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Build telescope, scrap convention, most say

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  • Jamm Aquino / June 24

    A protester of the Thirty Meter Telescope walks amid large rocks placed on the road to the summit by protesters on the slope of Mauna Kea.

A substantial majority of Hawaii residents supports the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, while a plurality opposes a convention that aims to form a Native Hawaiian government.

But it’s a different story for Native Hawaiians, most of whom oppose the telescope while a narrow majority supports the Na‘i Aupuni convention, or aha.

Those are some of the findings of the Hawaii Poll, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s latest scientific survey, conducted Dec. 28 through Jan. 9.

Some 67 percent of the 619 registered voters queried by Ward Research Inc. of Honolulu said they support moving ahead with construction of the next-generation telescope, while only 27 percent oppose it and 6 percent offered no opinion.

The results show even stronger support for the $1.4 million project than the poll commission by TMT representatives in October, when 62 percent of Hawaii adults said they backed construction.

In both cases, Ward Research was hired to conduct the survey.

Rebecca Ward, president of Ward Research, which has conducted the Hawaii Poll since 1997, said that when the Star-Advertiser asked that a TMT question be included this time, she suggested using the identical question for comparison of the data. The newspaper agreed.

Although more than two-thirds of the state’s registered voters offered support for the telescope in the new poll, most of the Native Hawaiians who were asked did not. Some 59 percent of Hawaiians said they oppose the TMT’s construction, while 39 percent offered support. Just 2 percent declined to give an opinion.

That’s an increase in Native Hawaiian opposition over the October poll, when 49 percent opposed the TMT and 44 percent were favorable.

The October poll was conducted during a long break in construction, caused in part by protesters blocking repeated attempts by the TMT’s builders to access the mountaintop work site. TMT officials said they wanted to gauge public support for the project.

Since that time, the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the project’s conservation district use permit, a major setback that could stall construction for years.

TMT officials are now trying to figure out what to do next, said Henry Yang, chairman of the TMT board of directors.

“We are grateful for the community’s continued strong support, which is growing ever stronger. It demonstrates the great value that astronomy brings to the islands and the rest of the world. As we are assessing our next steps forward, we thank the people of Hawaii and all of our supporters,” Yang said in a statement.

Regarding the Native Hawaiian convention, 49 percent of those surveyed were opposed, while 40 percent backed the effort. Ten percent had no opinion.

When Native Hawaiians were asked, the answers were split, but supporters exceeded foes 48 percent to 45 percent.

Na‘i Aupuni President Kuhio Asam said he and many other Native Hawaiians remain committed to the project.

“We respect all in our community, but Na‘i Aupuni believes that a discussion on self-governance by Hawaiians is important for Native Hawaiians and the state as a whole. The attendees of the aha represent a wide spectrum of views from the Native Hawaiian community and we look forward to that dialogue,” Asam said in a statement.

The four-week convention is scheduled to start Feb. 1 with at least 154 delegates.

But the effort is still being targeted by litigation, and the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Friday considered a request for Na‘i Aupuni to be held in civil contempt, could still block the convention.

Lawsuit plaintiff Kelii Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, said, “Clearly, there is no consensus for the Na‘i Aupuni convention, even among Native Hawaiians. The citizens of Hawaii do not want a government- funded, racially exclusive process that divides rather than unites. Instead, most people in Hawaii want to preserve the Hawaiian value of aloha.”

Hawaii Poll — TMT & Hawaiian election

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  • The download provides only two pages of data, labeled Table 25 and Table 27. So where are all the other data? Apparently there are at least 25 other data tables which we readers are not allowed to see. What is this newspaper covering up, and why?

    • The brave Kamehameha student who cried out for more good science jobs for bright KS graduates made much sense. But you have to know that there are forces in Hawaii, some of them Hawaiian, who do not want Hawaiians to advance. They prefer to keep them dependent on a bad government and as bag carriers for rich Koreans, Japanese and Chinese. Many Hawaiians want more but the forces that keep them asking for handouts and underachieving are very strong. Few dare speak about it openly, though. Peek behind the curtain of power people. You might be surprised at what you see.

    • Amid some of the other problems noted, one that drives me bonkers is identifying “Caucasian” as an “ethnicity.” I would offer that a Caucasian of Finno-American ethnicity born in Minnesota might possibly provide significantly different responses than would a Caucasian of Portuguese-Azores-American ethnicity whose family has lived on Oahu for five generations. (the other one that drives me nuts is identifying “White” as a racial classification. Can you imagine the outcry in this state if people of East-Asian ancestry were instructed to check off a box labeled “Yellow” or if Allie was told that she has to identify as “Red”?)

  • I live in Waimea on the Big Island. Take your poll in our town. We look at Mauna Kea every day. We respect the mountain.
    But more than that, we respect Hawaiians who hold their mountain as sacred. Do people even remember what sacred means?
    Science is not sacred. So called progress is not sacred. Secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right. Mauna Kea is a Hawaiian cathedral. You do not take bulldozers and level a cathedral. You do not put a 180′, one acre building on top of someone else’s sacred ground. It is wrong.
    All you modern scientific atheists need to show some respect for Hawaiians and for the earth that they hold sacred.

