by Andrew Walden
Is the effort to disenfranchise military personnel motivated by the political ambitions of appointed District 1 Senator Malama Solomon?
In her July 18 Star-Advertiser commentary, Solomon calls military personnel “non-residents” and straight facedly claims: “I have nothing to gain or lose with the addition of a fourth Senate seat for Hawaii Island.” But in comments also published on the 18th, former District 1 Senator Lorraine Inouye says she is “90 per cent sure” she will run to re-take her old State Senate seat. The prospect of facing Inouye again should be daunting to Solomon who surely remembers the 1998 District 1 Senate race in which Inouye trounced the then-incumbent Solomon. Solomon—after 15 years in the State Senate--was so reviled by her constituents that she garnered only 26.6% of the Democratic Primary vote that year.
Since the last reapportionment ten years ago, the neighbor islands have been grossly overrepresented in the House and Senate. In February, 2011 Stateline.com pointed out that Hawaii has the most “deviant” Senate districts in the nation with population discrepancies of 38.9%, entirely favoring the neighbor islands. In other states deviance is limited to 5% or 10%. Contrary to Solomon’s July 18 claim, having three Senators after reapportionment for the Big Island will result in much less deviant districts with about 60,000 human beings in each district statewide.
There is no clear definition of “non-resident” and no database which could be used to determine who these alleged non-residents are, but military personnel are very active in the community—especially in education. Military personnel and their dependents—who Solomon also does not want to count—are active in building one of Hawaii’s most successful Charter Schools, the Hawaii Technology Academy in Waipahu. Through the National Guard Challenge Academies at Kalaeloa/Barbers Point and on the Big Island at Kulani, military personnel every year save hundreds of the children failed by the DoE.
To be fair, Malama Solomon is active in the community as well. On March 5, 2007--just four months after her 2006 Lt Governor run gave Hawaii Democrats their worst gubernatorial defeat since Statehood—Solomon led about 100 people to sit in at the the Federal District Courtroom of Judge Michael Seabright to support her friend, Shawn Aguiar—the Big Island's largest methamphetamines dealer.
While methamphetamines ravage the Big Island, Solomon urged the judge to minimize Aguiar’s sentence because his imprisonment might reduce the profitability of Solomon’s 1000-acre Honoka`a cattle ranch.
According to the March 6, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser, Solomon said, in a letter submitted to U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright, that Aguiar “is ‘of critical importance’ to the continued survival of cattle shipper American Pacific International Inc.”
Solomon explained to the Judge that she was eager for Aguiar to be returned to the exact circumstances under which he committed his crimes writing, “With my knowledge of AmPac’s operations and personnel I do not feel that they can survive very long without Shawn’s involvement.” Solomon also was apparently not shy about publicly acknowledging that she was on a first-name basis with one of the largest drug importers in the history of Hawai`i and has “knowledge” of “operations and personnel.”
Prosecutors believe as much as 150 lbs of methamphetamines was imported to the Big Island by Aguiar’s ring. Solomon, in her letter to the court, did not speculate on the “survival” of young people hooked on methamphetamines.
The average meth “rock” is 1/5 of a gram. One hundred fifty pounds of methamphetamines is enough for over 340,000 ‘rocks’ –or two rocks for ever man woman and baby on the Big Island -- or 13 ‘rocks’ for every Big Island public school student from kindergarten to grade 12.
In the face of Solomon’s pressure, Seabright sentenced the meth kingpin to only seven years. According to AmPac’s website, Aguiar is now back at work importing and exporting cattle shipments to and from the Big Island.
During her failed Lt Governor campaign, Solomon was a featured speaker at an August 27, 2006 campaign rally held at the Honokaa ranch home of Larry Mehau. Mehau was a key figure in the 1990s “Broken Trust” scandal at Kamehameha Schools. His "Hawaiian Protective Association" collected $40,000 a month for “security” at the Kamehameha campus and more for the “protection” of Big Island Kamehameha lands purchased by the Trust from Hamakua Sugar. According to the book, Broken Trust (p71), a 1997 article in the Maui Valley Isle newspaper accused Mehau of being the “Godfather” of organized crime in Hawaii.
Mehau supported Neil Abercrombie for Governor in 2010 and Abercrombie appointed Malama Solomon to the Senate seat she had lost 12 years earlier.
Solomon is a leader of the effort to organize a State-recognized politically exclusive rump Akaka Tribe of political cronies--excluding the vast majority of native Hawaiians because they are not “Qualified.” The push for the Akaka Tribe and create a tribal jurisdiction around it emerged directly from the Broken Trust scandal. It is an attempt to put criminals beyond the reach of the law so they can steal the Hawaiian patrimony with even greater impunity than they now enjoy. Placing the Bishop Estate under a tribal jurisdiction was first suggested in a 1995 study conducted for the Broken Trustees by ex-Gov John Waihee.
Given these affinities, it should come as no surprise that, in the recent Legislative session, Solomon was a leading advocate for casino gambling in Waikiki and for a state lottery.
The choice to count military personnel is a choice between equal representation for those who build up our communities or excessive representation for those who tear them down.