Just weeks after the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history ripped through the coastal town of Lāhainā, Native Hawaiian taro farmers, environmentalists, and other residents of West Maui crowded into a narrow conference room in Honolulu for a state water commission hearing.
The chorus of criticism was emotional and persistent. For nearly 12 hours, scores of people urged commissioners to reinstate an official who had been key to strengthening water regulations and to resist corporate pressure to weaken those regulations. One after another, they calmly and deliberately delivered scathing criticism of a developer named Peter Martin, calling him “the face of evil in Lāhainā” and “public enemy number one.”
One person summed up the mood of the room when he said, “F— Peter Martin.”
More than 100 miles away on Maui, Martin followed parts of the hearing through a livestream on YouTube. Despite the deluge of criticism, he wasn’t upset. He wasn’t even surprised. After nearly 50 years as a developer on... Read more