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Report of the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus – April–July 2018

REPORT OF THE HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS CAUCUS
APRIL–JULY 2018

  1.   HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS CAUCUS PROTESTS THE DPH PLATFORM, SECTION TITLED, HONORING HAWAIIANS: The Hawaiian Affairs Caucus is in disagreement with the changes to the DPH Platform in that section titled, Honoring Hawaiians, and specifically the deletion of the following sentence,  “We support recognition of Native Hawaiians as indigenous people as provided by the U.S. Constitution; such recognition will add to the process of Native Hawaiian self-determination.”  Our preference was to request the SCC to defer adoption of the Platform language concerning that section titled, “Honoring Hawaiians,” but received a ruling from the DPH Chair that the SCC does not have the power to do that.

In previous years, we worked hard on this language, including holding informational briefings.   Too, the Hawaii State Legislature by Act 195 stated, in part, “In December 2010, the Departments of Justice and the Interior reaffirmed the federal support for the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2010. This reaffirmation recognized that Native Hawaiians are the only one of the nation’s three major indigenous peoples who currently lack a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States.  The purpose Act 195 was to recognize Native Hawaiians as the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli population of Hawai‘i.  It is also the State’s desire to support the continuing development of a reorganized Native Hawaiian governing entity and, ultimately, the federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. The legislature urges the office of Hawaiian affairs to continue to support the self-determination process by Native Hawaiians in the formation of their chosen governmental entity.”  Deletion of the highlighted sentence from the DPH Platform effectively diluted its former provisions.  

We take partial accountability for not being “maka‘ala” (alert) to this change when the proposal was being considered by the Platform Committee, but suggest that current processes are lacking in consulting with caucuses recognized by our membership in the DPH constitution as representing historically disempowered or under-represented constituencies due to current or past inequality under law, discrimination, social prejudices, or economic injustice.

Further, considering the enormity of the changes to the Platform at this convention, there was much to be concerned about by all committee members and delegates.   The timeframe for informing delegates prior to the convention was too short to analyze all of the changes, and the process for singling out problematic provisions was not clearly understood by all delegates.  For example, the standing rules did not provide for separating out Platform provisions, yet there was a form circulating on the floor that allowed for separation out; there was also confusion about whether a minority report was necessary.  RECOMMENDED ACTION:  We strongly urge that the SCC Convention and the SCC Rules Committees review all of these processes before the next convention to update them, as appropriate.  We are happy to participate in such discussions. Meantime, we will work to introduce amended language for the Platform for the 2020 convention.

In spite of the above, we should also like to recognize the positive work of the Platform Committee to incorporate Native Hawaiians in various other provisions of the Platform.  

  1.   DISEFRANCHISEMENT OF NATIVE HAWAIIAN OHA TRUSTEES WHO ARE DEMOCRATS:  By the DPH bylaws quoted below, we believe that OHA Trustees, who are Democrats, should have been seated at the DPH convention as delegates, the same as other non-partisan races, such as the Mayor of the O’ahu County.  Yet, they were not.

DPH Bylaws, Article VI, State Convention, Section 2, Composition, Section 2B, states  “Elected Federal, State and County Officials, or officials who may have been appointed to fill a vacant position of an elected official, who meet the following requirements:

(1) Be a member in good standing

(2)  Have attained their present office in an election as a Democrat or appointed to fill a vacant position of an elected official or have attained their present positions in a nonpartisan election provided they are Democratic Party members in good standing.’

(3) The rights and privileges granted in this paragraph are nontransferable.

Further, according to the Attorney General, in its recent audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, “THE OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS (OHA) holds a unique status. It is a State agency established by the State Constitution, independent of the executive branch. OHA has the primary responsibility to better the conditions for Native Hawaiians and Hawaiians. OHA is the principal agency responsible for the performance, development, and coordination of programs and activities relating to Native Hawaiians and Hawaiians. OHA’s other purposes include assessing the policies and practices of other State agencies impacting the Hawaiian community and conducting advocacy efforts for the Hawaiian community.”

By the DPH bylaws quoted above, OHA Trustees, who are Democrats, should have been seated at the DPH convention as delegates, the same as other non-partisan races, such as the Mayor of the O’ahu County.  Yet, they were not.

