Most back opening
OHA elections, say
theyll cast ballots
Hawaiians voiced the strongest
disapproval of opening
up OHA voting
Dealing with Waimea Bay rockfallBy Pat Omandam
As a retired Navy captain, William Bledsoe believes all Americans have a right to vote in public elections, including those for the board of trustees at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
And he is not alone. About 56 percent of those in a Honolulu Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News 8 poll said they approve of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Feb. 23 that opened the Hawaiians-only OHA election to all voters in Hawaii.
About the same percent of poll respondents said they plan to vote for trustees in November.
Bledsoe, 68, of Honolulu, said Hawaiian activists must understand that Hawaii is part of the United States.
"The point is, it became a territory and it became a state, and all the citizens, whether Hawaiian or not Hawaiian, were all affected equally," he said. "And so this business of having a Hawaiians-only election, I think sends the wrong message to the Hawaiians themselves."
The poll was conducted among 426 registered voters by telephone May 5-9 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.
More women than men supported the decision and, as might be expected, Hawaiians voiced the strongest disapproval rates.
Respondent Mary-Lynne Ludloff, 53, of Kaneohe, an educational assistant at Castle High School, believes everyone should be involved in picking trustees for OHA, which was created by the state to better the conditions of native Hawaiians.
"Maybe I don't have Hawaiian blood but I'm Hawaiian in heart," Ludloff said. "I believe I should have a say because I plan to stay here till I die."
OHA chairman Clayton Hee was not surprised with the poll's results and thought more people might have approved of the Rice decision, given the poll's demographics.
About two-thirds were of either Caucasian or Japanese ancestry, while the remaining third was composed of Hawaiians, Filipinos and those of mixed race.
Salvatore Matarese, 59, a Kihei restaurant owner originally from Italy, said he doesn't support the Rice decision and will not vote in OHA elections this fall.
"I think the Hawaiians have a lot of rights to do their own elections," Matarese said.
More thumbs down
than up on states
Waimea Bay action
How has the state dealtBy Treena Shapiro
with the Waimea rockfall?
It takes Lovelyn Kobayashi twice as long to get from Mililani to Laie.
Because her car rides low, she does not want to take it on the temporary Waimea Bay road. She drives toward town, then goes up the H-3 freeway to Kamehameha Highway to get there.
"My family and I like to go to the Mormon Temple as much as we can, and it takes longer to get there," she said, noting that the additional 45 minutes in travel time increases her displeasure with the way the state has dealt with the May 6 rockfall above Waimea Bay.
She is among the approximately one-third of Oahu residents who believe the state did not handle the situation well, according to a Honolulu Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News 8 Poll. One out of four respondents said the state did handle it well, while about 39 percent had no opinion.
The state closed a section of Kamehameha Highway and created the temporary bypass road -- constructed of fabric, web material and crushed coral -- two weeks later. A permanent road is half completed and is expected to be open by the end of June, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Kobayashi said the state should have just reopened Kamehameha Highway, widening the road and installing a fence close to the cliff to guard against future rockfalls.
Michael Magaoay, chairman of the North Shore Neighborhood Board, said the state did as well as it could under the circumstances, keeping the community informed and working with the city to bring attention to struggling North Shore businesses.
"As long as the state upholds what they say they're going to do, there's no problem," he said. "But if there are delays, then there's a problem."
While the bypass road has reunited the North Shore community, not allowing tour buses on the road is causing problems for businesses.
"It still does impact them right now because they don't have the volume of tourists that would normally come out," Magaoay said. But the novelty of driving across the makeshift road is bringing people out to the North Shore, to have a story to tell once the permanent road is opened, he added.
Overall, the situation has brought greater attention to Haleiwa, causing people to get out of their cars instead of just driving through. "Besides buying, they're just walking through the area, taking a look at what Haleiwa town is," said Magaoay.
Kailua resident Ron Reeves said the Waimea situation initially affected his business with North Shore retailers. "They couldn't buy the product that I sell (swimsuits), and they had to cut back orders and be conservative until things get fixed up," he said.
He believes the state handled the situation well, and with surprising swiftness. "That's probably the only thing they did right all year, was getting on that road and fixing it."
The poll was conducted among 298 registered Oahu voters by telephone May 5-9 by Mason Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 6 percentage points.