(BIVN) – Kealoha Pisciotta, president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou and active opponent of the Thirty Meter Telescope, was not satisfied with Mayor Harry Kim’s “A Way Forward” for Mauna Kea.
“I’m quite critical, actually,” Pisciotta said during an interview conducted on Thursday afternoon. “It was really hard to even get through. I feel it’s disingenuous and really kind of offensive in many ways.”
Mayor Harry Kim completed and released the statement on September 30, in the midst of the standoff over the TMT project. Governor David Ige handed the situation off to the mayor back in July, when TMT opponents denied construction crews access to the mountain via the Mauna Kea Access Road. After 38 arrests, police were unable to clear the road. Since that time, the Office of the Attorney General says law enforcement made a “deliberate decision to create the time and space for dialogue to happen and for all the parties to find a peaceful resolution that doesn’t involve law enforcement.”
However, TMT opponents see the mayor’s resolution as unacceptable.
“It still includes the TMT, number one,” Pisciotta said. “The first rule of hoʻoponopono is you have to remove the injury.”
The mayor’s plan contemplates a change in the management of Mauna Kea, as well as accelerating the efforts of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to help beneficiaries on the wait-list.
Currently, the management of Mauna Kea is handled by the University of Hawaiʻi. “The university is not lawfully allowed to manage what they’re not constitutionally mandated to manage,” Pisciotta says. “So, [the state land board] is unlawfully delegating to the university the right to manage not only our land, but the people.”
During the interview, Pisciotta made reference to a report of her own: “Mauna Kea – The Temple: Protecting the Sacred Resource”, which was put together by the Royal Order of Kamehameha and Mauna Kea Anaina Hou in 2001. She says the report was developed as a function of stopping the Keck / NASA Outrigger telescope expansion, as well as the university’s introduction of the 2000 Master Plan.
The report makes three primary suggestions, Pisciotta said. “No further development, because the mountain has reached its carrying capacity,” she said.
“The second thing was to get the observatories to pay lawful rent,” she continued.
“The last and final thing was that we needed a community-based management authority that placed right holders in positions of decision-making, not in advisory positions,” she said.
“A lot of people don’t understand,” Pisciotta added, “we submitted this to lawmakers, we submitted this to all of the governor’s, and mayors, for Hawaiʻi. I’m pretty sure Mayor Kim got it.”
“One of the things that’s so offensive is that he doesn’t even mention this,” she said, “as if it doesn’t even exist.”
“This document needs to be updated, yeah” Pisciotta said of the Temple report, “and I think the protectors would be the first to start looking at it and begin looking at how we would want to do things in the future.”
Aside from TMT opponents, Mayor Kim’s report was well received by others with interests in resolving the conflict on Mauna Kea.
“We are looking for a way forward,” said Gordon Squires, TMT Vice President for External Relations. “The pathway, however, has been unclear and it requires leadership. Mayor Harry Kim’s ‘Way Forward’ addresses a number of the larger issues beyond TMT for which Maunakea has become a flashpoint, including issues related to self-determination and management of Maunakea. We are open to working with Mayor Kim and others on these larger issues and getting to the next step as soon as possible.”
“I think the chair of the TMT board needs to come out here,” Pisciotta said, “and they need to face the people that they’re actually threatening.”
This weekend (Saturday, October 5), kiaʻi from around the islands will demonstrate their support of the effort “to protect Maunakea from the prospect of the TMT being built on its summit,” organizers say. The marches are taking place on Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, and Kauaʻi, and have been organized by Kumu Hina (Hinaleimoana Wong), the Mauna Majority Lāhui, and Nā Koa Aloha ʻĀina.