Molokai Ranch has finally shown their true colors
The swiftness of
Indeed, the Ranch states in their press release: "Unacceptable delays caused by continued opposition to every aspect of the Master Plan means we are unable to fund continued normal company operations." But this is simply not true. The community did not object to "every aspect" of the Plan; rather, the community objected to the La'au development aspect of the Plan. Indeed, we have been consistent from the start in saying the there are many good parts of the Plan (which the community itself put a lot of work into creating), but that developing La'au is simply unacceptable.
We have also been consistent in saying to Molokai Ranch and Plan supporters, lets all come back to the table and find solutions to this issue. Let's find real alternatives to this development, and other types of economic engines besides development – ones that all or most can agree on. Lets find win-win solutions, rather than the win-lose ones like La'au Point or this current crisis.
But Molokai Ranch chose not to listen, and chose to try to ram-rod their project through. Wrong idea. And now they are bringing their oft promised/threatened "doomsday scenario" down on this community – by laying off their workers and starting to sell-off their lands. What a mean-spirited and cruel reaction to not getting their way ('I'm taking my ball and going home!").
Molokai Ranch, of course, says the shutdown is merely a "business decision" – one they were "forced" to make due to all the "unacceptable delays" regarding their proposed La'au development. But let's be clear here: all these "delays" were caused by Ranch's own decisions:
- by deciding to make this whole issue into an "all or nothing" "take it or leave it" scenario (either take/accept the Plan with the La'au development, or else no Plan and no Ranch);
- by choosing not to listen to this community saying '"A'ole La'au" (No to La'au!) over and over again for years; and
- by voluntarily withdrawing their shoddy EIS after massive community (and LUC) opposition to it. (It was this choice to withdraw that returned them to a draft EIS stage with it's associated public commentary process).
Molokai Ranch was also seriously "delayed" by two recent Supreme Court Decisions – one that took away their permitted allocation of potable water (Well-17), and the other that neutralized their preferred method of transporting it (the MIS).
In addition, a new Maui County ordinance (#3052) was enacted in December that requires verification of water supply before a subdivision is approved, while a February USGS comment letter was highly critical of Ranch's statements regarding water issues (in the EIS) as being misleading and/or inaccurate.
Yet, despite all of this, I don't hear Molokai Ranch blaming USGS, the County , the LUC, or the Hawai'i . No, they simply blame the activists, (without ever taking a good hard look in the mirror).
As one of those many people who have been working to help Save La'au, I can state clearly that the sentiment I have observed in the "activist community" during the past few days is that we feel deeply for the workers who have lost their jobs, and we will support them in whatever ways we can: by helping to find them new jobs; or by helping create new jobs with better economic engines; or by helping to provide food during this challenging time. No one will go hungry while trying to transition – takes care of her own.
But at the same time, we see this as a great opportunity to bring stewardship of this island back to the people of . We were already working on various potential solutions before this happened: from investors with more appropriate endeavors, to a proposed windfarm, to conservation buyers, to buying the entire Ranch, to a combination of all of the above. Now we are pushing to bring those kinds of things to fruition.
It has definitely been a "historic" week, but now, with your support, Moloka'i might truly be able to make history. Instead of foolishly pursuing so-called "sustainable development," (like La'au was promoted as being), could become a model of "sustainable agriculture." It could become a much-needed example of food (and economic) self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship, and energy independence. With culturally-appropriate business endeavors, could not only be a continuing piko (center) of Hawaiian culture and aloha, but could also become a truly sustainable and self-sufficient community.
We can "Ho'i i ka Pono!" (Return to Pono.) And we can truly "Keep Moloka'i, Moloka'i!"
Mahalo nui loa,
Adam T. Kahualaulani Mick