POSTED: 6 JANUARY 2004 - 12:30pm HST

Report on PMRF - DLNR Public Hearing

Barkings Sands dunes in front of the cliffs above Mana

by Joan Conrow on 6 January 2004

In less than a decade, the navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) has slipped from hero to zero on Kauai, and it’s still sinking down. Whereas the westside base -- key to the “Star Wars” missile interception program -- once could do no wrong, now it can do no right, as some 200 hostile residents pointed out at a Nov. 13 meeting at Kalaheo School.

It wasn’t just the size and diversity of the crowd, but its venom, that underscored how far PMRF has fallen from favor. Even former loyalists have soured on the base, joining others furious over the navy’s refusal to restore full public access to the longest stretch of sand in Hawaii. Although only part of the 7.5-mile beach fronts the base, and access is mandated by its state lease, the navy closed.the entire shoreline for “security purposes” after the Sept. 11 attacks on the mainland. It has since reopened two popular surfbreaks -- provided surfers stay in the water and obtain a pass that requires a criminal background check.

So folks were already in a surly mood when they showed up at the largest public meeting on Kauai in years to learn why the navy wants to create a “buffer zone” on 5,860 acres of state agricultural land around the base. Four Kauai police cars were parked in front of the school cafeteria and six uniformed officers stood by the door.

But the police presence didn’t deter folks from speaking their mind. They simply weren’t buying the navy’s claim that it seeks only to ensure the longterm compatibility of its neighbors and has no plans to expand or further restrict public access. And they laughed outright when navy spokesmen offered assurances that the state, as the policing entity for the deal, would keep PMRF in line. “We don’t trust the navy or the state, so where do we start?” asked Anahola resident James Torio.

Many who have been involved in the struggle to reopen the beaches pointed out that the state either cannot or will not enforce the existing lease agreement with PMRF, which requires beach access. They said there is no reason to believe the state will be any more effective in enforcing lease provisions attached to the buffer zone.

Others noted that the navy has a history of mistreating the land it manages, as evidenced by the bombed and battered condition of Kahoolawe, which it had returned to the state earlier that day. Eleele resident Wilma Holi reminded state officials that Hawaiians had struggled for 60 years to end the navy’s claim on Kahoolawe:“Do you want our children to fight that same war? Bullshit.”

Some questioned what plans the navy ultimately had for the base and shoreline, noting that the PMRF website had advertised that officers could enjoy comfortable cottages on a deserted white sand beach that is closed to the public.

A number of speakers said that PMRF’s expansion -- indeed, its mere presence -- put Kauai residents at risk for an attack. They expressed concern about the military’s continuing expansion in Hawaii, saying that it did not bode well for the environment, native Hawaiians or the tourist industry.

Others noted that PMRF currently was paying only $187 per year to lease the base, and that Hawaiians and others should be allowed to use the land at those cheap prices, rather than the military.

Ultimately, it will be up to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and its staff to decide whether the navy will be allowed to lease land for the expansion. Land Board staff assured those at the meeting that it was not a “done deal” and public comments would be considered when they made their recommendation to the Land Board. However, they did not record the meeting and said that speakers needed to send in written statements if they wanted their testimony considered.

The Land Board likely will have a meeting on this issue in late January or February, and the public will be allowed to testify. However, the meeting may be held on Oahu.

It’s not too late to comment on PMRF’s expansion plans. The Land Board planning staff is accepting public comments, which they will use to develop a recommendation for the Board.

Send letters stating your views to:

Dierdre S. Mamiya, Administrator
Department of Land and Natural Resources, Land Division
PO Box 621, Honolulu, HI 96809

You can also request to be notified of the date the Board will consider the request.



POSTED: 15 NOVEMBER 2003 - 11:00am HST

PMRF Public Hearing

Editor's note: The following is an unpublished letter to the Garden Island News

14 November 2003

Letter to the Editor of the Garden Island News

Over 300 people attended the recent DLNR/PMRF public hearing in Kalaheo. The PMRF requested controls on 6000 acres around their facility. The public’s response was loud and clear: “We want our beaches back and we don’t want military expansion!”
The DLNR heard the message, but the Navy missed it. The Navy wasn’t there, but sent hired reps to promote the scheme and take the heat. Unbelievably, no official recording was made. Consequently, there is no official transcript of what was said at the meeting. Only written testimony, submitted to the DLNR, will be considered in their decision. Truly an insult to the people of Kauai. For you to be on record, mail your response to:

Dierdre Mamiya
DLNR Land Division
PO Box 621
Honolulu HI 96809

One solution to the public’s outcry is for the Navy relocate their Barking Sands facility to the base of the pali near Mana Ridge where they already have a site. If Houston Control can be over a 1000 miles from Cape Kennedy for Shuttle flights, the Navy doesn’t have to be on our beaches to conduct remote sensing tests. This solution would dictate a scheduled tradeoff acre for acre. The Navy would give up parts of it’s Barking Sands site and be allowed to develop an equal area within a new designated Mana Ridge Site.

1) Begin with all housing and recreation and continue with offices and personnel support. Locate all new projects at the consolidated Mana Ridge site or Kokee Site.

2) Dismantle completed or unused project sites and restore them to their natural condition. Turn these areas over to a new Barking Sands State Park.

3) Work with the DLNR and the Agribusiness Development Corporation to develop a marshland wilderness as a protective buffer zone around the Navy’s new Mana Ridge Site.

This would be expensive, but, if the Navy has its way, there are billions for gadgetry headed to Kauai. Let healing the island be part of that cost.

Juan Wilson, Architect




PMRF Hearing Poster

POSTED: 10 NOVEMBER 2003 - 6:00pm HST

image above: This is a handout created by Juan Wilson for meeting



PMRF Proposed Land Use Requests

10 November 2003 - 5:45pm

Editor's note: The following is a letter to our Hawaii representatives

9 November 2003

Senator Daniel Inouye
300 Alamoana Blvd 10 Nov 2003
Suite 7212
Honolulu HI 96850-4975
US Senator Akaka
Hawaii Governor Lingle
US Representative Case
State Senator Hooser
Kauai Mayor Baptiste

Aloha Senator,
In the name of the aina, the people of Kauai need your help. My name is Juan Wilson. I am an architect who lives in Hanapepe. I strongly oppose the attempt by the Navy to control an additional 5000 acres of the westside of Kauai. The idea that a huge buffer zone is needed to protect the Navy from terrorists on our island is absurd.

This nonsense just adds fuel to the argument that the Navy cannot be trusted. They have not lived up to their lease agreement. The Navy wanted a place to test ordinance. Their lease with the state guaranteed the people the right of unrestricted access to the westside beaches, unless they were under Naval bombardment. Over the years the Navy is guilty of what is called called “Mission Creep”. The result is a Pork Barrel Country Club we call the Plush Military Recreational Facility or PMRF. It doesn’t take much imagination to see where the PMRF is heading in case the Starwars dollars evaporate.

Their master plan is more likely related to the Command Center in the mountains of Mana. With that in mind, the 6000 acre buffer zone begins to make sense. With a couple of 10000 foot runways for jumbo C-17 transport planes, the Mana Plain could be the biggest, baddest aircraft carrier in the world. Just add a motor pool of armored vehicles and housing for 5000 special forces, and there could be a quick response to any Pacific Rim situation from our tropical paradise.

There would even be enough in that 6000 acres for an ample High-tech R&D Industrial Park, and a visiting subcontractors hotel/ & resort complex. If this is what the military is up to, let’s put it on the table. This nightmare is not our dream, and the terrorist buffer zone hoax isn’t getting much traction here.

The westside traditionally was a place of affordable housing, but kama`aina can no longer afford to live in Waimea or even Kekaha. The military gentrification accelerates and is driving prices skyward. In a few days our mayor will make “clean up effort” to sweep the homeless off our beaches and out of our parks. Many of these are people are locals who work and have children but can’t afford housing anywhere on the island. Where will these people go? Certainly not the westside.

Moreover, we have lost access to the beach front from Kekole Point to Queen’s Pond. That’s 7.5 miles of the longest, most beautiful ribbon of sandy beach front in Hawaii. This Navy land grab will cut off the northernmost beaches as well. Polihale State Park will be history unless you’re wearing ID tags and have clearance. These beaches, with their back to the pali facing unmatched sunsets, are significant places of rest, recreation and spiritual renewal for the people of Kauai. We must have these beaches to live here.

