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By Aarin Jacobs. February 14, 2014 - 12:58 pm
Disclaimer: This article was originally posted on Aarin Jacobs’ personal Facebook page, and is reposted in unedited form with permission from Mr. Jacobs. The views in this article do not represent the views of the Kalamalama.
Read our article about the story here: HPU student’s comments spark investigation of state legislator.
I provided my first supportive testimony in room 325 in support of House Bill 2380 relating to the protection of sharks and rays. I can say it was nothing like I expected, in fact, I am very disappointed with the OMH Committee Chair, Faye Hanohano. After providing my supportive testimony, I was asked by Representative Hanohano to come up for questions. She very rudely berates me in front of the committee and audience, interrupting my responses to her, and speaking in Hawaiian without the courtesy of translation. She asked questions and made statements that were irrelevant to the situation and discrediting to her position as a committee chair.
Hanohano said that I wanted to take her food from her. Then stated (and I paraphrase), if there is a taro famine, and she cannot eat shark because of the penalties she’ll face, then does she turn to eating people? I see the point she makes that shark has been a source of food for the native Hawaiians, but her statement makes no sense. There is plenty of other food to eat on the islands including other fish, pig, and a variety of fruits. Also, we no longer live in a pre-westernized Hawai’i; There are a variety of markets and grocery stores to obtain food. But to suggest eating human, even as a joke, is very highly unprofessional.
As I began to tell her the health risks involved in eating shark, Hanohano cuts me off to further banter about nonsense. She said I made no distinction as to what sharks I’m talking about and said that I was talking about greedy loan sharks or business sharks.
She then asks me if I have ever swam with a shark, to which I replied yes. She then says I was violating the shark’s home and space by doing so. Afterwards, she contradicts herself by saying, (again paraphrasing), the people want to swim in the ocean, but they can’t because of the sharks attacking people. She just got through saying I was violating the shark’s home by swimming in the ocean? Wouldn’t the people be violating the shark’s home as well? Or since I’m a westerner, I have no right? She rhetorically asked the audience why all of the westerners come over and tell them what they can and can’t do, and it seems she was very prejudiced to anyone who is not of native descent and didn’t care to think that maybe we westerners care about the land and culture too.
Her final irrelevant question she asked was “how old are you?” I told her my age, and she gave me a “pfft” and told me to sit down as if my age did not meet some sort of prerequisite to speak any further on the situation.
At the end of the 8 o‘clock agenda, she deferred the bill. There were 64 testimonies regarding house bill 2380, and 62 of them were in support. Only 2 of the testimonies were opposing the bill. Her reasoning for deferring the bill was that none of the supporting testimonies made mention of the Hawaiian constitution article 12, section 7 which relates to the traditional rights of the native people. And then she added that the two opposing testimonies did make mention of this article and concerned the rights of the Hawaiian people.
I read the testimonies when they were added to the website after the hearing and the two that opposed made no mention of article 12 section 7 and didn’t mention the native people at all. In fact, one of them had no comments and merely read “opposed”. So she falsified the content of the two documents in order to give herself a reason to ignore all of the other ones.
She is obviously geared towards Hawaiian affairs and has little regard for marine resource management or the health and wellbeing of the people or herself, so long as she gets to eat her “ono” shark. She might think she speaks for the Hawaiian people, but if they truly didn’t want this bill to pass on this subject matter, we would have seen more testimonies opposing the bill that actually mention article 12, section 7.
I believe everyone has a right to have their voice heard here in Hawai’i, especially the native people, and I encourage everyone to take the time to provide their voice even if it’s just to say they are for or against a bill.
This legislator has done nothing but prove how corrupt she is, that she has little to no knowledge of the marine ecosystem she’s surrounded by, and show that she is biased to her own wants and not those of the people, and the only people she thinks she’s concerned with are the natives. As an elected official of the state government, Faye Hanohano needs to take into consideration the wants and needs of EVERYBODY in the state. If not, she should consider the efforts of the people who do care enough to show up or submit testimony for their passions and concerns for the environment.
After the hearing, I left, and nearly the rest of the committee (minus the vice chair) came out to apologize to me for Hanohano’s behavior and treatment towards me. I’m sure they must be tired of apologizing for her, given her track record of misconduct. I appreciated it. An apology, however, isn’t enough to make it right because there is no place for a rude, corrupt, and prejudiced legislator in the capitol and in my opinion she needs to be removed.
Read our article about the story here:
Photo courtesy of Aarin Jacobs.