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Posts Tagged ‘environmental justice’

From Miwa:

Last night, Marti and I attended a community meeting in Nanakuli, along with over 100 community members who had come to make their voices heard on the latest draft of the Wai`anae Sustainable Community Plan. In this latest draft, the City/County has opted in favor of a “purple spot” proposal put forward by a land developer seeking to push through a “purple spot” industrial zone on agricultural lands in Lualualei Valley.

The public comments were overwhelmingly in favor of removing the purple spot, and keeping Lualualei as an intact, green agricultural zone.

To a person, every individual who gave testimony or comments, expressed their support of agriculture and the rural character of Wai`anae.

Said one Aunty, “I live on Hakimo Road, and I raise pigs. This is one of the last places where you can have pigs. I don’t want to see agriculture die in Wai`anae. I don’t see how we can continue to lose farmland, and continue on.”

Young people came out in force, and several gave personal testimony about the Wai`anae that they hoped for, for their future. “I came out today because I heard the words, ‘Sustainable Community Plan,’ and I thought we would be talking about how we are going to get more of our people growing food, building aquaponics, feeding people. What does an industrial purple spot, have to do with sustainability?” said Sydney, a college student and homesteader.

“I want to ask our youth, sitting here tonight, how many of them would farm today–right now–if they could,” queried Kamuela, a Makaha-born second-generation farmer. More than a dozen local youth raised their hands. Crazy inspiring.

Many had questions about why this particular “purple spot” plan was being proposed.

“Because we (the consultants) did feel the community to be so divided on this issue, we submitted two alternative maps to the County [one with the purple spot and one without]” said Harmonee, from consulting firm Townscape. “I’m not sure what process they used to decide that the [the purple spot map] would be the final map.”

What struck me most, is the basic idea that it is really some guy somewhere in offices in Honolulu, choosing the map–making this tremendously weighty decision for this community. I mean, someone who wasn’t even in that crowded meeting room last night. Can you have a community plan, without a community? How does that make sense?

Next steps:  This draft of the plan goes before the City County Planning Commission, and then on to the City Council.  We’ll be there, and we’ll keep you updated!

You can show your solidarity with this community today, by signing their petition at: http://bit.ly/purplespotaction.

Mahalo to Ilihia Gionson for the photo of the meeting!

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Here’s the latest scoops on the “Farms, Not Dumps” Campaign to protect Lualualei Valley agricultural land in the Waianae moku from being rezoned to industrial. The Land Use Commission (LUC) is holding a series of hearings before they decide on the rezoning of this farmland into a “purple spot” industrial zone.

From Shelley:

We were happy that we were able to get the hearing moved to Kapolei as Honolulu is unfairly far for Wai`anae residents to trek during work hours. Unfortunately the room in Kapolei was tiny, just like the one on Beretania Street.  The room was literally overflowing into the hallway to accommodate all those who came to participate.

The testimony was solid–by my count, we had about 15 of our guys testify, with only 4 people testifying in support of the project.  We delievered an amazing stack of petitions, with 1,001 of your names saying NO to the proposed industrial park! Special mahalo to everyone who came out and testified.  Candace Fujikane took everyone by surprise with awesome blown up maps and interesting testimony on how unirrigated land is given “unproductive” ratings, but when irrigated, can jump up to a B-classification (the second highest!).  My favorite part though was when the developer’s attorney was really aggressively asking Candace questions, and she stood her ground! He asked given her testimony “Do you know if the parcel has irrigation?” and she said, “No, but your report is requesting the use of 22,000 gallons a day, and that could be used for farming.” ZING! Bet he didn’t think she did her homework on that. We also had hilarious testimony from Aunty Georgiette Meyers who talked about the fight in the ’80s to protect this same parcel from the development of a golf course.  That was when the Higa farmers were essentially pushed out because they couldn’t afford the raised rent. She made the important point that they stopped farming, not because the land is unproductive, (in fact they produced 3,000 crates of veggies a month!) but because they were made to stop.

