Some important issues for the Hawaii Legislature in 2009. Stop the giveaway. Just say no.


SUMMARY (3-4-minute oral testimony for Kane'ohe Legislators' town meeting January 14, 2009)

Aloha kakou e na kini akua, na kau kanawai, a me na po'e a pau o keia pae 'aina.

I believe the single most important issue facing Hawai'i in the foreseeable future is the imminent and continuing threat that the lands, resources, government and people of Hawai'i will be divided along racial lines.

The Legislature has repeatedly passed resolutions favoring the Akaka bill to create a racially exclusionary government empowered to negotiate with YOU, the legislators. It is expected that you will give away massive amounts of land, money, and jurisdictional authority.

Numerous bills in the Legislature in recent years have tried to implement massive give-aways even before the tribe is created, and before any negotiations have started. That's absurd! No responsible negotiator gives away important concessions before the opponents even arrive at the table.

I call upon you to stop giving away anything else to OHA. In particular, I remind you about important bills from 2007-2008 that will probably be coming back in 2009:

A bill to "settle" so-called "back rent" on the ceded lands by giving OHA hundreds of millions of dollars in land and money.

A bill to convert Ha'iku Valley in Kane'ohe into a "cultural preserve" including provisions that a group of commissioners would be racially gerrymandered to require a majority of ethnic Hawaiians, and that the valley would eventually be turned over to OHA.

A bioprospecting bill that would take away fundamental property rights from all landowners, both public and private, by imposing regulations, royalty fees to go to OHA rather than landowners, and a permitting process to be administered by a commission racially gerrymandered to guarantee a majority of ethnic Hawaiians.

Paying for construction of a fancy headquarters for OHA, which would later become the national capitol of Akaka's "Nation of Hawaii."

There were numerous other bills of the same kind.

Stop it! Please grow a backbone to stand up against special interest groups and resist these unconstitutional and immoral bills. To quote a mantra for preventing drug-addiction: "Just say no."

Are you worried about the massive budget shortfall predicted by the Council on Revenues? Instead of raiding special funds set aside for hurricane relief or highways, how about raiding the biggest special fund of all -- OHA's portfolio of hundreds of millions of dollars sucked out of Hawaii's economy, hoarded by OHA for years, and sent to New York's stock and bond markets.

Have you read the study by the Beacon Hill Institute, projecting a loss to state revenue of $343 to $690 Million PER YEAR if the Akaka bill passes? A massive red-shirt march on January 17, sponsored by OHA, will demand you withdraw the state's ceded lands appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead of that, please demand that our Congressional delegation withdraw the Akaka bill so we won't bankrupt the state.

Mahalo ia 'oukou i ko 'oukou ho'olohe ana mai ia'u (Thank you for listening).

Aloha.

-----------------

FULL WRITTEN MESSAGE FOR ALL LEGISLATORS (and delivered personally to Senator Jill Tokuda, Representative Ken Ito, and Representative Pono Chong on January 14, 2009, at Kane'ohe town meeting at Windward Community College)

Aloha kakou e na kini akua, na kau kanawai, a me na po'e a pau o keia pae 'aina.
(Aloha to the gods, the legislators, and all the people of these islands)

I believe the single most important issue facing Hawai'i in the foreseeable future is the imminent and continuing threat that the lands, resources, government and people of Hawai'i will be divided along racial lines. That's why I have published a 302-page book whose title clearly identifies the threat: "Hawaiian Apartheid -- Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State." I know for certain that at least one Legislator here tonight has a copy of the book, and hopefully will share it with colleagues. It is not available in bookstores, but is in the libraries and can also be found on the internet at
http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa

We all have deep love and respect for Hawaiian culture, and all the cultures that make Hawai'i a special place. However, that love and respect has often been twisted into approval, or at least tolerance, for assertions of racial supremacy and for a right to race-based governance. Surely the Aloha Spirit does not call for racially exclusionary government and private institutions. Please see: "The Aloha Spirit -- what it is, who possess it, and why it is important" at
http://tinyurl.com/66w4m2

Cultural preservation does not require dividing our people by race. We should not establish one racial group as first-class citizens able to own property and vote throughout all of Hawai'i while everyone else becomes a second-class citizen allowed to own property only in restricted areas and to vote only on limited topics. I regret my harsh words, but I regret more what compels me to utter them. Please see my 2001 essay "From the na'au" at
http://tinyurl.com/9j69y4

I request -- indeed, as a voter I demand -- that the Legislature stop supporting the Akaka bill until the voice of the people has been heard -- please place on the ballot the question whether Congress should pass the Akaka bill. As politically experienced elected officials you folks surely understand that no poll conducted by a newspaper or SMS Research is a reliable indicator, and that a vote in the privacy of the secret ballot is the only poll which truly measures public opinion.

I further request -- and as a voter demand -- that the Legislature stop giving away the money, lands, and jurisdictional authority of the State of Hawaii to government and private entities defined by race. I will fight any attempt to take away public lands and resources belonging to all of us, give them to a racially-defined subgroup of us at the expense of all of us, and then continue demanding further annual support forever from the gutted remainder of what once was the State of Hawai'i.

The Legislature has repeatedly passed resolutions favoring the Akaka bill to create a racially exclusionary government empowered to negotiate with YOU, the legislators. It is expected that you will give away massive amounts of land, money, and jurisdictional authority. You've already been doing that ever since 1978, so of course OHA and its minions expect you to keep on doing it. They spend millions of dollars on TV, radio, and newspaper ads to pressure you, and send highly paid lobbyists to visit your offices and testify at your hearings.

