Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Maui Court Issues Writ of Quo Warranto on July 17 Housing Proclamation

What is a "Writ of Quo Warranto"?

In law, especially English and American common law, quo warranto (Medieval Latin for "by what warrant?") is a prerogative writ requiring the person to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising some right, power, or franchise they claim to hold. -- Wikipedia

Press release:


Lahaina -- West Maui kama'aina Leonoard Nakoa III and Daniel Palakiko have joined with residents across the state in  challenging the legality of the governor's July 17 Emergency Proclamation on Housing.

Earlier today, Second Circuit Court Chief Judge Peter T. Cahill found probable cause to issue a writ of quo warranto directed to Nani Medeiros, the so-called "lead housing officer" and the Build Beyond Barriers Working Group, both established by the proclamation. The writ orders them to appear in Maui Circuit Court to answer the petition.

The governor’s proclamation states the century-long affordable housing shortage constitutes an emergency requiring immediate intervention. These interventions suspend a wide range of laws and introduced the governor-appointed working group and Lead Housing Officer to determine when they apply. Nothing in the emergency proclamation requires the production of affordable housing, rather it is one of several considerations. “Affordable housing” under the proclamation is 140% of  average median income, or $118,950 for a single person household.

The petitioning hui of local residents are very concerned by the governor’s use of emergency powers to legislate radical policy changes into law affecting everything from protection of iwi kūpuna and prevailing wages to ensuring payment of school impact fees.

The petition has two counts. The first count asserts that that the century-long shortage of housing does not constitute an "emergency" within the definition of the emergency management law or that the emergency declaration otherwise violates the constitutional right that limiting the use of the martial law or the suspension of laws. The second count asserts that amending or modifying of various statutes exceeds the governor's authority granted in the emergency management law or otherwise violates the constitutional separation of powers.

Petitioners are Leonard "Junya" Nakoa III, Daniel Palakiko, Tom Coffman, Llewelyn (Billy) Kaohelauli'i, Val Turalde, Elizabeth Okinaka, Tom Keali'i Kanahele, Ellen Ebata, Rupert Rowe, and Jeffrey Lindner.

"Protections put in place for our iwi kupuna over the last thirty years is not a reason why Hawai'i has had a shortage of affordable housing for the last hundred," said Petitioner Leonard "Junya" Nakoa.

"The proclamation usurps all government power into the hands of one unelected former lobbyist. It is a direct threat to our democracy," said Petitioner Tom Coffman.


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