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Walter Ritte Running for OHA

Walter Ritte News Release

Longtime community leader and former Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Trustee Walter Ritte has announced his candidacy for the At Large seat for OHA. A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Ritte is a prominent Hawaiian activist and longtime advocate for Hawaiian rights. He is also a member of the original “Kaho`olawe Nine,” the group of activists who landed on Kaho`olawe in 1976 in opposition to military bombings, which they were successful in halting.

Ritte was also a member of the 1978 Constitutional Convention and supported the formation of OHA. He helped author Article XII Sec. 7 of the Hawaii State Constitution, which codified Native Hawaiian cultural and gathering rights.

For the last three decades, he has fought for the protection of Hawaii’s most valuable and fragile resources.

“I am concerned for the life of our islands. Our economy is at war with our natural resources,” said Ritte.

He is known for his opposition to uncontrolled development and strong advocacy for traditional and sustainable natural resources management. In recent years, he has been at the forefront of numerous environmental issues, including the protection of endangered species, the protection of kalo and water rights, advocacy for community involvement in sustainable tourism and advocacy for legislation that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.

“I want to bring my skills and experiences to help Hawaii and its people, and to malama our future generations.”

A Molokai Hawaiian homestead resident from Ho`olehua, Ritte’s candidacy brings diversity to an otherwise Oahu-exclusive pool of candidates. Ritte would be the only At Large representative from a neighbor island.

Ritte identifies his biggest reason for running for the seat as Aloha Aina and sovereignty.

“We need to deal with the unresolved and un-relinquished sovereignty of Hawaii,” said Ritte. “OHA needs to educate and organize the Hawaiian people and build our nation from the bottom up.”

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33 Responses to “Walter Ritte Running for OHA”

  1. flowergirl says:

    He’s got my vote!

  2. janelee says:

    Perfect man for the job! He’s got my vote, too!

  3. What? says:

    This is great! We definitely need more Germans on the OHA board.

  4. kaupoagal says:

    Please, no Walter on OHA.

    Some of us would love to see Molokai prosper, jobs increase, welfare decrease, the amazing beauty of Molokai shared even if it changes. I’d like to say that Absolute No Growth is the way to go but our island is living proof that, sadly, in today’s age, it is a poor, self-centered, unrealistic idea. I remember being devastated by the idea of a hotel on the West End many years ago. Now, I wish that it was still operating so that jobs existed to sustain beautiful ohana.

  5. meleana75 says:

    Walter you got my vote…any help on my Island let us know. Mahalo Nui Loa Maryann

  6. Loke Gandeza says:

    @kaupoagal – No one not even Walter is asking for NO GROWTH. Just responsible growth. There’s a huge difference. People visit here and love Molokai because it’s been spared from the “SELF-CENTERED” uncontrolled growth that has put the other islands in so much trouble they are now trying to force us to put up windmills to supply THEIR energy needs.

    Uncontrolled “growth” on the neighbor islands haven’t solved the unemployment problems or lowered the need for welfare on those islands, and it’s not the solution for this island.

    I’ve worked with Walter who has been very involved in responsible community development programs (like the Molokai Enterprise Community) to solved these problems. E kala mai, but what have you done?

    Walter, you have my vote!

  7. molokaimade1959 says:

    @ Loke,
    Kaupoa Girl is right on and you are mistaken, I’m sorry to say. See below.

    Q: Can you name any single event where Walter has stood up in favor of jobs for Molokai?
    A: I can name 6 different instances where he has blocked the creation of new jobs, spending countless hours of energy and time in protest… but NEVAH ONCE have I seen him do anything to bring jobs to Molokai.

    Remember, this is the guy who unlocked the back door so First Wind could put windmills on HHL in Hoolehua. yeah, right.

    Q: As for his participation on the EC board, well, that’s a bit of an embarassment.
    A: You see, he was kicked off the EC Board for failure to attend the meetings and participate. How in the world could you think about electing someone to a role when they have an established pattern of non-participation.

