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Hawaii Advisory Committee to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights -- New members appointed July 13, 2007; Its history of supporting racial supremacy 1996-2006. Smear campaign by OHA and the media against the new members continues for many months. After months of hearings and testimony on 4 islands, the advisory committee voted 8-6 on November 15, 2007 to make no recommendation about the Akaka bill to the national commission.


INTRODUCTION

On July 14, 2007 the Honolulu newspapers reported that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has approved the nominations of 14 new members to its 17-member Hawaii State Advisory Committee. News reports and commentaries are compiled later on this webpage.

Some of the new members include strong opponents of the Akaka bill, and of race-based programs for ethnic Hawaiians. This is the first time in the history of the Hawaii Advisory Committee that opponents of Hawaii's numerous race-based programs, and opponents of the Akaka bill, have served. The 17 members of the newly constituted committee appear to be roughly balanced between supporters and opponents of racial supremacy for ethnic Hawaiians, so it seems safe to predict lots of fireworks ahead.

Aside from issues concerning ethnic Hawaiians, there will be constant struggle between two different concepts of civil rights. One view is that civil rights is about giving advantages and group rights to minorities to make up for past or present difficulties, aimed at helping groups achieve equality of results. The other view is that civil rights is about protecting individual equality of opportunity under the law; recognizing that equal opportunity produces unequal results due to differences in individual ability and effort. The first view holds that people should be categorized as members of groups (race, social class), and individuals are presumed to have whatever advantages or difficulties statistics ascribe to the group. The second view holds that if government helps needy individuals based on need alone, then disadvantaged groups will automatically receive greater government handouts without focusing on race, simply because their individuals receive greater help because of their greater needs. In Hawaii, every ethnic group is a minority. Recent incidents of violence against Caucasians, accompanied by racial epithets, have raised the issue of hate-crime; so perhaps the committee will decide to look into it. See "Road Rage or Racial Hate Crime? (Thinking carefully about an actual incident of racial violence in February 2007, and how such violence can be used as a political tool to bolster demands for Hawaiian sovereignty)" at
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/bigfiles40/RoadRageVsRacialHateCrime.html

ORDER OF TOPICS:

HISTORY BEHIND THE PREVIOUS HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE

U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS (NATIONAL) NOW GREATLY IMPROVED

THE NEW HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE AS ANNOUNCED ON JULY 13, 2007

NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARIES ABOUT THE NEW HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS, JULY 13 2007 AND CONTINUING


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HISTORY BEHIND THE PREVIOUS HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Committee members are appointed for a term of 10 years. Thus, the committee outgoing at the end of 2006 had been appointed during the Clinton administration -- the same Clinton who signed the resolution in 1993 apologizing to "Native Hawaiians" for the U.S. role in the revolution which overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

The chairman of the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the USCCR from 1996 through 2006 was "Reverend" Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr., who had been a zealous activist in the Hawaiian sovereignty movement for many years. Maxwell calls himself "reverend" even though he has never been ordained and has no church where he is pastor. Often called simply "Uncle Charlie," he is sometimes also called the Rev. Al Sharpton of Hawai'i. Maxwell, like Sharpton, demands racial reparations in the present for racial grievances from a distant past. He (ab)uses a position of trust within his ethnic community, and a title indicating spirituality, to try to extort concessions from others. Maxwell has repeatedly tried to intimidate the people of Hawaii by warning (i.e., threatening) that there will be violence unless ethnic Hawaiians get what they want; and he has also published secessionist newspaper articles saying that Statehood for Hawaii (1959) was a terrible thing. See
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/maxwellwarrior.html

Every member of the committee during that ten year period strongly supported race-based programs and political sovereignty for ethnic Hawaiians, as though it was somehow a matter of civil rights that ethnic Hawaiians should have racial supremacy and special racially exclusionary handouts in their "ancestral, indigenous homeland." Chairman Maxwell has long been a supporter of secession to restore Hawaii to its former status as an independent nation. He is also a strong supporter of the Akaka bill, on the theory that establishing a race-based tribal-like government under the authority of the United States will enable ethnic Hawaiians to get vast amounts of money, land, and political power which will eventually facilitate total independence.

The Hawaii Advisory Committee (HAC) to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) was intimately involved in political activity to influence public opinion and to influence the U.S. Supreme Court at every stage of the appeal of the Rice v. Cayetano case. Indeed, the only activities of HAC that came to public attention during the period 1996-2006 were its unanimous and aggressive support for racially exclusionary voting rights, and racially exclusionary government handouts, for ethnic Hawaiians.

The Constitution of the State of Hawaii included a provision establishing the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and requiring that only ethnic Hawaiians could vote for trustees. Enforcement of that provision entailed using a race question in an affidavit that was part of the voter registration form, plus a column in the poll books identifying which voters were ethnic Hawaiian and therefore could be given an OHA ballot in addition to the regular ballot(s) given to all voters.

Mr. Freddy Rice, a 5th generation Hawaii resident whose ancestor had been a subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom, considered himself a Hawaiian despite his lack of native blood, and demanded the right to vote for OHA trustees. He was denied. He filed a lawsuit "Rice v. Cayetano" to invalidate the racial restriction on the right to vote. Both the U.S. District Court in Honolulu, and later the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, ruled against Mr. Rice and upheld the racial restriction.

During 1998 Mr. Rice decided to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was widely expected that in the unlikely event the Supreme Court decided to hear the case, it would would overturn the 9th Circuit Court's decision. Therefore the Hawaii Advisory Committee (HAC) immediately pleaded to its parent the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) to hold a forum on the ramifications of the 1993 apology resolution. That forum was held in Honolulu on August 22, 1998 (before the Supreme Court's Fall 1998 term began on the first Monday in October). The forum was chaired by the chairman of HAC, "Uncle" Charlie Maxwell. The clear intent of holding the forum was to influence the Supreme Court not to grant certiorari, and also to arouse public sentiment in Hawaii.

On January 29, 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court nevertheless granted certiorari to hear the Rice v. Cayetano lawsuit. HAC and the Hawaii Congressional delegation knew the Court would probably rule against the racially exclusionary voting scheme. They began working behind the scenes to get the Clinton administration to take action in support of "Hawaiian rights."

The 1993 apology resolution President Clinton had signed called for "reconciliation" with "Native Hawaiians." Accordingly Clinton agreed to send high-level representatives of his Department of Interior and Department of Justice to Hawaii to hold public "reconciliation" hearings. The hearings were to be a propaganda circus whose clear purpose was to lay the groundwork for the Akaka bill as a way to overturn what was expected to be the Supreme Court's decision.

Oral arguments in the Supreme Court were heard on October 6, 1999, and observers agreed the results would likely be adverse to Hawaii's race-based programs.

The "reconciliation" hearings were held in Honolulu on December 10 and 11, 1999 in a large auditorium open to the public, and were televised. The chairman of the reconciliation hearings was the same "Uncle Charlie" Maxwell who was chairman of the Hawaii Advisory Committee to USCCR. The hidden purpose of the reconciliation hearings was to make it appear that ethnic Hawaiians were crying out for legislation to protect their "rights" to race-based programs and sovereignty. However, many ethnic Hawaiians attending the hearings spoke out vehemently against the concept of the Akaka bill.

On February 23, 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court did indeed rule 7-2 that the Hawaii voting scheme was contrary to the 15th Amendment's requirement that the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged on account of race." The ruling clearly identified ethnic Hawaiians as being a racial group. Language in the ruling raised doubts whether it is permissible under the Constitution for a state government to operate race-based programs and whether it is permissible under the Constitution for Congress to delegate to a state the authority to manage federal programs on behalf of a racial group as though that group was an Indian tribe.

Immediately the Hawaii Advisory Committee (HAC) pleaded with its parent U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) to hold hearings on how the Rice v. Cayetano decision is a violation of the civil rights of "Native Hawaiians." The USCCR agreed to sponsor a two-day forum in Honolulu under the auspices of HAC.

On April 25, 2000 one of the 8 national Commissioners of USCCR, Yvonne Lee, chaired a secret meeting in the Honolulu office of U.S. Senator Dan Inouye for the purpose of launching the organizational work for the forum. All persons in attendance were active supporters of the forthcoming Akaka bill, except for Ken Conklin who was able to attend the meeting only as a last-minute substitute for a partner in a major law firm who had been invited because the firm did a lot of business for large ethnic Hawaiian institutions.

On May 13, about 10 weeks after the Rice decision, the first draft of a short Native Hawaiian Recognition bill was published in the Honolulu Advertiser. On July 20, 2000 the Akaka bill was formally introduced for the first time, in both the House and Senate. During the August recess of Congress a so-called "joint Congressional committee" hearing on the Akaka bill was held at the Blaisdell auditorium in Honolulu for five consecutive days, August 28-September 1, for the purpose of taking public testimony on the bill. However, the only members of Congress present were Hawaii Senators Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka, Hawaii Congressmembers Neil Abercrombie and Patsy Mink, and American Samoa Territorial Delegate Eni Faleomavaega. The mainstream media, and the Congressional delegation, reported that testimony was strongly in favor of the Akaka bill. However, anyone in attendance could see that was not true. Independent Reporter Bob Rees, who attended all five days of hearings, published an article in Honolulu Weekly saying testimony was 9-1 against the bill.

The "civil rights" forum was held in Honolulu on September 28-29, 2000, at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Its lengthy report was published by USCCR the following year. The presiding official at the forum was scheduled to be the same Charlie Maxwell who was chairman of HAC; however, Maxwell became ill and the vice chairman of HAC, David Forman, presided in his place. Three of the leftist USCCR national commissioners also sat on the Honolulu forum and participated actively in questioning witnesses: Yvonne Lee, Elsie Meeks, and Cruz Reynoso (the rabidly leftwing USCCR chair Mary Frances Berry, however, was absent).

The clear purpose of the two-day forum was to orchestrate support for the Akaka bill. The title of both the forum and the report was: "Reconciliation at a Crossroads: The Implications of the Apology Resolution and Rice v. Cayetano for Federal and State Programs Benefiting Native Hawaiians." The concept was: the Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano threatens to eventually dismantle the plethora of race-based programs in Hawai'i, and your Civil Rights Commission is here to help figure out what can be done to stop that from happening.

Thus we see how the Hawaii Advisory Committee worked zealously against the civil rights of 80% of Hawaii's people. At every step during the appeal of Rice v. Cayetano and the development of the Akaka bill, HAC did everything in its power to influence public opinion and Supreme Court actions. A Supreme Court decision upholding the civil rights of all Hawai'i's people was seen as threatening Hawai'i's wall of apartheid and therefore threatening the alleged civil right of a racial group to exercise racial supremacy. The solution proposed was to pass the Akaka bill in order to get around the Rice decision, while at the same time to support the "right" of ethnic Hawaiians to force all of Hawai'i to become independent from the United States. The report is no longer available on the USCCR website, but a printed copy can be ordered from USCCR. The report is, however, available as a pdf file which can be downloaded from
http://www.angelfire.com/hi5/bigfiles/usccrhac0601.pdf

Secession? Did the Hawai'i Advisory Council, and by implication the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, actually support the "right" of a racial group to force Hawai'i to become independent, thereby grossly violating the civil rights of the vast majority of Hawai'i citizens? Here's the evidence:

About halfway down the lengthy report is the section called "Conclusions and Recommendations" (followed by footnotes that occupy the entire second half of the report). The conclusions clearly support the Akaka bill as a way to overturn the Supreme Court decision; and they also support the right of ethnic Hawaiians to force the secession of Hawaii from the United States.

"... international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war ... The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law.[420] Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. ..."

"1. The federal government should accelerate efforts to formalize the political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States. This recommendation can be accomplished through the formal and direct recognition by Congress of the United States' responsibilities toward Native Hawaiians, by virtue of the unique political history between the United States and the former Kingdom of Hawaii....[T]he Advisory Committee requests that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urge Congress to pass legislation formally recognizing the political status of Native Hawaiians." ...

"4. International solutions should be explored as alternatives to the recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

"The Hawaii Advisory Committee recognizes that the sentiment for an international resolution to restore a sovereign Hawaiian entity is beyond the immediate scope and power of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Nevertheless, that limitation does not preclude the United States from exploring such alternatives as a part of the reconciliation process that the United States committed to pursue in the 1993 Apology Resolution. ... Accordingly, the United States should give due consideration to re-inscribing Hawai‘i on the United Nations' list of non-self-governing territories, among other possibilities. ...

"The Hawaii Advisory Committee is fully cognizant of the concern expressed by some that international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war. However, this view ignores the troubled and racist roots of our nation's history. The Civil War was at its core a conflict over the issue of slavery. Moreover, the Civil War Amendments and Civil Rights Acts, upon which the plaintiff in Rice based his claims, were supposed to effect a reconstruction of American society through equality for African Americans.

"The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law.[420] Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. The important proposition is that those who would choose to swear their allegiance to a restored sovereign Hawaiian entity be given that choice after a full and free debate with those who might prefer some form of association with the United States (including, perhaps, the status quo)....

"Those supervising the reconciliation process should provide for an open, free, and democratic plebiscite on all potential options by which Native Hawaiians might express their inherent right to self-determination. The process should allow for international oversight by nonaligned observers of international repute. After a period for organization of that government, the federal government should engage in negotiations with the sovereign Hawaiian entity.

"The Hawaii Advisory Committee believes that these deliberations should take into consideration and protect, or otherwise accommodate, the rights of non-Native Hawaiians. Thereafter, the federal government should provide financial assistance for the educational effort that may be necessary to reconcile conflicts raised by the choices made by Native Hawaiians. If necessary, the United States should engage in continuing negotiations to seek resolution of any outstanding issues with the sovereign Hawaiian entity."


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USCCR NOW GREATLY IMPROVED

Under President Bush the USCCR has greatly improved, as terms of old Commissioners expire and they are replaced. The USCCR, now under wiser management, has effectively repudiated those conclusions from 2000-2001.

ON January 20, 2006 the USCCR held a forum in Washington D.C. and took testimony from supporters and opponents of the Akaka bill. The USCCR commissioners spent considerable time deliberating.

The report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the Akaka bill was published May 4, 2006.

"The Commission recommends against passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, or any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege."

The USCCR report makes wonderful reading for all who oppose racial preferences and balkanization. It's a ray of sunshine offering a vision of the rainbow beauty of multiracial equality that is too often obscured by the dark clouds of Hawai'i's entrenched racial spoils system. Keep hope alive!

The draft report was considered by the Commissioners at their meeting of May 4, 2006.

The 47-page document in pdf format can be downloaded from

http://www.angelfire.com/hi5/bigfiles3/USCCRdraftrepthrng012006.pdf

The draft report was approved by a 5-2 vote but was amended during the meeting on May 4, solely to delete the "findings" section (pp. 16-18 of the draft) as an act of conciliation to the begging and pleading and noise-making of Akaka bill supporters. (read the findings in the draft report, linked above, to see the true sentiments of the Commissioners.) The final report is at

http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/060504NatHawBriefReport.pdf

This report includes full text of the written testimony of the four experts (two supporters and two opponents of the Akaka bill) who were invited panelists at the January 20, 2006 meeting of the USCCR: Noe Kalipi, the Democratic Staff Director on the Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs (she is Senator Akaka's aide); H. William Burgess, attorney and co-founder (with Mrs. Sandra Puanani Burgess) of the Aloha For All group; H. Christopher Bartolomucci, Partner, Hogan & Hartson (on behalf of himself and Viet Dinh); and Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, University of San Diego Law School. In 2007 Ms. Heriot was named as a new Commissioner of USCCR.

This report also includes a running summary of the main points discussed at the January 20 meeting, as the panelists responded to questions from the Commissioners. It also includes brief summaries or excerpts of some of the written comments submitted by others who were not present on January 20. The report takes note that "While most commenters oppose the legislation, the governmental and institutional commenters primarily support it."


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THE NEW HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE AS ANNOUNCED ON JULY 13, 2007

For the first time in its history the Hawaii Advisory Committee will include a balance of views regarding the most important civil rights issues in Hawaii -- race-based governmental and private programs, and the Akaka bill that proposes to break up the State of Hawaii by creating a race-based government for ethnic Hawaiians. Arrogant supporters of race-based programs who have long been accustomed to facing virtually no opposition, and who routinely shout down anyone who does speak up to oppose them, will now find themselves on a much more level playing field. Equally arrogant newspapers are describing the new HAC as biased, controversial, or somehow inappropriate.

In truth, the new committee will still have an uphill struggle to establish a majority in opposition to race-based programs.

The committee has 17 members. Both Honolulu daily newspapers of July 13, 2007 made a point of describing the opponents of the Akaka bill, but did not dwell on the members who support it. The newspapers, both of which have repeatedly editorialized in favor of the Akaka bill for many years, apparently have a hard time adjusting to the fact that opposition will be heard!

All 17 members are listed in the Star-Bulletin report (see news compilation below for the full article).

Amy Agbayani Democrat
Robert A. Alm Democrat
Kheng See Ang Republican
Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten Democrat
Jennifer Benck Republican
William Burgess Republican
Vernon F.L. Char Independent
Linda Colburn Democrat
*Michelle Nalani Fujimori Democrat
Rubellite K. Johnson Republican
James Kuroiwa Jr. Republican
**Michael A. Lilly Republican
Thomas J Macdonald Republican
*Kealoha K. Pisciotta Independent
Paul Sullivan Independent
Wayne M. Tanna Democrat
*Jackie Young Democrat

* Returning member
** Nominated chairman

Some of the new appointees are unknown to this author. However, here are some comments on the more high-profile HAC members who are supporters of racial entitlements and the Akaka bill. Opponents of the bill are described in the newspaper reports below.

The three outgoing members of the HAC (including 2 ethnic Hawaiians) have been reappointed to new terms, and they are all supporters of race-based programs. In particular, Kealoha K. Pisciotta has been active in asserting that ethnic Hawaiians are entitled to racial supremacy in land-use policy, and should be able to block the placement of additional telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea.

Robert Alm gave a blistering, widely quoted speech to a rally at 'Iolani Palace on August 6, 2005 where 20,000 red-shirted activists had marched from the Royal Mausoleum to protest a 2-1 appeals-court decision (later overturned in an 8-7 en-banc decision) that ruled against Kamehameha School's segregationist admissions policy. Alm, a white man, wore the red shirt to support allowing ethnic Hawaiians to maintain racial segregation at Kamehameha Schools. Photos, and text of his speech, are proudly displayed on the Kamehameha website at
http://www.ksbe.edu/article.php?story=20050808162114580
For broader coverage of the events of that day, including photos, see section #4 of the webpage
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/kamschool2005.html

Amy Agbayani is director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity program at University of Hawai'i-Manoa; i.e., she is a lifelong supporter of "affirmative action" whereby whites are discriminated against in order to give an advantage to people of color in employment and school admissions. She advocates in favor of ethnic Hawaiians getting free tuition at the University of Hawaii because they are the "indigenous" people and because they are allegedly under-represented in the student body. Actually, ethnic Hawaiians are over-represented throughout the UH system, whereas Agbayani's own Phillipino ethnic group is under-represented; but she gives priority to ethnic Hawaiians even over her own ethnic group because it is "politically correct" to do so. See
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/UHstudentethnicity.html

Linda Colburn is an ethnic Hawaiian activist who was formerly the chief Administrator at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (major sponsor of the Akaka bill) and has served as "facilitator" at numerous community forums where ethnic Hawaiian activists testify in favor of environmental policies they like and against military training programs they don't like. Daphne Barbee-Wooten is an African-American activist leader in the NAACP, which supports the Akaka bill and race-based programs for ethnic Hawaiians.


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NEWS REPORTS AND COMMENTARIES ABOUT THE NEW HAWAII ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE U.S. COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS, JULY 13 2007 AND CONTINUING

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070714/NEWS01/707140317/1001/NEWS01

Honolulu Advertiser, Saturday, July 14, 2007

Akaka bill foes join rights panel

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights yesterday filled vacancies on its Hawai'i advisory committee, choosing several outspoken activists against a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill and potentially shifting the committee's ideological balance.

The commission itself is on record against the bill, known as the Akaka bill for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, but the Hawai'i advisory committee has favored federal recognition.

The commission voted on 14 new members to the 17-member advisory committee, including Michael Lilly, a former state attorney general, and Amy Agbayani, a former chairwoman of the Hawai'i Civil Rights Commission. The vote was 6-2 in favor of the new members.

The commission, dominated by Republicans and independents, also chose some of the most visible opponents of federal recognition.

The selections include H. William Burgess, an attorney and activist with Aloha for All, which has fought federal recognition and Hawaiian-only government programs; Paul Sullivan, an attorney who has written against federal recognition; James Kuroiwa, a Republican labor and business-relations activist who joined a lawsuit against government funding for Hawaiian-only programs; Rubellite Johnson, a Hawaiian language scholar who opposes the Akaka bill; and Tom MacDonald, a retired investment executive who is on the board of scholars of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i, a libertarian public-policy group that has philosophically and financially led the Akaka bill opposition.

Lilly, a Republican who served as attorney general under former Gov. George Ariyoshi, a Democrat, was nominated the committee's chairman. He said the committee's mission is to advance civil rights in the Islands and would not have a partisan agenda. The new committee is made up of seven Democrats, seven Republicans and three independents.

"I feel I bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans," said Lilly, an attorney who has been active on cases dealing with access for people with disabilities. He said he has not taken a position on the Akaka bill.

But several people who support the Akaka bill have been worried about the ideological balance of the committee since the nominations were made public earlier this year.

"There will be quite strong philosophical differences that I will have with several people on the committee," said Agbayani, director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity program at University of Hawai'i-Manoa.

Clyde Namu'o, the administrator of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said none of OHA's recommendations for membership were chosen by the commission. He said the danger, politically, is if the advisory committee takes a position against the Akaka bill and it strengthens the opposition nationally.

The Akaka bill, which has been blocked by conservative Republicans since 2000, would recognize Native Hawaiians as indigenous people with the right to self-government. The bill has been a federal priority of Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, and the Democrats in the state's congressional delegation.

"Looking at the new makeup of the committee, I don't think they're going to be sympathetic to the Akaka bill," Namu'o said.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai'i, yesterday issued a statement with concerns about the committee's new composition. "I am concerned that the group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawai'i on one of the most important issues facing our state, namely the Akaka bill," the congresswoman said.

Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney and Democrat on the commission who voted against the nominations, said Republicans were trying to stack the advisory committee with Akaka bill opponents. "It's a sad day for Native Hawaiians," Yaki said. "It's a sad day for civil rights."

