'Silent Majority' Speaks Out on Superferry Postponement

Sheri Kuhu
Sheri Kuhu
Lacy Kea
Lacy Kea
Astean Hemo
Astean Hemo

WAIMALU (KHNL) -- The drawn-out Hawaii Superferry saga takes another turn. Its scheduled service to Kauai was set to resume on Wednesday, but Friday night, Superferry officials decided to postpone it to an unspecified future date, because of safety concerns for the community, passengers, and employees.

It happened a day after vocal protestors heckled and booed Governor Linda Lingle, R-Hawaii, at a Kauai town hall meeting.

Environmental groups on Kauai consider the latest Superferry announcement a victory.

"I was very fearful that Wednesday was going to be a total disaster," said Richard Hoeppner, an environmentalist representing People for the Preservation of Kauai. "And I'm filled with joy that they postponed it."

The goal is to stop the Superferry from coming back to Kauai until an environmental impact statement is completed, added Hoeppner.

Until then, he said, he and other environmentalists will continue the fight.

But the announcement got a much different reaction for some local families on Oahu.

Some disappointment, and even anger among folks in Waimalu. They said they are part of a silent majority who favors the Hawaii Superferry.

A beautiful day for families to enjoy the weekend and celebrate birthdays at the Neal Blaisdell Park in Waimalu. Amid the laughter, conversation turned to governor Lingle's town hall meeting on Kauai, and the Superferry's announcement Friday night to postpone service to the Garden Isle once again.

"I just think it's sad because I think most people are in favor of the Superferry," said Sheri Kuhu, a Makakilo resident.

"Angry, very angry," said Lacy Kea, a Nanakuli resident. "Just very disappointing."

Kuhu and her family were looking forward to Wednesday.

"Yeah, I was planning on using the Superferry and I feel like the more option we have for travel between the islands, the better," she said. "It's always better to have more options out there."

And that sentiment is echoed throughout this park. People here said they want the Superferry to start back up.

People like Astean Hemo, who says traveling to neighbor islands on the Superferry is more economical for his large family.

'Yeah, we were planning on using it," said the Pearl City resident. "As soon as it's up and operational and running, it's a definite yes. We're going to use it."

He was surprised how some Kauai protestors reacted to Governor Lingle.

"I think it was very shameful for some individuals that could out-speak, out-voice the population of the people on Kauai," Hemo said.

He added, protestors are missing the big picture.