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Thursday, October 5, 2000

Cayetano: ‘Vocal minority’
won’t kill Ala Wai plan

By Richard Borreca

A vocal protest by local golfers won't stop Gov. Ben Cayetano from his campaign to change the city-run Ala Wai Golf Course into a city-defining urban park.

Speaking yesterday to reporters, Cayetano said the park will take years to plan and build, but the process should start now.

Meanwhile, calls to Cayetano's office are running strongly against his proposal.

"We have been getting very strong reaction in opposition from those who use the golf course, mostly retirees who are able to golf there three-four times a week for $32 a month," he said. "If I had that kind of deal, I'd get a little upset myself."

The discount city monthly fee for residents over 65 is $32. Other residents are charged $16 per game to play during the week.

Cayetano's office reported that since he first reignited the controversy over the land last week, there have been 18 calls protesting the change and five calls supporting the new park.

But Cayetano insisted the land is being used by just a few people, compared to the millions who use the Ala Moana and Kapiolani parks every year.

"This is some of the most expensive land on this island. If we are going to keep it in recreation, we should allow everyone to use it," he said.

Cayetano hopes to talk to Mayor Jeremy Harris about moving the plan ahead, but he acknowledged that even though the city administration favors the plan, the Legislature might oppose it.

"I hope the Legislature will not be cowed by this very small and vocal minority that has a great deal of self-interest in maintaining the status quo and think instead about the bigger picture," Cayetano said yesterday.

Sen. Les Ihara, who represents the Ala Wai district, said Cayetano needs to provide more information and involve citizens in the process.

E-mail to City Desk

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