But others said the new members would bring different viewpoints.

"I don't think this committee was intended to come up with one view," Sullivan said. "If they get a broad spectrum of views, the committee will do what it is supposed to do."

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/07/14/news/story03.html

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 14, 2007

Civil rights panel picks prompt debate
The advisory board's selections include Akaka Bill opponents

By Alexandre Da Silva

Opponents of a bill to grant federal recognition to native Hawaiians were appointed yesterday to an advisory board to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, raising concerns for the bill's supporters.

Among the 17 members appointed to the Hawaii State Advisory Panel are attorneys William Burgess and Paul Sullivan, both of whom have written extensively against the so-called Akaka Bill. Also selected was James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined taxpayers in a lawsuit challenging state funding of Hawaiian programs.

"I am concerned that the group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawaii on one of the most important issues facing our state, namely the Akaka Bill," U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono wrote in an e-mail.

The new panel, which has seven Democrats and Republicans and three independent members who will serve two-year terms, was approved in a 6-2 vote by the eight-member U.S. Civil Rights Commission. The commission is made up of four Republicans appointed by President Bush's administration and four others picked by Congress.

Burgess and Sullivan said that including members who analyze and challenge the civil rights implications of legislation like the Akaka Bill will only help make the committee stronger.

"I hope that's going to be a balanced advisory council. That's what we really need," said Burgess, who contends the bill would illegally create a separate, race-based government in the islands. "They are afraid to have the Constitution of the United States applied to the state of Hawaii."

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka for the past seven years and officially called the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, made headway in May, gaining approval by the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. It has not yet reached the full Senate.

In a report last year, the Civil Rights Commission said the measure would "discriminate on the basis of race or national origin, and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege." The Bush administration quoted the document to reject the bill.

Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney who sits on the Civil Rights Commission, said yesterday's vote "reflects the rightward shift" of the group "under the present administration."

"I'm extremely disappointed that the commission has chosen to have a committee that does not even believe in the basic sovereign rights of native Hawaiians," said Yaki, a Democrat.

Amy Agbayani, an Akaka Bill proponent also selected to the Hawaii panel, said there will be "a wide range of differences amongst us."

"It is a difference of opinion, but it is an important, large difference in terms of our philosophy and our ideas of what is historically correct and also what we should do to move forward in terms of justice," said Agbayani, director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity Office at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hawaii State Advisory Panel

Here are the 17 members elected by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to serve on its Hawaii State Advisory Panel:

Amy Agbayani Democrat
Robert A. Alm Democrat
Kheng See Ang Republican
Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten Democrat
Jennifer Benck Republican
William Burgess Republican
Vernon F.L. Char Independent
Linda Colburn Democrat
*Michelle Nalani Fujimori Democrat
Rubellite K. Johnson Republican
James Kuroiwa Jr. Republican
**Michael A. Lilly Republican
Thomas J Macdonald Republican
*Kealoha K. Pisciotta Independent
Paul Sullivan Independent
Wayne M. Tanna Democrat
*Jackie Young Democrat

* Returning member ** Nominated chairman

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From: "Levin, Michael"
Date: July 13, 2007 2:06:49 PM HST
Subject: Congresswoman Hirono Expresses Concern about Civil Rights Appoint ments

MAZIE K. HIRONO
2ND DISTRICT, HAWAI`I
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2007
Contact: Michael Levin (202) 225-4906

Congresswoman Hirono Applauds Appointment of Amy Agbayani, While Expressing Concern about Composition of Hawaii Civil Rights Advisory Group

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono praised the appointment of Amy Agbayani as a member of the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee (HISAC), while expressing concern about the overall composition of HISAC announced by the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) today.

The USCCR investigates complaints of discrimination and evaluates federal laws and policies. It maintains state advisory committees made up of citizens familiar with local and state civil rights issues to provide consultation and assist with fact finding and investigations.

The selection of members has been controversial as some observers have perceived an attempt by the Bush Administration to pick members with an ideological bias. Earlier this year, Congresswoman Hirono sent a letter to the USCCR citing the importance of re-chartering HISAC with members who have demonstrated a commitment to protecting civil rights.

Following the announcement of re-chartered committee today, Congresswoman Hirono said, "Looking at the HISAC membership in its entirety, I am concerned that the group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawai'i on one of the most important issues facing our state, namely the Akaka bill. In view of the importance of the Akaka bill and other civil rights issues, I am particularly glad that one of my nominees, Amy Agbayani, who has strong qualifications and experience as a civil rights advocate, has been appointed to HISAC. I congratulate her on being selected and know that she will continue to be a strong advocate for protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all the people of Hawai'i ."

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H. William Burgess
Honolulu, Hawaii
July 13, 2007

If the good Congresswoman thinks the majority of the people of Hawaii support the Akaka bill, I would like to ask her why she opposes a plebiscite of the people of Hawaii before a new government of, by and for one race is created? The most comprehensive poll ever taken on the Akaka bill shows 2 to 1 in Hawaii oppose it.

I certainly join her in wishing to protect the civil and constitutional rights of all the people of Hawaii . The Akaka bill would do the opposite. Its purpose is to allow at least a good part of the State of Hawaii to secede from the jurisdiction of the United States Constitution. Why? Because Hawaiian entitlements cannot stand under the Constitution. In life, as in sports, for Hawaiians and everyone else, it is best when we all play the game by the same rules.

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*** Paul de Silva, author of this letter, is a former Judge, Hawaii County Police Commission member and legendary Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney in the 1970's. He was the Press Club's choice for the 2005 Torch of Light Award. His distinguished career has been notable for honesty, candor and forceful advocacy of open and unfettered discussion of vital public issues.

This letter to Congressmember Mazie Hirono was published in Hawaii Reporter on July 16 at
http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?70bad151-2e42-49ee-9e56-a824514342cf
and also in the Honolulu Advertiser on July 20 at
http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070720/OPINION02/707200318/1108

From: Paul M. de Silva [mailto: pds@hawaii.rr.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007
Subject: An Open Letter to Mazie Hirono for Publication

An Open Letter to Congresswoman Hirono

Dear Representative Hirono,

Your press release on the appointment of William Burgess and Paul Sullivan to the Hawaii Civil Rights Advisory Board in which you state that the "group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawai'i " misrepresents what I know to be the more prevalent public opinion about the Akaka Bill.

Most of us who live here don't like it, and moreover, the ultimate goal of sovereignty for native Hawaiians is not supported by Hawaii's history of racial inclusion. You might not like the appointment of Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Burgess, but that doesn't justify telling a fib.

When the alii invited our non-Hawaiian ancestors who were not for the most part Americans to come and blend with native Hawaiians to build Hawaii together, they didn't tell them that someday that promise would be refuted by the creation of a racially exclusive and unequal status. Many non-Hawaiians were born in the Kingdom and were equal subjects. Such were my grandparents.

Perhaps it would be more intellectually honest for you to listen to the people by allowing some way to publically determine what people truly want. We're all tired of being lied to by politicians. In my opinion MOST OF US OPPOSE the Akaka bill, contrary to your press release.

Furthermore, I know you to be a bright and aggressive lady and suspect that you see the insurmountable constitutional problems with this. So why not take the position you have taken? The prospective Akaka law will be invalidated by the judicial system which you can blame, and you won't have to answer to native Hawaiians. Is that it?

Me ke aloha pumehana,
Paul de Silva

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

http://starbulletin.com/2007/07/17/editorial/editorial01.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 17, 2007

OUR OPINION

New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment

THE ISSUE
Several strong opponents of Hawaiian sovereignty have been named to the state's advisory panel to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

WHEN the U.S. Civil Rights Commission was created 50 years ago, state advisory committees were established to be its "eyes and ears" on local and state civil rights issues. It did not like what it saw and heard from the Hawaii committee's endorsement of the Akaka Bill, and the commission stated its opposition to sovereignty last year. Then it sought to revamp the advisory committee to reflect the commission's flawed opinion.

By a 6-2 vote, the commission has approved a new advisory committee that includes shrill opponents of sovereignty as well as avid sovereignty advocates nominated by Democratic congressional leaders. Instead of reflecting the Akaka Bill's popularity in Hawaii, the committee appears to have been turned into a debate club.

The newly named advisory commission members include H. William Burgess, plaintiffs' attorney in a failed lawsuit challenging Office of Hawaiian Affairs programs; plaintiff James Kuroiwa Jr.; and lawyer Paul Sullivan, author of a 55-page treatise declaring the Akaka Bill to be "morally, politically and socially wrong." New members Rubellite Johnson and Tom Macdonald have opined that sovereignty will lead to secession.

Whether sovereignty opponents make up a majority of the 17-member panel remains to be seen. New Chairman Michael Lilly, state attorney general under former Gov. George Ariyoshi, has not publicly stated his position on the sovereignty issue and might well serve as a referee.

Burgess said he hopes the commission will "be a balanced advisory council." However, an even balance would not reflect sentiment among Hawaii residents. A poll taken two years ago by Ward Research, a public opinion firm, for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs found that 68 percent of those surveyed supported the Akaka Bill, while 17 percent opposed it and 15 percent declined to answer. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Ignoring that sentiment in revamping the advisory committee, the commission appears to have opted for a balance between pros and cons and departed from its "eyes and ears" doctrine. The change is consistent with steering away from its longtime tendency to appoint advisory committee members who favor protection of minority rights.

A 2005 report by the congressional General Accountability Office observed that the commission had begun "revising state advisory committee membership in order to, among other things, move away from racially and ethnically based representation toward greater diversity in expertise and ideas."

Whatever stance the new advisory committee takes on the sovereignty issue, it deserves to be regarded as the divided opinion of 17 individuals, just as last year's 5-2 vote by the commission in opposition to the Akaka Bill failed to reflect the views of Hawaii residents.

** See a response to this editorial published by Tom Macdonald, one of the newly appointed members of the committee, published in the blog of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii on July 23, copied below in chronological order**

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

Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial cartoon by Corky, published on July 18, 2007 with original URL
http://starbulletin.com/2007/07/18/news/corky.html


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

** An article was composed by Associated Press and sent to all its affiliated newspapers. There's no way to know all the newspapers where some version of it got published. Here's one of those versions, in a newspaper serving suburban San Diego California. Notice the highly biased reporting at the start of the article, portraying the new Hawaii panel as a stacking of the deck against the Akaka bill. The more accurate information, that the panel will actually be quite well balanced, comes toward the end of the article and Associated Press knows most newspapers would likely cut away as much of the end of the article as necessary to make it fit the space they have available.

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/07/19/news/state/14_40_347_18_07.txt

North County Times, Serving San Diego and Riverside Counties

July 19, 2007

U.S. Civil Rights body uses power to revamp Hawaii panel

By: MARK NIESSE - Associated Press

HONOLULU -- The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights used new term limits and its broad appointment power to gut and restock its Hawaii advisory panel with more conservative members who are likely to agree with its opposition to Native Hawaiian recognition.

The abrupt change in the makeup of the Hawaii advisory committee is the latest in a commission campaign to make over state panels in its own image and stack the deck against affirmative action and other race-based programs across the country, says one of the national commissioners concerned about the direction the panel is taking.

"The right-wing majority on the commission has decided they're tired of state committees putting out reports that advocate for civil rights," said Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney who sits on the eight-member national commission. "They turn a blind eye to continuing racial injustice and civil rights problems that exist."

The commission's national staff director says it's just trying to get more views represented on state panels, which serve as its "eyes and ears" around the country.

"It's important to have a vibrant diversity of opinion," said staff director Kenneth L. Marcus in a phone interview.

The U.S. commission approved 14 new members for its 17-member Hawaii advisory committee last week. The new panel has seven Democrats and seven Republicans, plus three independents. At least four of the Republicans and one independent have actively campaigned, filed lawsuits or contributed money against Hawaiian recognition.

Critics say the panel may have the numbers to swing against the Akaka bill, named for Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, that would give Native Hawaiians similar status to American Indians.

The state panel had supported the bill, but some of its new members will try to align it with the Bush administration and many mainland Republicans who oppose race-based programs. Last year, the U.S. commission ignored its state advisory committee and recommended that Congress kill the measure, which stalled in the U.S. Senate.

A key to the commission's sweeping restructuring of state panels was a new 10-year limit on membership that opened the way for many state seats to be filled with new, sympathetic committee members, Yaki said. Previously, members could serve unlimited two-year terms.

In Hawaii, at least five panel members were ineligible because of the term limits.

A vacancy in the commission's Western region also gave the national staff director oversight of the new makeup of Hawaii's panel. Ordinarily, the regional director nominates panel members to be approved by the commission.

Marcus, a Bush appointee, denies there's an effort to align the Hawaii panel against the Akaka bill, saying both liberals and conservatives were appointed.

But Yaki said about two dozen state advisory panels so far have been restructured to bring in members who will support positions taken by the U.S. commission.

In several reports over the past decade, the Government Accountability Office has been critical of the commission and its oversight of state advisory committees. In a 2005 report, the congressional watchdog noted state committee memberships were being revised by the increasingly conservative panel partly to get away from racially and ethnically based representation.

Changes in the Hawaii panel members were politically motivated, said Faye Kennedy, one of the former advisory panel members affected by the term limits.

"Those people don't have any commitment to civil rights. In my opinion, they have a commitment to opposing the civil rights of Native Hawaiians," said Kennedy, co-chair of the group Hawaii Friends of Civil Rights.

The U.S. commission approved the 14 new Hawaii panelists on a 6-2 vote Friday in Washington. They were voted on as a group, despite objections from Yaki who wanted a separate vote on one of the nominees.

New members on the Hawaii committee include H. William Burgess, an attorney and activist who has fought Hawaiian-only government programs; James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined taxpayers in a lawsuit challenging state funding of Native Hawaiian programs; Tom Macdonald, a board member of the libertarian Grassroot Institute of Hawaii that has opposed Native Hawaiian recognition; Paul Sullivan, an attorney who has written against federal recognition; and Rubellite Johnson, a Hawaiian language scholar and opponent of the legislation.

"The history of the use of racial preferences by governments ... has been disastrous," Burgess said. "If you give entitlements, they should be based on merit or need."

Marcus, in drawing up his list of appointees, denied they were stacked against the Akaka bill, noting that five of the more liberal members were recommended by Hawaii's congressional delegation, the NAACP and a disability rights organization.

"We appointed some members who strongly agree with the bill, and others who strongly oppose it," Marcus said.

But none of the nine people suggested for seats by the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which supports federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, was put on the state panel, said OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo.

"It looks very odd that there would be this move to appoint people who have taken a public position in opposition to the Hawaiian federal recognition legislation," Namuo said.

On the Net:
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: http://www.usccr.gov/

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

http://www.kauaiworld.com/articles/2007/07/20/opinion/edit01.txt
The Garden Island News (Kaua'i), July 20, 2007

Product of Kaua‘i

In behalf of her Kaua‘i High School classmates of 1950, we congratulate and offer our aloha to Dr. Rubellite Kinney Johnson of Honolulu on her appointment last week to the Hawai‘i Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The 17 members will serve 10-year terms.

Many of us grew up with this former Lawa‘i girl named a “Living Treasure of Hawai‘i” in 1983 by the Honla Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i.

Rubellite's father, Ernest Kaipoleimanu Kinney Sr., was a foreman during the building of Kaumuali‘i Highway on Kaua‘i and a member of Holy Cross Church in Kalaheo, while also assisting at the Koloa Hawaiian Church where Ruby attended. Mother Esther Kauikeaolani Ka‘ulili came from a distinguished local family that included brothers Springwater and Lordie Ka‘ulili. (The latter loved to play tennis with my father, the late Rev. Howard Smith of Koloa.) Ruby gets her middle name Kawena from a part-Chinese grandmother from Puna on the Big Island who raised eight children. Her grandfather Rev. Solomon Ka‘uili pastored both the Lihue Union and Koloa Union churches prior to being named a judge for the Koloa district. He died in 1923 before taking office. Johnson can also trace her haole roots back to pilgrim New England and earlier.

This wahine is a veritable United Nations, a classic Hawai‘i cultural and ethnic melting pot.

Dr. Johnson retired as professor emeritus of Hawaiian Languages in the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages of the University of Hawaii/Manoa. She is, arguably, the world's leading living authority on the study and interpretation of the epic 2,600-line Hawai‘i chant, the Kumulipo. Her knowledge of the laws and history of the monarchy era is encyclopedic.

Little did playmates at Kalaheo Elementary sense this future brilliance when they teased Ruby about her strange name deriving from the pink tourmaline gem found in granite. Nor when she was just one of us teenagers struggling to satisfy taskmaster Mary Mildred Jones in English and Spanish classes “amid the ironwood and cane fields nigh.” She later graduated with honors from University of Hawai‘i.

And it was her family upbringing and the education through Hawai‘i's fine public school system of those decades, combined with the patriotism of us World War II kids growing up on Kaua‘i, which forged her very outspoken love for America and its freedoms. No sovereignist she. Thus Hawai‘i's citizens may count on Rubellite to bring needed balance in the years ahead to this important governmental forum.

Ray Smith
Wheaton, Ill.

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

http://www.mauinews.com/story.aspx?id=32424
The Maui News, July 20, 2007
EDITORIAL

Attack troops assembled

The state of Hawaii has long been officially supportive of Native Hawaiians, establishing Hawaiian as the second language and setting up the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Those efforts also pay dividends to non-Hawaiians, for example, making all shorelines public and giving the islands a unique sales point in the worldwide competition between sun, sand and sea vacation destinations.

Public sentiment has supported those efforts and the various federally funded programs designed to help the indigenous culture to survive more than a century of, for lack of a better word, Americanization.

Today, efforts to support Native Hawaiians and to partially make up for the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom center on the Akaka Bill, which would set up a process for Hawaiian self-determination. The bill also has focused opposition to favored status based on racial origin.

The latest attack may be in the overhaul of the 17-member Hawaii committee advising the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. For the first time, members of the Hawaii committee were selected by the staff director of the commission, Kenneth L. Marcus, in Washington, D.C.

He said the selections were made to “have a vibrant diversity of opinion.” His selections included five individuals who have actively campaigned, filed lawsuits or contributed money toward opposing Hawaiian recognition and entitlements.

In a 2005 report, the watchdog Government Accountability Office noted the civil rights commission's state committee memberships were being revised by the increasingly conservative panel to get away from racially and ethnically based representation.

Although the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is not bound to follow state committee recommendations, the new Hawaii committee makeup appears to be an effort to put a local face on a national agenda. Individuals who have a track record of opposing programs designed to help Hawaiians are not representative of the state.

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

http://honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070723/OPINION01/707230301/1105/OPINION01
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, July 23, 2007
EDITORIAL

Civil rights advisory panel bears watching

Several vocal opponents to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians were recently appointed to Hawai'i's advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. This has rightly raised some eyebrows.

It's understandable that these are largely political appointments, and that the once largely liberal body is changing its complexion under the Bush administration. But the fact that several of the appointees have a clear agenda, regardless of whether they are in favor of or opposed to federal recognition, could have a polarizing effect on the panel's ability to approach the issue.

The commission approved 14 new members to Hawai'i's 17-member panel. Among the seven Democrats, seven Republicans and three independents, at least five have vocally campaigned or filed lawsuits against federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

Among those newly selected: H. William Burgess, an attorney who opposes federal recognition and Hawaiian-only government programs, and a vocal Akaka bill opponent; Paul Sullivan, an attorney who also has written against federal recognition; Rubellite Johnson, also known for her opposition to the Akaka bill; James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined a lawsuit against government funding for Hawaiian-only programs; and Tom MacDonald, who is on the board of scholars for the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i, which has led the opposition to the Akaka bill.

These appointments come at a time when the commission is facing criticism for what many view as an attempt to "stack the deck" against affirmative action and similar programs nationwide.

The current administration has the right to choose its appointments. But this panel could play a big role in Hawai'i's future — and it bears watching to ensure the chips fall fairly.

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

** Here are ALL the online comments posted during the first 12 hours after this Advertiser editorial was made public:

http://forums.honoluluadvertiser.com/viewtopic.php?t=2799

Kalli Sr.
Location: ewa beach
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:40 am

Where was the Advertiser editorial when Charles Maxwell, a well known Hawaiian sovergnty activist was Chair? Civil rights are supposed to be balanced so the newly appointed group is finally a balanced group and will ensure all races are equally served. Is it too much to ask for all races to be treated fairly?

--------

JereKrischel
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:25 am

Post subject: Civil Rights are for everyone

Seems ironic that we've come full circle, and once again it is under Republican auspices that equal rights for all people, regardless of bloodline, is a value to be aspired to.

How anyone can serve on a Civil Rights commission, and support superior privileges for people of specific racial background, and improperly call them "rights"? The problem isn't with the new appointees, it's with the ones that came before and insisted that if you weren't of the proper racial background, you didn't have the same rights as others.

-----------

dchan925
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:37 am

It is unfortunate that the Advertiser did not report on the previous members of the Advisory Committee. If it had, readers would have known not just about Charles Maxwell cited above but also Alan Murakami, Oswald Stender, Faye Kennedy, David Forman, etc.

I wonder if the editorial writer had any idea of the committee's prior composition or simply relied on the shallow reporting of the newspaper.

The Committee has been long stacked with no regard for diverse points of view. The new membership is no longer a rubber stamp for or against the Akaka Bill or any other issue. Discussion and debate are not a bad thing though honest airing of differing points of view is not encouraged on sensitive issues in Hawaii.

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

Kenneth Conklin
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:45 am

For the previous 10 years this committee unanimously and aggressively pursued the monolithic viewpoint that it is a violation of the civil rights of Native Hawaiians if they are not allowed to receive government handouts that are racially exclusionary, just for them; and if they are not allowed to have racially exclusionary voting rights; and if they are not allowed to force the secession of Hawaii from the U.S. What kind of topsy-turvy theory of civil rights was that? Where were the Advertiser editorials demanding balance on the committee back then? There weren't any; because Advertiser has been in love with that outrageous theory for many, many years. Let's hope the new civil rights committee will debate the merits of these issues, and help defend all Hawaii's people against the heavily entrenched racial separatist / racial supremacist atmosphere already prevailing. Our Legislature sure isn't helping us, and neither is the Advertiser.

To get some detailed information about the history of the Hawaii advisory committee during its previous 10 years, including its very explicit recommendation in favor of BOTH racial supremacy AND total secession of the entire State of Hawaii from the U.S., please see

http://tinyurl.com/2f2ynf

See also the book "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" at

http://tinyurl.com/2a9fqa

Here are excerpts from the lengthy committee report from its hearings in September 2000.

About halfway down the lengthy report is the section called "Conclusions and Recommendations" (followed by footnotes that occupy the entire second half of the report). The conclusions clearly support the Akaka bill as a way to overturn the 7-2 Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano; and they also support the right of ethnic Hawaiians to force the secession of Hawaii from the United States.

"... international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war ... The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law.[420] Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. ..."

"1. The federal government should accelerate efforts to formalize the political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the United States. This recommendation can be accomplished through the formal and direct recognition by Congress of the United States' responsibilities toward Native Hawaiians, by virtue of the unique political history between the United States and the former Kingdom of Hawaii....[T]he Advisory Committee requests that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urge Congress to pass legislation formally recognizing the political status of Native Hawaiians." ...

"4. International solutions should be explored as alternatives to the recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

"The Hawaii Advisory Committee recognizes that the sentiment for an international resolution to restore a sovereign Hawaiian entity is beyond the immediate scope and power of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Nevertheless, that limitation does not preclude the United States from exploring such alternatives as a part of the reconciliation process that the United States committed to pursue in the 1993 Apology Resolution. ... Accordingly, the United States should give due consideration to re-inscribing Hawai‘i on the United Nations' list of non-self-governing territories, among other possibilities. ...

"The Hawaii Advisory Committee is fully cognizant of the concern expressed by some that international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war. However, this view ignores the troubled and racist roots of our nation's history. The Civil War was at its core a conflict over the issue of slavery. Moreover, the Civil War Amendments and Civil Rights Acts, upon which the plaintiff in Rice based his claims, were supposed to effect a reconstruction of American society through equality for African Americans.

"The principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law.[420] Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination. The important proposition is that those who would choose to swear their allegiance to a restored sovereign Hawaiian entity be given that choice after a full and free debate with those who might prefer some form of association with the United States (including, perhaps, the status quo)....

"Those supervising the reconciliation process should provide for an open, free, and democratic plebiscite on all potential options by which Native Hawaiians might express their inherent right to self-determination. The process should allow for international oversight by nonaligned observers of international repute. After a period for organization of that government, the federal government should engage in negotiations with the sovereign Hawaiian entity.

"The Hawaii Advisory Committee believes that these deliberations should take into consideration and protect, or otherwise accommodate, the rights of non-Native Hawaiians. Thereafter, the federal government should provide financial assistance for the educational effort that may be necessary to reconcile conflicts raised by the choices made by Native Hawaiians. If necessary, the United States should engage in continuing negotiations to seek resolution of any outstanding issues with the sovereign Hawaiian entity."

Support unity, equality, and aloha for all. Please visit the Hawaiian Sovereignty website at
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty

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Stanman
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:12 am

This author seems to think that if you don't support the Akaka bill, you are not worthy of serving on the committee. Why? Would it be better to have a bunch of storm trooper clones, like our legislature, who all think (or fail to think) the same? A bunch who can all sit together and pat each other on the back, and exclude others because of their skin color or dissenting viewpoint? To hell with diversity, right? I wonder why the author left his/her name off of this pile of trash article.

Yes, things have come full circle. Today's democrats are racist. Republicans seem to be the only group insisting on recognizing the Equal Protection Clauses of our Federal and State constitutions.

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

Learmeister
Posted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:09 pm

Civil Rights Commission

Your bias, as shown in your editorial, is clear to your readers. Regretfully, the fact that a majority of your readers are opposed to the Akaka Bill is not so clear. Your paper and the politicians supporting the Bill don't want it known that the Bill lacks popular support.

The fact that the Bill can't withstand Constitutional challenges is a critical problem. The fact that a majority of the citizens of Hawaii oppose the Bill is also a problem. Your efforts to keep the problems secret and obscured diminish your credibility on all issues.

Thanks for cautioning us to watch the Civil Rights Commission and thanks to the Republicans for leveling the playing field.

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

http://historymystery.grassrootinstitute.org/2007/07/23/response-to-717-editorial-by-new-member-of-civil-rights-committee/
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, blog, July 23, 2007

Response to 7/17 Star-Bulletin Editorial By New Member of Civil Rights Committee

YES, I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SECESSION, BUT MORE CONCERNED ABOUT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

The July 17 Star-Bulletin editorial on the new appointments to the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights correctly mentions that I am concerned that the Akaka Bill may lead to attempts by a “Re-organized” Hawaiian Government to secede from the United States. Yes, I am deeply concerned, as are many others, that the State of Hawaii could be torn apart. This is why:

1. For months the Office of Hawaiian Affairs website listed secession from the U.S. and formation of an independent nation as one of the three organizational options available to a native Hawaiian government. The secession option was only removed from the website when OHA realized it was becoming a public relations disaster and reducing support for the Akaka Bill by Non-Hawaiians.

2. OHA Trustee Rowena Akana and OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo have both been quoted in print as saying that if the majority of the native Hawaiian people want complete independence from the U.S., then OHA will comply with their wishes.

3. In his speech introducing the 2007 version of the Akaka Bill in the U.S. Senate, Senator Akaka mentioned the desire of some Hawaiians in his grandchildren's generation to secede from the U.S. and establish a totally separate government. When he was asked about this on National Public Radio, Senator Akaka did not denounce such an outrageous idea, as we might expect from a U.S. Senator who takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the U.S.. Instead, he simply replied that he would leave the secession question for his grandchildren to decide.

4. Several native Hawaiian groups, such as Henry Noa's “Reinstated Hawaiian Kingdom”, already publicly advocate secession from the U.S. The numbers supporting these groups currently appears to be small. But there is no way of knowing how broad support actually is. And the peculiar structure of the Akaka Bill, in which the results of its passage will only be negotiated after the Bill becomes law, allows for many unpleasant surprises after it is too late to do anything about them. A rise in secessionist sentiment between now and then could have disastrous consequences for the Aloha State.

Those are the main reasons why I think concern about a possible attempt at secession is justified. But secession possibilities are not the principal reason why I, and many others, are fighting to stop the Akaka Bill. The main reason is that Akaka would establish an unlawful privileged class based on race, in which access to taxpayer-funded benefits would be determined by skin color not by need.

Tom Macdonald
Kaneohe

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

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070724/OPINION02/707240311/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, July 24, 2007, Letter to editor

AKAKA BILL
MAJORITY OF POPULATION DOESN'T BACK MEASURE

Rep. Mazie Hirono was wrong when she stated in her press release on July 13 that the majority of the population in Hawai'i supports the Akaka bill.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs paid for a survey, in which OHA helped write the questions, which concluded just the opposite: "In the non-Hawaiian population, however, no consensus exists relative to Hawaiian-only programs, entitlements and a future Hawaiian government. Clearly, non-Hawaiians are not prepared to accept the creation of a Hawaiian nation in the near future." The survey was done by a reputable polling firm, Ward Research.

Non-Hawaiians are, of course, a substantial majority of the state's population.

If Akaka bill supporters were really as confident of majority approval as they say they are, they would not continue to oppose putting the matter to a popular vote.

Tom Macdonald
Kane'ohe
[** Newly appointed member of civil rights committee]

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070725/OPINION02/707250355/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, July 25, 2007, letter to editor

ADVISORY GROUP
RIGHTS PANEL ADDITIONS NOW GIVE SOME BALANCE

Your editorial about a new civil rights panel complains "at least five (out of 17) have vocally campaigned or filed lawsuits against federal recognition for Native Hawaiians."

You echo the leftist fear that this is "an attempt to 'stack the deck' against affirmative action and similar programs." I sure hope so.

At least now the panel has five out of 17 to provide some balance. The stacked old civil rights panel under Charlie Maxwell had every member supporting the Akaka bill, and Hawaiian racial supremacy in general.

Their topsy-turvy theory of civil rights was shown in a lengthy official report from hearings in September 2000.

The report said the 7-2 Supreme Court decision in Rice v. Cayetano violated the "civil rights" of ethnic Hawaiians to have racially exclusionary institutions. The report therefore supported the Akaka bill as a remedy, plus a "right" for ethnic Hawaiians to force total secession of Hawai'i from America. Crazy. Totally stacked.

Hawai'i, beware of a dangerous future. Read a recent book: "Hawaiian Apartheid: Racial Separatism and Ethnic Nationalism in the Aloha State" — a print-on-demand book (use Google).

I hope the new civil rights panel will help rescue us.

Ken Conklin
Kane'ohe

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

http://www.mauinews.com/story.aspx?id=32620
Maui News, July 26, 2007, Letter to editor

New civil rights panel accurately reflects deeply divided Hawaii

Your rant “Attack troops assembled” (Editorial, July 20) bitterly complains that five of the 17 members of a Hawaii civil rights advisory committee will be opponents of “programs designed to help Hawaiians” like OHA and the Akaka Bill.

Nonsense. They're opposed to programs that help ethnic Hawaiians exclusively. They understand that civil rights requires government to help all Hawaii people in need without trashing everyone who lacks a drop of the magic blood.

You say their viewpoint is “not representative of the state.” No, that describes the previous committee under Charlie Maxwell. Their unanimous topsy-turvy theory of civil rights was that the Supreme Court's 7-2 decision in Rice v. Cayetano violated the “civil rights” of ethnic Hawaiians to have racially exclusionary government institutions. What a crazy theory!

What's wrong with having five out of 17 committee members providing some balance? The new panel is deeply divided on the Akaka Bill, just like public opinion. Surveys in 2005 and 2006 found that 67 percent of respondents oppose the Akaka Bill, including half of ethnic Hawaiians.

Let's put the Akaka Bill on the ballot where everyone can vote in privacy without intimidation. OHA, the Legislature and wealthy institutions getting government money strongly oppose letting us vote on the Akaka Bill. What does that tell you?

Ken Conklin
Kaneohe, Oahu

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

http://starbulletin.com/2007/07/29/editorial/commentary.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 29, 2007, COMMENTARY

Civil rights commission should reflect Hawaii's diverse views

by Paul M. Sullivan

THE U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has appointed 14 new members to its Hawaii State Advisory Committee. Some of these new members have opposed the Akaka Bill in the past. In its July 17 editorial, "New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment," the Star-Bulletin expressed concern that "instead of reflecting the Akaka Bill's popularity in Hawaii," the advisory committee will instead be merely a "debating club" reflecting diverse points of view. The article asserts that the Commission on Civil Rights "appears to have opted for a balance between pros and cons and departed from its 'eyes and ears' doctrine."

This editorial reflects a misunderstanding of the role of the HISAC and suggests an approach to public debate that is at odds with America's best ideals.

THERE IS NO inconsistency between the HISAC's "eyes and ears" function as the USCCR's observer and reporter of civil rights issues in the islands and its function as a forum for debate and analysis of those issues. Eyes and ears can be untrustworthy when the data are not processed through brains. Reflecting this, federal law and regulations mandate both the reportorial and analytical functions for the USCCR's state advisory committees,.

The importance of diversity of views and independence of thought for USCCR state advisory committees was reaffirmed in the recent Government Accountability Office report cited in the Star-Bulletin editorial. The report pointed out that under federal law, advisory committees such as the HISAC are to "have a balanced representation of views" and "exercise independent judgment without inappropriate influence from the appointing agency or any other party." That GAO report noted approvingly that "(USCCR) policy explicitly requires state advisory committees to incorporate balanced, varied, and opposing perspectives in their hearings and reports."

One central reason for such diversity and debate is that the HISAC has a job to do for the USCCR in support of that commission's federal statutory mandate. As provided by the committee's charter and subject to commission oversight, the advisory committee may choose, or may be called upon, to advise the commission on a wide variety of issues concerning civil rights. The credibility and usefulness of the HISAC's reports to the USCCR depend on the open-mindedness and intellectual integrity of the committee's membership. Diversity of viewpoints and robust debate foster these qualities.

THE STAR-BULLETIN'S editorial seems to suggest that the HISAC should report to Washington what is perceived to be the prevailing or popular sentiment in the islands as expressed in a recent poll supporting the Akaka Bill, apparently without the clutter of dissenting or varying opinions. This is a dangerous standard of reportage, and one which can only undermine the reporter's credibility. There is no universal opinion in the islands on the Akaka Bill. There are other polls than the one cited in the editorial, and they have come to varying conclusions. Many of Hawaii's citizens have spoken out strongly and publicly against the Akaka Bill.

An accurate report to Washington would reflect these various views, not ignore or mask them. As a nation, through our Constitution, we are philosophically committed to vigorous and public debate on vital issues. That principle should continue to guide us.

Paul M. Sullivan is one of the new members of the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He has lived and practiced law on Oahu since 1982.

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/07/29/editorial/letters.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 29, 2007, LETTERS TO EDITOR

AKAKA BILL DEBATE

Opposition to Akaka Bill is growing louder

In response to the July 17 editorial "New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment":

You can't be serious! According to your analysis, the new appointments to the state's advisory panel to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission are part of an anti-Hawaiian sovereignty plot designed to derail the Akaka Bill, which you claim enjoys overwhelming support from the population at large; from a poll commissioned by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs? Why not the Center for Hawaiian Studies next?

You describe voices critical of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement as "shrill." That's the bullhorn trying to be heard over the vociferations of self- righteous indignation. Yeah, dissent can be a real bummer sometimes.

J.P. Muntal
Kaneohe

Sovereignty question should be put to vote

Your July 17 editorial says "New civil rights panel might not reflect local sentiment." But that describes the stacked, old civil rights panel under Charlie Maxwell, where every member supported the Akaka Bill and Hawaiian racial supremacy in general. Their topsy-turvy theory of civil rights was that the Supreme Court's 7-2 decision in Rice v. Cayetano violated the "civil rights" of ethnic Hawaiians to have racially exclusionary government institutions. Wow! The new panel is deeply divided on the Akaka Bill, just like public opinion. Surveys in 2005 and 2006 that called every listed telephone number in Hawaii found that 67 percent of respondents oppose the Akaka Bill, including half of ethnic Hawaiians.

Our people are divided on the Akaka Bill, as deeply as Hawaii itself will be divided and broken if the bill passes. Put the issue on the ballot where everyone can vote in privacy without intimidation. Note that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Legislature and wealthy institutions getting government money strongly oppose letting us all vote on the Akaka Bill. What does that tell you?

Ken Conklin
Kaneohe

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http://www.mauinews.com/story.aspx?id=32797
The Maui News, Wednesday, August 1, 2007
LETTERS TO EDITOR

Hawaiians seeking parity and to prevent legal extinction

Mahalo for your July 20 editorial on the stacking of the Civil Rights Commission Hawaii with outspoken and litigious individuals who have dedicated much of their time and energy to their battle against Hawaiians' quest for federal recognition and protection.

Hawaiians did not have any opportunity to vote for annexation to the United States. They were denied this right in 1893 by a tiny group of residents from America with the aid of the U.S. military.

The manner of annexation was unprecedented; i.e., by resolution of Congress rather than a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Manifest destiny prevailed and racial arguments then about the brown and yellow people here were bantered about in Congress.

We are the indigenous, aboriginal people of Hawaii who are not seeking racial exclusivity (Letters, July 26), but equality with the other two aboriginal groups in America, the Native Americans and the Alaskan Natives.

We merely want to survive as a people in our own homeland and not be assimilated into oblivion by the likes of the new Civil Rights Commission whose new members now will undoubtedly pursue their court cases in another venue, their own backyard.

Repeated legitimate polls and not the so called “push poll” supported by at least five of the new commissioners and Ken Conklin demonstrate, along with the near unanimous support of all of Hawaii's elected politicians, that federal recognition of Hawaiians is fair and just and should be passed by Congress.

Boyd Mossman
Wailuku
** Ken Conklin's note: Mossman is a trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the chief backer of the Akaka bill, spending millions of dollars of state government money on lobbying and advertising.

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http://www.mauinews.com/story.aspx?id=32859
The Maui News, Friday August 3, 2007
LETTERS TO EDITOR

Civil rights committee members oppose Hawaiian programs In his July 16 Letter “New civil rights panel accurately reflects deeply divided Hawaii,” Ken Conklin of Oahu repeats a familiar diatribe about ethnic Hawaiians.

Mr. Conklin is an admitted “Hawaiian hater” and has the record to prove it. He and his cronies find pleasure in taking away the entitlements from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and from Kamehameha Schools while opposing the Akaka Bill.

It is really hila hila, or shameful, how a small group of people cannot realize that it's a privilege to live in Hawaii and to at least know the history of how the kanaka maoli, Hawaiian people, make up only 20 percent of the entire population, yet endure 80 percent of the social ills in Hawaii.

Mr. Conklin should be happy that Hawaiians are not violent people and part of our culture is sharing. I know he has taken a course in Hawaiian language, but without the manao – deep spiritual feelings – the olelo, or language, means nothing.

I was the former chair of the Hawaii U.S. Civil Rights Advisory Council to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and we had a balanced representation from all ethnic groups and persuasions. The new committee, which is tainted with people like Conklin and William Burgess, is set up to battle Hawaiian entitlements and the Akaka Bill. We can, of course, thank President Bush and his administration for the intentionally “stacking” of the new Hawaii SAC.

Ku'e.

Charles K. Maxwell Sr.
Pukalani

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/08/05/editorial/commentary3.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Sunday August 5, 2007
COMMENTARY

New commission membership stacked against Hawaiians and civil rights

by David M. Forman

RECENT actions by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights have created controversy both in the media and throughout the civil rights community. Fair-minded people who care about these issues should be concerned. The announcement of a new Hawaii State Advisory Committee (HISAC) that is apparently stacked against the Akaka Bill is just one part of a broader attack on Hawaiians and civil rights by the new commission majority.

Paul Sullivan's commentary "Civil rights commission should reflect Hawaii's diverse views" (Star-Bulletin, July 29) begs for a response. Sullivan uses a quote from the May 2006 General Accountability Office report in a manner that obscures the government's principal findings. For example, the report's first page states that "the commission's policies do not require that commission reports, briefings, or hearings incorporate balanced, varied and contrasting perspectives in order to ensure objectivity."

The GAO also notes that the commission initiated significant changes in the criteria for membership in state advisory committees (SACs), then "chose to cancel pending applications for renewal until members could be chosen ... (who) reflect the new membership criteria." What did the new commission majority find offensive? Regulatory language requiring that membership in the SACs "shall be reflective of the different ethnic, racial and religious communities within each state, and the membership shall also be representative with respect to sex, political affiliation, age and disability status."

SOUND pretty innocuous? It should. This simple language reflects the underlying purpose of our civil rights laws: ending historical exclusion of nonwhites, ethnic and religious minorities, women and people with disabilities from full participation and equal treatment. Membership of government boards, commissions and committees are commonly balanced by party affiliation. So where's the beef?

The new commission majority pointed to a 1990 administrative instruction that purportedly established a quota on minority membership. (The "quota" straw man is a favored tactic of those who share the new commission majority's agenda, seeking to roll back years of progress by attacking civil rights laws.) However, the regional offices that prepare SAC re-chartering packages explained that the 1990 policy had been ignored for more than a decade. The commission could have simply rejected the already abandoned policy, but instead took the opportunity to push its own agenda.

LIKE THE Bush administration (and the Reagan administration), that agenda includes revamping justice agencies in the commission's own image. The "balance" currently reflected by its eight members includes four Republicans, two Democrats and two Independents. One of the Independents received a prior appointment to the commission as a Republican, and currently serves as its vice chairwoman. The other Independent was a leader of the anti-affirmative action ballot measure in California known as Proposition 209, and is a regular contributor to a Web log called "The Right Coast." This context helps explain the commission's 6-2 vote to approve the new HISAC.

ANOTHER GAO finding states that "although the state advisory committees are considered the 'eyes and ears' of the commission, it has not incorporated the role or work of the committees into its strategic planning and decision-making processes." This has not simply been a matter of benign neglect. This new commission majority has historically paid attention to its "eyes and ears" only when they see and hear what the commission wants to be told.

The commission planned and held its January 2006 Akaka Bill briefing without seeking or obtaining input from the HISAC, whose charter later expired in November 2006. The commission timed its May 2006 Briefing Report for greatest negative impact on the U.S. Senate cloture vote concerning the Akaka Bill. The report relies upon "majority" opposition from a total of just 16 public comments it received. By comparison, HISAC's June 2001 "Reconciliation at a Crossroads" report -- to which the commission made only a passing reference -- drew upon comments from 87 people, even though the commission rejected HISAC's request for statewide hearings or teleconferencing.

In March 2006, HISAC held a forum on "Civil Rights Issues in Hawaii" to address a variety of problems facing our state. Participation was limited to a handful of people, because hardly anyone heard about the event. Why not? After imposing a new requirement that SACs must obtain prior approval for press releases, the commission failed to respond to our timely request for authorization to issue a press release. Cheaper than buying blinders and earplugs for itself, I guess.

FOLLOWING the Star-Bulletin's May 2 article naming Sullivan as a candidate hand-picked by the commission's staff director, I telephoned Paul and shared with him some comments not reported in that article. I explained that my criticisms -- which appear to be in line with those expressed in the Star-Bulletin's July 17 editorial -- were based upon my personal experiences "working with" (and I use that phrase loosely) the new commission majority and its staff director.

Despite our long-standing differences on issues affecting Hawaiians, I expressed to Paul my hope that he would be able to work with the commission more effectively to advance the cause of civil rights in Hawaii generally. Since Paul and I are both Harvard Club of Hawaii members, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that his comments concerning the "open-mindedness and intellectual integrity of the committee's membership" were not intended to defame former HISAC members or cast aspersions upon prior HISAC reports.

Unfortunately, based on the framing and spin reflected in Sullivan's July 29 commentary, it appears that the concerns voiced by the Star-Bulletin are more than justified. The commission's own actions reveal that it is less concerned with diversity and balance than it is with promoting an agenda that seeks to roll back our nation's reluctant progress on civil rights issues.

David M. Forman is the past chairman of the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law.

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The August 2007 edition of the monthly OHA newspaper, "Ka Wai Ola" can be downloaded in its 20-page entirety as a 6.8 Megabyte download in pdf format at
http://www.oha.org/pdf/kwo07/KWO0708.pdf
On page 13 there was an editorial by Haunani Apoliona, chairperson. Here is that editorial in its entirety.

Rights on the ropes

Haunani Apoliona, MSW
Chairperson, Trustee, At-large

Is the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights directing a predetermined, biased political agenda to dismantle civil rights?

