Change

Maui folks are pissed, with good reason, after getting smacked with a federal security zone (thanks, Larry Geller for the link) as stringent as the one imposed at Kauai’s Nawiliwili Harbor — even though they’ve largely opposed Hawaii Superferry in the courts, and not along the jetty.

“So this is Maui's reward for following the rules — to be deprived of the use of our harbor,” says Karen Chun at “Our fishermen cannot use the small boat ramp, our canoes cannot go outside one small area, our surfers cannot surf a popular winter break. We are expected to give up our harbor for the arrogant Superferry. And give it up for even longer when the planned second, third, fourth and fifth ferries arrive. We warned law enforcement that we could not keep a lid on civil disobedience if they closed the harbor to us.”

Guess it just goes to show that playing by the “rules” doesn’t count for much when you’re in a game with rule-breakers.

Faced with public outcry to the rule, the Coast Guard immediately began to backpedal, according to a report in today's Honolulu Advertiser.

“Coast Guard officials yesterday tried to reassure surfers, paddlers and other recreational users of Kahului Harbor that a security zone for the Hawaii Superferry will be lifted as soon as it is apparent there is no threat to public safety and port security from protesters opposing the new interisland service,” the article begins.

It seems to me that already is apparent, given that Maui opposition groups met with police specifically to ensure that their planned demonstrations would be legal.

The Advertiser article continues: “Coast Guard Lt. John Titchen said the security zone is meant as a temporary measure, and how long it remains in effect will depend on the extent and nature of any protests.

“Titchen said the security zone was established at Kahului Harbor because the Coast Guard believes ‘there are people who will demonstrate unlawfully’ when the Superferry returns to Maui next week.”

The article doesn’t explain the basis for that Coast Guard belief. Does it have its own intelligence-gathering network providing it with such information? Or can it close down the harbor on a hunch?

And why hasn’t the Coast Guard made a similar statement about the temporary nature of the security zone at Nawiliwili? Or are we going to be stuck with it forever, even if everybody is “good?”

Funny, how both the Coast Guard and Maui cops keep claiming the zone will be enforced to “protect public safety.” Does that same concern extend to ensuring that the “unified command” patrolling land and sea won’t be armed with loaded guns, tasers, billy clubs and tear gas that might harm or kill citizens? Somehow, I don’t think so.

Given the difficulties the ferry is having with the harbor surge and loading dock, I’ve been wondering why they don’t put the “unified command” to work figuring out how to actually get the boat safely into Kahului Harbor, instead of keeping demonstrators out of it.

Meanwhile, Kauai Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura has been urging Hawaii Superferry to actually include some members of the Kauai community in its so-called community outreach, rather than just meeting with elected officials.

It seems this would be the time that Mayor Baptiste, who claimed a couple of months ago that he was remaining neutral precisely so he could bring the warring factions together, would step forward and do just that. Assuming, of course, that he really is neutral.

Still, we have to remember that the world isn’t all bad. I had one surfer tell me yesterday that he’s been fervently wishing for a winter of blasting trades that will make the Superferry ride rough enough to get passengers heaving — even though such conditions will adversely affect the surf.

It just goes to show the high degree of personal sacrifice that some Kauai folks are willing to make in their efforts to derail the ferry. And they say surfers think only of themselves….

While we’re on the subject of selflessness, the Advertiser also reports today that “Melanie Chinen, the embattled head of the state Historic Preservation Division, is resigning effective Dec. 7, citing the physical toll the job has taken on her and the emotional strain on her family from job-related controversy and litigation.”

The article states that Chinen said she gave five weeks' notice early this month, before former archaeology branch chief David Brown filed a lawsuit (hat tip to Ian Lind for posting the pdf) against the state claiming his contract wasn’t renewed after nine months on the job because he spoke up about "illegal, unethical or culturally insensitive" things that were occurring at SHPD.

In an article in this month’s Honolulu Magazine on the controversy over the burials discovered at the Ward Village Shops and the agency’s disarray, reporter Ronna Bolante specifically asked Chinen why she didn’t just leave and got this reply:

“I went to Maryknoll High School, and the motto there is, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’” she says. “It certainly is not fair, but in order to survive in this job, you have to be confident in what you’re doing. I knew people would try to destroy me, but the type of leader I am, my personal comfort does not come before this position.”

I guess things change. Like those harbor security zones that are only “temporary measures.” And Superferry’s arrival date.


Anonymous said...

Maybe he was just resorting to hyperbole, but Isaac Hall said in open court in Maui that if the injunction was lifted opponents would have no choice but to break the law and jump in the water.

And its pretty common knowledge that demonstrations are planned for Maui, and that people from Kauai are planning to join them - not that they are necessarily the same people who got in the water here, or that they would necessarily get in the water there.

Given all this, planned demos, implied threat from the attorney - it's not necessarily irrational for the Coast Guard to fear that could potentially happen.

Anonymous said...

Let the people prove that they don't need government restrictions. Considering the rabble-rousers are now trying to organize a "drive slow" protest to block traffic, I think they deserve to be treated as children.

I hope the cops order them to get out of the way or face harsh consequences.

The "rule breakers" are those fighting the law. The law is whatever the lege says it is, not what the courts say it is. HSF is on the side of the "rule makers"...not the "rule breakers".

BTW - I'm sick of hearing how wonderful Cardoza was in his "wise decision", considering he was forced into it by the supreme court. His original wise decision, upheld by the lege, was correct all along...reflecting what the majority of "we the people" of the whole state want.

Once Maui and Kauai treat the HSF like any other ship in the harbor, Lingle will see that those unruly folks can finally play well with others and loosen the rules.

Stop the nonsense...let the boat operate completely unencoumbered. If you don't like it, don't buy a ticket.

Anonymous said...

Be good boys and girls, and do what you're told. Don't upset the applecart. Don't rock the boat. Follow the rules. Raise your hand. Line up, walk single file, pledge allegiance. Yes, sir. Yes Ma'am. May I? Pay attention! Don't be late!

Do what the Man says, because he's the boss and he knows best.

Blah blah blah.

Anonymous said...

"And clean up your room!"

All great rules to live by, in my opinion. I lived by did our kids.

You don't get what you expect, you get what you elect.

PaiaGirl said...

The problem with pro-Superferry people is that they have no sense of humor. They can't tell when we're joking.

At this point Lingle and the Feds are spending so much time, money and military might on the Superferry that the only thing left to do is laugh.

Anonymous said...

The protesters' "sense of humor", debatable, is more akin to that girl wearing a "bomb-like" t-shirt into Logan Airport.

"Inciting bad behavior" is more like what they're doing. And, according to Charlie Foster, their proposed action is not legal.

Just go away and tend to your organic gardens and write your "sustainable" articles and let things unfold naturally.

Anonymous said...

"Naturally." As long as it benefits rich white men?

Anonymous said...

No..."naturally" may not benefit RWM (of whose number I'm proud to belong).

"Naturally" means the free market system, combined with whatever planning went into the HSF use in winter's rough water and whatever military use there might be, will determine the ultimate fate of the HSF.

It will rise or fall on its own merits. Let it be and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Look who gets to define "naturally!" I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

So what's your beef about the free market system?

Or would you prefer socialism?
(anticipate my next comment if you choose this...your airline seat is waiting)

Anonymous said...

I prefer participatory economics. Look it up and get back to me after you've read about it in detail.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to take time to educate myself on that unless you can sell me on the probability of overturning the capitalist free market system in this country for your desired option.

"Castles in the sky" do not interest me when there is advantage to be gained in the current system of things.

Like I said in a comment on Joan's other article, don't tell me "what could be if only" me your "business plan" for making it happen as if you were presenting your case to venture capitalists.

It may be that what's wrong for this state, and country and world, will have the highest chance of prevailing during the course of our lifetimes and that of our children.

Even if it's wrong, I will always side with what is most probable.

It's just business...nothing personel.

Anonymous said...

And terribly bankrupt of imagination and hope. Where would we be if the all the cavemen thought like you?

Anonymous said...

"Even if it's wrong, I will always side with what is most probable."

That just about sums him up. As far as protesting goes, I have given it up and have resorted to praying for big surf and strong winds. So far, one out of two have come through. The Maui News said that Kahului Harbor is most susceptible to surges on north (as opposed to northwest) swells. Guess what's supposed to hit the Hawaiian Islands on December 6th? That's right, a north-northwest swell. Will the Superferry passengers be able to disembark when there are surges rocking the barge and boat? Unified Command, arrest that swell!

Anonymous said...

While I respect your choice to rely on the forces of nature, I want to point out that collective action continues to be mighty important. Not only does it have the potential for creating change, it builds community and eliminates despair and the sense of hoplessness isolated people feel in the face of great challenges. There is nothing more inspiring than being part of a community that realizes its power to create an array of choices for itself. So different from the depressing pattern of waiting every couple of years to go in the voting booth to choose between Coke and Pepsi! As they say, "direct action gets the goods!"

Anonymous said...

It could very well be that the Maui harbor will get a decent breakwater in the not-too-distant future to protect all harbor users from the effects of winter swells. Watch money get allocated for that. Many other HI harbors have them, esp the one on the BI where HSF will dock.

Anonymous said...

So I take it from the comments following my earlier one that there is no "plan"...only "hope" and the nebulous "community action" to prop up the "castles in the sky".

I thought so.

But, hey, if it makes you feel better in a relatively unchanging world vis a vis your dreams, go for it.

I still think your only hope is to gain political/legal power and use it to effect your changes gradually, but that's a very long shot...and you don't want to be "the Man".

Can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Different times, same line: don't rock the boat, go for gradual changes that don't upset anybody. Rightists were saying the same thing to slavery abolitionists and later on to those fighting for immediate civil rights. History forbids us to take such logic seriously. Imua.

Anonymous said...

I take back my comment on community action IF the purpose of such action is to affect an ground swell of sentiment that would propel a person faviorable to your cause into political office (aka, start becomming "The Man"). It has a non-zero probability of happening.

Honestly, I don't know how you're going to do it without the power that political office brings. That's just how things work.

Hell, I'd even vote for you if your ultimate platform didn't cost me anything, such as an enforced redistribution of wealth and property, etc.

Like they say in dog sledding...if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Anonymous said...

I decided to do 10 seconds of research on this. According to Wikipedia:

"Participatory described as 'an anarchistic economic vision'. It emerged from the work of activist and political theorist Michael Albert and that of radical economist Robin Hahnel, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s.

However the concept of participatory economics stretches back to classical Marxism. As Marx believed that during the lower phase of communism (socialism), the entire working class would collectively manage the national economy."

Anarchistic, activist, radical and

And this is going to supplant the capitalist free market system just when, exactly? After the next ice age?

Thanks for giving me a new phrase to sarcastically deride if it ever comes up in casual conversation, but I think I'll stick with Plan A here in the good 'ole USA (which, contrary to certain opinion, contains Hawaii).

Marxist. Indeed.

Anonymous said...

Gadfly, The Kahului Harbor already has two breakwaters, they just don't keep wave action from Pier 2(c) and Pier 5 areas. The USACE has studied this and presented solutions 2 years ago. Check out these pics:
BTW, Charley, people can "get in the water," they are just suppose to be out an hour before the Superferry is expected. Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the breakwater info. Maybe HSF would kick in some money to help the county build 1 of the 2 solutions already in hand for the benefit of all users of thosse piers.