Update on last month’s article: Why I voted No on authorizing OHA’s Administration to start negotiating to build a sewage plant…

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Leina‘ala Ahu Isa, Ph.D., Trustee, At-LargeAloha Mai Kakou!

As requested by many beneficiaries mailing me their thoughts on my April KWO article, I will update them on what followed per their requests. As we know, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is one of the most important Hawaiian economic institutions that collectively along with Kamehameha Schools, Queen Liliuokalani Trust, Queen’s and the DHHL release millions of dollars into our state’s economy…in the form of thousands of consultant contracts, construction projects, commercial developments, jobs, grants, and of course, tourism (where much of Waikīkī landmarks sit on ceded lands).

Let me share with you a handwritten letter (among others) I received from a Maui beneficiary regarding his concerns after reading my April article:

“Aloha Trustee Ahu Isa,

I’ve just received my April copy of Ka Wai Ola, and on the front page, it shows the future generation and their plans. After reviewing the entire issue and reading the comments from each trustee, I came across your feature and I am impressed on your NO vote about the sewage plant being proposed for the water front in Kaka‘ako Makai. I’ve retired from the Construction Industry after 25 years of service back in September of 1995. I have installed water, drain, and sewer pipes and worked on enlarging giant sewage water holes with “live” sewage in the connection process, and it does”stink”, and especially if you are down wind, you really become sweet smelling so to speak. Each time there’s a sewage spill on O‘ahu where does it go? Where do you think “leakage” from a sewage plant in Kaka‘ako Makai will go?

I am not a scholar nor schooled person, but common sense will tell you…Where did all the sewage spills on Maui and O‘ahu go over the years…All developers in the sewage industry will always go to other properties and try to convince them that it will be “clean with quality air for the entire region”, but as soon as a sewage spill occurs, they (city county, state) will start passing the blame elsewhere. Take care of the ‘Āina and the ‘Āina will take care of you. This is my personal response to your views and comments. I don’t usually get so involved, but when I come across a very important subject, I get very concerned. When I was working in Kapalua on constructing a parking lot, and we were told to move a few 100 year old Monkey pod trees for a sewer line (and a small building to house it), I talked to the architect to please move the building 5 feet and save the trees. The architect looked at me like I was crazy and I told him that on paper everything is flat…but out in the field, it is a lot different. Guess what? He moved the Building!…and saved the trees and the parking lot benefited as the trees gave shade, and they are still there TODAY! Just Plain and Simple, Me (happily retired) Makawao, Maui

Note: Name withheld for security and privacy reasons.

Update: A letter was sent by OHA’s CEO to Mayor Caldwell after the Board of Trustees passed a motion at their March 6th meeting which authorized OHA staff to resume negotiations with the City for this project. Thereafter, OHA’s counsel contacted ENV’s Deputy Corporation Counsel to relay this information and offered to facilitate a face-to-face meeting to see if an agreement can be reached with the City concerning the disposition of Lot I.

SCR46 (Senate Concurrent Resolution 46 “approving sale of certain lands owned by OHA to the City and County of Honolulu) died. Yay!

Me ka ha‘aha‘a, A hui hou until next month, Trustee Lei Ahu Isa