Gov. Linda Lingle, center, announced new appointments to her Cabinet during a news conference yesterday. Lingle appointed Rodney Haraga, left, as the state's transportation director, and Ted Liu, right, as the new director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

Lingle selects directors
of transportation,

One is a veteran public works
engineer, and the other is an
international executive

By Richard Borreca

An experienced international businessman and a veteran public engineer for Los Angeles have been picked to run two state departments.

Gov. Linda Lingle announced yesterday that Rod Haraga, 59, and Ted Liu, 47, will run the state departments of Transportation and Business, Economic Development & Tourism, respectively.

Until recently, Liu had been involved in company with a financial relationship with the state. Liu's former firm, PacifiCap Group, won a $3 million investment from DBEDT.

Lenny Klompus, Lingle's senior director of communications, said Liu resigned from the company after he was offered the state position. "He has given it up completely," Klompus said.

The DBEDT agency, the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp., reported in its 2001 annual report that it committed a $3 million investment to PacifiCap.

Liu's firm "is focusing on early-stage investments in Internet-related and wireless communication companies," the state's DBEDT annual report said.

Liu, along with Jeffrey Au and Rick Cho, were listed as managers of the fund.

Ted Liu spoke at news conference yesterday, when Gov. Linda Lingle, rear, appointed Liu as the state's director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. "I am concerned about having some of those attached agencies, that they may detract from the mission," Liu said. "We will have to look at restructuring."

Liu's biography released yesterday by Lingle describes him as a "co-founder and partner in PacifiCap Group LLC, a Honolulu-based private equity firm focused on venture capital investment, middle market equity, debt and strategic transactions, and corporate finance consulting."

Klompus stressed that both Lingle and her selection committee were aware of Liu's involvement with the agency and that Liu would leave the firm if he received the post.

Liu's position with the firm was copied from his resume, Klompus said, and to be correct it should have listed Liu as a co-founder and former partner.

Dan Mollway, executive director of the state Ethics Commission, said according to law, state officials must recuse, or disqualify, themselves from any decisions in which they might have a financial interest.

"If they are unable to recuse themselves, they can act as long as they file a disclosure form," Mollway said.

Yesterday, Liu said he agrees with Lingle's concerns about many agencies attached to DBEDT, such as those for low-income housing and state planning.

"I am concerned about having some of those attached agencies, that they may detract from the mission," Liu said. "We will have to look at restructuring."

Liu moved to Hawaii in 2000 after serving as Morgan Stanley's managing director of investment banking for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He also served as deputy chief executive officer for China International Capital Corp., China's first joint-venture investment bank, according to Lingle.

She said Liu was a senior associate and head of the China practice for the Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom law firm in New York.

Sen. Carol Fukunaga, Economic Development Committee chairwoman, said she did not know Liu but said, "It will be exciting to have a fresh face."

Rod Haraga was appointed as the state's transportation director. He worked as an engineer for the Los Angeles public works department for 32 years.

Lingle's other appointment, Haraga, is a veteran public engineer who worked for 32 years for the Los Angeles public works department. He will head the Transportation Department, which is responsible for Hawaii's highways, harbors and airports.

Haraga is sympathetic to Honolulu motorists, saying he has been a victim of two-hour freeway traffic jams, but he said that more roads are not the answer. He is a big fan of mass transit and likes Lingle's idea to build an elevated roadway on portions of H-1 freeway.

Sen. Cal Kawamoto, Transportation Committee chairman, says he does not know Haraga and was concerned that Haraga did not like the traffic camera programs that snap a picture of speeders and red-light runners.

"If he can figure out how to stop running red lights and hitting pedestrians, I am willing to listen," Kawamoto said.

The Legislature scrapped the state's controversial van cam program last year, but Kawamoto has said he wants to reinstate the program this year.

Haraga said yesterday he thought the program slowed down traffic when it was tried in California, and he was not in favor of it in Honolulu.

State of Hawaii

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --