Governor Abercrombie has appointed three new members to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) today, who will serve as interim members until confirmed by the state Senate. Two of the vacancies were unexpected and resulted from the resignations of Reed Kishinami and Wesley Furtado. The third vacancy is a result of a natural term expiration.
“Because of several recent resignations, these appointments were expedited to ensure that the land board would have sufficient members to conduct business without interruption to its meeting schedule,” Governor Abercrombie said.
The three nominations include Vernon Char, Ulalia Woodside and Christopher Yuen. Char was appointed to an at-large seat; Woodside to the seat representing the City and County of Honolulu and a BLNR requirement of having experience with Native Hawaiian cultural practices; and Yuen to an at-large seat and a BLNR requirement of having experience in conservation.
Vernon Char: Mr. Char has served on various State of Hawaii boards and commissions for 20 years. He was a member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority from 2003 to 2011, chairman of the State Bicentennial Commission for the U.S. Constitution from 1986 to 1991, and the first chairman of the State Ethics Commission from 1968 to 1975. A graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Harvard Law School, Char is currently a founding attorney for Char Sakamoto Ishii Lum & Ching. He was previously with Damon Key Char & Bocken and also served as state deputy attorney general in charge of the Antitrust and Consumer Protection Division. In the late 1980s, Char was one of the founders of the UH Alumni Association, serving as its first president.
Ulalia Woodside: Woodside is a resident of Waimanalo and previously worked for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources from 1988 to 1995. She is currently the regional asset manager for natural and cultural resources at Kamehameha Schools’ Land Assets Division. Prior to that, Woodside was with Wilson Okamoto Corporation from 1997 to 2002 and The Hallstrom Group from 1996 to 1997. She currently serves as a steering committee member for Hawaii Green Growth, the indigenous representative for the Landscape Conservation Cooperative National Council, a former commissioner for the Natural Area Reserves System Commission, and a former executive council chair for the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative. Woodside received bachelor’s degrees in political science and Hawaiian studies, along with a certificate in Hawaiian language, from UH Manoa. She is also a kumu hula, having completed the ‘uniki rites of her family’s genealogical hula traditions.
Christopher Yuen: Yuen held BLNR’s Hawaii County seat from 1990 to 1998. He is currently on the advisory councils for the Laupahoehoe and Puuwaawaa Experimental Tropical Forest. Since 1995, Yuen has been owner and manager of The Family Farm, Inc., a 20-acre certified organic farm supplying local markets with bananas, lychees and rambutans. Previously, he was Hawaii County’s planning director and deputy corporation counsel, an interpretive naturalist for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and a private attorney. Yuen received a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, a master’s degree in environmental science from State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a juris doctorate from UH William S. Richardson School of Law.