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The Russians are Coming!

The recent articles by Molokai Ranch CEO Peter Nicholas make life on Molokai very interesting and give us lots to talk about. From the tone of his letters, he seems to have overdosed on Li Hing Mui and the sour tone stays in his mouth. Every time I see the GEICO commercial with the Gecko speaking, I think of him. He even sent his same article to a national website called National Wind Watch; I guess he really wants to undermine our BTR effort at all cost. Quoting from the movie, Milagro Bean Field War, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

I still remember a another movie called ‘The Russians are Coming’. It starred Jonathon Winters and was about a boat load of lost Russian fisherman who crashed landed their boat somewhere along the Massachusetts coast. It was during the cold war when Americans were deathly afraid of a Russian invasion. The men of that community gathered arms, and Jonathon Winters put his five-year old son in charge of a family of four girls and his wife, and left to join the fight. Poor Russians were just as scared as the residents.

What makes Peter think the Russians cannot come even if HIS plan succeeds? They could buy lots at La’au or one of 500 rural lots at Kawakiu, or even a hotel site right there. Early on in the Master Land Use Plan meetings when we met at Home Pumehana, I saw that the area between the Kaluakoi Hotel and Kawakiu was a different color from the rest. I asked Peter about this and he said, “We won’t develop it; we’ll probably just sell it.” Well Peter, the Russians are coming, and nobody is going to stop them!

The military purchase was held over our heads throughout the Land Use process as a way of making us say yes. I can still remember in the early 70’s when the military held landing exercises at Papohaku, their landing craft were flipping over in the shore break like toys and a handful of these guys drowned. To even promote the desecration of land in the same breath as preserving is, like, bi-polar.

Peter is angry because Karen and MCSC didn’t come to him to talk about buying the Ranch.  But in the next breath he says he wouldn’t sell it anyway.  Why talk to the unwilling sergeant when you can talk to the general? The Ranch is just a commodity to the mother company, Guoco, and if you flash them the right amount of dim sums, they will give it to you lock stock and barrel.

Peter was sad that Karen didn’t get involved in the process, yet in his early community consultations with key leaders, he chose not invite Karen. I guess if you don’t invite everyone, the ones you leave out are the ones who may bite you on your okole. 

To tell us what is good for us is, well, arrogant and condescending at the least. This is definitely the Great White Father syndrome that you’re reverting back to. I think the first visitors to the islands did the same thing. We definitely speak a different language and this is why when you tell me we’ll keep some lands in agriculture, do you really mean more gentlemens estates or a field of dreams? Also, to compare Kainalu land values with West Molokai is like comparing sand crabs to Alaskan King crab for dinner. This is not pineapples and pineapples. To say we’re getting a good deal because you can sell it for more is questionable if you don’t have water.

I remember a story of one of Kamehameha’s battles on Maui on his way to the unification of the islands. As he made his way from Hana to Wailuku to his big battle at Kapaniwai near Iao with Kalanikupule, the son of Kahekili, he had these lesser battles along the way. In one of these skirmishes, he became overconfident because he believed his war god idol, Kukailimoku told him he was going to be victorious. That day, he barely escaped death.

What Kamehameha learned from that experience is to always have another way out of a predicament. Buying the Ranch is our other way out. Twenty years of fighting is twenty years too many. As we move through this EIS process, it becomes politically corrupt. We cannot depend on a political process that is expected to be pono when it’s not.

The only way we can stop this craziness about anybody else buying the ranch is to buy it ourselves. If the Nature Conservancy can attract all these millionaires looking for a tax break, why can’t we? The bottom line is the Ranch is for sale.

And Peter, regarding an Asian syndicate coming in, they already own the ranch.


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