September 12, 2013
Power Brokers takes a turn over the waters of the Pacific to Hawai’i, whose indigenous population shares a common history with Native Americans and Alaskan Natives on the mainland. In 1893, the sovereign kingdom of Hawai’i was overthrown, with the country seeing an eventual annexation by the United States five years later. Since statehood in 1959, there has been a growing movement of recognizing the importance of Hawaiian language, culture and sovereign recognition. This includes war crime complaints filed within the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council.
Because of the growing interest in Hawaiian sovereignty, it is important to recognize the members of the Hawai’i State Legislature who are open about their indigenous identity. Many of these indigenous legislators have been in office for several terms and hold majority leadership positions.
WAILUKU – Maui County Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa named six new members to his Cabinet on Monday, including two key people to help him achieve his campaign goals, Danny Agsalog as director of the Department of Finance and Dave Taylor as director of the Department of Water Supply.
With the stumbling economy still heavy on most people’s minds, and job creation and finding more water on the lips of political candidates this election season, Arakawa chose people he was familiar with – and who are educated and experienced – to run the county’s finance and water departments, he said.
Arakawa also picked former longtime and award-winning television and print journalist Rod Antone as the county and mayor’s spokesman, replacing Mahina Martin. In addition, Arakawa chose deputy directors for the water and finance departments as well as for county communications.
In 1962, Congress established a unique program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture that empowered rural communities to improve themselves while protecting and developing their natural resources. Local councils would provide direction, planning, coordination, and implementation of specific projects within their boundaries.
The focus on local direction and control has made Resource Conservation and Development one of the most successful rural development programs of the Federal Government. To date, three hundred eighty five RC&D areas have been authorized throughout the Country. Over 70,000 projects have been adopted nationwide since 1964, and more than 50,000 have been completed.
Hawaii’s four RC&Ds, cover all the major Islands. Through the leadership of Maui County’s five Soil and Water Conservation Districts and with assistance from the Soil Conservation Service, Tri-Isle RC&D Council, Inc., the oldest of the Hawaii RC&D areas, was established in 1970.
The Tri-Isle Council meets on a quarterly basis and is made up of a 15 member Board of Directors who bring a variety of backgrounds and professional expertise to the organization. The office staff includes the Executive Director, NRCS Coordinator, Administrative Assistant and Financial Assistant. The Council membership includes:
5 members from Maui County’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts 2 members from County Departments 8 at-large members from the community
RC&D provides a mechanism for local residents to work together and actively solve economic, environmental, and agricultural problems. We help utilize the abilities, knowledge and energy of local volunteers to get projects done. Interested groups may approach Tri-Isle for project sponsorship by submitting an application.
The public will have a final opportunity in late October and November to provide input into the 2009 County of Hawaii Agricultural Development Plan, being prepared for the Department of Research and Development by Agricon Hawaii LLC and The Kohala Center.
The Kohala Center is conducting islandwide listening sessions prior to finalizing the plan, which is intended to guide the revitalization of agriculture as a basis for the island’s economic development by focusing on measures designed to increase the production of food for local consumption and support the growth of export products.
The preliminary draft of the plan will be available for review by Oct. 10 at kohalacenter.org/agplan.html.
After the fall round of public sessions, The Kohala Center will incorporate public input and present the final draft to the county Department of Research and Development in early December.
In addition to attending a listening session, the public can provide suggestions and comments to Guy Kaulukukui, director of The Kohala Center’s Food Self-Reliance Program, at email@example.com or 887-6411.
The sessions are 6-8 p.m. at the following dates and locations: