View Point

Friday, January 15, 1999

Sunday’s Hawaiian
election is fair
and open to all

Critics of Ha Hawaii's election
process should give up their hostility

By Charles Rose


Various misleading and untrue statements have recently been circulated about Ha Hawaii and Sunday's election of delegates to a Hawaiian sovereignty convention.

As past president of Ha Hawaii, I am offended by the manipulation of the truth, the false allegations and irresponsible conduct by people opposed to the election process. They appear to be desperate so they attack others.

I say to every person of Hawaiian ancestry: Ha Hawaii, utilizing the skills of Hawaiians who are experts in their field, has put together an operational plan and an apportionment plan that is fair and sound.

The process is a people's process. It affords the opportunity for every person of Hawaiian ancestry throughout the world to participate.

The choices will be made by the people. The process is inclusive.

How inclusive is it? In all organizations, whether Hawaiian or not, you must join and become a member before you can participate. In the Ha Hawaii process, you do not have to be a Ha Hawaii member to participate.

All you have to be is Hawaiian. This is unique. If you are opposed to this process, then you are against the people.

Ha Hawaii is not a state agency and to make such claims is reckless. To imply that the 157 people seeking to become delegates are agents of the state and are part of some plot to control the Hawaiian people is an insult to these individuals.

I ask those who make this claim, where is your evidence? There is none. Proponents of these claims should hang their heads in shame. They are attacking their own people. Some could be their own relatives. How dare they do this!

To those critics who are calling for a boycott of the election, and suggesting the Ho'omalu process as an alternative, I submit that they have not been candid with the Hawaiian people.

They have failed to inform the people that the Ho'omalu (Unity Gathering) had only one meeting in 1998. The result of that meeting was to condemn one Hawaiian organization (the Office of Hawaiian Affairs) and not to support another (Ha Hawaii). Is this an example of unity?

They also failed to tell the people that many established Hawaiian organizations have decided not to participate in any future Ho'omalu activities.

I ask the supporters of Ho'omalu, what organizations support you? The Ha Hawaii process has a host of supporters.

To the hula halau, including Ilioulao-kalani, that are calling for a boycott of the election, I express my disappointment. This decision is based on misinformation.

I made every effort to meet with the leadership of Ilioulaokalani and sent information packets to many halau requesting the opportunity to meet with them, too. My disappointment is that they made their decision to oppose us without giving us a chance to appear before them and present our side of the issue. I ask that they reconsider.

Finally, I am concerned that there is a segment in the Hawaiian community that has been demonstrating strong hostility toward the election process and Ha Hawaii. I ask that these individuals re-evaluate their positions.

Why are you so hostile? What is wrong with providing our people the opportunity to choose? Why are you against the people?

I ask all those of Hawaiian ancestry not to heed the call to boycott the election, but to instead participate in the process by voting. The right to vote is a precious right. Do not give up this right because someone asks you to do so.

There are many well-qualified candidates running. Hawaiians should learn as much as they can about them. I am sure that they will find among them those who are worthy of their support.

Charles Rose, past president of Ha Hawaii and
a candidate in the election, has been a participant
in Hawaiian community issues for 27 years.

Hawaiians will choose
delegates for 85 seats

The election of delegates to a Hawaiian sovereignty convention will take place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday at polling places state-wide, most at public schools or community parks.

Up for grabs are 85 delegate seats representing the districts, or moku, in Hawaii, including seven seats for those abroad.

Ha Hawaii, organizer of the the election, is holding absentee and mail-in balloting, with votes expected to be cast from as far away as France, Zimbabwe and the Solomon Islands.

There will be walk-up registration and voting for those who can prove their Hawaiian ethnicity with identification.

All ballots cast will be placed in locked metal boxes and sent to a guarded processing site in Pearl City once the elections are over.

Tabulation of the ballots will begin on Jan. 26, following a 10-day holding period to allow the 2,000 mail-in ballots to arrive. The results are expected to be announced Jan. 27.

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