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Office of Hawaiian Affairs -- Watching the Moves It Makes in 2009 to Expand the Evil Empire. YEAR 2009


In case you missed it, go back to find out

WHY THE EVIL EMPIRE IS INDEED AN EMPIRE, WHY IT IS EVIL, AND OUTLINE OF EVENTS IN ITS EXPANSION FROM 2005 THROUGH NOW.

This is a subpage providing a compilation of news reports and commentaries for the year 2009, showing the steps OHA is taking to expand the Evil Empire. Some of the issues listed below have a large number of news reports, commentaries, and legal documents, so that a sub-sub-page has been created to contain them all.

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On January 26, 2009 Governor Linda Lingle gave her State of the State speech to a joint session of the Legislature. Major portions of her speech show the extent to which the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, the Akaka bill, and the ceded lands issues have taken over the Governor's agenda. Haunani Apoliona, OHA Chair, received a publicly presented ceremonial lei and was seated alongside the mayors of the four counties, indicating that OHA is treated as having equal standing with them. Here are the relevant portions of Lingle's speech, as copied from her government webpage.

http://hawaii.gov/gov/initiatives/2009/address

The daunting task we face in the months ahead is making some very difficult decisions in order to address our immediate fiscal problems. These are not decisions that any of us want to make, but they are decisions that must be made. They are the same kinds of decisions being made across our state by individuals, families, businesses and organizations as they too confront a near-term future with substantially fewer financial resources, and a high degree of uncertainty.

In an attempt to address a completely different kind of housing need, we're all aware of the success the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has had.

They've awarded more land to their beneficiaries than at any time in the history of the trust, and we all enjoy seeing families who have waited for decades finally receiving their homesteads.

But there's a much larger DHHL story that will be fully revealed in the years ahead. It is the story of a native Hawaiian agency that has chosen to meet its fiduciary duty to its beneficiaries by leading in a way that benefits the larger community of Hawai'i.

Whether it's their pivotal role in the $110 million Kroc Center, development of the future DeBartolo regional mall, kick-starting the infrastructure UH West O'ahu needed in order to move forward, or being the first state department to move its entire O'ahu operation to the Second City of Kapolei, DHHL has chosen to lead.

We now look to them as an important and integral part of our economic recovery, and as an example of how to develop desirable communities. They are even blazing their own trail in our state's efforts to achieve energy independence and provide a clean energy future for the generations that will follow.

Few could have envisioned six years ago the heights to which DHHL and the Hawaiian Homes Commission would soar. I believe their well-recognized success has been achieved partly because of how they contributed to the broader community.

DHHL is not just about building homes, it is about building great communities. And they have succeeded because they have demanded more of themselves and their beneficiaries.

The bottom line is that they have chosen to lead, not follow...and what a joy it has been to watch their transformation and ongoing journey.

I want to personally thank the DHHL staff and those who have served on the Hawaiian Homes Commission for showing us all what great things can be achieved when you recognize we are all part of one 'ohana.

Before concluding I want to take a moment to speak about the case pending before the United States Supreme Court involving the issue of ceded lands.

The issue involved in this case is not whether ceded lands should or should not be sold.

Rather the issue involves the fundamental question of whether the State of Hawai'i has clear title to the land transferred to us by the federal government at the time of statehood.

The roots of this case date back to a decision made by former Governor Waihe'e in the 1980s to sell certain ceded lands on Maui and Hawai'i for the construction of affordable housing.

It was a decision he believed was in the best interest of all the people of Hawai'i.

It is a decision that former Governor Cayetano defended in court because he believed it was in the best interest of all the people of Hawai'i to do so.

And it is a decision that we are appealing to the United States Supreme Court because I believe it is in the best interest of all the people of Hawai'i.

Acting in the best interest of all the people is the same standard I applied when supporting the Akaka Bill, fighting to protect federal programs benefiting native Hawaiians, or expediting Hawaiian Homestead leases.

And I will continue to advocate for these issues in the coming years just as passionately as I have in years past.

I call upon all who cherish what is the essence of Hawai'i to come together with a willingness to understand and respect the nature of this case and its importance to the future of our state.


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OUTLINE OF TOPICS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER FOR 2009.

