Thursday, June 26, 2008

How the airborne competitors did for May
"Mesa [and Hawaiian Air] passenger numbers up"
By Jennifer Sudick

"Mesa Air Group's interisland airline go! said yesterday its passenger numbers rose to a record 87,577 in May. That represents a 1.3 percent increase from April's 86,417, the first full month after the shutdown of Aloha Airlines, and a 51 percent jump from last year's 57,935.

The carrier's load factor rose to 70.7 percent, an increase of 2.19 percentage points from last month and 7.4 percentage points from last year. The carrier added three 50-seat CRJ-200s to its fleet in April, but has since sent one back to the mainland because it had two spares. It now operates seven aircraft.

Available seat miles, or one seat transported one mile, inched up less than a percentage point to 18.28 million from last month, and 39 percent from May 2007's 13.12 million.

Go! operates 90 flights a day between Honolulu and Kahului, Lihue, Kona and Hilo, an increase of about 50 percent from before Aloha's March 31 shutdown. Earlier this month, go! added an additional weekday roundtrip between Honolulu and Kahului in response to demand from business travelers.

Revenue passenger miles, or one paying passenger transported one mile, rose a quarter of a percent to 12.81 million from last month. It was a 54 percent jump from last year's 8.3 million.

Hawaiian Airlines, which reported its May numbers on June 9, saw a 26.2 percent bump in systemwide passengers to 740,865 from 587,017 a year ago. Its load factor, or percentage of seats filled, slipped 0.9 points to 85.7 percent. Available seat miles totaled 812.2 million, up from 776.6 million a year ago. Revenue passenger miles rose 3.5 percent to 696.2 million from 672.7 million."

Aloha, Brad

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kauai Coalition Continues...not unrelated events

The following issue involves people on Kauai who have also been outspoken and active on the HSF issue. The issue here is a proposed item on the ballot to amend the County Charter to put responsibility back on the County Council to limit development to the rate already implied by the County General Plan.

I had the pleasure to observe this whole process and participate a little bit from beginning to end. This petition effort started in late March, early April of this year. One of the petition leaders had health problems and it looked like the petition might stall in May. But, this group of people/volunteers/activists on Kauai put it into another gear and with will and determination got more than the necessary signatures in less than a month.

It was interesting to see all the ways they improvised to get the job done. Quite frankly I have never before seen a core group of activists like this in my life, and I've been observing activism for two to three decades, but there is no comparison to these people on Kauai. They're capable of accomplishing anything; they're the frickin' bomb.

Well, here's the news article:

Saturday, Jun 21, 2008
"Petitions submitted for charter amendment"
By Nathan Eagle - The Garden Island

"Kaua‘i’s Coalition for Responsible Government recently submitted to the County Clerk’s Office more than 2,900 signatures for its petition to place a charter amendment on the November ballot.

Carl Imparato, a North Shore resident, called the citizens initiative a “big milestone” that required much hard work from residents over recent months.

The next step will be for the county to determine whether at least 1,917 of those signatures are valid. If so, the measure will qualify to come before the voters, a news release from the group says.

The group believes that reforming county government through a Charter amendment is the only hope for ensuring that the county’s General Plan will be followed.

Keone Kealoha, a member of the petitioners’ committee, explained that the 2000 General Plan calls for an annual growth rate of tourist units of between 1 percent and 1.5 percent.

The high end of that range corresponds to 1,000 additional tourist units between 2000 and 2008. But in that time period, the Planning Commission has allowed the approval or construction of more than 4,000 tourist units.

“Ignoring the General Plan is creating enormous impacts on our infrastructure, traffic and highway congestion, and demands for groundwater, wastewater treatment, landfills, energy resources and emergency services,” he says. “It is also creating shortages of affordable housing, overcrowding at parks and beaches, and harming Kauai’s character, pace and quality of life.

“This pace of growth is simply unsustainable,” Kealoha says. “We already have tremendous problems and that’s without the impact of the thousands of tourist units the Planning Commission has approved in recent years but have not yet been built. We simply cannot afford to allow county government to continue to bypass the General Plan.”

Petitioners said that during their conversations with nearly 3,000 residents, beach preservation came up time and again as a concern related to resort development, the news release says.

“Kama‘aina lamented that many of the beaches they enjoyed as children have been lost to tourist development over the years,” signature gatherer Judy Dalton said. “They were eager to sign this petition to hold on to the last undeveloped beaches on Kaua‘i for their children and grandchildren to enjoy.”

