Is It Time To Kill The Akaka Bill?

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - June 24, 2009
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Oh, really?

You can take this one to the bank: City managing director Kirk Caldwell will not have filed for the late Duke Bainum’s City Council seat when the deadline expires this Saturday.

Think about this obviously arranged scenario:

Mufi Hannemann steps down next February or March to campaign full time for governor. Caldwell becomes acting mayor.

He files just before July 22 for mayor and uses the slogan managing director Jeremy Harris used in the same situation in 1994 when Frank Fasi stepped down to run for governor: “The best mayor you can elect is the one you already have.”

(Not mentioning, of course, on an acting basis.)


 

You read it first in MidWeek.

 

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I just can’t seem to get my sympathies wrapped around what’s commonly called the Akaka Bill - more properly a Native Hawaiian Government Recognition Proposal.

At best, I tend to say go ahead and pass it, but the chances are heavy that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike it down because Hawaiians don’t have the recognized standing of our 562 American Indian and Eskimo/Aleut tribes. Hawaii was an independent kingdom/nation.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie has tried to paint the anti-bill forces as people who don’t want to give Native Hawaiians control of parcels of ancestral land that are now very valuable.

I read that as a ploy in his governor’s run to woo Hawaiian votes that traditionally go to Republicans.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono says this is not race-based legislation, but clearly it is. That Native Hawaiians are indigenous to the Islands is not at issue.

It’s that a lot has changed since they first came here. Hawaii is multi-ethnic and a state with a constitution and one person, one vote. Giving separate governance to one blood line is ... well, basing governance on race.

If we go the Akaka Bill route, we’ll surely hear the most activist of Hawaiian sovereignty advocates insisting that any native government derives its power from this federal law and not from the U.S. Constitution. Bedlam!

I realize that the Akaka Bill doesn’t create a Hawaiian government; it merely authorizes Hawaiians to negotiate governance alongside the state.

But there are deep divisions in the Hawaiian movement and I’d expect those negotiations to devolve into chaos.

There are many groups such as the Hawaiian Independence Alliance that oppose the Akaka solution.


They believe Hawaii is illegally occupied by America, period. Actually, there are several Hawaiian groups that oppose the Akaka Bill because they believe sovereignty is a right, not a privilege to be negotiated.

My central objection is over trying to rewrite history. We are today what we are. We can’t go back to Capt. Cook’s time, or even 1893, and reconstitute the Kingdom of Hawaii.

No, we’d be better off continuing to integrate Hawaiians into the fabric of the state and eventually dismantling the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

I know saying that is not going to get me elected governor. Luckily, I have no political ambition, so I’m free to say what seems to make good sense and not just what collects votes.

 

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I doubt there’s a legal case to be made that the city has violated any rule by using that “I Love Rail” logo on its informational newsletters with transit updates.

But have you ever seen a more pathetic logo?

Come on, guys! If you’re going to have a logo, hire someone such as Clarence Lee, the Chinese New Year postage stamp designer, and get a real eye-thumper, not that wimpy, heart-shaped loser.

Most of us don’t love rail, we just accept that it has to be because we’ve run out of room for cars.

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