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State Senate confirms four UH regents

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 06:52 p.m. HST, Apr 03, 2014

The state Senate on Thursday confirmed four of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's nominations to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.

The Senate confirmed Stanford Yuen, an engineering consultant and former special assistant to the Navy; Lee Putnam, a retired UH administrator; Jeffrey Portnoy, an attorney; and Michelle Tagorda, a UH master's degree student in public health.

Yuen, Putnam and Portnoy were appointed to terms that run through June 2019. Tagorda's term will run through June 2016.

Sen. Brian Taniguchi (D, Makiki-Tantalus-Manoa), the chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said all of the nominees were well-qualified to serve on the Board of Regents, which oversees the university.

Sen. J. Kalani English (D, East Maui-Upcountry-Molokai-Lanai) and Sen. Clayton Hee (D, Heeia-Laie-Waialua) complained, however, that some of the nominees did not reach out to them about their confirmations.

English and Hee had particular criticism for Portnoy, a former member of the state Judicial Selection Commission, who is familiar with the confirmation process. Portnoy, who often represents the news media — including the Honolulu Star-Advertiser — had clashed with Hee over a bill that would have extended a shield law to protect journalists from disclosing sources.

Hee said he cited the oversight not because he thought he was important, but that the job of regent was important enough that the nominees should have consulted with all senators.

English and Hee voted against Yuen, Portnoy and Tagorda. Sen. Malama Solomon (D, Kaupulehu-Waimea-North Hilo) also voted against Portnoy. Putnam — who had sent a letter to Hee regarding her nomination — was confirmed unanimously.

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kauai wrote:
Aww, some politicians' egos were bruised "'cuz he neva' wen come talk to me". What a bunch of immature crybabies. You clashed with a nominee in the past over some issues/bills/proposals and you want them to come kow-towing to the powers that be to "please, sir, will you vote to confirm me?" That's why the public has such a dim view of politicians. Anyone have a cape, crown and throne for English and Hee? Sheesh....
on April 3,2014 | 02:45PM
grantos wrote:
gotta kiss the ring
on April 3,2014 | 02:55PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
First you genuflect. Don't raise your eyes. Humbly ask for permission to approach. Then you kiss the ring.
on April 3,2014 | 04:46PM
2disgusted2 wrote:
Sure true everywhere!
on April 3,2014 | 06:18PM
Hilofrank wrote:
Yeah, and tell me Sen. Hee isn't above petty, ego driven politics. When you attend one of his hearings you have to bring your own oxygen mask and bottle because his ego alone sucks out all the oxygen out of the room. And these are the people we keep electing over and over again. Feeding their ego like some kind of monster. Feed me Seymour, feed me . . . Our own Legislative Shop of Horrors
on April 3,2014 | 03:42PM
Papakolea wrote:
It's not a matter of kissing the ring. It's that now, any questioning of Portnoy had to be done in the public forum of a hearing (i.e. sunshine). If Portnoy had approached Hee and English in private prior to the vote, they could have had the discussion that would have started: "If I vote for you, are you going to fall in line and do my bidding when it comes to university issues?" Because Portnoy didn't do that, and Hee and English voted against him out of spite, he is not going to be beholden to them.
on April 3,2014 | 05:21PM
inverse wrote:
Good insight, makes sense.
on April 3,2014 | 05:58PM
Roosevelt wrote:
Gee, Senator Hee nevah knock on my door to humbly beg for my vote.
on April 3,2014 | 07:52PM
ehbrah wrote:
Hawaiian community not being served well with these types of self-anointed politicians who claim to represent the Hawaiians. Can see why they were not approached....too much god-like wannabees. If they lived during King Kamehameha time, the King would have banished them for their big egos. Crybabies, but good tipoff that UH must get guidance from their psychiatric dept on how to deal with them.
on April 3,2014 | 10:14PM
mikaele1 wrote:
great incoming class adding to the last batch including super star Randy Moore the university is in for some good governance for a change
on April 3,2014 | 10:43PM
Giligan wrote:
Only one attorney is good news, and he is a champion of free speech. We don't need studies, consultants, investigators, and search firms.
on April 4,2014 | 05:15AM
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