Rich Hoeppner, another member of the petitioners’ committee, described the charter amendment.

“This Charter amendment will transfer the authority to approve tourist development from the appointed Planning Commission — which has completely ignored the General Plan — to the elected County Council, which approved the General Plan and can ensure that it is followed,” he says. “The charter amendment would also give the council the flexibility to transfer the authority to approve tourist development back to the Planning Commission, but only under the condition that the Planning Commission would be required to comply with the General Plan’s growth parameters.”

Coalition members said they evaluated all of the alternatives for addressing the problem of overdevelopment and concluded that the only realistic solution lies in giving the voters the opportunity to repair county government through a charter amendment.

“This charter amendment is not about stopping growth,” Hoeppner says. “It is about ensuring that county goverment will responsibly implement the county’s General Plan. It will require the County Council to finally take ownership of the problem.”

He acknowledged some people have claimed that a charter amendment is not the best way to deal with this problem, and that instead the County Council should be lobbied to address the problem.

“That sounds nice … but where has the council been for the past eight years when the approval rate for tourist units has been four times the General Plan’s high growth scenario?” Hoeppner says.

'Is this charter amendment perfect? Maybe not.' he says. 'But realistically, this charter amendment is the only alternative to the Mauification of Kaua‘i and business as usual, in which development is approved regardless of what the General Plan says.'"

For information, visit or call the Coalition for Responsible Government at 635-1659.

Proposed amendment to the Kaua‘i County Charter
I. Summary

Should the County Charter be amended to empower the County Council to ensure adherence to the General Plan by transferring the power to approve permits for tourist accommodations to the County Council upon a two-thirds affirmative vote of the Council and allowing the Council, if it enacts a rate-of-growth limit that is consistent with the General Plan, to delegate the approval authority to the Planning Commission?

II. Preamble

Section 14.06 of the Charter of the County of Kauai directs the County Council to enact a general plan to govern the future physical development of the county;

In the November 2000 Kauai County General Plan, the Planning Department’s estimate for the average daily visitor count for the year 2020 is between 24,000 and 28,000 average daily visitors (compared to 17,200 in 1998). The high-end estimate of 28,000 would, using a conservative occupancy rate, correspond to an increase in the demand for transient overnight accommodation units of approximately 1.5% (or approximately 125) transient overnight accommodation units per year;

During the period 2000 through 2007, the Kauai Planning Commission has granted approvals for more than 4,000 transient overnight accommodation units, such that if each of these approved units is constructed, the resulting growth rate would be more than 4 times the high end of the growth range in the November 2000 Kauai County General Plan;

Continued approvals by the Kauai Planning Commission at this rate would allow an increase in construction of transient overnight accommodation units of greater than 100% between 2000 and 2020, far exceeding the increase envisioned in the General Plan;

The construction and occupancy of such units would lead to a commensurately excessive increase in the average daily visitor count;

The rate of growth in transient overnight accommodations in the County has already surpassed the capability of the County’s infrastructure, and growth in the average daily visitor count far beyond the planning growth range contemplated in the general plan would create detrimental impacts in areas that include: increased traffic and highway congestion; increased demands for limited police, fire, and emergency services; overcrowding at parks and beaches; unsustainable demands for limited resources including groundwater, wastewater treatment, landfills, energy; low-to-moderate income housing shortages exacerbated by the demand to import additional service-sector workers; additional noise from helicopter tours, motorcycle rentals and other tourist activities; and negative impacts on Kauai’s character, pace and quality of life;

The negative impacts cited above threaten the clean and healthful environment to which Hawaii’s residents are entitled pursuant to Article XI, Section 9 of the Hawaii State Constitution;

The County Council is responsible for funding the additional infrastructure necessary to mitigate such impacts pursuant to Section 3.10 of the Charter of the County of Kauai;

Therefore the people of Kauai find that the general welfare of the County and its residents requires that the Charter of the County of Kauai be amended as specified below.


Article III of the Charter of the County of Kauai is hereby amended by adding a new Section to Article III to read as follows:

Section 3.12 Implementation of the General Plan.

The power to process and to issue any zoning, use, subdivision, or variance permit for more than one transient accommodation unit shall be vested in and exercisable exclusively by the council. As used in this Section, “transient accommodation unit” shall mean an accommodation unit or a portion thereof in a hotel, timeshare facility, resort condominium, fractional ownership facility, vacation rental unit or other similarly-used dwelling that is rented or used by one or more persons for whom such accommodation unit is not the person’s primary residence under the Internal Revenue Code.

