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January Statehood Commission Meeting

January 20, 2008

These are the members of the Statehood Commission
Vivian Aiona
Muriel Anderson- Hawaii Tourism Authority
George S. Applegate- Hawaii Islands Visitors Bureau
Elias T. Beniga
Judge James S. Burns (ret.)
Donald Cataluna- OHA Trustee
Kippen de Alba Chu- Director of Iolani Palace
Daniel Chun- State Tourism Liason Office
Walter Dods Jr.
Denise M. Hayashi
Robbie Kaholokula
Curt Pa’alua Kekuna- Kawaiaha’o Church
Stafford J. Kiguchi
Lenny Klompus
Tammy Y. Kubo
Ah Quon McElrath
Vern Miyagi- Major General
Duk Hee Murabayashi
Lani Nakazawa- Kauai
Pat Ohara
Michael Pili Pang- Mayor’s office of Culture and the Arts
Edward Pei
Allicyn Tasaka- JCCH
Maureen Tegarden- Maui
Lori Vogel Thomas
Ted Tsukiyama
Keith Vieira
Marsha Weinert
Danny Young

Meeting at the Hawai?i Arts Foundation.

When it was time for public commentary, I stood up– went to the head of the table and introduced myself and Statehood Hawaii as a website commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Hawai?i’s Statehood, one that addressed the issue from various perspectives.

Jaws dropped, glares formed– was this a snake’s pit? I looked at the only two smiling faces at the table, Allicyn Tasaka at JCCH, Bobby Ray at OHA, the only two who I spoke to about this project.

I had expected some difficulty when I got an official letter expressing concern over my domain name from Lenny Klompus, so I was somewhat prepared for the antipathy.  I had previously spoken to my lawyer who told me not to respond to Mr. Klompus?s letter.  Dot Govs are reserved for the state, and statehood is a public event. Okay, move on.

Walter Dods Jr. spoke first. He made it very clear that he was not comfortable with my use of the domain StatehoodHawaii.com/org. He suggested that I was infringing upon a trademark and hinted that my domain smacked of opportunism. I responded that this was a domain that I had since 2006 and that this is a project that I had been working on since 2004, while researching the UH-ACM statehood documentary.

Mr. Klompus asked if I was looking to be the state’s official website. I responded that I wanted to work alongside the state at whatever capacity, but that I wanted to remain independent because of content and trust issues.

Mr. Dods asked about advertising, and I said that I was not at this time considering advertising, but rather sponsorship, and that the project was currently self-funded.

Having answered all their concerns, I sat back down, comforted by the approving nod of Allicyn and Bobbi (btw, thank you for the encouraging nod). It was a snake’s pit, but that was the first round. Now, the question remains, how can I work with the state while positioning myself in political opposition with the state? I’ll continue with these meetings and maybe something will come up.

There was another public speaker– something about Family Health and Values– but it flew away like a bird. I did expect more people there.

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