Wednesday…more from the ferry’s wake, beach access, and more

I wonder what we’re supposed to believe?

Here’s Rep. Tom Brower in a Star-Bulletinop-ed:

“A written opinion by the attorney general determined that no environmental assessment was required for the $40 million harbor renovation. These differing interpretations encourage the Legislature to act.”

And here’s Gov. Lingle as paraphrased by Derrick DePledge in Saturday’s Advertiser:

Under questioning from reporters at her news conference, Lingle again defended the administration’s decision-making. The governor said she was not aware of any legal advice on Superferry from the attorney general in her file.

Was there an opinion by the Attorney General or not?

If DePledge has accurately conveyed what Lingle said, then her carefully worded statement falls short of a definitive denial. She does not say there was no AG opinion, she only says she isn’t aware of one in her file. Is she aware of one anywhere else? Has the asked the attorney general about it? We don’t know.

Kyle Kajihiro, staffer for the American Friends Service Committee, wonders about a similar bit of contradictory info.

Advertiser 9/6/07 reported: “U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai’i, who has been supportive of the loan-guarantee program in the past, did not take a position on the loan guarantees for Superferry and urged the Maritime Administration to follow its criteria, according to his staff.”

So why is it on Jan 14, 2007, the Mobile Register reported: “Among those who believe in the Hawaii Superferry are Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who helped secure about $25 million in federal loan guarantees for the vessels, and former U.S. Navy secretary John Lehman, who O’Halloran calls “our major investor.”?”

Which is it, $25 million in federal loan guarantees or “did not take a position” on the loan guarantees?

And House Speaker Calvin Say’s acknowledgement that his son is a Superferry employee among those furloughed last week has caused some unhappiness. Rep. Della Au Belatti issued a press release yesterday underscoring the issues.

Speaker Say, who is responsible for monitoring unethical behavior in the House of Representatives, should have disclosed that his son is an Account Executive with the Hawaii Superferry much earlier, rather than have members of the House Democratic Caucus and the public learn about his conflict of interest through newspaper reports.

Au said Say should be immediately sidelined from the Superferry negotiations as a result of the apparent conflict. Of course, Say is unlikely to heed that call.

Thanks to Kauai’s Joan Conrow for tracking down additional information on fast ferry projects that have gone off track elsewhere. Beware the rosy corporate projections.

Meanwhile, Rich in Kailua points readers to the web site of a group calling itself “Beach Access Hawaii“, which is pushing to keep public access rights to beaches.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the Kailua-Gate story that started with a few people who got upset about the L’Orange Place homeowners locking out their neighbors from using “their” beach path, but it’s evolved into a bigger cause. We’re now asking the City Council to assess whether public beach access standards are being complied with not just in Kailua, but throughout Oahu.

We’ve also been hearing of similar battles on the Big Island and Kauai — the LA Times story last week on the Superferry also mentioned how wealthy homeowners are blocking access to beaches there.

Los Angeles Times writer Tomas Alex Tizon (who shared in a 1997 Pulitzer Prize while at the Seattle Times) had another Hawaii story on Monday, this time about the bug killing off the native wiliwili trees.

3 responses to “Wednesday…more from the ferry’s wake, beach access, and more

  1. Hawai`i Governor Linda Lingle advised residents to obey the laws as they now exist.

    Easy for her to say.

    She can just call for a special legislative session to have the law changed if it’s not to her liking. Lingle asserted any proposed legislation must be agreed to by the Superferry.

    The legislature is there to lend support. Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said Superferry environmental law compliance will be left to Lingle.

    But Wait! Lingle has already said the Superferry must agree to any proposed legislation. This puts the Superferry in the catbird seat with the power to essentially write laws using their ultimate power of agreement.

    The Superferry saga is a shining example of a corporations writing our environmental laws based on their corporate interests. Our elected Governor and legislature have been reduced to an advisory roles to the corporate “Decider”.

    Who elected these guys?

  2. Calvin Say’s son is said to be an “account executive” with the Superferry. Usually this refers to a marketing type – so, given his connection to his powerful Dad, was he, in fact, a lobbyist in an underhanded kind of way? Why would Say be so late in disclosure unless he had something to hide? Who is his son, and what is his background? Did it fit with the job he had at Superferry? Was he recruited? Inquiring minds want to know all of it. Thanks to you, Ian, we are beginning to piece together this whole story.

  3. The superferry project sounds as if the gov and investers took lessons from our President when he and his buddies bought the Texas baseball team and used taxpayer money to build a stadium and then sell the whole deal for millions–the same group then moved to St. Louis and is doing the same thing with the St Louis Cardinals-lots of good PR and very little facts—-

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