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Haseko has been a good neighbor to the Ewa Beach community

By Tony Becker, Gale Braceros, Lyle Halverson, Kevin Rathbun and Rodolfo Ramos

LAST UPDATED: 02:05 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2011

Over the years, Haseko's commitment to being a good neighbor has resulted in an active community stewardship program for Ewa Beach that has provided not only millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements, but also investment in area schools and financial support for numerous community organizations.

That is why we were dismayed to read Tim Tucker's recent commentary regarding Haseko and the company's proposed changes to the Hoakalei Resort community ("Hold Haseko accountable for promises ... " Island Voices, Star-Advertiser, Nov. 10). In it, he condemned Haseko for not fulfilling its promises to the Ewa Beach community when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, Haseko has made contributions in excess of $300,000 to Seagull Schools' new Ewa Beach campus, James Campbell High School's Saber Media Program, Ewa Beach Elementary School and Keoneula Elementary School.

The company also provided a $500,000 endowment to establish the Haseko Training Fund to provide grants for pre-employment training and vocational education scholarships for Ewa Beach residents.

Grants have been awarded to the Ewa Weed & Seed program to help run its culinary arts program for James Campbell High School students, the Construction Training Center of the Pacific's Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training Program, and James Campbell High School's Agricultural Learning Center, among others.

In addition, Haseko has contributed $500,000 to the Ewa Beach Community Trust Fund, which awards grants to local groups that provide services for Ewa Beach youth and senior citizens. Grant recipients to date have included Ewa Beach Pony League, Ewa Hui Aloha Senior Citizens Club, Ewalani Hula Maids, Ewa Beach Lions Club and Hawaii Special Olympics.

Haseko has also donated more than 40 acres for community infrastructure and amenities, including land for Seagull Schools' new Ewa Beach campus; Keoneula Elementary School; the Honolulu Fire Department for construction of a new fire station, plus jet skis/sleds and trailers, beachfront land to be donated to the city to expand Oneula Beach Park, and land to be donated to the city for a district park.

All of these efforts have had an incredible, lasting impact in Ewa Beach:

» Most of these programs have provided sustainable ways to bolster local industry and job creation in the Ewa Beach area so that residents can live, work and play on the Ewa Plain.

» Providing support of local nonprofits has engaged youth in the community.

» Sponsorship of various community programs and events and contributions of land for schools, parks and emergency services have provided ongoing education and community building for multiple organizations and the residents of Ewa Beach.

» Upgrades to the city's sewer pump station and pipes and beautification of Papipi Road have benefitted the entire community.

» Through its endowment of the Haseko Training Fund and Ewa Beach Community Fund, residents will be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of the Good Neighbor Program long after the project is complete.

These are the promises made and kept by Haseko, and as members of the Ewa Beach community, all we can say is "Thank you, and keep up the great work."

This was signed by Ewa Beach residents Tony Becker, Lyle Halverson, Kevin Rathbun, Ewa Weed & Seed site coordinator Gale Braceros and Ewa Beach Community Fund advisory board member Rodolfo Ramos.

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HawaiiBigFish wrote:
Up until they announced they would not build a marina, Haseko has been a good neighbor. However, we need to examine this issue more closely. 1. In their Environmental Impact Statement, Haseko said they would build a marina and that this marina would not only bring construction jobs, but 1,500 permanent jobs in the completed maritime center. They stated these jobs would lesson the traffic on Fort Weaver Road. 2. In their application for rezoning 1,300 acres of agricultural land to residential, Haseko said they WILL build the marina in years 4 to 6, including dry-stack storage and boat launch ramps. They have not kept this promise. 3. In order to dig the marina, Haseko needed a Water Use Permit, as they were going to dig into the caprock. In their application for a water use permit, Haseko noted that the Marina would be the focal point of the project and would generate tax revenues to the state for both the construction and the operation of the marina. They also stated that they would do this at no cost to the State of Hawaii. 4. In the finding of Fact, Conclusion of Law, Decision and Order by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, dated December 1994, (DLNR File No. : 0A-2670, Decision and Order "The Marina waterway shall be open free of charge to navigational access by the general public in perpetuity. Most importantly, under the Conclusion of Law, number 32. Implementation of the project shall be in general conformity with the representations made in the application on file with the Department and at the Contested Case Hearing. In the EIS, Haseko stated the marina would enhance the overall sales potential of the project. Haseko marketed homes in a marina community, with subdivision names like Mariners Place and Spinnaker Place. They kept the public informed of the progress of the "Marina" on their website and in their newsletters. Is the opposite true then? Will not buiding the marina depress the values of homes? Will homeowners lose whatever equity they had as a result of this decision? Where is the consumer protection? Our economy is lagging, and we need jobs. Building and operating the marina will provide jobs. The State of Hawaii is cutting back services as a result of low tax revenues. Haseko stated in thier permit applications that building the marina (not just the homes) will provide tax revenue to the state. Are you willing to let Haseko off the hook for Millions of dollars in tax revenue as they stated in their Water Use Application. They also stated that the marina would bring events like the Kenwood Cup and Americas cup to the islands, and that these events would bring substantial revenue to the State. So, no marina, no jobs, tax revenue, world class events, or any of the other promises made in return for permits. Is Haseko really being a good neighbor here, or just pitting neighbor against neighbor in the hopes that no one will notice they have conned homeowners, the City, the State of Hawaii, and even the Army Corps of Engineers (would issued the Department of Army Permit needed to dig a marina) and have left us with nothing more that a borrow pit. This is not just a home owner issue. It's a public policy issue. I hope our elected officlals and Government agencies would issued the permits will take prompt action here. Consumers who feel they have been wronged should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
on November 20,2011 | 09:55AM
HawaiiBigFish wrote:
If you want to see what a good neighbor Haseko can be, ask them for copies of ALL their permit applications, including: 1. Department of the Army - Permit to Dig a Marina, Channel and Construct Marina Infrstructure - Permit Number PODCO 2117 2. Application for rezoning - City & County - stating the marina facilities, launch ramps will be built in years 4 to 6. 3. Water Use Permit Application - Stating the reasons why the permit shall be granted. 4. Letters to the State Historic Preservation Office stating "The launching ramps, parking lot and washdown areas will be developed by Haseko and dedicated to the State of Hawaii." I believe the Neighborhhod Board members should read these items before making any decisions regarding the marina. Do the board members really want to give up the promised 1,500 permanent jobs and State tax revenue?
on November 20,2011 | 12:23PM
Kalli wrote:
These guys cannot possibly be living in ewa beach and they certainly didn't read Tim Tuckers viewpoint. Tim listed 8 items Haseko promised and did not follow through on, many of them very expensive projects that were promised and no delivered AFTER the community supported their permits. The things these people list were never a promise in order to get permits, they were given in order to improve Haseko's sales (like Seagull schools) or in the beautification of Papipi Rd. only after they were sued in court to stop the original plan. The sewer improvements were required in order for Haseko to build more homes, they weren't done as any improvement for the community. Do any of you think you will be able to swim in the brackish water of the lagoons now planned by Haseko? You can't even swim in the natatorium water how could Haseko make the water clean enough to get a health permit from the city. Quit selling out our community and join the real people who demand that Haseko live up to their promises.
on November 20,2011 | 01:55PM
Anonymous wrote:
What about all the run-off into the ocean that has hastened the decline of the Limu in Ewa? Which has also led to the decline of the fish in Ewa? My friend Henry Chang Wo from Ewa can tell you all about that stuff too. Get real folks. They have damaged much more than they have helped. Most of those pictured don't look like they fish or eat limu.
on November 22,2011 | 10:17AM