Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, June 21, 1999

Former isle critic ridiculed
for apparent hypocrisy

Back in the early 1970s, J. Davitt McAteer, then one of Nader's Raiders, arrived in the isles and ruffled many feathers with accusations that not enough was being done to protect Hawaii's environment from pollution.

Now the U.S. Labor Department's assistant secretary for mine safety and health, McAteer has recently annoyed some of his underlings, the Washington Post reports.

In a memo to his senior staff last month, McAteer stressed the need to curb spending by delaying hiring and purchases as much as possible and even minimizing travel expenses. Overall expenses had been higher than expected, in part because of several mine fires, he wrote.

But McAteer's memo has become the subject of office ridicule. The reason: his globe-trotting. In less than a year, McAteer has been to Eastern Europe and Russia -- "while his administrative assistant watched his kids in West Virginia" -- and to Luxembourg, South America, Switzerland and South Africa.

McAteer said he was invited by governments to help improve their mine safety, and the trips were committed to or taken before the budget crunch arose.

"We think they were value-added trips," he said.

In 1971, among the critics of McAteer, who mailed a pollution-in-Hawaii brochure to mainland travel agents, were U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink and then-Gov. John Burns.


State Rep. David Pendleton (R, Kailua) and his wife, Board of Education member Noemi Pendleton, have been honored by their alma mater, La Sierra University, a liberal-arts institution in California affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Pendletons received the university's presidential citation for distinguished service to youth.

An attorney, Rep. Pendleton has chaired the Hawaii State Bar Association's speakers' program warning youths of the dangers of illegal drugs. Noemi Pendleton's involvement with public education predated her election in 1996 to the state-wide school board.

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