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Cruise dispute unresolved after meeting
Cruise dispute unresolved after meetingThe decision to suspend ship visits, for at least two days, follows a confrontation between the Safari Explorer and protesters on two boats and on surfboards in Kaunakakai Harbor on Saturday. The ship returned Sunday, despite protests. Cruise ship officials said visitors enjoyed a day of regularly scheduled activities.Among those attending Wednesday evening's meeting was Zeke Kalua, an executive assistant to Mayor Alan Arakawa. Kalua said the meeting drew at least 200 people to the Mitchell Pauole Center in Kaunakakai and lasted nearly 4 1/2 hours.He said people expressed a diversity of opinion for and against the cruise ship visits, but the consensus was that "the community wants to be a part of the decision to allow or disallow the venture to go."Kalua said people expressed concern about the cruise ship opening up a floodgate of other operators, who would bring visitors and consume resources on the island.Walter Ritte Jr. <a href="" title="abercrombie coupon">abercrombie coupon</a> , a leader of the protesters' group, said the cruise ship operators were told, from the beginning, "that they need to ask before they come."But, instead, "they came, then they started asking," he said. "They were already here, at our doorstep."Ritte said his group was prepared to meet the cruise ship this morning, if it were to arrive at Kaunakakai Harbor.He said he heard no response from the cruise ship officials at the meeting."They were sitting there, and they wouldn't respond," he said. But he added that the "general feeling was, 'Let's stop fighting and work things out.' "Ritte said a community group, 'Aha Kiole o Molokai, stepped forward as an "escape route" by offering its expertise and manpower to facilitate a community process to discuss the cruise ship visits.He said the protesters "agreed to that.""But first they had to stop the cruises . . . release all the pressure," he said, and allow a community review process to proceed.Ritte said protesters wore makahiki T shirts as a sign that this is a "time of peace.""We put out an olive branch," he said.Opu'ulani Albino, a cultural consultant and adviser for 'Aha Kiole o Molokai, said part of her group's mission is conflict resolution as cultural practitioners."We're offering to be an unbiased and fair mediation entity to sit with protesters and those with the cruise ship company to see how we can come together as a community and work on a resolution acceptable to both sides," she said.Albino said there was a "lack of process" for the cruise ship to come to Molokai and seek input from the community, "asking their thoughts, worries or fears."She said her group has sent out surveys to the Molokai community to determine, among other issues, whether they are for or against cruise ships visiting the island."We want the community to know that their voices will be heard," Albino said.The surveys are due Dec. 15, she said.Dan Meisenzahl, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said work was ongoing by county, state and federal officials to try to resolve the dispute."Hopefully, we can reach some resolution that works for all parties involved," he said. "It may take some time, but the state is committed to making sure that happens."When asked about the cruise ship returning to the island, Meisenzahl said the state would like to see a "cooling off period," but he added that state harbors are open to any operator that abides by state and federal regulations to operate in a commercial harbor. <a href="" title="mens designer outlet">mens designer outlet</a> <a href="" title="clearance sale">clearance sale</a> "We can't tell them they can't operate," he said.Ritte said the protesters' concern is not only about the American Safari Cruises ship because it could be just the first of many.If the Safari Cruises were to begin calling on Molokai, then "there's going to be a line of ships," he said. And, "nobody will be able to control these ships."Ritte said the protesters want to protect the future of Molokai and its resources."We're aloha aina warriors," he said, recalling how Native Hawaiians prevailed in opposing the bombing of Kahoolawe. xboter 2014
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