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Wednesday, May 10, 2000

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OHA looking
for office space

The agency's current lease
is expiring next year

Trustees deny Ha Hawaii grant
to explain sovereignty models

By Pat Omandam


Wanted: 30,000 square feet of office space, ample parking, a competitive lease, extra amenities and concessions, as well as a big boardroom for public meetings that draw sometimes large and always vocal crowds.

Contact: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

With its 10-year lease at Pacific Park Plaza set to expire in February 2001, OHA officials have begun scouting new headquarters for the semiautonomous agency, which has been at 711 Kapiolani Blvd. for the past decade.

OHA Deputy Administrator Ronald Mun recently visited more than 20 sites from Kapolei to Kapahulu, picking up offers from various landlords that he intends to confirm and present to the board of trustees for action within 45 days.

"We have looked at for-purchase properties," Mun said. "We've also looked at leasehold properties."

Mun said yesterday he'll likely recommend the board narrow the list of possible landlords to just a handful. While the price of a new multiyear lease is a key issue, other criteria under consideration are available parking, tenant allowances and moving expenses.

"We can get into some serious knock-down, drag-out negotiations with the landlords after the board has, in fact, pruned this list to a manageable three or four sites," Mun said.

Of course, the location of OHA weighs heavily on the final site. As an agency that receives an annual budget approved by the state Legislature, OHA officials realistically need to be located in the urban corridor, where they have quick access to the state Capitol, the federal building, the courts, and the downtown business district.

Mun said he looked at what he calls "class A" office space in major downtown buildings, including First Hawaiian Bank and the Hemmeter Building, which the state is planning to buy instead of rent.

Another consideration would be to remain at Pacific Park Plaza. With several vacant floors in the building, OHA may be able to negotiate a better lease. OHA currently pays about $900,000 a year lease rent there. Trustees signed a 10-year lease in February 1991. The agency has 120 employees and nine trustees who occupy the 5th and 12th floors of the 16-story building.

"I think we can negotiate the price down a bit," said trustee Louis Hao.

Mun said the current lease allows OHA to remain on a month-to-month basis once the lease expires. Neighbor Island sites are not included in the review because there are not many buildings that could provide 30,000 square feet of premium office space.

Besides, Mun said, OHA already has satellite offices on all the major islands.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
People jam yesterday's Office of Hawaiian Affairs meeting
to protest OHA's proposed $426,876 grant to the Native
Hawaiian Convention. After lengthy debate, OHA
turned down the grant.

Trustees deny
Ha Hawaii grant to explain
sovereignty models

By Pat Omandam


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs board has denied a $426,876 grant to the Native Hawaiian Convention for educational outreach, despite preliminary approval from two key OHA committees.

The board debated the grant request for several hours last night, following lengthy testimony from supporters and opponents of the grant.

Convention delegates are drafting models of sovereignty that they hope to present to all Hawaiians for approval later this year. The grant was to help pay for an educational outreach program that would allow delegates to conduct "face-to-face" interviews with Hawaiian families to explain their models of sovereignty.

Opponents of the convention, Ha Hawaii, successfully argued that this effort -- which began in 1993 -- has been funded enough by OHA during the past seven years.

Moreover, they say, it is a state-sponsored effort that may threaten sovereignty efforts at the international level.

"This process has been the most divisive process in the Hawaiian community, said Lehua Kinilau, a member of Ka Lahui Hawaii.

The grant failed to receive the approval of five trustees. Opposing the funding were OHA Chairman Clayton Hee and trustees Mililani Trask, Hannah Springer and Rowena Akana. Trustees Louis Hao abstained from the vote while trustee Donald Cataluna was excused from the meeting.

"We represent all Hawaiians, not just 60 delegates and an idea," Akana said.

'We represent all Hawaiians, not just 60 delegates and an idea.'

Bullet U.S. Public Law 103-150
Bullet OHA Ceded Lands Ruling
Bullet Rice vs. Cayetano
Bullet U.S. Supreme Court strikes down OHA elections
Bullet Office of Hawaiian Affairs

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