Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Ian Lind on Water Commission nominee controversy
by Larry Geller
Ian Lind’s article on the Water Commission nominee recaps the issue and adds important perspective about the nomination process itself:
This is one of those issues that goes beyond the water commission. It’s the story of public interest laws. The public works to get requirements written into law, such as the requirement here that members of the commission have “substantial experience” in water issues. But these laws are not self-enforcing, and officials begin to take advantage of the situation by nominating technically unqualified people who don’t meet those legal standards.
In this case, the nominee’s consulting firm counts most of Hawaii’s major companies and corporate landowners among its clients, raising additional concerns about conflicts.
[ilind.net, Groups say water commission nominee lacks required experience, 4/17/2012]
Nominees with a conflict are not new for this administration. Citizen groups are still battling the appointment of the largest health insurers to the Hawaii Health Connector.
The Governor could do the right thing and withdraw the Water Commission nomination, but that is not something we can reasonably expect.
We can expect, and are entitled to, nominees who are picked to best serve the public, rather than business, interest. It may be time to pause and review the entire history of this governor’s appointments to see how well the public is being served.