Thursday, August 12, 1999

Anzai says 3 senators voted
against him at last minute

By Harold Morse


Three state senators switched votes at the last minute in April to deny Earl Anzai confirmation as state budget director, he said last night.

"The morning of the vote, three people committed to me -- reaffirmed their commitment to me. All three of them voted against me within three hours," he said.

Later, he declined to identify the three senators. "I'm not going to say," he said.

Anzai recalled the vote to oust him as budget director was 15-10. Had the three senators not switched votes in the scenario Anzai described, he would have been confirmed 13-12.

Anzai was later appointed attorney general to replace Margery Bronster, who also was ousted April 28, by a 14-11 vote.

He spoke to the Filipino of Commerce and was low-key in his remarks, flashing his understated humor.

When one of the some 70 audience members asked for the latest on the Bishop Estate, he avoided the subject.

"I don't want to really comment on the criminal cases in the Bishop Estate," he said.

But the new trustees have been very cooperative, Anzai added.

He also didn't want to speculate on whether the Senate will confirm him as attorney general, in light of the way the earlier Senate vote went.

One man asked if he thought the attorney general should be elected. "No, I don't think the attorney general should be elected, and I don't think the judges should be elected," Anzai said.

Popularity in this state means access to money and the media, and the best qualified might be given short shrift, he said.

"There are two departments in the state that get blamed for everything," he said. "One is budget and finance and the other is the attorney general's office.

"The governor did tell me not to micromanage, and believe me, with 110 lawyers I don't intend to micromanage."

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