    I suspect the only people who will be voting for Herr Ritte (from Munich or Stuttgart?) will be the three people who have said so on this chat board.

    OHA Trustees will do well to campaign for candidates other than Mr. Ritte to be elected if they wish for any semblance of legitimacy. Mr. Ritte is not a candidate who will benefit Hawaiians, Molokaians or anyone other than himself and his ohana tribe.

  8. halemalu says:

    imagine a Molokai without a third of the population depending on foodstamps. yes, it CAN be done. people can be proud of themselves again. we do not have to depend on taxpayers for our existence, to put food on the table. let’s figure out WHAT the balance is that we need to accomplish without being overrrun by tourism and realestate tycoons. without seeing our mo’opuna leaving the island to eke out an existence, without being paranoid of development or little “cruise ships”. You tell me how to accomplish that, because i don’t know, as i am not a politician. but i suspect that people need to be able to obtain permits to run their own businesses. legally! they might be able to HIRE staff once they get on their feet. how about that one, Maui county??

  9. franan says:

    Anyone running for OHA who is still talking about ‘sovereignty’ for the hawaiian islands is pretty much out of touch with the laws of the land and how the average modern hawaiian thinks and lives. There is always a legitimate voice for those who are rightfully suspicious of the power of outside money and development of subdivisions that contain only the well to do.
    But Walter Ritte continues to bash the efforts of modern agriculture to feed this planet with the help of experimentation on Molokai. He continues to bash the use of genetically modified food that has promise to wipe out starvation. He continues to bad mouth all chemical/biological attempts to end pest and disease in agriculture but you can still see him and his friends pouring alcohol down their throats – a substance which has been recognized around the world as causing as many problems as starvation.
    The current lady in OHA is a joke – but Walter would be a worse punch line.

  10. Loke Gandeza says:

    So you are the expert of how “Modern” Hawaiians think and live? Where are you getting your facts from?

    According to you:
    Walter Ritte continues to bash the efforts of modern agriculture to feed this planet with the help of experimentation on Molokai. He continues to bash the use of genetically modified food that has promise to wipe out starvation

    According to the Experts:
    A Major UN / World Bank sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have LITTLE TO OFFER to the CHALLENGES OF POVERTY AND HUNGER . Better alternatives are available, and the report championed ORGANIC FARMING as the sustainable way forward for developing countries. One of the best options is organic Permaculture.

    I guess Walter Ritte did his homework!
    ————————————————————–
    According to you:
    He continues to bad mouth all chemical/biological attempts to end pest and disease in agriculture

    According to the Experts:
    A recent NPR report says there can be little doubt that genetically engineered crops are the most dangerous aspect of modern agriculture. Not only are we seeing rapid emergence of super-weeds resistant to glyphosate, courtesy of Roundup Ready crops, we now also have evidence of emerging Bt-resistant insects. Add to that the emergence of a brand new organism capable of producing disease and infertility in both plants and animals, and a wide variety of evidence showing harm to human health, and the only reasonable expectation one can glean is that humanity as a whole is being seriously threatened by this foolhardy technology.

    Again, Walter Ritte did his homework.
    ———————————————————————

    Franan, did you know that in March 1999, UK researchers at the York Laboratory were alarmed to discover that reactions to soy had skyrocketed by 50% over the previous year. Genetically modified soy had recently entered the UK from US imports and the soy used in the study was largely GMO. Aspartame is also known to cause NEW allergies and hives by the “reported cases” at the FDA.

    Some GMO foods have been proven in laboratory tests (on rats AND mammals including monkeys) to CAUSE: NEW allergies, cancer, sterility (consumers losing their ability to get pregnant and have babies), miscarriages, seizures, and even death!

    According to you:
    There is always a legitimate voice for those who are rightfully suspicious of the power of outside money and development of subdivisions that contain only the well to do.

