On Monday, October 8th citizens throughout the islands will be uniting in a day of action and solidarity to show opposition to the State of Hawaii's Public Land Development Corporation (the PLDC). The PLDC was created by the State legislature last year when Act 55 was signed into law creating a new funding arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). Actions taken on this day will allow our voices to be heard and will demonstrate to our State elected officials and to the PLDC Board of Directors that there is broad, deep, and diverse opposition to the PLDC.
The public's opposition is on so many levels -- from the PLDC's exempting itself from regulatory, planning, preservation, civil service, and competitive bidding requirements; to the shift in the DLNR's balance from a preservation and conservation role to one of development for money; to the incompatibility of contemplated development with low or inverse market demand; to the burdens this development places on local infrastructure; to the shutting out of our local communities by holding public meetings about proposed development only on O'ahu; to excluding our City / County governments from any requirements to involve them in the evaluation, planning, and regulatory processes; and to how the PLDC and its exemptions shows disregard and contempt toward our host culture (Kanaka Maoli and Kanaka Hawai'i) for the stewardship and public trust responsibility of Crown / "Ceded" Lands. We are being asked to abrogate our responsibilities to future generations of Hawaiians who must rely on us to properly steward these precious and fragile resources for them in the name of increased revenue.
Recently, public meetings were held in every county for constituent input into the draft Administrative Rules for the PLDC. Hundreds of people turned out in each location to testify and share their mana'o, the vast majority of which was in disapproval of both the rules and of PLDC as an agency. It appears that the numbers of people are being under-reported to the PLDC Board of Directors, as well as testimony content being filtered.
The creation of the PLDC, its proposed rules, and public opposition are now being given a public relations spin in the wake of this widespread disapproval. Governor Abercrombie called the public rejection of the PLDC, a “conspiratorial hysteria” (Honolulu Star Advertiser, September 13, 2012, A1). One day after that, Mililani Trask wrote that the uproar is the result of fears that are needlessly “hysterical.” (HSA, September 12, 2012). On September 14, Senator Malama Solomon (one of the sponsors of legislation creating the PLDC) informed the public that the Governor and the PLDC would be developing a strategic plan which clarifies the mission of the PLDC (Hawaii 24/7 http://www.hawaii247.com/2012/09/14/solomon-concerns-on-pldc-must-be-addressed/ ). The problem with all of these efforts is that public objection is primarily to the law known as Act 55 which created the PLDC.
Remediation actions such as tweaking the administrative rules, creating a nice mission statement, or publishing an engaging strategic plan are seen as cosmetic bandages applied to fatally flawed legislation. These attempts at fixing what is wrong can easily be changed at any point in the future through non-legislative administrative processes, and still leave intact the underlying bad law.
To show our disapproval of Act 55 and the PLDC, events will be happening on this day throughout the islands. In East Hawaii a sign waving event is planned in Hilo at the DLNR offices at 19 Kawili Street from 2-4 pm. Solidarity actions in West Hawaii are also planned in Kailua-Kona along Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway from 2-4 pm, and in Kapa'au in North Hawaii from 3-4:30 across from the senior center. Communities on Kauai, Maui and Oahu are also planning actions, and a facebook event page with a complete list of all actions and events can be found here:
A story in Honolulu Weekly about the statewide day of action can be found here:
We would also like to take this opportunity to show support and gratitude for our legislators who are acting with the best interests of the people and our future generations in mind. We are very proud of and thank our State Representative Faye Hanohano for initially opposing the creation of the PLDC, and for sponsoring legislation during the 2012 session to repeal Act 55. We also thank all members of our Hawai'i County Council, who have voted unanimously to approve a resolution asking the Governor and legislature to repeal Act 55 and abolish the PLDC, and the Kauai County Council for following suit, and for City/County of Honolulu and Maui County for initiating the resolution process.
Our community petition on www.change.org to ask Governor Abercrombie and the legislature to repeal Act 55 and abolish the PLDC:
Please sign and share with your email list.
Please join us on Monday, October 8th and stand in unity with our brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles across the islands who rise up in opposition to this irresponsible law.