Mayors look at addressing opposition to PLDC

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jan 15 2013 09:34:59 PM HST

Governor Abercrombie and Hawaii's mayors comment on the controversial Public Land Development Corporation.

HONOLULU -

It was high fives all around following a meeting of the minds Tuesday, before the county mayors made their way downstairs to talk to state lawmakers about their priorities.

The mayors talked broadly about their commitment to work through their differences.

"You have the four mayors and the governor and we are here for the benefit we all serve," said Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho.

But privately, the mayors were working on common ground to draft a bill to addressing the objections to the Public Land Development Corporation.

"Keep the goals in front of us and if the means to achieve the goals need adjustment, that is what we are going to work toward," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

"As the governor said we are not going to confront each other, we will confront the issues.  No one disagrees we need to make use of our public lands and if we can do that we all benefit," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Home rule issues surfaced as part of the fallout to the PLDC, designed to fast track development and exempt projects from certain environmental reviews.

"The residents of the state are not just county residents, they are residents of Hawaii and we all bear a collective responsibility to look out for their best interest," said Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Now there's some interest in focusing on areas like underutilized land around public schools as a possible way to show how the PLDC concept could work.

"We know we have to maximize our benefits of public lands and public assets for the community and that's the goal.  Whatever it takes to morph into being able to utilize the properties," said Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa.

The question is whether what they craft will win over opponents as they launch their own campaign to repeal the PLDC.

On Wednesday, opponents of the PLDC plan a rally to mark the opening of the new legislative session.  They are calling the campaign "a million little fists."

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