It's Time for Cayetano to Keep Promisies

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (11/07/98)
By Ray Pendleton

After Governor Cayetano's reelection, I was struck by his admission that his narrow margin of victory should be a wake up call for the strongly Democratic state legislature.

"As we head into the next session," he warned, "we better do what has to be done to get our state together and forget about everything else."

From a recreational boater's point of view, getting the state together might include the fulfilling some of the promises he made more than four years ago.

During that earlier campaign, in a flier addressed to the boaters of Hawai`i, Cayetano began with a slogan: "Doing the right thing, because it's the right thing to do."

Then he listed five steps he believed would "address boaters' concerns and create a world-class boating program within the Boating Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources."

First, he proposed to put major emphasis on more direct operational management, with appropriate support for all state boating facilities.

Second, he promised to release priority maintenance funds to jump-start the maintenance needs of all boating facilities.

Third, he vowed to immediately begin to investigate how to more efficiently and appropriately use lands and facilities under the Boating Program's jurisdiction in order to bring in much needed revenues and to make the program truly self-sufficient.

Fourth, he said he would evaluate the placement of some law enforcement authority with the state's Harbor Agents and assure appropriate security and response to the needs of boaters.

And fifth, he promised to call for a comprehensive statewide Boating Program to include clearly defined responsibilities and operational standards for all boaters and facilities.

Finally Cayetano said, "I am looking forward to working with you (Hawai`i's boaters) and the boating community toward reaching these achievable goals."

One term later, I think it would be difficult for the boaters in this state to note any evidence that we have moved any closer to reaching these "achievable goals."

From my vantage point, it's been business as usual within the DLNR's bureaucracy. If there are changes in the works, they are coming at a glacial speed and many of us won't live long enough to witness their implementation.

The current status of most of the state's recreational boat marinas can be more appropriately termed "third-world-class." Too few people, with too little funding, barely maintaining the status quo.

As a recent law suit brought against the state exemplified, the state has numerous boating safety laws in "a three-volume book in the library," but it has done little or nothing to provide education and/or enforcement.

In that suit, a fatality occurred in an alleged 1994 violation of the "slow - no wake zone" area - shoreward from a line drawn from the Diamond Head buoy to the Ala Wai Harbor entrance buoy.

That zone is still violated dozens of times each day.

If true "world-class" boating is the goal, along with solving the above problems, we should be: constructing new marinas, allowing private enterprise to add vitality to our existing marinas, and finding out why visiting boaters often rate Hawai`i as one of the least boater-friendly of all their ports of call.

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

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