Saturday, February 7, 2009

Book Review: "Taking Aim at the Superferry: Local Readings"

SFGate Hawaii Insider: "Taking Aim at the Superferry: Local Readings"

Think global, act local: That's part of the message behind "The Superferry Chronicles: Hawaii's Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism, and the Desecration of the Earth," the strange but apparently true story of an intriguing concept -- ferry service between the Hawaiian islands -- hijacked by quasi-militaristic backers, blindly endorsed by grasping politicians and vociferously opposed on Kauai by a loose coalition of Native Hawaiians, local residents and environmental activists.

While the legal battles continue to play out in court, the Superferry still sails between Honolulu and Maui, and "Superferry Chronicles" authors Jerry Mander and Koohan Paik, both with Bay Area ties, are still trying to capture national attention for their chilling account of big business/big politics run amok in Paradise. While I can't vouch for the absolute veracity of their seemingly meticulous reporting, I can say that they do not make their charges lightly, and their book has been well received in Hawaii's alternative press (such as the Honolulu Weekly.)

Certainly their transcripts of hearings in which local Kauaians pleaded to have their concerns taken seriously are heartbreakingly authentic. And the image of surfers paddling out in Nawiliwili Harbor to block the Superferry still resonates like a marine version of Tiananmen Square.

Mander, director of the International Forum on Globalization, and Paik, a former San Francisco "Slow Food" activist and now a filmmaker living on Kauai, are in the Bay Area for a two-week stint of readings of their book, published in December 2008. The remaining events, sure to be thought-provoking, are:

  • Feb. 6 (tonight!) at Books Inc., 601 Van Ness (Opera Plaza), San Francisco, at 7 p.m.;
  • Feb. 7 (Saturday) at Point Reyes Books, 11315 State Route 1, Point Reyes Station.
  • Feb. 8 (Sunday) at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera.

    Posted By: Jeanne Cooper (Email) | February 06 2009 at 08:00 AM

  • Comments

    In response to comments:

    In rough seas it's regularly booked at 1/4 capacity. That's about 4 months out of the year. Over the past year it had only 2 1/2 busy months with heavy bookings, in the Summer. The company's cost structure is such that it needs to be running above 1/2 capacity year-around to be a viable 'going concern.' They clearly haven't been able to do that, so what are they?

    Aloha, Brad

    Posted By: Mauibrad | February 07 2009 at 09:52 AM

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