Headed over to the beach this morning and met a friend for a walk and talk, which is always enjoyable, although it reminded me why I so often walk just with Koko. When gabbing with someone, no matter how engaging the conversation, nature always seems to move into the background, eclipsed by the human drama.
It seems that drama was the focus of last night’s meeting of the KKCR community advisory board, which I couldn’t attend because I had to finish a story. Still, it didn’t sound like I missed much. Just the usual recriminations and blame-game stuff, with what sounded like a heaping dose of denial thrown in. As for solutions, well, they were reportedly scarce, in part because some folks have yet to recognize the real problems.
Hawaii taxpayers, meanwhile, are perhaps becoming slowly aware of some of the problems associated with failing to do an EIS before letting the Superferry run.
As the The Advertiser reported yesterday, it’s gonna cost $350,000 over 10 weeks for tugboat service to support the ferry at Kahului Harbor.
The article states: “The tug service is necessary to keep a state-owned barge snug against the end of Pier 2C during ocean surges and to provide safe loading and unloading of passengers and vehicles, according to a request filed Friday to exempt the contract from state procurement rules.”
Now there’s been a great deal of talk about how the Kahului harbor master warned against trying to use Pier2 for the ferry, and other information has surfaced that the barge plan came about because the Department of Transportation was trying to avoid substantial construction that would trigger an EIS.
So instead of working through the issues carefully, as would have been required under an EIS, the DOT skirted the process and is now coming in and asking for serious money to keep the ferry running.
And that’s just one of the costs we’ve heard about when it comes to subsidizing the ferry. What about the price tag for all that harbor security, which the Coast Guard refuses to reveal, even to the Superferry Task Force? Why isn't that public information?
I liked one of the comments posted after the Advertiser story: “A Boat Is A Hole In The Water That You Pour Money Into. This just happens to be a SuperHole.”
Indeed. And we've got other holes that need filling, like all the giant ones in Kuhio Highway.
Meanwhile, the The Garden Island today gives front page coverage to a Chamber of Commerce poll that found 79.5 percent of respondents support the ferry’s decision to operate. What it doesn’t state until almost the end of the story is that only “about 80 of the 400 or so [Chamber] members took the online survey.”
Now that’s a lot of hay being made over a survey taken by just 20 percent of the Chamber’s members. Plus I have to wonder why the phrase “about 80” was used. Shouldn’t there be an exact number when you’re tabulating poll results?
Update: The Pacific Business News also reported the story, but without the bit about only 20 percent responded. The article also included this: "Superferry executives have said they are consulting with Kauai residents in hopes of resuming ferry service." Hope they're talking to more than those "about 80" folks who took the Chamber poll, or they might be in for a surprise if they come back.
Finally, if you haven’t read my recent Honolulu Weekly piece, “U.S.S. Superferry,” and would like to, it’s
now on line. (Update: Readers have informed me the link is not working yet. I've notified the webmaster and will update here when it's accessible. Mahalo for your patience.)