Legislative Update (2017)

`Ano`ai kakou…  The legislature is about ready to wrap things up.  Here are two of the most harmful pieces of legislation that is currently threatening OHA and the Native Hawaiian Trust:

APPOINTING OHA TRUSTEES THREATENS THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

The House (HCR94/HR56) and Senate (SCR85/SR33) introduced resolutions that would ask OHA to convene a group of Hawaiian leaders, legal scholars, and Hawaiian community members to review whether it’d be better to appoint OHA Trustees rather than elect them.  The group would consider what the appropriate appointing authority would be and how to develop a list of the best qualified potential trustees.

OHA has always been an independent agency built on the goal of Native Hawaiian autonomy and self-determination.  Appointing Trustees would kill any hope of true self-determination and make OHA just another part of the state.

An appointed Trustee would only be loyal to whoever appointed them.  Elected Trustees are loyal to their constituents.  Would the people of Hawaii accept Senators and Representatives that were appointed by the Governor?  OHA should be no different.

Elected Trustees have built OHA into the impressive institution it is today.  We did it on our own, without someone above us second-guessing our every move.  An appointed Board of Trustees could never match our vision, determination, and drive to tackle the many challenges our beneficiaries face.

OHA COLLECTIVE BARGAINING?

HB865 threatens to undermine the autonomy of OHA Trustees as OHA’s independent decision makers and fiduciaries of the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund.  Amendment to HRS § 89-6 could result in the OHA Board of Trustees holding only 1 of 14 votes when negotiating a collective bargaining agreement involving OHA employees, whose salaries make up a significant portion of OHA’s operating budget.

Together with the requirements of the Civil Service Law, HRS Chapter 76, the Trustees’ ability to oversee and plan for personnel expenses would depend in large part to the decisions of the executive branch and Governor, who would hold 7 votes in collective bargaining negotiations involving OHA employees.

Such a voting imbalance would effectively require the OHA Board of Trustees to hand over control over some of its key expenditures to the State.  The requirements of civil service and collective bargaining would force OHA to change the way it hires, compensates, and maintains its workforce.

Representative Kaniela Ing

So what do both of these measures infringing on OHA’s autonomy have in common?  They were introduced in the House by Representative Kaniela Ing.  This isn’t the first year he’s introduced them, but this has to stop.  This is the third year in a row he’s done this!

Whatever Rep. Ing’s intentions may be, it’s clear his proposals would end OHA’s autonomy and make us a part of the state.  Hawaiians have been struggling for many years to restore our sovereignty and self-determination, whether it’s through nation-within-a-nation model or full independence.  A state-controlled OHA would cripple those efforts and threaten the resources OHA is holding for the new nation.

The Board of Education is now appointed by the Governor.  Are things better with public schools?  The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has commissioners appointed by the Governor.  Are you satisfied with how it’s performing?  I pray that the young Representative from Maui would put more thought into his proposals; otherwise we need to convince his constituents to look for someone else to represent them.  Aloha Ke Akua.

Wrapping-up 2016

Congratulations to all of the candidates who were elected to office in 2016.  Campaigning is a grueling process but the real work is about to begin.  I look forward to working with all of you in the 2017 Legislative Session to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians.

The Constitution of the Native Hawaiian Nation

On February 26, 2016, the majority of the Na‘i Aupuni ‘aha participants voted to adopt The Constitution of the Native Hawaiian Nation.  As one of 154 individuals that participated in the ‘aha, it is very difficult to put into words what an awesome experience this was for me.  Not only was this an important historical turning point in our history, but it was moving to see people who were often on opposite sides of an issue come together for the good of the whole and finally draft the governing documents needed to restore our nation.

Forced Land Sales Bills

During the 2016 legislative session, Kamehameha Schools led the charge against legislation that would have forced Hawai‘i’s landowners to sell leasehold lands to their lessees.  If HB 1635 or HB 2173 had become law, private land developers could have moved in to condemn and redevelop historical lands that were passed down from generation to generation of Hawaiians.

