Divide and conquer is mission of the “Grassroot” folk

`Ano`ai kakou… After reading Andrew Walden’s article in his Hawaii Free Press (HFP) blog, accusing OHA of investing in a geothermal “scheme,” I feel it is very important to point out that Walden can easily be grouped with the following anti-Hawaiian of conservative groups that do everything they can to divide the Hawaiian Community.


The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a conservative think tank, states that their mission is to “promote individual liberty, the free market and limited accountable government,” but what they have actually done is write anti-Hawaiian letters to Congress and the Civil Rights Commission.  They have testified vigorously before Congressional hearings against the Akaka bill.  Richard O. Rowland serves as Chairman of the Board and President and co-founded the Institute with Malia Zimmerman.


Malia Zimmerman is the secretary of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii’s board of directors and has authored of many articles that helped to polarize the Hawaiian community.  Zimmerman was fired from Pacific Business News for “unspecified reasons” and then went on to co-found the “Hawaii Reporter.”  (Source: Sourcewatch.org)


Sam Slom is Hawaii’s only Republican State Senator and is the executive director of Small Business Hawaii.  Slom has been vocal opponent of the Akaka bill and OHA’s sovereignty efforts locally and in Washington, D.C.

Small Business Hawaii, where Senator Sam Slom (R-HI) and Richard O. Rowland are on the board of directors, has given reporting awards to the Hawaii Reporter.  (Source: Sourcewatch.org)


Attorney H. William Burgess, who has sued OHA on multiple occasions, has been working to cripple OHA for over a decade.  He is married to Sandra Puanani Burgess, who is also a strong opponent of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and of government programs that benefit Native Hawaiians preferentially.  Burgess led the efforts to bring two frivolous lawsuits seeking to have such programs declared unconstitutional. (Source: Wikipedia)


In 1999, H. William Burgess and his wife created the Aloha for All website, www.Aloha4all.org to spread their disingenuous message that “Aloha is for everyone” and that “every citizen of Hawaii is entitled to the equal protection of the laws whatever his or her ancestry.”  In 2003, former Honolulu Advertiser publisher Thurston Twigg-Smith, who funded the lawsuits against OHA, founded a company called “Aloha for All.” (Wikipedia)

An August 14, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser article reported that H. William Burgess was both lead attorney for Aloha for All and legal counsel for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.  Grassroot later responded that Burgess is a member but has never been their legal counsel.


Their group also includes Kenneth R. Conklin, a retired schoolteacher who moved to Hawaii from Boston in 1992 and currently lives in Kāneʻohe.  (SOURCE: Wikipedia)  He is a vocal opponent of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and has sued OHA in the past.


Again, let me reiterate, the negative articles being written about OHA in the newspapers and online should be taken with a grain of salt.  We must also remember to consider the source from which it comes.

Hawaiians cannot allow these Right-Wing, Ultra-Conservative Extremists to divide us.  Please let us be “Makaala” (alert, aware, vigilant, watchful, and wide awake) and know who our true enemies are.

Akaka Bill Update…


Source: February 2006 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column

`Ano`ai kakou…  On January 11th, I was invited to speak about the merits of the Akaka Bill at the Small Business Hawaii’s annual conference.  Also speaking was Akaka Bill detractor Sandra Burgess, who is one of the plaintiffs in the Arakaki lawsuit and wife of William Burgess, the owner of the anti-Akaka bill website Aloha For All.  I was grateful for the opportunity to address this auspicious group because if I hadn’t, they probably would have only heard Burgess’ false, fear mongering, and downright racist remarks.

It was clear that the SBH audience had very little knowledge of Hawai`i’s annexation or the reasons for the passage of the Apology Bill that President Clinton signed into law in 1993.  With less than ten minutes to speak, I briefly covered how the Apology Bill set into motion a process for reconciliation between the Native Hawaiians and the United States, which is the whole purpose of the Akaka Bill. 

Then it was Burgess’ turn to speak.  Here are just a few of the things she said:  (1) She asked whether it was fair to non-Hawaiian businesses if Hawaiian businesses paid no taxes; (2) She asked whether we are all Americans and why should Hawaiians be different; (3) She said that if the Akaka bill passes, non-Hawaiians will have to face the question of returning all of their lands; (4) She said that federal recognition will give Hawaiians more power and money to corrupt our State and Federal elected officials who already can’t say “no” to Hawaiians.  She even said our Governor is misguided for her support of the Akaka bill; and (5) She said that the Akaka Bill sets up a separate class of people.

I was appalled by Sandra Burgess’ ridiculous statements.  She gave no facts to support her position and basically told the audience that the world would end if the Akaka Bill passes.  I did my best to explain in my one-minute rebuttal that the Akaka Bill:  (1) Doesn’t allow Hawaiians to be exempt from state or federal taxes; (2) Doesn’t allow Hawaiian-owned businesses to have an unfair advantage over non-Hawaiian businesses; (3) Doesn’t allow Hawaiians to expel non-Hawaiians or the military from their lands; (4) Doesn’t set up a separate class of people; and (5) Whatever documents are created by the new government must be reviewed by the Department of the Interior and any settlements would have to be approved by the state and federal governments.  This allows for checks and balances.

Listening to Sandra Burgess opened my eyes to her and her group’s true motives.  They want to create an “US AGAINST THEM” mentality by scaring people into believing the Akaka Bill will hurt them.  Let me be absolutely clear that it is not Native Hawaiians who are creating this kind of fearful atmosphere. 

We must all find a way to come together, both Hawaiians and Kama’aina united in our common goal, to counter this divisive attitude and stop the noxious seeds of hate that the Burgess’ group is planting from taking permanent root in Hawai’i.  Imua e Hawai’i nei…