Numerous bills in the Legislature in recent years have tried to implement massive give-aways even before the Akaka tribe is created, and before any negotiations have started. That's absurd! No responsible negotiator gives away important concessions before the opponents even arrive at the table.

I call upon you to stop giving away anything else to OHA. In particular, I remind you about important bills from 2007-2008 that will probably be coming back in 2009.

In 2008, at the opening of the Legislature, OHA suddenly unveiled a bill negotiated in secret with a compliant Governor Lingle to "settle" so-called "back rent" on the ceded lands by giving OHA hundreds of millions of dollars in land and money. After numerous hearings and an enormous amount of testimony, the Legislature killed that bill -- not because of your fiduciary duty to protect government resources for all our people, but rather because you felt the bill failed to give enough to OHA! See "State's Land Distribution to Office of Hawaiian Affairs: 'Killing Our State Through Death of 1,000 Cuts' [Testimony on Lingle/OHA ceded lands settlement]" at
http://tinyurl.com/7k2u8d

Believe it or not, the ceded lands rightfully belong to all Hawai'i's people -- both legally and morally. See:
http://tinyurl.com/356xy

Assertions that ethnic Hawaiians somehow communally own the ceded lands have been made so many times that even some Legislators might believe that lie. The only race-based claim on the ceded lands is the one the Legislature passed around 1980, which the Legislature can rescind whenever it wishes; namely, that OHA shall be given a 20 % share of ceded land revenue. It is ludicrous to say that OHA should be given 20 % of gross revenues from ceded lands without regard to the expenses for the capital improvements and maintenance which generate that revenue. It is equally ludicrous to say that OHA should get 20 % of revenues from the duty-free shop in Waikiki merely because a portion of the airport is landfill above submerged ceded lands. Please kill any OHA-proposed legislation related to the ceded lands. Indeed, please put an end to this nonsense by rescinding any and all laws that allocate ceded land revenues to anyplace other than the general fund.

In 2008 there was a bill to convert Ha'iku Valley in Kane'ohe into a "cultural preserve." The bill included provisions that a group of commissioners for the cultural preserve would be racially gerrymandered to require a majority of ethnic Hawaiians, and that the valley would eventually be turned over to OHA. Doing such a thing would be both unconstitutional, and morally wrong in a multiracial society. See testimony opposing that bill at:
http://tinyurl.com/9svg2q

In 2008 there was a bioprospecting bill that would take away fundamental property rights from all landowners, both public and private, by imposing regulations, royalty fees to go to OHA rather than landowners, and a permitting process to be administered by a commission racially gerrymandered to guarantee a majority of ethnic Hawaiians. See testimony opposing that bill at:
http://tinyurl.com/8wnpss

There were numerous other bills of the same kind, including one to pay for construction of a lavish new headquarters for OHA that would then become the national capitol of the future Akaka tribe.

Stop it! Please develop a backbone to stand up against special interest groups and resist these unconstitutional and immoral bills. To quote a mantra for preventing drug-addiction: "Just say no."

Are you worried about the massive budget shortfall predicted by the Council on Revenues? Instead of raiding special funds set aside for Hurricane relief or highways, how about raiding the biggest special fund of all -- OHA's portfolio of hundreds of millions of dollars sucked out of Hawaii's economy, hoarded by OHA for years, and sent to New York's stock and bond markets.

Have you read the study by the respected Beacon Hill Institute? Established in 1991, the Beacon Hill Institute is one of the leading public policy research organizations in the country and has done economic and tax studies for more than 30 states and several major cities.

The study predicts that if the Akaka bill passes there will be a loss to state revenue of $343 to $690 Million PER YEAR. And that does not begin to explore the property tax losses and other effects on county governments. "The Economic Impact of the Akaka Bill: Unintended Consequences for Hawaii" can be downloaded from:
http://tinyurl.com/9f6rxn

This is the first study on the economic impacts of the Akaka bill, which is expected to be re-introduced in the new session of Congress. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin on January 8, 2009 reported OHA's response as follows: "OHA officials said the Congressional Budget Office's analysis showed a Native Hawaiian recognition act would cost about $1 million in the first year and $500,000 in subsequent years." What an amazingly deceptive response that is! Of course the bill itself would cost only a million dollars to begin a process of setting up a "Native Hawaiian Governing Entity." That says nothing about what comes next. Does anyone think the NHGE will just sit around eating poi?

The Beacon Hill Institute study by respected economists makes reasonable predictions of the loss of state revenue when lands and jurisdiction and income is transferred to the NHGE -- a process that will continue eating away at the State of Hawaii like a shark eating away the flesh of its prey.

The state and county governments would have to continue paying for nearly all services at current levels, but would need to increase taxes dramatically to make up for their loss of revenue. The resulting tax increases would have large, negative impacts on the state's economy leading to a possible reduction of 20,793 private sector jobs, a loss of $417.2 million in investment and a loss of $1,461 in real per-capita disposable personal income annually.

A massive red-shirt rally on January 17, sponsored by OHA, will demand you withdraw the state's ceded lands appeal from the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead of that, please demand that our Congressional delegation withdraw the Akaka bill so we won't bankrupt the state.

But the most important reason for opposing the Akaka bill has nothing to do with economics. We should support unity and equality, not racial division and race-based privilege.

Mahalo ia 'oukou i ko 'oukou ho'olohe ana mai ia'u (Thank you for listening).

Aloha.

Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.
Website: "Hawaiian Sovereignty: Thinking Carefully About It"
http://tinyurl.com/6gkzk
Book: "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State"
http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa


==============

Send comments or questions to:
Ken_Conklin@yahoo.com

You may now

GO BACK TO OTHER TOPICS ON THIS WEBSITE

(c) Copyright 2009 - 2010 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved