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Ranch Seeks to Renew Water Permit

For the past five years, Molokai Properties Limited, better known as Molokai Ranch, has been illegally transporting drinking water to west end residents through water lines intended to serve agricultural users. Now, they are seeking to legalize their use of the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) and obtain a permit to continue transporting water through the irrigation lines.

The Ranch is in the process of completing an Environmental Assessment (EA) of their use of the MIS. Receiving community feedback is a vital part that process according to Colette Sakoda, environmental planning program manager for Environet, the company contracted by the Ranch to assist in the EA. Last week, they hosted two community meetings –one in Ho`olehua and the other in Maunaloa –to hear from Molokai residents.

Those meetings were a follow-up to similar sessions held on Molokai in January 2011, to gather initial input on the draft EA, said Sakoda.

The draft EA is scheduled for completion this September, according to Clay Rumbaoa, the Ranch’s new CEO.

But many community members questioned the timeline, saying the Ranch has been “dragging its feet” since 2007, when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the Ranch needed to complete the EA before it continued using the MIS, according to Lynn DeCoite, homesteader and former board member of the MIS. Others raised ongoing concerns about the Ranch’s water system, which charges west end ratepayers some of the highest rates in the nation, according to residents.

Current Use
The Ranch’s main source of water is Well 17, which supplies about 413,000 gallons per day, according to Sakoda. That water is transported through six miles of MIS transmission lines, and stored in the MIS’ Kualapu`u Reservoir. In order to make the water drinkable, it is filtered before distribution to west end users. Rumbaoa said the high water rates west end residents pay is largely due to the elevated costs of transporting the water from Kualapu`u and treating it for human consumption.

In exchange for using the MIS, the Ranch pays $136,000 per year in rent to the Department of Agriculture (DOA). The MIS, run by the DOA, serves homestead and commercial agricultural users. Rental fees paid by the Ranch to the DOA amount to between 20 to 30 percent of the MIS’s monthly revenue, according to Sakoda.

Proposed Draft Alternatives

Photo Courtesy Environet.

The EA considers four options for the future routing of water to Maunaloa and Kaluakoi users.

The first alternative is to simply renew the permit that would allow the Ranch continued use of the MIS — the Ranch’s preference, according to Rumbaoa. This would allow them to maintain “the status quo,” while other alternatives would take years of planning, and might increase water rates. A second option is denial of the permit, which would leave west end users without a water source.

The other three alternatives involve removing the Ranch from the MIS completely and building alternative methods of water transportation. One way to do so would be to route a water line through Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) land where current water lines exist. Another alternative would route the transmission line around DHHL land and instead use a longer route on Ranch-owned land and state property. The last alternative is to construct entirely new wells and a desalination plant on the west end.

Most attendees of the two meetings said they favor any alternative that would ultimately get the Ranch off the MIS. But Davianna McGregor, who prepared the cultural impacts portion of the EA, pointed out that those alternatives would take five to 10 years to develop, and in the meantime, the permit would still need to be renewed.

Some members of the community voiced support for other options, like installing meters on homestead land to monitor how much water is transported to the west end. A valve would be controlled by homesteaders in case too much water was being taken out of the MIS system.

“Time after time, there is mistrust with the Ranch,” said homesteader Wade Lee. “We want to be able to control our own water.”

Others suggested absolving the Ranch from its west end water management responsibilities altogether, handing them over to a non-profit organization consisting of homesteaders and west end residents.

“Our book is open,” said Rumbaoa. “We [the Ranch] are not in the water business, so if you guys are serious, get a group from Kaluakoi, Papohaku Ranch and Maunaloa and we can talk.”

New Ranch Developments
Rumbaoa said the Ranch is planning on re-opening the Kaluakoi Resort Hotel–which would host 144 rooms –and 18-hole golf course in the near future.

In response to community concerns that this would put even more stress on the water system, Rumbaoa assured them that the Ranch will make efforts to use conservation measures and recycled water whenever possible. He said their use would never exceed the 1.18 MGD (million gallons per day) limit for withdrawing water from Well 17.

“If we can use less, we will of course use less, but either way we do not plan on exceeding the 1.18 [limit],” said Rumbaoa.

While the opening of such developments may create much-needed jobs for the island, some are concerned that the Ranch will use MIS pipelines to transfer water to these facilities, which departs far from its intended use of servicing Hawaiian homesteaders and farmers.

