Not Enough Room
Molokai’s EC is in the process of “moving on.”
The writing is on the wall, or in the case of the Molokai’s Enterprise Community (EC), the writing is on the door. Members of the community expecting to participate in last week’s open meeting were shut out by a sign on the door warning would-be participants that the room’s max capacity was 50 people – a quota that the room had reached well before the meeting had even began.
Holding the meeting in a room far too small to accommodate the public was not a mistake or oversight. For more than six months now, EC meetings have never attracted less than 50 people. But the federally funded program, which is mandated to include participation from the public, regularly reserves meeting spaces which are too small.
While Thursday’s occurrence proved maddening for members of the public excluded from the meeting, the situation actually symbolizes a much more serious problem: EC administrators are blatantly excluding the very public which they are supposed to be serving.
Excuses given go like this: “There was no where else we could meet; we didn’t know there would be so many people attending; the bigger room was not reserved because necessary paperwork wasn’t filled out.” But the worst one is “accommodating everybody is not important – we have work to do here and we have to move on.”
“Moving on” is amongst the highest priorities of the EC administrators because they do indeed have a lot planned for themselves.
If the EC is successful in facilitating the approval of the millionaires’ subdivision at La`au Point, the developer, Molokai Properties Limited (MPL), is willing to procure thousands of acres of land and potentially millions in cash.
Most of the acreage up for grabs is earmarked as conservation land. The EC created the Molokai Land Trust as the receiving body for these lands and appointed a few of themselves as board members of the trust in the process.
But MPL also has developable land to trade for the approval of their millionaire subdivision which the Molokai Land Trust technically can’t accept.
To accept the developable land the EC had planned to create another organization called the Community Development Corporation, or CDC. But with just a year left before the EC’s federal funds run out, the EC probably won’t get around to creating the CDC.
Instead, there is talk that the EC governing body, Ke Aupuni Lokahi will take on the duties of the CDC.
And this is where it all starts to get interesting.
Basically, when the EC federal grant money runs out, the EC will continue to exist as Ke Aupuni Lokahi (KAL). KAL will no longer be mandated to include the public amongst their election processes or at any of their meetings because federal money is no longer involved. The organization, with its board members, will be able to manage, in private, the acreage and money gifted by MPL.
It’s important to note that both KAL and Molokai Land Trust members are NOT paid and DO have the “public’s interest” written into their bylaws. But the way these entities decide to serve the public will be up to the whims of the organizations’ board members and administrators… the same board members and administrators who recently posted max capacity signs barring the public from last week’s meeting.
The group of people who comprise the current EC organization have more than just millionaire subdivisions to develop, they are developing their own blueprint for control over Molokai’s future.
If this sounds alarming, it should. But before reacting and pointing fingers at our own people, understand that there would be no power struggle if the power had not been offered to begin with. We have Molokai Properties Limited to blame for this predicament. The sooner we come to terms with this truth, the sooner we will be able to come together and move forward as a united community.
Here on Molokai, there should always be enough room for all of us.