Sunday, March 22, 2015


Hawaii and its state legislature have a lesson to teach about democracy

by Larry Geller

I wish the world could see that Hawaii is different—that our state legislators struggle to do the right thing. The news was on page two of today’s paper.

But alas, the Star-Advertiser keeps David Shapiro’s column locked up behind its paywall. Here’s a snip, which makes my point rather than his:

[DLNR nominee Carleton] Ching is a good and accomplished man, but it's simply inappropriate in terms of public trust to give oversight of Hawaii's precious lands and waters to a developer's lobbyist who sought to weaken environmental protections.

It's akin to appointing a tobacco lobbyist as health director or a utility lobbyist to head the Public Utilities Commission.

If [Governor] Ige still doubts he messed up, he should consider that the appointment couldn't pass the nose test of very friendly state senators who gave him every possible benefit of the doubt as a popular former colleague.

[Star-Advertiser p. A2, Ige's DLNR fiasco echoes dark days of Abercrombie, 3/22/201]

We should be proud that we understand government differently, and that the people do have a voice here.

Yes, the world should know that Hawaii did not let its governor appoint a developer’s lobbyist to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Hawaii’s leaders can and do listen to their constituents.

Unfortunately, that news is locked away.

Star-Advertiser, tear down your wall.


Too good, Larry. Laughed out loud at your last sentence. Mahalo also for astute observation of SA's labeling of "environmental interests" vs developer special interests.

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