(BIVN) – A hot button issue before the Hawaiʻi County Council involving speed humps in Hawaiian Home Lands was again postponed.
On November 19, councilmembers heard a previously introduced resolution that would allow the county to be reimbursed for speed humps installed on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property in Keaukaha. Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries again wanted to know why DHHL was expected to help pay for such a safety improvement on Pakele Lane, a public road in Keaukaha that is also within the Hawaiian Homestead.
Kekai Kamai, who lives on Pakele Lane and petitioned the County to build the speed humps, was one of the speakers who asked why DHHL has to reimburse the County.
Keaukaha Community Association president Patrick Kahawaiolaʻa also spoke. “Mayor Kim over 15 years ago came into our Keaukaha community on three different occasions to expressly tell our community that the county has no jurisdiction and authority,” Kahawaiolaa said. “I don’t want to downplay that the Department of Hawaiian Homes does not benefit from some of these takings of the trust lands by state and local governments, however the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in its latest court case, Nelson v. State of Hawaii in the findings of facts and conclusions of laws by Judge Castagnetti who concluded the department cannot serve two masters and their primary duty is to the beneficiaries of the act, and not the State of Hawaiʻi.”
“Please take into consideration helping the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands make a better decision on this discriminatory act,” said Terri Napeahi of the Keaukaha Action Network.
Councilmember Sue Lee Loy, who represents the Keaukaha community on the Council, said the issue is going to require more time and a lot more clarification. She called Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela forward to talk story in Kona.
“Our duty, the county’s duty, under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, is the duty to maintain,” Kamelmela said. “Again it goes to the issue – what is one improvement, and what is maintenance? It’s a good idea that we defer [the resolution] only because I think I think the Hawaiian homes department should be engaging in dialogue.”
“Unfortunately that’s why [the beneficiaries] are engaging us here in this space, in front of us. It’s because they weren’t given that opportunity through the Department of Hawaiian Homes and with the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Now I won’t go deep into the Hawaiian Home Commission Act but we have a lot of people who are in the audience in Hilo who are very well versed with that Act. As Uncle Pat said, it was clear they cannot serve two masters and the master they must serve is the beneficiaries.”
“I’m looking forward to all of us kind of getting back to the table with our beneficiaries and then coming forward with a sound resolution,” Lee Loy said
“We agreed to pay for all costs,” Mayor Harry Kim testified from Hilo, “except for Hawaiian Homes agreed to pay for
the transportation of the material, and transportation only, not the cost of the material or the labor of making the speed bumps. Again, we’ll follow up on that and I assure the council that we will resolve it as soon as possible.”