“I’m not just trying to move the west side forward, but I want to elevate the whole island,” said Rumbaoa.

No Penalties from the DOA
Many community members wondered why the Ranch’s illegal use of the MIS has not incurred financial penalties.

“It’s been five years of you guys dragging your feet and the DOA dragging their feet, so blame is to go all around,” said DeCoite.

She also pointed out that while water rates have increased dramatically for water users on the west end, there have been no recent changes to the Ranch’s rental fees for the MIS.

Community activist Walter Ritte raise the question that has been on many minds ever since water rates for west end users nearly tripled since 2008: Why have rates been raised for users when the Ranch has neglected to put forth any new expenses at making sure they were using the system legally?

“The message you are sending to everybody on Molokai is that [the Ranch] doesn’t have to pay [their] bills,” said Ritte.

Randy Teruya, DOA Land Asset Manager, said there may be possibilities for renegotiating the MIS pipeline agreements with the Ranch, but not until the EA is completed.

When asked if there would be any penalties enforced for the Ranch’s illegal use of the MIS system over the last five years, Teruya said he was “not familiar with any available fines for the use of that system.”

The DOA, which is the approving agency for the EA, has not given the Ranch any deadlines by which they must have the EA completed.

Rumbaoa said the draft EA will be published online in September, after which there will be a 30-day public review period when written comments may be submitted for consideration by the DOA.


38 Responses to “Ranch Seeks to Renew Water Permit”

  1. franan says:

    I think the question Ritte asked at that meeting is pretty good evidence he doesn’t understand municipal water systems or the level of complexity associated with providing water to the west side of the island. Those are probably pretty good reasons not to elect him to the OHA

    • kalaniua ritte says:

      and you do…who are you..never saw you at any community meeting..just one of those immigrants that give immigrants a bad name..so sit behind your computer and bitch about people who are trying to save our resources and give our future generations a healthy environment to live in.

      • franan says:

        My goodness – the ranch doesn’t want to be in the water business any more period. Maui county was offered the entire infrastructure and said – NO. I have no love for big corporations but that’s often what it takes to have the horsepower to provide big municipal services. We don’t have to love the large land owners but we do have to keep water flowing to human beings.

        As far as going to meetings or not – that’s what the media is for – to keep us informed of public meetings. For what it’s worth – most of the hawaiian ancestry people I know are very reluctant to attend meetings because of one simple reason – if they disagree with folks like the Rittes – they are subjected to the same sort of abuse I get by posting here.

        • ponokai says:

          How would you know? You really talk a lot of trash and negativity on here. What do you expect? Thanks and praise? I don’t think so lady. You’re not being abused, you’re being disagreed with. You obviously have led a wonderful, spoon-fed life if you think the comments left here in defense of your continued bashing are abuse. Go ask a child who is beaten what abuse is. Get a grip for real. No one is forcing you to spew your hate here.

          • franan says:

            Oh – now I get it ponokai. If I disagree with your outlook on life and GMO and Walter – and I say it in the media – then I am full of hate and negativity. BUT – when you do the same thing to me you are kamaina and full of love and looking out for molokai and smart. That’s almost funny.

            Running for public office is not pretty and Walter’s whole approach to politics is not either and I personally think he is a poor choice for any office that calls for compromise and graciousness in defeat – which always happens in politics.

            I shouldn’t be too surprised at you though – after all – you are a descendent of people from other islands who paddled hard to get to Molokai and beat the crap out of other hawaiians who were living here at the time.

          • kalaniua ritte says:

            fran were you were mis treated by locals in the past?

        • franan says:

          Kalaniua – heavens no I was not mis-treated by locals. I’ve lived off the land and sea all my life – and in general I have a very hard time only with main-landers who think somehow that Molokai is backwards – or well to do Molokai folks who don’t understand their responsibility to help those on the island who are not as smart or agressive or educated or ‘as rich’ as they are.

          In general Kalaniua – my issues with people are different than yours. What outrages me are the wealthy land owners who pay next to nothing in property taxes under the guise of having their lands classified as agriculture. What outrages me is the gross absence of fair oversight of tax classification by the county. What outrages me is the lack of ability to raise the minimum wage so that my friends working for the rich can have some hope. What outrages me is conservation easements on the property of the rich that helps them avoid paying property tax. What outrages me is the lack of a community barge service so that maybe we could take advantage of the better prices in Oahu. What outrages me is our failure to have a social awareness component in subdiviisions so that we don’t end up with a bunch of rich people living segregated lives in the middle of this paradise.

