Activists Hand-Deliver Appeal to Legislators

(Editor's Note:  this article, along with the latest petition was sent to all of the legislators noted below.)

 

Two crucial bills, SB1257 and HB1032, are now set for hearings sometime before the April 26th hearings deadline for this legislative session.  Their implications are huge for this State.  If passed, the legislature would have then told the people of Hawaii that it has no problem with handing over public lands, submerged, fast, and dry, to corporate, for-profit, interests. 

If these pass, the legislators pictured above will have opened the floodgate to privatization, something that salivating corporations, waiting in the wings, have been lusting after for decades. 

Further, by passing these measures, the legislators will have told the people of Hawaii that "we have neither the business acumen, commonsense, wherewithal, or desire to manage the public assets that were entrusted to us for custodianship . . .  we're throwing the public under the bus . . . ".

Here are the names, email addresses and phone numbers of the legislators who will soon be voting on these bills in committee:

Phone Numbers:
Rep. David A. Tarnas (he listens):  808-586-8510
Rep. Ryan Yamane:  808-586-6150
Rep. Nicole E. Lowen:  808-586-8400
Rep. Chris Todd:  808-586-8480 
Rep. Cynthia Thielen:  808-586-6480
Sen. Kaiali'i Kahele:  808-586-6760
Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran:  808-586-7344
Sen. Kurt Fevella:  808-586-6360
 
Email addresses:  

 

Practically speaking, what does this mean when we say that this legislation will set a shocking precedent?

Implications now: it means that State agencies like the DLNR and DOBOR, already having demonstrated a complete disregard for the public assets that they were charged with managing, will now be able to hand over every public small boat harbor in the State of Hawaii over to for-profit private interests.  Let that sink in for a moment.

Implications for the near future: The precedent that these bills --  especially 1032 -- set for future handling of all public assets is shocking.  Once the legislature pulls the trigger on this kind of legislation, it will be a very small leap to allow for the privatization of any public lands, including submerged.  What does this mean?  Say, the Hilton Hawaiian decides to lease the submerged lands in front of its hotel in Waikiki.  No problem, now that the precedent is in place. This would theoretically mean that they could control the world class surf spots out in front, with guests getting first priority.  Did I hear you say you'd crash the party and go out anyway.  Good luck. The private police force patrolling the lineup will be checking for your special QR coded bracelet-pass. No pass, no surf.

You say that will never happen?  That's what they said twenty years ago about privatizing the public harbor system.  But we're here, now.

You say you'll protest . . .  maybe even get a little crazy?  Too late.  When it's a law on the books, the police and all enforcement have a responsibility to enforce the law. There will be a lot of people getting hurt. Wrong time to protest.  Now is the time to stop this nonsense, before this kind of self-serving precedent gets started, before this silly idea becomes law, on the books.

The following was the message that was hand-delivered by activists to legislators on Thursday, April 18th, 2019.

Public Harbors should remain PUBLIC and should not be handed to corporations for PRIVATE gain.  Representing this legislation as being needed to fill fiscal voids is a misrepresentation of its true purpose, which is to prepare our public harbor for conveyance to private interests.

Members of the PUBLIC are STRONGLY OPPOSED to

S.B. 1257, and H.B. 1032.

SEE ATTACHED PETITION.

S.B. 1257 begins by deleting any reference to “a cost-of-living index increase” with respect to mooring fees, disregarding any consideration for making recreational boating available to the average Hawaii citizen on average income.  The Ala Wai Harbor is a “public” marina, set aside for the people of Hawaii as per the Kaiser Indenture and, as such, should continue to be accessible to all of Hawaii’s boating community, on all economic scales. Deliberately setting unrealistic fee rates in our public harbors patently discriminates against average- and lower-income boaters.

In addition to mooring fee increases, S.B. 1257 would allow for exponential increases in fees currently paid by those who legally live aboard their boats the Ala Wai and Keehi Small Boat Harbors (50% per year, forever, increases that far exceed the cost-of-living index), receiving nothingin exchange, except freedom from fear of getting caught during very infrequent raids that occur at night. 

It is clear from public statements and media releases by DOBOR that bid proposals are currently being entertained which would allow for the privatization of this public harbor facility.  The timing of SB1257 coinciding with DOBOR's request for proposals could be perceived as a vehicle of preparation for the anticipated bid process (i.e., to provide a large income-stream-bargaining-chip for use in direct negotiations with private entities).  The timing of S.B. 1257 offers another, equally enticing carrot for DOBOR to hold out to potential private developers—namely, to offer a harbor that is nearly devoid of liveaboards (having been driven out by much higher fees). Why? When the harbor changes hands, and there are liveaboards there, regular tenant/landlord State laws apply, making the managing of 129 liveaboards a potential nightmare for the new lessee.

H.B. 1032 (related bill) and DOBOR’s current request for proposals (see Honolulu Star Bulletin April 9, 2019) indicates DOBOR’s true intent with respect to the Harbor, and the lack of any intent to use increased slip fees to actually perform maintenance or improvements.  The true intent of all of DOBOR’s current efforts (S.B. 1257 included) is to SELL our PUBLIC HARBORS

S.B. 1257purports to do one thing – innocently raise rates to keep up with alleged expenses – while its actual intent is to accomplish the far different goal of paving the road to private management and commercialization of Public Lands. 

Is this good-faith law-making?

 

What's Going On

Hawaii's legislature seems determined to set a precedent that will allow the unfettered leasing of Hawaii's public-owned submerged and fast lands to for-profit corporations, beginning with all of Hawaii's publicly held harbors.  HB 1032 will face a final vote soon.  HB 1032 states: " . . . Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the board may lease any existing state boating facility in its entirety, and fast lands and submerged lands within [an] any existing state boating facility, by public auction, a request for proposals, or by direct negotiation . . . ."

SB1257 is the first step in "clearing out" the State's largest public harbor by requesting huge increases in liveaboard fees there, with the obvious intent of preparing the Ala Wai for handover to a new, private, for-profit corporate lessee.

Please do not allow the passage of this irresponsible legislation.  If these bills pass, a new precedent will be set allowing the eventual leasing of all of Hawaii's publicly held lands and assets, submerged, fast and dry lands.

Please let your voice be heard.  Hawaii is about its people, not about the individual agendas of the private financial self-interests that are ruining Hawaii now.

Please join us in opposing these bills, and ones like them, forever.  Please sign the petition below and let your voice be heard (Please Note: iPetitions.com provides this service to us for free.  When you submit your signature, it will as for a donation.  This is entirely voluntary and will not affect your entry):

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