Bad news for the Maui Community Farmland Council (MCFC)–their effort to get a ballot measure that would break up big agricultural holdings in Maui County (read: Alexander & Baldwin) through eminent domain and redistribute the land to organic farmers has failed to gather the minimum number of signatures.
“The Office of the County Clerk has certified that the Community Farmland Council has not collected the required amount of valid signatures needed to advance to the Council a petition to establish a program to acquire and lease agricultural lands, County Clerk Danny Mateo announced today,” stated a June 13 county press release.
“On April 18, the Community Farmland Council submitted an initiative petition that contained 11,339 signatures, and a supplemental petition on June 1 that contained 6,827 signatures,” County Clerk Danny Mateo said in the news release. “Our office has reviewed both submissions and determined that 7,305 registered voters in the County of Maui have signed the petitions, while 10,861 signatures have been deemed invalid.”
Here’s a table (from the County of Maui) showing the proposed initiative’s signature breakdown:
MCFC spokesperson Bruce Douglas put on a brave face in a June 13 press release.
“What is important is that 18,166 people signed the petitions by the Clerk’s count. Considering 46,005 voted in the last election, this is a highly significant number,” stated the news release. “These people declared their wish that the sugarcane lands be converted into the world’s largest community-owned organic agricultural park. These people choose pubic [sic] ownership over corporate ownership. These people choose organic ag over chemical ag. These people choose food security over developments on prime ag lands. This dream will live on and will one day be fulfilled.”
The MCFC had also put forward a District Voting Charter Amendment, but has shelved that until 2018, Douglas said in the June 13 press release.
“The District Voting Charter Amendment also gathered a significant number of signatures toward its goal that have no expiration date. These will be saved for the 2018 election,” said Douglas in the press release. “With the likely prospect of a County Manager Charter Amendment for 2016 election, we have decided it better to wait until the 2018 election for the voters to decide on district voting of County Council members.”
Photo of old tractor: Dave Fergusson/Wikimedia Commons