The public outrage over the newly formed 5-member appointed Public Land Development Corporation is spreading from Oahu to neighbor islands.
According to a report in Kauai’s Garden Island News, Gov. Neil Abercrombie was “booed several times” at a “Governor’s Cabinet in Your Community” event he organized at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Wednesday.
Several of the 200 attendees were upset by his approval in 2011 of Senate Bill 1555. Under what is now known as Act 55, the PLDC board has the authority to decide how to manage 1.8 million acres of public land, and can do so without adhering to county zoning laws. The PLDC is also charged with generating revenues for the state Department of Land and Natural resources.
And not to ruin the punchline, but the story ends with this final note about the governor: “He left the building shielded by bodyguards, as the boos got louder.”
Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, a candidate for Honolulu Mayor, has been in Los Angeles this week meeting with transportation officials at the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).
He was accompanied by Sam Callejo, Honolulu’s former Director and Chief Engineer with the Department of Public Works.
While in the state, they spoke with deputy executive officers Conan Cheung and Hitesh Patel and government relations manager Marisa Yeager and toured the Orange Line, which is MTA’s Bus Rapid Transit line in operation since 2005.
Cayetano is opposed to the city’s current plan to build a $5.2 billion elevated steel on steel rail project because of cost and the negative impact on the environment and cultural and historical sites. If elected in November, he said he plans to kill the controversial project.
MTA’s Bus Rapid Transit line was recently expanded in 2012.
Unlike the rail, which could go as high as $9 billion for the entire route, the BRT and its stations cost $324 million.
Cayetano and Callejo also also met with Ed Yu, who is charged with overseeing the City’s Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) system.
The recently completed system manages and automatically adjusts the traffic in the City’s 4,000 plus intersections.
Cayetano, and his main transportation advisor University of Hawaii Engineering Professor Panos Prevedouros, have advocated for such a system for Honolulu.
Cayetano’s campaign said in a news release that Cayetano will unveil his comprehensive Transportation Plan soon after his return from Los Angeles.
League of Their Own
After more than half of the polling places in Hawaii county opened late on Primary election day and the governor had to issue an emergency order to keep the polls open another hour and a half, leading to several additional problems, the debate continues over what to do in the General Election to keep the problems from reoccurring.
The Hawaii League of Women Voters said this week their members are concerned about the lack of leadership in the county clerk’s office, specifically the lack of transparency and communication by the county clerk.
The group urged the Hawaii County Council to ensure that all relevant Elections Office staff members are participating in training, and that the elections division is fully staffed.
The League also recommended replacing the current county clerk with someone with more experienced.
The League of Women Voters maintains Big Island’s difficulties affect the entire state, not just that island, because the general election includes State and Federal candidates and than any questionable practices might generate candidate lawsuits, which are always costly to taxpayers.