Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 21 & 22, Thursday, December 19 & 26, 1957 p. 8


Big five Stunts Progress

The series of two articles published by this weekly on Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole's complaint to the Secretary of Interior in 1911 against Gov. Walter F. Frear—declaring that the latter did not implement the homesteading program provided for by law because he was influenced by the sugar companies which used government land at low rental— aroused keen interest, especially among old-timers. They say this is new information to them.

Prince Kuhio himself admitted, in answering a counter-charge from Governor Frear, that he had been influenced by the sugar interests.

Hawaii's sugar interests that daily drum their propaganda via radio — "Sugar is everybody's business in Hawaii" — have held their leash tight on productive use of public land and thus have prevented a more well-rounded, healthy growth of the islands.

By controlling key government officials, they have controlled the use of land. They are principally responsible for the high price of land in the islands. They monopolize land—both public and private—and have built up an artificially high demand for land by limiting it on the open market, consequently boosting land prices.

After World War II when Smith Street capital, dominated by businessmen of Chinese ancestry, began developing subdivisions wherever land was available, the Big Five, Merchant Street moguls tightened up on business loans. Because they are agents for long-established insurance companies in Hawaii, they even controlled mortgage money available from these sources. But they could not dominate all insurance mortgage money. Some Smith Street capitalists were able to get limited Mainland money.

The real estate operations of Smith Street capitalists opened the eyes of the Big Five whose key family members have the social and business attitudes of Southern plantation owners and their offspring whose minds live in the ante bellum past. The Big Five today is largely run by business experts hired by the "missionary" families.

Now the Big Five is expanding aggressively into real estate developments and tourist business, and especially on the outer islands they are grabbing and swapping land with the Territory, and the net results are not to the benefit of the public at Targe. They are primarily for profit. Public welfare is way down the list.

The Big Five propaganda, in local public schools and out of schools, has been that without their capital labor would be unemployed. From the mid-thirties they have laid off about 40,000 sugar employes, from a work force of about 55,000, and the sugar companies are producing the same sugar tonnage with 14,000 workers. They are realizing big profits but refuse to meet reasonable wage demands by sugar workers. . .

Many unemployed former sugar workers could contribute to the Territory's productive income in the agricultural field if land were homesteaded, but the same old excuse is being used by the administration—not enough water or no access roads to the potential farm areas. It is the old refrain for Big Five benefit.

For decades the big interest-controlled territorial administrations have violated Section 73, paragraphs (M) and (N) of the Organic Act which specifically mandates, the Territory to survey annually agricultural and pastoral land for homesteading to satisfy demand. It's about time Congress looked into this matter.

The Big Five grip on Hawaii's land must be pried loose for Hawaii's progress.

p /> I do not say that at odd hours a patient must be given the regular hot dinner or supper. Few people would expect this.
But what is so complicated about opening and heating a can of soup, making some toast, or preparing instant coffee or tea? Why cannot a night nurse do these simple things after the kitchen to closed? Is it just too much trouble?

It is only common humanity to feed the hungry. If our hospitals are too big, too complex, too impersonal to do these small kindnesses for the sick, something is very wrong.