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Palace protestors told of rules

May 4, 2008
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Gordon Y.K. Pang . Go to original story.  Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources are telling a Hawaiian sovereignty group that has gathered daily since Wednesday on the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace that they need to abide by the same parking and other park rules as everyone else. Members of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government were told yesterday that their cars would be ticketed if they did not feed their meters. The organization also was told it would need to obtain a permit to assemble if it intends to return to the palace lawn on Monday as it has announced.

“We’ve made it clear to them that if there are any violations, we are going to enforce our existing rules and whether they understand those rules or had read them previously is irrelevant,” said Laura H. Thielen, the state’s Land Board chairwoman and head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Mahealani Kahau, described as “head of state” for the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, said her group has applied for a permit to assemble next week, but stressed that it attached language from the Hawaiian Kingdom civil code and penal code.

“We’re complying with our civil code and penal code,” Kahau said yesterday afternoon. As for whether she and her staff will begin feeding parking meters on the site, Kahau said, “if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Everything we do is under kingdom law.”

The group has occupied the mauka lawn of the palace over the past three days, stating that it is the legitimate government and that the palace grounds are its “seat of government.”

Up to 75 of its members have spent the daylight hours of the past three days, in the words of the group’s leaders, “conducting business” on the property, although they have not entered the palace itself. On Wednesday, for about eight hours, it also blocked access onto the grounds to non-Hawaiians.

A number of the group members have parked at metered stalls on the property and not fed the meters but have not been cited, according to state officials.

Thielen said two of her top lieutenants — Parks Division Administrator Dan Quinn and Conservation and Resources Enforcement Division Administrator Gary Moniz — met with leaders of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government yesterday morning to detail the specific rules the group needs to follow if it intends to stay over a longer period of time.

Among the areas covered by the state administrators were “parking rules, assembly rules, (and) noise levels,” she said.

The two administrators also explained areas that contain burials or cultural or historical objects that the public is asked to stay away from “in order to protect those resources,” she said.

The group also was instructed on the procedure for applying for a permit to conduct a First Amendment rally, required when there are gatherings of 25 or more people.

“They also discussed the consequences for failure to follow the rules, which include civil penalties and petty criminal misdemeanor (charges),” she said.

Thielen said group leaders were agreeable to the rules. “They understand what the consequences are,” she said, noting that yesterday’s talk was one of a series that have been held with the group since Wednesday.

The group submitted an assembly application to DLNR yesterday, but it was returned because it was incomplete, Thielen said.

Kahau insisted that the application will point out that the group will abide only by its laws. “They said we need to abide by administrative rules, and we said we will abide by Hawaiian Kingdom law, which they are also subject to,” Kahau said.

Group officials have asked for office space at the Kana’ina Building as well some free parking stalls. “We told them that request cannot be accommodated, that these are public park lands,” Thielen said. “They need to abide by the rules like anybody else.”

Thielen said she understands the group’s position that it has a right to the property. “We have told them that if they want to claim ownership to the area, the venue they would have to take that to is the courts,” Thielen said.

Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, which has the lease to maintain and run the historic facilities as a museum, said the Hawaiian Kingdom Government’s presence has been disruptive. Some palace volunteers uncomfortable with the presence of the group chose to stay home this week.

Meanwhile, parking was at a premium through the week, he said. That issue began to ease yesterday afternoon when state officers began citing cars that were illegally parked, Chu said.

“Some of their (Hawaiian Kingdom) cars got cited and then they moved them off the property,” he said.

Group members have criticized the media for unfair reporting of the situation. For instance, the group vehemently denies placing locks on any of the gates to the palace grounds on Wednesday.

But Thielen said it’s clear to her that the group placed chains and locks on the gates when they arrived Wednesday morning and began turning people away.

State law enforcement officers who arrived at the palace at 6 a.m. Wednesday “observed there were cables and locks around the gates for the four main vehicle access gates, that people had brought in a gate for one of the pedestrian gates, and had other areas closed and barred,” Thielen said. “These were not the state’s cables or locks.”

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com or 690-8908.

May 3, 2008
Section: Hawaii
Page: 1B

Palace protesters told of rules
GORDON Y. K. PANG
Advertiser Neighbor Island
Copyright (c) The Honolulu Advertiser. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.

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