Editor’s note: For the November 8 general election in Hawaii, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer a few questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities would be if elected.
The following people came from Brickwood Galuteria, a candidate for the position of general administrator of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The other candidates for three seats are Lei Ahu Isa, Sam King, Chad Owens, Keoni Souza and John Waihee IV.
See Civil Beat’s election guide for general information and learn about the other candidates on the ballot in the general election.
1. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing Native Hawaiians? What will you do about it?
Political efficiency. As a legislator, I often observed the inability of Native Hawaiians to speak coherently. To talk about the same playbook. Mixed signals don’t bode well in politics. Conversely, as a disciplined electoral bloc, policymakers have no choice but to acknowledge Kanaka concerns.
We must strengthen, mobilize and amplify the Kanaka vote with a disciplined common theme. The ability to influence policy affects all aspects of our Hawaiian community, both Kanaka Maoli and those in Hawaii.
Equally important, I’m not looking to change the OHA so much as to ensure its original intent. The OHA is recognized, at least by those who created it in 1978, as the fourth branch of government in the state of Hawaii. Co-equal to the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
2. What would you do to fill the gaps within the Native Hawaiian community on issues such as building the Thirty Meter Telescope or developing energy projects?
First, weigh its true value for culture and science. Second, make sure a fair and balanced community benefits package is part of the dialogue.
3. Do you support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea? Why or why not? Could a new management structure help resolve long-standing conflicts?
Yes. I support both culture and science. We were given a unique makana in which to explore and contemplate our own Kumulipo – the song of creation. The supermassive black hole M87 has informally been given the Hawaiian name “Pōwehi”, a poetic description of generative darkness or the spirit world taken from the Kumulipo. The best platform to see “Powehi” is Mauna Kea.
Perhaps a new management structure could help resolve long-standing disputes. The past history of mauna management by DLNR and the University of Hawaii demonstrates that the current management structure is not effective and needs substantial improvement or modification. The working group must have balance and respect for and from all members around the table. Culture and science can and should work together. It can’t be one or the other.
Any change that occurs must be seen by the relevant stakeholders as legitimate and accompanied by the necessary authority and funding to assume the cultural, scientific, educational and environmental responsibilities to ensure that the most optimal balance between these interests can be considered and implemented.
4. What role should the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands play in reducing homelessness?
First, remove people from the waitlist. Second, to offer beneficiaries different types of housing solutions, i.e. low-income prices and/or rentals, vertical housing (apartments, condos), etc.
During the last legislative session, the Hawaii legislature allocated $600 million to the Department of Hawaiian Native Lands to remove more beneficiaries from a long waiting list. The money gives DHHL the ability to buy land, develop infrastructure for homes, or provide housing assistance. To this observation, see question n° 1
5. Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our jails and prisons? What can we do there?
In many ways, Native Hawaiian disparities among Hawaii’s prison population are the product of actions that occur at different stages of the justice system, beginning with the decision to make the initial arrest.
The first steps include making administrative or governmental resolutions to address the problem, setting goals, and collecting specific data at various points in the criminal justice system to determine where and to what extent racial disparities are occurring. I also support the creation of culture-based rehabilitation programs for Native Hawaiians, which help address the unresolved cultural trauma currently suffered by too many of our Native Hawaiians caught up in the criminal justice system.
6. What do you think of Hawaiian self-determination?
Self-determination is subjective. It deals with both the personal and societal point of view. Self-determination also encourages Native prosperity, which advances the economy, creates a better climate to connect and strengthen Native Hawaiian relationships, conveys Hawaiian values, and organizes the Hawaiian community into a powerful economic, social, and political voice.
What’s good for Kanaka Maoli is good for all of Hawaii. See question 1.
7. Does the OHA receive its fair share of revenue from surrendered lands from the state?
No. State law and the Hawaii state constitution clearly require the state to use 20 percent of the revenue it receives from the public land trust for the betterment of the Native Hawaiian people, a kuleana donated to the ‘OHA. The $15.1 million cap set by a previous administration is a fraction of what is owed.
The public land trust is comprised of approximately 1.4 million acres of Crown and government lands of the Ancient Hawaiian Kingdom, also known as surrender lands. These lands are managed by DLNR and leased to airports, hospitals, government agencies and the university, to name a few.
Last year, the state brought in about $205 million in public land revenue. Twenty percent of that number would mean $41 million for the OHA, and that number could be even higher – were it not for federal legislation exempting the state Department of Transportation from paying for the use of land under public trusteeship for airports.
In addition, and just as important, this “honor system” of declaring land income transferred requires a total overhaul starting with a global audit of each department. To start, we’ll take the data that the OHA used in the last legislative session. It is the most accurate and up-to-date.
8. Is the OHA fulfilling its mandate to serve the people of Hawaii?
Yes, and it can do more. The OHA fulfills its mandate through advocacy, research, community engagement, land stewardship, and community program funding. He does what he can to achieve this mission. He can and must do more.
The reality is that the OHA cannot address all disparities for all Native Hawaiians in all sectors based on the income it currently receives and so it must use its research, advocacy and ability to engage all sectors to make the necessary changes. An increase in revenue due and owed to the OHA would allow the OHA to commit more funds to increase the programs it is able to provide to bring about these changes and address existing economic, health, social and educational disparities. .
Again, the OHA is recognized, at least by those who created it in 1978, as the fourth branch of government in the state of Hawaii. Co-equal to the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. In receiving the full measure of this recognition, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, in its service to Kanaka Maoli, also serves greater Hawaii and all who call Hawaii home. Again, what is good and fair for Hawaiians is good for all of Hawaii.
9. Is Hawaii properly managing its tourism industry? What should be treated differently?
Under the leadership of John DeFries and the HTA Board of Directors, destination management took on an increased sense of urgency. HTA’s intent is clearly stated in the Tourism Strategic Plan: 2005-2015 to support nine goals that “honor the people and heritage of Hawaii, value and perpetuate our natural and cultural resources, and engender mutual respect among all stakeholders”.
The nine goals, or streams, included communications and outreach, Hawaiian culture, workforce development, safety and security, research and planning, natural resources, access and development. of products.
When I was chairman of the combined Senate committees on Hawaiian affairs and tourism, I suggested to HTA (then) chief Mike McCartney that we take the Hawaiian culture track, which stood vertically with the another eight, and made it horizontal to appear in all lenses. My reasoning was that “Hawaiian culture didn’t need a bigger seat at the table – it was the table!”
10. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed many flaws in Hawaii’s structure and systems, ranging from outdated technology to economic disparity. If you could take this moment to reinvent Hawaii, to build on what we’ve learned and create a better state, a better way of doing things, what would you do? Please share a great idea you have for Hawaii. Be innovative, but be specific.
The pandemic has forced serious dialogue. What have we learned in the past year and does this change the priorities of the state?
We have to reinvent the wheel. We seek to develop an agenda for action to deal with what has been a huge transformation of the world as we know it. Let’s prepare more Hawaiians for the jobs Hawaii needs now and moving forward. Sowing new economic sectors with new approaches to old ones by developing a more resilient and diversified economy with more paying jobs.
Our total reliance on tourism has repeatedly proven fragile in the face of external stressors (Covid-19, 9/11). Moreover, unhindered growth has strained our environment, our infrastructure and our communities.
There is no “miracle solution” that can replace tourism and industrial agriculture. On the contrary, we must seize every opportunity to create sustainable economic activity suitable for Hawaii. The big idea: diversify the economy. Not original, but necessary.
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