ABREW SUCCEEDS IN OBTAINING PROSPECTIVE B&C MEMBERS’ APPLICATIONS
(PNN) -- The county council finally complied with an Office of Information Practices opinion and the county charter last week in making applications of prospective board and commission (B&C) member available to the public before council confirmation and asking them about their political party affiliation.
Open and good governance activist Rob Abrew- who has battled the council for months to get them to comply- said he was pleased to be able to get the applications in a timely manner although he continued to question why the council had to wait for the administration’s B&C office to do the job of redacting certain confidential information contained in the applications such as addresses and phone numbers.
Although the B&C office did draw up a new application form to comply with the charter provision that B&Cs contain no more than a bare majority of any one political party and nominees did fill out that section of the new forms, the county apparently still does not have a way to confirm that the answers were truthful.
It is unknown whether the county will attempt to verify the party affiliation, if any, of the new board members. According to Abrew, who has reviewed the applications, almost all of them answered that they were not a member of any party.
Party membership in Hawai`i is strictly the domain of the individual parties and is optional on the part of voters. The lists of members is not considered public information under state sunshine and open records law.
Once someone “signs a card” for membership in one of the two major parties they are considered members for life unless or until they act to leave the party or change affiliation.
That has meant that many in Hawai`i may not even be aware of whether or not they are members, including the tens of thousands who joined the democratic party to vote in the Obama-Clinton presidential primary held in 2008.
See the following for PNN’s past coverage of Abrew’s efforts:
Monday, January 25, 2010 (PNN) COUNCIL CONFIRMS B&C NOMINEES WITHOUT RELEASING APPLICATIONS, REFUSES KAWAHARA DEFERRAL REQUEST
Monday, January 11, 2010 (PNN) ABREW FILES WRITTEN RECORDS, CLARIFICATION REQUESTS WITH COUNTY CLERK AT OIP’S URGING
Friday, January 8, 2010 (PNN) COUNCIL IGNORES, FLOUTS OIP IN CONFIRMING BOARD, COMMISSION MEMBERS