Any applicant seeking the issuance of a zoning, use, subdivision or variance permit for more than one accommodation unit shall certify to the planning department whether any use of the units as a transient accommodation unit is projected by the applicant. Prior to granting any such permit for a transient accommodation unit, the council shall conduct a public hearing and make a finding that granting such permit would be consistent with the planning growth range of the general plan and in the best interests of the county and its people. Approval of any such application shall require a favorable vote of two thirds (2/3) of the entire membership of the council. Appeals of any decision by the council relating to such permits must be instituted in the circuit court within thirty (30) days after entrance of the final decision of the council.

The council may by ordinance authorize the planning commission to process and issue such permits, or certain of them, on terms and conditions as the council may deem advisable, only upon the council’s enactment of a rate of growth ordinance that limits the rate of increase in the number of transient accommodation units in the county to no greater than one-and-one-half percent (1.5%) per annum on a multi-year average basis, or such growth rate that is within the planning growth range of a future general plan adopted pursuant to Section 14.08.


The council shall adopt such ordinances, laws, rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the terms and intent of this amendment to the Charter.


If any provision of this amendment shall be held by a final order of a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, all of the other terms of the amendment shall remain in full force and effect.

Just a fly on the wall along for the ride,
Aloha, Brad

Monday, June 23, 2008

New American CEO for Austal Ltd. Globally

Not getting much time to blog anymore. Still need to put up some interesting info. about the Cultural Impact Assessment at Nawiliwili Harbor. Also want to post something about the $5 million that HSF is seeking in grant from the DoD to add a ramp, desalination plant, and wastewater treatment plant to the Alakai's sister ship. And there is the recent filing in HI state court regarding HSF; already has that up. But, for now, this is something quick and easy to put up:


"Austal USA chief Browning tapped to lead Austal Ltd."
Posted by Kaija Wilkinson, Business Reporter June 22, 2008 9:01 PM

"Austal USA President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Browning will assume the role of chief executive officer and managing director of Australian parent Austal Ltd., Austal Ltd. announced today.

Browning "will assume responsibility for all operations of the company globally," an Austal statement said. His new role becomes effective on Aug. 22.

He will remain headquartered in Mobile, "reflecting the importance of the current and future operations in the U.S., particularly those in the military arena," the company said.

The appointment comes at a key time for Austal, which in April launched the 127-meter Littoral Combat Ship Independence, built for the U.S. Navy, from the Mobile shipyard. The shipbuilder is part of a team led by Virginia-based General Dynamics Corp. that is competing with a Lockheed Martin Corp.-led team to build up to 55 of the high-speed warships designed for shallow water combat.

Although the price tag for the first prototypes from both teams surpassed the half billion dollar mark after an initial $220 million estimate, Congress has set a $460 million cost cap on future ships.Austal, as prime contractor, is also competing for a second U.S. military contract - the eight-ship Joint High Speed Vessel program. The Navy expects the cost of the lead vessel to be about $208.6 million, with subsequent ships costing less, said Bill Pfister, Austal's vice president of external affairs.

Austal plans to break ground in late July on a new, $254 million modular manufacturing facility that promises to greatly enhance its efficiency in building multiple vessels simultaneously, Pfister said.

The shipyard is also building the second of two high-speed passenger-vehicle ferries for Hawaii Superferry Inc., part of a two-vessel, $190 million contract..."

Aloha, Brad

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paid Lobbying for a "Military Wannabe"

Well, Derrick had a good article today in the Honolulu Advertiser. This connection has been reported on in Honolulu Weekly and in the blogosphere, but this is the first definitive article in the mass media since HSF reversed it's PR on this matter in 2007. I remember Dave Coennen of Akaku asking Terry O'Halleran about this general connection on video in the later half of last year. The answer was questionable regarding these documented developments happening at the same time. Rather than recreate a blog for this, here is Joan Conrow's entry on it today with a link to Derrick's front page lead article in the Honolulu Advertiser today:

From KauaiEclectic
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Musings: Military Wannabe

"...It seems, however, that we’re starting to get a clearer view of Hawaii Superferry’s intentions when it comes to the military, a subject that has been the topic of many a blog post and comment. The Honolulu Advertiser today is reporting that the company is spending large on lobbyists in an attempt to have the federal government pick up the tab to add ramps to the second ferry, now under construction, to make it more viable for military use.

According to the article:

Lobbyists hired by Superferry approached the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Defense to help pay for a vehicle ramp and other improvements. The ramp would allow the new catamaran to load and unload vehicles at most large piers instead of relying on shore-based ramps and barges.

Superferry paid Blank Rome LLC, a prominent law and lobbying firm, to try to obtain federal money through the National Defense Features program to cover the cost of improvements to its second catamaran under construction at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. The defense program covers the installation of militarily useful features on commercial ships if the owners agree to make the ships available to the military during emergencies.

There are also reports that HSF wants to install a water desalinization and sewage treatment facility, as well as lengthen the second ferry to accommodate large vehicles, in addition to adding the folding ramp system. These features would cost about $5 million and make the fast ferry much suitable to military uses.

The article goes on to say:

Superferry executives had touted the military utility of the catamarans when they were initially describing the project to the state. A September 2004 document from Superferry, obtained by The Advertiser under the open-records law, discussed the growing training needs of the military in the Islands and said the catamarans would have strengthened vehicle decks to handle heavy military vehicles, helicopters, ammunition and other equipment.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but it appears that Superferry’s lobbying firm has experienced the same sort of difficulties as the company itself in filing accurate and timely lobbying reports.

The article notes:

Blank Rome's federal lobbying reports on Superferry for last year and the first quarter of this year have undergone substantial revision. The initial report for the last six months of last year, filed in February, showed less than $10,000 in lobbying income from Superferry. A second report in February raised the figure to $40,000. A third report, filed in May, put the figure at $120,000.

Blank Rome's lobbying report for the first quarter of 2008, filed in April, initially reported $30,000 in lobbying income from Superferry. An amended report, filed in May, raised the figure to $90,000.

The firm explained that the changes were made after the discovery of additional lobbying work on behalf of Superferry and because of the expenses from a subcontractor working with the firm on Superferry.

You may recall that journalist and blogger Ian Lind reported in April that HSF initially disclosed less than 6 percent of the costs incurred in lobbying for special state legislation.

So, you may say, who cares if the Superferry wants to serve the military? Well, as Maui’s Dick Mayer observes, if the company gets its upgrades and leaves Hawaii to use the ferries elsewhere, the State of Hawaii — read, the taxpayers — would be left holding the bag for the $40 million spent to construct the harbor barges.

And that's not counting all the money expended on legal fees, a special session, tugboats, an audit, an oversight task force and harbor security — not to mention undermining the integrity of our courts and all the associated community angst."

Nice work Derrick and Joan,
BTW, if HSF had not brought all of this lobbying reporting up to date in May, they would have been in default on their MARAD loan guarantees.

Aloha, Brad

Recent Reports from the HSF OTF Committee

The most recent meeting of the ACT 2 Large-Capacity Ferry Vessel Oversight Task Force was June 13, 2008. One of the more noteworthy points from that meeting was Mike Formby announced that the Kahului Harbor improvement plan is expected to be scaled back again to a $98 million dollar project (from the original $345 million at the beginning of this year) from the State with a request to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to actually pay for and do seperately the breakwater improvements. Formby said DOT still has to consult with the Harbor Users Group before this is revision is pursued. Soon DOT will put out the report for that OTF Committee meeting.

For this post, I go back to the prior month's OTF Committee Report dated May 23, 2008, for the meeting that took place on May 9th, 2008, reporting on HSF operations for the month of April and one event in May. There were a number of interesting points and stories in that report including a small boat close encounter with HSF, 4 unbelieveably close encounters of less than 100 meters with whales, and a series of plotted map charts showing locations and numbers of whales sighted by HSF south (16 to 62 whales) and north (1 to 15) of Molokai for each one-way run.

First, for the plotted maps, I recommend scrolling through them pages 19 through 66 of the report as Attachment F at:
Notice how many more whales were seen by the vessel lookouts south of Molokai vs. north of Molokai. This plotted map idea was that of Uncle Les.

Second, here is a recap of the 4 reported whale close encounters for April:
1.) April 11, 2008 - "Whale was spotted 300 yards away fine on the port bow. The vessel turned hard to starboard to avoid the whale. The whale passed clear of the vessel 50 yards down the port side. The vessel was...travelling at 31.5 kts."
2.) April 16, 2008 - "While inside the 100 fathon curve approaching Kahului Harbor, a whale was spotted by the starboard side lookout passing close on the starboard bow. Vessel was already in hand steering and turned hard to port while reducing speed. The whale passed close down the starboard side while moving away from the vessel with a distance of 5-10 yards. The whale was observed by crew members and actually breached soon after the approach."
3.) April 22, 2008 - "The vessel manuevered for two whales... Both whales were spotted by the starboard lookout and the vessel manuevered with steering and speed reduction for both. The first whale passed about 50 feet and the second whale passed 25 feet. Both passed down the starboard side and clear of the vessel."

Wow, that is 50 yards, 5 to 10 yards, and 25 to 50 feet close encounters. Based on the court testimony, I am wondering from the bridge or otherwise how close to the port or starboard side of the vessel can the crew actually see?

Lastly, regarding the close encounter with a small boater that HSF apparently didn't even see until right upon it (from pages 78 - 79 of the report as Attachment I) :

"FROM: Randy Awo, OTF Member [DLNR Officer]


SYNOPSIS: On May 9, 2008 at approximately 10:10 hours...received a phone call from Sydney Medeiros, owner/operator of the "Ka Nani Kai" a 28 foot radon, registered on the Island of Maui. At this time Medeiros...wanted to express his concern about not being detected by the "Superferry" while operating his vessel approximately 3 miles seaward from the shores of Maunalua Bay on the Island of O'ahu.

Previous Encounter Described:
Medeiros said that he has seen the Superferry operating in these waters before; always traveling east. On one occasion he called the Superferry using his VHF radio, on Channel 16 to provide his location. Superferry personnel responded by saying "I see you; got you on radar; will pass you in a few minutes." The Superferry then passed starboard of the "Ka Nani Kai," at a distance that was safe and did not generate a wake. As a result of this previous encounter, Medeiros believed that on May 5, 2009, the Superferry had detected his vessel in the water via radar.

Observation Continued -- Superferry Closing Distance/Ka Nani Kai Undetected:
Medeiros returned to describing the May 5, 2008, incident. He said that he was traveling in an easterly direction, while the Superferry was traveling on a north easterly track. As it became increasingly apparent that his presence in the water went undetected, Medeiros decided to alter his course in order to yield to the Superferry... Medeiros said that if he had not altered his course a hazardout situation would have developed or a collision would have occurred.

Superferry Comes Within 100 yards of the "Ka Nani Kai":
According to Medeiros, at its closest location the Superferry passed within 100 yards of the Ka Nani Kai, traveling at about 30 knots, while maintaining a north easterly course. In order to avoid any negative impact from the wake caused by the Superferry, Medeiros turned his vessel so that his bow was facing the on coming surge.

Medeiros said that the Superferry was close enough that he could see passengers through the glass; they appeared to be standing. He said that he observed one passenger in a red shirt, near the rear of the vessel, standing at a location where there was no glass. He described the situation in the following manner, 'I saw glass, glass, glass, and then one passenger standing outside of the glass area, wearing one red shirt.'

US Coast Guard Notified:
Medeiros notifed the US Coast Guard... The USCG said that he (Medeiros) had a responsibility to yield to the Superferry in order to avoid or prevent a collision. Medeiros informed the USCG that he agreed, however the Superferry also had an equal responsibility to do the same.

Navigational Hazard:
Medeiros said that he was not filing a complaint, however had a concern about the navigational hazard this situation presents. He said that if the 'Alaka'i' was unable to detect his vessel on their radar, what would happen to bottom fishermen who are anchored or drifting and unable to yield to a rapidly approaching vessel in time to avoid a collision. He said that the Alaka'i was transitting an area that is popular with bottom fishermen. He was further concerned by the fact that the Superferry has now begun to travel at night, increasing the possibility of a mishap.

Medeiros said that he had been operating boats for 30 years; he has a Captain's license and served as the Commodore for the Maui Trailer Boat Club for 10 years.

Submitted By--Randy Awo"

Aloha, Brad

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ferry fills 28.7% of seats, 24% auto capacity in May

People have asked for my comment on yesterday's article in the Advertiser. First, the reporter is a new name to me, Suzanne Roig. She writes pretty well and does not overstate herself nor the people she is quoting. I thought overall it was a good article.

From the article: Friday, June 13, 2008
"Ferry ridership at 29% after first month;
CEO 'very happy' with ridership during first full month of operation"
By Suzanne Roig Advertiser Staff Writer

"In its first full month of operation [May], Hawaii Superferry sailed at only 29 percent of passenger capacity, but the company said it carried more people every week and hopes to keep building on those gains.

In May, 21,882 passengers and 6,003 vehicles traveled on the ferry Alakai between O'ahu and Maui. That averaged out to 249 people and 68 vehicles per voyage on a ship with a capacity of 866 people and 282 vehicles...

[Ed. note: The average passenger percentage of capacity is actually 28.7% and the unstated average vehicle percentage of capacity is 24%. The ratio of 249/68 is 3.66 people per vehicle, still higher than the expected average of 3 people per car, probably indicating a strong reliance on visitors without cars via Roberts Hawaii.]

Fargo hopes that increased interest in the ferry will translate into 30,000 passengers in June...

[Ed. note: At 96 one-way trips in June, that goal would be 313 people per voyage, a lofty goal but remotely possible in June, July, and August, if not beyond.]

Mike Walters, Love's Bakery president...'It's working out extremely well for us,' Walters said. 'The Superferry is the wave of the future for us. We're waiting for the second ship next April to start service to Kona and we'll definitely participate in that service.'...

[Ed. note: Notice Love's exec. mention of the Kona and not Kauai now.]

No new voyages are anticipated to Maui or to Kaua'i for the time being, Fargo said. More voyages will be added as ridership increases, he said...

[Ed. note: I would say the standard for adding new trips should more specifically be does ridership continue to increase Sept.-Nov.]

'You get to see the scenery, but it is long,' Kelvin Okamura of Texas said. 'And it was cold, but the price is too good to ignore.'"

A little review and update on current MDO fuel costs:

Marine Diesel Oil fuel price today is about $1,200 per metric ton.
The conversion for diesel metric tons to gallons is 313 gallons/MT.

Alakai burns about 1,950 gallons per hour for three hours per one-way to equal about 5,850 gallons per one-way voyage. At $3.83+ per gallon by the above current price and conversion, that would be about $22,406 per trip in fuel costs.

At $49 per person and $65 per regular vehicle, $35 per motorcycle, with no fuel surcharge, the May one-way average of 249 people and 68 vehicles accounts for only $12,201 plus $4,420 = $16,621. That is a $5,785 difference per one-way run to be made up by commercial customers just to cover fuel costs, much less the rest of HSF's expenses. It's unlikely that the total of what Love's, CFF, Fedex, Expediters, etc. are paying totals up to $6,000 average per run at the present. So, they are close, but probably still not covering their fuel costs on average per run.

Aloha, Brad

Friday, June 13, 2008

Recent Scientific Articles on Vessel-Whale Collisions

Recommend reading these, esp. the first one regarding the Canary Islands. Some good graphics in that one:

"Increasing Numbers of Ship Strikes in the Canary Islands:
Proposals for Immediate Action to Reduce Risk of Vessel-
Whale Collisions"
by Manuel Carrillo of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
and Fabian Ritter of Berlin, Germany

"Vessel Collisions With Small Cetaceans Worldwide And With Large Whales

"Large Whale and Vessel Collisions in Northern New Zealand"
by Stephanie Behrens and Rochelle Constantine of Univ. of Auckland, New Zealand

"Country Report on Ship Strikes: Australia"
submitted by the Government of Australia to the Conservation Committee

Thanks to Greg for forwarding the most current research and to Larry for providing the storage and link site.

Aloha, Brad

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Didn't the state waive attorney-client privilege..."

I've got a lot of stuff to post, including some things I noticed in the 2 most recent OTF committee meeting reports, the most recently presented scientific papers on ship-whale collisions, and information on the Cultural Impact Assessment being done on the harbors including for Nawiliwili harbor. But, Derrick Depledge came through with a good article today, so we'll cover that for today and two other lawyer blog comments on that and save the others for the next few days.

First, from Derrick's article:
Posted on: Tuesday, June 10, 2008
"Lingle keeps lid on Superferry records;
Administration cites both attorney-client and executive privilege"
By Derrick DePledge Advertiser Government Writer

"The Lingle administration, citing attorney-client privilege and executive privilege, has declined a request by The Advertiser to publicly release hundreds of e-mails and other documents related to its decision to exempt the Hawaii Superferry project from environmental review...

State Attorney General Mark Bennett's office, in a written response to questions from The Advertiser, said the state routinely declines to release information requested through the open-records law because of attorney-client privilege...

State Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kaua'i, Ni'ihau), who wanted an environmental review of Superferry, said..."It seems clear that there was a legal analysis and the Lingle administration needs to provide that," he said. "And, I would think, that if the legal analysis supported their position, they would have provided it already."

