No end in sight?
When Gerard Kuiper selected Pu‘u Poli‘ahu for the first observatory on Maunakea, he avoided the summit because he knew it was sacred ground to many Hawaiians.
Since that first small observatory, many more telescopes have been built, each one larger than before, with no end in sight. Now the top of the mountain is covered with roads and concrete.
As these telescopes proliferate, Hawaiian sacred ground grows ever smaller.
It looks like astronomers now own the mountain. When does this stop? What comes next?
After the Thirty Meter Telescope, does Maunakea host another generation of even bigger machines at the expense of sacred ground?
I enjoyed the apparently tongue-in-cheek letter to Gov. David Ige from Sen. Lorraine Inouye (Tribune-Herald, Aug. 20).
Enforcement — something that is only done in Hawaii when the rich and powerful want it.
I served as a member of the Hawaii County Council from 2002-2008 and got to see firsthand what laws get enforced and those that do not. I fondly remember TMT officials telling the full council that they will do whatever they feel like on the mountain.
If this letter to the governor is actually a serious one, perhaps Sen. Inouye would like the governor and the mayors to start with enforcement of agreements made with Hawaiians, and then, after all agreements and laws have been enforced and litigated (and all the people on the Hawaiian Homes list have been given a place to call home), we can start moving forward in time into the present.
The FBI once issued a report on the problems faced by residents in Hawaii. The report cited the problems concerning a lack of enforcement of laws in Hawaii. In fact, lack of enforcement was considered to be the main problem.
Protest is costly
The TMT protest has been going on too long. The cost to the taxpayers is mounting daily. When will the state assert itself in doing whatever it must to end this manmade disaster?
Disasters like Leilani Estates, Tropical Storm Iselle and any other that nature sends us is one thing that drains the bank. But the cost of this protest to the taxpayers is just the same now as a natural disaster. But it is manmade.
The protesters will not leave until the project is scrapped. For them, their way is the only solution. In the meantime, we pay, and pay, and pay! This is insanity and makes enablers out of any group that does not like a project and is learning that the law will not force them to accept whatever it is that impassions them.
Tomorrow’s protesters are learning from today’s protesters — just hang in there, and sooner or later you will get your way.
This matter went to court. It should be closed. The state is allowing this to cost us more and more money because it is relinquishing its responsibility to do what would be “unthinkable” to the indigenous Hawaiians — and that is close them down and efficiently send them packing!
Is this why hardworking people pay taxes? So it can be wasted on these manmade emergency situations that pose public safety issues? Does the state have unlimited resources to cover the mounting costs to support these people who obviously have no work themselves and are probably on the welfare roles which gives them the time to camp out? Think about it!
The heart of the anti-TMT argument is not legal, it is moral: That the TMT will desecrate a sacred mountain, that it is the latest in a series of wrongs perpetrated against the Hawaiian people since the 1800s. Surely, TMT opponents have the moral high ground?
They do not. The moral case for the TMT is just as compelling. It is grounded in respect for science and human knowledge. Scientists do not use terms like “sacred” and “desecration,” but I have to use those terms to convey the depth of what people like me feel on this issue.
Maunakea is the best site for astronomy in the world. That makes the mountain sacred to astronomy. When I look at Maunakea and see the little white specks that are the observatories, I feel a thrill of pride that this, our mountain, is contributing to human knowledge.
I do not feel desecration. Rather, the demand of TMT opponents that the finest telescope in the world should not be built on the best site for astronomy in the world — that would be a desecration of the mountain.
Why can’t the telescope go somewhere else? The alternative TMT site is much worse. Its elevation is over a mile lower than Maunakea. That means an extra mile of atmosphere distorting telescope images.
Blocking the TMT is blocking science. It is blocking human knowledge. And that’s not just immoral, in my view, it’s evil.
There are two opposing moral positions: That Maunakea is sacred to Hawaiian culture and should not have anything built on it, and that Maunakea is sacred to science and should have the world’s finest telescopes on it. One is not morally superior to the other. I choose the morality of human knowledge.
Start with lottery
The state says millions of dollars will be lost if TMT is not built here.
Next backup plan? Allow gambling in Hawaii. Even on a small, pilot-project scale, begin with a lottery. If some people here are opposed to gambling, well then just don’t participate in it!
Forty-eight U.S. states that have some form of legalized gambling for years can’t be wrong.
Before you vote …
Regarding “More green for going green” by Nancy Cook Lauer (Tribune-Herald, Aug. 18): Thank you for being a proactive newspaper journalist. As always, you are relating the facts and informing us regarding issues that affect everyone. We need more like you.
I do not have plans to build a house, but the law that went into effect affects everyone, and my question is: How did our council persons sleep through this?
Your article just reinforces, “Why we do not want to elect council persons for more than two years”? They become comfortable, soft, complacent and lazy after two years. I personally think that council persons should be term-limited to no more than two terms—just like the mayor, president, etc.
Just look at the Hamakua Coast. Few things have changed in the last 10 years because the politicians are all of the above mentioned adjectives.
Some things that have changed: The politicians have let our only police station on the coast almost be closed. If not for the concerned community members who lobby to keep it open, it would be closed.
I had a robbery last month, and it took the police officer five days to call me back. He could not come to my house because he is on temporary duty, has not followed up, and cannot make the neighborhood watch meeting. Mayor Harry Kim plans to increase our taxes to hire more police officers and at the same time to close our police station.
A $1 million bus stop was built in Honokaa, while the public/school pool has been closed for the last seven to eights months waiting for repairs.
Kolekole Beach Park has been closed for years. What is the problem, and what is the progress there?
I am sure that other community members can add to this list and give us all pause before we vote again.