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LETTERS for the January 2 issue

By Staff | Jan 2, 2020

Mahalo to Scott Brothers Pacific for painting project

This is a big shout out to Tom Scott of Scott Brothers Pacific Inc. He saw that the new landscape project at the Front Street side of the Lahaina Public Library was almost complete. He also noticed that the library building was looking a bit shabby.

In true Lahaina style, he decided to do something about it, and approached Lahaina Restoration Foundation about Scott Brothers Pacific giving the library a new coat of paint. We loved the idea, as did the library staff and the Maui Friends of the Library. Tom then approached Ameritone Maui for a paint donation, and in two days flat, the library was repainted.

This is true small town spirit, and I am glad to see it is still alive and well in Lahaina.

Back in the 1990s, we used to say, “Lahaina What a Great Town!” I think that slogan still rings true today. Mahalo, Tom!

THEO MORRISON, Executive Director, Lahaina Restoration Foundation


Police should increase enforcement of handicap parking

I totally agree with the abuse of handicap parking letter of Dec 12, but I question the laws.

I believe it is a federal law to help the disabled. From what I understand, property owners and security guards can give a warning, but only police can issue the $500 fine for violators.

The police DO NOT enforce handicap parking as far as I can see. I know they have more urgent things to do, like emergency calls and enforcing speeding, DUI, texting, etc. I know they cannot be everywhere, and I know they are short-staffed.

Thinking that the police drive through malls when they go to eat, drink coffee and take breaks, why can’t they check and issue warnings/tickets then?

Enforce that law. Like the previous letter writer said, it might be you or one of your loved ones who NEEDS the help.

MPD, I know it’s NOT a high priority, but it is to those of us who are disabled. Someday it might be you or someone you know. Think about it. Have respect for all… BE PONO!



Hawaiian Lands in Hawaiian Hands Legislative Initiative to be introduced

This is my last update on the Hawaiian Lands in Hawaiian Hands Legislative Initiative. HLHH consists of three different bills for the legislature in 2020!

Bill 1 focuses on improving DHHL/HHC governance by removing the DHHL director from the commission; Bill 2 focuses on Loan Loss Mitigations and Asset Valuations by requiring a Loan Servicing Manual at DHHL; and Bill 3 focuses on Native Hawaiian access to our lands.

This final update is dedicated to Bill 3, which accomplishes the following:

1) Establishes a firm definition of the Term “Beneficiary Consultation” to be an affirmative and required function whenever DHHL or the Commission intends to issue our trust land to non-beneficiaries, and establishes that Beneficiary Consultation can be a function completed by notice and receiving input, rather than only in-person session.

2) Clarifies Section 204, which allows land to be bid to the general public when such lands are NOT required for Native Hawaiian homesteading to state plainly, “not required” means there is a waitlist of Native Hawaiians for homesteading, or mercantile. For years, DHHL has ignored the waitlist and the words “not required” in the HHCA. This technical amendment makes it crystal clear that NOT REQUIRED means there is NO ONE on the waitlist – that’s the only time DHHL can issue our land to the general public, non-beneficiaries. This includes the prohibition of extending existing Section 204 general leases to non-beneficiaries.

3) Makes clear to DHHL that it may NOT make up policies like requiring waitlist applicants to prove they qualify for a $250,000 loan to be issued their land WITHOUT Beneficiary Consultation on such policies.

4) Adds the words “General Lease” to Section 207 to supplement the current words of Land “License” to ensure that mercantile lands for Native Hawaiians have full access to capital sources for their businesses.

5) Prohibits the transfer of revolving loan interest earned from Beneficiary Loan Fund accounts for use in the Operating Account WITHOUT Beneficiary Consultation. For years, DHHL has convinced the HHC to transfer $4,000,000 a year in interest earnings out of our loan fund account, which would otherwise be made available for farming/ranching and other loans to beneficiaries. We simply want the interest earnings of our trust funds to remain and increase loans to our people, as Prince Kuhio intended.

6) Mandates that DHHL shall make loans for farming, ranching, etc. In 100 years, the only loans made are for housing, when indeed Prince Kuhio intended our farming and ranching lessees to have access to loan capital to prosper.

7) Mandates that DHHL shall post a quarterly report on vacant homes and lots it controls to beneficiaries and the legislature to ensure that these vacant homes are distributed to the waitlist in a timely manner. Presently, there are hundreds of homes boarded up from foreclosures, for five, seven, even ten years! We need these homes to be issued to the waitlist.

8) Authorizes DHHL to directly negotiate with homestead-controlled water agencies to operate trust land water systems. This lays the groundwork for HHCA beneficiary organizations to manage our water and water facility assets located on our lands.

That’s it. None of these are earth-shattering. They are, however, guidance by the proper oversight body, the Hawaii State Legislature, to direct its state agency on improvements it expects in the management of our land trust. All are really great technical amendments that de-politicize DHHL, bring parity to Native Hawaiians on their home assets, and ensure trust lands are distributed based on the priority of Section 207 (Native Hawaiians), not Section 204 (general public business).

Mahalo to all of the homestead leaders around the state that contributed to these common sense technical amendments, as a makana to the Hawaii State Legislature, to do something good for the next 100 years, after a painful first 100 years since HHCA enactment in 1920.

We can do better. We can help DHHL, help the governor, help the Legislature, do better. God Bless everyone.

ROBIN PUANANI DANNER, Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations