Monday, April 6, 2009

Ferry Tales and an Affront to Population-based Political Power Defeated by Home Rule

My comments are below the article.


"Ferry tale"
There's plenty of blame to go around, but Hawaii court rights ship in end
By Michael Leidemann / Special to the Star-Bulletin
POSTED: Apr 05, 2009

The Hawaii Superferry is gone, probably for good, but the political, legal, financial and ethical stink it leaves behind is going to cling to the islands for a long time. You might as well get used to it, and if you're still trying to figure out who's responsible, this book might help...

Michael Leidemann's reference to the video, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" is quite appropriate. I believe the point he is comparing with the book Superferry Chronicles to the above video is that each story was complex and multifacited with many active culpable characters. At the end of the video, they evaluate who is to blame for the whole affair, just as authors Paik and Mander do at the end of the book. Both do a good job in evaluating who was to blame.

As for the book and it's accuracy, recently I finished going through and marking up the entire book for every single little inaccuracy. What I would say is that the word choice and slight errors do not materially detract from the overall correct direction of the book.

In particular the accurate strengths of the book are the transcribed testimonies in the first third of the book that people on Oahu would not have been able to read verbatim until this book's printing. The chronological timeline in the second third of the book has a few slight errors, not of time, but of description. But, no other printed source sought to compile such a complete timeline all in one source, so that readers can better understand what really happened on this issue. For taking the time to compile that chronologic timeline, the author's should be commended. The last third of the book, of guest written chapters, Insider Reports, written mostly by experts and professionals are all consistently accurate with very few errors of any kind.

To me the most interesting thing about this issue was that Hawaii Superferry was not making money, in fact they were losing money to the tune of many millions of dollars a year, because Oahu people were not riding the thing as much as they like to talk and comment about it. If Oahu people had actually been riding it as much as they like to defend it in the media, HSF would have put up more of a fight to stay. But, why fight for a market that doesn't really follow through and use your service beyond a meager average of a quarter to a third of capacity.

The real insight though into this whole issue was that big city people have gotten use to solely their population determining public policy issues for the whole state, but on this issue that assumption was surprisingly and shockingly called into question. Underlying all of this is that what Oahu people really take affront to is that their population bias over Neighbor Island consultation and 'home rule' on issues such as this was effectively called into question and against all odds defeated.

Aloha, Brad

No comments: