Residents rally to oppose mayor's planned sale of land
About 100 people held a rally over the weekend calling for more openness in the county's land-selling process in response to Mayor Billy Kenoi's plan to sell former Hamakua Sugar Co. lands as a way to fill an $8.2 million hole in the county budget.
Several dozen people signed a petition in favor of the so-called "transparency" bill by Hämäkua Councilman Dominic Yagong that would give the County Council final say over land sales.
A large television screen featured video clips from an earlier meeting where Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole and Kau Councilman Guy Enriques explained why they opposed the bill.
Several Hämäkua residents said they'd like the land to remain in the county's possession as the community begins its development plan. Ideally, the land could be leased to small farmers to promote the area's agricultural heritage, they said.