Thursday, December 30, 2004

New state rep quits
for Kahoolawe job

WAILUKU » Newly elected state Rep. Sol Kaho'ohalahala has been selected as the new executive director for the state Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission.

Kaho'ohalahala, 53, is scheduled to take on the new role effective next Thursday, when he plans to formally resign as a state House member.

Commission Chairman Dr. Emmett Aluli said the executive director position pays about $70,000.

The commission has been without a permanent executive director since Keoni Fairbanks went on sick leave in 2003. Fairbanks retired last May.

Kaho'ohalahala, a Democrat who won election in November to the state House 13th District (Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and East Maui), said that under state law the governor has the power to appoint a replacement, but the new person must be from the same political party as him.

Kaho'ohalahala said he hoped Gov. Linda Lingle would appoint Democrat Mele Carroll as his replacement.

Carroll, who serves as an executive assistant to Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Robert Carroll for the East Maui residency seat in the Maui County Council in November. Kaho'ohalahala said Carroll was instrumental in helping to secure the new air ambulance for Maui County and wrote a federal grant to obtain $2 million toward the purchase of land at historic Muolea Point in East Maui.

Aluli said Kaho'ohalahala was selected for several reasons, including his experience in helping to restore a dry-land forest on Lanai and in participating in some celestial navigation expeditions on the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokule'a.

Aluli said the commission hopes to restore the foliage on Kahoolawe, which has similar growing conditions to Lanai, and also develop the former target island as a navigational center.

Aluli said Kaho'ohalahala was chairman of the Hawaiian Advisory Sovereignty Commission and could help in the eventual transfer of the island to a native Hawaiian entity as mandated by state lawmakers.

Kaho'ohalahala was among the first group of native Hawaiians from Lanai to oppose the military target bombing of Kahoolawe. He paddled with other protesters in a canoe to the island in 1976.

The Navy halted practice bombing in 1990 after 50 years and returned Kahoolawe to the state in 1994. Under a 1993 state law, Kahoolawe was designated as a cultural reserve and will be turned over to a native Hawaiian sovereign entity.

Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission

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