Political Radar

`Internet chatter'

March 5th, 2014

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday afternoon dismissed a growing political controversy surrounding Hermina Morita's future as chairwoman of the Public Utilities Commission as "Internet chatter" and "speculation."

Two dozen state lawmakers and many in the environmental community have urged the governor to keep Morita, a former House lawmaker, after reports that he might not appoint her to another term.

Morita has met privately with Abercrombie in recent days to discuss her role.

Abercrombie said the state has to make progress toward alternative and renewable energy to reduce high electricity costs.

"We're in an energy policy crisis right now. We need a strong commission that's going to have and make its decisions in a timely way," the governor said.

Abercrombie said the "entire question here is, is can we move forward together? And when I'm satisfied that we are prepared to do that, then you'll see a definitive answer."

State Sen. David Ige, who is challenging Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, issued a statement Wednesday evening calling on the governor to reappoint Morita.

From Ige:

I call upon the Governor to act in the public interest now and reappoint Hermina Morita as chair of the Public Utilities Commission. There is no sound reason to replace her.

This appointment is about the financial responsibility of the PUC to regulate public service companies operating in our state. We are at a critical point in our State’s renewable energy efforts. The legislature has tasked the PUC with strategic, technical, and policy issues to move our State forward.

Energy policy is critical for Hawaii’s long-term future and decisions must be based on the common good for Hawaii’s people as opposed to special interests.

Hermina Morita’s record is clear. Her commitment to public service is unwavering. If the Governor does not reappoint her it will continue to erode trust and confidence in our government.

10 Responses to “`Internet chatter'”

  1. Manoa_Fisherman:

    By endorsing Morita, Ige seems to be using her as a political pawn in the governor's race. It would have been better if he had taken a more statesman's view of the situation and laid out the pros and cons of the situation for the public to understand what the "real" issues are and let the public determine who is right.

    By issuing a single page press release, Ige only looks like an opportunist trying to like he knows every thing. Remember Governor Burns once said in the 1970's election, "Any damn fool can take a stand."

  2. hossana:

    I agree wholeheartedly. Very good comment.

  3. Guy:

    The senator here totally looks like an opportunist. Also looks like reports of the governor having made his decision are seriously exaggerated. But did the senator just pay the administration a compliment by saying energy policy is on track?!

  4. Sayer:

    Definitely agree with Abercrombie on this - energy costs on the islands are out of control.

  5. Gerald de Heer:

    "We're in an energy policy crisis right now. We need a strong commission that's going to have and make its decisions in a timely way," the governor said. At what point did this 'crisis' begin? The governor is weighing whether or not to keep Morita, his appointee. At what point did her appointment contribute to this energy policy crisis? Was there an energy policy crisis before her appointment? There isn't an energy policy crisis, if anything, there is an energy policy implementation problem. The State has set ambitious alternative/renewable energy goals. An fuel vendor that was/is represented by a close political ally of the governor submitted a proposal that Morita felt was too expensive for rate payers, and effectively tabled the deal. Then 'word' of Morita not being re-appointed surfaced. If Morita blew the call and didn't consider all the facts, let's hear about it. On the other hand, if Morita's assessment was correct, why the heat? Ige has every right to question.

  6. Especially Incognito:

    All the Adams in the world just eating an apple
    now think they are smarter.
    Not as tranparent since they wanted NSA
    to find tranparency in our Government
    but they end up only exposing themselves.

    Along came a snake.

  7. Especially Incognito:

    Hermina Morita if replaced should run for Governor.

  8. Andy Parx:

    Hey folks- seems Abercrombie thinks we're all are just "internet chatter" (note the use of a term used to describe discussion by terrorists)... same internet chatter that defeated his PLDC and Mufi last year... and may cook his goose if he gets any more insulting of his base.

  9. Kolea:

    I fear the appointment of Jessica Wooley to the OEQC is seen by some of Abercrombie's circle as likely to offset criticism of the Governor if he gets rid of Mina Morita. The idea being that getting rid of one independent, progressive, environmentalist woman but hiring another, will show he is NOT doing this for policy reasons.

    I urge the Abercrombie group to drop that idea. The Jessica Wooley appointment is being seen as a cynical move to remove Wooley from the House AG committee in order to allow the interests of corporate Agri-business to proceed un-impeded. In addition, Wooley was facing a well-funded pro-development, pro-GMO primary challenger, who behind the scenes was undoubtedly encouraged by Amercrombie's allies.

    So BOTH the appointment of Wooley AND the refusal to retain Morita will work AGAINST Abercrombie's hope to neutralize the growing opposition he faces from environmentalists and "good government" groups.

  10. Especially Incognito:

    More like cheddar.

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