Gov. Abercrombie

BY FRANCES NUAR – Governor Abercrombie promised a plethora of “sound good, feel goods” while running for office. It was to be a new day in Hawaii, where government worked for us, the people.

But alas, since taking office, it seems like life in Hawaii has been same old, same old. The transparent government Abercrombie promised has translated into refusal from the Governor “to disclose the names of candidates from the Judicial Selection Commission for a vacancy on the Hawaii Supreme Court.” Gov.’s refusal to publicize his judicial appointments defies both the precedents set by his predecessors and trends throughout the country.

Cathy Takase, former acting director of the Office of Information Practices, was one of the people who recommended Gov. Abercrombie disclose the name of his nominees. Oddly enough, she was unexpectedly dismissed from her position shortly thereafter.

Or how about Gov. Abercrombie asking Dr. Neal Palafox to withdraw his nomination as director of the state Department of Health with no explanation given? Sounds a bit shady, to say the least. Was there foul play, or did the Governor owe someone a favor? In politics, these are the type of controversial questions that must be answered. Loretta Fuddy was just confirmed by the Senate to lead the Health Department. She seems qualified for the position and we wish her the best, yet mystery still surround Palafox’s withdrawal.

What happened to Abercrombie’s campaign promise of “transparency in government so people know that their economic interests are being represented, not just the interests of a powerful few?” Seems like the powerful few are doing just fine, the rest of us, not so sure.

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Frances Nuar works for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. She has worked as a capitol correspondent for Hawaii Reporter. Reach her at Frances@grassrootinstitute.org