Saying a final farewell to former OHA Trustee Moanikeꞌala Akaka

`Ano`ai kakou…  It is with sadness I say aloha to former OHA Trustee Moanikeʻala Akaka who passed away in Hilo on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at the age of 72.  I had the distinct honor of serving with Moani on the OHA Board from 1990 to 1996.

Trustee Akaka was a prominent figure in the early days of the Hawaiian Renaissance, and her outspoken and passionate activism on behalf of Native Hawaiians and the disenfranchised continued throughout her entire life.  Trustee Akaka strongly opposed the militarization of Hawaiʻi and the use of Kahaoʻolawe and Pōhakuloa as bombing and munitions training areas and she was also a passionate advocate for the protection of Mauna Kea.

In February, 2004, Trustee Akaka came to ask OHA if she qualified for state retirement for her past service as an OHA Trustee from November 28, 1984 to November 15, 1996.  The administration let her know that she did not qualify for state retirement under the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS).

From November 26, 1980 through 1993, OHA Trustees served without a salary.  Trustees received a stipend of $50.00 per day for each meeting they attended and travel expenses.  So back then, Trustees were considered part-time workers but we worked full-time.

In 1993, the OHA Trustee Salary Commission was established and Trustees started to receive an annual salary of $32,000, but we were not included in the ERS so we didn’t qualify for state retirement benefits.

In 2002, the law was changed to allow OHA Trustees, in service on or after July 1, 2002, to participate in the ERS.  Although we tried to grandfather in the past Trustees, the new law ended up excluding past Trustees that served before July 1, 2002.  The law only gave retirement benefits to Trustees elected after July 1, 2002.

In February of 2015, Trustee Akaka renewed her request for retirement benefits from OHA.  As Chair of the Budget Committee, I asked the Administration to draft an action item proposing to make a single, lump sum payment to former Trustee Akaka, which would equal a Trustees’ one year’s salary in 2015, excluding fringe benefits.  Although some Trustees had some concerns, this proposal passed with no objections on May 14, 2015.

For too many years, OHA Trustees were treated as “step children” of the State.  Yet we are elected statewide and serve all year long.  We are also fiduciaries which no other elected officials are.  Our responsibilities are much greater than a state legislator.  Yet it took 13 years to get a salary, which comes from Trust Funds, and 22 years to be allowed retirement benefits.  The legislature can give itself raises while OHA has to wait for the Governor to appoint a salary commission every four years to see if we deserve a raise.  It’s been eight years and two Commissions who have said no to raises.  What is wrong with this picture?  We are still being treated as second class citizens.

On May 25, 2017, the Trustees adopted a resolution honoring the life and contributions of Trustee Akaka and extended its deepest condolences to her ʻohana.  If you are interested in making a donation to the ‘ohana, checks can be made payable to Trustee Akaka’s daughter.  Here is her contact information:  Ho‘oululahui Erika Perry, 80 Alahelenui Street, Hilo, HI 96720.

Mahalo nui and Godspeed Moani.

Senator Akaka: Hawaii’s most beloved public servant


`Ano`ai kakou…  I was saddened that after months of thinking about his political future, Senator Daniel Akaka decided not to run for re-election in 2012 after serving in the U.S. Senate from 1990 to the present and 13 years previously in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Over the years, I have worked closely with Senator Akaka on important issues such as fighting for proper medical care of our Hawaii National Guardsmen while he was the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and I look forward to working with him over the next two years on Federal Recognition for Native Hawaiians now that he is the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Senator Akaka serves as the best example of how a lawmaker can get the job done with kindness and humility without having to resort to any political shenanigans or negativity.  He will certainly be sorely missed in a Congress that is now more and more focused on being combative and polarizing.

Senator Akaka has been our strongest advocate in Congress and in 1993, working with Senator Daniel Inouye, he passed the Apology Resolution, where the United States officially apologized for its part in the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  I believe no one can represent the Hawaiian community as thoughtfully as Senator Akaka has and whoever prevails in 2012
will have some very big shoes to fill.

Senator Akaka deserves a great big MAHALO for his life long service to Hawaii.  There is still much work to be accomplished over the next two years and I look forward to working closely with Senator Akaka to get them done.


Here is an update on important Native Hawaiian bills that are working their way through the legislature.

State Recognition

Senate Bill 1 (SB1), introduced by Senator Malama Solomon, was passed out of its final Senate Committees and will be crossing over to the House for consideration.  This bill will address a long overdue formal recognition by the State of Hawaii of its indigenous people.

