May 20th Statehood Commission meeting

no quorum, it was nice seeing the commission again– new room, State Capitol 325. Walter Dods was also there. He hadn?t been to a commission meeting since the first official public meeting in January. During the first meeting, when I first presented the Statehood Hawaii project, his patience visibly wore thin. This time, there was a good rapport–levity and wit– volleyed across the vast length of the table to where Michael Pang, the humanitarian-chair sat, with Lenny Klompus and Kippen de Alba Chu picking it up at the net. This was also the first meeting in which there were several interested parties in the gallery. Kekuni Blaisdell was there, actively taking notes. Michael Daly, an artist was there, as well as a few other interested people. Gaye Wong, of Mutual Publishing, presented a “commemorative book” in which she wanted the Statehood Commission to support. It looked as if the mock-ups had already been completed, several pages of each chapter were presented in a slide show and a spiral bound handout. The book was laid out according to decade. This coffee table book, with photos from the Star-Bulletin is scheduled for publication in October of this year at the commemorative cost of $50. Will their Centennial Observance, sell for $100? What probably seemed like a great business idea, working with the Star-Bulletin to avoid what would otherwise be meteoric photo licensing costs, approaching the Statehood Commission for a partnership (committee members would get a copy– half-off for $25– including commemorative tassel) hit a snag in the best of all places… Ah Quon McElrath. Poor Ms. Wong, didn?t stand a chance. Ms. McElrath took issue with the content as she pointed out the apparent shallowness of the work by its evident lack of inclusion of the statehood struggle. She derided the idea of this being an “official” statehood book due to it?s lack of editorial content and she suggested that if it were to be an official book, then the commission should assign an editorial team to work with Mutual on the project. Lenny Klompus, following her lead, said that the 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission has been working very hard to define the official event, and felt that without the inclusion of a Statehood Commission editorial committee, the Commission wouldn?t be able to give them official approval. Just as Ms. McElrath represents the voice of labor in the commission, so too, I missed the voice of Trustee Cataluna, voicing an OHA perspective. Both Cataluna and McElrath are the lone voices who understand the sensitivity and complexity of the statehood issue. At the last meeting in March, Trustee Cataluna spoke with vitriol that no activities should be held at ?Iolani Palace. See March posting… Several months ago when Kelii Collier of Kanaka Tribuna Komike ma, stated that the Statehood Celebration would bring out the worst in “sentimental nostagia,” he had the prescience to understand that the forces of nostalgia would trump any real public debate over the statehood issue. After the commemorative publishing ordeal, Ms. Lani Nakazawa, representing Kaua?i County, drew, then withdrew a motion to not participate on the publishing of a commemorative book. Noon was approaching and apparently, this was too big of a discussion to be decided upon so late in the meeting. This time, I asked the committee if it was alright to shoot video, to document some of the proceeding and they said that since it was a public meeting, it was okay.]]>

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