By EDWIN TANJI, For The Maui News
POSTED: September 11, 2009
Sonny Kaniho was a Native Hawaiian. He was also a loyal citizen of the United States, an Air Force veteran, a Pearl Harbor shipworker.
As a Native Hawaiian, he recognized injustices perpetrated on Native Hawaiians. As an American, he believed the government could be pushed into reversing the injustices. He knew it would take effort and it would take time. He committed himself to the effort. It’s taken more time than he had, but the injustices he strived to correct had been in place for most of the century.
His effort also was mostly personal but it ran parallel with and enhanced other efforts by many groups to revitalize Hawaiian culture and restore Hawaiian rights. In the 1970s, efforts at restoring Hawaii as a place reflecting its indigenous people included the Aboriginal Lands of Hawaii Association, Hawaiian musicians, kumu hula, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana, and Dr. Terry Shintani, who established the nutritional value of the Hawaiian Diet.
Kaniho’s effort gave a synergistic boost to the 1978 debate that led to formulation of Article XII of the Hawaii Constitution – the Hawaiian Affairs section mandating state funding for Hawaiian Home Lands and establishing the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Sonny Kaniho was an unlikely protester who conducted unlikely protests, a soft-spoken man engaging in nonviolent acts of civil disobedience in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King. His peaceful protests were not angry confrontations. They were designed to draw public attention to what he viewed to be unjust decisions of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
The department didn’t agree, but it based its actions on 50 years of inertia. Kaniho knew the excuses. He didn’t accept them.
Proposed ‘Ewa development defies snap judgments
Sep 2, 2009
Last Friday’s daylong meeting of the State Land Use Commission, to rule on a petition by mega-developer D.R. Horton-Schuler to change the current zoning on 1,500 acres of prime ‘Ewa farmland from agriculture to mixed-use residential and commercial, was anything but boring.
Here’s Kioni Dudley, intervenor in the case, whom some have called the leader of the opposition: “In the beginning, over two years ago, this was just a gut feeling I had.” Now, it is more than a feeling, as Mr. Dudley–and everyone else with a sore gut over the proposed zone change–has picked up some unexpected allies, in the form of at least three State agencies and several local politicians.
Listen to Bryan Yee of the Attorney General’s office, speaking for the State Office of Planning: “We now know that if the petition [for the zoning change] goes through, H-I will be a parking lot from Waiawa to Makakilo. And the petitioner (Schuler) isn’t proposing any solutions.”