Attack against Hermina Morita

SUBHEAD: Governor Neil Abercrombie plays politics with Hawaii electric monopoly and PUC future. 

By Henry Curtis on 11 March 2014 for Ililani Media -
(http://ililanimedia.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-attack-against-hermina-morita.html)


Image above: One of two cabins owned by Morita that are for rent in Hanalei Valley. From (http://www.flipkey.com/hanalei-cottage-rentals/p326827/).

  • Probe targets Hanalei B&B: PUC chair’s North Shore vacation spot built in protected wetlands. (The Garden Island, March 11, 2014)
  • Targeted Enforcement Is this targeting of Morita a political hit? (KauaiEclectic, March 11, 2014)

Hermina “Mina” Morita was elected to the State House in 1996. In her re-election campaign in 1998 the Honolulu Star Bulletin described her as “a staunch environmentalist and opponent of commercial boating in the Hanalei River.”

From 1999 to 2011 Morita chaired the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee.

In 2011 Governor Abercrombie appointed Mina Morita as Chair of the Public Utilities Commission; to serve out the last three years of Les Kondo’s six year term.

In 2008 Hanalei River boatyard owner Mike Sheehan reportedly filed an “anonymous” complaint against Lance Laney and his wife Hermina Morita.

On August 20, 2013 Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Patricia W. Sheehan, the ex-wife and current business partner of Mike Sheehan to the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

In October 2013 Honolulu attorney Les Iczkovitz, representing unnamed Hanalei residents, wrote a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie and DLNR Director William Aila, regarding whether Lance Laney and his wife Hermina Morita were engaged in illegal affairs.

“If Ms. Morita and Mr. Laney actually built an illegal second residence, in the middle of a wetland on their property, without proper permits, so close to Hanalei River, one might suspect that this illegal building may have contributed to the 1995 flood event, and the ongoing breaching of the stream bank,” Iczkovitz wrote.

In a December 16, 2013 letter, William Aila wrote a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Laney which outlined the state’s allegations.

Starting in December Mike Sheehan sent out email blasts accusing Morita and Laney of operating an “illegal B&B.”

KauaiEclectic blogger Joan Conrow wrote that the anonymous complaint to DLNR probably came from Mike Sheehan.

On January 3, 2014 DLNR sent a certified letter to Laney and Morita in which they were notified of the violation.

In January rumors began to circulate about Morita not being reappointed to the Public Utilities Commission.

On January 22, 2014 Ililani Media, backed by four independent sources, broke the story that Governor Abercrombie had decided not to reappoint Hermina Morita to the Public Utilities Commission for a term ending in June 2020.

On January 22, 2014 Ililani Media wrote a column about the career of Hermina "Mina" Morita.

In early February Hermina Morita began to confide in people that the Governor had decided to give her the position of Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC).

On February 22, 2014 Civil Beat became the second media outlet to write that Morita was not going to be reappointed to the PUC.

“Word has it that Mina was offered the ‘soft landing’ of running the Office of Environmental Quality Control if she agreed to step down as PUC chair. But when Mina declined, Rep. Jessica Wooley was sent instead to the political version of Siberia and another way was found to tighten the screws on Mina,” according to KauaiEclectic blogger Joan Conrow.

On February 24, 2014 Babes Against Biotech announced on their Facebook page that Governor Abercrombie had decided to appoint State Representative Jessica Wooley to be head of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC).

On March 6, 2014 the Governor confirmed the Babes Against Biotech announcement with the issuance of a press release announcing that Jessica Wooley would be the new OEQC Director.

As KauaiEclectic pointed out, operating an illegal Transient Vacation Rental (TVR) unit was not a concern when Morita was first appointed PUC Chair, nor when the Governor named Mike Wilson to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Furthermore, there are several major illegal rental units on conservation land in Haena and other areas near Hanalei that are also not being targeted.

KauaiEclectic wrote, “It looks like Kauai's Mina Morita, chair of the Public Utilities Commission, is the target of a political hit.”

