Tuesday, April 17, 2012

 

Senate to vote today on Governor’s disputed appointment to the Water Commission


“… I don't pretend to know all the intricacies about water. But it is such a fascinating, critical natural resource that I am willing to dedicate the time necessary to learn about water.Ted Yamamura (from video of nomination hearing) 

by Larry Geller

What’s with Governor Neil Abercrombie’s appointments anyway? How come he makes such poor choices? How come so many resign?

And how come the Senate goes along with him? Isn’t it time to say “Whoa, we need to look at these more closely!” ?

The latest goof appears to be the gov’s appointment of Maui land appraiser Ted Yamamura to the State Water Commission. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the appointment this morning, and a number of community groups are asking the public to weigh in—quickly—to urge the Senate to deny this appointment.

Hawaii's Thousand Friends, in an email, summed up the objections to Mr. Yamamura’s appointment thusly:

• Mr. Yamamura does NOT meet the mandatory statutory qualification of "substantial experience in ... water resources management" and admits he would be learning his duties and responsibilities on the job;
• The Nominating Committee established by statute to recommend candidates to the Governor conducted no interviews and met only once for 45 minutes, and the rest of the process remains shrouded in secrecy;
• His appointment would result in 4 of the 5 appointed Commissioners being from Maui, raising questionable appearances of attempting to influence specific cases on that island; and
• His appointment bypasses several other CLEARLY qualified applicants who could serve with distinction on CWRM.

 

A press conference was held at Iolani Palace yesterday. Here’s the video. Click on the little thingy at the lower right for full-screen. It’s like being there.

 

This is an edited video posted on YouTube of part of the Senate committee hearing that approved the nomination. The pull-quote at the top of this article is taken from this video. The video makes the point that the appointee is supposed to come with experience, not learn on the job.

To weigh in either way on this nomination, the easiest way is to email all senators at sens@capitol.hawaii.gov . Many legislators don’t read emails promptly, so it might be better to call the office of your own senator. A complete list of phone numbers is here.

From the Hawaii's Thousand Friends email:

Please email and call your senators ASAP urging them to vote NO on GM 755/GM 921.



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