Self-audit = No kind of audit at all

Posted by Miwa at Apr 30, 2010 11:45 PM |
University of Hawai'i administration dodges a public audit. What does it take to get some independent oversight around here?

From Marti:

Unfortunately, legislators still could not find the courage to figure out what is going on with the telescopes on Mauna Kea. Instead of requiring an actual financial audit by the State Auditor of the private use of public (ceded) lands on the summit, legislators asked the University of Hawaii for a report… another one?!  Where’s the oversight in self-reporting?  What is the University going to say in this report that they haven’t already said in response to the million and half times we asked where’s the rent (…which was, in case you hadn’t heard, “i dunno.”)? What does it take to get some independent oversight around here?

Last year, $12 million dollars bypassed the state’s general fund in a deal between Caltech and Yale University for a few nights of viewing time on Mauna Kea. The people of Hawaii didn’t collect anything from that — no taxes, no fees, and no rent.  And who knows how many other deals like this have gone down over the use of our public lands on Mauna Kea and throughout Hawaii.  You can talk about the “multiplier effect” of an astronomer buying tomatoes in Hilo all you want, the bottom line is state law requires market-based rent be collected for the use of our public lands. The foreign countries and corporations that own the telescopes on Mauna Kea are paying a $1 (or less!) a year — how far-off market-based do you have to be before it is illegal?

Our point: Mauna Kea is a conservation district, not an industrial zone; a sacred place, not a wasteland. The state should not be encouraging the creation of an industrial zone in this sacred conservation district by subsidizing rent costs for foreign countries and corporations.

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