Tomorrow, Wednesday March 18th is the day in which the Hawaii State Senate votes on whether or not to confirm the appointment of real estate development lobbyist Carleton Ching to be Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
If you live on Oahu, please join those in opposition at the Capitol Senate Chambers at 11am. Wear red if you can. It is important that the people in the gallery are strong in numbers in order to send a silent but strong message to those with the power who sit on the floor. Please take the time to come down to the Capitol, your physical presence is needed and valuable.
If you cannot attend, please continue to reach out to Senators asking that they vote No.
Tomorrow, on the floor of the Senate, there will be numerous and likely very passionate speeches by those for and against. And there will be the inevitable and predictable posturing by many I suspect who will attempt to plant one foot on each side of the issue and hide behind the “WR” or “with reservations” vote.
A “WR” is a Yes vote that says “I don’t really like this but am going to hold my nose and vote for it anyway”. In early votes on issues yet resolved that are still meandering through the legislative process, a “WR” is a legitimate vote often intended to send a message that “I might vote No later if this Bill is not amended properly”.
During the final voting process such as is occurring tomorrow, a “WR” is better characterized as “weasel route” or a vote cast by someone desperately trying to find a pathway out of a political dilemma and not take responsibility and hoping the public does not see or care that he/she is really voting Yes.
The overwhelming public sentiment against the appointment, the numerous conservation and environmental organizations who are publicly opposing the appointment, the fact that both the Honolulu Star Advertiser (twice) and the Civil Beat both have also taken positions in strong opposition, combined with the blatantly obvious and extremely poor performance of the nominee – translate into the fact that there is no justifiable public policy reason to vote Yes.
I challenge anyone to review the committee hearing transcripts/tapes, the questionnaires, the resume and all of the testimony both for and against and tell me with a straight face that Mr. Ching is qualified for this job.
I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic that the No votes will prevail tomorrow and the public will be reassured that the public interest is in fact the Senate’s number one priority.
As a voting resident of Hawaii, I ask that you please get involved now.
Please call your Senator now, tonight or early in the morning. Ask your Senator, the Senator that represents you in your district, to vote No. Let your Senator know you live in their district and that you will be asking later for them to explain their votes – and that a WR “weasel route” vote is not acceptable. (a complete list of Senators, phone numbers is at the bottom of this email)
As always telephone with courtesy and professionalism. Anger and threats are counter-productive and serve to only harm our cause.
If there is any doubt about whether you believe Mr. Ching should be confirmed or not, please read the Senate Water Land Committee report: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/CommReports/GM514_SSCR913_.htm
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports the Senate is split 50/50.
And Civil Beat has a fascinating inside story of the “palace intrigue” and explores the political pressures placed on the various Senators and their factions.
Members of the Hawaii State Senate
Baker , Rosalyn H. 808-586-6070
Chun Oakland , Suzanne 808-586-6130
Dela Cruz , Donovan M. 808-586-6090
English , J. Kalani 808-587-7225
Espero , Will 808-586-6360
Gabbard , Mike 808-586-6830
Galuteria , Brickwood 808-586-6740
Green , Josh 808-586-9385
Harimoto , Breene 808-586-6230
Ihara , Les Jr. 808-586-6250
Inouye , Lorraine R. 808-586-7335
Kahele , Gilbert 808-586-6760
Keith-Agaran , Gilbert S.C. 808-586-7344
Kidani , Michelle N. 808-586-7100
Kim , Donna Mercado 808-587-7200
Kouchi , Ronald D. 808-586-6030
Nishihara , Clarence K. 808-586-6970
Riviere , Gil 808-586-7330
Ruderman , Russell E. 808-586-6890
Shimabukuro , Maile S.L. 808-586-7793
Slom , Sam (R) 808-586-8420
Taniguchi , Brian T. 808-586-6460
Thielen , Laura H. 808-587-8388
Tokuda , Jill N. 808-587-7215
Wakai , Glenn 808-586-8585