Your Views for March 18
Ruderman and ethics
This is a response to state Sen. Russel Ruderman’s letter to the editor on March 15 (Tribune-Herald).
Sen. Ruderman is misleading his constituents by claiming that SB2274 is about “sustainability.” Embedded within this bill is the potential for construction, roads, commercial wind and geothermal alternative power plants, parking lots, buildings, and much more, all under a very vague “research” category within agriculture-classified lands.
Ruderman failed to mention that he accepted this proposed legislation from a nonprofit organization, who was strong supporters of his election campaign, even appearing in his campaign brochure.
This tax-exempt entity has been at odds with their neighbors for years. They want to expand their nonprofit operations near the pristine Kehena beach area. The majority of the community was opposed to such development. This nonprofit group applied for a special use permit for future activities that would require more infrastructure than they presently have such as roads, buildings and parking lots. They realized they were never going to obtain a county special use permit so they drafted this legislation with attorneys to side step the variance process and deny their neighbors a right to object, all in the name of research. They couldn’t get their special use permit so Sen. Ruderman gave them a special rewards package, SB2274.
Our complaint to the state board of ethics was filed to bring attention to this dangerous alliance within our community. SB2274 will potentially deny the community the right to object to commercial/nonprofit development and it was authored by a nonprofit that stands to financially gain from its passage.
Accepting and introducing legislation written by a 501(c)(3) that stands to benefit is called “direct lobbying.” There are federal laws strictly prohibiting these kind of specific activities. Politicians need to know when they are being lobbied and by whom.
Isn’t it the job and responsibility of a senator to listen to his entire contingency, instead of just his good friends, and not pass legislation for their benefit but for the benefit of all?
RJ Hampton &Sativa Sultan
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