Molokai Residents: Prepare to go to the Polls
On Wednesday, January 31st the selection of two of Molokai Enterprise Community’s (EC) ten board members will be decided by a public vote.
At almost a decade old, the EC has mounting political inertia and self-proclaimed representation of the community. Whether or not EC leadership has produced what was to be expected of an agency responsible for growth and revitalization of the community, moving forward with well selected board members continues to be paramount for a community set on charting its own course.
This year’s election coincides with a controversial issue that virtually every person on Molokai is familiar with: the EC’s endorsement of the Master Land Use Plan for development of La`au Point.
At times, EC board members have tried to shed the burden of backing such a large scale development by announcing that it would be up to the agencies of the state and county to make the final decision on whether La`au is developed. While this is a fact, the EC has stepped forward time and again as the community’s representative and dealmaker in bartering its approval of the development in trade for thousands of acres of the developer’s land. Additionally, the developer, Molokai Ranch, has announced to outside media on multiple occasions that its Master Land Use Plan has “overwhelming community support” through the involvement of the EC.
Furthermore, when federal funding of the EC sunsets next year, its non-profit identity, Ke Aupuni Lokahi, has the right to carry on whilst shedding its mandatory involvement and transparency with the public. In timing with this transition, Ke Aupuni Lokahi is considering itself as the receiving body for the spoils of Molokai Ranch’s most valuable trade-outs: developable land and cash.
While it remains to be seen what the extent of the EC’s growing power will amount to, one thing is certain: electing strong and trustworthy leadership to the EC board of directors is a must.
Throughout Hawaii many say they admire Molokai people for their ardent pursuit of self governance. With so much on the line, it’s not always a matter of choice, but sometimes a matter of necessity. Your vote at this year’s EC election is of the utmost importance.