Hawaiian Affairs Caucus table at the 2016 Democratic Party Convention.

 FOURTEEN FILE FOR OHA SEATS!  NEW RULES REQUIRE RUNOFF IN PRIMARY ELECTION!

The Hawai’i State Elections Office has announced the candidates who have filed to run for the following OHA seats:

OHA HAWAII RESIDENT TRUSTEE:  KAHUI, Bo V. (Craig), LINDSEY, Robert K. (Bob), and TRASK, Mililani B.

OHA MOLOKAI RESIDENT TRUSTEE:  FLOWERS, Jerry (Manuwa), HANAPI, Alapai, and 
MACHADO, Colette (Pipi’i)

OHA KAUAI RESIDENT TRUSTEE:  AHUNA, Dan

OHA AT-LARGE TRUSTEE:  AKINA, Keli’i, ANTHONY, Daniel K., APOLIONA, Haunani, CRUM, Douglas E.,  KALIMA, Leona Mapuana, MAKEKAU, Keali’i, MOSSMAN, Paul Ledwith

Following new election rules, candidates running for the OHA Hawaii resident Trustee, the OHA Molokai Resident Trustee, and the OHA At-Large Trustee positions will face off in the primary election. Trustee Ahuna, as the only candidate for the OHA Kauai Resident Trustee position, is memed elected.  The applicable new election rules are as follows:

  • One (1) candidate: the candidate will be deemed elected at the close of candidate filing. (Hence, Dan Ahuna is automatically elected as he faces no opposition)
  • 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.  (This applies to the Hawaii Resident Trustee,  the OHA Molokai Resident Trustee, and the OHA At-Large  positions)

Hawaiian Affairs Caucus members are urged to register to vote in the primary and general elections.   On line voter registration can be done at olvr.hawaii.gov.   There, you can also find information on candidates running for other offices, such as U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senate, State House, etc.

STATE LAND BOARD REAFFIRMS JUDGE RIKI MAY AMANO (ret.)
AS TMT CONTESTED CASE HEARING OFFICER

(HONOLULU) – The Board of Land and Natural Resources (the “Board”) today issued Minute Order No. 9 (the “Order”) in the Contested Case Hearing for the Conservation District Use Application (“CDUA”) for the Thirty Meter Telescope (“TMT”) at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. In the Order the Board unanimously denied a motion to disqualify retired Hilo judge Riki May Amano as the hearing officer in the case.

The Order provides the Board’s detailed reasons for denying the motion. It also restates some of the Board’s findings in denying a previous disqualification motion. The Board also unanimously declined to grant objections to Board member Chris Yuen’s service on the selection committee that picked Judge Amano.

The Board’s Order addresses the public scrutiny facing this contested case hearing and notes that both the Petitioners and the University of Hawaii are concerned that Judge Amano’s selection may not survive review in an appellate court. As it reasoned, however, “[t]he Board is concerned that, taken to its logical extreme, ensuring a contested case process that subjectively ‘appears to be fair’ to every possible person who takes an interest in the TMT project would likely necessitate not only the disqualification of Judge Amano but of every potential hearing officer who otherwise possessed the acumen to hear this case.”  It goes on to provide that “[n]o qualified hearing officer candidate is likely to satisfy all spectators and remove all fears of reversal. The Board will not go down this rabbit hole.”

Instead, the Board adopts the objective standard cited in a previous Supreme Court decision (Mauna Kea Anaina Hou v. Board of Land and Natural Resources, 136 Hawai‘i 376, 395, 363 P.3d 224, 243 (2015)). It found, “the commitment to an objective ‘appearance of fairness’ test is consistent throughout Hawai‘i judicial decisions.”

Further, the Order provides that, “[w]ith due respect and consideration to the parties’ various interests and reasons for asking the Board to replace Judge Amano, the Board cannot and will not sidestep its own administrative responsibility to exercise judgment and common sense regarding whether the selection process up until now has objectively appeared to be fair. Common sense must prevail.”

As for the Petitioners’ claim that board member Yuen should recuse himself in this matter and should not have served as a member of the selection committee for the hearing officer, the Board found that a statement made nearly two decades before the TMT CDUA was filed is not evidence of bias or prejudgment. Quoting Yuen’s written response to the Petitioners’ objections, “I think that the policy for board members is similar to that for judges: there is a duty to serve when you are not legally disqualified, just as there is a duty to disqualify yourself when good cause exists . . . Board members should not be selected for the absence of opinions: they have to know how to review facts and decide particular cases on their merits given the legal criteria.”

For more information, go to:  dlnr.hawaii.gov.  Of interest is the FAQ on Mauna Kea that appears on the DLNR website.  It explains the contested case hearing and Mauna Kea.