Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Attorney General, Hawaii civil attorneys and DHHL to speak with Legislative Hawaiian Caucus about ‘ceded lands’

By: Travis Quezon
Office of Rep. Mele Carroll

The Legislative Hawaiian Caucus will hear concerns from Attorney General Mark Bennett and other civil attorneys about Hawaii’s “ceded lands” on Thursday, January 22.

Legislative Hawaiian Caucus meeting
Thursday, January 22, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at State Capitol room 423

Attorney Sherry Broder is scheduled to update the caucus on the legal challenges to preserve lands for Native Hawaiians. Broder has represented the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in obtaining entitlement to “ceded lands” revenues and was the chief attorney for OHA from 1986 to 2002. Broder also had been elected the first woman president of the Hawaii State Bar Association.

Rep. Mele Carroll, chair of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, has been working closely with various Native Hawaiian organizations to create a dialogue with Hawaii lawmakers.

Last Saturday, Rep. Mele Carroll and the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus were invited to take part in the Ku I Ka Pono March to protect Hawaiian lands. Community activists are seeking the support of the caucus to oppose the Lingle Administration’s attempt to move forward with selling what is now known as “ceded lands.” Activists are also seeking the caucus’ help in preparing legislation that will set a moratorium against selling those lands.

Micah Kane, Chair of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, is also scheduled to speak.

At a House Finance Committee last week, on Jan. 14, Kane said that the last fiscal year was the largest construction year in terms of dollars in the history of the Hawaiian Home Lands trust. Kane also credited the progress to the development of a retail facility in Kapolei with DeBartolo, LLC, which provided 4,500 jobs.

“We see that as the job center for our families to live and work in that community,” Kane said. “Also, the revenue goes toward Native Hawaiians.”

At the Finance Committee meeting, Rep. Mele Carroll asked if DHHL has dealt with any water issues regarding water infrastructure.

Kane replied that while there is an integrated system on Maui, the county is currently in a situation where there is a master plan, but has no money to execute the operation.

“There is utility availability in many of these counties, but they are obligated to various developers,” Kane said.

He would like to see the government given more authority to hold infrastructure to allow projects to move ahead more quickly.

“Thank you for all you have done [at DHHL],” Rep. Mele Carroll said. “I know my district is very challenging and you folks have been very diligent in handling the issues.”

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