SB1520, introduced by Senator Clayton Hee, also passed out of its final Senate Committee and will be crossing over to the House.  SB 1520 would establish procedures for state recognition of a first nation government similar to what is described in the
Akaka bill, but at the state level.

Past Due Ceded Lands Settlement

SB 984 & HB399, part of the OHA Package of bills, seeks to have the State resolve its long overdue debt to OHA resulting from public land trust revenues unpaid from 11/7/1978 to 7/1/2010.  Both bills failed to make it out of its final committee before the crossover deadline and are now considered “dead” for this session.  However, as anyone who has lobbied the legislature knows, there are ways to resurrect bills from the dead.  The language of either SB984 or HB399 could be inserted into another bill that is still alive, resurrecting it.  So there is still hope of a settlement in this legislative session.  Another alternative is a concurrent resolution which is being considered as I write this column.

Aloha Ke Akua.

What happens to Injured Guardsmen Returning Home from Iraq?

By: OHA Trustee Rowena Akana

Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA, June 2007

Last month, I met with several injured beneficiaries in the Hawaii Army National Guard who called my office about problems they were having with their medical care in the Army’s new Medical Retention Processing Unit (MRPU). After listening to the shocking treatment that they were receiving, I called the offices of Senator Daniel Akaka and Congressman Neil Abercrombie and together we coordinated a meeting between the Guardsmen and the Brigadier General of the Hawaii Army National Guard. During the meeting, a disturbing pattern emerged.


After a Hawaii Army National Guardsman gets injured in Iraq, he is sent to Tripler for treatment and assigned a case manager to help coordinate his care under the MRPU Plan. The problem is that the case managers are not following the plan’s guidelines. According to the soldiers, there is a huge disconnect between the medical personnel and their patients. Army doctors and case managers contradict each other and confuse soldiers over their treatment plan. Some soldiers are told they will be having corrective surgery, and then later told they will only be given medication.

Two Guardsmen who had the same case worker complained that she was condescending and culturally insensitive. When there was a misunderstanding, this case worker refused to make appointments or prolonged their wait for treatment. When they asked for a different case worker, they are denied and later harassed by hospital personnel for complaining. This is especially hard for local Guardsmen who feel that their communication skills may not be the best.

To make matters worse, the MRPU regularly loses or mixes-up the soldiers’ files and doesnít allow soldiers to make copies. They are also not given their medical records upon release to take to Veteran Affairs (VA).


The biggest problem with the MRPU seems to be an “unwritten” rule in the plan to rotate soldiers out after they have received 365 days of medical care. Some are rotated out without a doctor’s approval while they are still in need of operations and therapy. In several cases, a case worker’s signature appears where a doctor’s signature should be, which goes against MRPU regulations. Non-medical personnel should not be prescribing treatments.

Although an Army doctor may sign an extension for a soldier to continue his treatment beyond 12-months, this is rarely done. Soldiers are left with nowhere to go except the Veteran’s Hospital. Rotating National Guard soldiers out of the MRPU and sending them on to the VA appears to be an expedient way of getting rid of those wounded soldiers.

These soldiers are suffering from serious injuries such as dislocated shoulders and blown-off kneecaps which haven’t received all of the medical care they need to fully recover. Fixing half-a-soldier and sending them on to the Veteran’s Hospital for the rest of their medical care is simply inhumane.


To add insult to injury, because of the tremendous strain on the Veterans’ hospitals due to the many soldiers and Army National Guardsmen returning from Iraq with serious injuries, there is an 18-month wait to be processed by the VA for treatment. This leaves the Guardsmen without medical treatment for almost two years and takes a huge physical and psychological toll for the Guardsmen and their families, many of whom cannot afford expensive surgeries on their own. All of these Guardsmen are also suffering from psychological problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and trouble sleeping from sleep apnea and are in desperate need of continued treatment.


The Guardsman assert, and rightly so, that they were wounded in combat and therefore should be treated by the Army until they can return to duty or are able to go back to some sense of a normal life. Guardsmen being rotated out with only a meager 10-20% disability pay cannot support their families when they go back to civilian life or expect to get a job that can. The Army should at least get them back into the best physical shape possible.

There is a huge disparity between the treatment of National Guardsman and a full-time Army soldier when there should be none. They both face the same dangers on the front lines and received the same horrific injuries. They deserve the same medical attention. In fact, we need to help them more since they need to re-enter the civilian workforce when they get back home.

The following needs to happen to improve their situation:

* Either disband the MRPU or treat National Guardsman the same as full-time Army soldiers if they have been injured or wounded as a result of being activated for combat duty.

* Launch an investigation of the MRPU, Tripler, and the procedures of the medical personnel and administrative staff as soon as possible.

* Establish, in Army regulations, that Army National Guardsmen can receive treatment from the MRPU until they are either ready to return to duty or ready to return to civilian life.

* Establish stricter oversight over the Army’s medical treatment system regarding wounded soldiers.

I am very happy to report that since my initial meeting with these Hawaii Army National Guardsmen, there have been some positive results. Both the offices of Senator Daniel Akaka and Congressman Neil Abercrombie have been diligent in addressing these issues with highest levels at Tripler Hospital. On the national level, Senator Akaka is looking at ways to address the Guardsmen’s concerns so that all Army National Guardsmen everywhere can be treated with parody equal to any member of the armed services who serves on active duty.

If you believe that our Hawaii Army National Guardsmen, when injured in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else while serving on active duty should be extended the same kind of medical treatment as our regular forces, I urge you to write to your local and federal elected officials to express your support for these soldiers.

Makua: Target State Not Military

By: Trustee Rowena Akana

Source: Kai Wai Ola o OHA, August 1997

Last month, the U.S. Marines had planned an amphibious landing at Makua Beach. The five-day exercise was to begin with an amphibious assault on the beach, followed by live-fire training in the valley. The community was outraged, and rightly so. The Wai’anae Coast Neighborhood Board, Hui Malama o Makua, Pastor Kaleo Patterson (organizer of the demonstrations leading up to the day of the scheduled landing) and the Hawai’i Ecumenical Coalition rose to protest the intrusion of the military onto sacred land at Makua. The protest caused Governor Cayetano to meet with Admiral Prueher (commander-in-chief, Pacific Command), and a meeting with representatives of the community ensued. The military changed its plans and landed at Bellows Air Force Station instead. While Frenchy DeSoto proclaimed this a major victory, this was anything but a victory. All it did was postpone the inevitable.

The military has not ruled out future training activities in the area which is held sacred by Hawaiians. Using live ammunition, and firing into a beautiful sacred valley in the middle of thriving communities is insane. Would the military try this in other states for 65 years? Let’s see if other communities in America will allow them to do this.

The people of Hawai’i must become more involved in what our state officials are doing on our behalf.

One could argue all day about being ready for war, but let’s be realistic. If there is a third world war, no one would be fighting in hand-to-hand combat. The fight would be a nuclear one and none of us would have to worry about Makua Valley, or anywhere else.

In 1964, the state leased Makua to the Army for $1 for 65 years until the year 2029. The lease allows the military to use the beach for maneuvers, but in doing so, it infringes on the community’s public access rights.

During 1ast year’s legislative session, the governor and the legislature decried the poor condition of state finances and how departments and programs would have to tighten down to run more efficiently with less money. But while they are selling the sob story of “no money,” they, at the same time, give away prime lands at $1 for 65 years, denying us -the constituency and beneficiaries – our fair share of revenues: 20 percent – OHA beneficiaries; 80 percent – general public beneficiaries. This debacle allows potentially millions of state dollars to be lost.

The protest at Makua raises questions, not only about access, but about state accountability in meeting its responsibilities to the public trust.

* Shouldn’t there be a review of state land leases? Because of the state’s rationale for low lease rent, an impartial third party should do the review.

* For how much of our valuable ceded lands are we not receiving proper compensation? When potential revenue is allowed to slip away, we get short-changed in education, human services, health and other benefits.

* Why weren’t access requirements considered in the lease of Makua? The state must let the military know that it cannot lease valuable land for bombings, live ammunition firing and training. Although the governor met with Admiral Prueher to change the landing site, this wasn’t resolved when the lease was given in 1964. The target of protest should be the administration, not necessarily the military, because the state can revoke the lease at any time.

* The state doesn’t own lands; it is the trustee for these lands. Shouldn’t it be more accountable for their management of these lands?

It’s time we (the public) demand that the state take its responsibilities seriously as trustee of our public trust. We have allowed them to mismanage our lands for too long! Should we be considering hiring private counsel to investigate the state for their mismanagement of our public land trust?

Which Bases Are Vital to Keep?

By: Trustee Rowena Akana
July, 1994

Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA

The military recently launched an aggressive public relations campaign to prove its need for Bellows Air Force Station, even as it cuts its activity on the ceded property.

A presidential communications station soon will be moved to another location, leaving family recreation at beach cottages and occasional Marine Corps amphibious assaults as the last two activities on the sprawling oceanfront property.

The media recently were invited to record for the public a staged assault on Windward O’ahu. The First Expeditionary Brigade attacked the beaches of Bellows for the invitees, who dutifully reported the event as news.

What was the point of this exercise? The military says it was to prove how important Bellows is for the defense of our nation and to remind residents what happens to the economy if the military retreats.

Bellows was left off this year’s base closure list. But another round of closures has already begun and it’s about time Congress and the Department of Defense take a closer look not only at Bellows, but some defense bases as well.

Until now it has been necessary for the Hawai’i public to justify its opposition to military activity in the islands. Hawaiians fought vigorously against the use of sacred Kaho’olawe as a bombing target. The Kamaka family fought (and lost) its battle to keep the military from condemning land held by them since Kamehameha III.

The question should not be which bases to close. The question should be: which bases are vital to keep open? The Pentagon and Congress have neither the cold war mandate nor the taxpayer pocketbooks to afford themselves the military luxuries of the past. It’s about time both learn to live within the taxpayers’ means, not the other way around.

Zero-sum budgeting–where an agency justifies resources it needs, rather than fighting for what it already has–is a possible solution. It forces decision makers to start from scratch every budgeting cycle. It leaves little room for pork barrel defense contracts or under-utilized military bases which crawl across the Hawaiian Islands.

Bellows is not the only base the military can do without. Ft. Shafter rents space to other agencies. Ft. Armstrong has been tossed around as a site for a convention center. Ft. DeRussy offers nothing but a rest and recreation facility that could be transferred somewhere else.

There are other sites Hawaiians and the general public could argue to close, but it really is the job of the military and Congress. For once it would be nice if one of these institutions were forthcoming with suggestions on how to trim budget fat, redress century-old wrongs and strengthen the Hawaiian economy.

Why must the public harangue our leaders to lead us?

Rumor has it that Admiral Charles Larson is on the short list to replace General Colin Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Larson responded to criticism of the military’s continued possession of Bellows with a threat to pull the First Expeditionary Brigade from Kane’ohe Marine Corps Air Station.

Wherever he goes, perhaps the admiral will have the opportunity to ponder the consequences of a nation that lives beyond its means at the expense of the population it has sworn to defend.

Military preparedness and thrift do not have to be mutually exclusive goals. Those leaders with a mind to, can accomplish both. Rep. Neil Abercrombie is one leader who deserves our support in this battle.

Military Has No Excuse to Continue Bellows Operations

By: Trustee Rowena Akana
May, 1994

Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA

Why does the U.S. Pacific Command want to expand its facilities at Bellows Air Force Station? Precisely because it’s time to return Bellows to Hawaiians — and the military doesn’t want to.

Bellows occupies 1,495 acres of Windward O’ahu, of which 1,457 acres are ceded lands held in trust for Hawai’i’s inhabitants. The station’s current estimated value is more than $88 million. On the open market, the Bellows land could be worth several hundred million dollars more. Recently, the U.S. Pacific Command decided to “develop a comprehensive Hawaii Military Land Use Master Plan.” Begun a year ago, this effort worked to “evaluate land requirements to meet mission tasks from the perspective of all military services and the civilian community.” The result? Build now or give it up.

Today, activity at Bellows consists largely of rest and relaxation for the military at cottages and recreation facilities on the oceanfront spread. The land also houses an Air Force communications station and is a training site for occasional Marine Corps amphibious beach assaults.

Hawai’i Congressman Neil Abercrombie, who sits on the military installations and facilities committee, has pushed the government to make Bellows available for Hawaii housing needs. “The military is not supposed to make up reasons to keep land when there is no overriding national interest,” Abercrombie said in May, 1992. “That has been established — so the land comes back to the state, that’s it.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t it. Through this master plan, the U.S. Pacific Command has re-invented the military’s overriding national interest in Bellows — housing. The military recently finished a round of public hearings to assess the environmental impact of a swarm of new military housing on Bellows land. The military got an earful from Waimanalo and Kailua residents who complained that the move was particularly galling since Hawaiians are desperate for housing. Bellows is ceded land, and for years the military has done nothing with this beachfront property.

When the governor of Hawai’i first explored the possibility of Bellows’ return to the state, the Department of Defense turned down the request. In a 1958 letter, the Secretary of the Interior emphasized the need for military recreational facilities, noting that 312 acres used for R&R was “some of the most attractive beach land on the island of O’ahu.”

As early as 1966, the federal government realized it did not really need the Windward land base. The director of the Bureau of the Budget determined “that the [Bellows] property hereinafter described is no longer needed by the United States” (deed dated July 25, 1966).

Since then, the military has made no serious attempt to defend the recreation facility as a necessary military activity and has admitted the communications link could be easily relocated. The Marine Corps’ small unit exercises could continue on a permit basis as they do on other state lands. However, hoarding land for no other reason other than it’s pretty to look at seems a bit foolish when compared to the dire needs in the Hawaiian community for housing.

So what has the military done? Created a dire need for housing of its own.

The Admission Act of 1959 and the Conveyance Procedures Act of 1963 require ceded lands to be returned when no longer needed for federal purposes. Hawaiians are entitled to revenue from ceded lands, and failure to move on the reversion of Bellows denies Hawaii’s original inhabitants their rightful benefits.

Pearl Harbor’s Nuclear Waste

By: Trustee Rowena Akana

Source: Star Bulletin Viewpoint, October 15, 1993

And Pearl Harbor joins the undistinguished list of sites where the U.S. government will be “temporarily storing” radioactive nuclear waste.

Apparently the government and ecology of Idaho have tired from almost half a century of temporary storage duties.

No wonder.

This spent nuclear fuel–from Navy vessels, Energy Department reactors and assorted private power plants–has a half-life of perhaps 25,000 years.

For the past 40 years, spent nuclear fuel generated by Navy warships has been shipped by rail to a sprawling Department of Energy (DOE) complex in eastern Idaho. The complex reprocessed the spent fuel into a solid form so it could be stored permanently.

The problem is the DOE has no plan in place for the removal or disposal of the solidified waste. Idaho became the Navyís de facto dumping ground, until Idaho sued the DOE.

Now the DOE must find alternatives. It thinks Pear Harbor could be one of them.

Unless you say otherwise.

Pearl Harbor is the least suitable shipyard to receive and process spent nuclear fuel. The harbor spills into the waters surrounding the islandís most popular tourist destination, Waikiki. The waters sustain a fragile ecosystem that sustains the diets of most Hawaiians. The harbor itself abuts the eleventh largest population center in the U.S.

The Pearl Harbor shipyard already holds two large casks of high-level radioactive waste in a fenced area between dry-docks 2 and 3, according to a monthly environmental newsletter.

Pearl Harbor’s share of unclassified radioactive solid waste, not counting this reactor waste, came to 2,792 cubic feet. Before 1970, these wastes were dumped at sea. Now the waste is not dumped, intentionally.

“In 1983, an ‘inadvertent release’ of radioactive water occurred at Pearl Harbor, apparently while the submarine USS Sargo was being serviced at the shipyard,” according to Environment Hawai’i.

As of 1991, about 18 submarines have been based at Pearl Harbor. When the Navy stopped dumping their waste, the waste didn’t go away. It just piled up.

This is why the government is looking for a permanent site to store it.

Under the agreement with the state of Idaho and the Department of Energy, the Navy will prepare an environmental assessment–to be released in June 1994–for its storage of high-level radioactive waste at Pearl Harbor.

We should consider whether the price of national security is worth the costs of accepting nuclear waste. Protection by a nuclear propelled fleet now seems less important than protection from that fleet. Defunct Russian submarine vessels now imperil the health of shipyard communities with ill-maintained reactor cores and storage facilities.

The U.S. Navy maintains its safety record is the best in the world; that if Hawai’i doesn’t want high-paying jobs, some other state would be more than happy to take the work; that national security permits no alternatives. While these claims hold merit, close scrutiny strips them of their reassuring tones.

The U.S. Navy maintains U.S. and Hawaiian soil is relatively safe from Russian-sized ecological disasters. But they are happening, if on a more limited, less visible scale. In all likelihood, the vast desert plains near Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Hanford, Washington, will never be available for human use. The aquifer underlying the Idaho facility is already tainted with radioactivity. Communities miles away from Hanford learned from local newspapers how levels of several radioactive elements skyrocketed in their aquifer stores.

Efforts to clean up these and a score of other nuclear waste dumps across America will siphon billions of dollars from the federal budget for decades.

“My state knows better than any other what a folly the federal government has perpetrated with its failure to comply with environmental laws and properly handle nuclear waste,î Idaho gov. Cecil Andrus told a U.S. Senate committee recently. ìIdahoans have always been told that the storage of millions of cubic yards of nuclear waste at the INEL would be ëtemporary storage,í it means a nuclear half-life of perhaps 25,000 years.î

With all of Hawaiiís economic woes, the last thing our economy needs is an accident waiting to happen.

