DOBOR’s Underwood Called on Lying to Rep. David Tarnas

We have investigated reports from members of the public who attended the Friday, March 15, 2019 legislative hearing regarding SB1257, claiming that DOBOR administrator, Ed Underwood, lied to Rep. David Tarnas regarding his agency's execution of its responsibilities to the public as defined by Hawaii's Sunshine Law.  

According to witnesses, Rep. Tarnas asked Mr. Underwood how DOBOR has been keeping boaters informed of DOBOR's plans.  Mr. Underwood testified that meetings have been held where plans were presented to boaters.  Specifically, he represented to the committee that a meeting was organized by Senator Moriwaki and posted on DOBOR’s website, which was held at Waikiki Yacht Club.

Our investigation, and a similar, parallel investigation by one of our readers (see reader's letter to Rep. Tarnas, below), concluded that, a) no such public meeting notice posting on DOBOR's website could be found, and, b) the meeting was, in fact, closed to all but a select group of invited individuals.

During our investigation we found that another DLNR meeting occurring at the WYC roughly a week earlier, on February 27th, that should have been open to the public, but was, in fact, kept private and out of the Sunshine.  

There is a growing uneasiness among the members of Hawaii's public about the DLNR's mishandling of public testimony, the dishonest tactics being used to push through Agency pet agendas despite mountains of testimonies asking for clarity, and the mounting Sunshine Law violations.

The following letter was sent off to Rep. Tarnas yesterday by one of our readers: 

Subject: Re: PLEASE INVESTIGATE, REPORT, and VOTE NO on HB 1460, SB 1257, and SB 1258.

Representative Tarnas,

During the hearing in SB1257 on Friday, you asked Ed Underwood how DOBOR has been passing information to boaters about all of the proposals on the table. Ed Underwood said that such a meeting was held at the Waikiki Yacht Club, and mentioned Sen. Moriwaki’s presence there also.

Ed Underwood’s representations to the committee are lies.  The meetings at the Waikiki Yacht Club which Ed mentioned were not open to the public.  I have confirmed this from multiple sources.  Only persons who were invited were allowed to join the meeting.  People who tried to get in were told the same and not allowed into the club.

Ed’s testimony on Friday itself shows that neither he nor DOBOR have any idea what they are doing.  In addition, he also made a serious misrepresentation during the hearing that shows how non-transparent and corrupt DOBOR has become.  I know his lies were intentional because he gave me the same response earlier that day when I spoke to him on the phone (saying public meetings had been held at WYC and it was my fault for not going if I wanted information).

Thank you to committee members who listened to public testimony on Friday.  Thank you for asking questions of Ed Underwood that forced him to reveal his total incompetence and callous indifference to the people he is supposed to serve.

Respectfully . . .

HON is also in the process of communicating with Rep. Tarnas regarding similar complaints. We are awaiting official transcripts from the meeting to confirm the precise dialog between legislators and Underwood at the March 15th meeting, and will keep readers updated.

UPDATE (3/20/2019):  We have received a confirmation from Representative Tarnas regarding the above story.  He writes that there are no inaccuracies in the reporting of his exchange with Mr. Underwood.

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