Monday, Sept. 25, 2023|
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Doing what’s right for the citizens of Hawaii is paramount for our elected and appointed officials. We are unfortunately stymied by governmental paralysis and a lack of vision in the reputational damage that chasing away the Thirty Meter Telescope will do to Hawaii.
I’m disappointed in many of our elected officials in their public stance against TMT including congressional, state, Hawaii County Council and Honolulu County Council members.
It goes without saying that Gov. David Ige could have done a better job. Does he really support TMT and support the rule of law? Will the transfer of state governance to Mayor Harry Kim resolve the issues?
TMT has followed all of the state’s rules and processes. After a 10-year entitlement process, TMT has the legal right to proceed with construction. DLNR has issued its Notice to Proceed giving TMT the legal authorization to begin construction.
Our laws need to apply to everyone. We can’t have a set of laws for everyone except Native Hawaiians. While everyone has a right to protest, everyone must follow our laws.
We can’t allow protesters to deny access to Maunakea. Blocking the Maunakea Access Road denies access to the TMT unionized construction workers, commercial tour operators, hikers, hunters, observatory employees, visitors, local families and community members. This isn’t right. This isn’t pono.
TMT will advance and continue our quest to learn more of our existence. I was excited to learn that TMT will look back to the beginning of time.
We have an obligation to provide a solid education for our children and future generations. TMT’s THINK Fund has already contributed over $5 million since 2014 to Big Island students through scholarships, teachers and STEM programs through the Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation. The THINK Fund absolutely stops if we chase TMT away.
TMT is creating 140 high-paying high-tech long-term jobs. Throughout history, elected officials have increased our cost of living by increasing taxes and fees. So if we lose TMT, how will our elected officials replace the potential jobs lost through their lack of support of TMT?
Through Akamai internships, mentorships and TMT’s Workforce Pipeline Program, our kids in STEM programs and robotics will get these jobs. Everyone who has benefited from TMT, including scholars, teachers, students, must express their gratitude by voicing their support for TMT.
A moratorium serves no purpose and will only postpone the current protest until the next time. I’m flabbergasted that while the protesters don’t follow Hawaii’s laws and block roads and access, they continue to use the legal system to sue TMT at every turn to delay and stop the project.
If we allow the protesters to chase TMT away, what’s next? Pohakuloa Training Area? Deny extension of the Maunakea state lease, and all astronomy goes away?
The “silent majority” can no longer remain silent. We need to publicly express our viewpoints to our elected officials, families, friends and communities. Organizations must voice their support.
We need a path forward. We can’t allow chaos and anarchy to drive TMT away. It’s not pono.
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