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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

Iulai-July 1996 Volume 2 Issue 7

Sovereignty Election Information “To Vote Or Not To Vote” In The HSEC Or Hawaiian Sovereignty Election?  

Submitted by QHA Trustee
Billie Beamer

Ekela Crozier presented four phrases on her Hawaiian Language Program that we should all remember and apply in these current deliberations regarding our sovereignty choices.

E Hoolohe i na iini ka poe Hawaii
Listen to the desires of the people (HSEC and OHA should listen)
E heluhelu i na nupepa
Read the newspaper for information (If there is real information available)
E hele i na halawai no ke ea Hawaii
Go to the meetings on Sovereignty (Only Ka Lahui and others are currently scheduling the puwalu)
E imi pono i ka naauao.
Speak with Knowledge (This plea is most important, share your information not accusations.)

The questions surrounding the sovereignty issue are justified, so we all need to educate ourselves, and listen to both sides of the question, “to vote or not to vote.”

First, HSEC is not part of OHA. It is a separate legislative creation that, in fact is controlled by the legislators. As a be beneficiary we have no direct input.

To understand, we must know why OHA was formed. In 1978 OHA was created by a constitutional amendment to Article XII, Sec. 5&6.

ITS PURPOSE: To formulate policy and manage the resources for Hawaiians until a sovereign entity was decided upon by the “Poe Hawaii” (Hawaiian Beneficiaries).

The most significant feature of OHA's structural model was, “the authority to govern itself.” The beneficiaries were given the rightful control and influence to protect their assets and future. Beneficiaries elect trustees, who are answerable to them. Trustees may not legally delegate their given authority to any other entity. Elected trustees allow:

  • people participation,
  • calls for accountability, and beneficiary oversight,
  • and reporting to beneficiaries.

Another feature was that power on the board was vested in nine trustees. No individual, committee, administrator or legislature, but the full board has the power to make binding decisions for the beneficiaries. Every decision is passed and reviewed by the board that must report to the beneficiaries.

The cost to elect a board was to be nominal if held with State Elections. (HSEC is separating from the State for its vote)

In 1979 the Legislature provided HRS 10 enabling statutes to implement the constitutional creation. Again, nowhere is power vested in anyone but the Board of Trustees which means nine, and the nine are accountable to the beneficiaries, which means all of us.

The Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of OHA in 1987. Circuit court Judge Huddy ruled OHA independent and separate from all three branches of Government.

In July 1993, Legislative Act 359 created a government arm to OHA. The Hawaiian Advisory Sovereignty Commission was replaced as the OHA sovereign advocate authority. It became an appointed state body, not accountable to Hawaiians. $210,000 was matched from 5F trust funds for native Hawaiians without approval.

Wasn't this the job of OHA?

Why take away OHA's constitutional mandate to be directed by its beneficiaries?

Another change! Act 200 in 1994 renamed the body The Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council. Of a $1,800,000 allocation, $900,000 was to be matched by OHA from 5F trust funds. The 20 member council had been appointed by Gov. Waihee.

Hui Imi was also another government task force put in place to plan for us. There was no beneficiary input.

How many beneficiaries do these organizations represent?

Sol Kahoohalahala Lanai Community
Analu Berard Kona Civic Club
Olani Decker Makee a Pono o Lahui
Sherry Evans Mainland Association Civic Clubs
Tasha Kama SCHHA Hawaiian Homes Association.
Mahealani Kamauu Honolulu Civic Club
Bruss Keppeler Hawaiian Civic Clubs
William Meheula Native Hawaiian Advisory
A'O Pohaku Rodenhurst Nation of Ku
Michael Minn Kauiki Council Ohana
Davianna McGregor Kahoolawe Ohana
Ululani Bierne Kahana Ohana
Alan Hoe Hawaiian Bar Assoc.
Barbara Kalipi Liliuokalani Ctr.
Kinau Kamalii OHA
Henry Kanahele Niihau Community
Poka Laenui Ins. Adv. of Hawaiian Affairs
Ann Nathaaniel DHHL Commissioner
Sabra Kauka Kauai Community
Kavehi Kanui La'ea o Hawaii

Would you elect these people?

This Council was given the sole responsibility to conduct a plebiscite or a native vote. Although a detached governmental entity, OHA funded half or $900,000 of its funding. In 1996 the act was revised in HB 3773 and is awaiting action by Governor Cayetano.

Concerns with the pending native Hawaiian voting law, HB 3773:

  • There are no provisions for beneficiary input.
  • Representatives are selected without beneficiary endorsement.
  • Power to establish the eligibility of delegates bypasses the beneficiary who should approve the qualifications.
  • If the question we will answer is, “Shall the Hawaiian people elect the delegates to propose a native Hawaiian government?” How do we know what we are voting for?
  • Where is the voting list that guarantees that only Hawaiians are participating?
  • Where is the apportionment plan based on this list?

These are provisions in HB 3773 not answered.

Critical! Critical! Critical!

The vote is in two months

July 15, 1996 registration ends
August 15, 1996 vote deadline
September 2, 1996 results

To cast an informed vote, when do we receive the information required in the bill?

To vote or not to vote?

The legislature says the results will depend on the majority of those voting, not those registered.

To abstain or boycott then, would give away a vote? Is this your wish?

Questions to ask:

  • Is this rush and omission fair to the beneficiaries?
  • Will we ever receive more information?
  • Have any HSEC members asked for out input?
  • Do we want this group to decide for us?
  • Why aren't we given the information we need for such an important step?
  • Are the one-way TV ads enough to answer our questions?

What can we do?

  1. We can `register' or `boycott', but know the results.
  2. Don't vote `yes' unless we have backup to make an informed decision.
  3. We can call for a legal injunction to stop balloting ... until HSEC complies with all of HB3773's requirements.
  4. Call for a decision on the legality of the legislative interference.
  5. Ask the Governor to veto the bill
    Phone 586-0034
    Fax 586-0006
    Neighbor islands 1-800-468-4644
  6. Call on OHA to fund educational puwalu of other organizations as its supported HSEC.
  7. This is a very important, awareness. All Hawaiians must know what the legislature has taken from us and what the issues of concern are.

Share this information with your friends and family, distribute it wherever you go. Make your own copies.

Call the following for more information:

Mililani Trask 1(808)934-7723
Ka Lahui Hawaii 885-7760
Maui 877-4659
Molokai 943-7607
Kauai 822-5613
Sam Kealoha 594-1874, 1(808)553-3611
Kekuni Blaisdell Coalition Against Plebiscite Vote 595-6691
Kuumealoha Gomes 596-5945
Billie Beamer 594-1872, 594-1899

Only we can speak for ourselves. Protect our right to design our own sovereign state if we desire one.

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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

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