          I could go on and on – but at the heart of it is this: I firmly believe that the Monsanto-Micogen controversy is way less important to Molokai’s future than getting better control over government and tax policy. I don’t even think most people on the island care about Monsanto.

          Buty for now Kalaniua – let’s just call a truce. We each know what we tend to think of each other’s ideas. It’s a big world – and ultimately we’ll get along.

          • ponokai says:

            Oh Fran, I think you have it twisted. You expect your comments to not be challenged but when they are you get upset. You think you know and have it all figured out. Also, you completely contradict yourself. You’re claiming you’ve lived off the land and sea all your life? Then why doesn’t what Monsanto (and others like them) is doing to the land and sea that has supported you – all your life – bother you? How can you say most people on Molokai don’t care? Maybe most of the people in your circle don’t but ALL of the people in mine do. You think taxes are more important to the health of the ‘āina? How can you say that if you’ve lived off the land? The land is the bloodline. Papa, earth mother. Bottom line – you obviously have no connection to the land. If you did, you would care. Oh, and you don’t know me or where my ancestors are from.

  2. hawaiiangirl says:

    Aloha Kalaniua;
    Why so angry? Just because someone doesn’t/can’t attend meetings doesn’t mean that person has no good ideas. Why use “immigrants”? Let’s discuss but not get so personal.

  3. ponokai says:

    He’s angry because there’s people on here (who are not from Molokai) who keep bashing the efforts of those who are from Molokai to protect and save our fragile and limited resources. Franan (whoever that is) tries to use big words and make herself sound educated and better than everyone else when reality is she’s not educated at all when it comes to having a love for the ‘āina and a desire to protect it. In fact, the opposite is true…she’s pro GMO poisoning of our islands and now she’s apparently pro the ranch continuing to take water from Hawaiians.

  4. janelee says:

    Hold on Walter! Here we go again. We were warned that it would happen…well, here it is. Trying a side door this time? Same tactics, different times, players with the same titles, The strategy was if we let it go a while, the people may forget or maybe die and go away, or maybe even give up. We fought this same garbage 10 years ago! It’s back with the same people repeating the same lies. Why the anger? Is our government LO-LO or what? Anybody out there not for sale?

  5. nobeangry says:

    Walter Ritte..needs to retire..

  6. mulletjunya says:

    I wonder if all the folks and their ohana that don’t want to be American have been watching the Olympics and watching the closing remember the song “Imagine”. So sick of the “stink eye” I get because I’m fair skinned and yet Hawaiian/Haole. So what’s wrong with that? All my life I had no problem saying “I am Hawaiian/Haole. Most all are the same as I but some have Filipino or Chinese or Japanese or whatever. So What! Being Hawaiian is not just blood but humbleness and Aloha. Moloka’i used to have people with humbleness, respect and Aloha so why are the children being taught that its ok to discriminate in today’s Moloka’i. Shame on All who teach their youngsters hate. Shame on you for taking handouts and saying you deserve it. Our Kupuna who worked very hard to pass on their legacy would say “SHAME ON YOU!” Just reading the the letters ahead of this show me that there’s way too much anger. Whew, I’m so happy I just mind my own place as nothing gets accomplished by exchanging harsh empty words. (oh by,thats going to get some harsh words in rebuttal). YIKES!! You won’t get a reply if so.
    Malama Pono, Please remember: Hate is an empty lonely place. Respect to agree to disagree is a humble way of living in harmony without the harsh hateful words.
    ALOHA NO……

  7. kalaniua ritte says:

    i dont judge or hate people by race or creed..i judge and hate people by there actions.shit on me or my island and expect the same in return.sheep amongst sheep but a wolf amongst wolves.

    • ponokai says:

      No one, especially Hawaiians, should support the destruction of the ‘āina. If my opposition to those who do is viewed as anger and hate, then yes, I’m a hater. I hate to see our precious land and resources poisoned and destroyed. I hate that there are folks out there who only want to benefit financially from this destruction. I don’t care what color you are, if you support the killing of our ‘āina then I oppose.