On July 13, 2007, the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) voted 6-2 to re-charter the Hawai‘i State Advisory Committee (HISAC) to the USCCR. We applaud HISAC members of good intent who have stepped up to protect civil rights in Hawai‘i.

The 2007 HISAC members are: Amefil R. Agbayani, Robert A Alm, Kheng See Ang, H. William Burgess, Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten, Jennifer Benck, Vernon F.L. Char, Linda Colburn, Michelle Nalani Fujimori, Rubellite K. Johnson, James I. Kuroiwa, Michael A. Lilly, Thomas J. Macdonald, Kealoha K. Pisciotta, Paul M. Sullivan, Wayne M. Tanna, Jackie Young.

Fujimori, Pisciotta and Young are returning members, and Lilly was nominated as chair.

Maka‘ala käkou. [Let's be vigilant] Past experience with the USCCR now signals the stage being set for a majority in HISAC, and likely other state advisory committees, to promote a predetermined, biased political agenda to undermine and dismantle, rather than protect, selected civil rights. Several vocal and published opponents of Hawaiian Recognition have been appointed to HISAC, yet vocal supporters were left off.

Bias against the Hawaiian Recognition bill surrounded the January 20, 2006 USCCR briefing on the bill. The USCCR media advisory filed for the 2006 briefing, read: “USCCR TO EXAMINE NATIVE HAWAIIAN GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION ACT.” During the briefing, the proposed legislation was described by its critics as “racial balkanization,” a mischaracterization of the bill that has become a slogan of the bill's most right-wing opponents. Actual purpose language in the proposed Akaka Bill was ignored. The facts were disregarded. In an April 5, 2006 letter to USCCR, OHA registered concerns about the USCCR 2006 bill briefing process. The published briefing report was flawed, and yet Republican senators quoted it.

In this round of appointments, USCCR Staff Director Marcus, when questioned, replied at the July 13, 2007 meeting that none of the OHA referrals who submitted applications were recommended by him to serve on HISAC.

USCCR mission

The USCCR website describes a six point USCCR mission. One point of the mission is to investigate complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their right to vote by reason of their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin or by reason of fraudulent practices. The mission also calls for the USCCR to study and collect information relating to discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution, and to appraise federal laws and policies with respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin or in the administration of justice.

State advisory committees

The USCCR has 51 state advisory committees, one for each state and the District of Columbia. Each is composed of citizens familiar with local and state civil rights issues. The committees assist the USCCR with fact finding, investigative and information dissemination.

Watch carefully, as majority members presently attempt to use HISAC as a tool against Hawaiian recognition and as a tool to dismantle other civil rights and related resources, such as the U.S. Census data collection and reporting. Four concerns will be tracked:

1. Will the USCCR provide the public with the specific selection criteria and procedures used to recommend HISAC members for USCCR approval?

2. Will the USCCR document how HISAC selection criteria and procedures are not biased, and were the same selection criteria and procedures applied to each state advisory committee re-chartered in 2006 and 2007?

3. Can the USCCR demonstrate that HISAC's composition reflects the people of Hawai‘i?

4. Will future HISAC and USCCR agenda, actions and outcomes consistently document efforts to protect and promote all civil rights and related programs?

Our civil rights, our native rights and the resources utilized to promote, enforce and preserve them are critical to all of us. Be informed and active in protecting all our civil rights, visit www.usccr.gov and attend HISAC meetings. 33/48

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http://thefederalregister.com/d.p/2007-08-08-07-3885
The Federal Register, August 8, 2007
Official notice of public hearing of the Hawaii Advisory Committee on August 20, 2007

COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
NOTICE: NOTICES

ACTION: Meetings; State advisory committees:

SUBJECT CATEGORY: Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee

DOCUMENT SUMMARY:

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the regulations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), that a meeting of the Hawaii Advisory Committee will convene at 1 p.m. and adjourn at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 20, 2007 in the auditorium of the Hawaii state capitol located at 415 S. Beretania St. in Honolulu, Hawaii. The purpose of the briefing is to hear from experts about the proposed Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, Akaka bill, which seeks to establish a process for Native Hawaiians to gain federal recognition. There will be an open session for members of the public to make short statements to the Committee.

Members of the public are entitled to submit written comments; the comments must be received in the Western Regional Office by September 1, 2007. The address is 300 North Los Angeles Street, Suite 2010, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Persons wishing to email their comments, or to present their comments verbally at the meeting, or who desire additional information should contact Barbara de La Viez, Civil Rights Analyst, Eastern Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at (202) 3767533 [TDY] 2023768116], or by email at
bdelaviez@usccr.gov.

Hearing impaired persons who will attend the meeting and require the services of a sign language interpreter should contact the Eastern Regional Office at least ten (10) working days before the scheduled date of the planning meeting.

Records generated from this meeting may be inspected and reproduced at the Western Regional Office, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this advisory committee are advised to go to the Commission's Web site,

http://www.usccr.gov,
or to contact the Eastern Regional Office at the above email or street address.

The meeting will be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the Commission and FACA.

Dated at Washington, DC, August 3, 2007.
Ivy L. Davis,
Acting Chief, Regional Programs Coordination Unit.
[FR Doc. 073885 Filed 8707; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 633501M

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070816/NEWS03/708160310/1007/NEWS03
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, August 16, 2007

U.S. Agency will hold public hearings on Akaka bill

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer

A Hawai'i advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold several public briefings on a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill, which may lead the committee to decide whether to continue to endorse the bill.

The commission's staff in Washington, D.C., directed the advisory committee to hold the briefings because it wanted local input on the bill, which would recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with the right to self-government. Members of the advisory committee voted yesterday at its first meeting — a conference call with Washington — to schedule the briefings.

The commission has opposed the bill, arguing it would discriminate based on race, but the advisory committee — the commission's local "eyes and ears" — has supported it in the past. The makeup of the 17-member advisory committee shifted with the appointment of 14 new members in July, including several conservatives who oppose the measure, known as the Akaka bill for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i.

Michael Lilly, a former state attorney general and the committee's chairman, said it would be up to the committee whether to take a new vote on the Akaka bill but said he would prefer waiting until at least October, after members have had a chance to digest what they have heard in the briefings. "This is going to be the committee's ultimate decision what it wants to do — if anything," Lilly said. "It may choose to do nothing."

H. William Burgess, an attorney on the advisory committee who has opposed the Akaka bill, said the committee should eventually take a new vote. The Akaka bill has been pending in Congress since 2000 and could come up again before the U.S. Senate by the end of the year. "I would think the committee should take a position on the Akaka bill one way or another," Burgess said. "My feeling is it's the most important civil rights issue now facing Hawai'i."

Some members of the advisory committee said the briefing schedule was rushed and question why the commission's staff in Washington wants immediate local input on the Akaka bill when the commission has already publicly opposed the bill. Some believe the commission is trying to engineer a local vote against the bill before it comes back before Congress.

Two committee members who support the Akaka bill, Robbie Alm, senior vice president of public affairs for Hawaiian Electric Co., and Amy Agbayani, director of the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity program at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, wrote a letter to Lilly this month saying they were disappointed the committee's agenda had apparently been set without a full discussion among its members. "We do not understand why this process is being rushed," Alm and Agbayani wrote.

Lilly said yesterday's agenda item on the Akaka bill was directed by the commission's staff in Washington but said the advisory committee, now that it has had its first meeting, would decide how to proceed in the future. He noted the committee voted overwhelmingly yesterday to adopt the briefing schedule. "They wanted input, for the commission, on the Akaka bill," Lilly said of the Washington staff. He said he wanted to assure committee members "that we were not going to rush any final decision, at all."

The briefings start Monday afternoon at the state Capitol with a presentation by state Attorney General Mark Bennett, an Akaka bill supporter, and Roger Clegg, president and general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity in Virginia, who has lobbied against the bill. Other briefings are planned for Maui on Wednesday, Kaua'i on Sept. 7 and the Big Island on Sept. 10. The advisory committee and some commissioners and Washington staff also have scheduled an orientation meeting and Akaka bill briefing for Sept. 5 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/08/19/news/story02.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 19, 2007

New panel to hear revised Akaka Bill

STORY SUMMARY »
The Hawaii advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold its first public hearing tomorrow on the "Akaka Bill" since new members, some of whom are critics of the measure, were appointed to the board. Some committee members objected to the short notice before the hearing. U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka's bill would recognize native Hawaiians status as an indigenous people and establish a process for official U.S. recognition of a native Hawaiian representative body. Opponents say the bill is racially discriminatory. The committee will discuss changes made to the bill in an attempt to meet objections from the Justice Department and the White House.

FULL STORY »

By Alexandre Da Silva

Some members of Hawaii's advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are raising concerns about their first public hearing tomorrow to debate a bill to federally recognize native Hawaiians, claiming its scheduling was rushed and the agenda set without consultation.

At least three of the committee's 17 newly elected members sent letters to Chairman Michael Lilly complaining that the meeting was "suddenly" arranged by the commission's staff in Washington, D.C. A public hearing notice was posted in the Federal Register on Aug. 8.

"This seems highly unusual and does not follow the open, transparent process that needs to be in place," wrote member Jackie Young. "It appears that the process has turned into one that is dictated by the bureaucracy in Washington regardless of local community input."

Member Robert Alm, senior vice president for public affairs at Hawaiian Electric Co., said he will miss the meeting because of the short notice.

"Is there some kind of rush to judgment here? Is there going to be an attempt to have a bunch of meetings in August and say, 'OK, we checked with the public already, let's vote?' " he asked. "That's not OK. The public needs time to be notified."

The hearing on the so-called Akaka Bill, named after Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, comes six years after the state committee -- which helps the national commission analyze local civil rights cases -- issued a 56-page report urging the federal government to "accelerate" passage of the measure. The commission, however, denounced the bill last year as being racially discriminatory, a reference used by the Bush administration to reject the legislation.

William Burgess, a staunch Akaka Bill opponent recently appointed to the committee, said tomorrow's meeting is timely because people need to debate changes made to the bill's language since its introduction seven years ago. "It was a little bit rushed," he said. "But I don't think it is a rush considering the importance of the bill."

He noted other public hearings are set for Wednesday on Maui, Sept. 7 on Kauai and Sept. 10 on the Big Island. Panelists at tomorrow's meeting, at 1 p.m. at the state Capitol auditorium, include state Attorney General Mark Bennett, who will back the bill, and Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Sterling, Va., who argues the bill is unconstitutional and race-based.

The meetings on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act come as supporters fear that Burgess and other critics of the bill now sitting on the Hawaii committee may push for a new report that could negatively influence Congress.

"The public perception of the committee being stacked now is a very real concern," said David Forman, outgoing chairman of the committee.

The appointments of attorneys Burgess and Paul Sullivan, as well as James Kuroiwa Jr., who joined taxpayers in a lawsuit challenging state funding of Hawaiian programs, were made to make the committee diverse, said Kenneth Marcus, staff director of the commission.

Marcus, a Bush appointee, said he has tried since 2004 to add balance to local civil rights committees all across the country that have been considered too liberal, a move that has created some controversy in Washington. In April, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he was concerned about allegations that nominations to advisory committees in his home state of Michigan and in Virginia were done without proper consultation by Marcus.

"This has led to some controversy by people who don't want a change in this area. We've had criticism by some, and others have been pleased by it," Marcus said. "I would have concerns if everyone felt the same way about important civil rights issues and I'm pleased we have individuals across the spectrum."

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070819/OPINION01/708190302/1105/OPINION01
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 19, 2007
EDITORIAL

Civil rights panel's politics color Akaka bill hearing

It has taken decades for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to earn its well-respected legacy — and now the agenda of one administration threatens to topple that. The agency is being used by the government to advance conservative ideas about civil rights, including a rollback of affirmative action. That national drive is playing out this week in Hawai'i in hearings over the Native Hawaiian federal recognition legislation.

The commission itself is a small federal agency, but one that has had a powerful influence on national policies concerning fair treatment of people who may have been marginalized because of their minority status. Most often, its work has aimed to protect citizens facing institutional racism, but it also has dealt with issues of rights for indigenous people.

It is assisted in this mission at the local level by state advisory committees. And in Hawai'i, this state panel has given official support to the idea of federal recognition for Hawaiians one of its centerpiece issues. The idea since has taken shape as the Akaka bill, named for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Despite that longstanding position of its advisory panel, the national Commission on Civil Rights last year took a stand against the Akaka bill, one that was timed strategically to deter what was then a Republican majority from allowing the bill to progress.

That strategy continues.

Under the Bush administration, the commission has opted to reorganize the state advisory committees resulting in term limits for committee members, a maneuver that turned over many positions. The Western region of state committees had about 130 members, and under the new plan 78 of them termed out.

Hawai'i saw 14 new members appointed to its 17-member panel, including several members who have a clear agenda and are almost certain to tilt future votes against the Akaka bill. Among them are outspoken opponents such as lawyer H. William Burgess, who has represented groups challenging Hawaiian-only government programs, and Paul Sullivan, an attorney who has written against federal recognition.

Tomorrow, this newly constituted panel is convening the first of a series of community hearings (see box). The panel's first meeting, as well as this week's hearings, were rushed onto the calendar, and there seemed no truly urgent reason to give public notice such short shrift. The hearing could have been held later to afford more public comment and a wider spectrum of views. Isn't that the intent?

On the national level, other state committees are being stacked with members who vocally oppose affirmative action. It's expected to see the political bent of government agencies change to mesh politically with the sitting administration. What's disturbing about the revolution at Civil Rights is that the state committees are meant to be formed closer to the grass-roots level. Increasingly, these state panels have been directed from Washington, said a former official.

John Dulles, a former regional director and a civil rights analyst who recently retired from the agency, said many of the nominees to the committees have originated with the commission's administration, rather than from the grass roots as had been the case in previous administrations.

"I do not think the beltway in D.C. should be driving the agenda in civil rights," Dulles said. "This was driven by a very narrow specific objective and that was to abort the Akaka bill."

Nationally, the handling of the state panels has been cited in a critical report by the Government Accountability Office. And U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has written a letter criticizing a failure to achieve "fairly balanced membership" on the committees. Surely, this demands some oversight by leaders on Capitol Hill.

Back at home, Hawai'i residents should be encouraged to speak out at the hearing, but to be aware of the context. Regardless of one's position on the Akaka bill, while witnessing political theater it's essential to know who is running the show.

GET INVOLVED

A forum on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization and Recognition Act (Akaka bill) is set for 1 p.m. tomorrow at the State Capitol Auditorium.

After informational briefings there will be time allotted for public comments. E-mail or call to reserve a spot for verbal comment: Barbara de la Viez, (202) 376-7533, bdelaviez@usccr.gov.

A second forum has been set for 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Maui Community College science building. To reserve a spot for comment: Angelica Trevino, (213) 894-3437, atrevino@usccr.gov.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070821/NEWS21/708210339/1171/NEWS21
Honolulu Advertiser, Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Civil Rights panel's push for briefings disputed

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Government Writer

The chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said yesterday the commission has no plans to reconsider its opposition to a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill before the bill is expected to come before Congress later this year.

Gerald Reynolds, a Kansas City, Mo., attorney appointed to the commission by President Bush, also said the commission and its staff is not attempting to dictate the agenda of its Hawai'i advisory committee, which began a series of public briefings on the bill yesterday afternoon at the state Capitol.

The commission's staff in Washington, D.C., had urged the Hawai'i advisory committee to schedule the public briefings, and had contacted expert panelists and set in motion the public notice requirements, before committee members had agreed. The committee adopted the briefing schedule during a conference call with the commission's staff in Washington, D.C., last Wednesday, although a few committee members complained the process was rushed.

"The commission has no business directing any (state advisory committee) to do anything. We can have conversations. We can make recommendations. But we cannot dictate anything," said Reynolds, who traveled to the Islands in part to answer criticism about the commission's role in setting the committee's agenda.

Complaints about the process arose again yesterday, with several people asking about the need for public briefings in Hawai'i when the commission has no plans to reconsider its opposition. The Hawai'i advisory committee has supported the bill, known as the Akaka bill for its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, but several new members were appointed in July who share the commission's belief that it is unconstitutional because it is based on race.

'ITS OWN AGENDA'

Some Akaka bill supporters believe the briefings are being staged in the hopes the committee will take a new vote and oppose the bill, which could be used by the commission and Republicans in Congress to help block its passage.

The state's congressional delegation — Akaka, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, all Democrats — wrote a letter to the commission last week describing the briefings as "highly irregular and counter-productive."

"It would almost appear that the commission has its own agenda and its own timetable, that it considers more important than ensuring that the (Hawai'i advisory committee) members are properly prepared and available to perform their important functions," the delegation wrote.

Reynolds said the briefings would give new members on the committee the opportunity to hear arguments for and against the bill. He said state advisory committees across the country have been reconfigured through term limits and now reflect more balanced viewpoints. The Hawai'i advisory committee had been strongly in favor of the Akaka bill, but many suspect a new vote would be close.

ABOUT THE BILL

The Akaka bill would recognize Native Hawaiians as indigenous people with the right to self-government, similar to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The bill, which has been before Congress since 2000, would create a process for Hawaiians to potentially have more authority over land and cultural decisions.

Gov. Linda Lingle, the congressional delegation, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and much of the state's political establishment is in favor of the bill, but many conservatives oppose it as unconstitutional because it classifies people based on race. Some Native Hawaiians who want more independence — and those who want the restoration of the Hawaiian kingdom — oppose the bill as capitulation.

Most of the 17 members of the advisory committee have already taken a position on the bill, so the briefings may have the most influence on the few who say they are undecided.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett, a supporter, and Roger Clegg, of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Virginia, an opponent, spoke yesterday. Bennett argued that federal recognition is political, not racial, and is up to Congress to decide. Clegg countered it would give Hawaiians preferential treatment based solely on their race.

Public briefings are planned for tomorrow on Maui, Sept. 7 on Kaua'i, Sept. 10 on the Big Island and a newly scheduled Sept. 12 meeting on O'ahu. An orientation and briefing for the committee is also set for Sept. 5 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

"It's very important to educate the public," said Michael Lilly, a former state attorney general and the committee's chairman, who wanted the additional briefing. "Second, it's also to educate the panel. I've learned a lot, even as a lawyer."

Vernon Char, a committee member who is undecided, said he has thought about the Akaka bill over the years but has never been forced to take sides. "I want to listen to all of the testimony that is proffered before making a commitment," he said.

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http://forums.honoluluadvertiser.com/viewtopic.php?t=2961
Honolulu Advertiser, August 21, 2007
Article discussion forum

The Advertiser's own Derrick DePledge wrote

"The Hawai'i advisory committee had been strongly in favor of the Akaka bill, but many suspect a new vote would be close."

Say what? Good golly; this is amazing!

So how come ALL the newspapers and TV stations were saying the newly reconstituted committee was "stacked"? All the media were using that same word "stacked", no doubt copied from an OHA propaganda talking-points memo.

But now the Advertiser's very own Derrick DePledge confesses the old committee is the one that was truly stacked in favor of the bill, while the new committee is so closely divided nobody knows how it will vote.

Let's see the DePledge quote again. And where was DePledge when the Advertiser kept repeating the mantra that the new committee was "stacked" against the bill?

"The Hawai'i advisory committee had been strongly in favor of the Akaka bill, but many suspect a new vote would be close."

Looks like Advertiser should listen to its own reporters instead of parroting whatever propaganda OHA hands them.

Want to see how terribly stacked the old committee was? Read
"Hawaii Advisory Committee to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights -- New members appointed July 13, 2007; Its history of supporting racial supremacy 1996-2006" at
http://tinyurl.com/2f2ynf

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

http://starbulletin.com/2007/08/21/news/story02.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 21, 2007

D.C. team slams civil rights panel
Hawaii's delegates to Congress decry the composition of the advisory committee

By Richard Borreca

Hawaii's four-person congressional delegation is joining a growing protest over the composition of a Republican-appointed federal committee for Hawaii on civil rights.

The committee held a public briefing at the state Capitol auditorium yesterday on the so-called Akaka Bill, a bill in Congress to recognize a native Hawaiian governmental entity.

The bill has been stalled by Republican opponents in the U.S. Senate.

Yesterday, supporters of the bill made public a letter from the congressional delegation to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, protesting the composition of the Hawaii committee, which includes several vocal opponents of the Akaka Bill.

"It would almost appear that the commission has its own agenda and its own timetable," the congressional delegation wrote.

No members of the Hawaii congressional delegation appeared at yesterday's hearing.

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has misused its powers by stacking the local committee with opponents to the native Hawaiian recognition bill.

In the public briefing, Apoliona said she "was appalled" by the number of people against the Hawaiian recognition bill on the committee.

Nine of the 17 members are on record as opposing the so-called Akaka Bill, Apoliona said.

The federal commission is shaping the local committee "to further promote a biased agenda against the aboriginal, indigenous, native people of Hawaii by aiding and abetting litigants who seek to end native Hawaiian programs," Apoliona said to a crowd of about 250.

One of the newly appointed members of the commission is William Burgess, a private attorney who, along with his wife, has sued the state and OHA, saying they had been denied equal benefits because of programs for native Hawaiians.

Burgess said his views are well known, and he thinks it helps the commission to have people with different views.

"She seems to be saying she doesn't like people who disagree with her to be on the commission," Burgess said of Apoliona. "We are not by any means stacked. There are 17 members, and some feel they have a different point of view."

Asked whether he thought he was put on the committee because of his view against the Akaka Bill, Burgess said, "Probably."

"I testified before them, so I assume it would have something to do with it," he said.

Committee Chairman Mike Lilly, former Hawaii attorney general, said the committee would have another hearing on Oahu on Sept. 12.

He added that he was not sure the committee would offer up a position on the Akaka Bill, but said that any decisions made by the Hawaii committee members would not be a mandate to the federal Civil Rights Commission.

The previous local committee, which had more Democrats on it, had supported the Akaka Bill, although the federal commission opposed it last year.

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

http://www.thehawaiichannel.com/news/13942223/detail.html?rss=hon&psp=news
KITV 4 News

Hawaiians Say Bush Administration Sabotaging Akaka Bill

Groups Angered With Opponents To Hawaiian Rights Appointed To Committee

POSTED: 9:25 am HST August 21, 2007
UPDATED: 10:28 am HST August 21, 2007

HONOLULU -- Native Hawaiian leaders on Monday accused President George W. Bush's administration of trying to sabotage the Hawaiian Recognition Bill, or Akaka Bill.