    The Facts:
    If you want to talk about the history of Corporations on Molokai, most of us “Modern Hawaiians” have learned from our history that being dependent on big corporations for job security is a recipe for failure.

    For Example:
    1. Pineapple Corporations leave – 100′s of families without jobs all at once.
    2. Kaluakoi Hotel Corporation closes – 100′s of families without jobs all at once
    3. Molokai Ranch Shuts down – 100s of families with out jobs all at once.

    When Monsanto decides that it can make more “profits” some were else, or when our farmlands are of no value to them anymore, they too will leave Molokai with 100′s of families without jobs all at once.

    On a side note, if you would like to talk about the issues of Molokai, I would love to share mana’o with you, but, personal attacks like “but you can still see him and his friends pouring alcohol down their throats” are cheap shots, that are not only counterproductive but make it really difficult for me to take you seriously.

    • franan says:

      You argue your points very well and respectfully — but I respectfully disagree with the validity of many of your conclusions. For example – for every scientist who lines up against GMO or roundup or the impacts of such research or the promise of it – there are at least 50 scientists who “respectfully” disagree with them.

      The mere fact of modern reactions to soy being different is hardly a complete picture of food interactions – as most in the permaculture industry would be quick to agree with. We don’t live and eat in a vacuum – all the bad things you describe can’t simply be laid conclusively at the feet of modern science or a particular substance. Walter Ritte may have done his homework as you say – but it doesn’t mean he got it right. You should keep in mind that of the 7 billion people in this world – the fast majority of them have zero access to farming of any kind – and all of your encouragement towards organic farming won’t help them.
      Basically – some folks on Molokai like the idea that they are living a simple wonderful life of self subsistence – uncomplicated by the outside world. It is a fantasy. Our children are growing up with new ideas and different needs. The reality is that the economy of Molokai is extremely dependent on federal subsidy, food stamps, and social welfare – just to make it through a month. If the feds stop subsidizing Molokai – it is ball game over for many people.

      And all those 100′s of families you mention left without jobs when the ranch or the pineapple plantations shut down? Really? hundreds of “families” were so eager to work for meager wages they paid?? Get a grip – that was bare maintenance pay at the very best except for a few people. We don’t and shouldn’t depend on corporations to be our sugar daddies or to live our lives working for the compay store – but we don’t need to discourage them either.

      Good for you – if you are living the self sufficient life that many are preaching. But don’t confuse Ritte’s position with that of the average thinking islander – all you have to do is talk to about 20 non-white folks on MolokaI – and you will quickly discover that he is not held in high regard.

      • ponokai says:

        Franan, let me get this straight. You support tons of poisons being dumped on our fertile lands? You support the spraying of toxic chemicals into our air? You support the contamination of our seas? You support cancer, respiratory illnesses, digestive problems and other sicknesses in our people, our children? And you knock Walter Ritte for fighting against it? For what? You support it because you think killing Hawaii will feed the world? Somebody snowed you and that’s a shame. To anyone reading this, GMO’s are killing you slowly. And as for Walter running for OHA, he’s going to shake things up – in a good way. Those OHA folks have know idea what it means to aloha ‘āina…to do so would mean that they’d have to take their aloha shirts and fancy black socks off…Walter lives aloha ‘āina. We need Walter in OHA. And Franan, you can rebuttal all you like, we know the truth. We no better than to think poisoning our land is justified. We know Hawai’i needs people in leadership positions who actually care about protecting our resources. There’s plenty people who think like you-that’s the problem…the problem is definitely not Walter Ritte.