      • joann lashley says:

        You and kalaniua are something else. Lots of decent educated people disagree with your positions and you hate them for it. It would be one thing if science was on your side. It isn’t. It would be another thing if it was ‘your’ island – like you say – but it isn’t. The poison you spread makes monsanto’s chemicals look like ice cream.

        • ponokai says:

          Lots of people disagree? That’s exactly the problem. You’re either for or against killing our land. And I mean “our” land as in all humans, all life forms. I care about all that. I do not support the destruction and manipulation of resources for financial gain. I don’t “hate” those who disagree, I feel sorry for them and wonder what has happened to them in their life to make them think that killing, poisoning, destroying and otherwise damaging our natural resources from the land and sea is a justifiable good idea. Science is nature. It’s the manipulation of science that is creating the problem – that and greed. I’m not spreading poison at all. I’m simply a voice in favor of life.

          • joann lashley says:

            That’s absolute garbage. Nobody put you in charge of anything on this island. People that disagree with you love this island as much as you say you do – which i doubt. You only like this island and the people when you are getting your own way.

            Science is not nature – science is the application of mankind’s knowledge in a particular manner – and what it shows us is that nature as we know it doesn’t care if we live or die – and so we try to fine tune nature with our knowledge.

            You’re not a voice in favor of life. You’re just selfish and misguided. And then go look up the definition of science because you don’t know the first thing about it.

          • joann lashley says:

            I could care less if you waiver on protecting the ‘aina. In fact you should want to protect it from real poison – like ignorance, prejudice, drugs and drunkenness, child abuse and poverty.

          • joann lashley says:

            Gee whiz – a master’s degree in biology?? master of science? what aspect ? what thesis? what school? did you take any courses in food science that would have surely indicated some progress for humanity with GMO?

        • kalaniua ritte says:

          i hate the people who spray poisons up wind of my home,schools ,the old folks home,manila camp ,ranch camp. i hate people that spray poisons that cause cancer,birth defects,ADD,and respitory ailments.poisons that pollute our only aquafur and are toxic to sea life.i love people just not the ones who would do this to innocent kids and our special island.if you love people who do these types of things,than you are a misguided sick person.i love molokai,and if i feel that she and her innocents are threaten then it is my RESPONSIBILITY to do something about it.

          • ponokai says:

            Wow Joanne Lashley. Talk about spreading poison. Am I suppose to be intimidated by your ignorant attitude? Do you really think that I’m going to waiver on my stance to aloha ‘āina? Seriously, thanks for the laugh this beautiful morning.

          • Jenny says:

            Thank goodness for people like Kalaniua and Ponokai. They obviously care about the health of all of us…our kids, our kūpuna, all life. What a miserable world it would be if everyone thought like Joanne, Fran and the others who, sadly, seem in favor of the destruction and contamination of Molokai and the rest of Hawai’i nei. I do not live on Molokai but I have been there many times. I’m so glad the voices in favor of protecting her outnumber the cries of those who do not. Oh, and by the way Joanne, there are many definitions of science. Yes, science is the study of nature as Ponokai said and yes, there’s also scientific manipulation. One thing is for sure though…if we allow all this destruction to our planet, we’ll all need to study the branch of science called thanatology. Look that one up.

          • joann lashley says:

            Just because you say it’s poison doesn’t make it so. And these so called poisonous chemicals have been greatly beneficial to mankind. And all your ranting isn’t going to change that – or the fact that educated folks from Molokai simply do not share your one sided views. The only thing you got going for you is the attitude of a bully.

          • ponokai says:

            Joanne, you poor brainwashed soul, poison is NEVER good for mankind. And yes, it’s poison…it’s purpose is to kill life forms. But it sounds like you’re a big fan of it so you should be pretty stoked that it’s all around us. I just hope those you love are somehow immune to its toxic effects…wouldn’t want you to have to feel guilty when they get sick. And as for being educated, I have a masters in biology so you can stop with the “we’re educated and you’re not” routine.

