Thursday, November 25, 1999

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3 OHA trustees
support Inouye in
Trask tumult

Trustees Apoliona,
DeSoto and Machado value
the senator's help

AJA group asks Trask not to be ethnically divisive

By Pat Omandam


Three Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees accused of conspiring with U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye to smear trustee Mililani Trask say they support Inouye's congressional efforts to help Hawaiians.

They say they wish Trask would focus on Hawaiians as well.

OHA trustees Haunani Apoliona, A. Frenchy DeSoto and Colette Y. Machado said in a joint statement yesterday that they will continue to support Inouye because he and the rest of Hawaii's congressional delegation are in a position to help Hawaiians in Congress.

"We are in the position to represent the crucial needs of our communities, and they are in a position to deliver resources," the trio said. "Hawaiians cannot afford to lose political support for the native Hawaiian health and housing legislation and all the difficult issues ahead. That is the bottom line."

Inouye yesterday sent a letter to managers of local news organizations to correct what he said are inaccuracies that have come out since Trask called him a "one-armed bandit" and accused him of not doing enough for Hawaiian sovereignty.

Allegations are simply not true that he did not support the joint resolution of Congress that apologized to native Hawaiians for the involvement of U.S. citizens in the Jan. 17, 1893, overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, Inouye said.

"I did not write articles opposing the resolution, and the statement attributed to me is patently false," Inouye wrote.

"It is my hope that with this information in the public domain, the misinformation that has been generated in the past several weeks will be understood for what it is," he said.

The allegations surfaced early in the public controversy involving Trask, the three trustees and Inouye. At an Oct. 13 OHA committee meeting, Trask said she was frustrated at Inouye for scheduling a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in Hawaii just days before federal reconciliation meetings begin next month.

Trask said she felt Inouye would intervene in the reconciliation meetings. Instead, she wants U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka to handle the meetings, in part because Trask said Inouye did not support the apology resolution and stated that it "was not worth the paper it was written on."

Trask's frustration against Inouye led her to publicly call him a "one-armed bandit" at the meeting -- a phrase she repeated again yesterday when she challenged him to a televised debate on his record on reconciliation.

An Inouye spokeswoman said yesterday that Inouye had no more comment on Trask's name-calling or her offer of a debate.

Trask said Inouye and the three trustees engineered a smear campaign against her because Trask, as chairwoman of OHA's government affairs and sovereignty committee, would not hold another hearing on federal bills dealing with Hawaiian housing and education that the full board had already voted to support.

"Trustees Machado and DeSoto desire to change their vote is a measure of how much Dan Inouye can influence and direct trustees voting in OHA," Trask said yesterday.

"Trustees have a fiduciary obligation to work for their people, to resist political pressure and to do what is right," she said.

Inouye -- who returns to Hawaii on Sunday for the statewide committee hearings -- said in his letter yesterday that he was an original co-sponsor of the apology resolution and vigorously sought its passage in the Senate. His office provided a copy of the Senate floor debate on the resolution which showed he supported it.

Part of the apology resolution calls for reconciliation between the federal government and Hawaiians.

AJA group asks Trask not
to be ethnically divisive

By Pat Omandam


The Japanese American Citizens League of Honolulu has again asked Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Mililani Trask to avoid using divisive and ethnic characterizations in her dispute with U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

Trask has said she does not mean to offend either disabled persons or Japanese Americans in Hawaii with her remarks, but has refused to apologized to Inouye for them.

"I find it interesting that JACL has never taken the time to send letters to the press about anti-Hawaiian sentiments expressed in the media," Trask told the JACL in a letter on Tuesday.

"Are these comments less significant than those made about Inouye?"

JACL-Honolulu President Clayton C. Ikei on Monday wrote to Trask saying the league is deeply concerned about her racial/ethnic remarks and wants her to stick to the merits of the issue. He said the league has taken a formal position supporting Hawaiian sovereignty, and her remarks hurt efforts to get the Japanese-American community and other non-Hawaiian civil rights organizations to do the same.

"There is no denying that Sen. Inouye is widely held in high regard and respected in the Japanese-American community and the broader community," Ikei wrote.

"Attacks on Sen. Inouye, particularly racial characterizations and references to his Japanese ancestry, tend to rally support for him."

Trask, in her response, said U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka and not Inouye should take a lead in the reconciliation talks because the issue has to do with Hawaiian reparations.

"Hawaiians and others no longer kowtow to Inouye," she wrote.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

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