Saturday, June 12, 1999

Manoa board
denounces 14
state senators

The resolution demonstrates
support for ousted Attorney
General Margery Bronster

By Mary Adamski


The Manoa Neighborhood Board has passed a resolution that "strongly disagrees with and denounces" the 14 state senators who blocked reappointment of former state attorney general Margery Bronster.

The board backed away from specifically denouncing Sen. Carol Fukunaga (D, Tantalus, Makiki), whose district includes part of Manoa.

Fukunaga participated in the discussion at the board's June 2 meeting.

"It was a good discussion. Carol weathered the storm well," said J. Thomas Heinrich, who was elected chairman at the meeting. "A number of people said, 'You do great for us, but on this issue what is going on?'"

Board member Jeremy Lam said: "She put her point across about the Felix decree. As a pediatrician, I am familiar with the issue. I told her the Senate Education Committee is as much to blame as Bronster." Lam characterized the discussion as civil rather than confrontational.

Fukunaga and other senators criticized Bronster for assigning only two of the 161 attorneys in her office to monitor the 1993 Felix consent decree in which the federal court mandated that the state provide education services to students with mental health problems.

The board changed a first draft of the resolution that specifically said it commended Sen. Brian Taniguchi (D, Manoa, McCully) for his vote in support of Bronster and "strongly disagrees with Sen. Carol Fukunaga for her vote in opposition to Ms. Bronster's confirmation."

The final language commended the 11 senators who supported Bronster and chastised the 14 senators whose votes against confirmation ended her service.

But earlier in the lengthy resolution, Fukunaga and Taniguchi and their votes were identified.

"The point was not to lay blame on an individual," Heinrich said. "We kept things in context."

The resolution also expressed support for Bronster for "unique courage, fairness and independence in her dealings with the Bishop Estate."

And it expressed concern that no senator protested their "colleague Marshall Ige's clear conflict of interest in this matter and the failure of Marshall Ige to recuse himself from this vote."

Ige (D, Kaneohe-Enchanted Lake) voted against Bronster. He is the target of an attorney general's office investigation for allegedly receiving $18,300 in illegal campaign contributions from Bishop Estate.

Fukunaga told the Star-Bulletin last week: "The Manoa Neighborhood Board had strong concerns about my vote. I explained my vote. I thought we had a good meeting. They had specific concerns, specific opinions. I told them I appreciated their comments."

The Manoa board passed the resolution 12-2 with two members abstaining.

Heinrich said he voted no because he did not think it appropriate to use the word "denounced," a last-minute addition to the resolution.

Star-Bulletin reporter Mike
Yuen contributed to this report.

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