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Monday, March 23, 2015
Kapolei NB: HB1329 Racetrack Bill -- Insensitive, Unethical, Possibly Illegal
By News Release @ 9:37 PM :: 5589 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics

Press Release

From NB # 34 - Kapolei-Makakilo-Honokai Hale  March 23, 2015

Responding to House Bill 1329 HD2, the Kapolei / Makakilo Neighborhood Board was forced into holding the “first” open forum debate on a bill that included a Motorsports facility (i.e. race track) clearly situated on a parcel of land previously approved last year by the Navy for historical preservation (the Ewa Air Battlefield). Although the House bill drawing location was after the fact claimed to be conceptual, the error was incredibly insensitive to local Veterans groups, who render honors on the location every year for fallen Hawaii based Marines.

The problem between the legislature and community leaders, stakeholders, and the general public was that officials in the legislature allowed for only 48 minutes advance notice for the general public to testify on it. But somehow, ONLY those who stood by to directly benefit financially from the bill were provided an opportunity to testify on it, before it crossed over to the Senate. No one from the community or other stakeholders were given adequate notice or equal time to respond.

Under normal process of public transparency a bill or proposed project should be presented to the community/neighborhood board for their awareness, and an endorsement on it or not. Instead, this bill was run “under the radar” having the look of political insider horse trading, unethical actions, and possibly illegal actions. The public perception is that this was a complete breakdown in the democratic process. Many asked if State Ethics or Attorney General will be taking a look into the process by which this “specific bill” was run through the house, the lack of transparency, unethical actions, possibly illegal actions, and if any backroom deals were promised.

It is most important that the public understand that the board DOES NOT OPPOSE A RACETRACK, but it did oppose THE PROCESS, by which this bill was run. The media and other stakeholders might try and characterize this issue as a polarizing issue between racers and non-racers, when the truth is the community already has former racers sitting and elected on the board, who are just asking to have the process done right.

Specifically, the board is asking why the state would chose to do business with an entity recently evicted off DHHL property (the last race track), and the qualifications for that entity to run and “responsibly manage” another racetrack, and the thought process (in the House) behind giving an entity access (special treatment) to Special Purpose Revenue Bonds (millions of dollars), when that entity previously already owes the State money. Special Purpose Revenue Bonds are supposed to be provided to “credit worthy borrowers that must be repaid promptly and with interest”. So the whole the ethics of having the State House endorse an entity as being “credit worthy” when the entity owes the State money, is questionable.

For those wanting to bring a racetrack into the district, the board would certainly would appreciate – and welcome the ability to open dialog on this, so all of the stakeholders involved, are not left out of the conversation. The community and board is just asking that it be done the right way and with “clean hands”.

Note: The Senate already killed an earlier version of the SB, after hearing the State AG concerns, which were conveniently not heard or included in the House testimony.

  *   *   *   *   *

RESOLUTION OPPOSING HOUSE BILL NO. 1329, HOUSE DRAFT 2

WHEREAS, the projects proposed in House Bill No. 1329, House Draft 2 are within the territorial jurisdiction of Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34; and

WHEREAS, our community welcomes a raceway facility on Oahu, but the process by which House Bill No. 1329, House Draft 2 was passed by the Hawaii House of Representatives, we believe, was flawed due to the lack of transparency when the House Committee on Finance scheduled a hearing with a 48 minute notice to the public; and

WHEREAS, the non-profit entities mentioned within, and the introducer of House Bill No. 1329, House Draft 2 had adequate time to present the projects to Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34, but chose not to; and

WHEREAS, information contained in testimony submitted in support for House Bill No. 1329, House Draft 2 before the House on Committee on Finance is debatable, if not erroneous; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Committee of the Whole of Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34, that this committee strongly OPPOSES House Bill No. 1329, House Draft 2; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology, and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means are strongly encouraged to not schedule a hearing on House Bill No. 1329, House Draft 2; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senator representing the 20th Senatorial District, and the Representative representing the 43rd Representative District.

ADOPTED: March 20, 2015

Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34

(Resolution passed unanimously 5 to 0)

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