BY WILLIAM E. MOSSMAN – The November 8, 2010 Star Advertiser featured an article entitled, “Aiona’s Margin of Defeat Surprises,” which analyzes several theories on why former Congressman Neil Abercronbie trounced Lt. Governor Duke Aiona so badly this past election in the governor’s race. I would like to add another, in the hopes that it will improve the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) under the new governor’s administration.
Some of the credit for the trouncing of Aiona can be traced to the unprecedented level of public animosity provoked by the Lingle/Aiona administration, specifically by Laura Thielen’s management of the DLNR — especially amongst the boaters (under DBOR – Ed Underwood) and the fishermen (boat and shoreline).
The highly opposed rule changes that were rammed down the public’s throat and the finagling of data to justify them, coupled to the “ham handed” (my way or the highway) management style of the DLNR Director Laura Thielen and her lapdog Land Board, made this DLNR regime the worst I have seen in my 30 years involvement.
Without doubt, the large vote for Abercrombie was spiced up by the intense desire of the thousands of boaters and fishermen to get rid of Thielen et al.
The 15,000+ boat owners (plus their crews), and the 100,000+ shoreline fishermen who have been alienated by the Lingle/Aiona and Thielen did not want to take a chance that if elected, Aiona would retain Thielen and continue the arrogant modus operandi of the current DLNR Administration.
A highly respected leader of a fishing group stated in an email (to many) that, “This issue is so significant that I am willing to take my chances that someone other than the current DLNR Chairperson could make things worse.”
This feeling is rampant within the fishing and boating communities throughout the State. As a result, this “albatross” hung heavy around Aiona’s neck on November 2, 2010.
We hope the next DLNR Director will recognize that humans (aka, “voters”) are an important part of our “ecosystems,” and that their rights, needs and expectations should not be cast aside in developing new policy and changing rules.
Our new DLNR Director must be more conscious and respective of the positions of the Hawaii people that they serve, and their positions must be included in the formulae that seek and determine proper ecosystem balance.