By Rep. Kirk Caldwell
(Note: The following was taken from Rep. Caldwell's speech today before the Honolulu Rotary which included a proposal for three courses of action on the Superferry dilemma: )
1. Before whatever ruling comes down from Judge Cardoza, the Governor, as the Chief Executive of the State of Hawaii, should bring all the parties together to determine if there is a set of actions for this situation which will allow for the ferry service to continue and for the appropriate, simultaneous environmental review. Right now, this problem lies squarely with the Executive Branch. To remove it from the Judicial Branch prior to Judge Cardoza's ruling causes major problems on multiple levels. The Governor's response during all this time is to say the legislature has to fix the problem. I say not, at least not now. The Governor, through the Attorney General, should come up with a framework that is acceptable to all parties, not threaten the protestors on Kauai at this point. My experience is that courts prefer the parties to work out their disagreement whenever and wherever possible. If a framework for an agreement can be reached, the parties can go to the judge and put it on the record. Otherwise, whatever party is perceived as the loser will appeal.
2. Once Judge Cardoza rules, if there is accord, the parties then come to the legislature with a plan for any action required. It would be wrong now in a special session to just change the law to fix the Supreme Court's decision as it specifically impacts the Superferry. And it would be wrong to just externally drop a solution from up on high that does not reflect the concerns of the community on a broader level. Let's not repeat this mistake a second time. Imagine the chaos that would ensue at the legislature. Without a strong plan, who knows where we would end up.
3. Regardless of what occurs in resolving the Superferry issues, we must review our EA and EIS statute so that neither the public or the project developers are penalized by the ambiguities of the law.
In conclusion, a wise and experienced leader knows when to step in. Now is the time for the Executive Branch, which is before the Judicial Branch, to craft a solution. It would be inappropriate for the legislature to weigh in at this time.