New Guard vs Old in State House 48?

Robert Harris and family
Robert Harris and family

Interesting the way the Democratic primaries are shaping up to be the old guard vs the more idealistic and environmentally conscious candidates.

We see this in Hanabusa (heavily supported by Big Pharma and the Defense Contractors) vs Senator Brian Schatz who has made climate change a priority.

This dichotomy is echoed at the state level in the vacant Kaneohe seat where we have former Sierra Club Executive Director, Robert Harris facing off with developer-supported Jerrett Keohokalole in August 9th’s Democratic Primary for House 48.

Presumably in both these races the winner of the Democratic primary will easily win the general election. (Sorry guys, don’t want to bachi you folks.)

A quick peek at the campaign contributions tells the story. Among Keohokalole‘s $41,893 in donations are some of the biggest names in development: Cameron Nekota (VP of Ho’opili). Castle & Cooke. Stanford Carr. Bill Mills Development Company. David Hulihee (Royal Contracting). Leonard Leong (VP of Royal Contracting),  D.R. Horton-Schuler, Alexander & Baldwin . That’s just a few. These developers are obviously  counting on Keohokalole to support upcoming Windward Oahu projects like the Envision Laie development and to be favorable to converting agricultural land to development.

This is a battle between the old guard “develop at any cost” and the modern progressive view of smart growth. It could have an interesting implications for Oahu and neighbor island development.

Do these developers still have the ability to buy politicians and elections? Or are people starting to get alarmed about the unbridled destruction of our environment by luxury condo and vacation rental builders?