REPORT FROM THE SIERRA CLUB, HAWAII CHAPTER — Today, the Sierra Club deferred endorsing a candidate in the Honolulu City & County mayoral race. The three candidates -Ben Cayetano, Peter Carlisle, and Kirk Caldwell- are in a fierce race that could have a significant impact on the future of land development on O‘ahu. As the largest grassroots environmental organization in the state, the Sierra Club’s endorsement has been touted by many as a potential election game-changer, especially in the context of the increasingly heated debate on rail.
“Unfortunately we believe none of the candidates has yet put all the pieces together,” said Anthony Aalto, Chair of the Sierra Club, Oahu Group. “Honolulu needs a mayor who is both committed to keeping the country, country and who understands the urgency of developing the modern infrastructure needed to ensure most new growth will occur in Honolulu’s traditional urban core.”
“Ben Cayetano’s strong opposition to the Ho‘opili and Koa Ridge suburban sprawl projects deserves a round of applause,” said Aalto. “Few politicians are willing to say ‘not here’ to the development industry. Cayetano sees the common-sense need to protect the shrinking number of places that grow the food we eat.”
Since statehood, sprawl has consumed more than half our prime ag land – not including the monster Ho‘opili and Koa Ridge schemes. Experts draw a direct line between the lack of affordable farmland and O‘ahu’s lack of food security. We currently import some 92% of the food we consume.