Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 primary election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Kealii Makekau, a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee at-large position. There are six other candidates, including Daniel Anthony, Haunani Apoliona, Douglas Crum, Leona Kalima, Paul Mossman and Kelii Akina.
Name: Kealii Makekau
Office seeking: Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee at large
Occupation: Accredited resident manager
Community organizations: Order of Kamehameha 1; Elks Club #616
Age as of Aug. 13, 2016: 45
Place of residence: Honolulu
1. This year has seen an outsized influence from people who want big changes in how government is run. What would you do to change how OHA is run?
First a complete, independent fiscal forensic audit of all holdings and resources followed by a review of the Board of Trustees policy handbook and master plan by a committee of the whole. Lastly term limits for each seat implemented.
2. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
Yes. Hawaii’s people need to stay in touch with government and who they vote to represent them. But people need to vote in order to do that.
3. Would you support eliminating Hawaii’s high fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest?
For public interest the fee should be reduced dramatically, say 80 percent for all peoples.
4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
Again trustee term limits for starters, then a greater respect and obedience for the sunshine law and how it’s administered. The more transparent you are the more informed are the people who will then be satisfied and up to date with ones actions.
5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
Ending the Native Hawaiian governing entity process and all funded programs related to the nation building effort, which has since 2000 cost $33 million with no result.
6. Is OHA fulfilling its mandate to serve the Hawaiian people?
No! Since 2000 the strategic plan has been centered on the formation of a government entity or tribe similar to Native Americans at a failed cost of $33 million plus. But sadly the majority of the Board of Trustees has let economic opportunities like a medical marijuana dispensary and the development of the Kakaako Makai properties remain sidelined without a master plan either due to incompetence or instructions that the new tribal entity will have the first shot at that and more.
Lastly the long‐term sustainability of Native Hawaiian assets that provide for all of OHA’s efforts, like education, land management, fiscal resilience, economic sustainability and youth awareness must be managed and maintained properly, and as we have seen in the recent years that has not been the case as the trust is almost insolvent.
7. What are your views regarding Hawaiian independence?
Due to admitted acts of insurgency, rebellion and the overthrow of the constitutional monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the de jure nation is under a continued impairment and is properly considered as an irregular state. It is, therefore, within the “perfect right” of the Hawaiian people to commence and complete sovereignty reinstatement procedures. The reinstatement process has never been brought up, examined or afforded resources via symposiums, academic debate and community dialogue. Until such time as that happens, justice and complete respect to the law and sprit of our ancestors will not be realized.
8. Are you satisfied with the way OHA has negotiated with the state over ceded-land revenues?
Hell no! The ceded land settlement for Kakaako Makai property proved to be an undervalued and mishandled negotiation from the start. Not securing the submerged lands’ water rights and inheriting the landfill contamination has hampered the overall best use and value of the entire site. Fortunately commercial zoning is already in place and with experienced management and remediation work, the potential for a small commercial city offering employment opportunities for businesses both local and mainland can be realized. This would show Kakaako’s fullest potential and yield income for the trust, which funds all of OHA’s programs.
9. Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails? What can be done about it?
For some Hawaiians the Western model of living doesn’t work or relate to the value system needed to thrive in today’s world. Hawaiian charter schools have shown amazing results, thus yielding a percentage of positive results all around. Funding for programs like this and traditional rehab for inmates will help to reduce the dismal numbers and restore a vibrant community and ohana.
10. Do you support the construction of the TMT telescope atop Mauna Kea?
Until such time as the first and obsolete telescopes are decommissioned/dismantled and the overall cost for building and using it are proposed and realized with an environmental impact statement along with cultural practices and access, no.