Mahalo pumehana to all who came out! It was an incredible, inspiring and amazing day!

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Last week Wednesday (8/18/2010) about 25 Wai`anae residents and supporters came out to wave signs expressing their opposition to a proposed industrial park in Lualualei Valley. People, young and old, and of all different walks of life stood side by side, sharing messages of strength and solidarity.

The mission was really two fold–yes, we were targeting the Land Use Commissioners who were visiting the proposed site, just to make sure they wouldn’t get any crazy ideas that this community wants an industrial park. The second purpose was really for everyone else driving by, because most of the people who live on the Wai`anae Coast have never heard of plans for another industrial park in the valley. Response was mostly positive, lots of head nods and horn honks. 🙂

We had some pretty good press coverage too, KITV and KHON stopped by, along with the Hawai`i Independent and FLUX Hawai`i Magazine. Click below to see KITV’s full story.

Click here to watch story.

Here’s more from Marti who was with the commissioners on the site visit:

Members of the Land Use Commission made an official site visit to the parcel of farmland that Tropic Land proposes to turn into an industrial park. They drove up Lualualei Naval Access Road and then back down Hakimo Road, over the new the roadway that Tropic cut to connect the Navy Road to Hakimo Road. The Commissioners saw first-hand all of the farms along Hakimo Road, the profile of Maui, the Hoaliku Drake Preschool, and the narrow intersection at Hakimo and Farrington Hwy.

Checking out the preschool along the curvy Hakimo Rd. on the way to the proposed industrial park. Also taking a moment to introduce the group to our kupua, Maui!

Interestingly, just seconds after the developer’s attorney said it was too hot and arid to grow palm trees on the property, the sky opened and big drops of rain fell. We got drenched as we drove down Hakimo Road.

Umbrellas out in full effect as Lono gives kokua to show the commissioners that it does indeed rain in the valley!

Please come share your mana’o on the proposed industrial park at the Land Use Commission hearing on Thursday September 9th at the Kakuhihewa Bldg. in Kapolei, 9:30 am. You can hold one of the beautiful signs you see here, or bring your own! 🙂

Mahalo nui loa to Pono Kealoha for the photos! 🙂

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We got our August issue of the excellent Environment Hawai’i in the mail the other day!

On DAR’s proposed list of activities that they believe should be exempted from doing environmental assessment, they write, “DAR’s proposed list appears to exempt every type of permit and license issued by the division.” Including live rock and coral collecting permits and all permits for Papahanaumokuakea in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

There is also great coverage of Waimanalo Gulch violations and wet-noodle enforcement from the Department of Health, and excellent reporting on this summer’s WESPAC meetings.

Mahalo to Pat and Teresa for their excellent investigative reporting! You can support Environment Hawai’i by subscribing today!

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(Mahalo to the talented Mark Fiesta for the picture)

The latest scoops from legal intern Tyler on legal proceedings around the push to protect agricultural and preservation lands in Waianae currently threatened with industrialization. Fenceline to farms and homes, an industral park and new landfill are proposed on this area in the middle of one of Hawai’i’s largest communities of Native Hawaiians. It’s a justice thing, and it’s a kākou thing!

From Tyler:

We last left you with some tremendous victories following the Land Use Commission’s granting our Motion to Intervene.  This means, as you may remember, that we get to sit at the big kids table and play hardball.  As dates are solidified and we proceed, our first act as official Intervenors is to order fancy name plates for our desks that say “Intevenor” on them.  That was a joke.  They say “Super Intervenor.”

All jokes aside, our first OFFICIAL act was to submit a Statement of Position.  It’s essentially a formality that lets everyone at the big kids table know what we’re playing for. Environmental and cultural justice. Here’s what we believe to be true:

Tropic’s proposed development ignores:
1) The cultural significance of Wai‘anae
2) The Wai‘anae Sustainable Communities Plan
3) The characterization of Urban land

Think of this as a game of Monopoly.  Tropic Lands owns a parcel not on the game board.  Let’s call it Insensitive Avenue.  They really want to be in the game, because they believe they can make a nice chunk of change.  But they can ONLY do this on Insensitive Avenue.  So what do they do?  They cry “JOBS!” and then they ask the state Land Use Commission (LUC) if they can amend the rules and put Insensitive Avenue on the game board.

