1990 to 1999


POSTED: Monday, August 17, 2009


Feb. 5: The A+ afterschool care program, promoted by Lt. Gov. Ben Cayetano, begins at public schools. It is the first such program in the United States.

May 4: Officials at the prominent Center Art Galleries are convicted of fraud in a multimillion-dollar swindle involving reproductions of works by Salvador Dali.

May 16: Daniel Akaka, appointed to succeed Sen. Sparky Matsunaga who died April 16, becomes the first U.S. senator of native Hawaiian ancestry. Akaka wins election to the office in 1990, and re-election in 1994, 2000, and 2006.

Nov. 6 : Gov. John Waihee is re-elected. The deaths of Big Island Mayor Bernard Akana and U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga—plus the vacancy left in Congress by Daniel Akaka's appointment—launch a scramble to fill their seats.



Jan. 17: Operation Desert Storm begins in the Persian Gulf in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait the previous August. Eventually, more than 7,000 troops based in Kaneohe are deployed before the war's end in April 1990.

May 1: Three same-sex couples sue the state of Hawaii for the right to marry. The suit is thrown out of court by Circuit Court Judge Robert Klein's ruling that homosexual marriage is not a fundamental right under the state Constitution.

Nov. 14: The City Council approves plans for a rail transit system from Wahiawa to Manoa. The 15.6-mile system is projected to cost $1.7 billion.



Sept. 11 : Hurricane Iniki wallops Kauai and Leeward Oahu causing $1.8 billion in damages and virtually shutting down Kauai's tourism industry. It creates an insurance crisis when many companies stop issuing new policies.

Sept. 22: A City Council committee votes 5-4 to kill Honolulu's rail-transit system with Councilwoman Rene Mansho casting the deciding vote against the project. Mansho had previously supported the system.



Jan. 17: The 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy is observed at a ceremony at Iolani Palace. The event draws thousands who lament the overthow and call for restoration of native sovereignty.

May 5: Hawaii garners national attention when the state Supreme Court reinstates a lawsuit challenging the state's refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The court rules that the denial of the marriage licenses to three gay couples is unconstitutional unless the state can show justification for the ban.

Nov. 23: President Bill Clinton signs Public Law 103-150, an apology for the U.S. role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.



May 7: The federal government hands over to the state the island of Kahoolawe, which has been used for military bombing target practice for 50 years. Bombing was halted in 1990 after more than two decades of intense local opposition.

Nov. 9: Former lieutenant governor Ben Cayetano beats Republican Pat Saiki and Best Party candidate Frank Fasi, becoming the first U.S. governor of Filipino ancestry. On Maui, Republican and future governor, Linda Lingle, wins a second term as mayor of Maui County.



June 4: Pope John Paul II beatifies Father Damien DeVeuster in Brussels, Belgium, bringing the priest who devoted his life to Hansen Disease patients at Kalaupapa a step closer to sainthood. Following the ceremony, a reliquary holding Damien's right hand is brought back to Hawaii for reinternment.

Sept. 2: The 50th anniversary of VJ Day, held to commemorate the end of World War II, is attended by President Clinton. The ceremonies bring together Japanese and American veterans who put old animosities aside and shake hands.



Oct. 18: The First Hawaiian Center is dedicated in downtown Honolulu, becoming Hawaii's tallest building. To make way for the new center, the 70-year-old Damon Building, situated at the prime downtown corner of King and Bishop Streets, had been demolished despite public protests.

Nov. 6: Jeremy Harris wins the race for Honolulu mayor.

December: Circuit Judge Kevin Chang rules that the state's prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the state Constitution's equal protection clause. He rules that the state has failed to demonstrate a compelling interest in banning same-sex marriage.



June 26: Beloved Hawaii singer and musician Israel Kamakawiwoole suffers respiratory failure and dies at age 38. A memorial service in the Capitol rotunda is attended by thousands of fans.

July 8: The state Legislature passes the nation's first reciprocal benefits law granting to same-sex partners some benefits held by married couples.

Aug. 9: The Star-Bulletin publishes “;Broken Trust,”; an article written by five prominent Hawaii residents—including four Hawaiians—who charge Bishop Estate trustees with mismanaging the $6 billion trust benefiting Kamehameha Schools. Three days later, Gov. Ben Cayetano orders the attorney general to investigate.

Dec. 12: The H-3 freeway opens. Completion of the highway connecting the Pearl Harbor area to the Windward side had been delayed in a legal battle lasting 30 years.

Dec. 20: In response to public criticism generated by the “;Broken Trust”; article, the Hawaii Supreme Court justices say they will no longer appoint Bishop Estate trustees.



July 1: The $350 million Hawaii Convention Center opens in Honolulu. Its 1 million square feet of space can hold up to 20,000 people.

July 22: In a genetic-engineering breakthrough, University of Hawaii scientists Professor Ryuzo Yanagimachi, Teruhiko Wakayama and Tony Perry develop a new cloning technique that produces, from adult cells, three generations of genetically identical cloned mice.

Nov. 3: Hawaii voters pass a constitutional amendment that allows only opposite-sex couples to marry. The vote carries by a large margin of 285,000 to 127,000.



April 28: An uproar ensues after the state Senate rejects the reconfirmations of Attorney General Margery Bronster and budget director Earl Anzai, with Gov. Ben Cayetano suggesting that Bronster's investigation into Bishop Estate is a contributing factor in the decision. Two months later Cayetano selects Anzai as his new attorney general. By the end of the year, all five trustees resign amid charges of mismanagement of the estate's $6 billion trust, taking excessive compensation, and neglect of the estate's core mission to educate native Hawaiians.

May 9: (Mother's Day)—A hike turns into a nightmare when a landslide at a popular Oahu waterfall and swimming hole in Sacred Falls state park kills three men, four women and a 7-year-old girl who dies in the arms of her would-be rescuers. Falling debris and boulders injure 50 others.

Nov. 2: The worst mass murder in Hawaii's history occurs when Oahu Xerox worker Byran Uyesugi shoots seven co-workers. Uyesugi surrenders to police after a manhunt ends in a six-hour standoff at the Hawaii Nature Park in Makiki. He eventually is sentenced to life without parole.