Thankfully, on February 8th, KS announced that the House cancelled the hearing for HB 1635 and HB 2173, which effectively killed the bills.  However, 2017 brings a new legislative session with new legislators who are unfamiliar with the issue.  Let us all be makaꞌala (watchful).

Wishing our dear Princess a very happy 90th birthday

It was with great admiration and respect that I dedicated this column to honoring Her Royal Highness Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawananakoa who celebrated her 90th birthday on April 26th.  Age has not slowed her efforts to help the Hawaiian people and to preserve and protect in perpetuity the legacy passed down to the present generation.

One Voice, One Message

On August 24th, the BAE Committee and OHA’s CEO proposed a new policy called “One Voice, One Message,” which required that all external communications be submitted to the CEO for review and approval prior to execution or engagement.

If this policy were to be approved, Trustees will no longer be able to publically voice their opposition to any board decision without facing severe sanctions for speaking out against the majority.  Thankfully, the proposal was deferred due to concerns about it being unconstitutional.  I will continue to strongly oppose this undemocratic policy if it returns to the board table.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announces a pathway to nationhood

On September 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced a “final rule to create a pathway for reestablishing a formal government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.”  It is now time for all of us to work together for the cause of recognition.  While the board has NOT voted to accept the rules as written, let us begin to agree on the things that we can agree to and set aside the things we differ on and move forward together for the future generations of Hawaiians yet to come.

Merry Christmas

May each of you have a joyful and merry Christmas surrounded by family and friends.  Stay safe out there.  Aloha Ke Akua.

Bring back the Land Committee

`Ano`ai kakou…  By the time you read this article you will have voted in the Primary Election.  I hope you took my advice and voted for new people.  Let me tell you why this is important, especially in the OHA races.

About a year ago, at the urging of the current Board Chair, two committees were collapsed into one.  The Budget Committee and the Land Committee became the Committee on Resource Management chaired by Trustee Colette Machado.   The excuse was to save time and effort, but the real reason was to consolidate power.

Since that time very little, if anything, has happened in the new combined committee.  Trustees have received little or no information on our land negotiations.  For instance:

  • MAUNA KEA: On May 26, 2015, Governor David Ige announced that he asked UH, which subleases the Mauna Kea summit area from the state, to make ten changes to improve its stewardship of Mauna Kea.  One of the changes included UH voluntarily returning to the state more than 10,000 acres that are not specifically needed for astronomy.  I believe UH should turn the lands over to OHA, since all 11,300 acres of land within the Mauna Kea Science Reserve are public land trust lands classified under section 5(b) of the Admissions Act.  What better solution could there be than to put Hawaiian lands in Hawaiian hands?  OHA has now put the State and UH on notice that we are considering legal action against both.
  • KAKAAKO MAKAI: In 2012, when OHA received Kakaako lands in our settlement with the State over past-due ceded land revenues, none of us knew that the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), which has jurisdiction over development in the area, planned to lease the harbor in Kakaako.  OHA has been negotiating with the HCDA to get them to compromise on their plans to put “finger piers” in front of our Fisherman’s Wharf property.
  • LEGISLATIVE THREATS: Earlier in the year, the legislature tried to pass a “forced land sales” bills.  If HB 1635 and HB 2173 had become law, developers could use it to forced Hawai‘i’s landowners to sell leasehold lands to their lessees.  Kamehameha Schools led the charge against the legislation since nearly 80 percent of their commercial properties are leased.  Also, our ceded lands controlled by DLNR could have been threatened and it would have also hurt the ability of Native Hawaiian organizations and trusts to fulfill their missions.

No matter what explanation is given for all of the missed opportunities that OHA has had this past year to fulfill its mission, it all comes down to leadership and the lack of it.  To top all of this off, a five to four vote is hardly a vote of confidence to hire back an OHA Administrator who many Trustees feel lacks the business and economic development experience to move OHA forward in the black column instead of the steady red.

