The Hawai'i State Senate recently confirmed Maui residents Jonathan Starr and Ted Yamamura to the Hawai'i State Commission on Water Resource Management. But Iolani Place on O'ahu was the site of a protest against Yamamura's appointment last week. Protestors were comprised of members of the Native Hawaiian community, legal experts and environmentalists.
The groups said they don't oppose him on a personal level, but rather question whether his professional experience is sufficient enough for the task. Testimonials from Earthjustice, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., the Sierra Club, and the League of Women Voters called attention to the vetting process and questioned why other, more qualified candidates were not selected.
Dane Wicker, a Senate Water Land and Housing Committee staff member, noted that the committee approved the nominee and that the majority of people submitting testimony were in support of Yamamura.
Both Starr and Yamamura won endorsement from the Senate Land, Water and Housing Committee. The Senate has yet to confirm his appointment.