Lingle tells developers
to cultivate legislators

She says helping elect
like-minded candidates
is better than lobbying

If you elect sympathetic lawmakers, you won't have to spend your time lobbying an unsympathetic Legislature; that's the recommendation of Gov. Linda Lingle to local developers.

State of Hawaii Lingle, speaking yesterday before the Hawaii Developers' Council at the Pacific Club, told some of the state's major resort and residential developers that their past practices have been inefficient.

"Business people spend all their time and effort trying to convince people in the Legislature to change their mind, to support their point of view," Lingle said.

"This is an very inefficient way to operate. What is more efficient and effective is to put people in office who already agree with you. It is more direct," Lingle said.

The Republican leader, who heads a state government with a Democratic-controlled Legislature, says business should get out and support like-minded candidates.

Lingle noted that she campaigned against the Land Use Commission, calling it a needless extra layer of government, urged developers to support candidates who would support her calls to scrap it.

"When you are deciding to support a new candidate or not, ask them: 'Do you support abolishing the Land Use Commission? Are you for local school boards?'" Lingle said.

She said one of the big issues before the 2004 Legislature will be changes to the definition of agricultural land.

The problem comes after Big Island Judge Ronald Ibarra stopped the upscale Hokulia residential project in Kona because developer 1250 Oceanside Partners did not ask the Land Use Commission for a land reclassification. The 1,550-acre project is on agricultural lands.

Lingle called the decision "unfair," saying her administration and the four county mayors are working to come up with a proposal to the Legislature when it convenes in January.

Lingle said that agriculture land is used as the catch-all category for all land that doesn't fit in another land use designation.

The Hokulia decision isn't fair, Lingle said, because the developer had already complied with county zoning requests.

Using land zoned for agriculture for "gentleman farms" and exclusive residences is nothing new, Lingle said. The Legislature should have come up with a solution, but it has been unable to because it wants to get complete agreement from all parties involved, Lingle told the developers.

"The Legislature has had this issue for two decades. We couldn't get 100 percent buy-in from everyone -- the interests are so different.

"Land developers, farmers, environmentalists and just basic families -- they don't see things the same way," Lingle said.

"No one can dispute this fact, our current land use system is not working, so decisions have to be made in this legislative session, she said.


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