The Star Advertiser wrote a hard-hitting editorial challenging the senate to do the right thing by the state and vote down the Carleton Ching nomination for DLNR Chair. They put the blame for this massive public outcry squarely on Gov. Ige for his poor choice in a nominee.
“Environmental groups came out four-square against Ching’s nomination the moment it was announced. In one voice, they expressed the unassailable position that — while Ching may have skills that befit a manager, garnered throughout his business career — the nominee’s resume showed scant evidence of interest or experience in natural resource management.”
We would take issue with the statement that Ching may have management skills as he so embarrassingly showed while tap-dancing away from WTL Chair Thielen’s astute questioning. Again and again he professed ignorance of the activities of the two developer/construction industry lobbying groups he oversaw as both a director and VP.
He denied supporting the PLDC and claimed not to know that LURF was advocating to the BLNR and the legislature over an 11 month period for keeping the PLDC. He denied even knowing why LURF was advocating for the PLDC. He answered Sen Thielen’s questions with, “I don’t even know.”
So we have an man who for a year was ignorant of what the organization he directed was doing? Not only is that poor management, it is a breach of fiduciary duty….if true.
This lack of interest and downright laziness has continued during the vetting process. Two months ago he met with Maui environmental and Hawaiian leaders and was roundly criticized in the media for being completely clueless about the public trust doctrine, water hierarchy and general natural resources law in Hawai’i.
But weeks later he held another talk story and it was clear that he had not studied up on these glaring deficiencies and still didn’t understand the key principles underlying DLNR’s mission.
And now, even later, he still demonstrates this lack of knowledge. This is a man who is either intellectually unable to learn or is too lazy to put in the effort.
Clearly the senators should vote down this nomination. Why is there any doubt they will? Here’s why.
Ige, while promising to listen to the people, has decided to ignore the voters and push through his very bad nominee. He’s calling in his markers and imposing on decades of friendship with senators. And he’s holding the purse strings. He’s able to threaten recalcitrant senators with withholding their CIP and he’s able to reward those senators who put aside their duty to the state and do him a favor with more funds released to their districts.
This is hard ball. And Ige through Sen Tokuda is bringing the big guns to get the senate to vote his way.
Meanwhile conservation and Hawaiian groups are gearing up for their own form of hardball. As they did with Pono Chong, Mufi Hannemann and Malama Solomon, they’re promising to work as hard as it takes to defeat any senator who votes yes on this confirmation.
A facebook page and a website (DLNRsellouts.wordpress.com) name those who have voted in favor of Ching’s confirmation, candidates are being recruited based only on rumors that a senator might vote yes and foot troops to canvass voters come election time and remind them of this vote are already signed up.
Senators are caught between a rock and a hard place. On one side a governor threatening their CIP. On the other an enraged citizenry determined not to forget.
Will the senators have the guts to do the right thing?