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By Mufi Hannemann
In 2010, I called for re-establishing an inter-island ferry service for all residents of Hawaii. I believed then, as I do now, that a ferry system will improve our quality of life and provide an economic boost for our state, not only by creating jobs, but by saving Hawaii’s businesses millions in shipping costs. Think of the farmers and small businesses that will see their cost of doing business decrease with another option to choose from for moving their products, goods and services to the marketplace. It would also provide a safety net during emergencies and give families another less expensive choice to visit relatives on other islands.
When I filed to run for governor on the Hawaii Independent Party ticket, I repeated this call for reconsideration of an inter-island ferry service; one that will be used by Hawaii residents and visitors much as the state-run Alaska Marine Highway System and Washington State Ferries serve the people of those states.
With the exception of some critics who remain opposed to this notion, the response to re-examine an inter-island ferry system from a fresh perspective has been overwhelmingly positive. This is especially true at the numerous talks story sessions that I have had throughout the state in order to learn firsthand from island residents of their wants and desires for a better future.
To begin with, unlike the prior state administration’s political and legal missteps that accompanied the last Superferry attempt, I will propose a different process this time around where prior to implementation, we make sure that we thoroughly examine not only environmental concerns, but procedural issues as well.
Just as the Honolulu Rail Transit Project had to undergo rigorous environmental reviews, public comment and legal scrutiny, so too should any inter-island ferry proposal. All impacts of creating a ferry service should be openly vetted and evaluated.
Of course, consideration must be given first and foremost to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and all relevant state and local environmental disclosure laws which protect not only the marine environment, but our residents. Other considerations would include transportation demand, economic impacts, cost effectiveness, safety and regulatory compliance.
I am committed to conducting an environmental impact study and I will insist that we adhere to an open and through state wide vetting process. The lack of transparency must not be repeated.
Ferry service comes in all sizes, speeds, amenities and costs. Around the world ferries serve potential rough water areas like the North and Irish Seas, the English Channel, the Gulf of Alaska, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean near the Canary Islands, as well calmer seas such as those found in Puget Sound and the Alaska Inland Passage.
To determine the best type of vessel and operation to serve Hawaiian waters, I will consult with experts in the field, as well as meet regularly with the four county mayors through a newly created Hawaii Council of Leaders that I have proposed to enable collaborative deliberations of this sort to take place. I will carefully solicit their input on the type of ferry service that would best serve their respective counties. Public outreach will include many open meetings with citizens around the state where all of the concerns raised by the Superferry in its brief time of operation, as well as issues and needs involving any type of ferry service, will be on the table.
To facilitate this process, I will appoint a working group to examine all sides of issues related to ferry service. This will include supporters of an inter-island ferry system, as well as those concerned about such factors as marine animal protection, the threat of invasive species, the impact of vehicle traffic on a destination and resource protection. This task force will be similar to one I convened as Honolulu mayor to study issues surrounding the fate of Oahu’s decaying Natatorium that included both proponents and opponents of full restoration. This group developed the recommendations that the state and county are now planning to implement.
I am hopeful that strong government support, coupled with great public demand, will lead to private investors coming forward to work with the state in a public-private partnership to create a new “marine highway system ” that will benefit us all. Passenger reports during the Superferry experience demonstrated that ridership was steadily increasing and the most recent Star-Advertiser survey indicated 87% of our people would support the return of an inter- island ferry service provided that an EIS be done. Moreover, retired Admiral Thomas Fargo, who was the former Superferry Executive, is right on point when he says that “there are few archipelagos in the world that don’t have a ferry system to serve the needs of the people.”
Even many Superferry opponents recognize that having a cheaper way to get people, vehicles and products between islands, if done correctly, will be beneficial for both residents and visitors. Today, large cruise ships still routinely travel our island chain without problems.
Let’s put real, current and up-to-date facts on the table and have a combination of government officials, especially county mayors, ordinary citizens and an appointed working group examine them in a non-confrontational manner. This time we will include a thorough environmental impact study, a critical step that was skipped by the last administration. Armed with this new information, a governor with a strong record and reputation of being pro- business could then actively solicit a private partner to invest in Hawaii again. It will take time, but it will be worth it if we go through the process openly and correctly. After all, isn’t that what you want from your governor – someone who respects and responds to your desires?