According to The Garden Island, the complaint against Morita and Laney will be brought before the BLNR at their March 28, 2014 hearing.


Image above: The other of two cabins owned by Morita that are for rent in Hanalei Valley. From (http://www.flipkey.com/hanalei-cottage-rentals/p326827/).

From the cottage rental website comes this:

The Hanalei Taro Patch Cottages are located on three acres of land at the end of Ohiki Road in the Hanalei Homesteads. The land is zoned as conservation land and is further designated in the Protective Subzone. There appear to be no other vacation rentals within the Hanalei Homesteads. The units start at $130 per night.
  • Two Secluded cottages nestled in the Serene setting of peaceful Hanalei Valley
  • Total serenity & beauty surround you in these two Hawaiian style cottages: Rainbows, Waterfalls & lush tropical foliage abound
  • Hale Lii & Hale Nui: both studio cottages : large lanais where you can relax sipping a cocktail or morning coffee while gazing at the beauty of the Hanalei mountains
  • Hike Nature Conservation land right outside the cottages
  • Queen beds, kitchens, lovely outside showers, wireless & more

The fabled Hanalei Valley is one of the most revered and treasured of all the valleys on Kauai; a place where the sacred Taro plant has been cultivated for eons. Today still, the Taro is grown and harvested in the valley and these two cottages are the only ones in the valley.

Feel the mana (grace) and beauty of this timeless place; travel back in time to a gentler, slower pace, truly relax.

We have been blessed to live on this land for over 30 years. We now offer our two cottages so that guests may come and experience the beauty and peace of the land. Yet it is only 5 minutes to Hanalei bay and the other gorgeous beaches of Kauai’s North Shore. PUC chairwoman investigated for illegal rental operation - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20140311_PUC_chairwoman_investigated_for_illegal_bed_and_breakfast_operation.html?id=249573021


In 2008 Hanalei River boatyard owner Mike Sheehan reportedly filed an “anonymous” complaint against Lance Laney and his wife Hermina Morita.

On August 20, 2013 Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Patricia W. Sheehan, the ex-wife and current business partner of Mike Sheehan to the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

As KauaiEclectic pointed out, operating an illegal Transient Vacation Rental (TVR) unit was not a concern when Morita was first appointed PUC Chair, nor when the Governor named Mike Wilson to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Furthermore, there are several major illegal rental units on conservation land in Haena and other areas near Hanalei that are also not being targeted.

KauaiEclectic wrote, “It looks like Kauai's Mina Morita, chair of the Public Utilities Commission, is the target of a political hit.”



Neil Abercrombie and Mina Morita
By Ed Wagoner on 17 March 2014 in Island Breath - 
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2014/03/attack-against-hermina-morita.html)

What all this means is that DLNR and the Governor knew about this issue before he appointed her as PUC Chairperson, and the issue was obviously not a big deal or he would not have appointed her.

Now that the Governor is facing public and legislative scrutiny and opposition to his decision to not reappoint her and probably just replace her with a more HECO friendly Chairperson who will rubber stamp whatever HECO wants approved, the issue is suddenly a big deal. It is nothing more that a political fabrication to discredit her in the face of public and legislative support to give him a "way out", an excuse to ignore the support she has been given.

Ms. Morita attended and spoke at a recent Kaneohe Sustainability Conference where she also received support from those in attendance. If the Governor dares not to reappoint her before her term expires on June 30, then he will simply "tighten the noose around his own neck" and pay the price for his inaction on election day.

Some members of the legislature seem to think that she has not done enough to support the people this past year, that she has not been aggressive enough. She could be more aggressive by ending decoupling that is strongly opposed by Hawaii County, was also strongly opposed by former PUC Commissioner and now Executive Director of the state Ethics Commission, Leslie Kondo, and is opposed by ALL ratepayers. Decoupling does nothing for ratepayers but everything for HECO, guaranteeing it a steady stream of profits.