We sought a ruling from the DPH Chair on the above issue before the convening of the DPH Convention and never received a final decision on this issue.  RECOMMENDED ACTION:  The SCC Rules Committee review this issue now and respond to the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus as to whether OHA Trustees, subject to election by the entire state of Hawaii registered voters, who are Democrats may be seated at convention as delegates.

  1.   CRITICISMS OF CAUCUSES, IN GENERAL:  In the Rules Committee meetings and on at least one facebook page of a member of that committee, there were comments made critical of caucuses, such as, “they are private clubs”, “they are not transparent”, “they lack democracy”; “we need to infiltrate them. Every party member who sincerely supports omission of a caucus, should join the caucuses as well as the others they support”, etc.  We resent these kinds of comments that only undermine the good work of the caucuses, such as the Medical Aid in Dying Bill, Marriage Equality, Changing the OHA Election Process to a Primary and General Election, etc.  RECOMMENDED ACTION:    If anyone has a complaint about a caucus, they file it formally with the SCC, otherwise, refrain from such comments that not only undermine the caucuses, but also undermine the Party and its Platform.  Include a way in which a caucus member may file a complaint against such members who make such negative comments without enabling due process for those caucuses being criticized and allow for sanction, reprimand, or removal of that member since their comments are in direct contrast to the establishment of caucuses by the DPH Constitution.

  2.   DPH CONVENTION:  The Hawaiian Affairs Caucus hosted a presentation titled, “Traditional and Customary Native Hawaiian Practices” featuring Moses Haia, Executive Director, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation;  Mr. Lanakila Manquil, cultural practitioner and Hawai‘i island resident; and Senator Kai Kahele on Friday, May 25, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Waikoloa. Attendance was outstanding with an overflow crowd.  Additionally, the Caucus held an exhibit during the convention and attracted over 30 new members. Mahalo to members, Lei Kihoi, Kealii Lopez, and Juanita Brown Kawamoto and the DPH Convention co-chairs for the logistical support provided.

  3.  HAC POLICY & PROCEDURE IN SUPPORT OF CANDIDATES:  The Hawaiian Affairs Caucus adopted policies and procedures outlining the ways in which it will support political (partisan and non-partisan) candidates who are members of the DPH.  Contact Leimomi Khan if interested in receiving a copy.

  4.   CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENT:  The HAC is considering an endorsement process.  While we can find no provisions in DNC or DPH bylaws that specifically prohibit the endorsement of a DPH candidate over another DPH candidate in the primary election, we understand that it has been historical practice not to endorse one Democrat over another.  Yet, in fact, we have seen Democratic Party leaders endorse Democrats in the primary. RECOMMENDED ACTION:  The DPH Rules Committee issue a clarifying statement on whether endorsements in the primary are permitted or prohibited and that such clarification be posted on the DPH website.
  5.  HAC OUTREACH TO PARTY LEADERS:  HAC outreached to party leaders by email requesting that they include Democratic Party of Hawaii (DPH) candidates for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee seats in any candidate forums that they may hold.  This request is consistent with DPH Constitution, Article VIII, General Provisions, Section 3, Candidate Support of Platform, Resolutions, Constitution and Bylaws, which states, in part, “ Every member of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i shall support candidates who are members of the Party and request the Party’s support in the general, special or nonpartisan elections. “ (Bolded for emphasis)

  6.  TRIBUTE TO SENATOR AKAKA:  All Democrats were invited to participate in a tribute to Senator Akaka in celebration of his life by the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus on Friday, May 18, at 3:30 p.m., at the Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda. Members of the HAC Executive Committee led us to Senator Akaka’s casket; followed by a Kanikau (lamentation of mourning) by Jacob Aki; the singing of the Hawaiian lullaby by all and hula accompanied by Kimo DelaCruz and Pikake Enos; the presentation of leis by Juanita Brown Kawamoto and Ken Farm, HAC Executive Committee members, and ending with a presentation of a resolution, expressing our condolences to the family.

