Letter: Kakaako Makai limits not fair to Native Hawaiians
May 2, 2023

by: Glenn Kimura

As a retired urban planner who has been following the debate over development proposals for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Kakaako Makai lands, I feel things are unfair.

The issues remind me of how indigenous Native Americans who lived in harmony with some of the most beautiful lands on Earth were banished to lands that white men did not want. The pattern is the same in Hawaii. OHA was given lands once used to incinerate opala, and the incinerated ash and other toxic debris were landfilled to create the Kakaako Waterfront Park.

To add insult, state restrictions imposed on OHA contradict basic development mixed-use regulations allowed by the Hawaii Community Development Authority for Kakaako, including residential, commercial and the originally required light industrial. Hawaiians should stop being treated like wards of an estate and be allowed to provide for their own future.

I can imagine all the laborers in trade unions building luxury condos and commercial spaces in nearby Kakaako thinking, “Eh, I no can live here.” Imagine how proud local laborers would be as they build something for themselves for a change, and maybe look out from their residences as they enjoy the views of the ocean and mountain and think, “Eh, mine nevah cost $1 million.”

Glenn Kimura