She certainly pissed off the Governor for rejecting HECO's biofuel application with Aina Koa Pono (AKP) not just once, but twice, on Sep. 29, 2011, and Dec. 23, 2013. I'll bet those rejections left the Governor foaming at the mouth for her continued defiance of his orders for her  to protect and support HECO instead of supporting the ratepayers.

She is certainly doing a much better job supporting the ratepayers than the useless, worthless, toothless DCA that supports the HECO monopoly 110% like it did to the bitter end of the HECO-AKP biofuel application in 2011. If it were not for Charlene On Green exposing the fraudulent nature of that application,

I do not believe the PUC would have rejected it. HECO black balled her for daring to speak out against its power on her radio show and tried to push her out of Hawaii. Well guess what, folks, HECO failed. She is stronger and more resilient than Goliath and is getting settled down in Hawaii quite nicely now. She is here to stay.

Let us not forget that Chair Morita's hands are tied behind her back by the very agreement that is at the heart of our breach of public trust lawsuit, the 2008 Lingle-HECO HCEI agreement. Without that agreement, she could be much more aggressive and effective in protecting ratepayers from HECO's abuse of power.

The Governor refuses to rescind that agreement because it protects HECO and gives it carte blanche to do whatever it pleases as a self-regulated monopoly. He unequivocally supports the HECO monopoly instead of the ratepayers.

He ran for Governor on an energy platform on which he called out the company for its abuse of power, and then did nothing the past 4 years to implement any part of the policy. He is in collusion with the monopoly to help it continue fleecing and raping and defrauding the ratepayers every and any way it can. He is not a leader; he is a follower.

I therefore say to you, Governor Abercrombie in particular, and to the legislature AND news media in general, let he who is without sin cast the first stone against Chair Morita's reappointment.

I'll bet many of you, especially you, Governor, have skeletons lurking in your closets ready to be leaked to the press at the appropriate time as a political vendetta by someone who wants to "get even" or just by someone who is fed up with your political shenanigans and wants to blow the whistle on you for the public good.

How about all the "alleged" extortion that I keep hearing about going on behind the scenes by members of the legislature seeking campaign money in return for killing a bill or moving one forward?

If true, then I say, shame on the guilty ones for having such mediocre ethical standards.

A legislative aide on the House side told me by phone last year that the public may think bribery is the problem, but she said no, the real problem is extortion. Perhaps Mr. Kondo would like to begin a state ethical investigation into such allegations. Maybe someone will be willing to come forward as a whistleblower.

In my book of life, ethical standards of many politicians are mediocre at best. Most are in the game for what they can get out of it, not for what they can do to serve the people who elected them. Their motto is: Ask not what we can do for your financial stability, but what you can do for our financial stability.

I think it is time for Ms. Morita to tell her side of the story. How about it Ms. Morita?

The time has come for the Governor to announce her reappointment or suffer the consequences of his inaction on election day.

Let Governor Abercrombie who is without sin cast the first stone against her reappointment.

.

2 comments :

  1. Ed, you really have no idea what is going on. It is LAUGHABLE the verbiage you put online... I would compare most of what you say to verbal diarrhea. As for the PUC chairperson, you have no idea how things work. So funny, like a naive child blinding groping at whatever you can and then making up a story to justify your own outcry when you think you have found something. YOU ARE A JOKE to many people, while your inane blog only works to solidify that statement. But as entertainment is the backbone of this great state I say keep entertaining us, but just so you know...no one takes you seriously, and based on what you have written you care only for your own personal agenda, not for the best of the state. I would suggest you move back to the mainland where you came from and leave Hawaii to people who really care and make a difference. You sir, are a leech.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aloha Anonymous,

    I doubt you read this website very often, because you seem to be confused about who you are addressing in your comment. Are you referring to Henry Curtis, Ed Wagoner or myself (the blog publisher)?

    I am reminded of the cowardly anonymous and hate filled commentary concerning the resistance to the Superferry on the Honolulu Bulletin and Advertiser.

    Overtones of racism and self delusion.

    IB Publisher

    ReplyDelete