The Akaka Era

The news of Daniel Akaka announcement that he will not run for reelection was a shock to some, but not to others; one reason is that Akaka hasn’t met the expectations of Daniel Inouye.  Akaka hasn’t made enough in fund raisers to fend off any challengers at the next election cycle in 2012.

Inouye: In the usual situation when someone is seeking reelection, fundraising begins four years before election time.  And two years before is intense.  By the time a year before election comes along, he is fully funded.  I have also noted that he has not had fundraisers and according to the disclosure laws whatever he has is less than $100,000.

Once Inouye has spoken, it is done.  Ed Case ran against Akaka back in 2006 and lost.  At that time, Ed Case campaigned that Akaka’s age is a factor, and Akaka is 86 years old.  But so is Inouye.  Akaka also lost his chair seat on the Veteran Affairs Committee, and his influence is waning in the Senate.

I met Senator Akaka a few years ago at the Nani Mau Gardens where he sponsored a seminar on investing in the stock market and protecting your savings.

For over 10 years, Akaka tried and failed to have his signature legislation passed through the Congress.  The Akaka Bill would have given recognition to native Hawaiians as an indigenous people.  Similar to Native American Indians, it would have a process to self-government with the power to negotiate with the government.

However, versions of the bill have proven more controversial than unifying the Hawaiian people.  Questions on eligibility have dubbed the bill more dividing by race and connections to the Hawaiian community.  A version of the bill would require proof of either being a direct descendant of the Hawaiian indigenous people, or as eligible through the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

Is it reasonable to think that the same laws and policies implemented for Native Americans can be applied here in Hawaii? What would the effects of a bill like this look like on the ground? On the mainland, some tribes have been given reservation lands. But Hawaii is not the mainland and does not have massive tracts of land to grant to different groups of people. Certainly, one could argue that all of the lands of Hawaii belong to the native people. However, there are all kinds of people living on the land now and who is to say that a New York resident that has 1% Hawaiian blood and has never stepped foot on these islands has more right to the land than an ethnically Polynesian person born and raised on this land?

Then there is the State of Hawai’i doing an end-run around the Federal government and attempting tp pass a State version of the Akaka Bill.  Not everyone is for the Akaka Bill, even native Hawaiian groups like “Stop Akaka Bill“.  Grassroots Institute Hawai’i sent me this note also:

For those who thought that the change in Congress meant a respite from the imminent threat of the Akaka Bill, think again.  In what might be something of a desperation move, the legislature has introduced a bill that purports to recognize a Native Hawaiian tribe through the state.

Depending on whom you ask, you will get a variety of opinions on what the Akaka Bill will do to either help, or hurt the Hawaiian people.  Meanwhile, the race is on to find a successor to Akaka’s Senate seat.  Either former Governor Linda Lingle, or former Senator Charles Djou would make great replacements to Akaka’s Senate seat.

What’s For Dinner?

New York Strip Steak Salad

Balsamic Vinegar Dressing



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