View Point

By Terry Bosgra

Saturday, October 19, 1996

must get out of the way

Kapiolani Boulevard was supposed to be the Wilshire Boulevard of Honolulu and about all it has become is Death Valley for Japanese investors," said marketing analyst Marty Plotnick recently in Pacific Business News.

Then in the same issue Len Richardson, a 19-year business owner, joined thousands of others who are closing their doors and moving to the mainland. Hawaii Reps. Patsy Mink and Neil Abercrombie promise more federal money to help Hawaii's business economy. Abercrombie can get his hands on a billion dollars for construction. Perhaps if we ask Patsy Mink she will send an additional billion. Why not? It's free money.

Then we could still go to our senators and maybe Washington will save Hawaii after all.

Meanwhile, island bankruptcies to date are 2,054 (Star-Bulletin, Sept. 18), which is already 32 more than 1995, with three months to go. In 1995 there were 2,022 and in 1994 there were 1,587 bankruptcies . That is 5,663 shattered dreams in less than three years.

According to the U.S. Census of 1993, we hold the dubious distinction in Hawaii of ranking No. 1 in the U.S. with 441.98 state government employees for every 10,000 residents, and we rank number 48 in personal income, according to the U.S. Commerce Department in 1994.

Now you might add to that a University of North Carolina study (1994) revealing a national cost of $34,772 for every mile of highway. Here in Hawaii (where unions control the state), the cost is $283,000 for every mile of highway. With data such as that we may all be listed in that bankruptcy column within the next few years, or join the mass exodus of good local business brains.

Hawaii laws and regulations stifle business at every turn. But examples of how government can stimulate economic growth abound on the mainland and foreign countries.

In the Makapuu surfing contest here in September, all surfers used "Da Fin." This is a revolutionary new invention by Scott Dillen, along with a local resident. However, they produce their product in Australia because the government there subsidizes them 40 percent for the first two years to stimulate economic growth and to encourage new inventions.

The state of Michigan, which was in economic ruin in the '80s, turned the governorship over in 1990 to John Engler, a Republican businessman who served for 20 years in the legislature. In just six years, Engler eliminated the $1.8 billion deficit, balanced the budget for the last five years and eliminated most regulatory red tape. Michigan has led the nation for the last three years in wage increases, held unemployment for the last two years below the national average and lowered welfare recipients by work requirements.

Engler axed the capital gains tax, downsized the regulatory bureaucracy by eliminating 2,000 obsolete and burdensome, often contradictory, rules. He said one out of every five new manufacturing jobs in America was being created in Michigan last year due to the fact that he has cut taxes 21 times since 1990. When the cost of doing business comes down, manufacturers create more jobs by investing new capital in their businesses resulting in increased productivity and higher wages.

The governor fought for school choice and rewards for excellence. This fosters competition resulting in greater academic skills that should give young people a better opportunity in the market place.

The best way to stimulate economic growth in Hawaii is to remove two government shackles: high taxes and oppressive regulation of private business. We must offer tax incentives to attract venture capital, especially in the emerging high-tech industry.

On Nov. 5, we must move from a unilateral political party that is unresponsive to its constituents to a two-party system. It could be our experiment as we move into the next country, and you know what? It might even work.

Terry Bosgra is a longtime insurance agent who lives in Hawaii Kai.

View Point

By Tara Lulani McKenzie

Friday, October 18, 1996

Don't let detractors
discourage pursuit of sovereignty

At the press conference to announce the results of the Native Hawaiian Vote, Sol Kahoohalahala, chairman of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council, stated, "We are at the dawn of a new age . . . It is time for our people to stand together, join hands, and put our differences aside." There have been other Hawaiian organizations and individuals who have called for the same. While many were hopeful that detractors of the vote would heed this call and be willing to move forward in the spirit of working together, at this time it appears this is not going to happen.

Once again, members of Ka Lahui's leadership, in their own self-interest, are distorting information in an attempt to confuse and create dissension among our people. State of Hawaii employee Haunani-Kay Trask is attempting to discredit the results of the vote, and implying that voters didn't return their ballots due to Ka Lahui's efforts.

