According to a S-A story by Derrick DePledge:
Donalyn Dela Cruz, Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s spokeswoman, is writing and producing a new Hawaii travelogue show.
Maybe it’s just me, but I would think that anyone being paid $70,000 in public funds for a high-level position in the governor’s administration would have a very full plate without trying to do moonlight in another essentially full-time job of “writing and producing” a regular television program.
I keep hearing rumblings that the governor’s office is significantly understaffed compared to those of his predecessors. Maybe, but Dela Cruz seems to have enough time on her hands to take on another demanding job.
Then, of course, there are questions of potential conflicts. Hawaiian Airlines, Starwood Hotels, and the Chamber of Commerce were identified among the sponsors of the new program, all with significant issues that rise to the governor’s level. Questions about apparent conflicts would seem to flow naturally from the awkward position Dela Cruz is putting herself in.
And how about Gov. Abercrombie’s latest move, a formal request to members of key boards and commissions to resign in order to let him pack the boards with his own appointees.
This seems like an ill-considered move and a dangerous precedent. Overlapping terms are there precisely to provide continuity, and to prevent wholesale political upheavals every time the administration changes. Had Duke Aiona been elected, I’m sure Neil and his many supporters would rightly be opposing any similar GOP move. Does he really want to open this door for future administrations? I doubt it.
Bottom line: I hope most of those appointees receiving these letters asking for their resignations will file them in the nearest wastebasket. Thanks, but no thanks.
Meanwhile, I’m becoming more worried about what the governor’s “new day” might mean.
From Governor Abercrombie’s web site:
In the coming weeks and months, you will hear of more partnerships and initiatives to move toward the New Day plan—educational excellence, energy independence and a sustainable economy.
My administration is ready and moving; our community partners are ready, and the people of Hawaii are ready to bring positive change. There is no doubt in my mind that, together, Hawai’i is on the way to a New Day.
I think many who voted for the governor expected “community partners” to mean communities themselves being given meaningful roles in determining their own futures. Now many are worried that community organizations, especially progressive ones, are being bypassed as the administration cuts deals with corporate developers and other special interests that the rest of us will not hear about until it’s too late for meaningful community input.
I talked to several activist this week who are deeply frustrated with the administration. One said they had been trying to contact the governor’s office on an issue of mutual concern and public interest, but had not even gotten the courtesy of an acknowledgement of phone messages or emails, much less a place at the table.
Another person expressed fear the administration is slighting its community allies while catering to corporate interests, perhaps driven by budgetary and economic concerns. There’s worry the governor’s desire to move quickly and sweep away bureaucratic impediments to quick action will really mean sacrificing environmental protections along with inclusive planning and decision-making.
Still another said the governor’s staff are very good at communicating his messages to the public, but don’t show the same skill at listening to constituents and communities.
These concerns are growing among those who were strong campaign supporters who cheered Gov. Abercrombie’s election. As one person told me: “People are asking me, ‘WTF is up with Neil?’”
I’m hoping the administration can pull it together and demonstrate that these concerns are misplaced. I just wish I were more confident this will happen.