Saturday, May 21, 2022 |
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As former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs,
I find the method to the Honolulu Advertiser’s madness in the recent article
“Unity Elusive for OHA in 1999,” which was written by Yasmin Anwar, extremely
curious and highly suspect.
I am confident that the Hawaiians that have
benefited from the multitude of OHA’s programs during this last year would
agree that the picture painted by this article disregards the positive actions
and initiatives our Board has implemented on their behalf.
Hee, who publicly denounced our organization in the media, is contributing to
the negative stigma that OHA is an unwanted stepchild of the state, incapable
of cohesiveness, solidarity, and camaraderie when this is not at all the
Hawaiians statewide are offended by the trustees who speak
negatively about the organization they are elected to protect.
disappointed in Trustee Hee’s claim that the board is unable to work together,
especially since as the former Budget and Finance chairman he did not have any
meetings for at least five months — leaving many important appropriations
hanging. As a result, the Budget and Finance committee members voted to replace
Mr. Hee suffers from a rare form of amnesia. During his leadership,
his chairmanship was wracked with turbulence and numerous accusations of
As for the Land Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman of the
Board, Hannah Springer, she has been trying to delegate and circumvent her
responsibilities for the past six months, resulting in inactivity in important
areas that required trustee attention.
The problem at OHA has been that
trustees are unwilling to work at all, causing frustration for me, since I am
committed to moving forward for Hawaiians. Responsibility for trustees’ work
ethic cannot be attributed to the former leadership.
The tone of the
article, in my view, was a precursor to the main event, which was Monday’s
reorganization of the board. Simply put, the dissident trustees need an excuse
and a scapegoat.
The truth is this entire situation is about money and
power—don’t let anyone tell you different.
Taking OHA to the federal level
has made many people in high places very nervous. Having a chairman that cannot
be controlled by a political party is a very scary thing for some.
M. N. Akana
OHA Board of Trustees
Let’s talk trash
Let’s talk trash — the kind that is ending up along our roads, by
the streams and reservoirs, along our pristine hiking trails and everywhere
else it should not be to ruin the beauty of our paradise island.
even more specific, there is a favorite “dumping” place for everything from car
engines to tires, batteries, TV sets, mattresses, refrigerators, household
garbage to derelict autos.
This “place” is on Kainahola Road around the
reservoir and where I go on my daily walk. This area surrounded by streams,
rolling green pastures with cattle grazing and the majestic Makaleha mountains
with waterfalls cascading down its crevices is one of the many beautiful spots
on Kaua’i and should never be contaminated by waste deposited there by
So the question is, what do we do to solve the problem?
I notice that after one auto part or sack of trash is discarded there, a great
amount of dumping follows. Because of this, I regularly call head of county
roads to report the mess and request the clean up.
Sometimes the trash is
gone within two days, but other times it takes numerous calls and many weeks to
have the mess disappear.
Here are a few solutions:
1. Have the police
patrol these areas on a more regular basis, catch the violators and put teeth
in the $1,000 litter law that is on the books.
2. If the police are too
understaffed to do this, have the county crews pick up any litter on a weekly
3. If these two options fail, then how about allotting a few
dollars to the millions Wally Rezentes found to fund a gargantuan pay raise for
the mayor and 32 other administrators to fund a position (police or
trash-picker) and solve the problem?
Our property tax was just increased,
our gas tax was increased and our vehicle weight tax was increased. If these
tax increases are not going for the maintenance of the beautification of our
island, for road repair, beach parks and recreation upkeep, then where is this
And, if we cannot maintain and upkeep what we have, then why
is our mayor traveling around the world promoting more people to come here? If
you can’t figure this out either, call our mayor (241-6000) and maybe she can
Hawaiians better off
To the Forum:
Susan Dixon’s viewpoint column in TGI of Dec. 12 on
the recent reconciliation hearings was an excellent and heart-felt presentation
of why she feels America has betrayed the native Hawaiians and must not be
allowed to do it again. I would like to offer an alternate view.
column uses the 1993 Akaka authored Apology Resolution to conclude that the
United States was “guilty” of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. It needs
to be recognized that the Resolution was written to portray American conduct as
wrong so the “apology” could be comprehensive and justified. The accuracy of
the Resolution’s statements of fact has been challenged by a number of
thoughtful persons, one of whom concluded that it contained over 100 errors.
