AGENCIES FAILED, NEED SUBSTANTIAL REFORM
On Prince Kuhio's birthday, I addressed the people of Hawai'i at Mauna 'Ala, saying that the United States did not have clear title to the crown and government lands it received from the Republic of Hawai'i under the 1898 Newlands Resolution, because those very lands were taken from Queen Lili'uokalani by forcible overthrow of her government with the support and complicity of the United States military.
These lands are still Hawaiian lands that rightfully belonged to Queen Li- li'uokalani and her legal descendants, to be held in trust for the Hawaiian people.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Hawai'i's law, and not the Apology Resolution, will determine the fate of these lands. The ruling highlights why it is imperative that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs must defend the birthrights of Hawaiians to these crown and government lands.
So far these agencies have failed to fulfill their solemn duty. The chairman of the DHHL is a member of the governor's cabinet, and acts at the behest of the governor. Even worse, OHA was willing a year ago to waive Hawaiian rights to these lands at the request of the Lingle administration until public outrage intervened.
There must be a moratorium on all efforts to settle and resolve any of these land issues until these agencies are substantially reformed, made more transparent and accountable, and the Hawaiian community fully informed about what is at stake.
Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawananakoa
KAWANANAKOA DIDN'T HAVE FACTS STRAIGHT
It is almost tragic that someone as prominent as Abigail Kawananakoa would make such outrageous statements as she did at the recent observance of Kuhio Day.
Anyone with any knowledge of the history of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands knows that since the present chairman, Micah Kane, has directed its operations the department has done more to assist its beneficiaries than ever before.
I have spent 50 years in public service, have witnessed the despair felt by DHHL beneficiaries in times past, and am aware of their joys now that the department is really serving their needs. OHA actively assists DHHL in meeting the beneficiaries' needs by contributing $3 million annually, which pays the interest on DHHL's capital improvement bond issues. OHA also assists DHHL's financial responsibility programs.
Kawananakoa says OHA has not helped any families. Ask the students in the charter schools, and especially the immersion schools, how OHA has assisted in their education. Ask those scholars at the University of Hawai'i whom OHA has assisted in obtaining their master's degrees and doctorates. Ask the nonprofits now struggling through this recession how they would fare without the $18 million OHA granted them in 2008. Ask those beneficiaries who have been assisted by OHA's loan programs.
Bottom line is OHA and DHHL serve the Native Hawaiian community, and by extension all Hawai'i residents.Walter Heen
OHA vice chairman
FERRY SERVICE THAT ALL CAN SUPPORT WELCOME
In his letter to the editor (April 2), Jim Endicott voices a common misperception about those who protested Superferry: that they are against an alternative means of transportation in Hawai'i. In fact, almost all of us favor an interisland ferry service.
How these ferries would be different is that they would carry passengers only, with some cargo capacity. That would substantially reduce the threat of invasive pest transfer and removal of already depleted ocean and mountain resources from the outer islands. No more searching of vehicles and personal property. Their speed would be like that of other interisland vessels, the danger to whales being nearly eliminated. Unlike Superferry, which could never turn a profit because it was too big for the population base it served, these ferries would be sized appropriate to our travel needs. Finally, they would have Hawai'i ownership, private or public.
Mr. Endicott closes by encouraging Superferry supporters, and by inference not others, to be heard. On the contrary, next time everyone should be heard by way of a legitimate EIS process. That way we can get a ferry service everyone can support.Kip Goodwin
WHY MUST STATE WORKERS BEAR BURDEN?
I am a "state employee," one of many, whose job is on the line right now. My question is, why are the state employees expected to correct the state deficit? It wasn't state employees who caused this deficit; why are we carrying the burden? Shouldn't it be the responsibility of all living in Hawai'i?
What's wrong with raising our general excise tax to 6 percent? It is everyone's responsibility living here in our great state to try and bring it out of its financial crisis. All of us enjoy the good times so shouldn't it be all of us carrying this burden?
What's wrong with having a state lottery system? Other states have it and it works fine for them. We create cohorts at the drop of a hat to study this and that; why not create one to study having a state lottery system? This alone will bring our state above and beyond any deficit we may face in the future.Ginger Kahunahana
NAVY HASN'T BEEN TOP THREAT TO ECOSYSTEM
Is the state trying to make up for the budget deficit? The Navy is the protector of the state and I think the different services try to be good stewards for the state of Hawai'i. The reef is damaged as can be seen, but actually it's not that big an area.
The biggest threat to our coral reefs and ecosystem has for years been the runoff from the golf courses and the sewage spills that happen four to five times or more a year.
Some by accident and most deliberately released into our canals and ocean. That does way more damage than this incident with the Navy ship. What do you do about those incidents?Adrienne L. Wilson-Yamasaki