Letters to the editor: 08-02-19

Power shift in TMT debate

There comes a time in the arc of any debate/confrontation when power and influence can shift from one side to the other. This power swap seems to have happened in the TMT affair. The protesters, seeking recognition for their spiritual causes, seeking recognition for their prior rights of possession, seeking recognition of colonial oppression, seeking recognition of relative poverty, have achieved their goals. They have peacefully and purposely brought the astronomers to heel.


The daughters and sons of Kamehameha have demonstrated their commitment to Maunakea. The astronomers, who arrogantly thought their well-heeled project would brush aside local concerns, have been brought back to Earth.

It may be time for Hawaii and Hawaiians to examine their goals and consider using their success to their advantage. Hawaii is the best place for a telescope of this nature. Hawaiians have traditionally used the stars to guide them across the oceans. Hawaiians have a relationship with the heavens. The children of Hawaii could benefit if relationships could be established with the educational institutions that support and sponsor astronomy on the Big Island.

This would not and could not be a sell-out. It would have to be a relationship of equals. There is nothing to be lost thinking about these ideas. Clearly, the people of Hawaii can shut down access to Maunakea whenever they are moved to do so. The power has shifted.

Mark Proctor

Burnaby, B.C., Canada

No trust in leaders

I have one question for David Ige, Harry Kim, Maile David and Karen Eoff. How high can you stack your lies?

We went to Maunakea to learn for ourselves and experience the protectors. Between TMT and the temporary vacation rental rules, we have no faith or belief in this government.

Tim Schutt

Ocean View

Stars have little vested interest in outcome

Now we have the parade of stars, The Rock, Jason Momoa, Bruno Mars coming out in support of the protectors. Some are making the late night talk show circuit. This is fine, except for one thing. No one is asking why?

No one is asking them if they’ve talked to the other side. No one is asking them what is in it for them. It’s called free publicity. All the have to do is show up and the attention worth hundreds of thousands of dollars of publicity that they get for just showing up and being in support of the protesters.

So I ask them to do this. Talk to the TMT people, the cultural experts who advised them and the many people who have lost their livelihoods due to an illegal occupation of a state owned access road.

There are a number of problems with having big stars backing a cause especially when they have little vested interest in the outcome. Certainly it helps bring attention to the issue. This particular issue if very complex and adding the star power to it only muddies the water more.

There can and must be a compromise that will work. It will never happen as long as the protesters maintain the position of, “We will stop the TMT at all costs.” The cost of losing education benefits, science, and a stable income to Hawaii that is not tourist based is huge.

I have not heard any solutions from the protesters as to how they would replace these benefits to Hawaii and the education system. I keep hoping for a resolution that can benefit everyone.


John Pierce