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4A OPINION FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2016 | WEST HAWAII TODAY As a participant of the February 2016 aha (Native Hawaiian Convention), it was a privilege to work with Hawaiians coming from a cross section of America and our Native Hawaiian community which included: (1) professors of law, ethnic and Hawaiian studies, economics, communication; (2) farmers/fishermen; (3) school teachers and principals; (4) lawyers; (5) cultural practitioners; (6) PhD candidates; (7) retired judges and military; (8) community organizers; (9) law students; (10) former/current senators/ representatives; and (11) a physician. The youngest, 21, the oldest, 92. In my view, this diversity enabled us to create a constitution that truly represents our people. A constitution sets the “structure and function” of a government. At the beginning of most constitutions is a preamble, which usually sets the purpose and the guiding MY TURN | LEI KIHOI principles and values of a government. Our preamble section captures the quintessence of who we are as a people and is the naau (heart) of our constitution. Our land is not viewed as a “commodity,” which is bought and sold, but a life force — the essence of our being. Our traditions, customs and language are not spoken of as a tourist attraction, but an integral force of our government. Similarly, our kupuna (elders) keiki (children) and our ancestors represent the human engine of this document. Our Principles of Government section reminds us that the values expressed in the preamble are paramount throughout this constitution. It is like saying, if you did not get it once in the preamble, you are going to hear it again. As a result, notice that the structure and function of our government permeates these important “mandates:” (1) Legislature is unicameral — conducive to consensus building, efficiency and accountability. (2) Representatives for the Legislature are chosen from both population and land base principles. (3) Executive Branch has the spiritual, alii and ancestral component ; (4) President is held accountable to a representative from the eight (8) grassroots localities. (5) Judiciary is based on restorative justice. This constitution is not perfect, but it is an incredible start given the time frame allotted to set up the aha’s internal rules and incentive to capture the diversity of views and the passionate emotions that came with such a group. I anticipate more vigorous debate which will include an attack on (1) the legitimacy of the aha (2) the integrity of our Native Hawaiian Constitution; (3) and the ratification process. Briefly addressing the two potential attacks. First, the aha was a legitimate process under the First Amendment’s “right to assemble” provision. Second, the Hawaiian Constitution is a “stand alone” document and is not required to comport with any other nation or political agency. This is a constitution for and by Native Hawaiians. Lei Kihoi attended the aha from Feb. 1-26. She is a Kailua-Kona resident, former lobbyist, Supreme Court attorney specializing in constitutional law, rancher, entrepreneur and Hawaii Island Native Hawaiian Roll Commissioner. Republicans should stick to issues Trump is way out in front in the race, there is no need to demonize the other candidates. If you have a plan to fix the problems, like cutting regulations that choke the economy or taking a strong stand on the Mideast. Rubio, Cruz and Bush need a plan on how to fix the problems, instead of whining about Trump and demonizing each other, Kasich brags about what he has done, but no plan for tomorrow. Carson is the only one that sticks to the problems, even though he doesn’t have a complete game plan. However, he is smart enough to call the business and military leaders to the round table and come up with a fix. Republicans, if you can’t get your act together, we will have four more years with a Democrat leader. Jim Koubele Kailua-Kona Dengue a breeze You know, I had some of that dengue fever and it wasn’t that bad. Now I just lay around naked all day and don’t do diddly squat. Bob Peters Honaunau Kudos to DLNR I would like to publicly extend my humble thank yous to all the concerned individuals who signed the petition to have the DLNR address the safety issue at the Keauhou boat wash area. We are in great hopes this will be addressed sooner than we expect, and not at the expense of someone’s injury. The following is what the DLNR sent me: Mahalo for your letter and petition regarding the slippery surface at Keauhou Boat Ramp wash down area. We have actually awarded a contract to a vendor to conduct what is called concrete scarifying. This is done when a machine roughs up the surface of the concrete to create a rougher texture which in turn reduces or eliminates any slippery surface. We have given the notice to proceed to this awarded vendor and are awaiting his arrival. As you know since we have numerous people using the ramp area, the challenge will be to conduct the scheduled work while keeping at least one lane open for usage. Rest assure the work shall be completed in the near future. L. Hao Kealakekua Legislators should take up Onizuka Museum I have just received the “bulk mail” regarding the key legislation for 2016 — it is lacking as usual! Always the same old hum-drum, and in the end nothing ever gets done. Senators, mayor, governor, representatives, councilmen, etc., why not actually do something for Hawaii? The closing of the Onizuka Museum will be a sad day for Hawaii, especially the Big Island. This incredible, rare and honorable hero needs to be honored. The museum has touched the children, many visitors, travelers from all over the world and is a huge asset to the Big Island. That this educational facility is to be closed is a disgrace! That no elected official has taken up the cause is a disgrace! For this museum to be replaced by a TSA office is absurd! A new building was promised to the Onizuka Museum many years ago, and never happened because your elected officials spend their time and your money “discussing,” never doing! Utter nonsense, baloney, shibai, you get the drift … The Big Island is extremely lacking in anything for its The Native Hawaiian Constitution — for and by Native Hawaiians Tell us about it Do you have a story idea or news tip? Is there a community problem that has not been addressed? Do you know someone unique, whose story should be shared and enjoyed with the rest of the community? We want to know. Call the West Hawaii Today newsroom at 930-8600 or news@ westhawaiitoday.com and share the information with our readers. It’s our community — and we care. Letters policy Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Email or address letters to: EDITOR WEST HAWAII TODAY PO BOX 789 KAILUA-KONA HI 96745 EMAIL: LETTERS@WESTHAWAIITODAY.COM LETTERS | YOUR VOICE Aha participants include, front row, left to right, June Francis, Alvin Akina, Clarence Ching, Keoni Choy, Diana Suganuma, Fred Cachola, Moani Akaka, Shane Palacat, Lei Kihoi, Amy Kalili, Matt Kaaihui, Kahiolani Papalimu, Manuel Kiaha, Joshua Lanakila Mangaul, back row, left to right, Clifford Kapono, Karlyle Yamane, Kaipo Dye, Chad “Aukai” Awai, Henry Tripp, Kaliko Chun, Katie Kamelamela. PHOTO COURTESY LEI KIHOI young people, aha! There is a real goal for elected officials, do something for the families that you supposedly represent. The museum is a good place to start. From the looks of “key legislation” you folks seriously need something to do! Something that makes a difference. Do it! You will feel better about yourself. Study up on Mr. Ellison Onizuka. You will be in awe of a human who actually had accomplishments during his short lifespan. Jan Kahulamu Achay Kailua-Kona


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