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Wednesday, July 17, 2019
July 17, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:01 PM :: 1613 Views

OHA: Protests are Opportunity for us to Grab Mauna Kea Lease

HART Board: Kim not gone--Stays on to Maintain Quorum

Protester: Telescope Supporters are White Supremacists

Now That All Observatory Staffers are Evacuated—How Many Telescopes will Police Allow Protesters to Destroy?

CB:  … The entire staffs of the observatories atop Mauna Kea have been evacuated in an unprecedented move due to safety concerns related to the (unwillingness of police and elected officials to deal with the) protest at the mountain’s base over plans to build another telescope, officials said Tuesday.

About 25 workers from five observatories were escorted down the mountain at 4 p.m.in a move that affects dozens of scientific projects.

“This is a risk and a wrench for us to have to step away at this point,” said Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope operated by East Asian Observatory.

She said some telescopes require daily maintenance and she hopes there will be no crises while the staffs are gone and that they’ll be able to return soon….

(How many telescopes will be vandalized by protesters now that the field is clear for them to act?)

Anti-Telescope Violence:

​COVERAGE:

read … All Observatory Staffers Evacuated As TMT Protest Continues

Fake Arrests Begin on Mauna Kea – After Three Days, Protesters Get Tickets

HNN:  …By 10 a.m., more than 20 people had been arrested ― walked or carried to waiting vans to be taken to a staging area to be processed.

The arrests are happening among those sitting in tents blocking the Mauna Kea Access Road to the summit. And as one person in the tent is arrested, they’re being replaced by someone else.

That’s why officials believe that the arrests could continue well into the afternoon….

Walter Ritte was arrested, he shouted out “unity” and raised his fist.

The first arrests started just before 8 a.m., and at least eight occurred within 30 minutes. Law enforcement agencies have placed a number of vans at the base of the mountain to take away more protesters who are arrested. By 9 a.m., three vans had already been filled and left….

A number of those arrested protesters were escorted to a waiting van in loosely-fitted zip ties.

But several protesters was carried away by several officers. Another kupuna in a wheelchair, who appeared to be crying, was being pushed to a waiting van by an officer….

Officials said those arrested would be processed in one of two ways.

They would either be taken to the Mauna Loa Access Road, written a ticket and released. But if they choose, they could also be physically arrested and taken to Hilo for processing….

Protest leaders told demonstrators that if they do not want to be arrested, they need to move at least 10 feet away from Mauna Kea Access Road….

SA: Dennison also did not know how law enforcement might handle the possibility where they are faced with arresting the same person twice.

HTH: … About a dozen large trucks carrying construction equipment have left a staging area in Waikoloa, headed for Maunakea…. About 300 cars are lining the Daniel K. Highway near the protesters’ camp across from the access road, and police presence appears larger than Tuesday.  Many protesters arrived earlier than usual today, sparked by rumors Tuesday night that police would close the highway at 6 a.m….

CB:  Authorities gave them a final warning — and the time to take a bathroom break. 

AP: … One woman being arrested did a nose-to-nose greeting, called honi, with an officer before he walked her to a van, Pisciotta said. Another man chanted as an officer took him away….

The blockade forced astronomers to stop peering through 13 existing telescopes on the mountain Tuesday.

Dozens of researchers from around the globe won’t be able to gather data and study the sky atop Mauna Kea, one of the world’s best spots for astronomy with clear weather nearly year-round and minimal light pollution.

Observations won’t resume until staffers have consistent access to the summit, which is needed to ensure their safety, said Jessica Dempsey, deputy director of the East Asian Observatory, one of the existing telescopes….

SA: Maui trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey was among those arrested today. Kauai Trustee Dan Ahuna was also seen on the mountain.  … The protesters sang, prayed and chanted, and called for Hawaiians on the police force to “walk away.”… Hawaii County police have closed Daniel K. Inouye Highway due to protesters gathering on the roadway en masse….The arrests then paused again while a medic was summoned for Abel Lui, 76, a longtime Hawaii island activist (convicted of 1976 manslaughter, jailed one week for assaulting park worker in 2010) who had intended to be arrested but began feeling ill.

Police leaving scene at Maunakea access road after Protesters Block Highway with Cars

WHT: … 2:31pm Police appear to be leaving the scene of demonstrations at the Maunakea summit access road….

UPDATED 2:23 p.m.

About a dozen protester vehicles are blocking part of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway at the base of the Maunakea Access Road.

Kahookahi Kanuha, one of the protest leaders, told the crowd of protesters that he and other have been negotiating with police. Police offered to back off for now if protesters remove the cars that are blocking the highway.

