October 17th, 2004


Will the 9th Circuit Court Protect the Civil Rights of Hawaiians?

We shall see if the 9th Circuit Court protects and defends the civil rights of Hawaiians:

School vows to battle suit:

The 9th Circuit Court will rule on the legality of Kamehameha
Schools' admissions policy

By Sally Apgar

Leaders of Kamehameha Schools announced yesterday that they will defend the school's right to grant admissions preference to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry at a hearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals next month.

Show of Support
Public prayer services are being organized for those who want to show support for Kamehameha Schools' mission.
Oct. 31: Kamehameha is also holding an event open to the public called "Legacy Day" at the Bishop Memorial Chapel on the Kapalama campus from 1:30 to 5 p.m. A prayer service will be held starting at 3 p.m.

Nov. 4: At 7 a.m. the morning of the court hearing, simultaneous prayer services will be held on the UH Manoa campus, at various churches across the state and on the Kamehameha Schools campuses at Kapalama and on Maui and the Big Island. The UH prayer service will be held in the cavernous Stan Sheriff Arena, where Mailer said "thousands are expected to attend."

"We will fight the hardest we have ever fought," said Kamehameha Schools Chief Executive Officer Dee Jay Mailer at a press conference yesterday crowded with more than 30 supporters.

Kamehameha Schools Trustee Nainoa Thompson said, "We are prepared to defend our (Hawaiian preference) policy for as long as it takes to correct the educational imbalances suffered by Hawaiians."

He added, "Our community sees this as another taking."

Thompson and Mailer were optimistic that the 9th Circuit would uphold the Nov. 17 decision of U.S. District Court Judge Alan Kay that the school's admissions policy does not violate federal anti-discrimination law.

The case, John Doe v. Kamehameha Schools, was filed in June 2003 on behalf of an unidentified student from the Big Island who claimed that he was qualified academically to attend Kamehameha but that he was not accepted because he lacked Hawaiian blood.

John Goemans, the Big Island lawyer who filed the suit, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Eric Grant, the California attorney who argued the case against Kamehameha, did not return telephone calls to his home or office. Previously, Grant has said he was confident the 9th Circuit would overturn Kay's decision.

The school's admissions policy was adopted by its first board of trustees, which was led by Charles Reed Bishop, the widower of school founder Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. In 1884, Pauahi, who saw education as the means to a better life for native Hawaiians, donated her wealth of royal lands to the establishment and operation of a school.

Today the trust is a $6 billion, tax-exempt charity that educates more than 4,800 Hawaiian children each year on its three campuses and through programs in the community, including early childhood programs, scholarships and support for charter schools.

In his ruling, Kay argued that programs that give one race priority over another are legally allowed when they serve a legitimate purpose, such as remedying racial injustices of the past. Kay found that Kamehameha's policy serves to right the historical injustices and inequities suffered by Hawaiians since the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Yesterday, Thompson noted the school does not receive federal funds and that its efforts to correct inequalities have been recognized by Congress.

The hearing will be held in the moot court of the University of Hawaii-Manoa's William S. Richardson School on Nov. 4 when the court makes one of its scheduled visits to Hawaii. Coincidentally, Nov. 4 is also the 117th anniversary of Kamehameha Schools' founding.

The school is planning prayer services on the day of the hearing and a public show of support on Oct. 31.

The Doe case was one of two federal court cases Goemans filed against Kamehameha Schools in 2003 that challenged the admissions policy. The other case was filed on behalf of Brayden Mohica-Cummings, then a seventh-grader from Kauai. After Mohica-Cummings was accepted, it was found he had no Hawaiian blood.

Last November, around the time of Kay's ruling, Kamehameha settled with Mohica-Cummings. Under the settlement, Goemans would drop the federal suit and Mohica-Cummings would be allowed to continue his education at Kamehameha until he graduates.

Mailer said yesterday that since the Mohica-Cummings case, the school has implemented a "more rigorous" process to determine an applicant's Hawaiian ancestry. Applicants now must supply their own birth certificate in addition to those of their parents and, if possible, their grandparents. The school also checks with a computer database of Hawaiian ancestry.

Yesterday's press conference was symbolically held on the anniversary of Pauahi's death on Oct. 16, 1884.

"I see this as an issue of equality and a need to restore balance," Thompson said, adding, "It's also about raising the need for hope and healing in our community."

Mailer said the same legal team, headed by Honolulu attorney Crystal Rose and California attorney Kathleen Sullivan, that presented the case to Kay will argue before the 9th Circuit.

Mailer told reporters that it was fitting that "the arguments will be heard on Hawaiian soil, the homeland of Pauahi."

Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2004/10/17/news/story1.html

Leasehold conversion in Hawai'i

Excellent letter. In this letter, the writer states how forcing owners to sell property is wrong. This of course is happening in Hawai'i and this issue is up for vote. Then again since the largest landowner in Hawai'i is the Bishop Estate which benefits Hawaiian children this law which forces landowners to sell their property... covertly targets... you guessed it... Hawaiians. That is why this law must be struck down. Unless of course people want Hawaiians to leave Hawai'i which seems to be the case. For example, how many girls of Hawaiian ancestry are in the "Hawai'i Calendar of Girls" or... how many Hawaiians are in Hawai'i? Out of the 401,062 or so Hawaiians left... approximately half of them are in Hawai'i. The rest? Not in Hawai'i. It's obvious, of course, that Hawai'i is nothing without Hawaiians. That is, people come to Hawai'i to see... you guessed it... to see Hawaiians... not a pretty Filipina or a pretty Japanese girl dressed in a hula skirt with a coconut shell bikini top:

Forcing owners to sell property is wrong

"When I fly to a neighbor isle destination, I go into the rent-a-car office, plunk down my credit card and in a few minutes leave in a shiny new automobile. Just imagine, it only costs me pennies-on-the-dollar compared to those expensive new cars in the lots down the street.

Perhaps I can get the City Council to pass a rent-to-fee conversion bill so that I can buy this rent-a-car instead of returning it to the business. But it's a "used" car, so I wouldn't have to pay full price for it. I'd negotiate a "fair" price with the owner. The business could then go out and buy another car to "rent" to the next customer.

When you rent a car, you pay only a fraction of its actual worth in order to use it for a while. When you rent an apartment, you do not expect to get fee title to it, only the right to live in it for a while. When you "buy" a leasehold home, you are, in essence, "renting" it for a while. That's what it says in the contract you signed.

If you wanted to buy a fee-simple home, why did you merely rent one in the first place? Why would you ever expect ownership of the rental to be forcibly extracted from the owner and turned over to you?

That's ridiculous! Why the confusion? Leasehold conversion is wrong."

Blaine Fergerstrom

Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2004/10/17/editorial/letters.html