But assuming the Dixon thesis, that America was responsible for changing
the Hawaiian government, it is an unwarranted step to conclude that this was a
“betrayal” of Hawai’i’s people.
Let’s look at the facts. A change in
government does not constitute a betrayal of anyone. Rather it depends on what
happens after the change.
Under the Kingdom, the typical Native Hawaiian
lived in poverty performing menial agricultural labor, and had a limited voice
in governmental affairs because the monarchy was not an elective office. Women
were not entitled to vote, and many men lacked the property qualifications to
Educational opportunities were meager and health maintenance was
The bulk of the depopulation of the indigenous people occurred
during the years of the Kingdom (an event for which the government of America
clearly had no responsibility); indeed, since annexation the native population
has steadily increased.
All Native Hawaiians were accepted as citizens of
the United States and many have been elected to high offices in the state and
Today, although some pockets of poverty remain, the standard of
living is vastly superior to what it was 100 years ago.
For any claim of
betrayal to be viable the condition of the indigenous Hawaiians would have had
to deteriorate, and the contrary is true.
In addition, although the
monarchs made promises to the native population that they would be given land,
they never were.
However, in 1920 the U.S. Government set aside about
200,000 acres of land for the use of qualifying Native Hawaiians. The Hawaiian
Homes Commission Act had elements of nobility in its concept, although its
administration has been shamefully abused.
Times have undermined the value
of the Act. It was adopted when Hawaii was an agrarian society. Today we are in
a technology age and tourism is Hawai’i’s paramount industry.
native population to be confined in racially segregated poverty enclaves is not
in their best interests and a new arrangement is needed.
The Dixon column
is predicated on the notion that it is appropriate to racially separate our
society and provide to the indigenous people “some form of self-determination,”
a right no other racial group would have.
To grant racial preferences
because of historical injustices has occurred elsewhere – affirmative action is
an example. Some disapprove of the principle entirely and it may well be
defensible only where the injustice was substantial and clear and prejudice is
continuing to prevent equal opportunities.
Those conditions are not
readily apparent in the case of Native Hawaiians.
It has been sensibly said
that we should strive to improve things that we can change, accept things we
cannot change and have the wisdom to understand the difference.
in the fifteenth century people from Europe in a continuing stream migrated
westward to the American continents, principally North America, and established
governments to rule the lands they inhabited.
Hawai’i was in the path of
this historic movement of people and, after becoming an American territory, its
citizens elected to become an American state. The course of history can never
be erased and seldom is it reversed.
The compact of statehood is an
inviolable act and as learned in the 1860’s secession it is not an option. In
the foreseeable future, severance of Hawai’i from America is not a realistic
possibility and it would be wise to accept this fact.
The issue of
sovereignty should be mentioned. As the Dixon column suggests while it is of
great emotional content it is a term which in the present context has no clear
If Hawai’i is to remain an American state, the usual meaning is
foreclosed, and the opportunities for alternate meanings must await the
determination of the pending Rice v. Cayetano case.
Do the Native Hawaiians
have grievances which need to be addressed? Most certainly they do. But there
is a better way. I have an expectation that if the Hawaiian Kingdom had
continued and a setting comparable to the reconciliation hearings provided, we
would be hearing the same loud voices of protest and expressions of outrage and
These outbursts are part of the human condition, but they seldom
lead to anything constructive.
Rather what is required is a process
nurtured by reason. The real problems of the indigenous community should be
identified and prioritized. Clearly education and health should be on the list,
but I would not presume to delimit it.
Access to a quality education is
vital for the youth of today to prepare for the technology era we are in. Such
access must be assured for all who seek it. If a child has a learning
disability aid is mandated. Motivation is a key element. Parents must focus on
encouraging their children to learn and this they cannot effectively do if they
are dispirited or preoccupied with things they cannot change.
that it should be a federal government burden to deal with the needs of our
indigenous people should be reexamined. In my view it is primarily incumbent on
our State and local governments and the community itself to address these
conditions, and I sincerely hope that we are equal to this challenge.
better society will emerge when the well being of our Native Hawaiians is
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