These are the reasons OHA needs a breath of fresh air.  VOTE FOR CHANGE.  IMUA!

Are you satisfied with the status quo?

`Ano`ai kakou…  After serving on legendary boards that worked hard to build OHA and strengthen its ability to serve our beneficiaries, it frustrates me that we’ve become so stagnated in the last few years.  If you don’t agree that OHA is standing still, ask yourself this – When’s the last time you’ve seen OHA in the news?

In the past, OHA accomplished big things with less staff and less money.  OHA was frequently in the news doing important things that mattered like establishing a state-wide property tax exemption for Native Hawaiians living on Kuleana lands (an effort which I spearheaded); providing $4.4 million in grants to Hawaiian Focused Public Charter Schools; preserving 25,000 acres of Native Hawaiian rainforest known as Wao Kele o Puna on Hawaii Island; and saving the 1,875-acre Waimea Valley.

We also haven’t been getting anywhere at the state legislature.  This was one of the first years I can think of that none of the bills in the OHA legislative package passed.  This should be a cause for concern that OHA’s clout at the legislature is waning.

OHA is the only advocate at the legislature for all Native Hawaiian issues, such as water rights, gathering rights, or land rights.  Few organizations have the resources, staff and expertise to speak to legislators on our beneficiaries’ behalf.  If OHA doesn’t do something fast to reverse its shrinking clout at the legislature, caused in no small part by inconsistent decisions and our Administration making decisions for Trustees, we will be in danger of becoming inconsequential, insignificant and insolvent.

There is so much we can do to help our beneficiaries who are suffering under the lack of affordable housing, the high cost of living, lack of fresh local produce, and the continuing degradation of our fragile environment.  We just seem to lack the will to do anything.  I miss the passion and drive that previous Trustees had in years past.  Sure we got into a few scraps with each other, but we got things done and our hearts were always in the right place.  Everything we did was for the benefit of our people.

The Board of Trustees needs new energy

We must not be content with just sitting back and letting the Administration plod along without any direction.  We need to get the fire back in our bellies and go back to doing big things.  If we don’t, we will no longer be relevant to our beneficiaries and the state might decide to get rid of us by transferring all of our assets to the general fund.

So this election, seek change and elect new blood!  Don’t be satisfied with the status quo.  Elect New People!  Electing the same Trustees will not bring any meaningful change to OHA!  Aloha Ke Akua.

UH needs to pay their fair share

`Ano`ai kakou… Here are two important issues affecting Native Hawaiians that require special attention:

MAUNA KEA

The 11,300 acres of land within the Mauna Kea Science Reserve are public land trust lands classified under section 5(b) of the Admissions Act. The revenues from public trust lands must be dedicated to specific purposes including the betterment of Native Hawaiians.

House Bill 1689 requires the University of Hawai’i to use the fair market value for the lease of lands when calculating the amount of funds that it must transfer to the public land trust fund.

OHA receives a portion of revenues generated from the use of these public land trust lands. HB 1689 will ensure that OHA and its beneficiaries receive adequate compensation for any future subleases.

Mauna Kea lands have long been mismanaged by UH. Sacred cultural lands have been industrially developed without any payment or clear benefit to Native Hawaiians.

At the same time, UH has been receiving a substantial benefit from its lessees in the form of telescope time, which has been valued in some cases at more than $100,000 a night. This benefit has mostly gone only to the astronomy program at UH; since none of this value is seen as sub-lessee rent. OHA beneficiaries and the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) have not received a fair share of this substantial revenue.

To avoid possible fiscal impacts to the University of Hawai’i’s educational mission, any proposed general lease for Mauna Kea lands should require UH to charge more appropriate rent for the sublease or use of such lands. This would ensure that OHA beneficiaries and the State receive appropriate compensation for the use of these public land trust lands, and ensures that UH also receives adequate revenues to support its broader educational mission.

