Friday, November 23, 2012


WHAT YOU WANT, BABY I GOT IT: Apparently opposition to the Public Lands Development Corporation (PDLC) has snowballed to the point where Governor Neil Abercrombie has, in a face saving operation, abandoned his paternalist patter of telling opponents they're too dumb to understand it all.

In a statement Friday, Abercrombie announced he would ask the PDLC board to abandon their rule-making for a spell until he can send his Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) chief Bill Aila out into the community to give it the one last try before the legislature- now under new management in the house- starts the process to repeal Act 55.

The "dissidents" that have taken over the house are, for the most part, those who have said they would at least consider repeal, while the "out" faction is comprised, for the most part, of those who created the PLDC in the first place and have opposed repeal.

And in the senate even Sen. Donovan Del Cruz, who played a major role in sneaking the bill through in the first place, is- homana, homana, homana- making like Ralph Kramden as it becomes clear his latest get-rich-quick scheme has blown up in his face.

That has led some opponents to warn others to treat Aila with "respect" if we expect to see him take home a "no can" message. As former Senate Majority Leader and current Kaua`i Councilmember- elect Gary Hooser- a PLDC repeal proponent- advised in a post on Facebook today:

I think Director Aila would be willing to meet with most in the community unless there is some past history where the group or individuals have perhaps already burned bridges. Probably the best approach would be a request for a small group meeting with a list of specific concerns. Director Aila is probably not interested in meetings where mutual respect is not evident but my feeling is to take this as it appears to be on the surface which is a genuine attempt to resolve community concerns. I am not optimistic that the concerns can be resolved without legislative action and that action should start with a repeal IMHO.

Normally we might agree. But the utter "don't worry your pretty little head" disrespect exhibited by both Abercrombie and Aila so far hasn't exactly inspired opponents to try to make nice.

The problem with "respect" is that the very concept of the PDLC is disrespectful of the protections placed in the law over the course of decades to protect "public" lands from development. Whether in terms of environmental protections, transparency of process or the development of public lands without any deference to constitutionally-mandated "home rule," the very concept of the PLDC- essentially a handful of developers cut loose from following any of the rules- is a slap in the face to many... not to mention the fact that there are many who think most so-called "public" land was stolen from native Hawaiians to begin with.

Any attempts to circumvent current protections is a non-starter. As a matter of fact, there is nothing those who "support the concept of the PLDC" want to do that can't be done using the due processes currently in place.

If Aila comes to the community with that basic paternalistic disrespect of "oh- you just don't understand"- as he and Abercrombie have done over the past few months- they can't expect the very respect they won't show us.

The are many who have compared the PLDC to the Superferry in the fact that it is another state scheme being pushed down the throats of the neighbor islands- where much of the land in question is situated. If Aila and Abercrombie are wiser that a certain recently-defeated senate candidate they will be showing a lot more respect long before they ask for any from us.

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