Shame! These Senators Just Voted to Give Hawaii’s Public Lands to Corporate Interests

Disgusting Betrayal of Public Trust, Senators Dela Cruz, Keith-Agaran, Inouye, Kanuha, Kidani, Moriwaki, Riviere, Shimabukuro, and Fevella Sell Hawaii Out to Private Interests

Sad, Sad Hawaii - Corruption in our State Government that Would Hand Over its Publicly Held Lands and Assets to Corporate, for Profit, Interests

Yesterday, the Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Sen. Dela Cruz, passed HB1032 which will allow for DOBOR to lease out harbors "in [their] entirety" for private development, effectively giving DOBOR power equal to HCDA's over the lands in DOBOR's jurisdiction. HB1032 will allow DOBOR to fulfill its 2019 strategic plan to seize upon the the Ala Wai Harbor's "immense commercial development potential" by stealing public lands and giving them to corporations, while destroying one of the last places in Waikiki for local (i.e.,not rich) people, who will be left with the tab when the entire place is underwater in thirty years and the original investors have long-since divested. The Plan would turn the Ala Wai into a cash-cow (for a while) for the State by allowing for development that has nothing to do with "boating" or "ocean recreation." DOBOR, through its rushed and concealed efforts to lease out public lands and its misleading testimony presented to various committees, has certainly not given the community any assurance to the contrary.

Separately, SB1257 passed its latest committee on Friday, March 29. That bill will allow DOBOR to drive tenants out via huge mooring fee increases to make way for private development. With that done, HB1032 will allow for DOBOR to lease out the entire Ala Wai harbor for commercial development with absolutely no safeguards for boaters or for the public who use the Harbor, and no criteria for the type of development allowed. Neither of these bills have to do with actually fixing the Harbor to make it a good harbor, but represent yet another land-grab for corporate gain. Finally, HB1460 would remove any restriction on DOBOR's use of Boating Special Funds, although it appears to be dead for this session.

DTL is the entity that is consulting DOBOR in its privatization/commercialization efforts, and is the same entity that held meetings a year or so ago to comply with the "engaged with the community to be affected" requirement of the yet-to-be-enacted HB1032. The contract with DTL was kept just under $100,000 to avoid a requirement of BLNR approval and hearings.

"Teflon Donny" Dela Cruz smiles in his official senate picture as would a seven-year-old bully having just been told he can have as much birthday cake as he pleases:  The media has previously reported on Sen. Dela Cruz's conflicts concerning DTL in this article from two years ago.  The Hawaii Ethics Commission has also received a request for an investigation into Dela Cruz's conflicts concerning DTL, but the head of the Ethics Commission mysteriously resigned before that investigation was completed, and the whole matter was suddenly dropped. Moreover, Senator Dela Cruz's own Facebook page says that he "works for DTL". Did I already mention that Dela Cruz is the Chair of the Committee that just approved legislation that would "directly and specifically" (HRS 84-14) benefit DTL as DOBOR's consultant in this process?

Unfortunately,  misplaced recent mainstream media click-bait coverage seems only designed to stoke ire between the ocean recreation community and the general population, completely ignoring the fact that the much larger issue at stake affects EVERYBODY; current, silly, mainstream media coverage only serves to promote DOBOR's ends by pitting one segment of our community against another, much like the tactics used by national conservative shock-jocks. Mainstream media likes to quote the State (i.e. Ed Underwood, recently outed again as the agency's chronic liar) as saying that boats are being treated as "floating condos" when that is a false generalization and tries to blame boaters for what really is DOBOR's remarkable ineptitude and, most certainly, deliberate neglect of the State's public harbor system. Mainstream media seems to delight in fanning the flames of division in our community by spewing unchecked, and wholly incorrect, assertions that the general public somehow "subsidizes" boaters who are getting a "free ride", when the opposite is actually true, because many of the facilities used daily by the general public (i.e., water, lights, parking lots, bathrooms, etc.) are, in fact, paid for by Boating Special Funds, which is funded in large part by slip fees,  NOT taxes paid by the public. The media, and our corrupt government LOVE a divided community, allowing the latter to move unchallenged towards fulfilling their misguided plans for our near-term dystopian future in Hawaii.

It's just not lucrative enough for mainstream media to repair the damage already done by misinformed articles that stoke division of our community, and otherwise cover issues that are crucial to the local community. But if they were so inclined, a starting point might include the issues in bills that hand over unrealistic power to a poorly organized DOBOR (HB1032; SB1257; HB1460); DOBOR's 2019 strategic plan; DOBOR's current efforts to drastically revise HAR 13-324; as well as the obvious corruption underlying all of these efforts when taken as a whole.

Here's what you, the public, can do to help stop this horrible fate that awaits all Hawaii residents:

1) Prepare testimony now because hearing notices are short fuse.

2) Submit testimony now in the form of letters to Senate and House representatives, City Council-members, the Governor's Office, (i.e. everyone).

3) Check the legislature website daily for any action by the whole house or senate, or conference committees, or anything that pops up on the page for HB1032 and SB1257 presenting an opportunity for opposition (or let them know how to sign up for alerts).

4) Submit testimony on time via the Leg website when there are further hearings, as there will likely be, with instructions on how to do so as you have posted previously, and show up to hearings if at all possible.

5) Spread the word that it's not just the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor that is under threat; it's the entire ocean recreation community and, ultimately, Hawaii's entire grass roots community.

6) Fight fight fight.


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Brian Moore
5 years ago

Shame on Ed Underwood and Sen.del la Cruz for their corrupt ways of handling the ala wai boat harbor. Their reward will not be in Heaven, that’s for sure!