Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Politics III

From the Advertiser this afternoon ...

A mock trial? A kangaroo court? Gestapo tactics?

Gov. Linda Lingle and other allies of Peter Young spoke at an afternoon news conference Wednesday in the state Capitol rotunda to attack the Senate's confirmation hearings on Young as director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

A sampling:

* I just want to say, if he's being accused of micromanaging, I'm wondering what the Senate is doing, said Vicky Holt Takamine, a Hawaiian activist.

* In a trial, basic rules of evidence apply. Hearsay. Leading witnesses. Speculation. These are all prohibited. And yet, these hearings have been filled with such questionable testimony, said Isaac Moriwake, an attorney with Earthjustice.

* We gotta stop this. I sat through the first set of hearings, and, believe me, I'm a fair person, I thought I was in Germany. We call this Gestapo tactics, said Colette Machado, a trustee with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

* (Moriwake) stated the difference between a real trial and a mock trial, or a kangaroo court -- we would call it -- kind of trial. And he was very clear in the technical terms.

I'll tell you the political way we look at this: You throw a lot of mud and you hope something sticks. And that's what's going on in these hearings right now. And it's a complete disservice to the process, to the voters, to the people all across the state, Lingle said.

The escalation of words suggests that Young's allies believe he might be in trouble as the hearings reached a fifth and likely final day.

State Sen. Russell Kokubun, D-2nd (S. Hilo, Puna, Ka'ü), the chairman of the Senate Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, has said the hearings were fair.

The senator has explained that the committee has met in closed session on Young at the request of the attorney general or the state Ethics Commission. The Senate is trying to make as much of the information presented in closed session public.

The material involves criminal and ethics investigations into the department's Bureau of Conveyances.

The hearings just started up again ...

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