DLNR's Young ousted
State senators reject support by native and environmental groups
» Environmentalists, others react with dismay
» Attorney General Mark Bennett confirmed
LAST-MINUTE lobbying by Gov. Linda Lingle, environmentalists and native Hawaiian groups was not enough to salvage the nomination of Peter Young to serve a second term as director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Young, who was opposed by the Hawaii Government Employees Association, becomes the second nominee of the Republican governor to be rejected by the heavily Democratic state Senate. Fifteen senators voted against him, while eight supported him in yesterday's vote.
THE VOTE BREAKDOWN
No: Democratic Sens. Roz Baker, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Will Espero, Carol Fukunaga, Colleen Hanabusa, Clayton Hee, Gary Hooser, David Ige, Donna Mercado Kim, Russell Kokubun, Clarence Nishihara, Norman Sakamoto, Brian Taniguchi, Jill Tokuda and Shan Tsutsui.
Yes: Democratic Sens. Robert Bunda, Les Ihara and Lorraine Inouye. Republican Sens. Mike Gabbard, Fred Hemmings, Sam Slom, Gordon Trimble and Paul Whalen.
Absent: Democratic Sens. J. Kalani English and Ron Menor.
Lingle said the Senate had voted against the wishes of both the people and the interest groups supporting Young. "It surprised me that the senators were grasping at reasons to go against the public. It was a bad decision," she said.
Young said he would stay on to help Lingle find a new director, but did not know about his next job.
Senate Democrats said Young was a weak leader who lacked accountability and management skills.
Sen. Russell Kokubun, chairman of the Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, led the fight against Young, saying "his tenure has created a high level of disenchantment, low employee morale, fiscal problems and public safety issues."