  11. Loke Gandeza says:

    @ molokaimade1959,

    Q: Can you name any single event where Walter has stood up in favor of jobs for Molokai?
    A: There are many, when I was working with him during my days at MCSC. All of the projects that MCSC were responsible for under the EC Board were jobs related in one way or another, Environmental Reclamation requires hiring for replanting, The Fishponds restoration projects, Live Rock, and even recently we’ve talked about a Molokai Call Center as a solutions for sustainable Molokai jobs, that wouldn’t rape the environment. Food Security – We DON’T have to lose jobs to say NO to GMOs and we don’t have to destroy our farmlands with
    toxic chemicals to feed our families. We can just farm the way our ancestors did, organically! And we don’t need a Chemical Corporation to show us how to do it.

    Remember, this is the guy who unlocked the back door so First Wind could put windmills on HHL in Hoolehua. yeah, right.

    A: Actually First Wind was in talks with a few community leaders about helping the Community Buy the Molokai Ranch and turn it into a Community Run Corporation, The idea was to make Molokai self-sufficient, with lasting jobs and other opportunities. It makes a lot of sense when you look at Molokai’s history of relying on outside Corporations to provide jobs, only to have them close down and leave a hundred families out of a work.

    Q: As for his participation on the EC board, well, that’s a bit of an embarrassment.

    A: That isn’t a question but I have an answer for you. I know that during that time, Ka Aupuni Lokahi (EC BOARD) was facilitating the meetings between the community and the Molokai Ranch to reopen Kaluakoi Hotel, but required supporting building on La’au. As we all know, Walter led the “Save La’au Project”, You might call it non-participation, but he could see that participation would have been a “conflict of Interest” during that time. That’s hardly an embarrassment.

    I suspect the only people who will be voting for Herr Ritte (from Munich or Stuttgart?) will be the three people who have said so on this chat board.

    A: Why is it that people need to make these types of comments? If you don’t want to vote for him fine, but why the attempts at insults? Are you trying to imply that he isn’t Hawaiian? Because he is, and he has enough Hawaiian blood to live on Hawaiian Homestead, so what’s your point with that comment?

  12. janelee says:

    No matter what anybody says,, Walter is very effective in getting the community to rally around a cause. You can criticize all you want, until you are just as effective, best keep your (advise) opinions to yourself…wannabe?

  13. franan says:

    We disagree about this for one simple reason. You believe that what monsanto is doing is spreading posion onto molokai lands. I do not. For every scientist you can quote I can quote many more who disagree with you as well. You have a closed minded attitude towards something that is targeted towards helping the world to feed itself in reasonable ways without taking us back to the dark ages.

    Just in case you need reminding – sugar and salt are poison if you get too much. Caffeine is deadly if you get too much. Common preservatives you get in store bought food are poison in sufficient quantities. And my goodness – do you have any idea how poison windex and householod bleach are – and yet our children have access to them under the sink and friendly isle puts them right out on the shelves where anyone can see them for sale. Why don’t we just put dope out on the shelves for sale as well?? It’s poison – so is beer.

    Good lord folks get some balance and perspective – nobody goes around drinking round-up any more than they drink windex. geez. And to top it off – Walter’s buddies are a bunch of thugs. And most of his supporters are a bunch of misguided aging hippies.

    • kalaniua ritte says:

      if you believe monsanto/micogen are good for this island why dont you and who ever else SUPPORTS THEM OR TAKES $$$ FROM THEM GO LIVE IN THEIR FIELDS,EAT THEIR CORN,BATH IN THEIR PESTICIDE DUST AND SEE HOW LONG YOUR HEALTH LAST.
      is fran aboys name or girls…..i love name calling

      • franan says:

        It’s Fran Anderson – a woman’s name. And I don’t mind the give and take with you although we disagree. I just happen to think that dope and beer have ruined 50 times more people on Molokai than Monsanto will in a thousand years. As far as politics goes it is not always nice and even if Walter is elected he will still face quiet stiff opposition from a majority of Molokai residents who don’t believe he understands what the future is or what people need to live in it.
        If – god forbid – the united states government stops spending money to bolster people’s lives on Molokai and in Hawaii in general – the very harsh reality of a subsistence life will be a bitter pill for people to swallow.
        For many many people on Molokai – speaking out against the way Walter goes about things – and what he thinks has been met with the same sort of hatred and half truth and vengeance that is echoed in your writing.
        From my perspective Walter’s ideas reflect a very small vocal angry minority on Molokai. That very anger tends to shut out the more reflective and capable folks on the island.

