Stop DHHL Construction
At the 2018 annual Molokai Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) meeting, a $4 million proposed Veterans Center development was on DHHL’s agenda. It was intended to be a fast-tracked political deal because the State of Hawaii had federal funds to spend it or lose it. Our Molokai homestead community testified with the typical pros and cons. DHHL wanted to build a veterans center on our only community open field/park in Ho’olehua. Homesteaders also addressed the safety issues of veterans’ Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as three schools located within 100 yards of the proposed location. Also, the recently built VA center in Kaunakakai has nominal membership.
After that meeting, our Molokai homestead community did not have any other beneficiary consultation on the proposed plans. Fast forward to 2022, we thought the VA Center was a mute subject because we heard nothing more of the project and we presumed the spending period of the funds had expired. In late September, we observed off-island land surveyors at the field. Then in early October we received DHHL notice that the project is moving forward, and a week later heavy equipment are clearing the field for construction.
Immediately, our homestead leaders are scrambling to stop this VA Center construction, and to organize a homestead community consultation meeting with the DHHL to resolve this issue. The DHHL said, “it’s not possible, it’s too late.” In less than a week, our Ho’olehua Hawaiian Beneficiaries Associations members had collected 250+ surveys from Ho’olehua homestead ohana, of which more than 90 percent oppose this development, because this is our only gathering place where for generations our homestead community and where residents enjoy many island events.
I implore our Molokai people to stand up to these political bullies that inflict their stupidity upon us. We, DHHL beneficiaries and Molokai residents, should be heard and not disregarded. This is a critical issue. If you want to continue to enjoy the many events on the field, please write, call, speak to our political representatives, DHHL chair and commissioners, OHA trustees, and whoever else you think can help us to stop this blatant abuse by the very people that supposedly represent us.
Please, kokua to stop the destruction of our only Ho’olehua community field/park. We demand a meeting now.
Kammy Purdy, Kupuna