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Taking the Point Position….


Allen Polk Hemphill


Hawaiian Politics

I think that there is general corruption equity among political parties, with an edge going to the Democrats. The difference between the parties is in shame – Republicans feel it and resign quickly, but Democrats hang on and deny even after being fitted for prison garb.

I have observed that almost all Asian governments are more corrupt than western nations. Of those Asian governments, the Filipino governments are corrupt in the Democrat Party sense and will deny to the end. The Japanese governments are corrupt in the Republican sense, and resign in shame with great regularity.

Hawaii has a very large Filipino population, and a very large Japanese population. The Democratic Party dominates the government, but cultural Japanese and Filipinos dominate that party.

You mix the cultural Japanese and Filipinos political class with Democratic Party ethical standards, add a huge influence of East Coast style labor unions, and you have Hawaiian politics. You would be hard pressed to find a more corrupt government. Think Mississippi, circa1950. Hawaii is corruption with an accent, but so long entrenched that it is pervasive throughout the courts, businesses, banking, police, schools – you name it.

You note that there is no mention of native Hawaiians. While there is a warrior strain among Hawaiians as there is among most people (the French, excepted), generally the Native Hawaiians are a passive, loving, "simple" people – in the living sense, not in the intelligence sense. After all, they live in Hawaii, not in Green Bay!


The Bishop Estate is a good metaphor for Hawaii. The Bishop Estate is a 114 year old, $10 billion private foundation – probably the richest in the world. It is the State’s largest landowner, and owns 365,000 acres of prime Hawaiian soil. The Trust controls the famous Kamehameha Schools for the benefit of native Hawaiians. It is the most powerful single private force in the State.

Five Trustees, appointed by the State Supreme Court run the Bishop Estate. These have been political patronage appointments, and one of the Trustee was the former Leader of the State Senate. Each of these political appointees were paid more than $1 million a year!

In 1997, five influential citizens submitted a report called "Broken Trust" in which they said the Bishop Estate was being badly mismanaged. Both daily newspapers published Broken Trust in front-page articles. Because we spend three months a year in the islands, I have closely followed the saga.

The Trustee who was the former Leader of the State Senate filed a suit against another Trustee, and was himself indicted for felony fraud. His wife and her brother have also been indicted, all in a kickback scheme that involved the Bishop Estate.

Another Trustee attempted suicide by drug overdose after having been found in a compromising position in a local hotel restroom with a female attorney who represented a branch of the Trust. The female attorney committed suicide the day after the discovery. Another Trustee is under investigation by a Grand Jury, and the most controversial Trustee – no, she is none of those so far mentioned – was sued for incompetence by two of the other Trustees and her resignation was demanded by almost everyone. She was eventually removed by the IRS, as were they all, but is suing for her position back and wants to use Trust money to sue!

The State Supreme Court appointed each of the Trustees. Several of the State Supreme Court members have been criticized for their close political ties with the Trustees.

Will Rogers once said that the two funniest things he had ever seen was the Mexican Army on parade, and the Arizona Legislature, but he had never witnessed the Bishop Estate in Hawaii. The Bishop Estate is emblematic of the self-dealing, corruption, and political "good old boy" network that has been entrenched for more than a hundred year.

The Democrat Governor appointed an Attorney General to clean up the mess, which to her credit she did, only to be denied permanent appointment to her post by the Democrat controlled Legislature from whose ranks the Trustees generally came.


Send mail to allen@allenhemphill.com or dolphinrealty@earthlink.net with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Allen Hemphill
Last modified: August 13, 2012