  14. ponokai says:

    Fran, it’s a shame that you are so disconnected from the land. You know, at some point, way back, your ancestors were people of the land and sea, with a love and respect for mother earth. They had to rely on a healthy environment to survive, they hunted and gathered, had a relationship with nature. All of our ancestors did. The proof is that we are alive today. It’s only been less than 150 years since Hawaiians were introduced to a different way. For whatever reason, you are here, calling Hawaii home. So are you going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? You mention dope and beer…all those destructive things were brought here by others already disconnected. Hawaii has struggled and suffered ever since. Today, we can choose to continue the destruction or fight to protect the little that’s left. People like Walter who stand up and speak out in favor of fertile lands and abundant resources are not thugs. They simply have not lost their connection to the ‘āina

  15. kalaniua ritte says:

    you dam right i angry ,they poisoning my island and my family they turning my neighborhood in to a toxic dust bowl ..any human who loves their island would be pissed..monsanto has been convicted of knowingly poisoning a whole town in anniston alabama just to save $$$.jobs??how many of these jobs are taken by immigrants {white and brown} who woundnt be here if it werent for the job.they should go home and poison there own place….it seems you are very active in the community to know how the “majority” feels and what the “minority” does.i wonder why nobody has heard of you?do you even live here?

  16. kalaniua ritte says:

    ALSO WITH BEER AND DOPE, THE PERSON USING THEM HAS THE CHOICE TO DO THEM OR NOT,YOU HAVE NO CHOICE WITH MONSANTO/MICOGENS PESTICIDES AND PRODUCTS,ITS FORCED ON YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN BY PEOPLE WHO TELL “HALF TRUTHS”.

  17. kalaniua ritte says:

    NOW THATS “A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW”.

  18. jeff spencer says:

    Aloha Fran Anderson.

    My name is Jeff Spencer. I am a haole in paradise. I grew up on the beaches of Southern California and have been a resident of Moloka’i for 8 years now. I’m an old hippie as well. I wear that moniker as a badge of honor. We can debate who’s misguided anytime you’d like.

    You may say you don’t mind give and take but your words written over the past few weeks say otherwise. You have disagreed with Walter’s positions on various issues, as is your right, but you have also demeaned many people you certainly don’t know in the process. You have made assumptions and taken others’ word as gospel and that leads me to believe you’ve done the same with the positions you so boldly support. Whether the subject is GMO’s, Hawaiian sovereignty, or the island’s water resources you have used the weakest of arguments in opposition and seem to believe that Walter and a few friends and family members are all that stand between this island’s demise and your view of nirvana.

    I spent many years traveling, living, and doing business in Latin America and there I was a gringo. I have never taken the terms haole or gringo personally. Just to mean that I was a foreigner in their land and that my heritage was one of taking other people’s lands by hook or by crook. This is the truth and cannot be debated away, rationalized or swept under the rug of time.

    I have always found that given time my heart and good intentions would darken my white skin and I would be accepted or rejected based on my actions and those good intentions. To the greatest extent over almost 50 years of traveling that has been the case. Never more so than here on Moloka’i.

    Fran, we get it, Ritte Ohana bad. Monsanto good. No one is debating the issues of hunger in the world, that is a given but the reasons are many fold. You are defending Monsanto and attempting to dismiss extraordinary worldwide concern, entire countries that have outlawed GMO’s, Nobel prize winners in opposition, and repeated horror stories backed by fact all with wide sweeping statements of planetary doom if they are not allowed to go forward. I’ve seen too many documentaries, heard too much testimony, read too many reports to believe there is nothing to discuss here or that Walter Ritte started the movement against GMO’s.

    Your comments are divisive and your only solutions to all of the complex issues facing Moloka’i are more GMO’s and less Walter Ritte. Apparently you’re not a truly deep thinker. If you were you’d offer options and ideas based on the unique dynamics here on Moloka’i instead of attacking those you don’t agree with. Allow me to change the direction of your negativism.

    When I moved here it was to learn from the Hawaiian people, not to teach, preach to, or to change them. I wanted to disappear into the community, learn from them, make my little piece of the ‘aina better than when I bought it and I wanted to share what I grew. I believe I have been successful and the result of my effort is that I count as my friends and family many on this island. I have no fear of signing my name to my words because I love Moloka’i. Not for what it might become but because of what it is, exactly as it is.

    Everyone I know wants to keep Moloka’i Moloka’i. Everyone I know wants to support their family and live a basic Moloka’i lifestyle. It appears that we cannot do both but I would ask you to consider a possible alternative to the conflict we find ourselves in today.

    Keeping Moloka’i as primitive, natural and untouched as it is today is what many are demanding and why most of us love this island so much. It is obvious that this is a deeply held feeling that is not going to change. Let that mandate be the baseline for any future conversations about any actions taken on Moloka’i. Who better to define the parameters of any growth or change to this island than those whose represent it at the roots level, the Aha Kiole.

    And let me add, those who demean and criticize the initial efforts of the Aha Kiole to address issues that affect this island are no different than our ancestors who came here and took this kingdom by force from its rightful inhabitants. No different than those who fail to understand why Walter and Hano and those Moloka’i warriors who still hear the crying of their tutus and kapuna are willing to fight for their land and culture and stand up against actions that have clearly been in conflict with a society that prospered and survived four times longer than America has even been in existence.

    Having a sustainable island is an intelligent goal. A sustainable economy must be a part of that if we are to do nothing more than just keep Moloka’i Moloka’i, fix the schools, repair the roads, improve the water system. Commerce is the tool, it provides the jobs this island needs and the money for maintaining our infrastructure. It is obvious that many on this island recognize the need for some additional cash to flow thru our economy. Who better to create commerce than the business community.

    The issue then is how can we bring these two groups together or to put it another way, what is the cause of this division that we cannot overcome?

    I would say it is lack of leadership from Maui County and our elected representatives. I would say it is the lack of a real world, actionable plan for Moloka’i and that is the fault of our elected officials. They cannot tell us how many tourist’s dollars we need in order to balance our economy, how much tourism we can even handle or how we will handle it. They are great at spending $150,000 for a swing set and spending our tax dollars to fly over for a test ride.

    Moloka’i, I asked the Maui County budget director to tell me what the cost to maintain and operate Moloka’i is and what we contribute thru taxes, fees, and Federal and State grants based on our economic situation. He responded that they don’t break the budget down by geographic area. I wrote Danny Mateo twice to obtain this information and he never even responded. In other words, they do not have the hard facts to help us understand where we are or to use as the basis for a plan. We do not know what it cost to just to keep Moloka’i Moloka’i, how much we put in the pot, or what is done with our money and why.

    Maui County, thru our mayor and our councilman, is the table where the Aha Kiole and the business community need to sit and resolve the issues that are affecting Moloka’i. Where are they? Why didn’t Mr. Mateo speak at recent meetings ? Stand up and say he would lead us forward. That he would facilitate a resolution, that he had a vision for Moloka’i, an understanding of the unique dynamics here on Moloka’i. The mayor makes statements in the press but does nothing to resolve the issues affecting our island. Probably his loudest statement came some months ago when at a Maui ukulele festival he could not pronounce Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s name correctly and was booed by the audience. If you can’t get that right you just don’t get Moloka’i. If Hawai’i ’78 isn’t the sound you hear in the trade winds you are missing the key ingredient to creating a dynamic, self sustaining Moloka’i that embraces the significance of who we are and how rare and precious we are, just as we are.

