Rethinking Resolutions – Many ask OHA to rescind support of the Master Plan
haven’t heard. None of us are against the jobs they are providing. None of us are against the land trust. That’s why so many of us spent so many hours, days, years working on the plan. We are not here to fight each other we are here to solve a problem. The problem is La`au.”
The perhaps only ugly moment in the evening came in the form of a brief standoff between anti-development activist Hanohano Naehu and Molokai Ranch cattleman Jimmy Duvauchelle, who asked Naehu to put his “This is War” sign down during Duvauchelle’s turn to speak. “I cannot have that sign, Hano,” said Duvauchelle. “Please, I no like war.”
“I can’t” said Naehu. “It’s for my freedom. It’s for my survival.” For a few moments, Duvauchelle refused to speak and Naehu refused to take down his sign. After a long silence Duvauchelle again pleaded with Naehu and the crowd became restless. When Duvauchelle finally spoke, he said that it was “his family out there” that he had to protect. “We want jobs. We want to keep people here. Read the plan…. Stop fighting.” Naehu, who had is own turn to speak shortly after, also stressed values of family and culture. “I hold this sign not because I hate anyone,” said Naehu, “but because development is like bombs to me. They’re going to build on my papa’s bones.”
The Master Land Use Plan was developed two years ago in collaboration with The Molokai Enterprise Community (EC), a government-funded planning group. The Plan was then approved by a committee of volunteers, which included several current MPL executives and employees and members of the EC.
The development package comes with several incentives for the community, including an offer to preserve over 51,000 acres of land in the form of a community-based land trust and agricultural easements and a promise to bring 100 new jobs. In creating the Master Plan, the ranch held over 150 meetings with over 1,000 total participants. They describe it as an unprecedented new model in community-based planning.
The ranch’s video began with the testimony of Clara Sabas, who praised the efforts of the ranch to reach out to the community in a way it never had before. Attorney Isaac Hall, who has in the past represented environmental group Hui Ho`opakele `Aina in a different anti-development battle with the ranch, is now representing MPL in regards to the Plan and is featured prominently in the video. He said that what impressed him most about the ranch’s plan “was the fact that the community had come together in advance for two and a half years and had come up with a plan together.” Stacy Crivello, recent interim EC director, explained that the ranch had overcome the “mind-blowing…gulf” that existed between itself and the community. “We based this on cultural and spiritual values,” she said. “It’s something that no other community plan can say.”
But it is the nature of the process itself that has left much of Molokai crying foul. “I participated in the community process and I have to say that this was the best
flim-flam process that I’ve ever been involved in,” said Kim, the homesteader, who believes that at this point the only solution to the conflict between the community and MPL is for the community to buy the ranch. It was not the first time the idea had been brought up during the meeting, and at each mention, the crowd went wild. Kim explained that the first of the EC’s 40 ideas for Molokai’s future was a plan to raise enough money to purchase the entire MPL property. Earlier in the week Karen Holt sent a letter to the community explaining that the Molokai Community Service Council is gearing up to start a community-based campaign to achieve the original EC goal of buying Molokai Ranch. The proposal, among other various alternatives, will be discussed at the EC meeting this week.