Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NO to Bill 47

Please send in your concerns about the development of Ko'olau Loa. No matter where you live on O'ahu, please send in testimony.

HONOLULU CITY COUNCIL EMAILS -- just cut and paste 

You are welcome to cut and paste my testimony and send it as your own. NO TO BILL 47!!

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Aloha City Council Members,
I am writing all of you to share my thoughts on Bill 47. I have copied in the representative and senator for my voting district so they are also aware of my concerns in relation to Bill 47. I have submitted testimony to the Ko'olauloa Board and to the City Council in previous hearings. My position has NOT changed. I am in opposition of adopting the revised Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan.

There is nothing sustainable about the revised plan. With large projects already in the works in Honolulu, central and west O'ahu as planned by the Oahu General Plan, I find it very difficult to understand why there would be a need to revise the Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan to include even more housing.

The argument of the HRI, BYUH, and PCC is that they need work force housing. All the work force housing they could want will be available at the Koa Ridge and the Ho'opili developments as well as all the Kakaako developments. Many people commute to work from Ko'olau Loa into town. The same could be done in reverse. I am upset that HRI, BYUH, and PCC are arguing to develop such a beautiful part of our island. They say they are the largest employers in our area but barely pay above minimum wage and have no cost of living adjustment built in to the wages. This is why many people commute to town. 

The high demand for housing also comes with a high demand for food. All of our ag zoned land in Koolau Loa should remain ag. We must promote farming and true sustainability so that we are not dependent on ships from America to bring us food.

The traffic issue has not been addressed. Kamehameha Highway from Haleiwa to Kahalu'u is a parking lot because nothing has been done to alleviate the traffic. Tour buses and tourists along with residents of the area jam the highways making it unpleasant to drive or travel along Kamehameha Highway and Envision Laie wants to build more houses. 1,000 more homes in Ko'olau Loa will come with a conservative two cars per home making our roadways clogged with 2,000 more cars.  That is a conservative estimate considering our multi-family living style in Hawai'i. If we conservatively estimate 6 people per household, that's 6,000 more people clogging the beaches, over fishing, and disrupting all the natural beauty in our area. A thousand more homes will drastically change the landscape and coastline, negatively. In the short run, one generation gets to enjoy brand new homes. In the long run, we are selling the health of our environment and our ability to teach the next generation of native Hawaiians about the food that comes from the earth and the ocean.

In 2013, I wrote a letter to Kirk Caldwell expressing my opinion on Envision Laie. What upset my about his reply is the he sides with HRI's bid to develop. His exact words, "No other entity, in recent years, has come forward in proposing affordable, workforce housing for the communities of La'ie and Kahuku, on a scale large enough to really make a difference in addressing the demand." Does this mean that anybody could come in and bull doze the land to fit their needs if they pay high enough? The letter states that there is overwhelming support for affordable housing but as I stated in the first section, what kind of affordable housing is going to be provided? More than likely it will not be a public housing development. Instead we will have homes upwards of 600k.

The public housing issue should also be brought up. I don't necessarily like the idea of public housing projects in Ko'olauloa but the City shouldn't rely on a private entity to do something about affordable housing. If I pay taxes the same as everyone else on the island then I should be afforded the same services as in other communities. There are income-based homes all over the island. Does the City feel that it does not need to service our area of the island because its HRI/BYUH/PCC responsibility to do so? We are basically being ignored by Kirk Caldwell because HRI is willing to do it. That is hog wash! If Adolph Hitler were alive and he wanted to develop a camp here in Ko'olauloa we should just allow him to do so? All of this just boggles my mind that Caldwell would put in writing that HRI came up with a plan and so he supports it.

The revised plan only takes into consideration what HRI /BYUH/ PCC wants to do and ignores the surrounding communities. We had a plan and submitted it. HRI circumvented the public's right to have input on revising it and submitted the revised plan. That action alone should be grounds to dismiss adopting the revised plan. The overwhelming majority are against the adoption of the revised plan.

There is a divide in this community and I will continue to be very vocal about how I feel about this proposed development. What one generation benefits from may be the undoing for the generations that follow. Ponder that because I honestly think that the story that Envision Laie is selling to its followers is not exactly the one they are planning behind closed doors. I have mentioned a couple times that I follow the money trail. Who stands to profit the most? Profit is the motivation. Anything else they sell to the public is fool's gold.

Now that I have discussed some of the reasons why I do not support it, here are a number of solutions I am proposing.

1. HOUSING: I remember in the early 80's, the Kahuku housing development was part of a USDA program. I would support a small number of homes if directed by the USDA. However, I do not support a private developer because of the obvious gentrification it will cause.

2. SUSTAINABILITY: We need to promote ag and inspire the new generation to want to raise food. What happens when we have completely paved over paradise? We will rely on food from outside sources as we do now when we have all the natural resources at our finger tips. On-island food production should match the number of people on the island. It defies logic and only takes into consideration the people wanting housing now. What do we do when inventory runs out?


Mahalo Nui,


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