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 SaveKahuluiHarbor.com. “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.