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Turtle Bay: An Issue Of Environment And Jobs

CO-011514-richard

Richard’s Roundtable…Rep. Richard Fale

Aloha,

I hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable Christmas holiday season and new year celebration.

As you read this, I understand that many families will be busy with the new spring school schedule, and businesses will be setting their goals for 2014. This month, I would like to talk to you about the 2014 legislative session and the proposal to purchase land at Turtle Bay.

Legislature

The 2014 legislative session begins today (Jan. 15), and the regular session calendar will run through May 1. If you would like a copy of the legislative calendar, go to capitol.hawaii.gov.

Last year throughout the regular and special session, our office saw a lot of participation from many community members, like you, vocalizing their support or opposition to key legislative measures being debated at the Capitol.

I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of the tools outlined below and be informed and involved in the happenings of your government.

At the Capitol, you are always welcome to visit our office, Room 319, for help. Another resource is the Public Access Room, located in Room 401. There are great materials on their website, hawaii.gov/lrb/par.

If you would like to track bills and sign up for electronic notification when a bill will be discussed in a public hearing, register at capitol.hawaii.gov.

You will be able to submit testimony electronically and track bills by requesting electronic hearing notifications. If you can’t make it to a hearing but you want to have your voice heard, you can still do so by submitting your testimony electronically.

Turtle Bay

Recently, I attended an informational briefing held by the Senate committees on Water and Land and Judiciary and Labor. The purpose of the briefing was “to receive information on the State’s budget request to encumber 610 acres at the Turtle Bay Resort.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie testified at the briefing that his administration will submit a $40-million request for general obligation bonds to purchase 610 acres for land conservation use. This would be done in two phases: Phase 1, Turtle Bay; and Phase 2, Kahuku Point.

A number of other stake-holders also testified, including a representative from Hawaii’s Hospitality and Healthcare Union Local 5 who expressed concern regarding the preservation of approximately 300 jobs that are currently at the Turtle Bay property.

I can understand the strong desire to establish a conservation zone in this unique area of our community. At the same time, one of my greatest concerns for our district is the economic struggle that so many of our families on the North Shore are faced with. I do not want to see a loss of jobs for the workers who are currently employed at Turtle Bay.

In addition, I am still fighting for the necessary funding to improve classrooms and facilities in our schools.

I feel that it is the responsibility of our state not only to invest in conservation lands but also to invest in the future of our children’s education. Like families balancing their household budgets, our state has to be practical and make tough decisions to prioritize what is most important and how we allocate resources to support the things that matter most.

I will continue to listen to discussions about the acquisition of Turtle Bay lands as the legislative session progresses. so I can learn more about the overall impact this will have on us.

If you have questions or concerns, email me at repfale@capitol.hawaii.gov or call us at 586-6380.

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