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Kahana residents win a stay of eviction [from The Hawaii Independent]

Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Chairperson Laura Thielen announced today that the state will not take any action to evict six Kahana Valley families who are living in Kahana Valley Park, while the 2009 Legislature considers revisions to the law to address this issue. 

“Although we could not resolve this issue with the six families, we are encouraged it will be addressed during the 2009 legislative session,” said Thielen. “We trust the Legislature will continue to respect the basic foundation of the public’s right to access state parks, keep residential areas separated from the public areas and make Kahana Valley a public park that welcomes and enriches all residents and visitors of Hawai’i.”

Some of the residents, such as Lena Soliven, had been promised leases by the state and had fulfilled legal and financial requirements to acquire those leases. However, an abrupt shift in state policy in March of this year pulled those leases out of reach.

Read more at The Hawaii Independent.

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Comment by Pomaikaiokalani on November 6, 2008 at 10:30am
Kahana Valley is the only 'Ahupua'a on the Oahu where indegenous Hawaiians live. The Kahana Valley 'Ahupua'a needs to ruled by the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Not by the Anti-Indegenous Hawaiian rules of the chairperson of DLNR Laura H. Thielen. After Thielen's attack on the indegenous Hawaiians resident of the Kahana Valley 'Ahupua's, Thielen should resign her position immediately.
KUE, o Pomaikaiokalani
Comment by Pomaikaiokalani on November 6, 2008 at 1:35am
Thursday, November 6, 2008 Honolulu Advertiser

Hawaii Legislature will consider Kahana Valley eviction issues
DLNR Backs Off Threat Of Eviction,
Leaves Issue Up To 2009 Legislature

By Eloise Aguiar, Advertiser Windward Writer

Six families facing eviction from Kahana Valley can stay while the 2009 Legislature considers options to address the issue.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the state park where the families have resided for decades, said yesterday it was backing off its earlier threat to evict the families.

The department also offered to relocate the families to the residential area of the park, but the offer was rejected, said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairwoman.

"At this point, we leave it up to the Legislature and we are asking that they would consider the public's rights to access the park, keep residential areas separate from the public park area and make this a park that welcomes all of Hawai'i residents and visitors," she said.

The valley is home to 'Ahupua'a O Kahana Valley State Park, which was created as a living park to allow families with longtime ties to the valley to remain. A state law provided 31 leases and in exchange, the families performed cultural activities for the public for 25 hours a month. Over the years, families lost their leases, so the state was negotiating with other qualified people to give them leases.

In March, the state attorney general determined the lost leases had ended, so no new leases could be granted.

The DLNR decision to back off the evictions was just what the families and supporters had asked for two weeks ago, but bitterness remained as they questioned why this had to happen and why didn't the department do more to work this out earlier.

no 'cause to evict'
Sen. Clayton Hee, who has met with Thielen several times on the issue, said a complaint filed in Circuit Court yesterday morning by the families to stop the eviction may have prompted Thielen's afternoon decision.

"They never had cause to evict," Hee said. "If she really felt an eviction was warranted, she would have gone to court. She didn't do that. That causes me to wonder if she believed she does not have the justification."

At a press conference, Thielen said she moved forward with the evictions and the plan to open more of the park to the public after three attempts by the Legislature failed to rectify the situation.

The Legislature entertained bills in 2005, 2007 and 2008. The DLNR didn't support the 2008 measure that was approved by the Senate but failed to pass in the House.

Hee said he will reintroduce the bill and try to fix any issues the state may have with it.

"But I'm not going to agree to any stay of eviction subject to the legislative response," he said.

The Kahana families said they were thankful for the support from the community, the state Senate and the University of Hawai'i's Hawaiian Studies Program. They were out holding mahalo signs yesterday afternoon.

Lena Soliven, spokeswoman for the six families, said the victory is bittersweet because one of the uncles who faced eviction died during the weekend. Anxiety and stress over where the family would live contributed to his death, Soliven said.

The Legislature should address the whole situation, including the way the leases are written, the hours each family must contribute and where they would actually live, she said. They want to stay where they are now.

"They have to have the compassion to make things right," Soliven said. "That's all we ask for, to make things right."

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com.

ALOHA Kaua, The State, DLNR should be held accountable for the lost of the passing of the Kahana Valley Resident. The State, DLNR should be able to get away with Murder. Especailly that of an Indegenous Hawaiian. Threatening the Indegenous Hawaiian people with evictions from their homelands is an Act of Terror against the First People of Hawaii. Change is needed now..............

KUE, o Pomaikaiokalani

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