Maui Judge Clears Path for Hawaii Superferry - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui Judge Clears Path for Hawaii Superferry

Judge Joseph Cardoza Judge Joseph Cardoza
Calvin Wayne Kuamoo Calvin Wayne Kuamoo
Julie Tokomaata Julie Tokomaata
David Mogilefsky David Mogilefsky

By Leland Kim

MAUI (KHNL) --  It sailed into Hawaii with high hopes and expectations of uniting our state and our people.

But it became a lightning rod for controversy. Neighbor pitted against neighbor, and island against island.

Now after several months of navigating through the rough waters of our state's legal and political system, the Hawaii Superferry is given the green light to set sail again.

Wednesday afternoon Maui Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza lifted his order that was preventing the ship from entering Kahului Harbor.

This news means the Alakai could finally resume service to Maui.  People on the Valley Isle appear to be pretty evenly divided over the issue, but something many seem to agree on: this court and political battle has dragged on long enough.

Gentle waves kiss Kahului Harbor, but a legal tsunami came to a crescendo at the Maui courthouse.

Opposing lawyers argued whether Judge Cardoza should keep or lift an injunction that has shut out the Superferry from Maui.  The state says a new law signed by Governor Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii) overrules previous legal decisions.  But opposing attorney Isaac Hall says that law denies his clients due process.

"I think both sides presented their arguments the best they could," said Dick Mayer, a Kula, Maui, resident who attended the morning session.  "There were some personal jibes at each other.  I think there were excellent legal arguments on both sides."

After considering arguments for three hours, the judge removed the injunction, saying he has to apply the new law.

Reaction on Maui is mixed.

"Right on!" said Julie Tokomaata, a Maui resident who wants the Superferry to start back up.  "Other people are going to be happy and everyone will be going back and forth and get plenty money."

"That's a really tough situation because now you'll be pitting our heart against people that have weapons," said Calvin Wayne Kuamoo, a Maui resident who wants the Superferry to complete an environmental impact statement before resuming service.

While many have strong opinions on either side, one man echoed a sentiment many seem to hold.

"I think it's unfortunate everyone in the state had to go through this," said David Mogilefsky, a Kihei, Maui, resident.

While one more legal chapter in the Superferry saga has been written, the book is not  finished.

It's not smooth sailing for the Superferry just yet.  Isaac Hall, the environmental groups' lawyer, plans to appeal all the way up to the Hawaii Supreme Court, and papers are already being filed.  An exact time and date for that phase hasn't been determined.

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