Molokai’s OHA Meeting – A First Hand Account
should have been here already. These types of things tend to make people think ‘this is not Pono’" said Solotario as he crossed to his car.
Flight #1152 did indeed make it to Molokai but the absent trustees were not on it. With four board members present the official quorum was not met meaning the meeting would not be official. Trustee Robert Klein put it simply, "you’re here, so we're gong to have an off the record discussion…. an unrecorded talk-story."
At 7:05 the "talk-story" began with 9 people signed up to speak . First up was Lori Buchannan on behalf of Aka`ula School joined by two students and teacher Vikki Newberry. They shared a mahalo and appreciation to the board of trustees for providing funding for the school. Seventh grade Aka`ula student Michael Kikukawa read a letter he had written to the Board thanking them for enabling him to experience the culture and history of his island home.
Trustee Machado gave credit to Aka`ula school for having 12 of their students be accepted into Kamehameha Schools. Machado said that Newberry "is an asset to our people".
Gail Crabbe, RN from Molokai General Hospital presented information to the board as well as the public about a new medical treatment for "Ice," crystal meth-amphetamine addiction. "This program is all over Europe, Mainland US, and is now in Hawaii. Crabbe said. “We need to demand of OHA and Aloha Care that we be included in this pilot study. She said that the drug was a major problem and that the program was badly need on Molokai.
At 7:30 p.m. Walter Ritte took the mic and explained how in the 1970's he had helped to form OHA and was one of its first trustees garnering the most votes in the election. Ritte said that more than 20,000 Hawaiians gathered at Iolani Palace to fight for the rights of Hawaiian people. He recalled being inspired by Senator D. Inouye shouting "Brown Power" to the gathered crow.
Putting the memories aside, Ritte, respected community member, leader, loved parent and kupuna stood to the microphone and announced, "This is the saddest day of my life. After all of the dreams that we had of what this office would do for Hawaiians…. not one word in response regarding La'au Point has been heard from OHA. We asked if they would stay neutral on La'au…. One year has gone by and not one word."
Ritte said that OHA granting $100,000 to the Molokai Land Trust" just adds insult to injury."
He then quietly turned to the people and said " I ask that we just go home " . It was 7:40 pm.
Several people in the croud shouted things such as Resign ! This is B.S. This is Trash! In about 60 seconds the crowd went from over 100 to about 20 or 30. Trustee Machado addressed those remaining with a strong scolding for those that chose to leave.
She said, "You maha'oe, you may be critical of me and how much I've done for this community but maka'ala (open your eyes). Hila Hila, you come out here and show your okole ? You red-shirt community, to show this to our colleagues? Shame on you. You Poho your okole and walk away like spoiled brats. Yet you still ask OHA to support your endeavors. If you feel that you can not support OHA, so be it. "
Trustee Apoliona responded to Ritte's comment on total lack of response from OHA regarding the request to stay neutral on the La`au issue. Apoliona claimed that a response was written to Bridget Mowat.
Mowat was still in attendance and stated that the letter was addressed to her personally and was not public information.
MPL's John Sabas was next to step up. He says the Ranch's EIS should be done by November 1st or 2nd.
Moke Kim spoke on behalf of the Homestead Farmers Alliance. His agenda was to assure representation by OHA for the restructuring of resolution #1705 of the MIS Molokai Irrigation System. Trustee Machado spoke of OHA providing over 1/2 of the funding for the MIS. She said that "the Alliance will be represented ".
Cora Schnakenberg Stepped closed the meeting with straight forward questions. "How are you basing your decision to give $100,000 to the Molokai Land Trust? How are you making fair judgment on what Molokai wants? How are you getting your information?
The Board responded by saying they get their information from "the community."
"Your professionalism and faithfulness in representing us is lacking" said Schnackenberg in response.
OHA recipients mentioned were: Molokai High and Middle School $22,000. Kualapu'u School, $310,000. Akaula School $125,000, Molokai General Hospital 1.5 million for Phase II Construction, Na Pua No`eau, and Alu Like.