  7. HAC HOSTS MEETING OF DPH CHAIR CANDIDATES:  The Hawaiian Affairs Caucus  held a special meeting at the Democratic Party of Hawaii Headquarters, 627 South Street, #105, on May 20, Sunday, 1:00-2:30 p.m.  Featured were the candidates for the position of Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii who  shared their platform.  These were Gloria Borland, Kealii Lopez, and Tim Vandeveer.  Additionally, we had a lively presentation and discussion about the use of the words, Native Hawaiian, Kanaka Maoli, and Kanaka ʻŌiwi led by Jacob Bryan Aki, member of the HAC Executive Committee.   The result was a recommendation by those in attendance that the DPH Constitution and Bylaws and/or Platform be translated into Hawaiian.

  8.  OHA TRUSTEE CANDIDATE FORUMS:  The HAC hosted a meet the OHA Trustee Candidate Forum, in partnership with ‘Olelo on July 19, 2018, that was televised live on Channel 49.  While all 24 candidates were invited, 13 participated, the majority of whom were Democratic Party of Hawai‘i members. The purpose of the forum was to educate the voting population on the platform of candidates concerning Native Hawaiian issues to enable informed voting.

  9.  HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS CAUCUS (HAC) REPRESENTATIVE TO THE SCC:  We are pleased to announce that Ms. Kainoa Kaumeheiwa-Rego was elected on July 17 as the HAC non-male representative to the State Central Committee.  

Attachment:  Office of Elections Fact Sheet re OHA Elections

OFFICE OF ELECTIONS STATE OF HAWAII

FS136BO002 24 June 2016

FACTSHEET

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Elections

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a public agency governed by a Board of Trustees responsible for setting policy and managing the agency’s trust.

The Board of Trustees is composed of nine (9) members who are elected to serve four (4) year terms. All voters statewide are allowed to vote in each OHA contest.

Four (4) seats on the Board are at-large trustees. The remaining five (5) seats are resident trustees with one (1) trustee from each of the following islands – Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai.

Qualifications

Candidates for OHA Trustee must be a:

  • Resident of respective island for seats requiring residency
  • Registered voter of the State of Hawaii Election of Island Resident Trustee
  • One (1) candidate: the candidate will be deemed elected at the close of candidate filing.
  • Two (2) candidates: the candidates will appear on the general election ballot. The candidate receiving the most votes in the general election will be deemed elected.
  • Three (3) or more candidates: the candidates will appear on the primary election ballot. If a candidate receives majority of the votes cast, excluding blank and over votes, then the candidate is deemed elected. Otherwise, the two (2) candidates receiving the most votes will appear on the general election ballot. The candidate receiving the most votes in the general election will be deemed elected.

Election of At-Large Trustee(s)

In a year with only one (1) at-large trustee seat on the ballot, the following occurs:

  • One (1) candidate: the candidate will be deemed elected at the close of candidate filing.
  • Two (2) candidates: the candidates will bypass the primary election ballot and will instead appear on the general election ballot. The candidate receiving the most votes in the general election will be deemed elected.
  • Three (3) or more candidates: the candidates will appear on the primary election ballot. If a candidate receives majority of the votes cast, excluding blank and over votes, then the candidate is deemed elected. Otherwise, the two (2) candidates receiving the most votes will appear on the general election ballot. The candidate receiving the most votes in the general election will be deemed elected.

In a year with three (3) regularly scheduled at-large trustee seats on the ballot, the following occurs:

  • Three (3) candidates: The candidates will be deemed elected at the close of candidate filing.
  • Four (4), five (5), or six (6) candidates: the candidates will appear on the general election ballot. The three candidates receiving the most votes in the general election will be deemed elected.
  • Seven (7) or more candidates: the candidates will appear on the primary election ballot.
    • If a candidate receives majority of the votes cast, excluding blank and over votes, then the candidate is deemed elected. The next four (4) candidates receiving the most votes will appear on the general election ballot. The two (2) candidates receiving the most votes in the general election will be deemed elected.
    • If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, then the six (6) candidates receiving the most votes will appear on the general election ballot. The three (3) candidates receiving the most votes in the general election will be deemed elected.

For complete information, please refer to HRS Chapter 13D.

Office of Elections
802 Lehua Avenue
Pearl City, Hawaii 96782
Phone: (808) 453-VOTE (8683)
Neighbor Island Toll Free: 1-800-442-VOTE (8683) TTY: (808) 453-6150

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Elections – Page 2

This FACTSHEET is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as an authority on Hawaii election law. Requirements and/or deadlines may change. Consult the Hawaii Revised Statutes and other sources for more detailed requirements.