Sen Lorraine Inouye: We are complicit if we don’t do something.”
Aloha colleagues, September 2, 2019
When are we going to get this destructive activity on Maunakea addressed: It is so sad that we continue to allow lawlessness to impact the lives of really everyone in our state. Everyone.
It’s so disappointing that some of you are disregarding your sworn oaths of office. That some condone “civil disobedience!” I’m also disappointed that the governor hasn’t used his court-sanctioned authority to resolve this, more so now that there’s clear legal ownership of the road to the top of Maunakea.
Shame on all of us for allowing this to happen. We are complicit if we don’t do something.
I take this personally. This is part of my district. Some may not think this impacts you, perhaps because you don’t live here. But it does impact you and the people who elected you.
You better believe that the legislature will be asked to help fund the expenses this is incurring for security personnel, etc. We’ve already allowed the governor to use $10 million from the general fund. Are you ready to take more funds away from your constituents to help pay for this? And what if protesters show up in your community blocking a road because they don’t think they like a certain business or activity? What’s to say they won’t decide to block an airport, harbor or other economic lifeline in your community?
The situation is rapidly deteriorating. Look at what’s being constructed? They are calling it a learning center? Have you ever helped a group in your community establish a learning center in your district? There are easily 30-40-50 difficult hoops to jump through to ensure the safety of everyone. But here they are building it spontaneously in the middle of nowhere on public land — possibly conservation land or a roadway easement. No plumbing or sanitation, no assurance it will not be susceptible to fire or structurally sound. Is this really acceptable?
If the general public does any one of the things occurring on the mauna in our state or county parks, beaches, sidewalks or other public lands without permits, we penalize them. We do it because it’s against the laws — laws that were passed to ensure public safety, environmental and cultural protections, and the rights of all are protected.
So where is the leadership in DLNR, DHHL, County of Hawaii and state of Hawaii?
They (we) are allowing these things to happen? We (not they) are running up huge bills for police, fire and Division of Forestry and Wildlife, etc. The legislature will be asked to fund this. Remember: We legislators don’t have any money — the money we oversee belongs to all of the people of Hawaii to serve their collective needs, so the general public will be paying for this. Ultimately, decisions will have to be made to reduce funding some way, somehow — what are you ready to give up in your district to pay for this?
These are just some of the frustrations expressed by hundreds of people from throughout the island and the state, many of whom I have heard from.
Please don’t allow another day, week or month to go by. Enough is enough.
Let me close by saying, have you spoken to our hardworking security personnel on assignment at the mauna? They are there to do their job that you sent them to do, but not without angst as they witness day after day the illegal activity that we have allowed. Yet they continue to loyally report for duty because it’s their job.
Shame on us. Yes, we have a huge amount of work to do as public policy makers to seriously improve the way our state and counties impact the lives of our Hawaiian community — our host culture. But we need to find a way forward to embrace (and fund) the needs of our Hawaiian community — dammit — all of us — we are so far behind on responding to everything from cesspools to public education to alternative energy, to health care, to fixing our roadways. This activity on the mountain has put everything else on hold.
If you don’t think so, if you don’t think this impacts you, you’re not paying attention.
Let us end this.
Lorraine R. Inouye
Senator, Hawaii Island District 4
First Letter -- Aug 20, 2019: Governor Ige, It's Time