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Monday, September 18, 2000

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Filing deadline
today for two-year
OHA board terms

A ruling is imminent on
whether non-Hawaiians
can serve permanently

Some say appointees have edge

By Pat Omandam

This week is expected to be a busy time for those considering a run for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs or hoping for federal reconciliation between Hawaiians and the federal government.

Today is the deadline to file as an OHA candidate for the remaining two-year terms of five trustee seats. The vacancies were created when the entire nine-member OHA board resigned Sept. 8.

The filing deadline to file nomination papers is 4:30 p.m.

Also, U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor is expected to rule early this week on a case that decides whether non-Hawaiians will be permanently allowed to run as candidates and serve as OHA trustees.

Gillmor issued a preliminary injunction in August that opened up the OHA races to non-Hawaiian candidates.

Attorney H. William Burgess, who represents the plaintiffs in the case before Gillmor, said he expects the judge to issue a permanent ruling in the next day or so.

Also on the Hawaiian affairs front this week:

Wednesday -- The U.S. House Resources Committee is expected to hold a hearing on a review of the Akaka bill, which sets up federal recognition between Hawaiians the U.S. government.

The House panel heard the bill in Honolulu last month but has not taken any action yet on the measure. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved the bill last week.

Bullet Friday is the deadline to submit public comments to the U.S. departments of Interior and Justice on the Native Hawaiian Reconciliation draft report.

The draft report, released Aug. 23, has five recommendations on how to make amends with Hawaiians for America's involvement in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian government.

The recommendations include congressional clarification of the political status of native Hawaiians and the creation of an office within the federal government to address Hawaiian issues.

The report can be found on the Interior Department's Web site at:

They are also available at all public libraries.

Written comments should be sent to Assistant Secretary John Berry, c/o Document Management Unit, Department of Interior, 1849 C Street, NW, Mailstop-7229, Washington D.C., 20240.

OHA offices will also accept written comments. And comments can be faxed to (202) 208-3230, (202) 219-1790 or (202) 219-1989.

OHA candidate
says appointees
have an edge

Others do not share
the views of Charles Rose
about Cayetano's choices

By Treena Shapiro

Office of Hawaiian Affairs interim trustees appointed by the governor last week have an unfair advantage in the upcoming election, according to one OHA candidate.

Charles Rose, who filed nomination papers Friday, said he was disappointed in Gov. Benjamin Cayetano's appointments, but others don't share Rose's views.

Rose said the eight of the nine interim trustees are OHA candidates and will therefore receive media exposure not available to their opponents.

Interim trustees Clayton Hee, Hannah Springer, Colette Machado, Dante Carpenter, Ilei Beniamina, Nalani Olds, Nani Brandt and Charles Ota have all filed nomination papers for the November general election. Only interim trustee Gladys Brandt has no intention of seeking office.

"I would have hoped that the appointees would have been of the same stature as Mrs. Gladys Brandt, who had indicated she wouldn't run for office," Rose said. "This would have then been a level playing field for all the candidates."

Rose was not concerned the governor named a non-Hawaiian to the OHA board, but hopes Hawaiians will be elected. "I would hope that voters -- and now everyone can vote -- vote for Hawaiian candidates no matter what."

Although he's favor of keeping the board Hawaiian, Rose said he supports the people's right to choose the trustees, regardless of race.

Former Kauai trustee Donald Cataluna, until recently a governor's appointee as well, said he isn't bothered that most of the appointees are running for office. "If they run, and if they win, so it will be because the voters voted," he said. "That's the fair and free way."

"What I am afraid of is that gang appointed by the governor may do some damage in the interim period to OHA," he said.

To Cataluna, damage could mean altering the biennium budget passed by the finance committee, finding a new investment consultant and a reversal of the board's decision to turn the lease of a Kekaha school -- Ke Kula Ni'ihau O Keka to the state Department of Education.

Cataluna said he has mixed feelings about having non-Hawaiians serve as trustees. On one hand he thinks being Hawaiian has been the foundation of his identity and allows him to understand Hawaiian culture and history. But on the other hand, he said that a non-Hawaiian trustee could turn out to be an asset to the board, "depending on what kind of person this non-Hawaiian is."

Kenneth Conklin, a non-Hawaiian OHA candidate who is expecting a decision today or tomorrow regarding his suit against the governor, attorney general and chief elections officer to open the OHA contest up to all races, said he welcomes Ota's appointment. "It's been the battle of a great many people in Hawaii," he said.

Conklin said he approves of the governor's appointments in general. "It looks like a much better board than those who were there," he said. "The ones who are missing now are the troublemakers, those who were contentious all the time, who didn't really make a contribution."

Conklin, who has already begun actively campaigning, said he doesn't know whether the governor's appointments will affect the outcome of the election.

While he acknowledged incumbents often have an advantage, he said interim trustees' brief appointment may not have much of an impact. "In this case it's only seven weeks until the election. I don't know how much of an effect that would really have," he said.

OHA Special

Rice vs. Cayetano arguments

Rice vs. Cayetano decision

Holo I Mua: Sovereignty Roundtable

E-mail to City Desk

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