Molokai Ripe for the Picking

Recently, I was handed a flier with a quote from Molokai Properties Limited's 2005 land value appraisal. I was shocked to read these words: "Molokai is the last undeveloped and unexploited major island in Hawaii. The physical diversity of land forms, it's proximity to Oahu, and the accepted need for economic stimulus in the community make the island a significant 'blank slate' ready for additional development in the near to mid-term."   

Holy Moly! What is particularly disturbing about this quote – besides its obvious greedy and speculative nature – is that it was written sometime in 2005. This means that it was written either during or after the community process which created the Community Based Master Land Use Plan For Molokai Ranch, aka "the Plan." (That 2-year process went from Sep. 2003 – Sep. 2005!)

No doubt most of the community members who participated in that process were sincere in their intentions to protect Molokai; however, given the quote above, it appears that for MPL that process was nothing more than a sham – one meant to manipulate the community into unwittingly supporting MPL's real plan of developing Molokai, staring with La'au Point. They may say, "One Last Development," but according to this quote, La'au Point is only the beginning. To MPL, Molokai is not the "last Hawaiian island," but rather just "the last undeveloped and unexploited Hawaiian island."

It reminds me so much of two other famous quotes from Hawai'i's history. On the morning of January 17, 1893, with U.S. troops landed in Honolulu, U.S. Minister John L. Stevens told Sandford B. Dole: "I think you have a great opportunity." By the end of that day, the Hawaiian monarchy had been overthrown, the Queen deposed, and a Provisional government established, (with Dole as its president). Soon after, Minister Stevens wrote to the U.S. secretary of state, saying: "The Hawaiian pear is now fully ripe and this is the golden hour for the United States to pluck it."

It seems that MPL has found its own ripe fruit to pluck and discovered their own "great opportunity" in the "blank slate" of La'au Point and the island of Molokai. I guess some things never change.

(See you at the LUC hearings in November! Save La'au! Save Molokai!)

Kalani Thompson


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