Aside Posted on Updated on
Due to a last minute unavoidable scheduling conflict the July 31st “Meet Mufi & Les” event will be moved to another date. Tickets can be redeemed for a full refund by contacting the campaign at Mufi2014@yahoo.com The July 31st tickets will also be honored on the new date. We look forward to being able to meet and talk story with our supporters at a downtown venue in the near future. Stay tuned to the rescheduling of this event in August.
Excerpts from Forbes Magazine – Doug Schoen – 7/4/14:
Could 2014 Be The Year Of The Independents?
It might just be.
…it comes as no surprise that voters desperately want the opportunity to change the political system and break the cycle of perpetual gridlock.
A record number of Americans identify as independents. The latest figures from the NBC News/WSJ poll have it at 42 percent. And although independent candidate still trail Democrats and Republicans in the generic ballots, there are a few independent candidates who could play a significant role in shifting the balance of power in this country.
The former mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hannemann, is running for governor of Hawaii as an independent to appeal to voters across the political spectrum. Hannemann said, “I think clearly people are not happy with the way both major parties sometimes push folks to accept party platforms – or the rigidity of party platforms – either having to appeal to the far left or the far right. I’ve always been a moderate. I’ve always been a centrist. I’ve always been independent.”
I am not suggesting that our two party system is dead, but it is dying and in need of a shakeup. Independent and third party candidacies are an integral part of that shakeup.
All of this is to say that there is a great opportunity for independent candidates to make a splash in 2014…
It was great to connect with the 2014 National Military Child of the Year Michael-Logan Jordan, who presented me with two of what he calls “challenge coins.”
The first is from is his 2014 Military Child of The Year medal and the other is his Logan’s Heroes Foundation which raises money for wounded warriors. What an honor it is to receive these mementos from a brave warrior himself — who is in the July issue of Money Magazine.
July is also Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month and Michael-Logan is one of 1,500 in the state challenged with this disease. Despite living with pain daily, the 15-year-old Kalaheo High student still managed to march with me at the Kailua 4th of July parade. Congrats to his parents, Chris and Rebecca, and Michael-Logan’s siblings, Jaxson and Sophia for their bright spirits and patriotism.
In case you missed it, here is an article I wrote in Midweek on the Jordan Family recently:
The June 29th StarAdvertiser poll shows that almost 60% of their online readers don’t like the idea of “downsizing” Hawaii’s commitment to a major sports stadium.
In his Sunday column, Dave Reardon, took exception to the current “think small” mentality being displayed by state government.
It’d be tough to think big with a smaller stadium
If seating capacity is decreased from the current 50,000 at Aloha Stadium to 30,000 or something close to it, we’re waving a white flag on vision and thinking big.
Gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann wants to go big, assuming there’s help.
“Let’s take a page from other cities and aggressively market for a private partner,” he said, citing large Asian corporations specifically. “At 50,000, as it is, we’re barely in the game. It restricts us.”
StarAdvertiser – 6/29/14
In Ferd Lewis’s recent article in the StarAdvertiser, he quotes Hannemann on the stadium issue:
Mufi Hannemann, a Hawaii Independent Party candidate for governor, said, “I believe that we need a new stadium, but I question whether we’re going backwards by building a stadium with less seating capacity and doing it in the name of trying to save dollars.”
Hannemann, who was involved with the NFL Pro Bowl, said, “I know that this will definitely restrict the type of events and activities that we can bring to Hawaii, and we’ve worked very hard through the years — many people have — to make the case for the fact that we can be an international sporting arena and host major events, and I think this impacts not just football, but soccer and other sports.”
StarAdvertiser – 6/27/14
Be a part of Mufi’s Hawaii 100, with your contribution of $100 by June 30th.
Hawaii Independent Party candidate for governor, Mufi Hannemann has agreed to abide by the state’s voluntary campaign spending limit for this year’s election.
That means it is important that he gets individual contributions of $100 or less from Hawaii residents. The deadline for this reporting period is June 30th.
If you like ideas like bringing an inter-island ferry service back, and independent leadership that will respect the wishes and desires of the people of Hawaii, join Mufi’s Hawaii 100 today.
Please ask 3 to 5 of your friends to join the cause by making a contribution too. It’s people like you who can make this happen.
Visit Mufi’s Website at http://www.VoteMufi.com, click on the green button below, and make your contribution for $100. You can also mail it before June 30th to:
The Hannemann Committee
P. O. Box 459
Honolulu, HI 96809
Treasurer, The Hannemann Committee
Think Independently… Come Home to the Middle.