...State Rep. Marcus Oshiro, D-39th (Wahiawa), who aggressively questioned administration officials about Superferry last year, "I had hoped for and expected them to be more forthcoming..." Oshiro, an attorney, said he does not see any justification for the administration to withhold a legal analysis of whether an exemption was warranted, or discussions about strategy related to an environmental review, because of attorney-client privilege. He said, since the decision itself has been ruled an error by the Supreme Court and is no longer the subject of any Superferry lawsuits, the only reason for the administration to withhold the documents is to avoid embarrassment...'They Really Messed Up'...Oshiro described the administration's use of executive privilege as even more extraordinary. He said executive privilege is rarely invoked nationally and he can recall no previous time it has been used in Hawai'i to deny lawmakers or the public records linked to a public-policy decision. "Either way, they really messed up on this one," he said. "If they did not ask for a legal opinion, they were negligent. If they did ask for a legal opinion and they did not follow that, they were grossly negligent."

Now, about the lawyer blog commentaries on this. First, the shorter one pointed out to me:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
When the Superferry lawsuit was going down, I hated saying I went to law school. People I didn't even know would start complaining to me about how environmentalists were making Hawaii look hostile to business. They'd tell me, businesses will see how Hawaii treats companies and they won't want to bring any projects here ever again. But now the debate has shifted. Today's Superferry news about the state administration holding back on legal analysis of preferential treatment for the Superferry makes Hawaii look like a tiny, rural, backwater state. It gives Hawaii the appearance of being one of those gross little places where people get ahead by greasing government officials. It makes Hawaii look a little like the government regulatory version of Deliverance. I'm sure anyone would rather pay for an EIS than squeal like a pig.

And second, a fairly detailed legal analysis about whether the state's actions waived attorney-client privilege on this matter:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Recommend reading this full blog entry at:
Didn't the state waive attorney-client privilege when it gave an email to the newspaper?
Posted by Charley Foster

"Derrick DePledge has an interesting piece in the Advertiser this morning about the paper's attempts to get at legal advice the AG rendered to the administration concerning the requirements of an environmental review for Superferry related harbor improvements...

The protection of the attorney-client privilege, like other privileges, may be waived or relinquished. The client is the holder of the attorney-client privilege and, thus, the person ultimately entitled to decide whether to claim or waive it...

...Certainly it seems arguable to me that this sort of disclosure is "the disclosure of 'any significant part' of a communication" which therefore "waives the privilege and requires the attorney to disclose the details underlying the data which was to be published." According to the article, "The state Office of Information Practices denied an appeal by the newspaper to revisit a 1991 ruling that found that advice and counsel from the attorney general to state agencies is protected by the privilege and excepted from the open-records law." But it sounds to me like the newspaper miscast the request. Why ask the OIP to "revisit" a ruling - impliedly asking the OIP to overturn the ruling - when what you really want the OIP to do is enforce the ruling in this case. I would have argued that under the 1991 ruling the state waived attorney-client privilege in the Superferry environmental report issue when it passed along to the newspaper at least one email from the client discussing the attorney's advice."

One last thing, a good audio file that came out today of recent interviews from Kauai on this:

Published: June 10, 2008
"Sea Of Controversy For Hawaii's Superferry"

"For decades, people who wanted to get from one Hawaiian island to another have had one main option: flying. So when plans were unveiled for a high-speed ferry between the islands, Hawaiians and tourists were initially thrilled. But growing concern about the Superferry's potential environmental impact has turned the issue into one of the state's biggest legal battles in years. The Environment Report's Ann Dornfeld reports June 9, 2008."
Listen to it here:

Aloha, Brad

Monday, June 9, 2008

HSF Prediction for the coming year...

Here was a comment I posted to a blog just now:

I noticed some of the comments above are thinking/hoping with decisions like this, that the issue will just go away. Here are a few little tidbits I am hearing. A book will be coming out soon on this whole can already buy that book about the Superferry on Also, I hear second hand Derrick DePledge has another series coming up on this, but again with no strong conclusions.

Lastly, I offer this forecast. If Obama wins the election, the LCS and JHSV contracts may get cancelled and within a few months after that HSF goes out of business. On the other hand, if McCain gets elected, John Lehman may be appointed Secretary of Defense and usher through the LCS and JHSV contracts mostly to Austal, and HSF will keep operating at a loss for another year or two. You heard it here first. Aloha, Brad
06/09/2008 11:26:46 a.m.

From the article I posted the above comment to:
Posted on: Monday, June 9, 2008
"Ferry's traffic impact minor;
Vehicles flow smoothly in area around Kahului Harbor, report finds"
By Christie Wilson Advertiser Neighbor Island Editor

"...But Irene Bowie of Maui Tomorrow said "it's too soon" for officials to close the books on ferry-related traffic impacts because Superferry hasn't been operating long enough to establish reliable data..."Even with those numbers that they reported (for May) it still wasn't even half of the load they are capable of carrying, so I don't think the traffic studies were adequate," Bowie said. "And if Superferry is going to be successful, there's going to be more vehicle numbers."

...The highest vehicle load during the May 23-26 period occurred Friday, May 23, when a total of 683 vehicles passed through the ferry's Kahului site, the report said. That included 188 vehicles arriving on the morning sailing, 75 departures, and the 119 vehicles that passed through to pick up or drop off passengers. The evening voyage saw 153 vehicles arrive from Honolulu, 59 leave, and 89 pass through to pick up or drop off passengers...Superferry officials have said they expected a small percentage of walk-on passengers and fewer than 40 cars passing through the site to drop off or pick up passengers."

Even on their best weekend, notice the low numbers departing from Maui. They have a PR perception problem on Maui, and an even bigger perception problem on Kauai. Aloha, Brad

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Rental Cars on HSF can be Costly"


Rental Cars on the Hawaii Superferry can be Costly
June 2nd, 2008

...You make those arrangements with the rental car company, not the Superferry, and there are no differences in the Superferry rates between rented and privately-owned cars. With the charges we discuss here it probably doesn’t make sense to use the ferry for a rental car unless you plan on taking it round trip. If you take it to another island and leave it there, be prepared for a hefty drop-off charge tacked on by the rental car company.

Beware the Drop-off Charges

If you plan to rent a car on either island, take it to the other island and leave it there, be prepared for a hefty drop-off charge tacked on by the rental car company.

Dollar rental car requires an additional addendum allowing you to take the rental car off the island attached to your rental contract. If you want to pick up your car on either island and drop it off on the other, the current charge is $405.

Alamo rental car requires no additional paperwork for the Superferry. You will be charged a drop-off fee of about $400 in addition to the normal rental rate if you rent your car on Oahu and drop it off on Maui or rent it on Maui and drop it off in Waikiki, or a fee of as much as $500 if you rent the car on Maui and drop it off at the airport in Honolulu.

Hertz charges about $200 for a drop-off on either island, subject to promotional discounts or holiday rates...

*Additional taxes and fees apply. Fuel surcharges waived for these summer promotional fares. Promotional fares not applicable for travel dates July 3 (2nd sailing if available) & 4-6, August 14 (2nd sailing if available) & 15-17, August 29-31, September 1. Fares for these dates are $59 one-way per adult passenger, $49 one-way for children, retired military and seniors, $75 one-way per passenger vehicle and $45 one-way for motorcycles...

4 Comments Add your own
1. Tara June 2nd, 2008 at 8:08 pm
Wow! That’s a big fee. It definitely makes more sense to rent separate cars on each island.

2. Pua June 3rd, 2008 at 2:35 pm
Thanks Bruce for this informative article on exorbitant drop-off charges when using the super-ferry with rental car. Hawaii visitors should know this before they are making plans., which they‘d have to revise because of unacceptable costs. I will let our Best Hawaii Vacation blog visitors know and tell them to find all the appropriate information on your blog.

3. admin June 3rd, 2008 at 3:11 pm
Mahalo Pua, it’s crazy eh? Better to just rent a car on each Island, no need to bring on Superferry

4. Mauibrad June 4th, 2008 at 10:42 pm
Ho!, $400 to $500, rental car drop off fee at different island, wowie zowie, nice work Bruce.

Aloha, Brad

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hawaii Business: "Something’s Happening Here"

END OF THE LINE: A Kauai man attempts to stop the arrival of the Superferry on Kauai last August.

Hawaii Business / June 2008 / "Something’s Happening Here"A string of controversies on Kauai is changing the way people do business. The rest of the state might not be far behind
By Scott Radway

"Everything went completely wrong. There was a lone surfer, straddling his maybe 9-foot surfboard, floating in Nawiliwili Harbor, arms raised, staring defiantly at the prow of the 350-foot, high-speed Alakai. The massive boat owned by the Hawaii Superferry venture was making its inaugural trip to Kauai last August and executives were trumpeting how it would make interisland travel cheaper and provide alternative avenues for businesses to send goods between the Islands.

But there was that surfer, caught in one of the most memorable news photographs in recent memory, staring down big business, protecting his island, risking his life..."

Read rest of article at:

Aloha, Brad