It was somewhat reassuring that the Maui County Council unanimously moved forward a resolution to repeal the year-old Public Land Development Corp., established under Act 55 (The Maui News, Oct. 6). But it is inconceivable how Act 55 was passed in the first place.
My understanding is that Act 55 allows a governor-appointed corporation to, among other things, sell or develop public lands in shoreline, conservation and other areas to raise money for the Department of Land and Natural Resources with limited oversight. The corporation is exempt from certain statutes and ordinances and government agency rules that would normally regulate the improvement and development of land and give the public more rights to intervene.
I believe that giving some appointed corporation relatively free rein to sell and develop our irreplaceable public lands to produce revenues is the irresponsible and shortsighted approach to a revenue shortfall. The more prudent approach is cutting expenses and managing more efficiently.
Act 55, which seems to have been barely noticed when it passed about one year ago, has gone a long way in removing the public's rights to effectively participate in the disposition of our precious public lands.
The manner in which this Trojan horse was brought in under the radar in order to erode the democratic rights of Hawaii's citizens is reminiscent of chapters out of Franz Kafka, George Orwell and Ayn Rand novels. Pre-WWII Germany also comes to mind.
We need to repeal this law.