It's all very odd, like reports I've gotten from two reputable sources of mysterious lights and rockets in the sky the past two nights.
The first report came from a friend in Kalaheo, who said he saw something about midnight Saturday night, but found no reports in any media on Sunday. “So what was it? Oh, definitely was a rocket because it leave one vapor trail. It looks like it was coming from PMRF, and it was right over the mountain, so low, I mean, wow, and so fast. It went flying over the whole island.”
The second report came from a friend who saw red lights on the Wainiha pali at about 7 p.m. Sunday, along with several triangular-shaped formations of light in the sky that flew off at different times, followed by a rocket “that looked like a meteor, except it was going the wrong way,” as in shooting up, not falling down, and traveling extremely fast.
Hmmm. Wonder what the Navy is up to?
I had to wonder what KPD's finest were up to, other than twiddling their thumbs, as they sat in a line of parked patrol cars along Umi Street for a couple of hours this afternoon while the rally to repeal Act 55 (the Public Land Development Corp.) was underway.
Aside from the fact that the crowd was entirely peaceful, with numerous elected officials in attendance, it seems so odd to park patrol cars there for the duration when the station is just a few blocks away. Unless it's intended as a show of force....
It was a very mellow event, well-planned by Felicia Alongi Cowden, with a rolling crowd that maybe numbered 200 over the course of the afternoon, and 75 to 100 at any one time. Councilmen Mel Rapozo and KipuKai Kualii both spoke, along with Council candidate Gary Hooser, a union rep, and OHA candidate and longtime activist Walter Ritte, among others.
I didn't really hear any of the speeches, because events like that are as much a chance to network and see old friends as make a political statement, so I took advantage of the opportunity catch up with some folks and pick up a few juicy bits of info. Still, as a political statement it wasn't shabby. It's not easy to get people to show up on a holiday afternoon for a rally to repeal a bad land use law, and more came than I had expected.
I also saw Councilmen Tim Bynum and Dickie Chang, as well as Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura. Rep. Derek Kawakami was there, but didn't speak. I didn't see any of our other state legislators, which is unfortunate, because they're the ones who will have to do the repealing. And it's definitely going to be an uphill battle, considering the bill had near unanimous support in the Lege.
It was really good to see quite a few kanaka maoli in the crowd, because the law has some serious ramifications for the so-called “ceded lands,” and the kanaka I talked to are justifiably suspicious about how it may all play out. Because let's not forget the 1.8 million acres of Hawaiian Kingdom public lands comprise an estimated 40 percent of the total land mass in the Islands, and 95 percent of all acreage under state control. Much of it is currently undeveloped, especially on the Neighbor Islands. And with the PLDC, any or all of it could be locked up in long-term sweetheart leases, or even sold, if two-thirds of the Legislators agree.
Which brings to mind an article a friend sent around, with the message: “I think this is the big picture. PLDC is one of the specks.”
The article, from nationofchange.org, discussed Oxfam’s call for a moratorium on World Bank Group investments in land intensive large-scale agricultural enterprises, which the Bank itself has termed a “land rush:”
Over the past year, aid agencies, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and development watchdogs have warned international investors are increasingly engaging in massive and sometimes predatory land deals in the developing world, particularly in Africa.
It seems the World Bank investments are aimed not at helping local communities feed themselves, but at turning subsistence farmers into export farmers.
As the article noted:
According to Oxfam, however, two-thirds of the investments made between 2000 and 2010 were exclusively for export-oriented crops, while other lands are being used to meet the increasing international demand for biofuels.
Is that what lies ahead for Hawaii? More yummy land deals for the multinational seed companies and biofuel contracts for the military?