I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Corruption in Laie, Hawaii?

Though rough and basic, Google provides me with some statistics about this blog. I know what Google searches lead people to my site. Many people have entered "corruption, Laie" as search terms and discovered my site on "Church Leadership Corruption." A couple of people have commented and put in links to corruption in Laie such as blogs and news articles. Prior to this, I had no idea that anything was going on in Laie at all.


There is enough that I have decided to explore a little bit and comment in this blog. I spent a semester at BYU-Hawaii many years back and am familiar with Laie and the area.


From Mormon Wiki I learned that:
Hawaii Reserves, Inc. (HRI) is the managing company for many of the public works and retail operations around Laie, Hawaii. It is a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation and as such is completely owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church. As Laie was first being established by members of the Church as a city and location for the temple and college (Brigham Young University - Hawaii), as well as the Polynesian Cultural Center, the need arose to handle the necessary public works that a city would require. Hawaii Reserves was established for that purpose. Among the assets that HRI manages are Laie Shopping Center, Laie Park, Laie Cemetery, Hukilau Beach Park, Laie Water Company, and Laie Treatment Works.
It also includes this intriguing comment:

Laie Treatment Works runs a $20 million state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility constructed by HRI. Since its construction, the facility has run at an operating loss of approximately $1 million annually. An agreement between HRI and the City and County of Honolulu allows for the transfer of the facility to the city. 
So, not surprisingly, the Church had to build and operate its own infrastructure since there weren't any other options in the beginning.


Hawaii Reserves Inc. seems to be at the core of what some consider the corruption. In the "About Us" link the individuals leading the organization are profiled. The term "Esq" short for "Esquire" caught my attention. It can be applied to those with law degrees though it seems to be used on this site as an affectation in my humble opinion. I consider this a red flag. A little research confirmed my suspicion that using "Esq" or "Esquire" is NOT common for other attorneys in Hawaii.


In short, Hawaii Reserves Inc. and others including BYU-Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), feel the area needs to grow along with housing and commercial services as well as expand and update the infrastructure. The plan for doing so is called Envision Laie.


This is not inherently objectionable but the growth they envision will more than double the size of the community, in effect, creating an entirely new city. Eminent domain will probably play a part in all of this.
I found some news article to be helpful in understanding this situation:

"
Malaekahana-ville: BYUH and its partners want to build a new town outside Lā‘ie" published July 29, 2009 as the cover story in the Honolulu Weekly.

"City approves new town in Malaekahana: 'Envision La‘ie' proposal for housing, commercial development included in new city plan for Ko‘olau Loa" published October 6, 2010 also in the Honolulu Weekly.


"Meeting tonight on city’s plan to allow Turtle Bay, Malaekahana development" published December 7, 2010 in Kaaawa News.



Information from those alleging corruption can be found here:


Stop Corruption in Laie - a blog. See especially "Our Story" and Chronology of Events"


Independent Kamaaina - a blog.


I cannot judge a situation this complex, especially from afar, so my comments will be general.


There are many levels on which corruption could occur in a project of this magnitude such as (but not limited to):


What they are trying to do is illegal.
How they are trying to do this is illegal.
The people involved in trying to do this are doing something illegal.
A person involved in trying to do this is doing something illegal (privately benefit for example).


What they are trying to do is unethical.
How they are trying to do this is unethical.
The people involved in trying to do this are doing something unethical.
A person involved in trying to do this is doing something unethical (ends justify the means, for example)


What they are trying to do violates Mormon beliefs and/or practices.
How they are trying to do this violates Mormon beliefs and/or practices.
The people involved in trying to do this are violating Mormon beliefs and/or practices.
A person involved in trying to do this is doing something that violates Mormon beliefs and/or practices.


Do you get the picture?


It also could involve things that, although legal and ethical, offend our sense of justice or good sense. I'm betting that poor management practices also play a part. Good management can cost more and require more community outreach and take time. Many times this gets overlooked.


Outraged citizens also mess things up by failing to look past their own self-interest, not understanding basic management practices/realities and charging around with inferior and/or inadequate information.


So, I'm not going to pass judgment on corruption in Laie. However, I would encourage all those involved to manage themselves with maturity, good judgment, long suffering and selflessness.


Enough said, at least by me. Aloha.

1 comment:

  1. Love Thy Neighbor?

    http://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/content/%E2%80%9Cenvision-laie-not-part-general-plan

    Why do Mormons in Hawaii spend so much money on missionary work. It Laie's leaders are ruining it all.

    ReplyDelete