(BIVN) – A Council resolution that would have authorized the County of Hawaiʻi to enter into a agreement with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for DHHL to provide a share of the costs of the County’s installation of speed humps along the entire length of Pakele Lane in Keaukaha was withdrawn on Monday.
The Hawaiʻi County Council Finance Committee took the measure off the table after it created controversy in the homestead community. Keaukaha residents, who are also Hawaiian Homes beneficiaries, requested the speed humps be added on Pakele Lane adjacent to Keaukaha Elementary School. They did not appreciate the County seeking partial reimbursement for the project from the Hawaiian Home Lands trust, however.
The resolution has been in limbo for months, after it was criticized the first time it was introduced. Once again, Keaukaha Community Association president Patrick Kahawaiolaʻa was in the council chamber to speak on the measure.
Kahawaiolaʻa said the seed humps are paid for using fuel tax revenues and that Hawaiians in that neighborhood drive cars and pay for fuel. “I have a problem when these types of resolutions come forward to say that now we gotta go pay for our speed humps,” he said.
Another testifier called the request institutional racism.
“When the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands expends funds from their trust for the benefit of their beneficiaries,” said Hilo councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, “it is a requirement that the Commission check with the beneficiaries, first. This particular resolution went completely opposite. It was the administration initiating the reimbursement costs for
the speed humps.
“The Hawaiian Homes Commission will be on-island in May to specifically address the appropriate protocols and what responsibilities the trust has to the beneficiaries and its relationship to this municipal,” Lee Loy said. “I’d share that, just to clarify where we are today, what we have before us is a motion or a resolution that was introduced by request. I will be asking the introducer to withdraw that motion because I suspect that this may not mean no longer be the vehicle. And if it is the vehicle, I believe there will be some wordsmithing that comes forward after the Hawaiian homes Commission meets in May and how we move forward to address this issue.”