A permanent or even temporary storage site for spent nuclear fuel is just that sort of accident.

Tell the government how you feel about storing spent nuclear fuel here. Write Rob S. Rothman, ER & WM EIS Project Manager, U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office, P.O. Box 1625, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83415-1570.

Give Back Bellows

By: OHA Trustee Rowena Akana

Source: Star Bulletin: Viewpoint, May 6, 1993

The commander of Hawaii’s second-largest industry recently said he would ask a Marine brigade be pulled out of Kaneohe if he lost the use of the land at Bellows.

Honolulu’s other daily paper spent five Sunday pages fretting over his threat. Really, is Bellows all that vital to the military? Or, for that matter, is the military all that vital to Hawaii?

Adm. Charles Larson broke decades of virtual military silence to counter claims made by Rep. Abercrombie, myself and others that Bellows belongs and should return to the Hawaiian community. Our kind of talk, he implies, might trigger decisions that would damage the islands’ economy.

“Frankly, without an amphibious training site, the Marines (and I) would be hard-pressed to justify their continued presence at Kaneohe — especially since other states that do offer adequate training are [eager] to beef up and protect their own bases,” the admiral wrote.

He means Camp Pendelton, Calif. where the land, resources and residents presumably are more accommodating. The 8,900-member 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade could go there for its amphibious assaults and inland maneuvers, but then the admiral and his Marines couldn’t rest and recreate all over Windward Oahu.

Larson rationalized that the Bellows station “helps satisfy a major morale and welfare requirement.” Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) at Kaneohe MCAS already provides the Marines with barbers, BayFests, Beach Bashes, bowling, child care, dining, disco, golf, karaoke, pool tables, private surfing, sailing, scuba diving, shopping, swimming, tailors, a theatre and weight rooms to name a few subsidized perks. Does it also really need a l,500-acre, $88 million playground?

Yes, the admiral would say, and don’t you forget the Marines contribute substantially to the local economy. His assumption, the media’s foregone conclusion, should be scrutinized.

Since the armed services pay almost no property taxes for bases here, contributing to the local economy means leaving base and paying local prices. To avoid this “severe financial hardship” (the admiral’s words), MWR strives to provide all the on-base dining, shopping and playing the military community will ever need — blunting any real financial contribution.

Whatever the military does pump into the local economy, no one bothered to estimate what it sucks out in natural resources (aquifer stores, energy consumption and prime ceded soil), federal taxes (22.5 % COLAs, subsidized off-base housing and commissary and exchange privileges) and aloha spirit (traffic congestion, school overcrowding, environmental pollution and criminal activity).

The military brass trumpets the many jobs Kaneohe MCAS offers the Windward community. Many of those jobs, however, are filled by military dependents and recent Mainland transplants. Logic dictates if the Marines go to Camp Pendelton, so do the jobs. With the Marines then go the dependents and with the jobs go the transplants, thus muting the cries of mass local unemployment.

There is no reason why Larson’s military pullout should cripple the Windward community. Islanders are not invalids, we do not need to be force-fed a military industry for an economy.

The state has already zoned the Bellows land for 5,000 single-family units and an equal number of agricultural plots. If Bellows returned to a sovereign Hawaiian nation, native Hawaiians could build a land base for a self-sufficient economy.

As a master-planned community, Bellows could include cottage industries, taro farms or any number of activities that would offer Hawaiians and other community members the opportunity to improve their lot well beyond military dependence. At the same time, human resource agencies could offer their life-support programs to other needy areas.

It is at our own expense Hawaii residents subsidize the military industry’s occupation of Hawaiian lands.

The admiral says the Marines might ship out if we don’t shape up.

Frankly, without enough affordable housing sites, Hawaiians would be hard-pressed to tolerate the Marines’ continued presence at Kaneohe — especially since native Hawaiians are eager to beef up and protect their own causes.

“I can assure you that your military cherishes our special relationship with the people of Hawaii,” Larson wrote. “In the past 20 years at least nine military sites have been conveyed to the state or sold.”

Perhaps. But admiral, do you know of the military’s special relationship with the indigenous people of Hawaii? Hawaiians never asked you to come, yet you came. Hawaiians never gave you Bellows, yet you took it. Hawaiians never wanted you to dominate the economy, yet now you threaten it.

Do us all a favor, give back Bellows. It’s not yours and you don’t need it.

We do.