`Ano`ai kakou… My family and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Senator Daniel K. Inouye. There are no adequate words to express this loss. Our hearts and thoughts are with Sen. Inouye’s family, his countless friends, and his dedicated staff members during this difficult time. We will always be grateful and remember Senator Inouye for his 50 years of public service as a U.S. Senator.
I am also so very grateful for Senator Daniel Akaka’s 36-years of service in Congress. Senator Akaka’s many years of service and dedication to all the people of Hawaii is an ideal example that all future leaders should strive toward. Mahalo nui loa for all of your hard work over the past 12-years to establish a solid foundation for all Native Hawaiians to utilize as we finally restore our native sovereignty.
Legislative Leadership Changes
Congratulations to new House Speaker Joe Souki. A change in the Speakership is long overdue and a welcome turn of events. I wish him and his new leadership team well in this legislative session.
The sudden passing of Senator Inouye brought about many changes in local politics, especially in the leadership of the State Senate. Senate Vice-President Donna Mercado Kim will replace former Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who became Lt. Governor. Newly appointed Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran has filled the void left by Lt. Governor Tsutsui.
A great concern for OHA this year are the proposed “finger piers” that will front our property at Kewalo Basin. After OHA signed the agreement with the State to receive the Kakaako Makai lands at Kewalo, the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) informed OHA about the finger piers that had been promised to an earlier developer who had already spent a great deal of cash on the development of the harbor.
This poses a huge problem for OHA. Placing piers in front of our Fisherman’s Wharf property and the adjacent waterways will seriously reduces the value of our land and takes away our rights to develop our own piers. I will keep you posted on this issue.
Recognizing Kuleana Lands as historical lands is one of my priorities for the 2013 legislative session. Last year, the Senate passed out a resolution protecting Kuleana Lands, but the former House Speaker killed the House version. Not sure why.
Public Land Development Corporation
The Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) is a state entity created by the Legislature in 2011 to develop state lands and generate revenues for the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The PLDC became a highly controversial issue in the past legislative session, but the good news is that all parties now agree the PLDC needs to be repealed or it has to be significantly amended to incorporate the changes that the public has been demanding. Aloha Ke Akua.