Will the deal to shield 665-acres at the Turtle Bay Resort from future development inevitably become a political football?
That’s certainly one possibility as the legislature tries to wrap up its work on the state budget by the end of this week.
Governor Abercrombie just dropped a deal in the legislature’s lap that requires $40 million in state funding to pull off.
“What’s your message to the legislators?” KHON2 asked.
“My message to the legislature is very, very simple. We made a promise we would try, in good faith, to bring that Turtle Bay settlement to a conclusion after years and years of failure and frustration. And we’ve come through. And so we’re asking the legislature to come through, too,” Gov. Abercrombie said.
“This isn’t a surprise. The governor put the $40 million marker in his budget, so it’s not as if it’s a shock that legislators hadn’t anticipated,” said Sen. Clayton Hee (D) Waialua, Haleiwa, Laie, Kaaawa, Ahuimanu.
With the end of the legislative session less than two weeks away, lawmakers must act fast.
“Let’s hope and work to see to it now that the remaining days of the legislature, their top priority is seeing to it that the settlement that we all achieved together is gonna be fulfilled. Thank you, North Shore,” Gov. Abercrombie said.
But the key to the funding is Abercrombie’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Sen. David Ige, who also happens to chair the Senate’s Ways & Means committee. In that position, Ige will pretty much be able to control whether or not the funding will be included in the final budget, and whether or not Abercrombie will be handed an environmental banner to carry through the rest of the campaign.
Ige doesn’t seem to have much leeway here. The senator has been critical of Abercrombie’s positive assessment of the state’s economy, has positioned himself as the fiscal conservative who is protecting the public interest. He can say the $40 million is best spent elsewhere, or should be saved for a rainier day. But that sets him up to have to campaign as the guy who pulled the plug on a long-sought settlement in a bitter battle to preserve a prize coastline from development. It seems like Ige’s choices are limited. How he decides to play this out will tell us a lot about how this campaign will unfold.
Top quotes of the weekend:
“…Waikiki is becoming an overpriced Beverly Hills slum of the Pacific… [Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Down & out in Waikiki," 4-20-2014]
“My word is my documentation.”
[State Sen. Sam Slom, quoted in Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Agency contradicts Slom, says Connector probe isn't done deal," 4-19-2014.]