OHA’s End-run Bad For All Hawaii

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - March 16, 2011
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In an article currently on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs website, Clyde Namu’o writes: “OHA believes Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act will benefit all of Hawaii.”

Namu’o concludes, “Most important, the NHGRA will enable Native Hawaiians to create a better future for themselves and their families. It will benefit all of Hawaii by bringing closure to this issue that has prevented our state from realizing its full potential for decades.”

First and foremost, the only thing that has prevented our state from “realizing its full potential for decades” is our state Legislature. And taking it one step further, since we elect the Legislature, it is we who continue to keep our state from realizing its full potential. When are we going to wise up? And it is this same dysfunctional (it’s function is to represent us) Legislature that will be negotiating the terms and structure of this new “Hawaiian governing entity.”

And as for bringing closure, how will the NHGRA achieve that for the percent of residents who are non-Hawaiian? In my 36-year Hawaii residency, I have never met a non-Hawaiian with a guilt complex or who was fretting about lack of “closure” on Native Hawaiian issues. In fact, far from bringing closure, it will bring opening - as in opening a huge can of worms!


I have covered all the negatives for our state and people (there are no positives) of the Akaka Bill in previous columns, but now with OHA’s attempted end-run around congressional approval by going directly to the state Legislature, a short summary is in order.

First, it is unconstitutional to have two classes of citizens based upon race. NHGRA is race-based no matter how you slice it. This was the basis for the courts finding OHA’s policy of Hawaiians-only voting for OHA trustees unconstitutional. As George Orwell put it in his book Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some are just more equal.”

Under the NHGRA, Hawaiians and nonHawaiians living next door to each other could be subject to different taxation laws, zoning laws and law enforcement. This has manifested on the Mainland on and around Native American reservations, a model held up by Sen. Akaka as one to be desired for Hawaii.

Imagine two gas stations across the street from each other, one Hawaiian-owned possibly paying no taxes and charging none on gasoline and cigarettes, and the other non-Hawaiian-owned charging and paying state and local taxes.

Fair competition?


Or consider profits from gambling casinos on Hawaiian home lands used to buy real estate in the center of Waikiki, which could then be deemed by the Hawaiian “governing entity” as an extension of the Hawaiian home lands zoned to accommodate gambling so that a “Waikiki casino” could then be built.

Sound far-fetched? These things have actually happened on the Mainland.

The Star-Advertiser editorial “Our View” (3/9/11), in discussing the two NHGRA bills moving through the state Capitol, outlines the process, “creating a voter roll (of Native Hawaiians), drawing up the documents of a government, having the electorate ratify it.” By the “electorate” they should mean, but don’t, all the voters of Hawaii, not just Hawaiians. This bill will significantly affect every citizen of the state and should not be passed without a plebiscite, a vote by all the people. We must not settle for less.

three star

This past week I received a few e-mails challenging my “alarmism” vis-a-vis the current activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. For readers with doubts, please Google “Muslim Brotherhood Activities in America.” Browse through the dozens of credible sources listed, including the “Brother-hood’s Five Phase Plan to bring full Jihad to America.”  One such source claims they
are already in phase three.

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