Grabbing a Slice Of Washington’s Pork: Poi From On High

Ayesha Rook
February 1, 1999

Linda Marie, the executive director of the Coalition for a Drug Free Lanai, knows you can’t always trust the experts when it comes to earmarks. When contacted about an earmark specified for the Coalition in the FY ‘99 budget of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Marie had one question:

“What’s an earmark?”

Youth Today had broken the news that although the Coalition had not sought any federal funding, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) had decided the Coalition needed an earmark. With just 2,400 residents on its 400 square miles, Lanai used to be a Dole pineapple plantation. Now it’s home to two exclusive resorts that cater to the rich and famous (like visitor Michael Jordan). Tourism feeds the economy and creates nearly all of Lanai’s jobs.

But all is not paradise on the tropical island. According to Marie, drug and alcohol-related arrests have increased dramatically — from 24 in 1996 to 47 in 1998. The Coalition wasn’t able to apply for state funding for FY ‘99 because of a rules change, so all of its youth prevention programs have been cut.

So who mysteriously tipped off Sen. Inouye to the Coalition’s plight? The agency overseeing the funding, OJJDP, had no idea and was waiting to hear from the senator about how much money the Coalition needs.

When asked about the earmark, Inouye Press Secretary Michele Konishi asked, “What’s OJJDP? Can you fax over the paperwork they sent you?”

Lanai is small, and a few more calls pointed to the Maui Community College (MCC) Lanai Outreach site for a possible answer. MCC has received federal earmarks. MCC Provost Clyde Sakamoro was once an Inouye staffer and was aware of the Coalition’s work and funding problems.

Rook, Ayesha. "Grabbing a Slice Of Washington’s Pork: Poi From On High." Youth Today, February 1999, p. 42.

©2000 Youth Today. Reprinted with permission from Youth Today. All rights reserved.