HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER INTERVIEW WITH OHA TRUSTEE CANDIDATE MILILANI TRASK
Full Name: Mililani Bernardette Trask
Name on Ballot: Mililani B. Trask
District: OHA Hawaii Island
Current Job: Attorney & Consultant
Place of birth: Honolulu, Hawaii
Job history past 10 years -
United Nations Diplomat & Human Rights Defender – New York/DESA; executive director Gibson Foundation – Honolulu & Hawaii island; Indigenous Consultants LLC principal; attorney at law
Other civic experience or community service? -
Value Growth Associates: Advisory Board; Na Koa Ikaika Ka Lahui Hawaii – U.N. ECO-SOC Affiliate IWA; Indigenous Womens Network, USA – board member
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you? -
I am a nonviolence advocate, an avid birdwatcher and hiker, and studied & worked with Mother Theresa in Calcutta for many years.
What makes you qualified to be a trustee of OHA? -
I am an attorney and understand legal fiduciary obligations of a trustee. I previously served as an OHA trustee. I have 18 years experience in affordable housing for Hawaiians and am an expert in Hawaiian Homes and ceded lands trust matters in Hawaii.
What are your top five priorities for OHA? -
1) Accountability – Accounting for trust funds used for Nation building (33 Million), International travel (estimated at $500,000.00) executive staff salaries & travel perks & fees paid to private attorneys;
2) Transparency – disclosure of all data subject to rulings by the state Office of Information Practices, and state & county Ethics Commissions.
3) Stop Trustee Impulse Funding & implement the recommendations of the 2015 Fiscal Report.
4) Affordable rental & kupuna (including veterans) housing for Hawaiians.
5) Community-based preventative health education and services for Hawaiians.
What is your one big idea? -
OHA & DHHL need to sign an MOU to work on affordable housing & homeownership for beneficiaries.
Use OHA trust funds (400 million) to fast track housing on DHHL lands (not subject to county zoning).
Work with our local construction & labor unions to refit & reuse shipping containers for housing components.
Why are you running for trustee? -
OHA is not following the law.
The fiscal review found that trustees were not following their own fiscal policies and were spending the trust reserves at an alarming rate.
There appears to be extensive patronage benefits and huge salaries for the corporate staff (exceeding $125,000.00 per year). This is contrary to the law that says that OHA should have an ‘administrator’ & ‘deputies’ paid at state rates.
In addition, friends of the CEO, have received hundreds of thousands of trust dollars for books not published and advisory opinions on how OHA can avoid the state Constitution!
Gov. David Ige has said residential development should not be allowed on the Kakaako Makai lands that were turned over to OHA by the state.
How do you believe those lands should be used or developed? -
1) Trust law requires the OHA trustees support the “highest and best use” of these trust properties.
If no agreement can be reached, OHA trustees will have to sue the state for breach of trust. What a waste.
2) Ige, OHA & the state Legislature must address the 100 million shortfall that resulted from the Abercrombie/Meheula appraisals that overvalued the Kakaako lands by $100 million.
The answer (proposed two years ago) is to transfer to OHA lands of equal value on Oahu & neighbor islands that can be used for high rise affordable rental housing for Hawaiians. The Legislature can pass legislation to facilitate this. This is a workable solution and results in badly needed housing.