Is OHA stupid?
by Andrew Walden
Everybody knows Speaker Saiki cannot give in to OHA's Kakaako Makai demands without losing his House seat in the next election. HD25 Kakaako constituents would not tolerate Rep Saiki selling out their viewplane. Transsexual activist Kim Coco Iwamoto has challenged Saiki in the last two Democratic Primaries-- losing by a paltry 161 votes in 2022 and 167 votes in 2020.
Question: Is it possible that OHA is so stupid that it does not know this?
Question: If OHA is not stupid, what is its game?
Answer: OHA's purpose to to gin up a phony but expensive PR/lobbying campaign for the impossible goal of upzoning Kakaako Makai.
Question: Why would OHA want to waste its money on a clearly futile effort?
Answer: Because the money OHA is wasting on Kakaako Makai PR and lobbying is going to OHA insiders. All this Kakaako Makai noise is just a means to transfer OHA assets to the usual 'friends and family'. OHA spent $1.2M for Kakaako Makai with 'Kuilei Consulting, Inc' in FY 2022 alone. And they are willing to pass up $165M of OHA legislative funding to do it.
* * * * *
OHA Hakuone Press Conference from Office of Hawaiian Affairs on Vimeo.
OHA Chair Calls Out ‘Undemocratic Behavior’ at Capitol
News Release from OHA, May 5, 2023
HONOLULU (May 5, 2023) – Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey minced no words this morning as she declared that democracy is being seriously undermined in Hawaiʻi, as evidenced by one of the most dysfunctional legislative sessions in recent history.
Lindsey’s firm language comes after every single bill submitted to fund and support OHA died at the Capitol, despite most clearing hurdles right up until the final deadline. This includes funding for vital infrastructure repairs to the Kaka‘ako waterfront due to decades of state neglect, and a substantial attempt to catch up with the state’s still underpaid Public Land Trust obligations.
“With every passing day, the state’s debt to the Hawaiian people continues to grow,” Lindsey said today. “The Speaker’s actions are placing an increasing burden on taxpayers, and we hope that people are paying attention.”
The exceedingly rare “cattle call” session on Friday—which failed to resolve numerous issues that then had to be held over until Monday—was only the latest visible sign of what Lindsey called “one of the most dysfunctional legislative sessions in recent history.”
But Lindsey, and OHA, are resolutely pressing forward, not looking back. She said “we will never give up on our dream of building residential housing” at Hakuone, but that OHA will develop what it can in the meantime. More importantly, Lindsey said OHA and the lāhui will not relent in its fight to be heard at the Capitol. “We will certainly not allow our voices to be silenced,” she concluded.
Watch Chair Hulu’s remarks at the OHA press conference here.
* * * * *
SPEAKER SAIKI'S RESPONSE TO OHA
News Release from Hawaii House of Representatives, May 5, 2023
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Speaker Scott K. Saiki issued the following response today:
"During this legislative session, my colleagues and I kept an open door to OHA and hoped we would have productive discussions.
However, OHA has not provided specific development plans or explained why it is in the public's interest to repeal the residential restrictions at Kakaʻako Makai that were in place when OHA accepted the land.
I have made good faith efforts to find a solution that would be suitable to OHA and serve the interests of its beneficiaries.
Two months ago, we offered OHA $65 million for wharf repairs, $100 million in cash, and an increase to the annual ceded lands trust proceeds, in exchange for an easement to maintain open space by preserving the residential ban at Kakaʻako Makai.
OHA rejected this offer and has not returned to the table to continue discussions. However, I am still willing to discuss this important issue with them."
* * * * *