A message from the CEO: Two new bills would force Kamehameha Schools and other landowners to sell their lands. We will fight this.
Aloha e nā limahana o Ke Kula ‘o Kamehameha,
Who could have imagined that in today’s modern world, lawmakers in our government would be trying to revive the unforgivable practice of forcibly taking ‘āina from Native Hawaiians. One would have hoped this type of practice was in a distant, regrettable past.
Yet, in the last few weeks, two bills (HB 1635 and HB 2173) were introduced at our State Legislature that seek to force owners of non-residential land — e.g., agricultural, industrial, conservation, and commercial — to sell that land to the tenants who lease it. These bills were also highlighted in an Opening Day speech that called for the legislature to “reinvent the rules” for landowners. This is a troubling signal that lawmakers are serious.
We will not stand and watch this unfold from the sidelines. Our ‘āina are kūpuna for us, as they were for Ke Ali‘i Pauahi. They connect us to our people and our shared ancestry and provide us the support we need to uplift our Lāhui. Being forced to sell them against our will, and losing that connection for generations of our keiki cannot be tolerated. We will fight this, together with other Native Hawaiian organizations, families, and landowners who would likewise be forced to sever their genealogical ties with their lands.
We have learned that these bills are tentatively scheduled for a public hearing on Saturday, February 13, at 9:00 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. Our Communications Group will confirm this hearing and keep you informed on this matter. I hope you will join with me, our Trustees, and other leaders and citizens of our Lāhui in letting our voices be heard.
I mua Kamehameha!
Livingston “Jack” Wong
Chief Executive Officer
Get more information about the bills at www.ksbe.edu/stopforcedlandsales
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Jan 21, 2016: Speaker Souki Proposes Fee Simple Conversion of Commercial Land Leases