  8. kalaniua ritte says:

    then joann you should live in and around these fields.ok heres a challenge for you joann.lets take a scoop of dirt from a random gmo field and and a scoop of dirt from halawa valley.put them into separate water coolers.filter out the solids.you drink a cup of gmo tea an ill drink a cup of halawa tea.lets do this daily for 6 months.and just for fun lets throw in eating 1ear of corn with our tea,you a gmo corn me a organic one.if after 6 months you show no signs of sickness or if we both show sighs of sickness, than i will totally agree with you and who ever else agrees with monsanto.this challenge goes out to any one who thinks monsanto/micogens pesticides arent toxic to us.SO JOANN ARE YOU UP TO THIS CHALLENGE.

    • joann lashley says:

      Gee – why don’t we apply the same sort of test to everything that helps us in life – BUT THAT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE EATEN STRAIGHT. So you can drink a cup of water mixed with a cup of salt. You can drink a cup of bleach mixed with a cup of water. You can drink a whole bunch of stuff that will kill you but it is good for mankind when USED AS INTENDED.
      We’ve all been eating GMO corn for ages you fool. Roundup has allowed humans all over the world to get ahead of weeds – and therefore insects. Molokai is learning that greenhouses actually offer some protection from the so called ‘perfect’ mother nature. You think you are enlightened but you would lead us into the dark ages.

      What you offer is not a challenge. It’s just plain stupid.

      • Jenny says:

        Joanne, whoever you are, you sure are brave behind your computer. A discussion and disagreement are fine but you are straight name calling and being ridiculous. You call Kalaniua a fool? I think you’re being the fool. You can’t drink a cup of bleach or a cup of salt with a cup of water…although if you did it would be by choice. The toxic chemicals that are being sprayed onto GMO crops are uncontrolled. They get caught in the wind, they wash into the sea. You have no choice, you’re contaminated – even if you don’t want to be. There are crops where I live that have one purpose – see just how much poison the corn can tolerate before it dies. They take one day off after seven straight spraying days. The workers wear full on biohazard suits with respirators but there are schools, homes, restaurants, businesses and the ocean all within a mile radius of the crop. Weeds and bugs are suppose to be a part of the process. There are natural ways to control them. Using poisons only creates tougher weeds and tougher bugs…but that’s what companies like Monsanto want – that way you’ll buy more poison. It’s not in the name of feeding the world, it’s all about money, greed and power. Control the food supply, control the world. I don’t want Hawaii or any other place to be used as the petri dish for such destruction. Please stop the name calling. It is not necessary. I highly doubt you know the folks you’re badmouthing so please stop. It’s unbecoming of a lady.

        • joann lashley says:

          You are right Jenny – it’s unbecoming of a lady to bad mouth people. I guess I should be contented that our decision makers don’t really see things like you and Kalaniua and Ponokai do.

          It’s just that so many of us who live here and don’t make a dime from Monsanto – have gotten really fed up with the distortions that folks such as yourself have made out of a legitimate experiment with GMO and food science – and the distortion of science and mother nature to suit your own purposes.

          Anyone who says that weeds and bugs are ‘supposed’ to be part of the process is living in the dark ages.

      • kalaniua ritte says:

        COWARD!!!enough wasting breath on you.

  9. ponokai says:

    Joanne Lashley, just stop already. You have your head so far up your you know what that you can’t see straight. Those decision makers you speak of are bought out and paid off by Monsanto. You can check that info out on the web. The Honolulu City Council Chair, Ernie Martin – for example – receives the most money from Monsanto than any other council member, yet he votes against labeling. Hmmmm. You think these “decision makers” make decisions based on what they truly believe? No way. Their opinions and stances on issues are driven by money. If you think they are not then it is you who are living in the dark ages.
    You keep saying “so many of you” are fed up with people against the GMO crops on Molokai…MOVE! Those of us who have a brain and a heart and are not corrupted by money, lies and deceit are only growing in numbers. We see the truth. I agree with Kalaniua 100%. Enough wasting time on you already. Pau.

    • joann lashley says:

      well. we finally something we probably agree upon. I do not think that corporations should be allowed to contribute to political campaigns. And believe it or not – I firmly agree that if molokai is united in their dislike of Monsanto – then Monsanto should leave. I am quite content to let the political process do it’s business.

      On another note – I – like you – am somewhat of a warrior princess. At the end of the day I bear no ill will against those i disagree with

  10. jeff spencer says:


    The debate you want to have is as old as history and if you are, in fact, educated then I assume you have some knowledge of the Native American cultures our forefathers put asunder.

    Read any writings by the leaders of those cultures and they all speak to the same thing. Our disrespect for the nature that nourished and sustained their cultures for more than 10,000 years.