It should also be noted that the requirement for UH to conduct a financial review of all public land trust revenue will help to identify gaps in revenue from public land trust lands, as well as clarify what revenues may be generated from specific lands, such as Mauna Kea.

In the meantime, OHA should also propose a financial audit of all revenues UH derives from its use of public trust lands. This will allow OHA to ensure more appropriate level of benefits flow to public trust beneficiaries for the use of our sacred mountain. Finally, UH’s authority to manage public trust lands must be reevaluated because of its continual abuse and mismanagement of our precious lands.

NIIHAU KONOHIKI

Senate Bill 180 SD2 proposes to give one individual resident on Niihau the exclusive konohiki rights to regulate fishing around Niihau. The konohiki will be appointed by the Chairperson of BLNR, in consultation with the private owner of Niihau.

While I understand the arguments in support of this proposal, I believe that we must be very careful about setting a precedence of having only one person making all of the fishing rules for an entire island. Especially if that person may have vested interests to protect and could abuse their power as Konohiki to lock out any competition.

Closing out 2013 and welcoming in 2014

`Ano`ai kakou… Happy Year of the Horse! The following are some of the issues that I will be focusing on in 2014.

Kaka’ako Makai

During the 2012 legislative session, Senate Bill 682 proposed to add value to two parcels of our lands in Kaka’ako Makai by giving OHA the right to develop residential structures on them. This would have added significant value to our properties and provided much needed revenue for our Nation. While the bill had the support of key senators, it failed to pass. OHA now needs lay down the groundwork to pass a similar bill in the upcoming legislative session while also working towards a Master Plan for our Kakaako Makai properties.

Kewalo Basin

A continuing concern are the proposed “finger piers” that will front our property at Kewalo Basin. The finger piers are threatening to seriously reduce the value of our land and take away OHA’s right to develop our own piers. However, the HCDA continues to refuse any proposals to change their plan or to make concessions.

OHA must continue to object to the current finger piers design. If HCDA goes forward with signing any lease, OHA should consider suing. Given the major contests coming up in the 2014 elections, perhaps there are other reasons for HCDA’s reluctance to work with OHA. Developers have contributed large sums of cash to gain the support of key candidates who can help them with their development plans. We should all take this into consideration before we cast our votes.

OHA Audit

Also in 2013, the State Auditor came out with her OHA Audit (to see a copy visit: http://files.hawaii.gov/auditor/Reports/2013/13-07.pdf) that harshly criticized the trustees’ vote to authorize the purchase of the Gentry building. The action also had serious consequences for OHA’s ability to invest in community projects and has opened us to criticism by the state legislature.

In my opinion, OHA could have avoided much of the criticism if we had received better legal counsel from attorneys who have worked with OHA for a long time. I believe it is time for Trustees to seriously evaluate the quality of their advice.

Looking to the Future in 2014 with International Outreach

Last year, I joined the Board of Directors of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), which provides Native Hawaiians a great opportunity to network with American Indians and Alaska Natives and to develop programs that will help sustain and strengthen our cultural legacy.

In March 2014, AIANTA will sponsor a pavilion at the Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) Berlin — the world’s leading travel and trade fair — in Germany. ITB provides Native and Tribal tourism departments the opportunity to showcase their cultural programs and tour packages to the multi-billion dollar European tourism market.

I am optimistic about presenting tourism from a Hawaiian perspective. Native Americans and Alaska Natives are successfully doing this and providing economic development for their tribes and also contributing to their states’ tourism dollars. ITB Berlin will give our beneficiaries the opportunity to make valuable contacts with international travel organizations, media and tour operators.

Happy New Year!

I look forward to 2014 and am optimistic about OHA’s future. I wish all of you the very best Holiday Season filled with joy and good health. May God’s Blessings be upon each of you and your families. See you next year!