The criticism focuses on appointment of several outspoken opponents of Hawaiian rights to a committee on civil rights. "I must say I am appalled," Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said.

She said the new civil rights advisory committee has been stacked against Native Hawaiians, with a majority now hostile to all Hawaiian programs. "(It raises the) specter of questionable and biased Washington D.C.-based control over our Hawaii advisory committee," Apoliona said.

The new panel includes the attorney and allies who fought Hawaiian programs in court and on Monday challenged Hawaiian recognition.

The man who oversaw the appointments, the chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, said that until now the committee was biased toward Hawaiian rights.

"It's important that there is vigorous debate and that all views in Hawaii are represented. That was not the case in the past, but we have that now," U.S. Civil Rights Commission Chairman Gerald Reynolds said.

The panel has no real power, but if it were to vote against the Akaka Bill, that would provide ammunition against the bill in Congress.

Even though he opposes the Akaka Bill, the civil rights chairman denied stacking the committee's votes.

If the committee turns against the bill, it will first have to hear from many of its supporters.

The committee will travel to Maui and return for its last hearing on Oahu on Sept. 12.

** Next to the "news report" on the TV station's website was a poll. Here are the results as of 8 AM Hawaii time the following morning, Wednesday August 22:

Do you support the Native Hawaiian Recognition Act, also called the Akaka Bill, before Congress?

Choice Votes Percentage of 947 Votes
Yes 335 35%
No 612 65%

** The 65% opposing the Akaka bill in the KITV poll is nearly identical with the 67% opposition recorded in both 2005 and 2006 on a telephone survey that called every Hawaii household having a publicly listed phone number (In 2006 there were about 20,000 households who answered the phone survey)

** Needless to say, the TV station chose NOT to report its own poll results in its TV newscasts.

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

http://starbulletin.com/2007/08/22/editorial/editorial01.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 22, 2007, EDITORIAL

OUR OPINION

Civil rights panels are constructed to oppose sovereignty

THE ISSUE
The U.S. Civil Rights Commission's Hawaii advisory committee has begun hearing testimony on proposed Hawaiian sovereignty.

ADVOCATES of Hawaiian sovereignty understandably are concerned about a revamping of a federal advisory committee for Hawaii on civil rights. The newly constructed committee, which heard testimony this week, is likely to oppose the Akaka Bill, as the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights did last year. Members of Congress should fully understand that the commission now is in lockstep with President Bush, who has indicated his opposition to the bill. Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, says nine of the 17 members of the Hawaii advisory committee are on record as opposing the Akaka Bill. The state's congressional delegation has protested the committee's composition in a letter to the commission. Prior to its reconstruction, the advisory committee endorsed the Akaka Bill in 2001.

Three years ago, after longtime commission chairwoman Mary Frances Berry, who is black, and liberal vice-chairman Cruz Reynoso, a Latino, stepped down, Bush appointed black conservative Republicans Gerald A. Reynolds and Ashley L. Taylor to replace them. The commission changed from a 5-3 liberal majority to the present 6-2 conservative majority.

Reynolds, who attended this week's committee hearing, has been a critic of preferences for minorities and voted against endorsement of the Akaka Bill. In recent years, the commission has moved to reconstruct the state advisory committees to reflect that change of ideology.

When told that the vast majority of Hawaii residents indicated support of the Akaka Bill in a reliable poll two years ago, Reynolds told the Star-Bulletin's editorial board that the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the Supreme Court in 1954 may not have reflected public opinion but nevertheless was correct. Reynolds said he believes the Akaka Bill is unconstitutional.

Newly appointed to the Hawaii committee are H. William Burgess, plaintiff's attorney in a lawsuit challenging the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, plaintiff James Kuroiwa Jr. and lawyer Paul Sullivan, who has called the Akaka Bill "morally, politically and socially wrong."

The new chairman of the Hawaii committee is Michael Lilly, state attorney general under former Gov. George Ariyoshi. Lilly has not stated his opinion of the Akaka Bill. Among the allegations against Lilly during his failed Senate confirmation in 1985 was an accusation by the late David Schutter that Lilly was a "racist." Schutter then was a law partner of future Gov. Ben Cayetano, who as a state senator was among those who led the effort to reject Lilly's confirmation.

Lilly denied being a racist but conceded that he should not have written a limerick in 1979 that was interpreted as derogatory toward a native Hawaiian defendant, Kenneth Lono, who was contesting his transfer to a mainland prison. The poem said Lono "got sent back to Hawaii, so now he can eat his fish and poi."

The committee charged with evaluating Hawaiian sovereignty requires a chairman who has learned from past indiscretion.

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/08/23/news/briefs.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 23, 2007
Newswatch

Lingle vows Akaka Bill support

Gov. Linda Lingle says a federal commission's recommendation on the native Hawaiian recognition bill will have no bearing on her administration's efforts to win support for the legislation in Congress.

"Whether they will be fair or not remains to be seen, but it's irrelevant as far as our efforts in Washington," Lingle said yesterday. "They will continue as enthusiastically as they have been."

Lingle was responding to concerns raised by Hawaii's congressional delegation, among others, over the composition of Hawaii's advisory panel to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which held a hearing on the so-called Akaka Bill this week.

Critics say the Republican-appointed committee is stacked with opponents of the measure.

Lingle, a staunch supporter of the Akaka Bill, which would recognize a native Hawaiian governing entity, repeated her support yesterday in a speech to the Sixth Annual Native Hawaiian Convention.

"This commission will do what it will do. We don't control that," she said. "I wanted them to know we won't stop in our efforts. We believe it's the right thing for the Hawaiian people and for the state of Hawaii, and we'll continue to make our case."

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http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Aug/23/op/hawaii708230301.html
Honolulu Advertiser, August 23, 2007
Commentary

Panel backtracking from original mission

By David M. Forman

Recent news coverage regarding the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has only begun to scratch the surface.

On Aug. 15, HISAC held a planning meeting at the direction of the commission's Washington, D.C., staff. The meeting was announced in the Federal Register on Aug. 8 under an "exceptional circumstances" provision that allows for publication of formal notice with less than 15 days' notice to the public. In my past experience as a HISAC member from 1995 to 2006, such notices were typically issued with approximately 30 days' notice.

The commission's sudden desire to hear from its newly stacked committee concerning the Akaka bill belies its obstinate refusal to consult with prior HISAC members in 2005 and 2006. The commission failed to consult with the Hawai'i advisory committee regarding its plans or the briefing itself, notwithstanding the committee's publication of reports during each of the last three decades on civil rights issues affecting Native Hawaiians.

The commission's 2006 report was timed for greatest adverse impact on an upcoming cloture vote by the U.S. Senate, which otherwise could have paved the way for passage of the Akaka bill. The rush to action appears to be based on the misimpression that Congress is once again poised to act on the Akaka bill, even though The Advertiser previously reported that congressional action is not expected until the end of the year at the earliest.

To my knowledge, HISAC has never operated at the direction of the commission's staff, nor am I aware of any other state advisory committees that are run this way (at least not willingly). In its first meeting conducted by conference call Aug. 15, some HISAC members objected to voting for an agenda without adequate notice or discussion of the issues, but their voices were silenced by the majority. I am aware of no such action taking place in the past without first providing new HISAC members with an orientation about applicable regulations and administrative policies.

HISAC members "voted overwhelmingly" in support of a motion/second by two Akaka bill opponents to approve the two briefings held recently on O'ahu and Maui. The agenda for the O'ahu meeting had already been published by the commission in the Federal Register, before the HISAC members had even convened their initial meeting.

Indeed, one returning HISAC member suggested that the O'ahu meeting be moved up an hour so working people could attend. However, that reasonable recommendation was rejected simply because the schedule had already been announced.

A courageous new appointee abstained from the vote based on the lack of participation by committee members in the original determination of this project and because of other concerns about due process. One of the returning HISAC members noted that it "sounds like the train has left the station," and lamented the fact that committee members as a whole were not provided with more detailed information about anticipated action items in advance of the meeting.

Based on the discussion during this week's conference call, it appears to this observer that the current HISAC chairman is operating based upon misinformation provided by the commission's staff director and/or others. The sudden desire to spend significant amounts of money to fly commission staff out to Hawai'i is also curious, not to mention the attendance of some commissioners and a representative of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity; it's still unclear whether taxpayers will be picking up the tab.

It is interesting to note that the new commission majority would not even issue a press release concerning the prior HISAC's March 2006 public briefing on "Civil Rights Issues in Hawai'i." The absence of any discussion by the newly constituted HISAC about the important presentations provided during this briefing is equally shocking.

Only now that the commission appears to have stacked the committee with members who are actively opposed to Native Hawaiians programs, does it appear willing to spend the money and listen to the committee.

As a former HISAC chairman, it is both sad and frustrating to witness the commission's efforts to backtrack from the agency's original mission. The philosophical approach embraced by the new commission majority ignores the underlying purpose of our civil rights laws: ending historical exclusion of non-whites, ethnic and religious minorities, women and persons with disabilities from full participation and equal treatment.

If we lose this fight on behalf of Native Hawaiians, whom will the commission take on next?

David M. Forman is immediate past chairman and member of the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee. He wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.

** NOTE: On September 4 the new chairman of the reconstituted committee, Michael Lilly, published a letter to editor in reply.

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/08/25/editorial/letters.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 25, 2007

Editorial focused on people, not issues

Your editorial on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Aug. 22) raises more questions than it answers.

Should readers understand that you favor appointees to the commission who agree with our congressional delegation and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' chairwoman, or should they simply note that you are only concerned about appointees when they appear to disagree with the views of Hawaii's existing political structure?

Your editorial would have done a better service to the public if it had discussed the issues presented at the Tuesday hearing. Instead, you elected to focus on personalities.

It is sad that our print media play the game of pulling down personal reputations instead of building up the information base upon which individuals of reason can consider the implications of the Akaka Bill or any other matter that the commission might discuss in the future.

Paul E. Smith
Honolulu

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

** On Sunday August 26, 2007 the Honolulu Advertiser published excerpts from the testimonies of Robert Bennett and Roger Clegg to the civil rights committee on August 20, including links to their full statements.

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070826/OPINION03/708260330/1110/OPINION03
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 26, 2007

There's broad support for bill that would give Hawaiians due respect

By Mark Bennett

The following is an excerpt from testimony given before the Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission on Aug. 20.

** Full text of the Bennett testimony was offered by Advertiser in an encrypted pdf at
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2007/Aug/26/op/USCRCadvisorycommittee_082007Testimony.pdf

The Akaka bill is fair, equitable, just, constitutional and long overdue. It affords formal federal recognition to Native Hawaiians — a recognition that has been extended for decades to other Native Americans and Alaska Natives. It will have the effect of preserving existing programs for Native Hawaiians, and provides for future negotiations between the United States, the state of Hawai'i, and representatives of Native Hawaiians. These negotiations could, for example, provide for the transfer to a Native Hawaiian governing entity of the assets that are currently held in trust by OHA (the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs), for the benefit of Native Hawaiians.

Contrary to its critics' claims, the Akaka bill does not allow gambling, provide for secession or anything like it, give anyone immunity from civil suits or criminal prosecution, create or recognize land claims, or provide any tax benefits or detriments.

The Akaka bill has strong bipartisan support, including from Gov. Lingle and Lt. Gov. Aiona, almost every state legislator, and our mayors and county councils. It has this support because it is fair and just on every level, as there is no principled or historical reason to treat Native Hawaiians as second-class compared to America's other native peoples.

To those who claim the bill sanctions illegal race-based preferences, I say nonsense, and point first to the 1959 Hawai'i State Admission Act, in which the Congress both prohibited any provision in the Hawai'i Constitution "repugnant to the Constitution of the United States," and required the Hawai'i Constitution to provide specific benefits and protections to Native Hawaiians.

Congress could not, would not and did not condition Hawai'i's entry into the Union on Hawai'i's violating the U.S. Constitution. Nor has the Congress acted unconstitutionally for almost a century in passing more than 100 acts for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. Indeed, never, in the more than two centuries of the republic, has the Supreme Court struck down the recognition of an aboriginal people by the Congress — and it would not do so here.

Those who use legal arguments to attack the bill do so to mask their real goal — eliminating any benefits or recognition for or to any of America's native people, regardless of the wrongs that have been committed against them. And those same individuals are those who have sued (so far unsuccessfully) to terminate all programs that benefit Native Hawaiians. They wish, for example, to end the Hawaiian Homes program, and to end education and health benefits that are specifically directed to Native Hawaiians. We have fought against those attacks and will continue to do so.

Native Hawaiians do not seek special or privileged treatment. Native Hawaiians simply seek a status equal to that of other Native Americans, and that is why I and so many others support the Akaka bill.

Mark Bennett is the state attorney general.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070826/OPINION03/708260331/1110/OPINION03
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bill would violate Constitution, create dangerous division

By Roger Clegg

The following is an excerpt from testimony given before the Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission on Aug. 20.

** Full text of Clegg testimony was provided by Advertiser at
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2007/Aug/26/op/Clegg.html

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, a bill that has been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, is not the easiest 22 pages of prose that you'll ever read, but I think I can boil it down to this:

The bill will use a one-drop rule to define membership in an ethnic group, namely Native Hawaiians, which it will then allow to organize itself into a governmental entity that can claim a "special political and legal relationship" with the U.S. government of "the type and nature (that the U.S. government) ... has with the several federally recognized Indian tribes."

Members in this group will be made separate and distinct from the rest of the people in your state, will be able to claim preferences more easily than other racial and ethnic groups, and will be able to claim special economic and political power and authority in Hawai'i.

I don't like this bill, and the objections to it fall into two basic categories: First, that it is unconstitutional; and, second, that even if it were constitutional, it would be a bad idea.

Let me talk about the constitutional problems first. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment makes it illegal for any state to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment makes it illegal for the federal government to deny equal protection as well. The definition of "equal protection" can be complicated, but one thing that it definitely applies to is treating people differently because of their race or ethnicity.

The Supreme Court, in its 2000 ruling in Rice v. Cayetano, ruled explicitly that Native Hawaiians are an ethnic group, and that it is illegal to give anyone preferential treatment on account of their membership in that group.

Putting this together means that Congress cannot pass a law that gives Native Hawaiians the special right to organize into a separate group that can claim, in turn, still more special rights.

But even if you thought that Congress had the authority to pass this bill, it would still be a bad idea for it to do so.

The United States is a multiracial, multiethnic society. Hawai'i also has this multiracial and multiethnic description, if not more so.

In such a society, it is simply untenable to have a legal regime where some of us are singled out for special treatment.

It would be especially dangerous to pick a large group out of that population, and not only allow them special treatment, but give them a separate government and rights. What could be more divisive than that?

Roger Clegg is president and general counsel for Virginia-based Center for Equal Opportunity.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070829/COLUMNISTS21/708290369/1157/COLUMNISTS21
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, August 29, 2007
VOLCANIC ASH [column with accompanying blog]

Ideological taint mars Akaka bill hearings

By David Shapiro

The reshaped Hawai'i advisory committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights scheduled hearings on the Akaka bill for Hawaiian political recognition in such a hurry that even some members of the panel had trouble making the first briefing.

The Hawai'i hearings were initiated from Washington, where the Bush administration has loaded civil rights enforcement agencies with conservative opponents of affirmative action, and the national commission sent its chairman to Honolulu to bird-dog the proceedings.

If these hearings were a fair-minded attempt to determine the facts and assess local public opinion on the Akaka bill, they could be of much value.

But since that's so obviously not the case, the pre-ordained findings against the Akaka bill that will emerge deserve no weight whatsoever.

Gerald A. Reynolds, chairman of the national civil rights commission, said when he was here for last week's hearing that there's no chance the Washington panel will reverse its opposition to the Akaka bill.

So what legitimate reason could there be for the rush-rush local hearings if no change is possible?

The play seems clear now that the Bush administration has stacked the 17-member local advisory board with a majority of members on record as opposing the Akaka bill: Hurry to reverse the local panel's longstanding support of the Akaka bill — and validate the opposition of the national commission — before Congress possibly takes up the measure later this year.

The four members of Hawai'i's congressional delegation have rightly questioned whether the reconstituted local advisory panel, which now includes active litigants against Hawaiian native rights, fairly represents the diversity of Hawai'i's population or the range of local opinion.

U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono complained in a letter to the commission that the local briefings are "highly irregular and counter-productive."

"It would almost appear that the commission has its own agenda and its own timetable," they said.

The civil rights commission has based its opposition to protecting Native Hawaiian rights on the view that Hawaiians are a racial minority and not an indigenous people like American Indians and Alaskan natives, who enjoy federal political recognition that protects their native assets.

This race-based view is a political choice, not a legal imperative; there is no logical basis for treating Hawaiians differently from other native groups.

If Native Hawaiians were properly recognized as an indigenous people, as the Akaka bill would provide, claims of racial discrimination in Hawaiian programs like the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools would become moot.

You don't hear arguments about second-class citizenship for non-natives and "separate but equal" status in Alaska, where the federal government settled claims with the native people in 1971. We haven't seen non-natives in Alaska stripped of their property rights or that state secede from the union, as opponents of Native Hawaiian rights disingenuously claim could happen here if the Akaka bill becomes law.

What have Hawaiians done to deserve being treated with blatant hostility and disrespect in their native land — or be singled out as some kind of evil-doers by the Bush administration in its ideological dismantling of federal programs that once protected minority rights?

What business does the civil rights commission have giving special standing to self-interested litigants seeking to claim traditional Hawaiian assets as their own?

The current hearings are not an intellectually honest attempt to arrive at the facts, but a political power play to find the most-expedient path to a preconceived outcome.

The appropriate response is to ignore the hearings and any findings that come from them.

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http://www.midweek.com/content/columns/mostlypolitics_article/gop_insults_hawaiis_host_culture/
Midweek (O'ahu), August 29, 2007

GOP Insults Hawaii's Host Culture

By Dan Boylan

On the weekend preceding the 2000 General Election, Republican Linda Lingle and her running mate Duke Aiona and Democrat Mazie Hirono and hers, Matt Matsunaga, met in a televised debate before representatives from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

I watched that debate, and along with almost everyone I know who did, I came away convinced that Lingle and Aiona bested the Democrats. Lingle seemed to express genuine concern for the plight of Hawaii's first people: their alienation from the aina that had once been theirs alone, the disproportionate number of homeless and incarcerated among them, and their continued position at the bottom of Hawaii's economy.

Lingle's promise of a fairer deal for the Islands'host people - and the presence of the part-Hawaiian Aiona at her side - certainly contributed to her victory in 2000.

On several fronts, Lingle's administration has done well by Hawaiians. Micah Kane at the Hawaiian Homes Commission has worked well with all parties concerned to put more Hawaiians back on the land. He's demonstrated a willingness to forgo partisanship and work with anyone, of any political denomination to improve the lot of Hawaiians - his people.

Early on in her administration, Lingle threw her support behind the Akaka Bill - the long-stalled federal legislation designed to grant Hawaiians the recognition enjoyed by every other indigenous people in the United States. Many Hawaiians believed that her influence with the president and the Republican-dominated Congress would finally deliver passage of the bill.

It hasn't happened. Instead, Republican idealogues on the National Civil Rights Commission recently appointed Hawaii residents H. William Burgess, Paul Sullivan, James Kuroiwa, Reubellite Johnson and Tom McDonald to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. All have either been party to suits against Hawaiian agencies, gone on record in opposition to the Akaka Bill, or both.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs sent a list of nine candidates for local commission. None received an appointment.

In other words, the National Civil Rights Commission stacked the deck - well-stacked the deck - against the Akaka Bill. Then they announced hearings on the bill in Honolulu.

Oh, the Republican Party of George W. Bush and the dearly departed Karl Rove - old white guys, still trying to fashion national political realignment on the debris of Iraq and battered American minorities, from blacks to gays to Native Americans to Hawaiians.

Ain't they grand? In their final days they'll stack courts and commissions with those who'll fight a rear guard action against the demographically inevitable American future: one in which the United States will be a nation of minorities, including those indigenous peoples - Native American and Hawaiian - who've been victims of western germs and land thievery.

I mean to heap neither scorn nor derision on Gov. Lingle, but she's running with the wrong crowd. She deserves better than so-called civil rights advocates in her national Republican Party who feel that the host people of her state unequal to every other indigenous people in the country.

Lingle deserves better, but she also needs to say something - something supportive of the Akaka Bill, something critical of her national political party that would so insult Hawaii's host culture by appointing Burgess, Sullivan, Kuroiwa and McDonald to the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.

Clyde Namuo, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs administrator, has condemned the Republican-dominated National Committee on Civil Rights for “intentionally (appointing) people to the Hawaii committee who oppose the Akaka Bill.”

Namuo argues that opposition to the Akaka Bill has “billions of dollars and a network of think tanks as part of a nationwide agenda. They are a formidable foe, but we believe we will prevail. We continue to work closely with Hawaii's congressional delegation and Governor Lingle.” Good. But Hawaii's congressional delegation and especially Gov. Lingle have a responsibility to renounce - or persuade - those in Washington and Hawaii who use the cover of civil rights to destroy the hard-won institutional progress Hawaiians have made in recent years.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070830/OPINION01/708300302/1105/OPINION01
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, August 30, 2007

Civil rights panel lets more people weigh in

At least now Hawai'i has a little breathing room on an important issue. On that much, everybody can agree.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights caused quite a stir in the past few weeks with the hurried initial meetings of its Hawai'i State Advisory Committee, including an initial public informational briefing on the Akaka bill that many in the general public would have no chance to attend.

That's because it was scheduled with very little notice so that only those already in the official loop on either side of the Native Hawaiian federal recognition debate knew about it in time to attend. This is the opposite of what should have happened in an issue that deserves a full airing here.

So it's a relief to see that the advisory committee's next round of public forums has been postponed. This ought to give Isle residents at least the opportunity to do more than shoot from the hip on this contentious issue.

Of course, nobody who's lived here for more than six weeks will expect forums free from heated rhetoric. The challenge facing Chairman Michael Lilly is to keep a lid on the fear and anger woven through these discussions.

In recent years, the national commission has fallen short of its nonpartisan ideal. Shortly before the 2004 election, a draft report lambasting President Bush's civil rights record was posted online, which doubtlessly infuriated the president and fueled the overhaul of commission leadership.

There was also a push for turnover on the advisory state panels. In theory, the new term limits were useful in enabling new members to be heard. However, their selection should not have hinged on a single issue as much as it did in Hawai'i's case.

Despite such political constraints, the Akaka bill would have enormous impact on this state, and the public should take this opportunity to ferret out some facts from the background noise arising from both sides.

GET INVOLVED

Here are public meeting dates for the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee:

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, South Pacific Ballroom, Hilton Hawaiian Village.

1-5 p.m. Sept. 12, State Capitol Auditorium.

12:30-4:30 p.m. Sept. 13, Conference Rooms A, B and C, State Office Building, 75 Aupuni St., Hilo.

1-5 p.m. Sept. 14, Performing Arts Center, Kaua'i Community College, Lihu'e. For more information, contact Angelica Trevino, 213-894-3437, e-mail hisac@usccr.gov.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070904/OPINION02/709040304/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, September 4, 2007
Letter to editor

CIVIL RIGHTS COMMITTEE
NO ONE SILENCED BY OTHER PANEL MEMBERS

As chairperson of the Hawai'i Advisory Committee (HISAC) to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, I want to respond to David Forman's Island Voices column (Aug. 23).

To correct the record, at its first hearing on Aug. 15, the committee discussed pending legislation that some consider Hawai'i's biggest civil rights issue, the Akaka bill.

To better understand its ramifications, the committee voted to conduct statewide information-gathering briefings and public comment sessions.

The vote followed robust debate and thoughtful consideration. Forman's allegation that two members' voices were silenced by the majority is incorrect.

Those members, whose positions I respect, fully expressed themselves before the vote. Nine members voted to hear from experts and the public on the issue.

HISAC held its first standing-room-only session at the State Capitol with excellent presentations from Hawai'i Attorney General Mark Bennett favoring the bill and Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity in opposition.

Thereafter, every member of the public who wished to speak, as did nearly 65, was given that opportunity. I was gratified everyone maintained a respectful decorum despite strong feelings. I was also pleased the commission provided staff and resources for that and future sessions.

In the future, we will hear from experts about other pressing civil rights issues affecting Hawai'i. All hearings will allow full public participation. Whether the committee ultimately votes on any particular issue is for it to decide.

Michael A. Lilly
Chairperson, Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

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http://honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/OPINION01/709050343/1104
Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, September 5, 2007
EDITORIAL

Congress should keep civil rights on track

At this moment in Hawai'i, the attention of the U.S. Commision on Civil Rights is sharply focused on Native Hawaiian federal recognition, because hearings of its state advisory committee are ongoing over the next week. But the impact of its work goes well beyond the Akaka bill.

Following the advisory panel's first hearings on the bill, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs conducted a poll that highlights broad support for federal recognition. When asked whether Hawaiians should be recognized as a distinct indigenous group, similar to the recognition given to American Indians and Native Alaskans, 70 percent of respondents statewide said "yes."

Opinions about the details of self-governance are a little cloudier. Although two-thirds of those responding to the poll said Hawaiians have a right "to make decisions about their land, education, health, cultural and traditional practices and social policies," only 51 percent said "that an entity of some kind should be formed."

There shouldn't be too much stock placed in any individual poll, but weighed with previous readings, there's clearly too much broad support for federal recognition to be dismissed. The position to be taken by the advisory committee should be part of the complete picture, but kept in context.

That's where Hawai'i's congressional delegation has a role. The delegation has written to the commission to voice its concern over how the advisory panel agenda seemed dictated by the commission and arrayed around this single issue.

Hawai'i's committee came under fire with the recent appointment of several outspoken opponents to the bill. Similarly, a spotlight has been placed on panels across the nation for their pursuit of an anti-affirmative-action agenda.

"I have never seen such a concentrated effort to block anything that is race-based," said U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, in a meeting with The Advertiser's editorial board. "Anything with 'Native Hawaiians' is seen as race-based to them."

But this concern needs to be telegraphed to other members of Congress — to be aware of the commission's change in course and watch how it uses its influence on lawmakers. Anyone who believes in civil rights advocacy should be concerned about where the new course is leading.

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http://kgmb9.com/kgmb/display.cfm?storyID=12373&sid=1183
KGMB 9 TV Transcript of 6 PM and 10 PM television news
Wednesday, September 5,2007 06:09 PM

Akaka Bill Stirs More Debate
Brooks Baehr - bbaehr@kgmb9.com

A poll conducted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shows a majority of people in Hawaii are in favor of federal recognition of native Hawaiians as spelled out in the Akaka Bill.

If passed into law, the Akaka Bill would require the federal government to recognize native Hawaiians as an indigenous people with the right to self-government.

OHA questioned 380 people.

It asked, "Do you think that Hawaiians should be recognized by the U.S. as a distinct indigenous group, similar to the recognition given to American Indians and Alaska Natives?
70% answered yes. 18% answered no. The other 12% of people said they did not know.

OHA told KGMB9 the poll is an accurate reflection of the opinions of the people of Hawaii. Akaka Bill opponents say the questions were crafted to solicit favorable support for the bill.

Meanwhile, there is more controversy surrounding the Akaka Bill. Some claim a local civil rights committee asked to comment on the bill is stacked against recognition for Native Hawaiians. Others say the committee should not be criticized until it has had a chance to do its job.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted six to two against the Akaka Bill last year, but has since formed a Hawaii State Advisory Committee to hold public briefings and gather local input on the bill.

Wednesday the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a planning meeting in Waikiki.

There is concern among those who support the Akaka Bill the advisory committee is stacked with people who are opposed to the bill.

"In the middle of August we were very expressive and vocal about our concerns about the composition of this committee and the manner in which the reach from Washington D.C. and the Civil Rights Commission from Washington D.C. seem to be manipulating this local committees agenda," said OHA chairperson Haunani Apoliona.

One of the two commission members who voted in favor of the bill last year came all the way from the capitol to sit in on the advisory committee's meeting. Commissioner Michael Yaki also believes the committee was set up to help squash the Akaka Bill.

"The single purpose of why the Hawaii SAC was set up the way it was was to create additional opposition. It is as if to say ... the commission is one thing. We're from all over the country. But to say that the Hawaii State Advisory Committee takes a position against the Akaka Bill, my colleagues on the commission believe will help make it more difficult to pass in the congress," Yaki told KGMB9.

Honolulu attorney Bill Burgess is one of the 17 members of the advisory committee. He is vocal in his opposition to the Akaka Bill, but says he knows of no effort to build a committee slanted against the bill. "I mean the committee as far as I can tell is has a great diversity. It's not stacked," Burgess said.

Wednesday's Advisory Committee was just a planning meeting with no public testimony, but the public will have an opportunity to comment on the Akaka Bill during hearings next week.

There will be a meeting Wednesday, September 12 between 1 pm and 5 pm at the State Capitol on Oahu. Thursday the advisory committee will accept testimony between 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm at the state office building in Hilo. And on Friday, September 14 people on Kauai will have a chance to comment from 1pm to 5 pm in the auditorium at Kauai Community College.

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On Wednesday September 5, 2007 the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a public session with testimony limited to five individuals who had been invited for the purpose of providing a diversity of viewpoints.

One of the speakers was Mr. Jere Krischel, senior scholar of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. His testimony is available on this website at
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/big60/AkakaCivRts090507Krischel.html

Three speakers represented the Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Haunani Apoliona (Chair of OHA), Boyd Mossman (OHA Maui Trustee), and Robert Klein (former justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court and frequent litigation attorney for OHA). Their written testimony was posted on the OHA website as a combined single document encrypted pdf file which was downloaded and then uploaded to this website at
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/big60/AkakaCivRts090507ApolionaMossmanKlein

OHA created a webpage describing the event of September 5 and providing some photos, at
http://www.oha.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=415&Itemid=1
A collection of 91 photos, including all 17 members of the Hawaii Advisory Committee and all 5 people who testified on September 5, is on the OHA website at
http://www.zztype.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=32420

A fifth speaker was Dr. Richard Kekuni Blaisdell, M.D. Dr. Blaisdell has been advocating for an independent nation of Hawai'i for several decades, and leads a coalition of several sovereignty groups known as Ka Pakaukau, who share the same objective. Unfortunately Dr. Blaisdell's testimony is not yet available, but it has been requested and will be posted here as soon as he sends it.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070906/NEWS23/709060333/1173/NEWS23
Honolulu Advertiser, Thursday, September 6, 2007

Akaka bill testimony mixed

An advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights heard conflicting testimony yesterday at a meeting in Honolulu to gather information about a proposed Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill.

A handful of invited speakers disagreed on whether the long-stalled Akaka bill would help or hurt the cause of Hawaiians.

"Our community in Hawai'i, represented by virtually every elected official at every level of government, clearly favors passage of the bill," said Haunani Apoliona, one of three Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees to testify in support of the bill.

But others said the bill would either damage efforts to create an independent Hawaiian nation or discriminate against others based on race, observers said.

The Civil Rights Commission's staff in Washington, D.C., directed the advisory committee to hold the briefings because it wanted local input on the bill.

In the past, the committee has supported the bill, but it recently received several new members, including some who are outspoken opponents of the Akaka bill. The committee took no action or position on the bill yesterday.

There was no opportunity for members of the public to testify at yesterday's briefing, but several public hearings are scheduled across the state next week.

The hearing schedule:

Honolulu: Wednesday, 1 to 5 p.m., state Capitol.
Hilo: next Thursday, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., State Office Building, 75 Aupuni St.
Lihu'e: Sept. 14, 1 to 5 p.m., Kaua'i Community College Performing Arts Center, 3-1901 Kaumuali'i Highway.

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http://starbulletin.com/2007/09/07/editorial/letters.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 7, 2007, Letter to editor

Civil rights group should reflect diversity

The staged hysteria concerning the new members to the Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is nothing more than an attempt to discredit anyone who might dare to disagree with the Hawaiian separatist establishment. The Star-Bulletin's slander ("Our opinion," Aug. 22) of committee chairman Michael Lilly because of a limerick 28 years ago spoofing a convicted murderer, who happened to be of Hawaiian ancestry, is beyond the pale.

The mission of the USCCR is to achieve for every citizen equal legal protection under the Constitution regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin. (See www.usccr.gov/about/mission.htm for a complete mission statement.) The state advisory committees help the USCCR feel the local pulse. The recommendations of previous Hawaii committees reflected only the politics of racial separatism and an agenda to segregate Hawaiians from non-Hawaiians. The newly appointed committee of seven Democrats, seven Republicans and three Independents is a triumph for ALL the people of Hawaii because it is more diverse and more representative of Hawaii's diverse population and viewpoints.

The Hawaii Advisory Committee members should not bow to the bullying tactics of this newspaper or Hawaiian separatist organizations, but rather adhere to the important task before them: ensuring that every citizen has equal protection under the law.

Sandra Puanani Burgess
Honolulu

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070908/OPINION02/709080303/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, September 8, 2007, Letters to editor

AKAKA BILL
SHAM HEARINGS, BOGUS ISSUES ARE DIVISIVE

The hearing held by the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on Aug. 19 was embarrassing. The committee was recently stacked with opponents to the Akaka bill who are being used by Mainland far-right Republicans to dismantle affirmative action, which has nothing to do with native rights or Hawai'i.

The hearing was held without proper notice for local speakers, but Mr. Roger Clegg, president of The Center for Equal Opportunity, was given a 20-minute opening statement, question and answer time, rebuttal time, and a lead story in The Advertiser. He represents a neoconservative East Coast think tank which fights bilingual education in schools and Affirmative Action college admissions. What does that have to do with the Akaka bill?

Mr. Clegg admitted he is unfamiliar with Hawai'i's situation and is no expert on the matter.

Meanwhile, the people who really know the issue, including the former chairman of the state committee, were given only three minutes to speak.

Clegg says the Akaka bill would be divisive. No. Sham hearings and bogus issues are divisive.

Su Yates
Makiki

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070909/OPINION02/709090334/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, September 9, 2007, Letters

ADVISORY COMMITTEE
STENDER ROLE ON PANEL PREDATED AKAKA BILL

I take issue with the way Mr. William Burgess (Focus, Sept. 2) characterized my involvement as a member of the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights several years ago.

At the time I was appointed, more than 15 years ago, I was not a member of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. My service came before the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act (Akaka bill) was ever introduced in Congress.

I accepted the appointment to advise the USCCR about civil rights issues in Hawai'i because I felt it was important to educate others about Native Hawaiian rights. Mr. Burgess, on the other hand, serves only to advance his own personal and litigious agenda against the Native Hawaiian culture. His narrow-minded and exclusive views are an affront to the vast majority of people in Hawai'i who support the Akaka bill and the efforts of the Native Hawaiian people to perpetuate our culture.

Oswald K. Stender
Office of Hawaiian Affairs

** Note: Stender is grasping at a straw to get a chance to publish his views. The comment by Bill Burgess to which Stender is allegedly responding occurred in an on-line "Hit Seat" debate on Monday August 27 which was summarized and edited for the Sunday September 2 newspaper, whose relevant portion is as follows:

http://honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070902/OPINION03/709020335/1110/OPINION03

L. Leilani Mills: You are the lawyer for Arakaki and others attempting to use the federal courts to unravel Hawaiian programs such as DHHL (Department of Hawaiian Home Lands) and OHA (Office of Hawaiian Affairs). You sue Hawaiians. You have demonstrated a bias against Hawaiians. How can you serve as a credible (committee) member?

Burgess: My legal work in support of equal protection was fully disclosed. To my knowledge, it is not a disqualification for membership. Oz Stender, for example, was a member previously, as were many whose positions in favor of racial discrimination were well known.

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http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/articles/2007/09/13/local/local07.txt
West Hawaii Today (Kona)
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Controversy follows Akaka bill, advisory committee

by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Capitol Bureau

HONOLULU -- Accusations of politics continue to swirl around an advisory committee working to make recommendations about the Akaka Bill to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Several members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee said Wednesday they're considering filing a complaint about Michael Yaki, a pro-Akaka commission member who sat in on a Sept. 5 meeting of the committee. Yaki is the second commission member to attend an advisory committee meeting this year -- Commission Chairman Gerald Reynold attended the first meeting of the committee in August.

Committee members will be in Hilo Thursday to solicit public input about the Akaka Bill, which sets up a process for formal federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. The meeting starts at 12:30 p.m. at the State Office Building on Aupuni Street.

Advisory Committee Chairman Michael Lilly, in a discussion before the meeting Wednesday, asked fellow committee members whether they wanted to add a discussion of Yaki's behavior to the day's agenda. Lilly said Yaki, unlike Reynold, was "disruptive" during the Sept. 5 meeting and "disrespectful" to a speaker.

In addition, noted committee member Vernon Char, Yaki was later on a radio show criticizing the makeup of the committee and saying it was biased against the Akaka Bill, more formally known as Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007.

"I would make a complaint to the commission itself," Char said, "if we are being undermined before we've even deliberated."

At the suggestion of commission staff analyst Barbara de La Viez, who said she objected strongly to the issue being brought up in a public forum with reporters present, committee members agreed to send her e-mails instead of discussing it at the meeting.

Lilly told Stephens Media after the meeting that regardless of the visits by commission members, he felt that "we have complete control of our committee," without interference from the commission. He doesn't know whether to expect frequent visits by commission members or not, he said.

"It was a complete surprise to me that they showed up," Lilly said.

The advisory committee was reorganized after a previous advisory committee recommended passage of the Akaka Bill, a recommendation that Civil Rights Commission overruled last year. Yaki wrote an impassioned dissenting opinion to that vote. Fourteen of the 17 advisory committee members are new, and several have demonstrated anti-Akaka ties.

Yaki characterized the flak about his visit as a way to "distract from the message by attacking the messenger." He said his interview on Na Oiwi Olino Radio, a broadcast of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, was well within his free speech rights.

"I have every legal right to participate in state committee activities," Yaki told Stephens Media in a telephone interview. "I will not hesitate to speak my mind. I am concerned that my colleagues in Washington, D.C., tried to create a committee that would act quickly to oppose the Akaka Bill. I'm hoping they will make their own independent judgments and not have the people in D.C. tell them how to do it."

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070920/OPINION02/709200315/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, September 20, 2007, letter to editor

CIVIL RIGHTS
DEBATE OVER MAKEUP OF PANEL IS BACKWARD

Isn't the debate over Hawai'i Civil Rights Advisory Commission membership backward? To illustrate, here is a question I would administer — in a hospital's nursery — to each member:

As you look at your newest fellow citizens do you:

A) See them sharing a common and glorious future together as equals, or

B) See in their separate pasts a justification for assigning them to separate groups that claim different rights and privileges?

Doesn't anyone remember America's battle to destroy the evil dishonesty of "separate but equal?" Or when its schools still taught what made America different from, and superior to, the "old countries?" Specifically, that America's nationality is defined in terms of common ideals instead of a common bloodline, and that the Creator endowed "sovereignty" in individuals who are ruled only with their shared consent versus by sovereigns.

So instead of debating the membership of people pledged to honor Hawai'i citizens' born-equal rights, shouldn't we debate membership of people who view America as a mosaic that assigns newborn infants to color-coded boxes that keep them segregated from one another literally forever?

George L. Berish
Honolulu

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Ka Wai Ola [Office of Hawaiian Affairs official monthly newspaper]
Vol. 24, No 10, October 2007, page 18
The October issue can be downloaded only in its entirety; 3.5 megabytes:
http://www.oha.org/pdf/kwo07/KWO0710.pdf

Hawai'i's hijacked Civil Rights Advisory Committee

Rowena Akana
Trustee, At-large

'Ano'ai kakou. As impossible as it, sounds, the anti-Akaka racists have reached a new low. As most of you may have heard, the Hawai'i State Advisory committee to the U.S. Commission, on Civil Rights (HlSAC) has begun hearing testimony on the proposed Akaka Bill.

In a move that shows just how iguorant the Bush administration is about Hawaiian history and culture, new members of the advisory committee include H. William Burgess, James Kuroiwa Jr. and lawyer Paul Sullivan -- all of whom have publicly stated their strong opposition to the Akaka Bill. These bozos are now using the commission to give their preposterous arguments the illusion of legitimacy. The fact that the Civil Rights Commission is against the Akaka Bill is an irony of the highest order. The leaders of the Civil Rights Movement who bled for equal rights in the '60's must be rolling in their graves!

HlSAC had a public briefing in the state Capitol auditorium on Aug. 20. State Attorney General Mark Bennett spoke in strong support of the Akaka Bill, while Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity in VIrginia spoke in opposition. Bennett must be commended for his expertise on the issues and using his quick wit to make Clegg look like a fool.

Clegg kept insisting that the Akaka Bill is unconstitutional, as if saying it over and over would make it a reality, but Bennett made it clear that Congress has the (plenary) power to pass the bill into law.

Clegg admitted (several times) that he wasn't familiar with Hawaiian history and culture, and it showed. He argued that the "one drop rule" for Hawaiians to be considered Hawaiian wasn't enough to qualify them to help rebuild a Hawaiian governing entity. He clearly didn't know that the United States Congress created the blood quantum percentage in the 1920 Hawaiian Homes Act to limit the number of Hawaiians who qualified for homelands. It had nothing to do with defining whether a person can be considered Hawaiian or not.

Clegg also argued that the islands were not unified as a single distinct nation prior to the arrival of Europeans and, therefore, don't qualify to rebuild their government. This statement is also mistaken, since the islands were still occupied by Native Hawaiians who were governed by a feudal system of island chiefs. Bennett had to remind him again that the argument is moot, since Congress clearly has the power to make it happen.

Clegg argued that Hawaiians can't rebuild their government under the process set up for Native American tribes because the Hawaiian government hasn't continued to function over the 100-plus years since the overthrow. Bennett responded that it is ridiculous for the United Stites, who helped to overthrow the Hawaiian government, to now say that Hawaiians can't rebuild their government because it doesn't exist today.

Finally, Clegg argued that if the Akaka Bill passed, it could encourage other people to ask for nationhood, such as the native peoples living in Texas. Bennett said it best when he reminded the audience that people usually go to "slippery slope" and "what if" arguments once they run out of good ones. This got more than a few chuckles from the audience.

I believe Clegg showed his true intentions when he mentioned that Hawaiians number more than 400,000 people across the nation and asked whether it would be wise to give so much power to such a large group within the U.S. He stressed that no American Indian or Alaska Native tribe even comes close to our numbers. If he had done his research, he would have known that the Navajo, the largest Native American tribe, have close to 500,000 members.

Clegg and the racists that invited him here to speak obviously fear that the Akaka Bill would give us the power to finally help ourselves to forge a brighter future. They obviously want to keep Hawaiians and other native peoples from being self-sufficient. We need to fight harder now, not only to preserve our rights as natives of this land but to show these racist Americans that we are not just poor Hawaiians but savvy Americans as well. We will attain sovereignty no matter how long it takes.

Dan Boylan of MidWeek said it best: "The GOP insults Hawai'i's host culture," by stacking the deck of the Civil Rights Commission with Republican ideologues.

I mua e Hawai'i nei.

On a very special note: A great big Mahalo and farewell to my dear secretary, Gladys Rodenhurst, who retires this month at the age of 81 after many years of loyal service to myself and the Office of Hawaiian Affiars. We all wish her the best in her retirement years.

We will miss her smile and her willingness to help anyone who needs her assistance. Aloha, Aunty Gladys. We will all miss you, but no one more than I. God bless and God speed.

For more information on important Hawaiian issues, check out my website at
www.rowenaakana.org.

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http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096415882
Indian Country Today, October 4, 2007

Melendez: Commission on Civil Rights must strengthen support for Indian country

by: Arlan Melendez

How can the federal government begin to reclaim its credibility as a protector of civil rights in Indian country? In September, the House of Representatives finally passed the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, but Congress has yet to pass the Indian Health Care Reauthorization Act and other legislation. The politicization of the Department of Justice, with its changing priorities for the Civil Rights Division and pressure to fire U.S. attorneys who took Indian country issues seriously, remains a long-term problem. While there is reason to hope the new environment in Washington, D.C., will continue to produce positive change on these issues, one government body that should be pushing for protection of Native peoples bears special scrutiny - the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The commission was created by President Eisenhower 50 years ago this fall as part of the 1957 Civil Rights Act to serve as the ''conscience'' of the nation as it confronted discrimination. The commission was empowered to hold formal investigatory hearings and gather evidence of discrimination - particularly with respect to race, ethnicity and the exercise of the right to vote. The agency is supposed to tell the harsh truths of discrimination to the media, public and national leaders. In addition to the commission, the 1957 act also established new laws to protect voting rights and created the Civil Rights Division within the department. The key idea behind the 1957 legislation was that only a mix of national publicity, stricter laws and heightened federal prosecution of cases would actually change the nation.

In the past, the Commission on Civil Rights' dealings with Indian country were mixed. There were some helpful early publications, like its 1972 American Indian Civil Rights Handbook. The commission called the FBI to answer for its lax law enforcement in Indian country in a hearing in 1979. Some of the commission's state advisory committees that act as the ''eyes and ears'' of the agency at the local level also examined discrimination against Native Americans.

But the commission historically did not focus much on Indian issues, and at times its approach was scandalous. Some may recall then-chairman William Barclay Allen, who resigned in 1989 after his arrest in an alleged kidnapping of a child from the White Mountain Apache Reservation while conducting an ''investigation'' of how tribal custody cases were handled. Charges were dropped and apologies given for having given the child a ride from school without asking her mother's permission. But it seems hard to separate the chairman's bizarre actions from the apparent disregard for tribal sovereignty during the commission's hearings on the Indian Civil Rights Act in 1988.

More recently, the commission took much greater interest in Indian country when Elsie Meeks became the first American Indian appointed to the commission. During her term, the commission issued two key reports. The 2003 report, ''Quiet Crisis: Federal Funding and Unmet Needs in Indian Country,'' gives an overview of the government's failure to meet its trust responsibilities; and the 2004 report, ''Broken Promises: Evaluating the Native American Health Care System,'' has detailed findings and recommendations for changes to the IHS. In 2001, the agency also called for an end to the use of American Indian images and team names by non-Native schools.

However, my appointment to the commission (after Meeks) followed a takeover of the agency by conservative commissioners who have shown a disturbing turn away from support of Native people. The majority of commissioners issued a report in 2006 recommending against passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act (commonly known as the ''Akaka bill''), which would recognize the rights of Native Hawaiian people to their own government and self-determination. There has been broad support in Hawaii and among tribes for the Akaka bill, but the commission's current majority isn't listening. They wrongly frame the issue as being about creating a ''race-based'' government rather than recognizing the inherent sovereignty and cultural identity of indigenous people who the U.S. military helped overthrow and strip of their lands.

In reaching their position on Native Hawaiian recognition, the majority of commissioners ignored my dissenting comments, the dissent of the only other Democratic commissioner (who is part-Hawaiian), those who spoke in support of the bill at a public meeting in January 2006, and the previous advice of the agency's own Hawaii state advisory committee. In fact, the agency's Bush-appointed staff director in August hastily set meetings on the Akaka bill by a new Hawaii state advisory committee full of different appointees. The manner and timing of the new Hawaii state advisory committee's discussions of the Akaka bill are suspicious. The majority on the commission already rejected this Native rights bill and now appears to be trying to overturn past state support.

Will the Commission on Civil Rights turn around? Today's commission is a shadow of its former self. It is largely inactive and often dismissed for its extreme positions. Like the DOJ and so many other federal agencies, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights needs to be reformed so that it can regain its independence, quality of work, and bipartisan support. I remain hopeful about reform, but it will require courage and support from everyone who sees the need for a strong federal agency to act as the ''conscience'' of the nation in stopping discrimination. So many of the civil rights problems in Indian country continue because the rest of our nation hasn't heard or understood what's happening.

In November, the commission will briefly examine discrimination against American Indians in reservation border towns. I hope that the agency will seize the opportunity to resume its vocal support of Native communities. There must be a renewal of the whole Commission on Civil Rights in this 50th anniversary year that will make the agency an enduring voice for the civil rights of all Native peoples in this country.

Arlan D. Melendez is chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in Nevada and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The views he expresses are his own and may not be shared by other commissioners.

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

Ka Wai Ola (monthly newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs), Vol. 24, No. 11, November, 2007
http://www.oha.org/pdf/kwo07/KWO0711.pdf

** Three items of interest

-----------

From page 3 (Letters to editor)

Akaka Bill opinion

This responds to the summary about me in your recent "Who's Who." No one at the Commission on Civil Rights asked, and I have not expressed, my opinion on the Akaka Bill, an opinion which is now evolving as a result of public hearings being conducted by the Hawai‘i Advisory Committee. I particularly appreciated hearing the perspectives presented by your trustees, Haunani Apoliona and Boyd Mossman, and attorney Justice Robert Klein at the Sept. 5 session, as well as from other members of the public, pro and con, at that and other meetings.

To put my background into better perspective, I am a keiki hänau o ka ‘äina in a family of Hawaiian subjects and citizens since the 1840s. An ancestor of our family (J.S. Walker) was a royalist, advisor and minister to Hawaiian monarchs until, according to Queen Lili‘uokalani's book, his death in May 1893 "by the treatment he received from the hands of the revolutionists. He was one of many who from persecution had succumbed to death." I recall my grandfather saying all his older royalist brothers were incarcerated in the Armory during the revolution.

I provide this background to assure you that whatever opinion I may reach about the Akaka Bill will have a unique sensitivity to and appreciation of Hawai‘i's history and her people. I also offer it to debunk false opinions related to a convicted murderer whose cruel treatment of citizens and even fellow convicts was so incorrigible he had to be incarcerated in the federal prison system's highest security facility, Marion.

The debate about the Akaka Bill is important in part because it educates the public about Hawaiians, their history and the plight of their neediest constituents. Hawai‘i would not be Hawai‘i without Hawaiians. Whether the Hawai‘i Advisory Committee ever votes to express an opinion — or not — on the Akaka Bill is for it to decide in the future after full public input on and thoughtful consideration of this most important civil rights issue.

Michael A. Lilly
Chairperson
Hawai‘i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

-----------

Clegg testimony

In your October issue, Rowena Akana ("Hawai'i's hijacked Civil Rights Advisory Committee") criticizes the testimony that I delivered in August before Hawai‘i's State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In that testimony, I argued that the Akaka Bill is unconstitutional as a matter of law and divisive and unfair as a matter of policy.

Ms. Akana mischaracterizes my testimony in a number of respects, but rather than address them all, I would just suggest that those who are interested read my testimony for themselves and make up their own minds. It is posted on the Center for Equal Opportunity's website at:

www.ceousa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=438&Itemid=83.
Readers with additional questions are welcome to email me at
rclegg@ceousa.org.

More troubling is Ms. Akana's lack of civility. She calls those who disagree with her "bozos" and says that in the hearings I "look[ed] like a fool." Now, now. Worst of all, she calls those who oppose the Akaka bill "racists" – not once, not twice, but three times in her short piece. In response, I will just point out that it is the Akaka bill – not its critics – that would use a one-drop rule to create a favored racial group.

Roger Clegg
Center for Equal Opportunity

-----------

** From page 23 of the physical newspaper; page 22 of the pdf (a full-page spread on pages 14-15 of the physical edition was copied as a single page in the pdf version)

People of Hawai'i believe in fairness for Hawaiians

Rowena Akana
Trustee, At-large

‘Ano‘ai käkou. According to a poll conducted by Ward Research for OHA, 70 percent of residents surveyed favored the Akaka Bill, while nearly two-thirds of those polled also believe that the issue of race should not be a reason to deny federal recognition to Hawaiians.

However, anti-Akaka Bill groups like the Grassroot Institute of Hawai‘i (with a membership of a handful of people) and some of the members of the newly formed Hawai‘i Civil Rights Advisory Committee are trying to re-write our Hawaiian history. Like other racist groups who say the Holocaust never happened, the Grassroots Institute would not be happy until Native Hawaiians no longer exist or are driven out from our ‘äina. They keep hoping that if they keep repeating the same non-truths over and over again, people will start believing their nonsense.

The poll was conducted by telephone from August 15-27, from a sampling of 380 residents statewide. The sample is representative of the Hawai‘i population by age, ethnicity and island of residence and carries a maximum sampling error of plus or minus 5 percent.

Those surveyed were asked, "Do you think that Hawaiians should be recognized by the U.S. as a distinct indigenous group, similar to the recognition given to American Indians and Alaska Natives?" A solid 70 percent responded "Yes," while 18 percent said "No" and 12 percent didn't know.

I have always had faith that the people of Hawai‘i truly understand the issue of federal recognition for Hawaiians and could not be easily fooled by all the negative doomsday rhetoric of the anti-Akaka Bill naysayers. The poll showed that 84 percent of those surveyed heard of the Akaka Bill and 79 percent were aware of the lawsuits against OHA, DHHL and Kamehameha Schools.

Sixty-seven percent of those polled also said that Hawaiians have the right to make decisions about their land, education, health, cultural and traditional practices, and social policies. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed believe that over 100 federally funded programs for Hawaiians should continue.

The vast majority of Hawai‘i residents want organizations such as the Kamehameha Schools, DHHL and OHA, which are under the constant threat of lawsuits, to be protected through federal recognition. They believe in the fundamental question of fairness and that Hawaiians should be treated equally like other indigenous people, including American Indians and Native Alaskans.

So, to the naysayers I say: stop embarrassing yourself and wasting your time, energy and money on fruitless efforts. You cannot change or rewrite history. OHA only has to educate 18 percent of Hawai‘i residents on the merits of the Akaka Bill, while opponents need to somehow mislead a whopping 64 percent. It takes so much more energy to confuse and mislead people, while it is much easier to just speak the truth.

All these years of spreading lies and misleading people haven't gotten people like H. William Burgess anywhere. People of Hawai‘i know what is right, fair and just. After all, isn't fairness and justice the American way?

Imua e Hawai‘i nei...

For more information on important Hawaiian issues, check out my website at
www.rowenaakana.org.

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

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071104/OPINION03/711040333/1110/OPINION03
Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, November 4, 2007
COMMENTARY

The Akaka Bill - On both sides, a question of civil rights

** Ken Conklin's note: The following are two essays that were published side by side in the newspaper. The first is written by two supporters of the Akaka bill who are also members of the civil rights committee, Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn. The second is by an opponent of the Akaka bill who is also a member of the civil rights committee, H. William Burgess.

------

It was no surprise to read that William Burgess, our fellow Hawai'i State Advisory Committee member to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, wants the Akaka bill to "end up in the trash can where it belongs" (Advertiser Oct. 25).

We have witnessed firsthand his venom for this measure, and his push to get the HISAC to vote down the Akaka bill and then use that as ammunition in the upcoming debate before the U.S. Senate.

He is, after all, actively pursuing litigation against a number of Hawaiian organizations. And he's not alone on the newly constructed committee appointed this year by the USCCR, which (surprise!) voted last year against the Akaka bill.

One of Burgess' clients sits with us, along with a member of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i and others who have signed petitions against federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

There is an obvious conflict. They oppose the Akaka bill because its passage would protect the programs they are suing. The USCCR powers stacked this commission to fit their agenda.

We may now be part of the HISAC minority, but we intend to put up a fight in our support for federal recognition, which we consider an important civil rights measure.

We note that the last position taken by the HISAC was in support of legislation formally recognizing the political status of Native Hawaiians. The 2001 HISAC report, "Reconciliation at a Crossroads," said:

"The Hawai'i Advisory Committee considers the denial of Native Hawaiian self-determination and self-governance to be a serious erosion of this group's equal protection and human rights."

We feel that is the case today and are alarmed that the USCCR is now ignoring that report and is in the forefront to roll back or eliminate all the gains made through past civil rights issues.

For example, the USCCR in January 2006 held its own Akaka bill briefing without seeking or obtaining input from HISAC. The USCCR then reconstituted the local committee and appointed Bill Burgess and his friends. Now the USCCR wants a report, as the Akaka bill is the only measure this committee so far has been tasked to address (surprise again!).

We also disagree with the White House position paper opposing the bill. The administration claims Native Hawaiians cannot be compared with other indigenous peoples given the "substantial historical and cultural differences."

Again, from the "Reconciliation at a Crossroads" report:

"The history of the Hawaiian nation has many parallels to the experiences of Native Americans. There is no rational or historical reason, much less a compelling state interest, to justify the federal government denying Hawaiians a process that could entitle them to establish a government-to-government relationship with the United States. That process is available to Native Americans under the Indian Commerce Clause of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution."

We will continue to back federal recognition to protect the civil rights of all Americans, and that would include Native Hawaiians. We urge Congress to pass the Akaka bill and we urge the president to ignore the misinformation from the critics and sign the bill. As the last HISAC report on the Akaka bill said, further delays are not acceptable. "The federal and state governments must break the cycle of promises made to the Native Hawaiian people, only to be broken thereafter. The Hawai'i Advisory Committee concludes that true reconciliation between Native Hawaiians and the United States can serve as both a reaffirmation of the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded and a worthy example of peaceful dispute resolution for the international community."

Hawai'i has long been in the forefront of civil rights. We are proud that our values respecting ethnic differences, cultural sensitivity and fairness have so far stood the test of time.

The Akaka bill is today's headline, but if it fails, America's other indigenous groups, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, will come under attack, followed by legal assaults on affirmative action and equal opportunity laws. That's the big picture that is so depressing to those of us who passionately believe in civil rights.

By Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn

** Note from Ken Conklin: A response to the Agbayani/Colburn essay was published in the November 8 Advertiser written by Tom Macdonald, another member of the civil rights committee.

---------

Is it "respectful" to Native Hawaiians to treat them as children, incapable of ever growing up and acting as responsible adults; congenitally unable to hold private property or compete in a democratic market economy; as permanent victims permanently dependent on government guardians?

Is it "the right thing to do" to put them into the same legal category as federally recognized Indian tribes whose rank and file members, despite billions of federal and casino largesse, continue in grinding poverty, addiction, family violence and despair?

With all due respect to the views of our friends who promote the Akaka bill, I suggest the answer to all those questions is "no." It is just plain nuts for the United States to go into the most integrated state and reverse course.

First, let's look at what the Akaka bill (S. 310/H.R. 505) would do. It proposes to create a Native Hawaiian "tribe" or "governing entity" where none now exists; and to do so using a test for participation in the process virtually identical to that which the Rice decision held to be racial.

The avowed purpose of creating the new government is to "protect" Native Hawaiian entitlements from scrutiny under the Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. It is therefore clear that the new government cannot and will not be required to treat all persons equally. On Oct. 24, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake moved to recommit to make the Native Hawaiian governing entity subject to the U.S. Constitution and federal and state civil rights laws. The bill's proponents refused that perfectly reasonable request.

The bill further provides that once formed, the new entity would be deemed recognized by the U.S. as "the representative governing body of the Native Hawaiian people." The bill then authorizes the state and federal governments to negotiate with the Native Hawaiian governing entity for the transfer of some unspecified amount of its land, natural resources, governmental power and civil and criminal jurisdiction.

Let me emphasize that.

In my view, the Akaka bill would sanction the breakup and giveaway of unlimited amounts of the state of Hawai'i's land, power and domain.

It is a given that the lands to go to the new government would include: the 200,000 acres of Hawaiian Home lands now held in trust for "native Hawaiians" ("not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778"); the island of Kaho'olawe and at least some of the other ceded lands or revenues which are held in trust for all citizens of Hawai'i; and all lands, property and assets (including about $400,000 of ceded lands revenues) now held by OHA.

As noted in the opposing commentary, I represent Hawai'i citizens (including some of Native Hawaiian ancestry) challenging the constitutionality of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. They believe those programs and other "entitlements" have harmed, not helped, Native Hawaiians.

My clients also believe that, as part of a global settlement terminating those programs and as a positive alternative to the Akaka bill, existing Hawaiian homesteaders should be allowed to acquire the fee simple interest in their homestead lots for no, or at a discounted, consideration. They would then have all the joys, pride, responsibilities and respect as other homeowners.

Census 2000 and the Census 2005 American Community Survey for California demonstrate that Native Hawaiians are quite capable of making it on their own without special treatment.

Our national experience with racial and political segregation, like that of the rest of the world, demonstrates that no good comes from such things; that the advantages of the dominant race or class, if any, are transitory; and such segregation plants seeds of hatred that flourish generations after the inevitable abolition of the formal structures of segregation.

Collectivist schemes like the Akaka bill represent the road to serfdom. Private property and a democratic market economy enrich the masses. In life, as in sports, it is best when we all play the game by the same rules.

By H. William Burgess

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http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/11/06/maneuver_gave_bush_a_conservative_rights_panel?mode=PF
The Boston Globe, November 6, 2007

Maneuver gave Bush a conservative rights panel

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff

WASHINGTON - The US Commission on Civil Rights, the nation's 50-year-old watchdog for racism and discrimination, has become a critic of school desegregation efforts and affirmative action ever since the Bush administration used a controversial maneuver to put the agency under conservative control.

Democrats say the move to create a conservative majority on the eight-member panel violated the spirit of a law requiring that no more than half the commission be of one party. Critics say Bush in effect installed a fifth and sixth Republican on the panel in December 2004, after two commissioners, both Republicans when appointed, reregistered as independents.

"I don't believe that [the law] was meant to be evaded by conveniently switching your voter registration," said Commissioner Michael Yaki, one of the two remaining Democrats.

The administration insists that Bush's appointments were consistent with the law because the two commissioners who reregistered as independents no longer counted as Republicans. The day before Bush made the appointments, the Department of Justice approved the move in a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales's office.

Other presidents have been able to create a majority of like-minded commissioners, but no president has done it this way. The unusual circumstances surrounding the appointments attracted little attention at the time. But they have had a sweeping effect, shifting the commission's emphasis from investigating claims of civil rights violations to questioning programs designed to offset the historic effects of discrimination.

Before the changes, the agency had planned to evaluate a White House budget request for civil rights enforcement, the adequacy of college financial aid for minorities, and whether the US Census Bureau undercounts minorities, keeping nonwhite areas from their fair share of political apportionment and spending. After the appointments, the commission canceled the projects.

Instead, the commission has put out a series of reports concluding that there is little educational benefit to integrating elementary and secondary schools, calling for closer scrutiny of programs that help minorities gain admission to top law schools, and urging the government to look for ways to replace policies that help minority-owned businesses win contracts with race-neutral alternatives.

The conservative bloc has also pushed through retroactive term limits for several of its state advisory committees. As a result, some longtime traditional civil rights activists have had to leave the advisory panels, and the commission replaced several of them with conservative activists.

The commission has also stopped issuing subpoenas and going on the road to hold lengthy fact-finding hearings, as it previously did about once a year. The commission had three planned hearings in the works when the conservative bloc took over and canceled them. Instead, the panel has held only shorter briefings, all but one of which was in Washington, from invited specialists.

Commissioner Abigail Thernstrom, who dropped her GOP registration six weeks before Bush's appointments, said the selection of conservatives to the state civil rights advisory committees provided "intellectual diversity." She also said the commission's recent briefings and reports have been rigorous.

"They are completely balanced in a way they haven't been for years," said Thernstrom, a former member of the Massachusetts Board of Education who until recently lived in Lexington.

A core mission of the Civil Rights Commission is to use its bipartisan fact-finding power in racial disputes to "gather facts instead of charges [and to] sift out the truth from the fancies," as Senate majority leader Lyndon Johnson said in August 1957.

In its early days, the commission's work of collecting evidence of voter discrimination and police brutality laid the groundwork for major civil rights laws. But the panel has stayed on the sidelines in recent controversies with civil rights overtones.

For example, the panel did not investigate allegations that black neighborhoods in Ohio received too few voting machines in the 2004 election or the murky circumstances surrounding a racially charged assault case in Jena, La.

Kenneth Marcus, the commission's staff director, said the panel has not issued subpoenas because they are time-consuming and "disrupted" its relations with other government agencies.

Marcus also said that members of the panel considered investigating the 2004 Ohio election dispute, but decided it would not be "the best use of their resources." The commission staff, he added, was recently briefed by the Justice Department about the Jena case and is monitoring the situation.

Democrats say Bush's appointments threw the commission out of balance, violating the bipartisan intent of the law that forbids the panel from having more than four members of one party. Five commissioners must agree before the agency approves a report or recommendation.

But Marcus, a Bush appointee, said "it's not true" that the panel has become a party instrument.

"The commission is guided by four Republicans, two independents, and two Democrats, which is consistent with the statute governing the agency," Marcus said. "Certainly, we have a majority of conservatives right now, and that majority is taking the commission in a direction that is different than what we've seen in the past."

The commission - half appointed by the president and half by congressional leaders - has been under a 6-to-2 control by both liberals and conservatives before. Especially since the 1980s, presidents and lawmakers have tried to tilt the panel by appointing independents who shared their party's views on civil rights.

But until Bush's 2004 appointments, no president used reregistrations by sitting commissioners to satisfy the law that forbids presidents from appointing a fifth commissioner of the same party. Bush's move , represented an unprecedented "escalation" in hardball politics, said Peter Shane, Ohio State University law professor.

No court has ever ruled on the meaning of the political balance law, which does not say whether a commissioner's party identity is fixed at appointment, or whether a commissioner who reregisters no longer counts toward the party cap.

In a two-page memo Dec. 6, 2004, the day before Bush's appointments, the Justice Department said it was "clear" that it only matters what commissioners say their party identity is when a president makes appointments.

But Peter Strauss, an administrative law professor at Columbia University, said he believed a court would reject the administration's interpretation, especially if a judge decided that a commissioner reregistered "to manipulate the process" rather than because his or her ideology sincerely changed.

One of the extra Republican slots opened Oct. 27, 2004, when Thernstrom asked the town clerk of Lexington to change her voter registration to independent from GOP. Six weeks later, Bush promoted Thernstrom to be the commission's vice chairwoman.

Thernstrom acknowledged speaking with the White House about the impending vacancies.

"The discussion was who were the possible candidates and what did their [party] identification have to be," she said.

But Thernstrom said that no one asked her to reregister and that her decision had nothing to do with making space for another Republican. Instead, she said, she decided she would be "most comfortable" as an independent, having registered as a Democrat and as an independent in times past.

In more recent years, Thernstrom had been a consistent Republican. She voted in the March 2000 and March 2004 Republican primaries, gave $500 to the Bush-Cheney campaign in July 2004, and on Oct. 18, 2004, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling herself a Republican appointee - just nine days before she dropped her Republican registration.

The other GOP slot opened in 2003, when Republican Commissioner Russell Redenbaugh switched to independent. He had been an independent when Senate Republicans first appointed him to the commission in 1990, but registered GOP before being reappointed because, he said, "I felt it was dishonest to call myself an independent when I was so clearly a conservative."

Redenbaugh said he switched back to independent in 2003 because he leans libertarian, and the GOP's stance on social issues annoyed him. He called Bush's use of his switch to appoint a Republican "inappropriate" and "wrong."

