Responses to Surveys and Questionnaires
Ka Wai Ola OHA Trustee Candidate Survey
1. What are the top three issues facing the Native Hawaiian community?
Family- All kanaka maoli ‘ohana must have their basic needs for living (shelter, food, and good health).
Community-based leadership- OHA can assist communities develop community-driven programs that benefit kanaka maoli. We need to strengthen community-based leadership. Community-based leadership should act as a catalyst for the ‘ohana to access services.
Social Justice- We must build the infrastructure for multi-complex health and wellness centers, where the native Hawaiian trusts and agencies are located, allowing direct access to obtain services.
2. OHA's mission is to improve conditions for Native Hawaiians. What skills do you offer to help fulfill OHA's mission?
I am trained and experienced to lead, and manage social service and community-based agencies in order to effectively assist native Hawaiian communities. My strengths are in organizational and leadership skills, and I have decades of experience working with various levels of service on large-scale community development projects to completion.
I adopted a wise saying from Hilo’s kupuna Tony Taniguchi. He said, “The difference between quality and high quality service is when the product exceeds the expectation of the customer. That is high quality.” I continue to strive for excellence in all my endeavors.
3. How can OHA better ensure that Maunakea and its cultural and environmental integrity are appropriately protected?
The purpose of OHA includes: “Assessing the policies and practices of other agencies impacting on native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, and conducting advocacy efforts for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians.” There are widely known and accepted kanawai that apply to Mauna A Wakea, starting from Wao Akua and above. OHA should continue to support the protectors that are dedicated to upholding these kanawai. By protecting them, the cultural and environmental integrity of the mauna will be protected. It is important for OHA to continue to advocate for those that stand for Hawaiian traditional values, and find common ground within the native Hawaiian community. If our cultural integrity is to be protected, there cannot be a Thirty Meter Telescope in or above the Wao Akua of Mauna A Wakea.
4. Should affordable housing incentives (fee waivers, regulatory exemptions, state funds, subsidies) required housing developers to ensure that their projects are actually affordable to low middle and lower income families?
5. OHA receives 20% of Public Land Trust (PLT) revenues annually per Legislation passed in 1980. That has never been honored, Instead, OHA receives 3.8% of PLT revenue annually. Do you support fulfilling the State PLT revenue obligation to OHA?
Yes. Let me at um!
6. Would you support a "green fee" levied on every visitor to the state that would be to support "aina conservation programs" (invasive species removal, reforestation, establishment of additional nature preserves and sanctuaries?
Yes. While I support the concept of offsetting the costs of aina conservation programs, I would need more information about the legality, responsibilities, and details about a “green fee” initiative in order to provide a definitive answer to this question
7. Do you support legislation to incentivize diversified, regenerative agriculture and establish self-sustainable food resources for Hawaii to establish food sovereignty?
Yes. While this is a state legislative issue, OHA has an obligation to support food sovereignty in Hawai’i for the betterment of Kanaka Maoli.
8. Should the State Land Use Commission's unique procedures protecting public trust resources and Native Hawaiian rights be reduced or removed when urban type developments are proposed for agriculture or rural lands?
No. For the State Land Use Commission to negate the unique procedures protecting public trust resources in favor of urban development is to undermine its mission and purpose. The key to this question is "Native Hawaiian rights." A right is different from a privilege. A right is a guarantee.
League of Women Voters Candidate Guide
1. Please provide a brief Candidate Statement describing your qualifications and why you are running for office.
By applying for the OHA seat, I am paying tribute to our Queen’s legacy and standing firm with the Hawaiian value, 'Oi kau ka la, e hana i ola honua (while the sun yet shines, do all you can); and doing all I can for my community and beyond. My qualifications include:
Well-versed in legal documents with ability to negotiate in favor of my people
Understands Board obligations, roles, and responsibilities, especially being respectful to staff
Keen on fiscal matters
Keen on policy making
Keen on grant management
Successful track record with developing and executing strategic planning
As a kanaka wahine, our beloved Queen Liliuokalani has always been a source of inspiration. My objective has been to have my work be a tribute to her legacy.
2. What are your top two goals and how will you achieve them if elected?
OHA must be well-versed in disaster relief and recovery efforts to support our people. We need infrastructure to address vulnerabilities, like the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore the two top goals are:
Goal 1: to reassess and realign all OHA programs as well as the community partners who carry-out its deliverables with the intent to provide support to our people’s needs: shelter, food, and health.
Goal 2: contribute to OHA’s efforts in working with the State of Hawai’i and the Department of Interior to remedy the 20% Ceded Land Trust debacle.
As an OHA Trustee, I will also make it an imperative and ongoing practice to work alongside my constituency as my application for this seat is because and for them.
Ka Lahui Hawaii- Koho Pono 2020
1. Do you support measures introduced in the State Legislature that would transfer/sell/lease parts of the 1.8 million acres of “ceded lands” a.k.a. stolen Hawaiian lands from the Department of Land and Natural Resources to other departments, agencies, organizations and/or corporations?
NO. I support leasing lands, but not selling or transferring lands. Leasing generates revenue. However, the terms of the leases matter. These leases must directly and proportionally benefit the Hawaiian people. I recommend that OHA Trustees should have a seat on the BLNR, and have an authoritative say in lease terms in order to protect Kanaka interest in ceded land revenues.
2. Do you support providing legal protections and property tax exemptions to kuleana land owners?
YES. Providing legal protections and property tax exemptions to kuleana land owners falls under OHA’s purpose and obligations, which includes “betterment of conditions of native Hawaiians”.
3. Do you support Federal recognition of a “Native Hawaiian” government entity under the 43 CFR Part 50 entitled “Procedures for Reestablishing a Formal Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community”?
NO. I do not support Federal Recognition under the 43 CFR Part 50. According to the 43 CFR Part 50, “Recognition” is defined as “a formal political act [that] permanently establishes a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the recognized tribe as a ‘domestic dependent nation.” I do not believe that “domestic dependent nation” accurately represents the political status of Hawaii or our full potential for government to government relations with the United States.
4. Do you support the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea?
5. If elected, would you support using OHA lands and monies to build infrastructure and very affordable homes for all Kanaka Maoli families (any blood quantum) who meet income qualifications?
NO. For an OHA trustee, the mandate is to protect Native Hawaiian rights and interests. If our cultural integrity is to be protected, there cannot be a Thirty Meter Telescope in the Wao Akua of Mauna Kea. Our people have stood, and they have spoken. Kanaka Maoli have the right to say no
YES. I support using OHA resources to build infrastructure to create attainable housing for all Kanaka Maoli.
Aunty Tootsie Peleiholani and I worked together to develop an entire community of Native Hawaiians that are using sweat equity to build homes on their ‘aina as they can. The Kikala-Keokea subdivision is a 67 one-acre lot subdivision (with a four acre park) developed for the purpose of helping Native Hawaiian families of Kalapana to be able to return to a landbase in their onehanau as they were displaced by lava flows. It has county roads, county water, and electricity. We did this by partnering with the community, the legislature, the County of Hawaii, DLNR, OHA, and other agencies in order to preserve the ‘ohana and lifestyles of Kalapana.
We were not working “outside of the box”; we made “the box” bigger. Our ‘ohana in Kalapana grew to include all of the entities necessary to achieve this accomplishment.
Civil Beat Candidate Survey
1) What do you see as the most pressing issue facing Native Hawaiians? What will you do about it?
The most pressing concern facing native Hawaiians today is Covid-19. Our native kanaka must be protected. I will open my line of communication and work to coordinate distribution of resources in order to deliver a culturally appropriate response. I see a need to increase communication between the OHA Board of Trustees and the Hawaiian people. We need to activate a daily communication system to engage the public and encourage our people to continue to maka’ala. We cannot afford to lose our people to this devastating disease; all precautions must be in place. I will continue to work to support the communities’ effort to create opportunities for Hawaiian people to live with health and integrity
2) What would you do to change how OHA is run?
OHA Island Trustees should not be voted statewide. Each island Trustee should be voted by the island they represent: Hawaii Island, Maui, Moloka'i/Lana'i, Oahu, Kaua'i/Ni'ihau. It doesn't make sense that O'ahu residents vote Maui's Trustee or vice versa. OHA's Trustees-at-Large could be voted statewide since they deal with State issues. It doesn't make sense that monies that come from "ceded lands" to Native Hawaiians only can be voted by other ethnic groups.
As a Trustee, I plan to provide a mechanism for consistent engagement for families to share accomplishments, challenges, experiences, and grievances with the Office of Hawaiian Affair
3) What would you do to bridge the gaps within the Native Hawaiian community over issues like construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope or development of energy projects
The purpose of OHA includes: “Assessing the policies and practices of other agencies impacting on native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, and conducting advocacy efforts for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians”. It is important for OHA to continue to advocate those that stand for Hawaiian traditional values, and find common ground within the native Hawaiian community. I feel it is the Trustee’s kuleana to study the issue and all applicable laws, and stand for what is just for the Kanaka Maoli. The issue, to me, is that the environmental rights, laws, rules, and regulations must be applied with fidelity
4) Do you support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea? Why or why not
OHA’s mandate is to advocate for Native Hawaiian rights and interests. If our cultural integrity is to be protected, there cannot be anything (let alone a Thirty Meter Telescope) in or above the Wao Akua of Mauna Kea. Our people have stood, and they have spoken. Kanaka Maoli are under OHA’s protection and have the inherent right to say no
5) Do you support OHA providing financial aid to Mauna Kea protesters?
Yes. The State of Hawaii laws define the purpose of OHA to include: “Assessing the policies and practices of other agencies impacting on native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, and conducting advocacy efforts for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians”. Funding support for protectors that are standing for cultural beliefs is in line with OHA’s purpose
6) What role should the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands play in reducing homelessness?
The DHHL plays a major role in reducing homelessness. Their purpose is to provide housing for native Hawaiian beneficiaries. At this time, DHHL is land rich and cash poor. Therefore, we need to help them increase their revenue base by advocating for them on a legislative level so the State of Hawaii fulfills its legal obligations to provide administrative costs for this department.
7) Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails? What can be done about it?
The criminal justice system is biased against native Hawaiians, as evidenced in the OHA Report on the Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System. Other factors of this issue include income inequity, transgenerational trauma, educational oppression and deprivation of Kanaka Maoli government, land, language, and religious freedom. Criminal Justice reform is necessary to address these issues, especially for non-violent crimes. Innovative programs to establish culturally and community based rehabilitation centers should be implemented and widely available for all our people.
8) What are your views regarding Hawaiian self-determination?
Hawaii became a nation in 1846 recognized by England and France. We were on par with all nations in the world. I believe we are a nation and that we can regain nationhood status. The process is within our grasp
9) What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
The State has done a poor job working with the Hawaiian community. Native Hawaiians were put under the State's care via the Federal government. Perhaps we should bypass the State and work directly with the Federal government to address the need for reparations with OHA. In this reality, nationhood status could come much sooner.