By Harold MorseStar-Bulletin
Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, head of the sovereignty group Nation of Hawaii, has become a member of the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board.
"It's more important to help the community than really anything else," said Kanahele, noting he sees no conflict between his efforts to establish a sovereign Hawaiian nation and working under city government.
"If everybody was paying attention to our (Nation of Hawaii) constitution, it allows us to do that anyway," he said.
Under terms of his release while awaiting retrial on obstruction of justice charges, Kanahele cannot visit any Waimanalo location other than his home.
But the federal court is allowing him to serve on the neighborhood board, and "I've got to report back to let them know," he said.
"I was also elected to the board of directors of the Waimanalo Health Clinic," and the federal court gave him permission to attend those meetings too, he said.
Greg Field, Waimanalo Neighborhood Board chairman, and other members say they're glad to have him aboard. He was appointed Monday.
"He was willing to take an oath to uphold the laws and the constitution of the city and state and the United States government," Field said. "That's all that we ask."
Board members are happy he's willing to devote time to make the community better, Field said.
"He seems willing to do that, and I think let's give him a chance."
Kanahele is accused of obstructing justice for harboring Nathan Brown, a Hawaiian sovereignty activist convicted on federal income tax violations and sentenced to six years and five months in prison. An arrest warrant was issued in November 1993 after Brown failed to show up to serve his sentence.
Kanahele also is accused of foiling two attempts to arrest Brown in 1994. Kanahele's first trial ended in a mistrial, and the retrial has been postponed until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on whether retrying Kanahele constitutes double jeopardy.
Kanahele was held without bail for three months but was released to a halfway house after the mistrial.
Rolf Nordahl, a Kanahele friend and supporter, said Kanahele has made neighbor island visits after requesting and receiving permission.
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