Hawaii official blasted online and blamed for delayed response to Maui fires
by Jenny Goldsberry, Washington Examiner, August 17, 2023
One Hawaii official became viral online as people pointed the finger at him for the response to the four fires in Maui.
M. Kaleo Manuel is the Department of Land and Natural Resource's deputy director for water resource management. When the Honolulu Civil Beat published a story citing sources that alleged Manuel procrastinated in sending water to the affected island, people took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to put Manuel on blast even more.
"Meet M. Kaleo Manuel, the official who refused to release water in Maui, contributing to up to 106 deaths," Jeremy Kauffman wrote on X, citing the original article. "A Hawaiian Studies major, Kaleo prefers a traditional, holistic 'One Water' approach where water is revered, not used. Water requires 'true conversations about equity.'"
Kauffman, the CEO of a bitcoin company, included a Zoom interview video of Manuel, posted to YouTube about 10 months ago.
"Native Hawaiians treated water as one of the earthly manifestations of a god," Manuel said in the video. "We've become used to looking at water as something that we use and not something that we revere. ... We can reconnect to that traditional value set."
"Here is M. Kaleo Manuel, the Hawaii water official who refused to release water resources and let landowners fight the Maui fire, explaining his 'philosophy' about water," Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk wrote. "I'm sure all the victims of the Maui fire are grateful their leaders were focused on worshipping water rather than using it to save their lives."
"Now we’re learning that the official who delayed the approval is an Obama Foundation 'Asia Pacific Leader' and a climate activist who believes water should be 'revered' first and foremost," GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wrote. "The DEI agenda is literally costing people their lives. Hawaii’s Democratic governor, Josh Green, said there are people “fighting against the release of water to fight fires” & that it needs to be explored further. The No. 1 responsibility of government is to protect its citizens. The victims and their families deserve the TRUTH."
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre encouraged the investigation into the Maui wildfires during a television interview Thursday. Jean-Pierre promised viewers the White House has committed to "get to the bottom of what happened here and understand what happened."
The death toll in Maui reached 106 as of Wednesday, making it the deadliest in the past 100 years. A small minority of the deceased have been identified because of their burns.
Two of the original four fires have since been contained, with one of the two completely extinguished as of Tuesday.
DC: ‘Are You Freaking Kidding Me?’: Former FEMA Head Blasts Hawaii Officials’ Focus On ‘Equity’ Prior To Fire | The Daily Caller
NR: Of Course They Are: The Right Is Blaming Hawaii Wildfire on Wokeness | The New Republic
NYP: Hawaii official worried about 'equity' over water (nypost.com)
FB: FLASHBACK: Hawaii Official Who Allegedly Withheld Water From Firefighters Says ‘Equity’ Comes First (freebeacon.com)
Kapua Sproat: Why was there no water to fight the fire in Maui? | Naomi Klein and Kapuaʻala Sproat | The Guardian “…on Wednesday, with searches for survivors still very much under way, the administration announced it was “re-deploying” Manuel, effectively relieving him of all duties and banishing him to an unknown different post. The move has left the commission without an administrative leader. This is a classic case of the most craven disaster capitalism….”
NYP: Hawaii official worried about 'equity' over water