Ka Lahui called for all registered voters to boycott the vote and instead mail their ballots to them. If they are as effective as they are claiming to be, the community should challenge Ka Lahui to bring forward the ballots that they have supposedly received to be counted.

Further, Ka Lahui should allow its citizenship or voter list to be viewed and validated by the entire Hawaiian community as HSEC has done with its registration list. Any member of the public may visit the HSEC office and view the registration list used for the Native Hawaiian Vote.

Ka Lahui's efforts to discredit the Native Hawaiian Vote and discourage participation will not move our people forward or allow them to improve their lives. Instead, their complaints, criticisms, negativity and misinformation only confuse, alienate and create fear and apathy within our people. Therefore, Ka Lahui, an organization supposedly committed to self-determination for Hawaiians, is actually discouraging people from sovereignty.

Furthermore, in instance after instance whether it be with Bumpy Kanahele and his work for sovereignty, HSEC and the Native Hawaiian Vote, the United Church of Christ and funding for Hawaiians, etc., Ka Lahui opposes and criticizes everything that it can't control and anyone who doesn't "think like Ka Lahui."

Haunani-Kay Trask contends Hawaii already has a sovereign government and her sister Mililani is prime minister. In Ka Lahui's 1990 elections fewer than 1,000 members cast votes and in their 1994 elections it is my understanding that only several thousand cast votes.

What baffles me is how Trask can say that Ka Lahui is the sovereign government for Hawaiians, prime minister and all, with only several thousand votes cast; and at the same time discredit and attempt to invalidate the Native Hawaiian Vote where 40 percent (33,000) of registered Hawaiian voters returned ballots, 37 percent (30,432) of the returned ballots were eligible to be counted and an overwhelming 73 percent (22,294) voted yes to elect delegates to a Hawaiian convention.

According to elections experts, including Russell Mokulehua, who has been involved in elections administration for eight years, 37-40 percent voter turnout in a mail-out election is excellent and higher than other mail-out elections such as for the neighborhood boards, which average around 33 percent voter turnout.

Although mail-out elections are difficult to compare to polled elections, there are instances in recent federal and state elections where candidates have been elected into office with less than 40 percent of the electorate. President Clinton was elected into office with 38.7 percent of the electorate and Governor Cayetano was elected with 35.8 percent of the electorate.

In the last Office of Hawaiian Affairs election in 1994, none of the trustees received more than 28 percent of the total OHA electorate. Obviously, the above-mentioned elections were not and should not be invalidated because of low percentages or because a candidate was unable to garner a majority of voters.

What is important is that every person of Hawaiian ancestry, 18 years and older, anywhere in the world, had an opportunity to cast a vote in the Native Hawaiian Vote. If they choose not to vote, the important point is that they made that choice for themselves. However, their choice not to vote does not invalidate the outcome of the vote and those who participated.

The results of the Native Hawaiian Vote have been tabulated and announced, and they are verifiable. The most important of the results is that 40 percent (33,000) of registered voters (81,598) returned ballots and chose to vote. Of that 40 percent, 30,423 were eligible to be counted, and 73 percent of them (nearly 3 to 1) voted in the affirmative. All other statistics and numbers do not count, and will not detract from, or change these results.

There are many different paths being advocated to achieve self-determination for Hawaiians. Each advocate claims his or her path is the only "pono'' way to sovereignty. Instead of criticizing and degrading those who choose a different path, we should accept the fact that there are many ways to reach any one goal. Therefore, if some people want to participate in the Native Hawaii Vote process, and some want to have a puwalu process and others want to do something else, that's OK. Let's move on our path without tearing down those who choose another way.

The end goal for all involved in the sovereignty movement is to uplift our people and improve their living conditions. There are already enough obstacles out there for Hawaiians. So for those of us with similar goals, let's support one another no matter what path. I believe it is our time in history and we will make a difference. Hawaiians, holo i mua!

Tara Lulani McKenzie is executive director of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Council. The opinions in View Points are the authors and are not necessarily shared by the Star-Bulletin.

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