Your Views for October 31

TMT reduces footprint

I am a “retired” astronomer. Summing over my entire career, I’ve spent more than a year’s worth of 24-hour days up on the summit of Maunakea.


Maunakea is the best site for astronomy in the northern hemisphere. At the time I was working on the mountain, everything was peaceful and we seemingly got along with the local population.

Why wouldn’t we? Maunakea is huge, and one does not have to go far from the summit to be away from any telescope, where one can enjoy the vastness and serenity of the mountain.

Now, things are different. However, what the Thirty Meter Telescope protesters seem to forget is that building TMT on Maunakea will actually reduce the astronomical footprint on the mountain because the astronomers had to agree to decommission five telescopes. Yet, TMT will hardly be visible from anywhere, while the others are.

What happens if the TMT does not get built? Well, I personally see no reason to give up any of the telescopes, so they’ll stay.

The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory is too far into the decommissioning process, and it will disappear. The rest we can probably save and upgrade as much as possible. Therefore, let’s build the TMT and advance science and education on the Big Island. We need it.

GÖran Sandell


‘Diddling’ on Maunakea

Addressing a Sept. 23 letter to Gov. David Ige requesting the state’s plan to provide hunter access to the eastern portion of the Maunakea Forest Reserve, Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Chairperson Suzanne Case indicated twice in her Oct. 18 response that it was the “Maunakea TMT protesters” who were responsible for the current blockage of the Maunakea Access Road. The access road leads to Halepohaku, the forest reserve’s eastern access point.

A subsequent visit to the subject road blockade yielded a different story. The civilian “protesters” stated they had no problem with hunter access. It was the DLNR enforcement personnel (DOCARE) manning the barricades that prevented hunter access, stating they were acting under orders of Gov. Ige and Case.

During the past four months of this senseless public road blockage, state and county “leaders” have demonstrated a pathetic lack of understanding of the word “lead,” pointing fingers at everyone else, diddling around and hoping the protesters would go home before the TMT financers give up and head for greener pastures.

Meanwhile, Case acknowledges the blocked road presents some “inconvenience” to the public.

Article XI, Section 1 of the state constitution states: “All public natural resources are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the people.” The people can’t benefit from public lands when the state “inconveniences” them by preventing them from getting there.

Stop the diddling. Show some leadership and open the road.


Richard Hoeflinger


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