1978: Popular Proposal Raises Race Debate

Con Con Rocked by 'Explosive' Topic

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Another fiery opposition to the IRR was a Waimanalo board representative named John Penebacker.  He called the IRR policy an example of “haole” politics brought in by newcomers from the mainland. Penebacker, himself an "ex-mainlander" that moved to Hawai'i from Ohio 10 years previous, believed that the IRR was trying to divide Hawai'i according to race.

However, many people, who were newcomers, or lived in Hawai'i all of their lives, did not agree with Penebacker. To them, the IRR was not driven by outsiders.  Instead,  people on all sides of the race and Native/local/mainlander identity lines agreed with it. From this diverse population viewpoint, IRR would allow more grassroots participation in politics.