Pua's plan is to Reform and Optimize OHA. To move forward with accountability and transparency. To rehabilitate OHA's tarnished reputation by restoring credibility and trust. And to make OHA all it can be to more fully benefit the Hawaiian Community and the State of Hawai'i.
OHA is experiencing its worst fiasco it it's 42-year history. The result of years of controversy, scandals, infighting, internal lawsuits, trustees vs CEO battles, ethics violations. OHA's reputation and public trust has continued to erode amidst recent financial audits exposing the mismanagement of millions of dollars and findings of waste, and abuse (Hawaii State Auditor Draft Audit Report No. 18-03 February 2018). A second independent audit reflected the same findings and concerns (CliffordLarsenAllen December 2019). In addition, OHA is currently under investigation by the State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding allegations of "public corruption and misappropriation" of taxpayer and state funds (2020).
Trust & Credibility
OHA's relationship with other agencies and organizations is extremely important. This is especially true regarding the State Legislature. OHA, in-part, depends on the State Legislature for its funding, as well as any potential increased funding. Recent attempts to secure more funding from the State Legislature, have, not surprisingly, failed. No doubt due to OHA's extremely poor reputation in fiscal management.
Given the above, it is imperative that OHA becomes and remains an organization that is perceived as not only effective and efficient, but also honest, credible, and trust worthy. Trust and Credibility is also critical when dealing with OHA beneficiaries, the Hawaiian Community. It is impossible for OHA to fully satisfy its kuleana to benefit the Hawaiian Community, if beneficiaries cannot respect and cannot trust OHA.
Unity & Collaboration
The OHA Board of Trustee's inability to function as a cohesive unit is legendary. I believe OHA biggest immediate challenge is not a lack of resources, funds, facilities, or capable employees. I believe OHA's greatest issue continues to be relations. The relationships between Trustees and relationship between the OHA Board of Trustees (BOT) and Executive Administrative Team (EAT). For OHA to be all it can be to more fully benefit the Hawaiian Community, both the BOT and EAT must be pono. This includes being unified in purpose, committed to act as fiduciaries in the best interest of the Hawaiian Community. In addition, they must be willing and able to deal and interact with each other with mutual respect and aloha.
Friction between the BOT, and BOT and EAT has a negative trickle down affect on the entire organization. Stress, mistrust, breakdown in communications, and deteriorating employee morale, will impact productivity and ultimately, negatively impact benefits to Hawaiian Community.
State Issues are OHA Issues
OHA does not exist in a bubble. What impacts the State of Hawaii will impact OHA and the Hawaiian community. And what impacts the Hawaiian Community and OHA will often impact the State of Hawaiʻi. The same issues that plague the state of Hawaii also plagues the Hawaiian Community. As such, OHA must be aware of all issues that impact the state of Hawaiʻi, and especially those issues that may disproportional impact the Hawaiian Community.
The following are the major issues impacting the State of Hawaii today. Many of these issues are disproportionately impacting the Hawaiian Community. OHA must be cognizant of these issues and do what it can to address theses issues when appropriate.
Hawaii's traffic is among the worst in America.
The highest median home values in the Nation at $619.000.
Hawaii continues to have the highest homeless rate in the Country.
Cost of Living
Hawaii has the highest cost of living in America.
Illegal drug use and crime associated with its use and distribution have reached Epidemic proportions.
Covid-19 has left the State of Hawaii with the highest unemployment in the Country at 37%.
WE CANNOT CONTROL THE WINDS, BUT WE CAN ADJUST OUR SAILS
Interventions & Initiatives
Interventions and Initiatives that Pua
will promote to Reform and Optimize OHA.
INTERVENTIONS: Actions to implement now to correct a situation or course.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When people stay in office for too long they often develop a sense of ownership and entitlement which often leads to abuse of power. Term limits will help to reduce a monopoly on power. Term limits will also force would-be career politicians, to think more carefully about their actions while in office knowing that they will be returning to society after a period of time.
As your Trustee, Pua will advocate for term limits of 2 terms.
Two recent financial audits in 2018 and 2019 indicate gross financial mismanagement of millions of dollars and concerns of fraud, waste, and abuse.
As your Trustee, Pua will follow-up on these important audits. He will not discount audit findings, make excuses, or make empty promises of future changes. Instead, he will take audit findings at face value and embrace recommendations as opportunities to make improvements, implement needed policy, establish safeguards, and move forward better and stronger. In addition, he will advocate for regular ongoing audits as recommended by financial best practices.
OHA is currently under investigation by the State Attorney General's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding allegations of "public corruption and misappropriation" of taxpayer and state funds (2020).
As your Trustee, Pua will advocate for cooperation with investigations and provide whatever information and documentation that is requested. Trustees have a fiduciary duty to do what is in the best interest of the Hawaiian Community and to do so with transparency. If OHA has clean hands it should have nothing to hide or fear. In addition, should investigations discover any breach of fiduciary duties or illegal activity, those responsible must be held accountable to the full extent of the law. This process is extremely important to help restore OHA's tarnished reputation and restore trust and credibility.
Transparency & Accountability:
OHA trustees have a fiduciary duty to do what is in the very best interest of the Hawaiian Community and to do so with transparency and accountability
As your Trustee, Pua will hold Trustees accountable for their acts and non acts, ethically, professionally, and legally. He will also advocate for a decision making process that will include Hawaiian Community review and input at every relevant and important step of the process. A process that will be facilitated in a safe, nurturing, and transparent environment.
OHA is currently working on its 2020 strategic plan for the near future. OHA's last plan was created in 2010 (10-years ago). In today's quickly changing and evolving environments (technology, legal, political, economic, social, and cultural) another 10-year strategic plan will not do. Instead, what is needed is a dynamic, flexible, and responsive, strategic framework. A strategic framework will give OHA the flexibility needed to identify risk, mitigate damage, and take advantage of opportunities, in a responsive and timely manner.
As your Trustee, Pua will advocate for short; medium; and long-term goals and a living strategic framework. He will also advocate for the development of clearly articulated Purpose and Mission statements that currently do not exist. In addition, he will advocate for a culture of self-correction and evolution through a continuous cycle of action, monitoring, assessment, modification, and replication of this process.
INITIATIVES: Actions to optimize effectiveness and efficiency moving forward.
Over the years, Pua has seen and heard the concerns of the Hawaiian Community, and shares many of the same concerns for himself and his 'ohana. As your Trustee, he will work hard, with you, to find solutions to these long standing issues.
It is Pua's belief that the ‘ohana (family unit) is the fundamental building block that makes up the very fabric of our Lāhui (people of Hawai‘i). Strong Parents = Strong Families, and Strong Families = Strong Communities and Strong Communities = Stronger State of Hawai‘i. As such, Pua believes the ‘ohana and those individuals making up the ‘ohana unit (kamali‘i, makua, and kūpuna) must be cherished, respected, protected. Many of the issues we face today in the Hawaiian community such as behavioral, mental, and emotional issues, are a direct result of individuals coming from dysfunctional homes.
As your Trustee, Pua will look for options and opportunities to rescue Hawaiian families in need of assistance. This must start with the basic needs such as food and shelter, then addressing other needs such as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual issues. Initiatives here may includes supporting part-time employment, to allow primary care givers to remain in the home to help raise children and generate income. Other initiatives may include, parenting and fatherhood training/counseling; educational, employment, and family finance, workshops. It will be difficult for our keiki to be tomorrows leaders if their homes are not intact and dysfunctional. Pua will advocate for Hawaiian families and homes that are safe, nurturing, vibrant and flourishing. An environment that will be conducive to raising happy well adjusted individuals who will become the future leaders of the Hawaiian Community and State of Hawaii.
Most people will agree that the health care system in Hawaii is in need of an overhaul. The question is, what program to follow. There is generally 3-options here, (1) More money, direction, and control, from Washington. (2) Follow a European style national health care system or (3) Putting patients and doctors in the driver's seat and making healthcare providers and insurance companies compete for customers. As a historical note, under the Kingdom of Hawaii, health care was free as provided by the Queen's Hospital that was founded in 1859 by Queen Emma and and King Kamehameha IV (aka Queen's Medical Center today). Regardless of the option that may be followed, Healthcare remains one of the biggest concerns for the Hawaiian Community today. This is especially true for Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, aged 56-74, this is our growing kūpuna segment.
As your Trustee, Pua will advocate for and work to enhance Healthcare for the Hawaiian Community. Initiatives here should include improving clinical outcomes, increasing access to services, and providing health care education.
Hawaii has the highest median home value in the nation at $619,000. Native Hawaiians, as an ethnic group, have the lowest home ownership rate among all other groups in Hawaii. Home ownership for the Hawaiian community is a dream, a dream that becomes more elusive every year as home values continue to soar.