“I don’t see how moving those cars can hurt us,” he told the crowd. “I do see how not moving them can hurt us.”

Kanuha said police gave no guarantee that if they pull back, they wouldn’t return today, so protesters will be staying on the access road.

UPDATED 1:42 p.m.

Police are warning protesters that if they continue blocking the access road, they will be arrested.

Between the police and the remaining kupuna are multiple lines of protesters linked arm-in-arm. A similar human chain stands behind the kupuna, between the elders and a line of officers who descended to the scene from their checkpoint at the cattle guard higher up the road.

Hundreds of other protesters not on the road are standing on the sides of the road, many of them filming the developments on their phones.

Protest leaders have been leading the protesters in songs and chants, while others have shouted pleas at the officers to relent or change sides….

SA: Some of the half dozen cars involved in blocking the highway were towed, but others were moved by their owners, according to Ed Sniffen

read … Police leaving scene at Maunakea access road

Protesters Block H-1 Freeway on Oahu

SA: … Protesters in support of the Thirty Meter Telescope opponents on Mauna Kea are blocking westbound lanes of H-1 freeway in the University area.

Police are reporting traffic backing up on H-1 from the Punahou overpass to well beyond University Avenue.

1:20 p.m.:  On the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, at least two motorists parked their cars to block traffic from Kona near the access road, but police quickly towed one.

The other car belonged to Kohala resident Mariah Barnett, 24, who said she did it out of love for the mountain.

“I’m really happy to be here,” she said, speaking through her half-open car window as police looked on. She refused to get out of the car….

read … Blocking Traffic 

‘Delaying Tactic’ -- Protesters Seek TRO to Stop Telescope

MN: … “The petitioners’ lawsuit is just another tactic to unduly delay the TMT project,” said Doug Ing, attorney for the TMT International Observatory. “The petitioners were all parties involved in the contested case hearing and BLNR considered and rejected the very same claim now raised again by the petitioners. They failed to meet their burden and their lawsuit has no merit,” said Ing in a press release statement.

Opponents of the TMT filed documents seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop construction of the telescope atop Maunakea.

Below is information from TMT International Observatory’s filing as to why they claim the TRO should be denied:

Merit – following an extensive contested case hearing, BLNR considered and expressly rejected the very same claim now raised again by the petitioners.

Res judicata – the petitioners were all parties involved in the contested case hearing, and they appealed BLNR’s decision to the Hawaii Supreme Court, which subsequently affirmed BLNR’s issuance of the CDUP. As such, they are barred from re-litigating claims and issues raised and decided in the contested case hearing.

Failure to Meet Burden – the petitioners have failed to meet their burden for extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief.

No Proof of Harm – the petitioners’ alleged “harms” are based on a superseded plan, hypothetical “harms” and recycled environmental and cultural concerns that the parties exhaustively litigated in the contested case hearing and that BLNR addressed in detail with findings and conclusions that petitioners are now bound by. In contrast, after years of planning and litigation, BLNR concluded that the TMT Project meets all of the requirements for a CDUP and the Hawaii Supreme Court affirmed this. Any further delay in construction will cause irreparable harm through further delay in the critical scientific mission of the TMT Project….

KITV: There will be a hearing on July 26.

read … TMT Files Memo in Opposition TRO Request Against Construction

Mailani Neal: “Astronomy and the culture can coexist on Mauna Kea”

WaPo: … Mailani Neal, a PHD student at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, became interested in astronomy while she was learning about Hawaiian oceanic navigation and the traditional use of the stars as a child.

She has supported the construction of the TMT since she was in high school.

“I’m very proud to identify myself as a Native Hawaiian,” Neal said. “At the same time, I’m also a scientist, I’m an astronomer and I believe that these two aspects of me can coexist. And I believe that astronomy and the culture can coexist on Mauna Kea.” ….

Protester: "Their throats should be slashed and their blood should be spilled on our Sacred Mauna A Wakea!"

read … Why an 18-story, billion-dollar telescope is compelling hundreds to protest at the foot of a mountain

“I believe science is an option our kupuna would have embraced.”

KHON: … there are Kanaka Maoli on the other end who support TMT and believe there is a benefit between science and culture

Jacqui Hoover, President of Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference said, “I believe science is an option our kupuna would have embraced.”

“I’m very concerned that we’re losing opportunities to help our children transition into the world we live in today. We need jobs, we need education, we need our community to have options other than those that we currently have.” ….

