CivilBeat: Hannemann on development

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Hannemann: Ways of Lessening the Demand

Hawaii Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann has a longer track record on development decisions than his opponents.

Before entering politics, Hannemann was a vice president at C. Brewer & Co., one of the Big Five agricultural companies in Hawaii. As a member of the Honolulu City Council, he served as chairman and also at one point led the City Council’s Economic Development and Planning Committee.

As mayor, he pushed through the Honolulu rail project,which the city had been debating for decades. He also brokered deals to preserve land at Waimea Valley and Pupukea-Paumalu.

Hannemann also has been criticized for jumping the gun on signing multi-million-dollar rail contracts and doling out contracts to campaign donors.

He recently told Civil Beat he’s dedicated to collaborative leadership and has the ability to produce results.

While he wants to increase the supply of housing like Ige and Aiona, he proposed doing so by lessening housing demand from students, service members and Native Hawaiians.

He suggested working with the University of Hawaii to provide more on-campus housing; collaborating with the military to provide more on-base housing; and helping the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands fulfill its mission of providing homes for Hawaiians.

He wants his running mate, Les Chang, a UH alumnus and Air Force veteran, to take the reins on that project as lieutenant governor.

Like Ige, Hannemann wants more land-use planning, describing state planning as currently “kind of drifting.” But like Aiona, Hannemann wants to streamline permitting and said he would be willing to eliminate the state Land Use Commission.

“If there’s a way to do it without circumventing the time it takes for people to provide input — we need to comply with the rules, regulations, make sure that we’re not compromising the environment — let’s look at it,” Hannemann said. “I don’t want to accept: Let’s keep it because that’s the way we’ve always done.”

Hannemann also said he is committed to preserving farmland and wants to identify important agricultural lands.

“I think there’s a balance that can be struck between having TOD and housing in leeward and central Oahu, and making sure that we continue to maintain and preserve prime agricultural land so that we can continue to have diversified agriculture,” he said.

He emphasized his commitment to abiding by the public process when pursuing new projects.

“You may not always agree, but at least let (critics) know that (their input) was factored in and try to find as much common ground for the common good,” he said.

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