OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS
4 OHA trustees win re-election, but Carpenter fails
Four of five incumbents in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees held onto their posts yesterday.
Incumbents Rowena Akana, Oz Stender and John Waihee IV defended their at-large seats.
But Dante Carpenter lost his Oahu seat to former state Democratic party chairman Walter Heen. Carpenter faced six challengers, while Maui trustee Boyd Mossman defended a challenge from one candidate. In all, 23 candidates ran for seats on the board of trustees.
The results are a natural extension of the progress the trustees have made in the past four years, said Mossman, who held a large lead over challenger Blossom Feiteira. He cited increasing the trust from $300 million to $400 million in the past four years, and increasing ceded land revenues from zero to $50 million a year.
"In the past, this board has been more political than not," Mossman said. "I think the direction must be to stress the role of trustees in our work, as opposed to being politicians."
At stake is policy control over OHA, which oversees a $400 million trust and invests in programs, services and groups that benefit native Hawaiians and the general community.
The four remaining seats -- currently filled by Haunani Apoliona, Linda Dela Cruz, Donald Cataluna and Colette Machado -- are not up for election until 2008.
OHA administrators and current board members have said the two top concerns for incoming trustees are possible lawsuits challenging the agency's constitutionality, and planning for nationhood.
Mossman said the two concerns will continue to top the trustees' priorities.
"We're going to keep facing court cases, so long as we don't have the security of federal recognition," Mossman said. "It's the primary reason I ran four years ago, and I'm glad I get to work a little longer to try and complete my goals."