Gov. Abercrombie has come up with a novel approach to perpetuating the state mindset while currying political favor: appoint retired state workers with solid union creds — and a job at the Lege — to key state panels.
Or more specifically, nominate Tommy Oi to represent Kauai on the Board of Land and Natural Resources.
Oi retired as Kauai state land division manager to work in westside Kauai Rep. Dee Morikawa's office.
He's also snug with the Democratic Party and the government workers' union, HGEA. Oi served as Kauai island co-coordinator during Mazie Hirono's Senatorial campaign. As the Mazie for Hawaii website noted:
He was part of the HGEA PAC that interviewed and endorsed Mazie for her lieutenant governor race in 1994 and has supported her since then. Tommy is vice president of the Lihue Honwanji Mission on Kauai and is a member of Kiwanis and the HGEA Retirees Unit.
Gee. It's all so very cozy and cliquish — precisely what you'd expect in an election year.
But, um, what about the community?
Oi is up for a two-year term, with a nomination hearing on Monday before the Senate Committee on Water and Land, which is headed, inauspiciously, by Malama Solomon and Brickwood Galuteria.
In a jurisdiction with a population as small as Kauai, it is inevitable that people will get recycled among positions. Remember that all of those non-legal-residents are not in the talent pool. So I do not object per se to the appointment of Mr. Oi.
My questions would be (for you Joan given your investigative talent): What was his record while serving as Land Agent on Kauai? How effectively did he manage that office and execute on those functions?
That said, it does seem like there are other equally, if not more, qualified candidates. Didn't the Governor's earlier nominee retract after protest? I can't remember the details but I am now thinking that I'd rather have a competent person I do not 100% agree with, than an incompetent rubber stamp.
Oi was a do nothing land agent. He was a lousy agent , the kind they like best. When he left the office, the next person had a huge mess to deal with and lots of undone work. It was/is a dysfunctional office .
So we only need to appoint people with no service record that have never been involved with anyone who has been in office before.... Right. Good luck with that.
How about someone in the middle, like a person who has had some public service experience, but isn't such a dyed in the wool good ole boy? Surely they exist -- if you look.
So there is a limit to a career in public service? After so long you are no good? It's a small state and the pool isn't that deep. Sure we need new blood but that doesn't mean everyone who has experience should be tossed out just because they have more experience.
experience or conflicts?
No matter which way you look at it, Oi is a great sign holder.
“If I followed my better instincts right now, I would put this typewriter in the Volvo and drive to the home of the nearest politician – any politician – and hurl the goddamn machine through his front window ..flush the bugger out with an act of lunatic violence then soak him down with mace and run him naked down Main Street in Aspen with a bell around his neck and black lumps all over his body from the jolts of a high-powered ‘Bull Buster’ cattle prod”
Hunter S. Thompson
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