HONOLULU - Native Hawaiian Paulette Kaleikini’s claim that an archaeological inventory survey, or AIS, needs to be completely finished before the city can begin construction of the $5.3 billion elevated rail project reached the Hawaii Supreme Court Thursday.
Kaleikini’s lawsuit was thrown out of Circuit Court last March, but the case bypassed the Intermediate Court of Appeals and went directly to the high court.
In oral arguments that lasted more than an hour, Kaleikini’s attorney, David Frankel, argued state law doesn’t allow completion of an AIS in four phases, a course the city is currently following.
Frankel used a colorful analogy to make his point to the five justices.
"If I tell my son, ‘Eat all your broccoli,’ and he eats only a few pieces of broccoli, he hasn’t complied with the rule," said Frankel.
However, state and city attorneys countered that a programmatic agreement between the State Historic Preservation Division and the city, as well as several other entities, ensures native Hawaiian burials won’t be disturbed.
The agreement calls for columns that support the elevated guideway to be moved if iwi, or ancestral bones, are discovered in Kakaako, where the vast majority of burial sites are believed to be located. Read more.