(1) U.S. SUPREME COURT CASE, STATE OF HAWAII VS. STATE OF HAWAII OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS, REGARDING THE RIGHT TO SELL PARCELS OF CEDED LANDS. On January 31, 2008 the State of Hawaii Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that that State of Hawaii is prohibited from selling any parcels of ceded lands until such time as the State has reached a settlement with ethnic Hawaiians regarding ethnic Hawaiian claims to own the ceded lands. The ruling was based primarily on the U.S. apology resolution of 1993, but also based on state legislation and state court rulings. Governor Lingle, and Attorney General Bennett, on behalf of the State of Hawaii, filed a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, to appeal that decision. On October 1, 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari, and set a schedule for filings of legal briefs by both sides during December and January, with oral arguments set for February 2009. More than 30 other states,and private libertarian and property-rights think-tanks, have filed amicus briefs supporting the State of Hawaii's position that a state has the right to sell parcels of its public lands. A webpage is devoted exclusively to compiling all significant news reports, commentaries, and legal documents related to this Supreme Court case, including OHA demands that the Governor and Attorney General withdraw their appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court. Go to:
http://bigfiles90.angelfire.com/CededNoSell.html

(2) OHA DEMANDS THAT THE STATE LEGISLATURE PASS A MORATORIUM ON ANY SALES OF PARCELS OF THE CEDED LANDS UNTIL SUCH TIME AS A SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED BETWEEN ETHNIC HAWAIIANS AND THE STATE OF HAWAII. IF SUCH A LAW IS PASSED BEFORE THE U.S. SUPREME COURT HEARS THE CASE, PERHAPS THE COURT WOULD DISMISS THE CASE AS MOOT. OTHERWISE, PASSAGE OF SUCH A MORATORIUM WOULD PREVENT THE SALE OF ANY CEDED LANDS, EVEN IF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT RULES THAT NEITHER THE FEDERAL APOLOGY RESOLUTION NOR ANY OTHER FEDERAL LAW PREVENTS THE STATE FROM SELLING CEDED LANDS. News reports, commentaries, and legislation regarding this issue are compiled at this webpage:
http://www.angelfire.com/big09a/OHADemandsCededLandMoratorium.html

(3) FOR MANY YEARS OHA HAS BEEN DEMANDING SOME COMBINATION OF LAND AND MONEY AS A SETTLEMENT OF "BACK RENT" FOR THE STATE'S USE OF CEDED LANDS IN PRIOR YEARS. IN 2008 THE GOVERNOR AND OHA REACHED AGREEMENT ON A SETTLEMENT OF BACK RENT, BUT THE LEGISLATURE REJECTED THE SETTLEMENT BECAUSE OF PROTESTS FROM HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY ACTIVISTS THAT THE SETTLEMENT WAS NOT LARGE ENOUGH AND PROTESTS THAT IT WOULD PREVENT FUTURE CLAIMS. IN 2009 OHA INTRODUCED LEGISLATION FOR ANOTHER SIMILAR SETTLEMENT, EVEN THOUGH OHA HAD NOT GOTTEN AGREEMENT FROM THE GOVERNOR. News reports, commentaries, and legislation regarding this issue are compiled at this webpage:
http://www.angelfire.com/big09a/OHA2009BackRentSettlement.html

(4) IN NOVEMBER 2008 BARACK OBAMA WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT AND A LARGER DEMOCRAT MAJORITY WAS ELECTED IN BOTH THE U.S. SENATE AND U.S. HOUSE. THEREFORE THE AKAKA BILL IS EXPECTED TO PASS AND BE SIGNED INTO LAW, WHICH WILL GREATLY EMPOWER ETHNIC HAWAIIANS TO BARGAIN MORE STRONGLY FOR MONEY, LAND, AND JURISDICTIONAL AUTHORITY. To follow the history of the Akaka bill in 2009, including text of the bill, news reports and commentary, floor debates and votes in the House and Senate, see:
http://www.angelfire.com/big09a/AkakaHist111thCong.html

(5) Late in the Legislative session (April-May, 2009) a proposal was seriously put forward whereby there would be a so-called "global settlement" between OHA and the State, under which OHA would give up all past and future claims in return for 20% fee-simple ownership of all the ceded lands plus about $250 Million in cash. However, that proposal was rejected by both OHA and the Legislature, because the giveaway was not large enough to satisfy greedy Hawaiian activists. Nobody mentioned the fact that if the Akaka bill passes and an Akaka tribe is created, then the tribe could make whatever claims it wants and would not be bound by any concessions made by the now-defunct OHA.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20090502/NEWS02/905020324/1001
Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, May 2, 2009

No deal for state, OHA on lands Share

By Gordon Y. K. Pang

A bill that would have the state negotiating to transfer nearly 20 percent of its land inventory to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in exchange for giving up all future claims to ceded lands appeared dead last night at the Legislature.

Conferees from the House and Senate had until midnight to find an agreement on Senate Bill 995 which may end up settling, once and for all, how much OHA should receive as its share of the revenues generated from the use of ceded lands. But key House members declined to support the bill, effectively killing it.

OHA and the state have long agreed that the agency is owed a portion of money generated by lands once owned by the Hawaiian monarchy and that are now part of the state's inventory. In fact, the state in recent years has paid OHA $15.1 million annually.

