Maui News

Dancil Sends Letter to Chief Justice Nakamura

November 2, 2012, 11:45 AM HST
* Updated November 2, 2:12 PM
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Richard Dancil, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Kula resident Richard Dancil, who has been leading the legal challenge against the county-co-sponsored Halloween event in Lahaina this year, has filed another appeal.

The appeal includes a letter to Chief Justice Craig H. Nakamura, that seeks an explanation of the ruling that essentially allowed the event to continue.

In a letter dated 9:53 a.m. on November 2, 2012, Dancil questions how the event can be allowed without an Environmental Assessment.

In the document, he seeks an explanation of the ruling and further expounds upon his reasoning for filing the appeal.


The complete text of the letter is as follows (unedited):

Dear Honorable Chief Judge Craig H. Nakamura,

I am writing because I and many kupuna, here on Maui, do not understand the factual and, or legal basis of the denial of our motion seeking preventive injunctive relief regarding the Halloween event in Lahiana Town historic district, sponsored by the County of Maui and the Lahaina Town Action Committee.

This particular event, the large numbers of persons involved, the nature of the event, the event’s proximity to historic sites culturally, historically and spiritually significant to Native Hawaiians and the event’s impact on the identity of this Nationally Registered Historic Town District to native Hawaiians as well as legitimate concerns as to the safety of the resident population creates a confusion among many of our kupuna as to how this event can be allowed, without what appears to us to be proper lawful review of “significant effects” by an Environmental Assessment.  It is the County co-sponsoring the event and it is the County that is granting an exemption from performing an Environmental Assessment, because the temporary structures the County is putting up, qualifies for an exemption as presented in the record.  Does this then allow the entire event to qualify for such exemption from an Environmental Assessment since the event itself is being held in an historic district which itself is supposed to trigger the preparation of an EA under HRS 343?

HRS §343-5 Applicability and requirements. (a) Except as otherwise provided, an environmental assessment shall be required for actions that (4) propose any use within any historic site as designated in the National Register, as provided for in the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Public Law 89-665, or chapter 6E;

Our mana’o is that the failure of the County authority to properly follow the law leads to a deterioration of the law and the corresponding erasing of our culture and history in that district, similar to soil erosion, which if not protected, and once gone, is gone forever.  The identity of an historic district replaced with the identity of the “Halloween party town distination” “Mardi Gras of the Pacific” identity helps to significantly eradicate what is left of an already fragile cultural and historical ecosystem. 

It is my understanding that this type of preventative injunction we sought “prevents a threatened injury, preserves the status quo, or restrains the continued commission of an ongoing wrong…” 

I do not understand all the rules of Appellate procedure and review, however, I have been informed that Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 52(a) state that “In granting or refusing an interlocutory injunction, the court must similarly state the findings and conclusions that support its action.”

You Honor, I do not know if this Federal Rule applies to the Intermediate Court of Appeals in this case, nonetheless, myself and many other disheartened kupuna would be grateful if this Honorable Court would provide us with the “findings and conclusions” that support it’s ruling. 

This would help us to understand where we are in error, and why you denied our motion, so that we can have the understanding necessary to effectively protect our Native Hawaiian Rights and our culture from being so harmed at this highly vulnerable, yet also potentially auspicious and favorable time in our people’s history. (sic)

Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka ‘Aina I Ka Pono

Malama Pono


Richard Dancil


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