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• What Superferry reveals about Kaua‘i
• Would be a great loss
• Try a trial period
• Once here, what then?
What Superferry reveals about Kaua‘i
The issue of the Superferry has brought to light a deeper imbalance revealing how an island economy is due for change. Many businesses on Kaua‘i have simply become dependent on non-Kaua‘i income sources (tourism, real estate) feeding their needs, or worse yet, have an investment-taking mind-set, without honestly giving back. The real issue is how do we create and live in a self-sustaining, regenerative economy fueled by our relationship with the island.
What we are seeing with Superferry is the death throes of an old system struggling to do business at the expense of our collective Neighbor Island resources, and telling us they have something we really need, when in fact, if we look past the ads, we have all we truly need without Superferry.
Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration and her sympathizers have totally lost touch with what regenerates the island of Kaua‘i. There is no rush needed for this “alternate form of transportation.” We have gotten by quite fine without it this long. Where is this pressure really coming from? It’s like being pressured by a pushy car salesman, when we really want to take the time and look under the hood and weigh our options, as our decisions now affect seven generations to come.
Siri Shabad and John Tyler
Would be a great loss
Most decisions are based on what you know and what you’ve been told by someone you trust and respect. I believe that this is true of the many young people who are protesting the state ferry system. If you asked these well-meaning people if they had ever heard of three ships named the “Waialeale,” the “Hawaii,” and the “Humuula,” it is doubtful that you would get an affirmative answer.
These three ships were owned and operated by the Interisland Steam Navigation Co., and carried passengers and freight between the islands before World War II. The company was owned by the Kennedy family, who also owned and operated Hawaiian Airlines. Matson controlled shipping between Hawai‘i and the Mainland, and Young Bros. (Dillingham) provided tug and barge service for the pineapple industry and other commercial and domestic enterprises.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the U.S. government took over the interisland ships, and when the war was over, the Kennedys opted not to take its ships back. Instead they concentrated on interisland air travel via Hawaiian Air. This effectively left Hawai‘i without a viable system of surface transportation between the islands.
In the early 1960s, Sen. John Hulten and a young Matson sea captain named Richard Haller started a drive to establish a state ferry system. They envisioned sea-going ships of over 300 feet in length that could carry passengers, freight and vehicles in a roll-on, roll-off mode, similar to what is being proposed today. Matson and Young Bros. were not in favor of this; but instead of open opposition, a public relations plan was put into effect, posing the question: “Should the proposed ferry system be port-to-port or point-to-point?”
Port-to-port meant, for instance, Honolulu to Kahului. Point-to-point meant Koko Head to Lau Point on Moloka‘i, then overland to Kaunakakai, then Kaunakakai to Lahaina, then overland to Makena, etc. People who had never been on the ocean before were arguing port to port versus point to point. This included a lot of legislators. Sad to say, this strategy worked and the ferry legislation failed.
Next, a wealthy man from the West Coast decided to start an interisland ferry system using Boeing jetfoils. The Boeing jetfoil is a wonderful ferry for the quiet waters of Hong Kong Harbor, but in our wild Hawaiian channels, they kept breaking down mid-channel.
Neither Matson nor Young Bros. objected to the jetfoils because they didn’t carry cargo. Cargo is the magic word that trips the anti-ferry propaganda switch. The interisland cruise ships don’t carry cargo. No Problem. The Superferry carries cargo; fight it tooth and nail. How do you do that without exposing the real opponents? You appeal to well-meaning young people who are sincere in their desire to protect the ‘aina, but who don’t have the slightest idea of what is really involved.
Rest assured that if this latest attempt to establish a state ferry system — a much needed bridge between our islands — fails, it will be many years before another courageous entrepreneur will be willing or able to give it another try. It will be a great loss for all of us.
Try a trial period
The Superferry is causing chaos in the Aloha State. Civil war has erupted, the contraries — environmentalists and antis — have been targeting the “Alakai,” blaming it for all the problems in our state. One is either pro-ferry or anti-ferry.
When a person is hired for a professional job, there’s usually a three-month probationary period to see if they are the right fit. The employer or employee has a three month time span to see if things work out. If things do not work out, things can be re-negotiated or either party can terminate the relationship.
I would like to urge the people against the Superferry to a good-faith handshake to see if the Superferry is a good fit.
I do not believe a probationary period is necessarily needed but feel a probationary impact will quiet the protesters.
Give the Alakai a three month trial. I believe you will be surprised on how environmentally friendly she is.
The only ones benefiting from the Superferry thus far is the most invasive species of them all, lawyers.
James “Kimo” Rosen
Once here, what then?
I have listened, watched, read and witnessed the Superferry debacle with an open mind. I am left with some really simple questions and wonder if they shouldn’t be considered while doing an Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Statement.
Let’s say a ferry arrives with 650 people and 200 cars. If the cars all unload within that one-hour time line the ferry has planned, unload onto that tiny jetty road, will there be any traffic control (i.e.: a stoplight) at the corner leading to the entrance onto Nawiliwili Road? It bottlenecks now since drivers insist on going too fast, too many diesel-belching tractor trailers leaving the port, and nobody using the good old fashion aloha of driving on a small island.
Another question: If the 200 cars unload and there are still 300 people who arrive, how are they getting anywhere? Assume for the sake of this hypothetical scenario that some are to be picked up by friends and family. Where are they to park? Where would the staging area be? What if the people wanted to hire a cab to get to their destination? Where would the taxis stage?
Please let me know the plan for something as simple as these very important logistics. Another thing … why can the ferry stop such cultural activities as paddling and fishing while it is here? I really want to know.
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