BY ROBERT HARRIS – If you think our public beaches, parks, and schools should be turned over to private developers, then please stop reading.
We’re asking for your immediate help to advance SB 1, which repeals the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC). The bill is up for a vote this Thursday, January 31 at 1:15 p.m. We can pass it. Senators need to hear from you that this bill must be advanced. With all of the recent attention about the problems with the PLDC, it’s time for legislators to demonstrate they listen to their constituents.
Please, take a minute and send in your testimony today.You can click here to send in your testimony via email. Please indicate the measure you are testifying about (SB1), the date (1/31) and time (1:15 p.m.). Then if you can spare some time, please call your Senator (you can find their contact info at this link by entering your street address in the upper right hand corner). Please email or call before this Thursday morning.
Now some legislators or their staff may say that we should simply amend the Public Land Development Corporation law. Nonsense. The public condemnation of this concept has been nearly unanimous. Any future discussions about public-private developments should start with a clean slate.
Some talking points:
- The PLDC presumes our natural resources exist to create a profit, rather than treasuring for future generations. Most folks believe enough is enough already — let’s focus on enhancing and protecting what we’ve got, rather than figuring out ways to convert beaches and parks into more development.
- The PLDC is exempt from all land use laws, including most laws that protect agriculture and conservation lands. Accordingly, the PLDC can develop important agricultural lands set aside for farming or our precious watersheds. This isn’t smart planning, and could be quite harmful to Hawaii’s longterm future.
- The PLDC is exempt from some of our important accountability laws, such as the procurement code. Oversight laws were created to prevent shenanigans. We should be cautious about giving control of millions of acres of land without these regulations.
Robert Harris is the Chapter Director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii