JANUARY 2015 KA WAI OLA COLUMN
`Ano`ai kakou… Happy Year of the Sheep! Big Island Trustee Robert Lindsey has been selected as our new Chairman of the Board. Trustee Dan Ahuna is our Vice-Chair. Trustee John Waihee IV chairs the Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment Committee and Trustee Hulu Lindsey chairs the Land and Property Committee.
As many of my readers know, I have worked diligently for many years to make OHA accountable to our beneficiaries and to make our decision making process more transparent. This call for openness has made me very unpopular with the past two OHA Chairs.
After years of having my requests get absolutely nowhere, I was finally forced to file a lawsuit against OHA in September 2013 to make it more transparent. Now that a new leadership team is in place, this lawsuit may no longer be necessary.
As the new Chairperson of the Asset & Resource Management (ARM) Committee (henceforth the “Budget & Finance” Committee), I will oversee all fiscal and budgetary matters and ensure that OHA’s trust fund is properly management.
The Budget & Finance Committee also oversees OHA’s real estate and develops policy on land use, native rights, and natural and cultural resources. It also approves all grants and evaluates OHA programs to decide whether we should continue funding them.
Now that decision making has shifted to a new majority, I feel confident that our beneficiaries will be pleased with the upcoming changes.
If you haven’t already heard, you may now go to OHA’s website at http://www.oha.org/about/board-trustees to watch live meetings of the OHA Board of Trustees. Be sure to tune in on the days we have our meetings. For a meeting schedule, please call me at (808) 594-0204.
NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Mahalo nui loa to Governor Neil Abercrombie for his constant support of Native Hawaiian issues, which goes all the way back to championing the Akaka bill while he was in Congress. He can take pride in being the Governor that finally made the ceded lands settlement a reality with the transfer of Kakaako Makai to OHA.
I would also like to thank State Senators Malama Solomon and Clayton Hee, and Representative Faye Hanohano for their dedicated service to the Native Hawaiian Community while serving in the state legislature. I wish them well in their future endeavors.
While OHA now has to work even harder to educate the new incoming legislators on unresolved Native Hawaiian issues, I have high hopes that we will have another successful session and get more things done for our beneficiaries.
Aloha Ke Akua.