Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Waimanalo chamber
feared as gaming

2 lawmakers express concern
over a move by Whitney Anderson

By Richard Borreca

Two Windward legislators are concerned that an effort by former state Sen. Whitney Anderson to start a Waimanalo Chamber of Commerce may be a subterfuge to get community support for gambling in Hawaii.

Anderson took out newspaper ads last week announcing a meeting tomorrow to discuss forming a Waimanalo Chamber of Commerce.

One of the topics to be discussed, Anderson said, would be "gaming for the counties."

"While I wholeheartedly endorse a Chamber of Commerce to help identify and assist Waimanalo with its needs, I sure hope this effort is not a facade for a gaming effort or some other political agenda," said Sen. Fred Hemmings (R, Waimanalo-Kailua).

"I share Fred's concern," said Rep. Joe Gomes (R, Waimanalo-Enchanted Lake).

"Gaming has far too many negatives. It is not the answer to create a diverse, robust economy that provides good jobs and a healthy social environment."

Hemmings, who defeated Anderson in last year's GOP primary election, said Anderson has a "largely hidden political agenda and a strong history of supporting gambling."

Anderson criticized Gomes and Hemmings for not supporting gaming, saying the people in his district favor it.

"That's what's wrong with these people," Anderson said.

"I've done surveys and the people are for gaming -- so why don't they represent the people?"

Some sort of legalized gambling that provided income for the state is needed now, according to Anderson, because the state "is flat broke."

Although the state is actually still in the black, revenue projections indicate the budget has to be cut to avoid a deficit in 2003.

A business organization for Waimanalo would also support legislation to help farmers and contractors and lower taxes, Anderson said.

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