Takai still looking for some answers from Frazier and UH
SO, Rep. Mark Takai, D, Aiea-Pearl City, watch any good movies lately?
"I went back and went through all the 4 hours and 10 minutes, whatever it was and wrote down every single question that was left unanswered," Takai said.
The May 21 informational briefing for state lawmakers about the University of Hawaii athletic department at the State Capitol? What -- did he tape it? (How did he figure out whether it was going to be on channel 52 or 54?)
"DVD," Takai said. "You can buy a copy for $25."
So that explains who that one order went to.
Most of the rest of us have tried to put that Dog Day Afternoon out of our minds. It was an interrogation marathon, and we surmised that Mark Takai is a guy you don't want going over your budget point by point.
Turns out he's still going over the budget. In a meeting with the Star-Bulletin's editorial board he passed out a spreadsheet filled with terms like accruals and assets and payables and nonexpendable. There were asterisks. I couldn't read it.
Yesterday, Takai called a number of his original questions "still unresolved." He's still talking about "red flags."
He said, "We've asked them (UH) to come back and help us understand it a little bit."
He said that he just heard yesterday afternoon that Rep. Jerry Chang had received some information from UH, which was good, because apparently that morning Takai had been on the radio saying he hadn't seen anything yet.
Probably just a coincidence.
We continue to see that the informational briefing, while uncomfortable, and at times even brutal, was a good thing. It got UH athletic director Herman Frazier to come forward and go on the record, in public, the equivalent of subpoena power. Up to that point it seemed that Frazier knew he had the Board of Regents in his corner and didn't have to worry too much what anyone else thought. But since then he's opened up and been more accessible. Like the realization hit that when you hold a public-trust job, you're accountable to more than just your immediate boss. Frazier has taken some important steps.
It was a good end result. But apparently not an ending. Not yet.
Takai still has the budget and the five-year financial plan in the folder under his arm. And he's still looking for answers to a few of the questions he's found with his fine-tooth comb.
And he still seems stymied by the chain-of-command issues he encountered at the hearing when asking why athletic-department concerns weren't getting more play. Many of UH's past sports facilities came to fruition "mainly as legislative add-ons, pork products," the result of work by people in positions like the one he holds today.
The Stan Sheriff Center, deciding to upgrade the project and add the extra seats, "Looking back, it was the best thing we could have done and we did it. That was done by the Legislature."
No, he doesn't sound like a fan of UH autonomy, but when asked point blank about it, said, "I champion that."
He stresses that all this is cordial, professional. But he's still going over those budgets, still asking for clarification, still awaiting answers to questions that he says are -- let's use that quote again -- "still unresolved."