Gov. Neil Abercrombie is asking the Public Land Development Corp. to put off any action on pending rules while the state fully considers and addresses public concerns about the agency.
The governor said in a statement today he’s asked the organization’s board to postpone any meetings until the concerns are considered.
Critics say the law creating the agency — passed last year — allows land to be developed without zoning rules or other restrictions.
The governor says he doesn’t want the potential for the corporation to accomplish public good to be lost because the state failed to account for reservations.
Abercrombie says his administration will do its best to alleviate public concerns. But he says the Legislature created the agency and will be the ones to decide its future.
PUHI — Gov. Neil Abercrombie is not getting many kudos from Kaua‘i residents lately. Heavily criticized for signing Act 55 last year, Abercrombie was booed several times at a meeting at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Puhi Wednesday evening, attended by approximately 200 people.
“I suggest you take a look at what the children have put on the walls around here, about respect and about self-discipline,” said Abercrombie, making a reference to posters around the school while reacting to being interrupted several times.
Shortly after the state Legislature approved Senate Bill 1555 last year, Abercrombie signed Act 55, creating an appointed five-member Public Land Development Corporation that will decide the fate of development — by circumventing county zoning laws — on roughly 1.8 million acres of public lands. The developments on those lands will generate additional revenues to the state Department of Land and Natural resources.
The meeting was Abercrombie’s first “Governor’s Cabinet in Your Community” event, a series of statewide public meetings where the governor and key members of the administration will share project updates and listen to community issues.
Abercrombie brought with him Scott Enright, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture, Loretta Fuddy, director of the Department of Health, William Aila Jr., chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Glenn Okimoto, director of the Department of Transportation, Leslie Tawata, from the Department of Human Services, and Lori Tsuhako, Homeless Program administrator.
Each department head went through recent improvements and achievements. When state spokeswoman Donalyn DelaCruz opened the floor for questions, Aila was the first to take the heat. Continue reading
HONOLULU – Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Monday that he plans to veto a bill that would remove mandatory certification for Hawaii-grown coffee, a measure Kona coffee farmers said would be disastrous for the industry’s integrity and reputation.
Abercrombie listed the bill as one of 19 he is considering vetoing from the 2012 legislative session. Some of the bills are still under consideration, he said.
Kona coffee farmers who were against the certification repeal from the start welcomed the veto. The certification helps them fight against lesser-quality products, they said.
“The implications of this measure are problematic,” Abercrombie said. “Further discussion is needed to ensure that the Hawaii brand will not be undermined.” Continue reading
During the campaign, Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie pledged to inaugurate an “agricultural renaissance” in Hawaii, and he’s tapped a veteran political figure to make it happen.
Abercrombie on Saturday appointed the 2nd District Sen. Russell Kokubun to the Department of Agriculture. His nomination comes on the heels of Dwight Takamine’s appointment to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations after serving half a term as the senator from the 1st District.
The Big Island will lose two-thirds of its elected state Senate delegation if Abercrombie’s appointments are confirmed.
All of Abercrombie’s appointments must be confirmed by the state Senate.
If Takamine and Kokubun are approved, Abercrombie will appoint senators to replace them.
Kokubun was elected to the Hawaii County Council in 1984 and served until 1992, including the last four years as chairman. He resigned to run for mayor but lost to Stephen Yamashiro in the primary election. Gov. Ben Cayetano appointed him in 1998 to the Board of Land and Natural Resources.
Two years later, when state Sen. Andy Levin resigned the South Hawaii seat to serve in the Kim administration, Cayetano tapped Kokubun for the seat. Continue reading
Everyone invited to free afternoon event in Honokaa
U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye will bring his entourage and several other politicians to Honokaa High School from 3-6 p.m. today to join North Hawaii residents in celebrating their community’s “Ag Country Roots.”
The event is paid for and authorized by the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
The community is invited to this free celebration that will spotlight many of the hard-working food producers of the region and include samplings of grilled grass-fed beef and a new sausage of Kahua mutton, Hamakua mushrooms and other foods grown or produced in Hamakua, Waimea and Kohala.
Informational exhibits also will feature in-school programs to grow the next generation of farmers and introduce the benefits of fresh, locally grown foods from farms and ranches in the region as well as backyard gardens.
The program also will acknowledge the 40-year contribution to Hawaii Island agriculture by Milton Yamasaki, who has managed the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources’s Mealani Research Station, which includes two sites in Waimea, one in Hamakua and two in Kona.
Yamasaki, who was born and raised in Waimea and graduated from Honokaa High School, formally retired from CTAHR’s Mealani Research Station Sept. 30. Continue reading
Food security in Hawaii / Neil Abercrombie’s gubernatorial campaign hosted an animated discussion at its Ward Warehouse headquarters on Monday night, one that put some of the most contentious questions in Hawaii agriculture on the table.
The event was billed as non-partisan exploration of “food security in Hawaii,” and Abercrombie stayed mostly true to his opening pledge to leave the campaigning aside and keep the focus on the question of achieving food security for the Islands.
Yet despite moderator Andrew Aoki’s early assurance that “we all share the same goal” when it comes to food security, it was evident that panelists did not.