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“This vote is a testament that democracy is as strong as ever among the HSTA membership,” he said.
But when the public called on him to release the turnout numbers? Silence.
Okabe has ignored repeated requests for the information, instead relying on misleading statements: “I am pleased to inform you that two-thirds of teachers (66% Yes, 34% No) have ratified the January agreement.”
That makes it seem that two-thirds of the union’s entire membership voted in favor of the contract proposal. But that can’t be verified without turnout numbers.
It’s not the first time Okabe has tried to hide voting data.
He did the same thing earlier this month when teachers re-elected him to another three-year term. He sent out a news release simply saying he won. No numbers. Not even a margin of victory.
In that instance, brave HSTA members leaked the results. Only then did teachers learn that turnout was abysmal and the race was quite close.
He was less shy in January when teachers rejected the same contract by a two-to-one margin. More than 70 percent of the state’s 12,500 teachers had cast ballots.
Apparently if the details don’t suit him, Okabe just doesn’t share them.
Meantime, teachers have opposed HSTA leaders’ move to keep turnout numbers secret. Within 24 hours of the union posting the results on its Facebook page, almost 80 people had posted comments.
“Wil talks about a ‘democratic process’ but then does not release the numbers?” Kalola Kaonakai wrote on HSTA’s wall. “Where is the transparency?”
Hiding the turnout numbers from HSTA members — and the public at large — is hardly democractic.
Why won’t he listen to the teachers who just elected him?
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