(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim continues to hold meetings with a select group of Hawaiian leaders in an attempt to find a way forward concerning the Thirty Meter Telescope project planned for Mauna Kea, but the critical parties who are not a part of the meetings are in the dark.
The Hawaiʻi Tribune-Herald reported on Thursday that Mayor Kim was going to hold his second meeting this past Friday as a follow-up to one that was held the month before. The mayor spoke about the first meeting during a July 29 press conference in Hilo.
On July 23, with the state unable to clear TMT opposition from the Mauna Kea Access Road to allow construction crews to ascend the mountain, Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige turned things over to Mayor Kim, with the understanding that Kim would “attempt to reach common ground” with the opposition.
Kahoʻokahi Kanuha commented on the mayor’s latest meeting outside the Hilo courthouse on Friday, saying:
We’ve heard the chirping and the rumors about Mayor Harry Kim trying to bring certain Hawaiian leaders of the Hawaiian community to the table to have some kinds of discussion. We’re not privy to any of the information in there because none of us on the Mauna are any of the individuals who have been included on that list. Who, exactly, he’s bringing in, we’re not exactly sure. And what exactly he hopes to achieve, I’m not sure either. Because if he hopes to achieve anything even remotely connected to TMT, I think it’s been made clear that that’s gonna have to go through the kiaʻi on the Mauna.
To not include anybody from that meeting, I think, is irresponsible and I think … it expresses the lack of sincerity behind what it is that he is actually trying to achieve.
They’re gonna do their thing, and so be it. And we’re gonna continue to do our thing. And our thing is stopping TMT. No meeting, no conversation that he has is gonna change our mind. Whether he talks to us, whether he talks to other leaders of the community. We are set. We are committed. And we are not going anywhere until we know that TMT is not a threat to Mauna Kea.
Representatives for the Thirty Meter Telescope were not invited to the meeting either, says TMT spokesperson Scott Ishikawa. He said on Friday:
We’re not privy to what Mayor Kim has planned as part of his ways to open dialogue on this issue.
We’ll be open and upfront: we haven’t been approached by Mayor Kim at this point.
We have had previous discussions with the mayor on the benefits of the project. I think he understands, coming from that standpoint. But I’m not sure if he wanted just to reach out to others first, before – hopefully – bringing everyone to the table for negotiations or open dialogue.
He said he is in support of TMT project. He’s made that aware in previous discussions with him. So maybe he felt like he didn’t have to meet with us at this time. We know he’s reaching out to some other parties or other folks involved in this debate and… we’ll wait to see what his instructions are.