Hawaii’s working class boaters NOT welcome in Hawaii’s public harbor system

Moriwaki, Chang, DeLa Cruz, Misalucha, English, Kidani, Kim, and Shimabukuro want to price boaters out of public harbor system

Our leaders are suffering from a pre-pandemic, business-as-usual mindset that will continue to compound the negative effects of the horrible mistakes we've made in the past

Hawaii DLNR/DoBOR's repeated attempts to drive working class boaters from the public harbor system, deeply disturbing

Hawaii's DLNR/DoBOR's repeated attempts over the past few years at trying to legislate rolling exponential increases of public harbor rates is nothing more than a poorly thought through scheme to drive out working class harbor tenants in preparation for bidding out public submerged and fast lands to wealthy private financial self-interests.

See Senate Bill: SB795:  https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2021/bills/SB795_SD1_.pdf

Now on it's second reading and approved to move forward in the legislative process, Senate Bill 795 is designed to give the very agencies that have presided over the demise of the state's public harbor system the right to charge whatever they want, whenever they want, without legislative or public consent, and without a system of credible third-party vetting (See: "Misleading Appraisal, Fair Market Value Confusion, and Previous Laws Doom SB1257" and "Underwood’s DoBOR Attempts to Manipulate Legislators in Audit Subterfuge").

Senate Bill: SB795, instigated by DoBOR's Ed Underwood and DLNR Chair, Suzanne Case, and then introduced by a gaggle of legislators who seem to be quite comfortable about not being presented with all of the facts about the State's public harbor system: Moriwaki, Chang, DeLa Cruz, Misalucha, English, Kidani, Kim, and Shimabukuro   https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=795%20&year=2021

Moriwaki, DLNR Chair Case, and DoBOR Administrator Ed Underwood have been implicated on multiple occasions in a scheme to oust working class harbor tenants from the system in favor of Ed Underwood's pet plan to privatize all public submerged and fast lands in and around the State's public harbors.

Many are also expressing concerns that the repeated attempts at trying to legislate the exponential increases of public harbor rates might also be retaliation for recreational boaters' strong opposition to an illegal rules package (See: the illegalities inherent to §13-234) and their vehement resistance to Underwood's privatization plan


Why is the public harbor system such a mess?

The dismal condition of the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, the state's largest public marina, is a man-made disaster that was created in-house by DoBOR administrator Ed Underwood and DLNR chairs Laura Thielen* and Suzanne Case.

The elephant in the room is that the cure for the State's harbor system woes is to purge proven-incompetent DoBOR and DLNR leadership and fill those positions with truly qualified personnel. Qualified personnel; not someone's sister or uncle, not someone who does not have a history of career success in the kinds of administration that we need.

Over the past ten years, scores of boat slips have gone unrented for years on end costing the State several million dollars in lost revenue (there are currently dozens-upon-dozens of unrented slips in the State's harbor system); DoBOR repeatedly failed at hiring qualified contractors, hiring instead contractors who weren't properly vetted resulting in financial losses for boaters and taxpayers alike (the 800-row debacle, for instance); backdoor deals that brought derelict commercial ships into the public harbor system making these floating junkyards an instant public ward and dependent on public harbor funds, something that has proven to be costly for boaters and taxpayers (the Navatec debacle, for instance); and the DLNR/DoBOR's demonstrated inability to build/establish the correct infrastructure to ensure a reduction in vandalism and avoidable loss prevention, which has further deepened the "deferred maintenance" question.

 

And on this subject of inept leadership, Case and Underwood have found an unwitting dupe in Senator Sharon Moriwaki who feigns cluelessness whenever she is asked about her involvement in the scheme to price average local boat owners out of the public harbor system. At one point Moriwaki was trying to convince the media that Ed Underwood was a kind of hero "victim" rather than a perpetrator, a difficult sell on even the best day, given Underwood's history of corruption, conflict-of-interest illegal collusion with commercial boating interests, and repeated lying both to legislators and the public.  Moriwaki steadfastly refuses to fact-find where fact-finding is most relevant: among the boaters who actually use the harbor system on a daily basis.

 

Public harbor rules have now morphed into a kind of free-for-all administrative carte blanche

The rules in the harbor system have descended into a kind of free-for-all administrative melee. Behind every rule there is a real or implied back-door clause that essentially allows any administrator to change the rules at will. This makes SB795 an especially  dangerous piece of legislation for public boaters.

A recent example of DoBOR's carte blanche, make-up-the-rules-whenever-you-want approach to harbor management: the sudden and unannounced suspension (some say end), without DLNR Board or legislative approval, of a half-century-old rule allowing for the limited issuance of stay-aboard use permits in the Ala Wai and Keehi public harbors (while still accepting the renewal fees from those waiting to get the permit!).  Ironically, the legally permitted stay-aboards in the harbor system have been the sole eyes and ears providing crime prevention within their respective harbor environs. Crime prevention was never on the table at DoBOR; it's always been about off-loading the public harbor system into private hands.

Another example of this carte-blanche rule making is the recent sudden and unannounced changes that severely affect the movement of boaters within Kaneohe Bay, rules that restrict where public boaters can anchor in that public recreational area. In a complete contradiction to half-century-old anchorage designations, established by U.S. Coast Guard/U.S. geodetic survey/NOAA charts within the bay, this off-the-cuff rule change herds boaters into a single location in the bay -- a move that ended up threatening to further spread covid-19 on that side of the island.

And yet another stunning example of DLNR/DoBOR's rogue management style: we were recently told by one harbor tenant (who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation) that a certain long-time harbor agent at the Keehi small boat harbor, a woman named Gina, told them that the harbor office there was "above Hawaii Administrative Rules" and could act on its own discretion any way it wanted.

This is the clear definition of a rogue government, where the will of administrators takes precedent over the will of the people. Hawaii state government is not a government of, by, and for the people of Hawaii. It is a government of convenience for the administrators and leadership who seek personal gain from it

 

Please submit your objections to SB 795

It is very important that all boaters in the state of Hawaii, and all ocean recreation public, go to web location at the end of this paragraph and submit testimony opposing this legislation, legislation that will accomplish nothing but further empty our public harbors, produce nothing near the revenue that is needed for all of the deferred maintenance outstanding, and prepare the way for the privatization of public lands that will result in the permanent barring of the public from its own facilities. https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=795%20&year=2021

One word of caution: submit your objection now because deadlines pass quickly.

 

*As a side note, Laura Thielen who appeared to be confused for most of her tenure as chair of the DLNR in 2011 has somehow found her way into Rick Blangiardi's heart, signaling that Blangiardi never did his homework. Had he done his research, he would have found that Laura Thielen as DLNR Chair, was lock-stepping to the commands of a Republican governor Linda Lingle who simply wanted to take the harbor system away from the public and give it to pet wealthy private interests; Thielen was a completely unsuitable choice for any further responsibilities in Hawaii's government. Now she's heading up Honolulu's public park system;  let's hope that she won't try to give away chunks of our public parks to  private interests, like Kirk Caldwell tried to do in the latter part of 2020.

 

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