Legislative Update (May 2013)

`Ano`ai kakou…  The legislature is about ready to wrap things up.  Here are some important legislation affecting Native Hawaiians that are still alive:


OHA submitted House and Senate concurrent resolutions to recognize kuleana lands as historical lands and urge the counties to support efforts to promote continued ancestral ownership of kuleana lands.

The House version (HCR5) passed out of its first committee hearing and is waiting to be heard in the House Finance committee.  The Senate version (SCR1) has not been scheduled for a hearing yet.  Both need to be heard before an April 12th deadline.  Last year, Senator Malama Solomon introduced this resolution as a personal favor to me.  This year, her Senate committee has killed the resolution by declining to schedule a hearing for it.  One has to wonder why someone who supported the resolution last year would now refuse to hear it.


On March 8th, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means asked OHA to comment on the cuts to our budget bill (HB 222) by the House Finance Committee.  We let them know that we understand today’s economic situation doesn’t make it easy to decide how to the fund every State agencies.  Therefore, we didn’t oppose the proposed decreases at this time but we did urge the committee to restore OHA’s original request.

Some of the more serious decreases include cutting $268,860 over two years for educational enrichment programs.  This will probably mean that 269 less Native Hawaiian students will be receiving educational services.  Health improvement programs were cut $1,100,000, which may mean 960 less Native Hawaiians receiving Health obesity services and 1,030 less pregnant Native Hawaiian women receiving prenatal services.

HB 222 passed the Senate Ways and Means committee with amendments on April 1st, and all of the funds that were cut were restored.  The House now has to decide if they agree or disagree with the Senate amendments.


SB 3 proposes to establish a nonpartisan primary and general elections for OHA Trustees beginning with the 2014 elections.  On March 27th, OHA Trustees took a position opposing this measure.  On March 28th, the House Judiciary Committee passed the bill with technical amendments.  The Senate now has to decide if they agree or disagree with the House amendments.


HB 252 would require the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, in cooperation with OHA, to submit annual reports to the Governor and the Legislature on the status of the preparation of a roll, expenditures, and any other concerns or recommendations.  It amends the definition of “qualified Native Hawaiian” to include individuals who meet the ancestry requirements of Kamehameha Schools and OHA.  It also repeals the directive in Act 195 to amend the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.  Senate Committee Chairs Clayton Hee and Brickwood Galuteria amended the bill by:

(1) Deleting the requirement that the Native Hawaiian Roll remain confidential;

(2) Clarifying that all individuals already registered with the State as verified Hawaiians or Native Hawaiians through OHA are included in the Native Hawaiian Roll and extending to those individuals all rights and recognitions conferred upon other members of the roll;

(3) Inserting language to promote renewable energy in Hawaii; and

(4) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2013;

Aloha Ke Akua.

HCDA’s plan could end up privatizing the Kewalo Basin

HCDA needs to consider all of the Stakeholders involved before signing a 50-year lease with a mainland company!

`Ano`ai kakou…  On April 11, 2012, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the historic $200 million settlement between the State and OHA.  After many years of negotiations, OHA finally resolved all claims that were raised with the State relating to its portion of income from the public land trust from November 7, 1978 to June 30, 2012.  The State fulfilled its constitutional obligations to Native Hawaiians by providing OHA with fee simple title to lands in Kakaako makai.

However, to our surprise, on June 7, 2012, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which has jurisdiction over Kewalo Basin, had agreed to lease the 143-slip harbor in Kakaako for 50 years to California-based marina operator Almar Management Inc. and a partner doing business as KB Marina LP.

The Almar partnership would finance $22 million in repair work to replace all piers and docks and would increase boats slips from 143 to 243.  Almar anticipates the upgrades taking five years to complete and would pay HCDA about $45 million in rent over 50 years.

OHA owns the property along the Ewa side of the harbor including the former Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant area.  Late last year, OHA asked HCDA’s board to delay a final decision on the renovation and expansion plans so that we could better understand how the harbor changes would affect our property.

Now OHA is feeling heavy pressure from both the HCDA and the Governor’s office to accept the harbor improvements, which include two “finger” piers that will extend from OHA’s Fisherman’s Wharf site.  It is important to note that OHA was not aware of the HCDA’s commitment to the two finger piers prior to our signing the settlement agreement with the State.  We did not know that there were “strings attached” to the properties.

OHA is counting on the Kakaako lands to someday generate the revenue needed to support our many Native Hawaiian programs.  The properties are crucial to OHA and our future nation becoming completely self-sufficient.

The “Save Kakaako Ohana” is counting on OHA to develop our properties in a responsible and culturally sensitive way while preserving community access to the ocean.

If HCDA gets their way, OHA’s land will surely be devalued.  We need our ocean front not only for its beauty and view, but also to be able to master plan our area as a whole.  The last thing we need is a large cruise ship docked in front of our property.  It is also ridiculous that the State believes $45 million is a lot of money over 50 yearsIn 50-years, the property will be worth a hundred times that amount!

Help us stop this insane plan by showing your support for OHA to retain its rights to its waterfront.  Make your opinions known to the HCDA, your state legislators, and the governor’s office.

Legislative Update

There are several bills introduced in the 2013 legislature that are threatening to cause deep divisions within the Native Hawaiian community.  For example, HB 252 seeks to prevent Native Hawaiians who are not residents and/or Hawaii registered voters from participating in the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission’s enrollment process.  The legislature should refrain from joining the contentious debate about who is a Native Hawaiian.  That decision should be made by Native Hawaiians themselves.  Aloha Ke Akua.


October 2011 KA WAI OLA COLUMN

`Ano`ai kakou…  OHA has begun its search for a new Maui board member to replace Trustee Boyd Mossman, who has accepted an important assignment by his Church and plans to resign as of November 1, 2011.

I’m taking this opportunity to send my deepest Mahalo to Trustee Mossman for his years of dedicated service to our beneficiaries not only within the County of Maui but the State of Hawaii.  I offer my fondest Aloha and best wishes to Trustee Mossman and his wife Marvalee Maile Kaiaokamalie Mossman as they begin their new positions as temple president and matron of the Kona Hawaii Temple.


Will begin soon…

On September 1, 2011, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran a front-page article stating that OHA was preparing to replace its CEO Clyde Namu’o.  I am grateful for the professional leadership that Mr. Namu’o has brought to OHA during the past decade.  Our agency has grown by leaps and bounds over the many years that I have been a Trustee.  Through the years there have been many changes in our programs, personnel, and in our strategic plans.

While some people may be hesitant or resistant to making changes, I look forward to change with great enthusiasm and always with the hope that it will bring new energy, ideas, and challenges to take on — whatever the future may bring.

In our search for a new Trustee and a new CEO for OHA, candidates must have a vision for the future, dedication, a belief in the goal of attaining sovereignty and self-sufficiency for our Hawaiian People, patience, and tolerance because it will require all of these qualities – and more – to serve our people.

When serving as a public servant, too often people forget about the “servant” part of the job.  When that happens, you have
lost sight of your propose and can no longer serve effectively.


Currently, there are two subject-matter committees under the Board of Trustees: The Committee on Asset and Resource Management (ARM), and The Committee on Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment (BAE).

In an effort to involve more of the Trustees in leadership, OHA Chair Colette Machado appointed Trustee John Waihee IV late last year as Chair of the BAE Committee and with the departure of Trustee Mossman there will be further changes made to our committee structure.


As we search for a new Trustee and CEO, I am hopeful that we will have many applicants who will submit their resumes to us so that we may choose wisely from a large pool of talent.


OHA is currently undertaking the enrollment of our Hawaiian People, which has been mandated by Act 195 (SB1520).  We look
forward to this endeavor and embrace this challenge with the assistance of the five-member Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.
Members include: (1) Chairman of the Commission — Former Governor John Waihee III; (2) Naalehu Anthony of ‘Oiwi TV; (3) Attorney Lei Kihoi; (4) Former Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation Executive Director Mahealani Perez-Wendt; and (5) Robin Danner of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

To this effort, let us all move together in one canoe and agree ahead of time to “agree to disagree” if need be, but always with Aloha for one another’s thoughts and opinions, and it will be possible for all of us to move forward.

Aloha Ke Akua and Imua Hawaii nei.