As your trustee, Pua will look at all the options, from traditional government subsidies and political policy support to collaborating with government agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations to find affordable housing solutions for the Hawaiian community. Initiatives here will include:
(1) Pua will press for a memorandum of agreement between OHA and the Department of Hawiian Home Lands (DHHL) to address the 28,500 beneficiaries on the DHHL waiting list. OHA has the financial resources and DHHL has the land. This can be a win, win, win, for OHA, DHHL, and the Hawaiian community.
(2) There are many Hawaiians who served in active duty in the military. Many are currently on the DHHL waiting list. Many of these veterans have the ability to qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans for Hawaiian Homes. Pua will work towards a collaboration between OHA, DHHL, and the VA, to get more Veterans on DHHL lands. This would be the first project of its kind between these three organizations.
If we can start working together, be creative, think outside of the box, and get serious about solving this issue, solutions will be found, and more Hawaiians will get into homes.
Covid-19 has resulted in the State of Hawaii having the highest unemployment rate in the Nation at 37%. Native Hawaiians, as an ethnic group, represents the highest percentage, from any other group, that are unemployed. As such, Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the Hawaiian Community as it relates to unemployment.
As your Trustee, Pua will review the options and opportunities and promote initiatives that will benefit unemployed Native Hawaiians. This may include, but not be limited to: financial assistance, workshops, and training to help kanaka be more marketable in the job market, and enhancing access to employment opportunities.
Hawaii continues to have the highest homeless rate in the Nation.
Native Hawaiians, as an ethnic group, represents the largest number of homeless in Hawaiʻi.
Pua believes OHA has the heightened kuleana to take care of those who are unable to take care of themselves. As your Trustee, Pua we will work to get Hawaiians off the streets and into accommodations that are clean and safe. Pua understands that no one chooses to be homeless, as such, we need to address the underlying causes of homelessness, whether it is unemployment, mental illness, substance abuse, or any other factor. In addressing this issue, Pua will think outside of the box, collaborate with other entities concerned with this issue, and deal with the homeless with respect and aloha.
Cost of Living:
Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the entire Nation.
Native Hawaiian families have the lowest mean family income of all major ethnic groups in Hawaiʻi.
The mean income of $55,865 for Native Hawaiian families is 16 percent lower than the statewide average of $66,413.
Pua takes this issue very seriously, this issue is tied into other troubling issues including affordable housing, homelessness, and the exodus of residents seeking higher wages and a lower costs of living
in America. As your Trustee, Pua will work for solutions to address Hawaii's cost of living and or reduce its affects on the Hawaiian Community. This may include using state lands to develop leasehold housing, reduce taxes, and introduce laws to reduce/limit real estate speculation that drives up real estate values.
It is clear that America lost it's "War on Drugs." This is especially true in Hawaiʻi. Illegal drug use and crime associated with its use and distribution are at epidemic proportions. Native Hawaiians, as an ethnic group, represents the highest number of substance abuse among other groups. In addition, Native Hawaiians as an ethnic group, represents the highest number incarcerated among other groups. Native Hawaiians make up 21 percent of the population, but 39 percent of those incarcerated.
As your Trustee, Pua will work for solutions. We must step out of the box and throw a wide net. We must be creative and innovative, and we must use our culture and spirituality as part of the process. We must look at and implement those initiatives and strategies that have proven successful in other areas, especially for native peoples. We cannot leave this issue to the State of Hawaii to address. OHA must do what it can for our Hawaiian Community and those who are impacted here. A comprehensive culture based program is needed that begins in the home with parents and youth. We must break the cycle of drug use, abuse, and criminal activity.
THESE ARE DIFFICULT TIMES FOR OHA. THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR ON THE JOB TRAINING.
WE NEED SOMEONE WITH PROVEN LEADERSHIP THAT WE CAN TRUST AND DEPEND ON NOW .
MY PROMISE TO YOU
"Should I be honored to become your OHA Trustee, I will dedicate whatever resources are necessary in time, energy, mind, strength, and spirit. To the betterment of OHA, the Hawaiian Community, and the State of Hawaiʻi.
I will carry out my fiduciary duty with
Accountability, Transparency, Integrity, Faith, and Aloha.
I do not play politics, I do not have a hidden agenda, no one pulls my strings. I am here for change, I am here to make a difference, I am here for You!"