Council passes resolution backing Hawaiian recognition


POSTED: Thursday, April 22, 2010

The City Council has endorsed a proposal to support federal recognition for Hawaiians.

By a vote of 8-1 yesterday, the Council approved Resolution 10-56 supporting the Akaka Bill in Congress.

Councilman Gary Okino was the lone vote in opposition, saying there are too many uncertainties surrounding the proposal and that the Council should not get involved.

“;If it's approved it will be very racially divisive,”; he said, “;not only between Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, but within the Hawaiian community itself.”;

The Akaka Bill would empower Hawaiians to create their own government, similar to American Indian tribes, that eventually would negotiate for control of hundreds of thousands of acres in Hawaii.

The Council also approved yesterday a resolution urging David Black, owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, to allow sufficient time for a buyer to be found for the newspaper in order to preserve two independent newspapers in the community.

The resolution passed 8-1, with Councilman Rod Tam in opposition.

“;Are we imposing upon private business, basically telling them how to do their timetable when basically they're private business and not part of government,”; Tam said. “;I feel very uncomfortable with this resolution.”;

Similar resolutions have advanced in the state Legislature.

Star-Bulletin owner Black Press put the paper on the market March 15 to satisfy antitrust requirements concerning his planned purchase of the Honolulu Advertiser from Gannett Co. If the Star-Bulletin is not sold, Black will merge the two papers.