    If you want a resolution that brings this island together then demand our elected leaders do what we elected them to do, lead. Forget tourism and the boat controversy for a moment. We are the Farmers, we are ‘aina momona, yet we don’t grow enough to feed ourselves much less have an export industry that provides jobs and a significant tax base.

    What kind of leader stands back and allows his people to tear themselves apart rather than work together to create an island and an economy that reflects who we are and what we want for our children. What kind of leader fails to acknowledge the debate over, and legitimate concerns about, GMO’s and not work to develop alternative markets and crops. Fran, you say there are none and I say when everything eaten on Moloka’i is grown or raised on Moloka’i and when everything eaten in the Hawaiian Islands is grown or raised in the Hawaiians islands we can then revisit your very narrow view of our capabilities and options.

    And with regard to tourism. It does not have to be what we see on the other islands and while it may or may not be a long term source of income for the island it is a viable industry today and one of two Moloka’i has any chance to develop. One important question is how we invest that income for the future of the island’s children, it must benefit the many. Of course the more important question is how we keep Moloka’i Moloka’i in the process and I would use Yellowstone National Park or the Colorado River as examples of what is possible. You do not just drive into Yellowstone and do what you want. You pay a fee to enter, you agree to rules and regulations and you only go where you are permitted. If you want to take a raft ride down the Colorado River you pay a few thousand dollars and wait months to have the opportunity. The rarer and harder something is to obtain the more it is treasured.

    No one improved or changed anything in Yellowstone or in the Grand Canyon yet the tourists will do anything to experience them. Moloka’i we are a natural wonder and the Hawaiian culture is respected and admired worldwide. All we lack is a leader with a vision.

    Moloka’i, I have driven from California to New York, from Canada to Costa Rica and have flown to many other places in this world and nothing I have seen or experienced is more special than is Moloka’i, just as it is. We are as rare and precious as the Hope Diamond yet our elected leaders treat us like we are just cut glass.

    Our business community is comprised of our neighbors. None are visionaries or marketing experts but they contribute to what makes Moloka’i Moloka’i and they know they need some more customers just to keep Moloka’i Moloka’i. They expect our elected representatives to create a viable business model for the island and they stand ready to fulfill the needs created by the plan. Our farmers stand ready to grow crops and we know we can grow them better than anyone. We are ‘aina momona.

    What we don’t have is a plan and a leader. What we don’t have is access to our checkbook or its ledger. I challenge any of these anonymous wise men who think they’ve got the answer to the issues facing Moloka’i to step up and lay out their plan with numbers attached. And no, throwing crap against the wall and seeing what sticks is not a plan. That’s been done on every other island and why we live on Moloka’i. If you expect these Hawaiians you call thugs to take a step in your direction you’re gonna have to do better than those that took their grandparents’ kindness for weakness.

    Please, don’t say plenty of ideas have been brought forth. Please, don’t say more about the vocal minority rejecting them without offering ideas of their own. Those ideas, like Carnival Cruise sized ships and the MPL master plan, could not stand the light of day by any standard, just crap thrown against the wall. Quit suggesting a bad plan is better than no plan or that any action is better than none in the absence of a viable plan. And please, just because someone like Walter Ritte sees the weakness of those grand ideas don’t suggest he must then be a visionary and offer ideas of his own.

    That is why we elect leaders and trust in them to understand who we are, what we want for our community and then have the vision and ability to help us obtain those goals that insure the future for our keiki and their keiki as well.

    In the absence of leadership what shall we do? Business community, do your homework and tell us what we need just to keep Moloka’i Moloka’i. Get the county to open the books. Tell us the truth about our revenues and expenses. Maybe we don’t need one more tourist, maybe we need 500 a day. We’ll never know where we want to go until we know where we are. We can never make intelligent decisions about our future until we have factual information.