What's been in dispute is how much OHA should receive, and should have received over the past three decades.

But what really had people raising eyebrows was a new wrinkle in the plan that allows OHA the option of settling all ceded land issues involving OHA. The proposal was introduced by Sen. Clayton Hee, D-23rd (Kane'ohe, Kahuku), chairman of the Senate Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs.

By offering OHA $251 million in cash and 20 percent of the 1.8 million acres of ceded lands to be determined in negotiations between the agency and the Lingle administration, OHA would need to agree to no longer make any claims to "income or proceeds of any kind or nature whatsoever" stemming from ceded lands. It would also no longer receive $15.1 million annually.

While those in favor of a larger settlement see it as a way of resolving the ceded land dispute with the state once and for all, opponents say it is not enough to resolve the so-called "global" issue of the overthrow and worry that it could extinguish any of their claims.

Hee said such a settlement would make it difficult for OHA to "assert other entitlements" but he does not think it would stop others from filing claims if they wished. "This doesn't preclude or prevent others from asserting their rights to other issues," Hee said.

The full houses of the House and Senate would still need to have approved House Bill 995. The bill would allow OHA the option to accept either a settlement to resolve revenues from past years only, or a broader package for both past and future revenues. OHA would have until Jan. 1, 2010, just before the state of next year's legislative session, to decide if it wants either option, or neither.

The past-revenue-only settlement option would allow OHA to accept a $200 million package of cash and/or land, with the properties expected to include lands in Kaka'ako Makai, Kahana Valley, La Mariana and Pier 60 at Sand Island, the He'eia Meadlowlands, the upper reaches of Mauna Kea, Waikiki Yacht Club, state-owned fishponds, the Ala Wai Boat Harbor and Kalaeloa Makai. OHA would still receive $15.1 million annually until the future revenues issue is resolved.

Rep. Mele Carroll, D-13th (E. Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i), chairwoman of the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee, said yesterday afternoon while she was supporting the plan, she was trying to get key colleagues to agree.

OHA's board members discussed the bill at its board meeting on Thursday, but chose not to formally approve it. However, according to administrator Clyde Namu'o, attorney William Meheula was asked to make suggestions to lawmakers on how to make the language more palatable.

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(6) At a time when enormous budget cutbacks are needed, a proposal was made to zero-out OHA's annual appropriation of about $3 Million in tax dollars from the general fund (OHA gets that in addition to the $15.1 Million from ceded land revenues). But OHA screamed "Oh, poor me" and rescued 80% of its annual tax-dollar appropriation.

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20090501/NEWS02/905010340/1006
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, May 1, 2009

Legislators, OHA set on funding
State to get part of settlement from Hokuli'a lawsuit

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Senate leaders have reached a tentative agreement with House counterparts and the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs on the agency's funding for 2010-11.

Under the tentative agreement reached Wednesday night, OHA will receive $2.5 million in each of the next two years from the state general fund, in addition to the $15.1 million it has been receiving annually as its share of revenues derived from the use of ceded lands.

In exchange, OHA agreed to turn over to the state about $1.2 million of the $2 million OHA received in a settlement tied to a lawsuit involving the Hokuli'a development in Kona.

The agreement reached should ease the worries of three nonprofit groups that provide legal, educational and social services to Hawaiians — the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp, Na Pua No'eau and Alu Like. The three agencies say the money is critical to their operations.

Those agencies, two of which still must request the money from OHA through a bid process, may still see some cuts in their budgets, but likely not to the extent they had feared.

The Hokuli'a settlement money was a major point of contention. Senate leaders had criticized OHA and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. for not reporting the $2 million, calling it a "windfall" for the agency.

OHA had originally proposed that it receive $3 million in general funds.

But as they have with other state agencies in trying to resolve the state's budget crunch, both houses of the Legislature proposed cuts to the OHA budget.

The House had proposed that OHA take a 20 percent cut from the $3 million, reasoning that other agencies are also getting a 20 percent cut. Lawmakers agreed to cutting OHA by about 20 percent.

The Senate had proposed OHA not get any of the $3 million, reasoning that with the $15.1 million in ceded land revenues factored in, a $3 million cut was something OHA could easily absorb. They had also pointed to the $2 million in Hokuli'a settlement money.

But OHA officials argued that the state is obligated to pay the $15.1 million it receives in ceded lands revenues and that it should not be factored as part of the general funds it receives. It also argued that some believe ceded land revenues should go to helping only people with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood.

OHA also said that its one-time $400 million investment portfolio had shrunk to about $300 million in the last year.

Richard Pezzulo, OHA's chief financial officer, said that of the $3 million it sought, $1.1 million went to OHA administrative staff. Na Pua No'eau was to get $790,000, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. $644,000 and Alu Like about $505,000.


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