Letter to Abercrombie on PLDC

SOURCE: Carol Hart (carol@hartfeltkauai.com)
SUBHEAD: I fear that this will be your Waterloo, because it is important enough that we will not forgive or forget if you let the law go into effect.

By Stephen Fox on 4 December 2012 for Free Hawaii -

Image above: Hawaiians demonstrating against the PLDC and for repeal of its authorization. From same source.

Dear Governor Abercrombie,

I am writing to voice my strong support for repeal of Act 55 for establishment of the Public Land Development Corporation. I am not remotely hysterical, and I most definitely not one of the “usual suspects,” as you characterize opponents of the PLDC.

I have never been overtly involved in an issue like this. I have been subtly involved in some issues, for instance, I wrote and recorded the music for the “Town Hall” campaign ads in your gubernatorial race, and I wrote a series of articles for the Honolulu Weekly regarding Act 221 related legislation a number of years ago. I have never, however, been an activist by any stretch of the imagination. This issue has moved me to become actively involved.

This legislation is dangerously written and could affect life in the islands in perpetuity. The PLDC is being handed carte blanche control to develop some of the most treasured lands in Hawai`i with no mechanism of accountability and only weak, toothless avenues for public input.

The only responsibility of the PLDC is to generate revenue, which is a tragically short-sighted purview for a group tasked to steward public resources. In reading the law, I actually find no mention of accountability regarding even how lucrative revenue generation might be. There is certainly no provision for competitive bidding or planning review. At its core, Act 55 grants absolute authority to the PLDC to streamline any activity by any developer who can convince three of five appointed officials that they have a good idea, however they want to define “good idea.”

It is this massive scope of powers over a million acres of land that is most disturbing. The authority is absolute, and the law eliminates previous checks and controls, especially for neighbor islanders who lose any real mechanism for control of their lands and resources.

Wording of the legislation is so vague that there is no onus on the PLDC to provide anything more than cursory notifications, and there is no recourse if the PLDC acts entirely against community interests. This sets several dangerous precedents, and there is no assurance that future governors will appoint boards with any interest at heart but that of developers. Indeed, the only beneficiaries of this act seem to be developers who are given a fast-tracked route to have their way with the land.

This measure passed quickly and was drastically rewritten without public input. I do not believe that even you or the legislators have thought this through thoroughly. Hawaiian Homesteads land is included, as well as many culturally and ecologically sensitive areas.

The 1993 apology the 103rd Congress, Joint Resolution 19 regarding the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy actually casts the entire issue of state control over these lands into some question, and irresponsible decisions will provide impetus and opportunity for litigation. These are federal issues that will supersede State legislation. An interminable string of legal challenges on many fronts will be your legacy if you allow this law to stand.

I am not an alarmist. I am, however, able to read and evaluate evidence, and what I see in this Act is not in the interest of the people or `aina of Hawai`i.

We are asked to trust that the rules, when established, will protect us, but the PLDC is already in practical negotiation with developers and has an established track record for ignoring public input. The entire law was passed with an unusual disregard for public process. My distrust is so strong that I am now reluctantly moved to become involved.

Governor Abercrombie, I have been a quiet supporter of you for many years. I now must be vocal, and it pains me that I must find my voice in opposition to you on this issue. I and many like me who have had your back and given you our votes will not stand for this abuse of public resources and trust.

I fear that this will be your Waterloo, because it is important enough that we will not forgive or forget if you let the law go into effect. I hope you will change your position on this quickly, before too much damage is done across your constituency. This is my first letter to a public official, but it will not be my last.

I wish you well,

Stephen Fox, PhD

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: PLDC effort has earned disrespect 11/25/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Dela Cruz & PLDC Repeal 11/23/12
Ea O Ka Aina: PLDC seeking Chinese Bubble 10/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii rallies against PLDC 10/5/12
Ea O Ka Aina: PLDC New Rules 10/4/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Actions to overturn PLDC
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Council to vote PLDC
Ea O Ka Aina: Abercrombie Booed
Ea O Ka Aina: Abercrombie on Kauai for PLDC
Ea O Ka Aina: Repeal the PLDC Act 55
Ea O Ka Aina: PLDC Ceded Land Finale
Ea O Ka Aina: PLDC Rejected by Public
Ea O Ka Aina: Cold Water in the Face
Ea O Ka Aina: Public Land Development Corporation
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii Legislative Subterfuge
Ea O Ka Aina: From the Inside Out
Ea O Ka Aina: Abercrombie Land Grab
Ea O Ka Aina: Privitizing Public Land



  1. PLDC = legal rape of the islands to benefit the elite. if enacted, it is a downhill slide into rule by the few.

  2. Well said, Stephen! Mahalo.