(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Board of Ethics voted to craft a resolution to initiate a petition and conduct an investigation into possible ethics code violations in relation to the ongoing situation on Mauna Kea, where the standoff over the planned Thirty Meter Telescope has gone on for five months.
During its Wednesday meeting in Hilo, the ethics board took up the following agenda item:
DISCUSSION REGARDING THE POTENTIAL OF THE HAWAII COUNTY BOARD OF ETHICS TO FILE AN ETHICS VIOLATION APPEAL WITH THE STATE ETHICS BOARD IN REGARDS TO LACK OF ACTION IN ENFORCING THE RULE OF LAW FOR THE CONTINUING BLOCKING THE INGRESS AND EGRESS OF THE MAUNA KEA ACCESS ROAD.
“Does the ethics committee at some point have a role in asking the question,” wondered board member Lawrence Heintz, “is the mayor upholding his office to enforce the laws of the state and County, when it’s a prima facie obvious that the six months have passed and the roads are still blocked?” Heintz also raised the issue at a recent state ethics conference.
“If the state Ethics Board wants to punt it back to us and say they have no authority or whatever, we could at least ask,” said board chair Rick Robinson. “Because it just seems that there is no rule of law, its just kind of ignored and look the other way.”
The board can conduct its own inquiry, and appears ready to do so using Section 2-38 of the ethics county code, under fair treatment. “They’re not enforcing the laws of the county and state of Hawaii equally,” added Heintz. “There’s a there’s a group of people who are blocking roads and are not being stopped from blocking roads. There are people who are trying to build a telescope and they’re not being allowed access to the building site.”
It will take a few months before an investigatory hearing can be conducted. The board must first craft and pass the resolution at its next meeting in January, allowing the hearing to take place at a later meeting.