Posted tagged ‘William Aila’

The Clayton Hee show always entertains

March 4, 2011

The drama over William Aila Jr.’s confirmation as director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources was classic Clayton Hee.

The Senate Judiciary chairman single-handedly delayed the vote on the popular Waianae harbormaster and Hawaiian activist, causing a flurry of letter-writing by Aila’s friends, family and co-workers in support of the nomination.

Hee attacked Aila’s character and integrity on the Senate floor because he didn’t disclose his commercial fishing license and signed off on O’ahu rail despite concerns about Hawaiian burials. Interest groups involved in those issues mostly supported Aila to be chief custodian of Hawai‘i’s  environmental resources.

When the emotional speechifying was done, Hee joined the other 22 senators present in voting unanimously to confirm Aila and then engaged in an extended hugfest with the nominee.

You have to like Hee for the passion of his beliefs and the showmanship he brings to Senate deliberations, but it can be hard to figure his logic and motivations.

Sometimes, he seems to just have a need to throw his weight around. In this case, there was speculation after his friend Neil Abercrombie was elected governor that he wanted the top DLNR job for himself.

Hee’s passions have brought him down in flames twice before as Judiciary chairman. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s learned to keep tightly enough bolted to the deck to hold onto the job this time.


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