A meeting with Governor Ige was arranged by community activist and preservation champion, Michelle Matson. Just before the meeting date set for 28 December, we received notice that our appeal of the hearing Decision & Order from August, which was heard in November by DOT Director Fuchigami, did not overturn the original decision. Again, the technical argument of the State held sway over our argument that the basis for the Harbors Division’s impoundment was arbitrary and based upon a prejudiced position.
Our meeting on 28 December ended up not being with the Governor, as he had more pressing matters. However, were did meet with his Chief of Staff, Mike McCartney, for 1 ½ hours, which we felt was a positive sign. He made positive comments about both sides needing to improve communication and find ways to collaborate. Our focus was on the work being done in Scotland to put together a viable plan to bring Falls of Clyde home to where she was built as the best way to see that she is preserved and restored at this point in time. We have received reports of forward movement in Scotland and hopefully will have a firm commitment in early 2017. We made the point to Mr. McCartney that, even though DOT is sticking with their technical position, the Governor can decide that moving the ship to Scotland is a way to meet the needs of the Harbors Division, so giving Friends of Falls of Clyde back control so that we can work to prepare the ship for her trip home makes sense. McCartney said he will be meeting with Harbors Division and we will hear more after that. We do hope at some point we will be able to make our case directly to the Governor.
Now that a stressful 2016 has drawn to a close, Friends of Falls of Clyde wants to send a mahalo nui to all of our supporters who signed the petition and wrote to Harbors and the Governor. We wish you all a very Happy New Year/Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!