Hawaii’s David Y. Ige channels Alfred E. Neuman as he signs illegal legislation into law

SB795 was the litmus test, the canary in the mine, the big red flag that signaled that the lawmaking process in Hawaii has become toxic to its resident population

Poorly qualified newly-elected governors and mayors spread their disease by hand selecting critical agency operatives who are completely unqualified for the position for which they were chosen

While the facts cited in this article are backed by references, commentary herein represents the opinion of the author

(Note to reader: clicking on a reference link in this article will open a new tab in your browser so that you can read the reference at your leisure without interrupting your current read of this article)


In 2021, Senate Bill 795 turned out to be the litmus test, the canary in the mine, the red flag that signaled a dangerous trend in Hawaii's lawmaking process.  SB795 is a piece of legislation that is illegal* (HRS 200-10), unconstitutional (Article 3, Section 14), blesses Hawaii State-sponsored fraud, is poised to generate still more homelessness, and completely contradicts Ige's own emergency pandemic rules, doubling State tenant principal habitation rents while his emergency Covid law forced private landlords to show forbearance towards their tenants. (To learn more about the SB795 debacle: link, link, link, link). The way in which a piece of legislation like SB795 could be introduced and then deliberately shepherded through the legislature and onto the governor's desk is nothing short of frightening . . . and this is business-as-usual in our current government. (*So illegal, in fact, that it had been facing a challenge in First Circuit Court during and after the introduction of this bill.)



Electing David Y. Ige to the office of governor was an act of sheer desperation

Let's be honest, electing David Y. Ige to the office of governor was an act of sheer desperation. At the time we elected him, we couldn't have cared less who he was.  The previous governor, Neil Abercrombie, who often appeared a prescription-drug-addled passive-aggressive, was a bull in a china closet, seemingly on a mission to screw up everything within reach before the end of his shortened tenure. We were looking for a way out. ANY way out. 

Least we not forget, we also elected Neil Abercrombie out of desperation, as Mufi had already sullied his own reputation when folks began to figure out that his rail fail was going to cost taxpayers bigtime.  And with the disastrous Linda Lingle tenure that went on before, Hawaii was looking forward to better leadership. In this setting, Abercrombie sounded convincing, kind of like a used car salesman to a desperate buyer.  Lingle, if you remember, was the woman who so angered educators and parents with her silly policies that they literally took over her private home in protest (not to mention that whole Super Ferry debacle — who could ever forget, especially the folks over there on Kauai).  And by the time Lingle's DLNR appointee, Laura Thielen, had finished her tenure, the Department of Land and Natural Resources was a shambles.

Why is it that the people of Hawaii keep making such horribly poor leadership choices . . .  the Kirk Caldwells (Hawaii's handmaiden to the wealthy), the Mufi Hannemanns "that rail guy" (proving, once again, that a Harvard education doesn't necessarily guarantee lucidity) and all of the Senator Sharon Moriwaki types out there who stump for reelection on the homelessness issue and then pass legislation that will create still more homelessness, mostly in their own districts?


Making bad leadership choices leads to devastating trickle-down cascading failure that ends up hurting the entire community

Poorly qualified newly-elected governors and mayors spread their disease by hand-selecting critical agency operatives who are completely unqualified — or laden with personal agenda. Put another way, when we make bad leadership choices, it's not just about bad leadership at the top, it's about all of the trickle-down appointees, hand picked for every reason except competence. 

The appointees, in turn, clueless, then make horrible choices for their division heads, people who wield enormous power.  Division administrators like Ed Underwood (a DoBOR administrator who has done irreparable damage to the State's ocean recreation infrastructure; see "Hawaii's Slickest Con Man") cause lasting and often irreversible damage to our community.


Trickle-down environmental disaster

DLNR Chair, Suzanne Case, is an example of an Ige wink-nod appointee.  Suzanne Case — Senator Ed Case's sister — wants to be known as "the environmentalist". This is an "environmentalist" who, during the past 5 years, has presided over more pollution than any Trump EPA appointee could ever dream of. She's done nothing about the massive human sewerage pollution in our coastal waters, pollution that has caused untold numbers of MRSA infections over the years. And she's done nothing about the tons of plastic that flow from our streams, rivers and canals and then out into the ocean. 

In 2019, she sat idly by while knowing full well that there was a massive diesel oil spill in progress at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor — a diesel oil spill so dangerous that the noxious fumes cleared the outdoor restaurant at the Waikiki Yacht Club and triggered a 911 call to the Honolulu Fire Department who, in turn, closed the adjacent road in front of the Prince Waikiki in order to reduce the possibility of visitor and resident exposure to the dangerous fumes. When we confronted the United States Coast Guard over the spill, and why they hadn't responded, they shot back that the Ala Wai was Suzanne Case's jurisdiction. The spill went on for more than two weeks before it was finally contained.  Hundreds of gallons of toxic diesel oil leaked into the harbor and out into the nearby ocean.  The "environmentalist"?



Cascading failure from the top down

The ironic thing about the oil spill incident at the Ala Wai was that it was completely preventable. Before the boat went down, it was leaning badly to one side. No fewer than 4 individuals notified DoBOR harbor agents, in person, that the boat appeared to be sinking and that someone from DoBOR should bring a pump down and pump it out.  In typical fashion no one responded and the boat sank, with tanks full of diesel; an all too familiar DoBOR response.

DoBOR harbor agents are overseen by Ed Underwood, Ige appointee Suzanne Case's ward.   Trickle-down cascading failure: an avoidable toxic oil spill and a subsequent vessel recovery process that cost — guess who — tens of thousands of dollars. The disease at the top trickles down to the bottom, and Hawaii's residents — and Hawaii's environment — will always end up the victim.  (Read here about how DoBOR policies encouraged the spread of Covid-19 throughout our community)



Public vulnerable to State-sponsored fraud, among other legal abuses

Ige attorney general appointee, Clare Connors, ended up a disastrous choice. Selecting a woman who cares more about her Twitter profile than she does about protecting the residents of Hawaii from legal abuses by its own government translates into blessing crime within Hawaii's government. It's no wonder why some are labeling her "Hawaii's Twitter Queen." While it appears as though Connors may have gotten her law degree out of a cereal box, it's probably more politically correct to say that she's just forgotten a lot since law school. (See Hawaii Ocean News' responses to some of her disingenuous Twitter posts; see our open letter to Hawaii's Attorney General)


Our legislators may be nice people with affable smiles and warm and cuddly rhetoric, but, truth be told, they're not really interested in government "of, by, and for" the people of Hawaii . . . and this becomes dangerous

To watch Senator Sharon Moriwaki, for example, in a zoom meeting, is to watch what appears to be a confused and somewhat addled woman attempting to navigate even the simplest exchanges. Don't be fooled. This is a wonderful act on the part of this one-time condo board director, designed to conceal her true agenda, most recently her desire to privatize and hand over public lands to wealthy private multinational interests waiting in the wings. Like most of our politicians, Moriwaki's stumps on the homelessness issue every time she thinks about reelection.  But if you were keeping your eye on the shell that had the pea hidden under, you would have noticed that, a few months ago, she introduced and then voted for legislation that will create still more homelessness in her own district. Moriwaki is not alone, most of our current slate of legislators play this shell game, a sleight-of-hand at which the public will never win.


Wake up Hawaii, before it's too late

Needless to say, it is time to purge the business-as-usual pre-pandemic leadership and take more care in selecting, vetting and then voting for competent community leaders who care about what happens to our beautiful islands. Every one of us has this responsibility.  As they say . . .  you snooze you lose (and so do your children and all generations that follow).

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments