Our government is a democracy founded on the rule of law. No one is above the law — not the president, not the governor, not our legislators. No one.

Yet Hawai`i's laws have been violated many times. Little by little, citizen rights have eroded, citizen views no longer considered.

We have passively watched as our elected officials moved from defying the law as a seldom-done thing to an accepted procedure. This has to stop.

We have laws providing for emergency exemptions that define in explicit detail what conditions constitute these emergencies.

Both former Gov. Linda Lingle and Gov. Neil Abercrombie have ignored these laws. Both have used them for purposes that do not meet the requirements of the law — and got away with it.

It is depressing, heartbreaking and incomprehensible that our elected officials and we, the people, find this acceptable.

And now we have Act 55, which creates the Public Land Development Corp., which is far, far above and beyond the law. Act 55 gives to PLDC all decision-making power over disposal of our land — public and sometimes contiguous private — exempting them from all laws, restrictions, zoning, etc., without limit.

It effectively eliminates citizens' right to participate in decisions that control our lives and our future.

PLDC can go through all the usual format — hearings, public testimony, etc., pretend to listen — and then go ahead and do as it had decided beforehand.

Abercrombie, or any governor, does not own the public lands. The PLDC does not own the public lands; you cannot give away something that is not yours. Public land belongs to all the people. Each generation is caretaker of these lands, to preserve for future generations as previous generations have cared for them for us.

The Land Use Commission was created to be the people's watchdog, but long ago became the agent for greedy and thoughtless men. They hold public hearings and go through all the motions. The people can speak, but don't get listened to. The "go ahead" signals to Koa Ridge and Ho‘opili are the final straw. Act 55 must be repealed.

O`ahu has long been overpopulated. We long ago depleted our resources for caring for the people who are already here. These resources include water, safety, health care, education, social services and space, among many others.

We do not need more people, houses, hotels, restaurants, communities or concrete-covered land. Soon the roads and rail will be irrelevant anyway. We'll get in our cars and drive wherever we want, in any direction we please on the concrete-covered plain. So what do we do?

Stop building houses. Quit enticing more and more people to come here.

No matter what we do, we will always have a housing shortage. The people who most need a house can't afford one. Wealthy people buy them as second homes or investments, using land desperately needed for other purposes.

No matter what we do, we will always have homeless people. We can't eliminate this problem. They, too, arrive seeking to enjoy the comforts, care and all the advantages of paradise.

So what do we do?

We use the buildings and houses already available to serve our own needy people and our own already-homeless.

All over Oahu, we have awful roads, decrepit houses and buildings, unkempt parks, disintegrating infrastructures — the list goes on and on.

Let's use our unemployed, Hawai`i-owned contractors and developers to do restoration, maintenance, replacement — whatever is required — instead of more houses. If necessary they can retrain.

We need to rethink, or give up, the outdated idea of a second city. Over the past 40 years we've already built enough communities. We already have a population large enough to be that city. This idea was fatally wounded by building the suburbs before the core.

Repeal Act 55. Return Hawai`i to its citizens.

Louise Gill
Widow Of Former Lt. Gov & Congressman Tom Gill

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