Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Musings: Readers Write

Today is garbage day, so my biggest challenge was keeping Koko out of the mysterious, but decidedly unsavory — at least, to me — juice squeezed from the garbage truck. And then we ran into my neighbor Andy, and his dog, and as we walked along the road together, Koko got all nuts because she was on a leash and couldn’t follow Momi into the bushes after chickens, pigs, cats or what have you.

Somewhere along the way the sun rose and farmer Jerry drove by and waved as Andy and I talked about dogs, the pre-contact life span of Hawaiians, the Jesus myth, over-population and the disconnect between our pre-industrial religions and post-industrial societies. All this before 7 a.m.

Anyway, I’m jamming today, trying to finish stuff that’s due so I can take a three-day trip to Lanai tomorrow (which will keep me away from the blogosphere until Saturday), so I’m letting the readers — and I deeply appreciate all of you — do the writing today.

First, I got an email with this interesting tidbit:

I haven't seen any public announcements of the Superferry's plans to return to Kauai, but a rather unusual source suggests that a June target date may be in the works. From the Class of 1963 Alumni Notes by Correspondent Diane Lum-King Li on p. 53 of the just-received Spring 2008 Punahou Bulletin:

"On O'ahu, Terry White reports that "the Superferry made its first run to Maui, and should be back in Honolulu soon. I am retired and am only with the ferry in spirit, now." A rough reception in Kaua'i, and high winter winds kept the ferry in port for a while. It should be making regular runs between the islands soon, and we can take our cars to Kaua'i in June."

Hmmm. Is this the same Terry White who served as Hawaii Superferry operations vice president? I didn’t know he had retired, but a quick look at the corporate link on the HSF website no longer lists him, so maybe he did.

June, eh? Well, I guess we’ll see about that.

And Katy Rose emailed this follow up to her recent radio interview with Wayne Jenkins, a welder with Austal USA, which made the Superferry:

I just got a call from Swan Cleveland, union organizer for sheetmetal workers local 441, with an update.

Wayne Jenkins, who returns from his vacation Wednesday, has received a notice of suspension from Austal USA "pending further investigation." According to Swan, Austal USA refuses to answer questions about this. UPDATE: " Katy I just found out that Wayne has been terminated form his employment at Austal due to his comments about the Super Ferry." -- 2:37 p.m. EDT email from Swan.

Swan tells me that the launch for superferry 2 will be in September and they would like to organize a big protest at the launch. Labor wants to build coalition with environmental groups. They would like for environmental groups here to make contact with groups there — if you belong to a group with a chapter on the Gulf Coast, please make contact. If you are in a group that has allies in that region, please reach out!

The sheetmetal workers are building up a campaign to launch a congressional hearing on Austal USA and he will be letting us know about how we can get involved in pushing that effort from here.

Swan told me that their attorneys are "pleased as punch" about the connection we made with those guys linking our struggles.

And finally, got word there’s a KIUC meeting today to fill a vacancy caused by the unexpected retirement of a board member. Will be interesting to see if they choose Ben Sullivan of Apollo Kauai, who was just 61 votes shy of winning a seat in the recent election, or someone else who wasn’t on the ballot.


Mauibrad said...

You probably heard the latest, Wayne got fired today, April 22.

I think he knew what he was doing when he said what he has seen.

Mike Formby was on talk radio this morning on Maui and when they asked him the question about Kauai, he seemed to indicate it would not be anytime soon. But, Garibaldi quoted in the paper a few days ago, a few "months" after Maui gets going.

I think they would like to attempt the later.

The summer will be their high mark, if any. The fall (because of fuel costs) and the winter (because of high seas) are going to suck for them.

By the time they get to the end of next fall, if they last that long, they will be having a hard time meeting MARAD performance requirements.

Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that Brad Parsons called that same talk radio show towards the end and talked about the honesty of others participating; but, when asked for his identity ("...are you an employee of Superferry or work in the area?) he did not answer or indicate anything about himself. It sure is nice not having to answer to your own criticism.

I know some Punahou alumni were planning a reunion on Kauai for this Summer. The plan (before August 2007) was to travel via the Superferry. They are still coming; but, buying airplane tickets. There are still some holdouts who are hoping to come the way they originally planned and wanting others to wait and see. That is all there is to that post. No conspiracy at all. Of course I don't expect that information to do anything but bounce right of someone who knows better.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ferry -

as we have seen, this 'business' is not subject to market forces the numbers don't add up, but in spite of the adversity, the boat keeps moving forward upping the ante.

Why would something so terribly 'unprofitable' as this Super Fiasco stay plowing forward in spite of abysmal and unsustainable ridership and soaring fuel fees?

one likely explanation is that this 'business' is no business at all, but is posing as such to qualify for 25-30 billion BILLION dollars of military contracts to build the imperial fleet of the 21st century, should they finally get the kinks worked out of their design.

Meanwhile, our environment takes a beating. Consider the effect of the high-pressure steering jets on the bottom of the boat; a gigantic pressuring washing of the septic sediments of our bays, fouling our waters. Don't believe me, go smell with your own nose, the roiling brown waters.

Is all of this worth it? Perhaps not to you or i, but they 25-30 BILLION reasons to plow forward, so it is a safe bet they will make another sustained effort to ram their product back into Kaua`i.

The people of Kaua`i successfully blunted their efforts to impose service here last summer. A second boat is still under construction, and they WILL try to return to Kaua`i. Like some kind of undead zombie ferry, they are down, but not out. We must remain ever vigilant for when they do, so we can wash rinse and repeat our clarion rejection as many times is needed until they finally hear us, or sink - whichever comes first.

re: KIUC - this is perhaps a small detail, but the much repeated "61 votes shy" for Sullivan's recent effort is inaccurate. Ben would have needed 123 more votes to have secured a seat on the Board in the last election.


Mel Rapozo said...

Congratulations Joan Conrow. Your recent SBA award, Kaua‘i’s Small Business Journalist of the Year, was well deserved. You are a true asset to Kauai, and I wish you well at the State Awards Ceremony. Keep on writing!!!

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks for your kind words, Mel.

Mauibrad said...

Anonymous, I was on a cell phone when I called in and I could not hear everything the broadcaster were saying to me. I think he asked me why I was involved and I said it was an "honesty thing" meaning trying to get to the bottom of a unique story. I still don't feel like I have found the nugget. On that radio show, they had no callers into the show because they said they were having technical problems. I called in a number of times and finally got through to the office and they patched me through to the broadcasters, but we still had technical problems and I could not hear everything they were asking me. Aloha, Brad

Andy Parx said...

I’ve gotta say again I get endless amusement at those who keep talking about their “right” to travel by the Superferry. Keep it up guys- I need a laugh now and then.