An open letter to state Rep. Mark Nakashima: In the April issue of the Hamakua Times, you wax poetic about the military complex at Pohakuloa Training Area. While I take exception with some of the “facts” included in your column, this statement stood out to me:
“There are residents (who) oppose having the military presence on our islands because of possible disturbances. Although these concerns are understandable, these are often the same people who oppose and overlook the benefits of investing in geothermal energy, the study of astronomy on Maunakea, and the development of an aerospace industry on Hawaii Island.”
You’re casually invalidating the concerns of a large number of your constituents. That’s a dereliction of your duty.
Shutting people down because you personally decided their views are irrelevant is not behavior suitable for an elected official. Your job is to listen to your constituents — all of them — and create a space for intelligent conversation about ideas that will benefit this island and the state.
But here’s the thing.
I received a questionnaire in my mailbox from your office in late March, asking for my household’s opinion on topics such as geothermal energy, the Thirty Meter Telescope and the proposed rocket-launching facility on Hawaii Island (sound familiar?). One would assume that when our state representative uses his budget for such a survey, he sincerely wants to hear the response.
If your job is to represent the will of the people, wouldn’t it make sense to take time to process those surveys before taking a stance on them? To listen to your constituents concerns?
Instead, you publicly dismissed an entire subsection of the voters you purportedly represent.
I wonder how many of your constituents have some of the opinions you mention and feel as unrepresented as I do.