    Aha Kiole, please consider action vs. reaction. Failing to plan is planning to fail and you are the key to any real, meaningful plan for this island. I heard Walter say he would defer to your wisdom regarding the recent debate over the mini-cruise issue. You can eliminate this idea that Walter and a few radicals are all that keeps Moloka’i from fulfilling everyone’s dreams. You can express the dreams of those for whom Moloka’i is not a business opportunity but a way of life. I have heard the kapuna speak often. They want jobs for their children and grandchildren but they do not want the options offered Moloka’i so far and they thank Walter for standing up to poorly conceived plans to exploit this island. They know something good can happen but need you to express it.

    Moloka’i, don’t let these anonymous naysayers convince you one man and his family are responsible for where Moloka’i finds itself today. Please don’t teach our children not to question and not to stand up for issues they believe in. Help them see all sides and use that wisdom to become the leaders we so desperately need to guide this island forward.

    In the meantime, vote wisely and ask yourself, if Walter’s steadfast support of all things Hawaiian over the past 40+ years is not deserving of a voice within the only organization that is specifically embodied for just that reason then who is?

    • franan says:

      Mahalo -very well written point of view. And to clear the record to some extent – I am no lover of Monsanto – but that has more to do with my distrust of large corporate entities. On the other hand – I don’t share your view that they are primarily poisoners of the land. I just happen to think that life has gotten – and will continue to get more complicated as time goes on – and that the notion of ‘returning to some sort of simple life’ – is a perception that is not well founded.

      I also happen to extremely dislike the prevailing social attitudes that come out of mainland folks who think Molokai is somehow backwards. On the other hand – I have watched how Walter and co. have treated decent folks who don’t agree with his point of view. It is not nice and I am always amazed at how many life long Molokai residents I meet who share that point of view.

  19. kalaniua ritte says:

    amen!

  20. ponokai says:

    Nice, Jeff. Mahalo for that :). It’s good to know that there are those out there who actually get it.

  21. Lawrence says:

    Walter and Jeff,

    I have been visiting the island for ten years. To some I have met, my visits are no more than an insult. To others, a friendly smile and hand was offered. I appreciate and respect your observations, your viewpoint and efforts to keep Molokai, Molokai.

    Unfortunately, like others, I lost my job and have been hanging on, so visits to the island are no longer the luxery they once were in my life. I try to keep up through friends on island and the Dispatch. Like many, I was touched deeply by Molokai and I could feel the history, power and something I could never describe coming up through the red soil and nesting in my heart and mind.

    One thing is very clear, there have been few ideas, options, or inspirations that havn’t been ripped apart, torn down, blockaded or just plain drowned in hard feelings, controversy and negative reaction. I have pondered this unique storm of action/reaction for years without understanding what causes it. This power to divide good people and keep them at odds seems to be unique to this special place. Maybe that’s a good thing.

    I live in a small, ethnic neighborhood. I participate. We gather, discuss, plan and work in our small way to better the neighborhood for business, our seniors, children, security and cleanliness. We don’t always agree! But, through regular interaction and mutual respect, we accomplish things that better our environment and nieghborhood. I have learned that once we agree and impliment, things move slowly. But, in the end, we accomplish something and feel a great deal of pride in our effort.

    I see small, good things happening on the island, but the big issues and their solutions seem elusive. And so it goes.

    Thanks again for putting your viewpoints in writing. I truly hope the wheel turns eventually for Molokai. Perhaps it already has.

    God bless you and all on this special island.

  22. janelee says:

    All has been said and done. The vote has been cast for the status quo. I would invite Walter to rest and sit with us old warriors and watch the whole mess unfold before our eyes. But there is something greater in Walter that nudges him forward on this rugged path, instead of choosing the easy way out via the super highway with the rest of the puppets of this society.

  23. dvljah777 says:

    No comment. I’ll/We’ll keep praying for that miracle.

  24. dvljah777 says:

    I voted for you Walter Ritte, Hope you got in.

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