by Andrew Walden
OHA is supposed to work "for the betterment of native Hawaiians." But once again OHA's Hawaiian "haves" are exploiting Hawaiian "have nots" to line their own pockets.
In a 2010 article, Hawai'i Free Press explained how homeless tent cities are moved around mainland communities to shake money loose. Precisely as we predicted, tent cities have been imported into Hawaii for the same purpose.
By electing not to conduct sweeps there since late 2014, Kakaako Makai has been chosen by the Caldwell Administration for the site of a homeless tent city--specifically because so many fingers are in the Kakaako pie. These include UH, OHA, HCDA, KSBE and other major developers now building in the Kakaako area.
Governor Ige in late July assembled a mis-named "leadership team" consisting mostly of politicians. Their first move was to stop running homeless sweeps until Mathew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, could fly to Honolulu and establish that nobody in America had built a bigger homeless tent city than Hawaii. The dream is that being number one will somehow shake lose more COFA funds from the feds, even though Dan Inouye, with all of his Senate seniority, never succeeded in that endeavor.
Now that the federal dog and pony show is over, attention is shifting to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The "leadership team" is discussing the use of Kakaako Makai Lots "L" and "I"--both owned by OHA--as the site for homeless shelters which would allegedly house 500 people. The response from OHA CEO Kamanaopono Crabbe: "(OHA) would like fair market rent value, of course."
How much would "fair market rent" be?
OHA accepted 30 acres of Kakaako Makai property in 2012 as settlement of a $200M debt owed by the State for back rent from the so-called ceded lands.* The 3.3 ac "Lot I" was valued at $25.540M and 5.2 ac "Lot L" at $21.930M. Total value $47.47M.
Assuming no land value appreciation and using 8% annual return as OHA's definition of "fair market rent" -- $47.47M worth of property would produce $3.8M annual rent.
A survey conducted in early August shows 293 homeless people in Kakaako, most of whom are Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders. Crabbe's plan: House 250 homeless already in the oceanfront Next Step shelter plus another 250 homeless from the Kakaako tent city.
Do the math:
- $3.8M / 500 = $7600 per year each. (For comparison, per capita GDP in the Federated States of Micronesia is only $3000.)
- A homeless family of four would be worth $30,400 per year--just for OHA's "fair market" land lease. (For comparison, the average profit per employee of the 30 largest US companies is $83K.)
Now you know why the homeless are being kept downtown.
If the homeless were in a location outside the urban core, the land values would be one tenth of Kakaako values. A "fair market" land lease on an out-of-town 8.5 ac site might work out a measly $760 per person, per year.
*After accepting the Kakaako properties as being worth $200M in 2012, OHA went back to the Legislature in 2014 claiming to have been shortchanged. Ige's 'Leadership Team' could use OHA's 2014 posturing in order to talk Crabbe down--profiting by selling to OHA for what it's worth and leasing from OHA for what OHA thinks it's worth.