KITV: Scientists say possibilities of space observation from TMT would be out of this world

read … Construction of TMT poses conflict for those who want science to progress but also respect culture

Abercrombie: TMT opponents are being hypocritical by blocking project

HNN: … “They’re saying when the law works for us, when the due process of law favors us, then we’re all for it,” said Abercrombie. “But when it doesn’t favor you and favors the other side, they are racist and anti-Hawaiian?”

He says while opponents have the right to protest and are entitled to be treated respectfully under law, he says the TMT also has a right to be on Mauna Kea under law.

“There’s no oppression going on here. Quite the opposite. The people who are being oppressed are the ones who are for the telescope. They’re the ones who have been called names, have been told you’re against Hawaiians, you’re against religion,” said Abercrombie….

read … Abercrombie: TMT opponents are being hypocritical by blocking project

“Free Stuff’ – Protesters Attain Socialism, call it Lahui

WHT: … Some had already been in the area for a couple days now at Puu Huluhulu, where the Royal Order of Kamehameha I with the protectors had established a puuhonua, a place of refuge, where the public could peacefully demonstrate.

And with just hours until the road was scheduled to close, they stood determined along the roadside, while others walked down the lines offering cups of warm saimin to take off some the chill in the air at more than 6,600 feet….

Under a canopy at Puuhonua o Puu Huluhulu, volunteers worked to keep everyone fed and hydrated by preparing fruit, sandwiches, water and warm refreshments so it could be taken to those standing firm in the space.

“It’s a lot of collaboration, a lot of generous people, so many donations,” said University of Hawaii at Manoa professor Marie Alohalani Brown.

She said they are looking for additional donations, particularly paper goods and dinnerware like small coffee cups, paper plates, forks, spoons and rolls of paper towels, as well as camping-type foods.

Because of the nature of the demonstrations, in which people stay in place for extended time periods, Brown said the kitchen workers and their runners have a critical role during the demonstrations just as much as those standing in front of the access road.

“This puuhonua right here, this is the Lahui in miniature,” she said. “It’s the same dynamics. Some people related, some people not, some people cook, some people do kia‘i. We’re all working together.”

The puuhonua’s place as one of refuge was clear Sunday night as demonstrators prepared for the day to come.

With the last of the sun falling in the west, lights came up at the canopy in the puuhonua. There, attendees gathered and connected with warm food and warmer greetings, even as the air turned cooler.

Also under the puuhonua’s canopy fulfilling its role on Monday was the Mauna Medic Healer Hui table, which assisted demonstrators by providing first aid to those who need it and walking through the area with sunscreen and ensuring everyone stayed hydrated.

“We all have our kuleana, but it really is based on family,” said Sharron Cushman, who is part of the Healer Hui. “You’re going to take care of your family.”

Cushman said they’re also looking for donations of hand warmers, blankets and gloves for those looking for an opportunity to support.

In mid-afternoon, law enforcement gave those secured to the cattle guard the opportunity to release themselves and leave without being arrested, and all did….

read … Inside the protectors’ camp: Night spent with protesters shows organized effort

Former Laborers Union leader charged, accused of stealing thousands

HNN: … A complaint filed in federal court alleges that Rodney Capello stole the money while he headed the Hawaii Electrical Workers division of the Hawaii Laborers Union, Local 722.

Capello earned about $200,000 while he headed the union, which was placed in trusteeship after it ran into financial difficulties….

read … Former labor union leader charged, accused of stealing thousands

A hazardous discovery could cost the rail authority $10 million

HNN: … Rail construction near the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport stalled for about five months back in December after contaminants found in solvents were found in the groundwater, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said.

“The fact that HART never realized that, never budgeted that, seems to be crazy," said Henry Curtis of the environmentalist group Life of the Land.

HART said work in the airport areas resumed in April after a site plan was approved by the Department of Health. The rail authority added that it’s not paying for the clean up costs.

“The initial work which resumed was the drilling of shafts that were not in the contaminated area,” HART said….

Curtis worries that the rail project will run into even more contamination as construction work heads into the more industrial areas like Iwilei and Kakaako.

“The entire area is known to have unknown pipes, volatile organic compounds in the soil and other contaminants," he said….

HART’s board will vote on whether to approve a $10 million change order for the contractor on Thursday…. 

read … A hazardous discovery could cost the rail authority $10 million

It’s Time For Term Limits For The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney

CB: … In the November 2016 election Oahu voters were asked if they wanted to loosen the term limits for the offices of mayor and City Council.

The main argument in favor of allowing three consecutive four-year terms rather than just two was that experience matters. The counter-argument was that more time in office could lead to corruption.

Few voters weighing in on the charter amendment question that year likely noticed that the three-term cap would also apply to the city’s prosecuting attorney. Even fewer were likely aware that the Honolulu prosecutor actually has no term limits.

Voters rejected the ballot amendment 58.6% to 34%, showing they support term limits.

It’s a good bet they’d like to slap them onto the prosecutor position as well, now that the current prosecutor has gone on paid leave after receiving a target letter in a federal investigation of public corruption related to the Kealoha trial…..

Bottom line: The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been run for over 30 years by either Kaneshiro or Carlisle.

Carlisle says he is running again in 2020, although he will need to convince a Circuit Court that he is eligible. The charter says that an elected prosecuting attorney must have been actively involved in criminal cases for at least three of the 10 years preceding the election….

read … It’s Time For Term Limits For The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney

Will Kauai Police Cheating Scandal Allow Homeless Killer to Escape Justice?

KGI: … Records related to an internal police investigation could be used to determine the credibility of officers set to testify in the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing a 19-year-old Kapaa woman in a hit-and-run accident two years ago.

Cody Safadago is scheduled to stand trial next month for the death of Kayla-Huddy Lemn when he allegedly swerved onto the wrong side of the road while driving drunk in a stolen pickup truck.

The 48-year-old one-time resident of Washington state, who was homeless in Kekaha at the time of his arrest on April 27, 2017, faces nine counts related to the incident and a potential life sentence if convicted.

On Tuesday, Fifth Circuit Judge Randal Valenciano ruled to allow testimony and confidential police documents detailing the findings of a recently-closed internal investigation into allegations that several officers were involved in cheating on a test and later covering it up.

County prosecutors recently turned over hundreds of pages of Kauai Police Department documents pertaining to the investigation after Valenciano ordered them to be submitted for a confidential review. The records remain under a court-ordered seal….

read … Confidential KPD records to be used in trial

After months of delays, some of Waikiki’s new surveillance cameras are working

HNN: … Following a spike of violent crime in February, the visitor industry gifted the city 44 security cameras as a way to monitor the streets more carefully.

The cameras were expected to be operational by the end of March, Mayor Caldwell said, as part of his plan to help curb crime.

However, shortly after being installed, the city realized the fiberoptic cables had been damaged by crews working on another project.

“When the installation is pau, the Waikiki district will have at least 50 surveillance cameras to help police in their mission to keep both visitors and residents safe while they celebrate life in one of the most incredible places on our planet," Caldwell said.

About half of the cameras, 27 of the 44 are working.

The now functional cameras are monitored by Waikiki ambassadors at the police station near Kuhio Beach. …

(Same police substation which does so very much to keep bums out of the pavilions next door.)

read … After months of delays, some of Waikiki’s new surveillance cameras are working

UPW Malingering Closes Big Island Transfer Stations

WHT: … Officials said Tuesday they’re looking at what can be done to avoid or limit the closures, but a solution isn’t necessarily as easy as just hiring more people.

“It’s easy to say I just need more people, but it’s more than that. It’s not that simple,” said Bill Kucharski, director of the Department of Environmental Management.

The Department of Environmental Management has roughly 83 workers for all of its 22 transfer stations islandwide, Kucharski said, and there are another 18 or so positions that are either unfunded or unfilled. He said the department is always actively hiring.

If workers call in sick and those not scheduled to work that day don’t want to come in to fill in, Kucharski said, the department can’t operate its transfer stations.

The department can’t require workers to work overtime, and it’s restricted by union rules from bringing outside people to fill in for absences. Kucharski said he doesn’t have a problem with the contract, saying it’s something within which the department has to operate.

Transfer stations on the island have closed a number of times this year as a result of staffing shortages. This past Friday, the Pahala transfer station closed at 9 a.m., redirecting residents down to Waiohinu for the day.

Repeatedly, the county cites “staff shortages” as the reason behind the closures, which force residents to go elsewhere to dispose of their trash.

Councilwoman Maile David, whose district includes Keei, said on a day the Waiea transfer station was closed, she took her rubbish to the one in Keauhou, which is typically open daily, only to find both bins shut. That meant she had to continue another 10 miles north to Kealakehe….

Related: Hospital Crisis: How to Use Union Work Rules for Fun and Profit

read … Hawaii Co Officials looking to limit, avoid transfer station closures attributed to ‘staff shortages’

Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

CNBC: … The dollar volume of homes purchased by foreign buyers from April 2018 through March 2019 dropped 36% from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The decline was due to a drop in the number and average price of purchases. Foreigners bought 183,100 properties with a total value of about $77.9 billion, down from 266,800 valued at $121 billion in the previous period….

read … Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

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