Star-Advertiser Editorial Urges Governor to Sign SB2682

Don’t Veto Public’s Right to Know
Star-Advertiser Editorial
27 June 2014

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signaled that he might veto a bill that would require members of powerful state boards and commissions to file financial statements for public disclosure, which could reveal potential conflicts of interest. By failing to promptly sign this measure, the governor is putting the privacy concerns of a limited number of influential individuals ahead of the public interest.

The public interest must always come first. Like the state Ethics Commission and good-government groups such as Common Cause Hawaii, we urge the governor to overcome his reservations and sign Senate Bill 2682 by the July 8 deadline, or let it become law without his signature. If he goes ahead with the rejection, state lawmakers — who unanimously approved this bill in the House and Senate — should override the veto.

blurb sb2682

Approval of this bill would make Hawaii’s government more transparent and accountable by increasing the number of powerful boards and commissions whose members are subject to public disclosure requirements. Similar scrutiny, we note, already is endured without harm by numerous parties, including elected officials, candidates for statewide office and department directors. All accept this reasonable disclosure requirement as part and parcel of public service.

Members of selected appointed boards already are covered, too, including the state Board of Education — which has no shortage of able, willing volunteers. That fact makes it all the more irksome that the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents is not covered, and that some of its members are leading the charge to kill this bill.

Moreover, they seek to elude the scrutiny that leaders of the very institutions they oversee accept, for the UH president, vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, chancellors and provosts are among the state employees whose financial disclosure statements already are made available for public inspection.

SB 2682 would rightly add the Board of Regents and 15 other state boards, commissions and agencies to the list, including the Public Utilities Commission, the Hawaii Community Development Authority, the Hawaiian Homes Commission, the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the state Land Use Commission and the Ethics Commission.

Currently, members of those boards must file financial disclosure forms with the Ethics Commission, but the commission holds on to them; they are not available to the public. The Ethics Commission, which supports the bill, lacks the staffing and other resources to properly review all those forms for potential conflicts of interest. Interested members of the public can do it, and they should have the right to — especially considering the great authority the affected boards wield over the lives of everyday citizens and the future of our state. Higher education, water and energy use, land development, and on and on — the most important issues of our day fall within the realms of these boards and commissions.

Critics contend that having to publicly reveal details about their finances will dissuade highly qualified volunteers from serving on these important government panels. We believe this fear is overblown. The loss of the few appointees who might resign over approval of this bill pales against the greater good. Board members themselves should embrace this new approach. Their responsibility to the taxpayers is clear, and should override any personal unease.

Hawaii needs a more open government, and Senate Bill 2682 helps provide it. Sign this bill, Gov. Abercrombie, and strike a blow for the public’s right to know.

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Progressive PAC Endorses Maile’s 2014 Campaign

Email dated 6/12/14:

Progressive PAC met last night to begin the endorsement process. We did early endorsement for eleven candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to the progressive cause. We are proud to endorse one Republican, one Green, and nine Democrats. (We are not affiliated with the Democratic Party.) We will be surveying over thirty other candidates and adding to the endorsement list. We also hope to raise some money for a few targeted races. More on that later.
For now I congratulate you on your endorsement. Our organization has been making endorsements for eight years. Feel free to list us among your endorsements.
Chuck Huxel, Chair of Progressive PAC
John Bickel, Treasurer

HGEA Endorses Maile’s 2014 Campaign

HGEA Endorses Maile's 2014 Campaign

Over $94 Million in Improvements to the Leeward Coast Appropriated by the State Legislature

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Maile Will Be Participating in the WCCH 2014 Candidates Forum July 11 & 12 – Live Broadcast

Tune in July 11 (4-8 p.m.) and July 12 (12 pm to 8pm) to hear from our candidates and their issues.  You’ll be able to text and/or call in your questions, LIVE!  Olelo TV, channel 49. Tune in July 11 (4-8 p.m.) and July 12 (12 pm to 8pm) to hear from our candidates and their issues. You’ll be able to text and/or call in your questions, LIVE! Olelo TV, channel 49. Senator Shimabukuro will be participating. Click image to enlarge.

Sierra Club Hawaii Endorses Maile’s 2014 Campaign

Source: Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter

The best thing you can do for Hawai‘i’s environment is to vote.

Putting the right people in office is more than half the battle in our conservation work. The Sierra Club has done its best to select the best applicants for the job. Please support these candidates in the upcoming elections.

Want to do more?  Consider contacting Senator Shimabukuro [maileshimabukuro@yahoo.com] and offering to assist her as a constituent and as a Sierra Club volunteer!

UPW Endorses Maile’s 2014 Campaign

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