POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 29, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011
The lead editorial in the Star- Advertiser on Sunday implored: "Mend fences and make Makaha land gift work" (Our View, June 26).
We appreciate your support of the learning community that Kamehameha Schools envisions on land offered by developer Jeff Stone. However, the editorial includes statements that are incorrect and out of date, serving to confuse your readers.
On June 7, Kamehameha Schools communicated to Mr. Stone that we are ready to sign an agreement accepting his generous gift of 67 acres of Makaha Valley land, containing the same stipulations that all parties agreed to in March 2010: KS would name the learning center after the Stone family; KS commits to a spending floor of $10 million over five years or $25 million over 10 years; and the land use will be restricted to activities that fulfill our educational mission. The only difference between this agreement and the agreement reached in March 2010 was to address that KS lands would be deeded over without the accompanying transfer of 230 acres to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, in return for Mr. Stone's receipt of affordable housing credits.
Your editorial incorrectly suggests that KS is pursuing an "Option B" that contemplates a purchase of all 300 acres of Makaha Valley lands. As we explained to the Star-Advertiser last week, at some point during the protracted negotiation with Mr. Stone, we discussed the possibility of a land purchase as a way to move forward with planning and build-out for the learning center. We shared that this option was discussed and discarded months ago, but the article did not reflect any of that context. Your editorial perpetuates that inaccuracy. To be clear: "Option B" is not part of the current discussion.
Kamehameha Schools' commitment to and vision for the Leeward Coast has not changed. The Ka Pua initiative — which is much broader and more important than a single piece of property — was developed and articulated prior to the Makaha proposal, born out of a long-standing effort to broaden our reach to the significant Hawaiian community on the Leeward Coast. Long before Mr. Stone made his gift offer, KS was investigating potential learning center sites, and we have been working with the Waianae Coast community to determine the optimal plan for this facility.
Our commitment is to the children of the Waianae Coast, not to a specific location. We have been working with DHHL and look forward to continuing collaborations on behalf of our shared stakeholders, and we are confident that, should Mr. Stone feel it best to rescind his gift offer, our Ka Pua vision will continue unhampered.
Kekoa Paulsen is the director of community relations and communications for Kamehameha Schools.