    You can argue that might makes right since we did wipe them out and take their lands but that argument has never swayed the thinking of those we treated as an impediment to our self created and supposed god given rights, our manifest destiny.

    That argument is exactly what I hear from you and Fran. My more honest acquaintances that might agree with your thinking just say “We kicked your ass, get over it. We took the Kingdom and now you’re a state, conform and deal with it”. Same thing communist Russia did to eastern Europe. Same thing John Wayne said to Geronimo. That really is what you are saying to Walter and a great many Hawaiians that feel the same way he does.

    Trouble for folks who think like you is that these Hawaiians, like Geronimo, are not reservation Indians. Our cultures don’t mesh and they’re no more willing to submit to a foreign culture than Geronimo was. Call them savages and heathens like in the old cowboy and indian movies but they’re not going to roll over and do it your way. And why should they? We took their kindness for weakness a long time ago. We disrespected them and their culture and you know it.

    Just because you and Fran can’t feel or understand what they feel does not diminish the depth and passion of that feeling. And lets not embarrass ourselves by saying we do understand. Our roots are shallow and our culture is as thin as cheesecloth in comparison to those of indigenous peoples the world over.

    I would argue that you cannot love Moloka’i unless you love the Hawaiian culture. I would argue that you cannot separate the two. And, I would argue that any understanding you and I have with regard to that culture is shallow and superficial in comparison to those you call selfish and misguided.

    You can argue the definition of science and debate the merits of GMO’s and agri-business. You can try and create the image of Moloka’i that fits your limited understanding and abilities but you will never get those whose image of Moloka’i has been handed down over generations to accept what they know is foreign and what they see is not sustainable.

    Not one thing any of us came here for qualifies us to speak of our love for this island as do those with roots as deep as the ocean. We love the warm weather, uncrowded beaches, slow lifestyle, and aloha spirit but all of that is just some haole dream we could afford to make our reality. The love they speak of is not included in your airfare and you don’t buy it at the local grocery store. It is a birth right and they take it very seriously.

    Since this chain of comments began with water related issues let that be the ties that binds this together.

    Mark Twain is credited with having said “whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting” and on the mainland history has borne that statement out. Our culture has a philosophy that give rights to whomever is upstream. Look at the Colorado River. We used so much to turn deserts into sprawling metropolises that our neighbors in Mexico no longer receive enough to grow their crops and feed their families. How many Eastern rivers did we pollute by dumping industrial waste. Never carried about who was downstream or the effects on an entire ecosystem. Its just how we think. Given your education you must know the history of water rights and the related uses over America’s history. Kinda selfish and short sighted don’t you think.

    The Hawaiian culture has an entirely different view on this precious resource. It may begin on your property or flow thru it but it is not yours and your rights to its use are based on the community’s best interest and the sustainability of that life giving resource.

    So what happens when you take the island’s limited water supply and apply our western culture? You get sketchy political deals that circumvent the law and ignore the mandate of highest and best use from the Hawaiian point of view. You get the various iterations of ‘The Ranch’ and their might makes right philosophy. You get an island divided.

    Joann, I was raised by my grandmother. A sweet old southern belle, born less than 20 years after the end of the civil war. I never heard her say a racist word and never grew up with any discriminatory notions whatsoever. She treated everyone as an equal and with great respect. Yet she said ‘Damned Yankees’ for all the years I knew her and she died at 96.

    She did not hate anyone from a northern state but she hated the idea that someone would forcibly take her homeland, destroy it and her culture along with it. True, it was the price paid for living in a slave state but my point is that wrongs done in the pursuit of right are still wrong and those that were wronged carry it with them for a lifetime.

    To my knowledge we never had a reason to liberate Hawaii from the Hawaiians or to set anyone free. We took their land for our profit and we took it by force. We tried to erase their culture and make them in our image. We silenced their voices, almost. Damned haoles sounds kinda tame and surely justified if you’re willing to take an unbiased look at history.

    You’d think with all of the history regarding the interaction of our two cultures over the past few hundred years all these good, decent, educated people you say love this island would stand up and admit to our sins. And, realizing we are foreigners in a foreign land leave their concepts and notions at the door.