Redenbaugh resigned in 2005, dropping the conservative majority to five. In early 2007, Senate Republicans restored the 6-to-2 bloc by appointing Gail Heriot, a member of the conservative Federalist Society who opposes affirmative action.

Heriot was an alternate delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention and was a registered Republican until seven months before her appointment. In an interview, Heriot said her decision to reregister as an independent in August 2006, making her eligible to fill the vacancy, "had nothing to do with the commission."

"I have disagreements with the Republican Party," she said. Asked to name one, she declined.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071108/OPINION02/711080304/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, November 8, 2007

ADVISORY COMMITTEE
CURRENT PANEL BETTER REPRESENTS COMMUNITY

I am writing as one of the new "stacked" majority members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn objected to so strongly in the Nov. 4 Focus section.

Strangely, they had no problem with "stacking" when the earlier HISAC was "stacked" with Akaka bill supporters, such as themselves.

On more substantive matters, Ms. Agbayani and Ms. Colburn are unhappy that their 2001 pro-Akaka bill recommendations to the commission were ignored when the commission went on record opposing the Akaka bill in 2006.

After reviewing the 2001 HISAC's rather extreme recommendations, however, I don't think any reasonable person would fault the commission for ignoring them. Their recommendations included the rather drastic step of having Hawai'i added to the United Nations' list of "non-self governing territories" and other "international solutions."

The 2001 HISAC stated that it was "fully cognizant of the concern expressed by some that international resolution would necessarily involve secession, a drastic endeavor over which this nation purportedly fought a civil war...(but) the principle of self-determination necessarily contemplates the potential choice of forms of governance that may not be authorized by existing domestic law. Whether such a structure is politically or legally possible under the law is secondary, however, to the expression of one's desire for self-determination."

So Hawai'i's secession from the United States is OK as long as it expresses the "desire for self-determination"!

And since secession from the United States might not be legal and might have unpleasant consequences, the 2001 HISAC said "the process should allow for international oversight by nonaligned observers of international repute," presumably to protect Native Hawaiians from the United States.

This is pretty extreme stuff coming from an official state government committee supposedly representing our community. I submit that the current more-balanced HISAC is much more representative of current community opinion than the prior "stacked" HISAC ever was.

Tom Macdonald
Kane'ohe

** NOTE: A reply by Dave Forman, who succeeded Charles maxwell as chairman of the committee, was published on November 20, copied below in chronological order.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071113/OPINION02/711130305/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, November 13, 2007, LETTER TO EDITOR

AKAKA BILL
GRASSROOT INSTITUTE GIVING US THE 'BIG LIE'

Tom Macdonald shows his true colors as a member of the right-wing Grassroot Institute of Hawai'i by twisting the 2001 report by the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Letters, Nov. 8).

In attacking fellow HISAC members Amy Agbayani and Linda Colburn, Macdonald slices and dices a portion of the 2001 report to push the Grassroot "big lie" that the Akaka bill will lead to secession. Land grabs and gambling are also part of the Grassroot campaign of misinformation and scare tactics.

Macdonald also falsely claims the previous HISAC was "stacked" with Akaka bill supporters. Not true. The previous HISAC was formed years before the Akaka bill was ever an issue.

These contortions are not a surprise, because it's what Macdonald and his fellow HISAC members with ties to Grassroot do all the time.

Grassroot Institute is the group that commissioned "push" polls claiming most Hawai'i residents oppose the Akaka bill. When the U.S. House voted to approve the Akaka bill, Congressman Neil Abercrombie took to the House floor and denounced the Grassroot polls cited by opponents.

The legitimate polls, including one in The Honolulu Advertiser, continue to show majority support for the Akaka bill in spite of the ongoing misinformation campaign.

That gets us to Macdonald's second point in defending the Commission on Civil Rights stacking the HISAC in an effort to get the Hawai'i committee to oppose the Akaka bill. If the majority in Hawai'i favors the Akaka bill, how is it that the current HISAC, with Macdonald, Bill Burgess and others leading the charge, is reflective of our state's population?

Oswald Stender
Former member, Hawai'i State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs

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On November 13, 2007 OHA suddenly published a slick 67-page document which tried to smear the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights just two days before a long-scheduled public meeting. The document also tried to twist history to support the Akaka bill and tried to discredit earlier testimony opposing the bill.

OHA's 67-page document is entitled "Correcting the Record: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Justice for Native Hawaiians." It can be downloaded in pdf format from the OHA website at
http://oha.org/images/stories/071113correcting.pdf
and a list of appendices can be downloaded at
http://oha.org/images/stories/071113appendices.pdf

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A rebuttal to OHA's 67-page document was published by civil rights activists one day later. It is entitled "Correcting OHA's Deceptive 'Correcting the Record'." It was written by a few civil rights activists operating under urgent time pressure with zero budget, to counteract the slick OHA document produced by a large staff with large budget over a period of about two months. The civil rights rebuttal describes how the previous civil rights committee from 1996 to 2006 was overwhelmingly stacked with supporters of race-based government and private programs, and worked closely with OHA and the powerful race-based institutions to counteract the Rice v. Cayetano decision, to facilitate development of the Akaka bill, and to support the Akaka bill throughout the first six years it was pending in Congress. The rebuttal straightens out some of the twisted Hawaiian history presented in the OHA report. This rebuttal can be found at
http://wiki.grassrootinstitute.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=2007-11-14_OHA_Fact_Check

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071116/NEWS01/711160386/1001/NEWS01
Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, November 16, 2007

Hawaii advisory panel rejects Akaka bill stand

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

A U.S. Commission on Civil Rights advisory panel, which this year got several new members who are opposed to Native Hawaiian federal recognition, voted 8-6 yesterday to not take a position on the Akaka bill.

The vote was seen as a victory for supporters of the bill, named after its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i. Akaka bill opponents had been hoping the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee would go on record against the bill.

In July, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission added 14 new members to the 16-member Hawai'i advisory committee, including several outspoken activists against Native Hawaiian federal recognition.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, dominated by Republicans and independents, is on record against the bill, but the Hawai'i advisory committee has favored federal recognition.

The purpose of the Hawai'i committee is to advise the Washington-based commission on civil rights matters. Since being reconstituted, it has spent the bulk of its time looking at the issue of federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

Those who oppose the bill wanted a vote yesterday to send a message to Washington, D.C., where the U.S. Senate has not yet heard the measure. The House of Representatives approved the bill last month. But those who favor the Akaka bill said there had not been a careful enough analysis done on the issue to make a decision.

Of the 12 new appointees who voted, which included Democrats, Republicans and independents, six voted for a vote on the Akaka bill and six were opposed. Both of the two holdovers who voted on the issue opposed a vote on the Akaka bill. One member of the Hawai'i committee was not present, and Chairman Michael Lilly did not vote, saying he did not need to.

Akaka bill supporters, including the four members of Hawai'i's congressional delegation, have criticized the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, charging it with trying to stack the local committee to reverse its longstanding support for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.

CONFLICTING TESTIMONY

The Civil Rights Commission staff in Washington directed the advisory committee to hold a series of briefings statewide to seek input on the bill. The panel received conflicting testimony during meetings held in September.

Lilly said he did not expect the issue to come up again with the current makeup of the committee.

A contingent of committee members led by H. William Burgess, a leading opponent of federal recognition, pushed to have a vote on the issue yesterday. Burgess pointed out that scores of people had testified at public meetings across the state. "This committee has spent the time," he said. "You've heard enough to be able to decide today."

But Robbie Alm, another committee member, said he believed current members needed to have more time to analyze the data if it wanted to make a recommendation. Alm also said he believed the discussion was a futile one. "I think, frankly, that the Civil Rights Commission has made up its mind," Alm said.

'WASTED THEIR TIME'

In arguing against a vote, several committee members said the Akaka bill is a political issue and not one dealing with civil rights.

Burgess rejected that argument. "This bill is about civil rights. What could be more important than a bill that could deprive the citizens of a part of this state?"

Committee member Vernon Char said he felt obligated to vote up or down on the matter. "We're charged with a duty, we should all stand up," he said.

Committee member James Kuroiwa Jr. said he was disappointed that no vote on the Akaka bill was held. "You get all these people come to voice their opinion and we're not getting their voices forward," he said. "It's like they wasted their time coming out and giving their position."

Supporters of the Akaka bill see federal recognition as a first step in rectifying the wrongs inflicted on Native Hawaiians when U.S. citizens helped with the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. They also believe federal recognition is needed to stave off legal challenges that have been mounted against Hawaiians-only programs such as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs established by the federal and state governments, programs they also believe are needed to rectify the impacts of the overthrow.

POLAR OPPOSITES

Some opponents of federal recognition, however, say programs reserved for the benefit of Hawaiians discriminate against non-Hawaiians and that a separate Native Hawaiian entity could lead to a divided Hawai'i. Other opponents of the bill believe it does not go far enough in addressing the wrongs committed against Hawaiians.

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona, whose agency has been a key target for Burgess and others opposed to Hawaiians-only programs, said she was pleased by the committee's decision yesterday to not take a position on the Akaka bill. Apoliona noted that earlier in the day, committee members had decided to focus on the disparity in criminal rights and fair housing. "Those are civil rights issues," she said. "I think now they can get on with their priorities and do their job as a civil rights advisory committee."

Committee member Linda Colburn said she's hopeful that she and her colleagues will now be able to put aside their differences and tackle some of those other issues. "I think it's a more constructive use of our energies," she said. "There's a lot of talent at this table, and to have it grinding away at impasse time and time again is a waste of that talent."

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http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/articles/2007/11/16/local/local08.txt
West Hawaii Today (Kona), November 16, 2007

State advisory panel makes no recommendation on Akaka Bill

by Nancy Cook Lauer
Stephens Media Capitol Bureau

HONOLULU -- A state advisory panel voted Thursday not to make a recommendation about the Akaka Bill to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an action that lets stand an earlier panel's recommendation supporting the bill.

Instead, members of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee decided by an 8-6 margin to concentrate the remainder of their two-year terms on two other civil rights issues -- the disproportionate percentage of Native Hawaiians in prison and fair housing.

"The Akaka Bill, I really don't see as a civil rights matter. I think it's political," said committee member Amefil "Amy" Agbayani. "The Akaka Bill is a hot potato."

The Akaka Bill, which last month passed the U.S. House and now awaits a Senate vote, would pave the way for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.

Proponents say indigenous Hawaiians, like Native Americans, deserve certain considerations for inhabiting land and having governments that were taken over by the United States. Opponents say the bill violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection by establishing a race-based class with special privileges.

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a major proponent of the Akaka Bill, left the meeting relieved that the committee decided not to make a recommendation. "It's good because now they're going to focus on the real issues," Apoliona said.

Committee member Bill Burgess, an attorney who has represented clients in lawsuits challenging Native Hawaiian preferences, pushed the committee to make a recommendation. He noted that people from all over the state flocked to public hearings, with most opposing the bill. "A lot of people (were) grateful that they had an opportunity to be heard," Burgess said. "They're very aware of the Akaka Bill, and they're very worried about the consequences of the bill."

The committee encountered criticism early on by those, including Apoliona, who charged that the Bush administration, which opposes the bill, "stacked" it with opponents to bring about a foregone conclusion.

"We have no analysis. We have no comprehensive report," said committee member Linda Colburn, who voted against making a recommendation. "We got off to a real rocky start, and we're likely to have little credibility with respect to our position."

But committee member Thomas Macdonald also wanted to see a recommendation. An opponent of the Akaka Bill, Macdonald said it would put 2.2 million acres of land and more than $500 million into the hands of just 20 percent of the population. "This is about land. This is about money," Macdonald said.

Committee Chairman Michael Lilly, who did not vote and has declined to state his position on the Akaka Bill, said he's been "very conflicted" on the issue. He said his ancestors weren't of Hawaiian blood, but they were subjects of Queen Liliuokalani and stood with her during the overthrow.

"My grandfather said he was Hawaiian. They all lost their queen and their nation in 1893," Lilly said. "I frankly wish the Akaka Bill could rectify all the wrongs that have been done. ... We'll never ever know. I only hope that whatever happens, it can be pono. I don't know if that's going to be."

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** One day after everybody else, Honolulu Star-Bulletin finally reports the news about the civil rights committee; but also tells how each member voted.

http://starbulletin.com/2007/11/17/news/briefs.html
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 17, 2007

Panel tables Akaka Bill debate

Discussion on the Akaka Bill was spiked Thursday by the Hawaii State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

The panel voted 8-6 against taking a new vote on the bill to grant federal recognition to native Hawaiians. "We believe the previous report is an excellent one and identifies the issues," said committee member Amy Agbayani. The 2001 panel report supported the bill.

The vote thwarted the federal commission's effort to get local support for its position against the bill. In July the eight-member commission appointed 17 members to the advisory panel, including six people active in issues concerning Hawaiian sovereignty or the bill.

The commission said last year that the bill would "discriminate on the basis of race or national origin." The Bush administration based its position against the Akaka Bill on the commission report.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs applauded the local committee decision. "This Hawaii committee was being positioned into making a decision through manipulation by majority members of the USCCR in Washington, D.C.," said OHA board Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona in a release.

Agbayani said the local panel "will not be discussing native Hawaiian issues" during its two-year term.

Voting to table further debate were Agbayani, Robert Alm, Daphne Barbee-Wooten, Jennifer Benck, Linda Colburn, Michelle Nalani Fujimori, Wayne Tanna and Jackie Young. Voting to continue debate were H. William Burgess, Vernon Char, Rubellite Johnson, James Kuroiwa, Thomas MacDonald and Paul Sullivan. Members Kheng See Ang and Kealoha Pisciotta did not attend the Thursday meeting at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Chairman Michael Lilly abstained from voting.

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071120/OPINION02/711200305/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, November 20, 2007, Letter to editor

AKAKA BILL
LETTER OMITTED CONTEXT OF 2001 HISAC REPORT

In his zeal to reiterate opposition to the Akaka bill, Tom Macdonald (Letter, Nov. 8) mischaracterizes the Hawai'i State Advisory Committee's 2001 report. Recommendation No. 4 (out of nine) states, "International solutions should be explored as alternatives to the recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity." The report calls upon our government to "engage in a dialogue with Hawaiian leaders to examine the issues surrounding as wide a variety of options for reconciliation as possible."

Macdonald's incomplete quotes omit the 2001 report's recognition, also acknowledged by the Supreme Court in Texas v. White (1868), that withdrawal from the Union would be authorized if the other states give their consent to such a drastic endeavor — clearly a "remote" possibility.

The 2001 HISAC report simply suggests that "the United States should give due consideration" to Native Hawaiian claims for justice under international law. By comparison, Macdonald has revealed the eagerness of yet another member of the new HISAC majority to silence minority voices.

Macdonald's repeated characterization of HISAC's 2001 report as "extreme" reveals an attitude toward international law that is eerily reminiscent of the Bush administration's violations of the Geneva Conventions (concerning the treatment of noncombatants and prisoners of war). In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), even the ultra-conservative U.S. Supreme Court recognized that international law is deeply embedded in our legal system.

Even more glaring is Macdonald's omission of the fundamental context provided by our country's broken promises to its indigenous people — not to mention African-Americans. The 1980 and 1991 HISAC reports exposed Native Hawaiian justice claims and the compelling need for reconciliation. However, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights utterly failed to address these substantive issues in its 2006 report.

David Forman
Past HISAC Chair

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071123/OPINION02/711230320/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, November 23, 2007, Letter to editor

AKAKA BILL
PANEL'S REVIEW HELPED EDUCATE THE PUBLIC

The Hawai'i Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted not to make a recommendation on the Akaka bill. The commission has been in opposition.

Our six public hearings generated great public interest. We heard from supporters and opponents of the bill, which was authored by a friend, Sen. Daniel Akaka. As a keiki o ka 'aina in a family of Hawaiian citizens since the 1840s, I reflect a perspective infrequently expressed. My kupuna kane, grandfather, born in Hawai'i in 1885, was a royalist, as were his father and older brothers who were arrested by the revolutionaries and held in the armory.

According to Queen Liliuo'kalani's book, his father, J.S. Walker, died during the revolution "by the treatment he received from the hands of the revolutionists. He was one of many who from persecution had succumbed to death."

To the extent the premise of the Apology Resolution and the Akaka bill is that the revolution deposed a queen only of Native Hawaiians, they are wrong. On that infamous January day in 1893, Hawaiian citizens of all ethnic backgrounds lost their queen and nation.

The Akaka bill provokes strong responses. Supporters point to the unlawful U.S.-backed revolution that should be made pono. Opponents are of two camps. One says our Constitution gave Hawaiians parity and the right to vote. Separatists want independent recognition, which Dr. Blaisdell said would be multiracial. All sides claim polls show the public supports them. Regardless, the issue has never been voted on.

Our consideration of the bill helped educate the public about Hawaiians and the plight of their neediest constituents. Regardless of one's stand, we can all agree that Hawai'i would not be Hawai'i without Native Hawaiians.

Michael A. Lilly
Chairman, Hawai'i Advisory Committee

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http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071127/OPINION02/711270305/1108
Honolulu Advertiser, November 27, 2007

NO POSITION ON AKAKA BILL WAS WISE POSITION

I congratulate the Hawaii State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for a wise decision to refrain from sending a resolution for or against the Akaka bill to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

It is right. The Civil Rights Commission is not the place to rule on this matter. It is an issue of indigenous rights and redress.

The committee can now put its focus where it belongs — instances of housing, employment and education discrimination that have actually occurred as opposed to the imagined civil rights discrimination that opponents erroneously claim could occur if the bill passes. Although it has been shown over and over again that no civil rights losses will be incurred by the non-natives in Hawai'i if the Akaka bill passes, Mr. Burgess still beats the dead horse because it furthers his racist-based agenda.

The bill became an issue to the Civil Rights Commission because Republicans in Congress are desperate to overturn the affirmative action laws before the Bush administration ends, as they promised when elected to office.

They seized upon the Akaka bill as a means to an end. Sadly, a tiny minority of our local residents aided their cause at the expense of Native Hawaiians.

The Civil Rights Commission has had a noble mission based on the blood, tears, sweat and ultimate sacrifice of many during our history. I salute the members of our committee who held steadfast to those beliefs.

Su Yates
Honolulu

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http://www.oha.org/pdf/kwo07/KWO0712.pdf
OHA monthly newspaper, December 2007, page 3

No Akaka Bill recommendation by civil rights panel

By the Public Information Office

A controversial local advisory panel to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights decided against taking a new position on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, leaving intact the panel’s support of the Akaka Bill.

The Hawaii State Advisory Committee voted 8-6 not to make a recommendation to the civil rights commission on the measure that is pending before Congress.

Voting to table further debate and deliberation on the Akaka Bill were HSAC members Amy Agbayani, Robert Alm, Daphne E. Barbee-Wooten, Jennifer Benck, Linda Colburn, Michelle Nalani Fujimori, Wayne Tanna and Jackie Young. Voting to continue debate were members H. William Burgess, Vernon Char, Rubellite Johnson, James Kuroiwa, Thomas MacDonald and Paul Sullivan. One member, Kheng See Ang, was absent from last month’s proceedings at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Critics of the panel have argued that the committee was “stacked” with Akaka Bill opponents who are seeking to dismantle Hawaiian programs.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs was pleased with the committee’s vote taken during a meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikïkï. “As we have maintained for months, this Hawai‘i committee was being positioned into making a decision through manipula- tion by majority members of the USCCR in Washington, D.C., and their staff director,” said Haunani Apoliona, chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

HSAC opponents of the Akaka Bill argued that the panel should have taken. a position.

“We now owe those folks some accountability,” member Paul Sullivan said.

OHA reviewed the 2006 USCCR decision, and documented its many flaws. OHA also reviewed the HSAC, whose members are appointed by the USCCR, and the local hearings that were held. All that is contained in a report titled: Correcting the Record: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Justice for Native Hawaiians. A copy of the OHA report is available on the OHA website at www.oha.org.

OHA alerted the public about irregularities in the USCCR selection process after none of the nine names OHA submitted were selected for placement on HSAC.

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

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119872002552251849.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2007, page A10
REVIEW & OUTLOOK

Too Much Good Sense

Imagine the media outrage if a Republican Congress reduced funding for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Yet that's exactly what Democrats did in the omnibus spending bill that President Bush signed yesterday. Not that we're complaining.

The commission, which does fact-finding and issues reports but has no enforcement power, marks its 50th anniversary next month. Needless to say, the country has made enormous racial progress since the Eisenhower Administration. And the federal government already handles discrimination allegations through the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, among other agencies.

By way of explaining the funding cut, however, lawmakers didn't mention redundancy or obsolescence. Instead, they said, "The Appropriations Committees have serious reservations about the Commission's current capacity and commitment to fulfilling its civil rights mission in a fair and effective manner." In other words, Democrats are hot and bothered because liberals no longer run the place, and they don't like the positions the commission has been taking of late.

Last year, for example, the commission criticized the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which is very popular with Democrats. Sponsored by Democratic Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, it would create a sovereign government for native Hawaiians that could lead to discriminatory treatment of non-natives who make up more than 80% of the state's population. A commission majority noted that the Akaka bill would "establish an impermissible racial preference in the establishment and operation of a governing entity."

Other commission reports that haven't sat well with the political left include "Affirmative Action in American Law Schools," which found that "admitting students into law schools for which they might not academically be prepared could harm their academic performance and hinder their ability to obtain secure and gainful employment." And in 2005, the commission described how several federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Education and Energy, had failed to consider race-neutral procurement practices as required by the 1995 Supreme Court decision, Adarand v. Pena.

The timing of the funding cut is also odd given that the commission has rarely been better managed. Back in the 1990s, a Government Accountability Office report referred to the commission under liberal activist Mary Frances Berry as "an agency in disarray" and said it lacked "basic management controls." Ms. Berry, who served at the agency for more than 20 years before her term expired in 2004, had turned it into her personal fiefdom. Things got so bad that when Mr. Bush named Peter Kirsanow to fill a vacancy in 2001, Ms. Berry refused to seat him until a federal court forced her to do so.

The agency has since put its own house in order under current Chairman Gerald Reynolds. Last month it earned an unprecedented second consecutive clean financial audit. If anything today's commission deserves a medal for good governance, not a reprimand from Congress. Today's commission is also truer to its original conception as promoting equal rights, which is what really drives the left mad.

However, as long as the agency exists, so will the temptation to politicize it. Perhaps the best course is to defund it completely, which might happen if the agency keeps up the good work.


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