Shame on PTA officials! Support free speech & free press Stop Bombing Pohakuloa

Borce, Loreto V Jr LTC USARMY IMCOM PACIFIC (US) <>, Fleming, Gregory R CIV USARMY IMCOM PACIFIC (US) <>, Donnelly, Michael O CIV (USA) <>, Taomia, Julie M CIV USARMY IMCOM PACIFIC (US) <>

Dear PTA Commander Borce, Deputy Commander Flemming, Public Affairs Officer Donnelly, and Cultural affairs person Taomia,

The article in today’s Hawaii Tribune Herald & West Hawaii Today by reporter Nancy Cook-Lauer who was banned from the Thursday, May 16th meeting in Hilo displays just one example of shame you should all feel from the way the meeting was conducted.  But I sincerely believe you have little shame about your treatment of reporter Cook-Lauer and the general public who attended the meeting and other members of our community and media representatives who were discouraged from attending due to your harsh statements to exclude the public and the press.

The meeting was suppose to be a consultation with the community about effects of training at Pohakuloa. It was anything but.  It was quite clear from your body language, smirks, obvious insincerity and even arrogance that could not be disguised by military camouflage, that the meeting was a fraud.  It was written all over your faces that the meeting was a mere legal formality that you hated, that you didn’t want to attend  and couldn’t wait to be over.  Real consultation begins by military officials listening to the community and responding to community concerns in community run meetings.  That process has yet to begin and needs to begin ASAP.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves.  Are you not suppose to be defending freedom and the right of the people to free speech and a free press?  Please make this letter an official part of the “Consultation” record as our organization Malu ‘Aina is listed as one of the consulting parties.

Jim Albertini
Malu 'Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489
Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
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Below is a comment about the meeting I posted on Facebook after the meeting the 
night of May 16, 2019

Great turnout in Hilo tonight on Pohakuloa meetihg with base officials.

The PTA Deputy commander , Greg Flemming, who chaired the meeting did his best to control and spin everything in the military ‘s favor, but people weren’t buying it. PTA commander Lt. Col. Loreto Borce, and Civilian cultural manager Julie Taomia also participated. In the background was PTA Sargent Major and the Public relations person Mike Donnelly. Flemming tried to claim at the start of the meeting that he didn’t want to be filmed but several people challenged him as a public official chairing the meeting. He was forced to back off his request. Many people in the audience spoke out passionately to stop the bombing and the need to protect cultural and religious sites at PTA. A highlight of the evening was the presence and voice of Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS) charter school from Pahoa. Many of the students have been to Kaho’olawe on several occasions and their experience has showed them the importance of working to stop the bombing and cleaning up Pohakuloa. The meeting was a legal requirement of the military. They tried to exclude the public but people would not have it. They demanded entry. It is not clear whether Nancy Cook-Lauer, a reporter from West Hawaii Today was allowed in. I saw a discussion taking place with officials but didn’t see what happened. I feel energized by the passion of those present speaking out to protect Pohakuloa and stop the bombing. Imua!


Reporter told to leave meeting about Army management plans for historic resources at PTA and Kawaihae Military Reservation