So if it comes to it, we can do what others have done. Local residents have fought and been successful in pushing the US military out of Kahoolawe in Hawaii, the Canal Zone in Panama and Vieques Island in Puerto Rico. Skeptics argue that the military will only withdraw when the strategic importance of a location no longer exists. This maybe true, but I’d add that persistent protest and national media coverage help too.
The recent case of Vieques Island should give Kauaians hope. The US Navy considered Vieques its most strategically important punching bag in the Atlantic. The navy occupied 75% of the island. In 1947 and again in 1961 the Navy attempted to take control over the whole island. Both efforts were resisted and the Navy failed.

In April 1999 the Navy dropped two 500-lb. bombs on Vieques Island, accidentally killing a civilian and injuring four others. The Puerto Rican people demanded the Navy leave immediately. Soon, people started camping in the restricted areas in an effort to stop all Naval exercises.
There were mass demonstrations, petitions, etc., that finally lead to the creation of a presidential panel. The panel recommended that if the Navy left Vieques in 5 years, it could resume a reduced bombing schedule. That was unacceptable to the people of Vieques, who demanded a complete ouster of the Navy. And, God bless them, they won. In May of 2003 the Navy left Vieques returning the whole island back to Puerto Rican control. For the islanders, the official end of Navy occupation was a cause for great celebration and the beginning of hope for a better future.
The Rev. Al Sharpton spent 90 days in prison in 2001 to protest the Navy exercises on Vieques Island. He attended the ceremonies returning the land to Puerto Rico and said " We won a significant battle here, one that people thought we would never win."

I hope you will stand with the people of Hawaii on this vital issue. Being passive or ducking it won’t do. I’ll vote for anyone who will fight for the rights and freedom of Americans over a greedy and imposing military. If you, Senator Inuoye, can’t or won’t help us maybe Al Sharpton will stand up for the people of Hawaii.
Mahalo for your atrtention to this matter,

Juan Wilson, Architect
Hanapepe, Kauai





PMRF Land Grab Cartoon

POSTED: 6 NOVEMBER 2003 3:20pm HST

image above: cartoon on subject of PMRF land grab by Tom Teitge



PMRF C 17 Landings on Kauai

POSTED: 6 JUNE 2003 - 12:00pm

The following is an unpublished letter to the Garden Island News

4 June 2003

Letter to the Editor of the Garden Island News

We read with dismay your headline June 5th: “Barking Sand could be home base for Air Force C-17 jets”. The article said that the military will possibly station the jumbo jets on Kauai and is considering a new runway. We’re talking “jumbo” as in 170 foot wingspan, 585,000 pound takeoff weight.

This base will be bad for our economy. This island should not be an aircraft carrier or military fortress. The key resources for our long term economic health is the wonderful climate and natural beauty of Kauai. Relying on these factors will improve our economy. Ignoring them will damage it. This is true for tourism; agriculture; the entertainment industry; the very reason for being here.
The base will harm tourism. Once the “estimated” 60 flights a month begin, you can bet that number will climb. There will be frequent, loud and steep takeoffs and landings. Given the orientation of the Mana Plain expect overflights along the southern resort shore of Kauai.

The “heightened security” excuses after 9/11 continue to limit access to recreation areas. Increasing westside military operations will expand those limitations. Won’t they need a fuel tank farm for the C-17 behemoths? The military will undoubtedly demand more real estate along both sides of Kaumuali'i Highway.

The base will be bad for island residents. The westside still feels Hawaiian. That laid back lifestyle is threatened. More SUV’s and prefab houses don’t mean a better life. The proposed base will make the westside unaffordable to those there now. Keep in mind the argument for not placing this base at Kaneohe on Oahu is because of the danger of combat training to nearby residences.

During “ military exercises” they may feel justified closing off the west end of the island. We maybe unable to reach Pole Hale, Queens Pond or Barking Sands. These places are vital recreational areas – isolated, rustic and spiritually significant to many of us. Will the military eventually control the entire area, and closing our state park?

The base will damage the very spirit of Kauai. Will we be be a jump-off point for war in North Korea and the Philippines? The base won’t make us more secure, but less so, as it makes us a strategic target for nuclear and terrorist attacks.

The Pacific Missile Research Facility was granted use of Barking Sands contingent on perpetual public access to the shoreline. They’ve not kept their end of the bargain. It’s time for the state to call them on it. Maybe the state and county should consider closing military operations at PMRF? It's worked in the Panama Canal Zone, Diego Garcia, Puerto Rico and even on Kahoolawe.

Juan Wilson, Architect


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