    Not so, we hold ourselves in such high esteem and, not seeing the truth of ourselves and our actions, demand others see it our way. You, dear neighbor, confuse education with intelligence. Knowledge with wisdom. The sheer arrogance of dismissing concerns about GMO’s as not worthy of debate given scientific evidence from both sides is proof of that.

    If you love Moloka’i and you’ve got an entire island of like minded haoles behind you then step up and do something significant. Maybe start by listening instead of pretending you’ve got it figured out. Maybe quit trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Maybe take an honest look at how things are working out over on the mainland before you take to task those that have seen it and don’t want to repeat our failures.

    Consider the words of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce:

    “The Earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was. The country was made with no lines of demarcation, and it’s no man’s business to divide it. I see the whites all over the country gaining wealth, and I see the desire to give us lands which are worthless.

    The Earth and myself are of one mind. Perhaps you think the Creator sent you here to dispose of us as you see fit. If I thought you were sent by the creator, I might he induced to think you had a right to dispose of me.

    Do not misunderstand me; but understand me fully with reference to my affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to do with as I choose. The one who has a right to dispose of it is the one who created it. I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to return to yours.

    Brother, we have listened to your talk coming from our father, the Great White Chief in Washington, and my people have called upon me to reply to you.

    The winds which pass through these aged pines we hear the moaning of departed ghosts, and if the voice of our people could have been heard, that act would never have been done. But alas though they stood around they could neither be seen nor heard. Their tears fell like drops of rain.

    I hear my voice in the depths of the forest but no answering voice comes back to me. All is silent around me. My words must therefore be few. I can now say no more. He is silent for he has nothing to answer when the sun goes down.”
    ― Chief Joseph

    • ponokai says:

      Aloha Jeff,
      Mahalo for your words. I believe that as long as there are people like yourself, along with people like Kalaniua, Jenny and all the countless others who truly understand the value of our resources, we will all be ok. That understanding, that love comes from our piko, our na’au. Wedo not value it because it is worth money, we value it because it represents life. The word for rich or valuable in Hawaiian language is waiwai – water water. Because in a traditional way of thinking, water is considered life-giving and if you had water you could grow food- that was considered valuable, hence the word waiwai. I believe this comment thread turned towards the GMO issue because we do not, in our way if thinking, separate the land from the water – it is all part of a whole to us. Your words are so true, sad, but true. You can say you aloha Hawaii if you feel in your heart a love for the land and people. You can say you care and we (those of us who understand) do believe you. You do not have to be from a place to have a connection to it. In a mystical way of thinking, you could have been present in a past life – who knows. My point is, as long as you call a place home, and you know in your heart, your na’au that you aloha the place, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you know is right – we need all the help we can get. There are obviously closed-minded people here with a different agenda, whatever it may be. The problem with that is that it is just so destructive. It takes a tree 50 years to grow and only 50 seconds to chop it down. Again, mahalo for your words. They may not mean much to people who are pretty stuck in their narrow way of thinking, but they mean a lot to those of us who understand what you are saying.

    • joann lashley says:

      I will say this – you write extremely well. If I had less hard feelings about the way some folks rail against the ‘possible’ good that food science experiments do – maybe I could write as peaceably as you do.

  11. Todd Yamashita says:

    Mahalo everyone for your comments – I am reminded how much Molokai really cares when I see comment threads as long as they are thoughtful.

    On that note, I urge each of you to stay on topic as much as possible. For instance, this story is about the Ranch renewing their permit with the state. On this topic alone there is much to discuss including a lot of information which isn’t included in the article which many of you can bring to the table.

    While Walter, GMO’s, and Molokai localism are all issues which somewhat pertain to the topic, because of their controversial nature, these “side issues” often lead the conversation completely off-topic. It’s not to say these issues are less important – simply there is a more appropriate place for those discussions.

    Ok, mahalo gang – so let’s stay on topic (Ranch, permits, Molokai Irrigation System, Department of Agriculture), and please treat each other as you would if you were talking story in the market.

    • joann lashley says:

      in keeping with the spirit of things – and thanks to your concession about being a woman – I must say that Kalaniua is really good looking. In the long run – women love warriors – even when they disagree. That is exactly what a man should be.

  12. kalaniua ritte says:

    eh todd you sure you want us to talk like we are at the market.if joann and fran were men it mite get ugly.i love off topic issues it brings out peoples true colors.

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