Hawaii’s is unique in its isolation, the good part of this is it helps create a tolerance for others the bad part is there is little chance for the people to compare the condition of our state to other states on the mainland. With no border states we cannot compare the condition of our roads, schools, natural area and other government run infrastructure. This leaves most people having no real idea if government is doing a good or bad job in comparison. Along with this we have elected the same people and the same ideas for decades and that has greatly contributed to the lack of innovation on many issues. Breaking the mono-political culture will go a long way towards solving problems most politicians have chosen to neglect or ignore.
Open Up Land for Home Development:
Hawaii is still largely undeveloped and there is vast acreage on Oahu (Barbers Point and many other areas) that can be quickly converted to affordable housing. Entry level housing at affordable rates is an important part of balancing private and public economic interest. State and City government has chosen the “Affordable Mandate” route which has proven ineffective compared to a market based, housing based approach. Controlling land most fit for habitation under the guise of conservation or restricting the type of shelters local people can purchase for housing can also be construed as maintaining artificially high property values at the expense of non-property owners. This is not a sustainable or fair economic policy.
Quick Affordable Housing:
For over half a century pre-fab modular housing has been accepted throughout the US mainland and has proven highly effective in housing people at affordable rates. A single wide trailer with 2 bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom can be purchased for twenty thousand dollars. Modern modular homes are built of the same wood and drywall construction of site built housing and has a 30 to 50+ life span depending on the level of owner care and maintenance.
Modular housing whether in parks or individual home lots can be a permanent or temporary source of housing. Modular housing in a well laid out community setting or available for use by individuals and by Hawaiian Homelands can help break the backlog of housing people at affordable rates without onerous income restrictions and government interference of subsidies housing.
Considering the depressed condition of many of Hawaii older neighborhoods and the overcrowding caused by high rental/mortgage cost, promoting options for quick and affordable housing is an important means of assisting individuals in creating wealth and security for themselves and their families.
Secure All Hawaiian Homeland Assets from State and Federal Manipulation:
Dealing with Hawaiian Homelands in a manner that represents the best interest of those of Hawaiian ancestry and the other 94% of the State that is not, has already been demonstrated by two different examples.
One is the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Act and the establishment of Alaska Native Corporations. Like Hawaii many native Alaskan land claims were too diverse to be economically viable on their own. By incorporation tribes could develop land on their own or join with other tribes in cooperation.
Hawaiian land claims are also diverse and scattered throughout the State. No one piece of property could support all those of 50% or more blood quota let alone the thousands of part Hawaiians under that quota. Only by approaching the diverse property portfolio using corporate stewardship can the greatest benefit for the most people be achieved.
Establishing a Native Hawaiian Corporation would give control of these assets to the people it was intended to benefit. A corporate structure can allow Hawaiians to vote and operate this structure in any manner they choose within boundaries of corporate law. The corporations can develop Hawaiian assets in a manner according to and approved by the majority of the native Hawaiian shareholders.
Developing Hawaiian Homelands to their highest and best use according to shareholder directives, free from the conflicting interest of state or federal politicians, is the only route such development can take that may well prove beneficial to both shareholder and non-shareholder alike. As well the combined economic/political power of a Native Hawaiian Corporation would be the most likely way to pursue additional land claims and just compensation through the state and federal court system.
Consider a positive corporate structure benefiting native Hawaiians has already been demonstrated by the Bishop Estate Trust. Bishop Estate has developed its property and stewardship, according to its charter, to successfully educate generations of Hawaiian children and will hopefully continue to do so in perpetuity.
A Native Hawaiian Corporation could have immediate and positive impact on the health and welfare of those of native Hawaiian ancestry and clear decades of mismanagement and neglect.
Develop a Coherent Strategy for Land Use & Conservation
Many people in Hawaii associated liberal progressive with environmental stewardship. But a look at how Hawaii deals with its forest and trail systems paint a picture jarringly different from what would be acceptable for any mainland state in its operation and preservation of parks and natural areas. We seem to still be in Territorial Days as to our parks and urban trails and have an enormous amount of catching up in preserving and accessing natural areas. We need to take trail access off of residential streets and develop new mountain parks and access points to take pressure off our over used urban Oahu trails. This is real stewardship that will delight both residents and visitors alike, and preserve our mountain trails for future generations.
There are numerous examples of lack of foresight and stewardship of our natural areas similar to the sad story of the “orphaned” Maunawili Falls trail:M
Maunawilli Falls Trail like so many Oahu urban trails starts in a single family home residential neighborhood.
Neighborhood complaints about being inundated with vehicle parking and the degradation of neighborhood peace and quiet have gone unheeded for years.
Control and maintenance of the trail is nonexistent as it is suspended in a “no one is responsible” situation between the old City and County access agreements with the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club.
Neither the City nor the State exercises any responsibility over the trail to the frustration of neighborhood residence and the degradation of the trail system.
Any Google search will turn up hundreds of parks and natural areas on the mainland that contrast what poor service we are getting as residence and taxpayers
It is embarrassing to compare Hawaii State and County governments neglect of the natural areas and so much of our trail and ocean park system compared to any mainland state.
Mainland state parks have entry ways, parking and often a visitor’s center with park ranger presence. They maintain their parks and trails and have a coherent plan of preservation. Even unmanned parks have sufficient parking and restroom facilities.
There is no excuse for the primitive nature of our approach to urban trail management other than the indifference created by lack of political accountability.
Hawaii could have a pro-active park system for ocean and mountain resources. Many urban trails can be redesigned around entry ways, parking facilities and even visitors centers along with active maintenance and control.
The overextended Department of Land and Natural Resources needs to be split into specific agencies with sufficient direction and funding to bring it in line with 21st century resource management.
This is not to say this is solely a state and county effort.
Land owners like Bishop Estate and others need to be brought into the process.
Private hiking clubs and conservation minded groups and individuals already do much of the volunteer work of preservation, and a focused and organized state and county effort could easily tap into that energy.
A Balanced Approach:
A new vision for Hawaii’s future can be realized when a sufficient number of citizens decide to restore balance in state government.
The present mono-party control of state direction and resources has in many areas run out of good ideas.
Unfortunately this leaves, in many cases, only bad ideas which, if implemented, promise further degradation of Hawaii’s human and natural resources.
Clearly and new direction is needed and that choice is in the hands and votes of Hawaii’s citizen.