The problem is: If we let Insensitive Avenue on the game board, then we MUST put Greedy Place and The Capitalism Railroad into play.  And in fact, this is the purpose of the rules. The reason Community Plans and Zoning Regulations are made? To prevent unruly development in a community and to maintain balance. Not to mention mediating ongoing insensitivity to cultural concerns.

We understand the need for economic development.  We understand the need for jobs in Wai‘anae.

In actuality, all we’re asking is that you put your industrial park in an area that is compatible with your development plans.  Like… Maybe put the industrial park in an already industrialized area?  That seems fairly logical to me!  How about you folks reading this?

This area is Preservation/Agriculture Land.  Let’s keep it  that way. There are some incredible alternatives being proposed by communities members–everything from a gateway park to an agricultural incubator.

Now that the big kids know what we’re  playing for and why, we gotta show them what we’re playing with. The Scottish Terrier. Or the thimble!  Joke.  In fact, we’re playing with  people who are experts in their fields, and we believe their expert testimonies will expose to the Commission some undeniable truths behind this bad proposal.

Stay tuned!

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From Shelley:

Aunty WalterBea shares stories of Mauikupua, the demi-god.

This weekend we hosted our fourth Environmental Justice Bus Tour–this time with an added stop at the Farmer’s Market.  Mahalo to everyone who came out to learn more about Wai`anae! We had a great mix of people hailing from far and wide.  Groups represented were Nakem Youth (from Kalihi), CEJE, Hawai`i Farm Union, the Hawai`i Independent, and the Lawai`a Action Network–as well as some community members.  Special shout out to Nakem Youth for blogging your reflections of the bus tour! Check it out! Here is some of their powerful testimony:

Mark: “We gotta change our public perception of Waianae. I didn’t know about the agricultural lands, it was beautiful to see and very different from the way the mainstream media presents it.”

Sonny: “I have family members who live in Waianae and I fear for their lives. There are many kids who run around and I don’t want them getting hit by trucks…”

Rochie: “I live in Waianae I didn’t know what was really happening.  The dumpsite was all blocked and I thought it was for housing development.  We need more transparency from these companies and the state.”

Powerful! More at their blog.  Mahalo to Nakem Youth member, Mark Fiesta, also for putting up such beautiful photos of the event. Here’s a link to his blog. Solidarity is a beautiful thing. 🙂 Mahalo to everyone for coming, if you are interested in joining our next tour, it is on August 28th.  Email shelley@kahea.org for more information.

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From Marti:

The Ho‘ike for the second graduating class of Ka Makani Kaiaulu o Wai‘anae that was held last friday totally renewed my internal spring of hope for the future of Hawai‘i.  Ten young people with nothing in common, but their home along the Wai‘anae Coast, came together to learn about the history and power of social justice movements in Hawai‘i and around the world… and they got to participate in a little movement building themselves.

“Waianae needs more voices,” the returning institute student added. “A lot of people are affected by what’s going on but don’t do anything about it. It’s like an ongoing unfinished project. … We are just trying to do our part and along the way we are learning so much about Waianae, the cultural history, and the impact we can have on our future; not just in the community but the whole world if we do something.”

KAHEA staff had the honor of working with this youth during this summer program.  We helped with some of the curriculum and encouraged them to participate in the LUC hearing on the Concerned Elders’ Petition to Intervene in the reclassification of ag land for an industrial park.

These students are an inspiration.  Smart, compassionate, and full of possibility.  The hope is to continue this program next summer or maybe even expand it into a year-long program.  To do that, though, would mean a lot of community support and financial backing.  If you are interested in donating to this program, click here.

Here is a link to the full story on the Ho‘ike in The Hawaii Independent.

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