Saturday, June 25, 2011


Governor Abercrombie Talks About the Issues

By Henry Curtis

On June 23, 2011 Governor Neil Abercrombie hosted a community forum at Washington Middle School.

Permits and Regulations

Should bad projects be stopped? Should the public be able to influence agencies to reject bad projects?

Governor Abercrombie: “Where this is concerned, where business is concerned, we have to make sure that we, don't put artificial barriers up for permitting …to see that the permits are not a barrier or an obstacle but that the permits are there for what it's intended to do, which is to facilitate good projects. The problems with regulations that are seen as just ways to stop everything, is that it ends up stopping good projects as well ... So we are going to take a look at all of those rules and regulations that are actually stopping us from progressing.”

Reappointing Resignees

The Governor recently asked for Board and Commission members appointed by the previous administration and unanimously confirmed by the State Senate to resign.

Governor Abercrombie: “Why do you think it is that I am talking about trying to get Boards and Commissions that are going to reflect the changes that I would like to see. It's not because I'm characterizing those serving now, I might even appoint them back if I had the opportunity. That's not the issue.”


Should soup kitchens only give free food to those who are living in a shelter? Should they require proof of residence? Should they be prevented from feeding people who wander in from parks and streets?

Governor Abercrombie: “Its difficult in a macro micro-sense, to necessarily see that progress is being made every day, but that's what we're doing, that's one of the reasons why we had to make a decision about, saying to people its not a good idea to feed, people, in the park, its not a good idea to aid and abet people in continuing to have the disease they have, that they have a mental illness, a chronic condition that they have to come to grips with, you have to take them out of that context in order to make a change, so that's why we have the hotlines out there, the numbers that can be called, we have coordinated in an unprecedented way over the last 60 days, we're not up to the 90 days yet, with the service organizations that are out there, so that we have actually prevented more people from going into homelessness, we've been able to stop some of that.”


Governor Abercrombie: “We're going to change the diet around, we're going to be doing things like trying to purchase, right now believe it or not pineapple is still part of the landscape, the native cultural landscape in Hawai`i. We should be purchasing pineapples for our schools, for our hospitals, for the prison system, for our public facilities right here in Hawai`i. We have to change some of the rules around.”

Utilizing Unimproved Areas

Governor Abercrombie: “I just finished the conversation yesterday morning with Secretary [of the U.S. Department of the Interior] Salazar ...The other thing the Secretary is very very interested in aiding and assisting us with, and [Lt. Governor] Brian [Schatz] will be working on this, is the, I almost said the ring, but what I'm talking about is the walk, we are know about Kamehameha's walk that saved Kamehameha. All along to coast of Kona from Hapuna all the way down past Pu`uhonua past Honokohau Harbor there's federal parks, there’s state parks, there's hotel entrances, there's harbors, there's agriculture, there's recreational areas. We're going to connect those up and we're going to connect them up in such a way, that you'll be, [able to] literally walk from one end to the other and not have to go to a hotel. The hotels going to help us with that. Because they understand that is part of the idea of Hawai`i. That makes it different from tourist destinations from the rest of the world.

So I can assure you whether it is, whether it is seen to that we, I don't even want to say restore, because it wasn't necessarily available before. We're going to make available, to our people, literally, the Kona Coast, to be able to transverse it as human beings, rather than be isolated in an automobile, and just driving from one hotel to another, or one business activity to another.”

Ka`ena Point

Over the past several decades there have been intense fights over Ka`ena Point. Some want to keep it the way it is, an unimproved wild area. Others want to preserve it by offering amenities that will enable large numbers of people to visit it.

Governor Abercrombie: “We're going to try to do the same at Ka`ena Point, on this island, to see to it that it is preserved, and that it is utilized in a way that reignites our sense of aloha for one another and the blessing that we have for living in paradise.”

Inmate Food

There are several ways of reducing the cost of housing inmates. These include providing cheap foods lacking nutritional value, limiting portion size, and eliminating drug treatment programs. Thin inmates are not always healthy inmates.

Governor Abercrombie: “Jodie Hirata is here tonight, the head of our Department of Public Safety. I can tell you right now when you see stories in the papers about unwanted weight loss, well that's a new affliction to me by the way. I don't know about the struggle you have, but unwanted weight loss is something I could really get or try to figure out.”

Exporting Inmates

The Hawai`i Government just signed an agreement with CCA for the continued export of Hawai`i inmates. The new three-year agreement (with two one-year extensions) will continue the practice of housing inmates abroad and justifying it with shoddy and inaccurate financial accounting methods.

Governor Abercrombie: “Very shortly we'll be coming out with a complete prospectus for you to consider with regard to new prison facilities to make sure we keep all of the prisoners, we don't want more prisoners in Hawai`i, but if somebody has to go away we want to keep them in Hawai`i, so that we can try and keep the families together and give them a chance to straighten their lives out they going to be growing their own food.”


Donalyn Dela Cruz (Governor’s Press Secretary): “Another big issue that came up was growing our own food, importation. ...There are going to be a lot of questions on this issue you can see. ... How can we get more produce, local produce, in our grocery stores? And to that I'll ask the other question as well. Very similar. What's being done to make changes in Hawai`i from being an importer to an exporter?”

Can we grow our own food? Can we eliminate the huge rains on our economy, exporting dollars for foreign food?

Governor Abercrombie: “We'll I start work from the last backwards. We are doing some exports now, niche industries right at the moment, that are out there. What we want to do with the Department of Business and Economic Development is, working right now, we're working with the Department of Consumer Affairs, and so on that has some of the regulations coming around public television, public access, and working on internet issues and broadband issues.

What we intend to do, is see to it that our agricultural industries, which are entrepreneurial and for the most part niche at the moment, are able to be out there. People want coffee from Hawai`i, not just Kona coffee by the way anymore, Ka`u coffee, Moloka`i coffee, Hawai`i coffee. I, we are making tremendous progress in these industries, farmers elsewhere that are providing a living for people I cannot tell you the number of young people who want to farm, but they have to be able to do it in a business-like fashion.

As my friend Richard Ha on the Big Island said to me over and over again, who's a farmer who is growing many of the tomatoes that your enjoying and was a pioneer in that effort. He said that ‘if your not, if your farming and your not in the business of farming your gardening.’ Nothing wrong with gardening. Nothing wrong with that.”

# # #
Henry Curtis


Nice recap. Have to say, though, that the Governor is wrong about feeding the homeless. -- Mauibrad

Is incoherent an essential part of gov-speak?

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