Aloha, Senators Inouye and Akaka

`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.

Kewalo Basin

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.

Kuleana Lands

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.

My continuing hope for change at OHA

`Ano`ai kakou…  Happy Year of the Snake!  Now that the elections are over and our new Board of Trustees is in place I continue to hope that there will be changes at OHA to make things better here for everyone.

GET MORE TRUSTEES INVOLVED

I believe that being a trustee is not about simply showing up at a few monthly meetings.  OHA cannot afford to maintain a system which encourages passive trustees, as we have experienced in the past.

Currently, there are only two subject-matter committees under the Board of Trustees: (1) The Asset & Resource Management Committee which oversees all of OHA’s fiscal, policy, economic development, and administrative matters, and (2) The Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment Committee, which has responsibility over all federal and state legislation, on-going programs in health, housing, education, land, and the Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund.

The problem is that each committee is too broad in scope and can easily become overwhelmed.  I’m hopeful that the two committees will form “Ad Hoc” sub-committees to allow other Trustees to concentrate on more specific issues such as land, policy & planning, program management, legislative & government affairs, and budget & finance.  Creating sub-committees will get more Trustees actively involved and ensure less things “fall through the cracks.”

BRING BACK OHA-RUN PROGRAMS

Today, OHA mostly operates like a charitable foundation that hands out grants.  Most of the successful OHA-run programs, like Aha ‘Opio and Aha Kupuna, which took years of hard work by past trustees to develop, have been contracted out or quietly discontinued.  While farming work out to nonprofits is appropriate in some cases, I believe OHA has gone too far.

I believe that OHA should do much more for our beneficiaries in terms of programs and services.  Grants are ineffective in solving long-term problems since grant monies eventually run out.  Even successful services end up getting cut if they can’t raise any money.  That’s why we need on-going OHA programs that are closely monitored by the trustees.

EMBRACE TRANSPARENCY

Despite many requests, OHA meetings are not televised like the City Council or the State Legislature.  Cost has always been an issue, but with today’s technology, it shouldn’t cost that much – Olelo and YouTube are free!  Broadcasting our meetings would make Trustees more accessible and keep us honest.

NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Congratulations to State Senators Malama Solomon and Clayton Hee, two former OHA trustees, on their re-election.  OHA continues to have two legislators it can count on in the State Senate.  Let us hope that we can have another successful session and get more things done for our beneficiaries. Aloha Ke Akua.

2012 Legislative Wrap-up

`Ano`ai kakou…  Congratulations to all OHA Trustees and staff members for all of their dedication and hard work in getting the OHA/State Settlement agreement passed into law.  The 2012 legislative session will surely be remembered as one of OHA’s most successful.

Legislative Liaison

As Vice-Chair of the Committee on Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment (BAE) and one of two “Legislative Liaisons” for the 2012 legislative session, I had the distinct pleasure working closely with Senators Malama Solomon, Clayton Hee, and Brickwood Galuteria and Representative Faye Hanohano on issues relating to the Settlement and the preservation of Kuleana Lands.

Kaka’ako Makai

Senate Bill 682 proposed to add value to two parcels of land that are among the lands in Kaka’ako Makai that the OHA/State Settlement (Act 015) conveys to OHA.  The right to develop residential structures on these two lots would add significant value and provide much needed revenue for our Nation.

On April 5, 2012, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that SB682 was likely dead in the House.  However, the Senate’s Ways and Means and Judiciary and Labor committees added similar language into a related bill that had already passed the House — HB2819 — so the language for SB682 could still be heard in conference committee.  HB2819 did not pass out of its conference committee before the end of session on May 3rd and will need to be revisited in the next legislative session.

Protecting Kuleana Land Property Tax Exemptions

On November 22, 2011, the Star-Advertiser reported that the Real Property Tax Advisory Commission recommended that the City & County of Honolulu eliminate property tax exemptions for about 150,000 Oahu homeowners, including Kuleana Land owners.

On January 23, 2012, I testified before, the City Council’s Budget Committee hearing on the Real Property Tax Advisory Commission’s Report.  I explained to the members of the committee the heartbreaking history of Kuleana Lands and stressed to the Budget Committee Chair, Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, that OHA strongly opposed the proposal.  Thankfully, the matter was dropped (for now at least).  However, upon Councilmember Kobayashi’s recommendation, I worked to get the State Legislature to pass a resolution supporting the protection and preservation of Kuleana Lands.

On April 10, 2012, the State Senate adopted Senate Resolution (SR) 33 which urged the counties to preserve property tax exemptions for Kuleana Lands.  I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Senator Malama Solomon who introduced SR 33, and Senators Brickwood Galuteria, Gilbert Kahele, Donovan Dela Cruz, and Michelle Kidani for signing onto the resolution.  I would like to give a big Mahalo to OHA staff members Breann Nu’uhiwa, Sterling Wong, Jim McMahon & Luci Meyer for all their efforts to get this resolution passed.

I would also like to send a special Mahalo to Representative Faye Hanohano for introducing House versions of the Kuleana Lands resolutions, House Concurrent Resolution 117 & House Resolution 89, and getting them approved by the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee.  However, both resolutions did not get a hearing in the House Finance Committee despite my repeated requests to its Chair, Rep. Marcus Oshiro.  Neither resolution called for any money to be appropriated so the question is why were they even referred to the House Finance Committee? Aloha Ke Akua.

At Long Last… A Historic OHA/State Settlement

`Ano`ai kakou…  On April 11, 2012, in an emotional ceremony at Washington Place, Governor Abercrombie signed the historic $200 million settlement between the State and OHA.  After many years of negotiations, OHA has 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 has now fulfilled its constitutional obligations to Native Hawaiians by providing OHA with fee simple title to lands in Kakaako makai.  The proposal will not affect any other claims against the state.

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to those who made this momentous settlement possible: Governor Neil Abercrombie; Senate President Shan Tsutsui; House Speaker Calvin Say; the Chairs of the House and Senate committees that heard the bill; the Native Hawaiian Caucus, and all of the legislators who voted for this historic settlement.  I also thank the following Native Hawaiian organizations for their support:  The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Home Lands Assembly, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Kamehameha Schools.

The lands that were transferred to OHA will someday generate the revenue needed to support OHA’s many Native Hawaiian programs.  This process may take some time, but we are well on our way to someday being completely self-sufficient.

Senate Bill 682

The intent of Senate Bill 682 is to add value to two parcels of land that are among the lands in Kaka’ako Makai that SB2783 conveys to OHA.  SB682 specifically proposes to allow certain lots in the makai area of Kakaako Community Development District to be developed for residential units and exempt from public facilities fees, provided that 20 percent of the units are designated for residents in the low- or moderate-income range.

OHA appreciates the bill’s intent and didn’t object to its passage — as long as it didn’t hurt the passage of SB 2783.  The right to develop residential structures on these two lots would add significant value and provide much needed revenue for our Nation.

It should also be noted that OHA remains committed to the guiding principles of the Conceptual Master Plan and will address these principles in any application for development permits for the two lots.  OHA will also be able to request entitlements for the S82783 properties in subsequent legislative sessions once OHA becomes the landowner.

On April 5, 2012, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that SB682 was likely dead in the House.  However, the Senate’s Ways and Means and Judiciary and Labor committees added similar language into a related bill that had already passed the House — HB2819 — so if this House bill is approved by the full Senate, the language for SB682 could still be heard in conference committee before the end of session on May 3rd.

Senator Clayton Hee, Chairman of the Judiciary and Labor Committee, was quoted as saying, “It’s an important bill in terms of economic development, in terms of some of the members who felt — and continue to feel — that the settlement doesn’t meet the amount that should have been settled on.”  Aloha Ke Akua.