Beleaguered Public Land Corp. Agrees To Broadcast Oahu Meeting

Rj Brown

The Public Land Development Corporation, under pressure from community groups, has agreed to allow the state's public access TV channel to broadcast the meeting.

That might seem like a routine event — a public TV channel livestreaming and taping a public meeting.

But last week, PLDC officials were refusing to allow Olelo to broadcast the event, set for Wednesday evening, on its website and television channel. The Sierra Club also hoped to set up a tent outside of the small state conference room where the meeting is scheduled to take place so people who won't fit in the room can watch it on a monitor.

In an email to the Sierra Club Thursday, Evern Williams, community development manager for Olelo, relayed the following:

I just got off the phone with Randal Ikeda, program officer at the PLDC. He is requesting that we do NOT do a live production AND that no arrangements be made for viewing of the hearing outside of the small conference room. He said that the PLDC is also taking over as executive producer of this event and reserves all rights to the footage. They have a right to do this if it is their event. They may even consider restricting other cameras in the room . . .

The PLDC, created by the Legislature in 2011, has been under fire from environmental groups and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from the beginning. Supporters, including state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, say it can help shore up aging public infrastructure and bring in revenue for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources for conservation projects. But critics say its powers are too broad and that the agency lacks adequate controls when it comes to environmental and cultural concerns.

PLDC officials have been holding public hearings throughout the state in recent weeks to hear testimony on the draft rules they’ve created to govern the PLDC.

It’s been a bruising tour, so far. And videos of meetings on the Big Island have been widely shared on the Internet and local news broadcasts.

People are angry and, in the video, curse at PLDC executive director Lloyd Haraguchi and Randal Ikeda, the program officer. One testifier rips the proposed rules in half while he's standing at the microphone, throwing the pieces on the floor. “You disgust me,” a Hilo man tells them.

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