By Trustee Rowena Akana
Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA
Mele Kalikimaka me ka hou’oli makahiki hou to everyone, and a Big Mahalo to everyone who supported me in the November elections.
As we move forward in the new millennium with two new members on the OHA Board we look optimistically for change both in the leadership and in OHA’s direction for the future. At the writing of this article no one has been chosen for the chairmanship as yet. It is unfortunate that new members do not get to know other members of the board before they choose a chair. It has happened time and time again that while people promise anything to get the position, once they get it, nothing changes and the chair’s position becomes one of power and control.
Let me recap what has taken place in the last eight months. OHA lost the interim revenue bill at the Legislature, Act 304 was not revisited by the legislature; OHA lost almost $100 million in our investments, mostly because of inattention to business and a lack of concern by both the chairman of the board and the chairman of finance. While everyone lost money on the stock market this year, we were given many opportunities to bail out of some of our investments and reinvest in real estate and other more tangible investments. Instead, this leadership did nothing despite the urging of at least two trustees. At no time were any emergency meetings called to discuss OHA’s financial crises, nor were any meetings called to address the many legal challenges facing OHA.
The board never met to discuss any planning for the future, given the fact that we now were faced with no income and we were still funding operations and programs using our trust assets for the first time in OHA’s history.
Now, after all this, you would think that the past leadership would be ashamed to ask for the leadership again. But that is not the case. Here we go again. What is scary is it only takes five votes….four old guys and one new uninformed well meaning person who wants to make OHA look unified. After a few months, the honeymoon will be over when that new person realizes that he has been duped and the leadership is incapable of leading and they find themselves in “F” troop instead.
So, what is the answer? The answer is do not choose a leader right away. Have a committee-of-the-whole with a new chair for every meeting for three months and the person who can build consensus among the trustees will win the prize. We certainly must try something new, nothing so far has worked. Wish us luck with a new process because there must be some serious effort put into the tasks that lay ahead. Example: negotiations with the state on a ceded land settlement, interim revenue, addressing legal challenges, federal recognition and a transfer of entitlements.
“Through wisdom is a house built, and by understanding it is established and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled.” Proverbs 14:3-4
Have a great holiday season and God bless!