by Andrew Walden
Starting tomorrow at 9AM, the Nai Aupuni Aha will be ‘gathering to discuss a path to self-governance’. Few of the so-called delegates may realize it, but the choice of site for the Aha—the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Maunawili Valley—is a the punch line of a decades-long joke played on them by ex-Governor John Waihee.
UPDATE from Aha--Day One:
Years ago, Waihee took a political risk as an early-money backer of Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 bid for the White House—the 1993 Apology Resolution was his reward. And the 1990s Waihee-Clinton money-story began with Waihee’s crooked political operators driving Hawaiian farmers out of Maunawili Valley in order to build what is now known as the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club.
Paralleling Waihee’s support for Clinton, President Barack Obama’s Hawaii supporters also sought to leverage the limited contribution pool of their small state by latching on early. Calling Obama “Hawaii’s third senator”, they began raising early money for a presidential bid as soon as Obama won his Illinois Senate seat in 2004. But of course they wanted something in return. At the top of their agenda in discussions with Obama in December 2004 was the multi-billion-dollar land and money grab which would have been made possible by passage of the Akaka Bill.
Twelve years later, the Akaka Bill is dead, but Obama’s Department of the Interior has offered his early-money supporters one last chance for the Tribe.
As told in the 1997 PBS Frontline special “The Fixers,” the story of Clinton’s Hawaii early-money support from Waihee begins in the late 1980s and early 1990s with poor Hawaiian farmers’ leasehold homes being bulldozed and cattle being slaughtered as Honolulu police stand by with fraudulent eviction notices. The evictions made way for a Maunawili Valley Oahu golf course funded by Japanese investors overflowing with yen at the top of Japan’s bubble economy.
Yes. The push for the Akaka Tribe was launched by stealing land from Hawaiians. And now the Aha ‘delegates’ are being taken along as John Waihee returns to the scene of his crime. If you see Waihee at the Golf Club Aha, snickering to himself in a corner, now you know why.
The Maunawili Valley deal was the beginning of a long run for Waihee “fixers” Gene and Nora Lum. They bought support for the project in the Hawaii state legislature with $50,000 in contributions. Governor Waihee’s 1985 signature on the Lums’ bill declaring golf courses to be a legitimate use of agricultural land raised the value of the Maunawili property by about $43 million overnight.
Within a few years the Lums were recruited by Ron Brown — later named Clinton’s commerce secretary — to spearhead efforts to raise Clinton donations from Asian sources. Their bet on Clinton’s candidacy was raising thousands from Waihee associates in 1990 and 1991--even as the Maunawili evictions were ongoing.
PBS’ “The Fixers” ends with President Clinton in 1996, ten days after winning his second presidential term, stopping in Honolulu on his way to Asia and insisting on playing a full 18 holes of golf with Waihee in the pouring rain at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Maunawili Valley, where it all started.
The Lums ended up in prison in 1997, but backing Clinton had already paid off handsomely for Waihee and his cronies. Clinton in 1993 signed the so-called “Apology Resolution,” which fixes a single government-dictated interpretation of history and formally admits a U.S. role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. It also apologized for the overthrow, thus making the U.S. liable to native Hawaiians — or more accurately, to those who claim to represent Hawaiians.
The Apology Resolution, pitched to Congress by Senator Daniel Inouye as “a simple resolution of apology,” over the years was the cornerstone of the case for the Akaka Bill, despite Sen. Akaka’s floor statement during the 1993 debate: “Are Native Hawaiians Native Americans? This resolution has nothing to do with that.” In fact the record of the very short 1993 Senate debate contains a point-by-point litany of denials from Akaka and Inouye of almost everything which has since come to pass.
A federally recognized Hawaii Tribe could shield trustees of KSBE, OHA, and DHHL from the law. Some, such as OHA CEO Kamanaopono Crabbe, envision it controlling much of Hawaii’s economy while hiding behind its tribal jurisdiction.
Obama will be out of office on January 20, 2017.
He who laughs last, laughs best.
Related: Crabbe: Plan is to Take Control of Hawaii’s Entire Economy and Hide Behind Tribal Jurisdiction
Link: PBS Frontline--The Fixers