After watching the entire Senate committee hearing covering the appointment of real estate development lobbyist Carleton Ching to be Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, it seems embarrassingly obvious that Mr. Ching is not even remotely qualified for the position.
In question after question he shows his lack of even the most basic knowledge of the core functions of the DLNR. He is a very nice man with many positive attributes, and it is difficult and very awkward for all involved to pull back the curtain on his lack of basic qualifications, but this issue is too important to look the other way.
What is most disturbing to me is the lens in which he looks at our natural resources and the fact that he was not familiar with even our basic public trust doctrine.
He spoke consistently during the hearing about finding the “sweet spot” and repeated talked of how compromise and balance was the answer to everything. I agree that compromise and balance are important concepts but I don’t think he truly understands how much compromise has already been made with regards to existing natural resources already under extreme stress and degradation. Our drinking water, stream flows, shorelines, endangered species and everything else that is under the purview of the DLNR has already been greatly diminished through past compromise and attempts at so-called balance.
Mr. Chings repeated assertions that he was not familiar with nor responsible for the decisions, actions and testimony of the Land Use Research Foundation (LURF), I find impossible to believe. How could he serve on its Board of Directors for years (serving as President and VP), and not be aware and not take ownership of the Boards actions? LURF’s stated mission is to “promote and advance the interests of the development community, particularly in the areas of land use laws and regulations.”
At the end of the day I believe deeply that the choice of Carleton Ching for this important position represents both very bad policy in terms of tangible harm that will come from this decision and extremely bad politics in terms of the message it sends to the public.
Appointing a paid lobbyist for the real estate industry to be the person in charge of protecting our states natural resources sends an extremely negative public trust message out to already cynical voters and reinforces their increasingly diminished view of politics and government.
On Thursday March 12, 2015 the Senate Committee on Water and Land voted 5 to 2 to NOT CONFIRM his appointment (see selected quotes below from that hearing).
The final vote by the full Senate will be very close and will take place possibly on Monday but most likely on Tuesday March 17.
Your email and or telephone call TODAY and before Tuesday March 17 to your District Senator can make the difference. Trust me, I have been in this arena for over 16 years and your testimony and opinion, combined with many, many others, can make a difference.
If you care about the stewardship of our natural resources please send YOUR DISTRICT SENATOR a strong but polite email requesting he/she vote NO on the appointment of Carleton Ching to be our States DLNR Director.
Read and make up your own mind, then please email both your District Senator (most important) and all Senators.
For my friends and neighbors on Kauai that would be first to Senator Ron Kouchi firstname.lastname@example.org and then to ALL at email@example.com.
For those of you who live in other parts of our State you can find your Senator and their contact information here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx?street=Enter+Street+Name&utm_source=Emails+in+Salesforce&utm_campaign=5e14b0e7f7-Save_DLNR2_20_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8563b27146-5e14b0e7f7-156108093&ct=t%28Save_DLNR2_20_2015%29
Be nice, introduce yourself and let them know your thoughts on this critical issue:
My 4 minute video testimony is here:: http://www.kitv.com/news/kauai-councilman-testifies-in-opposition-to-carleton-ching/31745104
Other reference info on the Ching appointment is here: http://www.outdoorcircle.org/the-greenleaf/controversial-news-about-dlnr?utm_source=Just+Marti+–+for+newsletter+sends&utm_campaign=89ecbb751f-Save_DLNR2_20_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb5d1e87f2-89ecbb751f-239105569&ct=t(Save_DLNR2_20_2015)