    • No, just exactly what does Sacred mean? Why exactly is it sacred? Seems to me if Hawaiians are truly concerned about sacredness of land, they should be concerned about the military conducting training exercises below. Wonder how much DU is down there? The Telescope respects the land and will use the land to expand knowledge. People will always be able to always go to the top of the mountain. On the plains below where military exercises occur, probably not. Probably be like Kahoʻolawe which is basically polluted to the max.

    • Soon as something harder than adze came to Hawaii, Mauna Kea lost its sacredness to Hawaiians. Some of those scientists may be atheists, but their knowledge of the universe provides the foundation for what is newly sacred: our–Hawaiians included–relationship to the universe on an elemental level. Our self-reflection has become gluons and muons and other sub-atomic phenomena. Those telescopes are portals into–for the lack of a better term–the raw matter of creation. Is that not sacred?

    • No Hon. The mountain is not sacred as Peter Apo’s historical account has documented. Nor does the enormous Christian Hawaiian population hold a mound of dirt as being sacred. Respecting the environment is not the same thing as holding the environment transcendent.

      • Yes, the mountain is sacred. All land is sacred. In fact everything is sacred. But sacredness just requires that one respects it and not damage it it like what was done to Kahoʻolawe. Why government is allowed to destroy land is something I have never been able to understand. The telescope does not destroy, it makes constructive use of what God has given mankind.

        • With the TMT science will consecrate Mauna Kea to see back to the origin of the universe. There will be no need for a bigger telescope because nothing existed before them. The size of the TMT is just right.

        • Actually mike, Pearl harbor was destroyed by the military. Yes the Japanese may have bombed it a few years ago but the military makes it so that it is unfit to swim there or eat anything caught there. Maybe not totally the military’s fault but a good portion is.

      • allie what Peter Apo’s said was he has not found any proof the whole mountain is scared . he states many parts are and he open to other showing him proof if it is the whole mountain. stick to the facts

        • Just for laughs, I would really like to see which selective parts of a mountain are sacred, and how they are deemed so.

        • Apo was intimidated by the handful of protesters as was OHA, which has pushed for the project. I could not care less whether it is built or not as I am not from here thank God. But not building it hurts everyone, including Hawaiians as they will find out as good paying scientific jobs melt away. The KS student who stood up for science and Hawaiian culture had her life threatened by the usual UH bullies. Facts still remain though. Go back and read the SA if you doubt my word.

        • allie could care less? She will be moving out of Hawaii as soon as she finishes her last semester in college.

        • Allie is it you who need to stick to the facts on the Peter Apo article that ran on civil beat.Not twist his words like you did. go back and read it again it states what i said not your twisted version

    • I’m originally from the Big Island, too. I get it that you consider Mauna Kea sacred. But where were you and those who think like you when they were building all of those resorts down at Waikoloa on land that includes trails used by ali`i, and where ancient petroglyphs exist? You know, those resorts which now employ hundreds of locals including many, many part-Hawaiians?

  • Restaurant Row in Honolulu is also a flop. Not everyone can afford to eat out everyday. As a result, there should be many unused rooms available for a convention of any size.

  • The managed economy is a flop. Why not try a free market economy instead of tightening up the screws on the flop economy? What’s that? The status quo cannot risk it.

  • The ends do not justify the means. The permit given TMT to build its 5 acre, 18 story high telescope at the summit of Mauna a Wakea was issued without due process of law. Period. The Hawaii Supreme Court did not even need to consider the issue of “sacred”….the permit violated fundamental due process. Folks on this page like to opine about the “American” way being so superior. It all has to start with upholding some pretty basic guarantees.

      • If only there were some hope of this happening! The State of Hawaii has richly demonstrated that it can not do much at all correctly and that it can’t do anything quickly. Expecting the TMT permits to be re-issued properly and quickly is beyond my imagination.

        Meanwhile the Hawaiians cling to their superstition on the TMT and to a fake Indian tribe concept for their national aspirations. Talk about false assumptions . . .

        • Hawaiians want to surpress everyone else like how they are doing the same with themselves.

  • Help the Hawaiians, they say “NO”, so listen. The polls, wondering who’s behind those fudged #’s. Exactlt, go to Waimea, and 100% would be against it. And vote #TakeBackHawaii #ImpeachIge Hawaii’s greatest embarassment!!

    • Here’s a suggestion for a “Poll”: Is Hawaii, the state, obligated to follow in its policy and practice and law the laws and constitution of the United States or the laws and constitution of the state as formulated by Senator Inouye and the other founding fathers of the state, in 1959. The federal side of this equation is where the due process ruling comes in to the picture. And Allie, construction and other types of jobs are not high tech science jobs. Look at the Bay Area. There are some folks here now trying to advance non governmental science and tech for better paying jobs for all.

  • look thru the telescope and see if they have a rail system on mars, and ask them how much it costed. and look closely to see if isis is hiding in uranus.

  • I suspected that the majority of Hawaiians support the aha sovereignty convention. This poll confirms that. Think that the new format works. The Supreme Court will not affect the result. This is the best opportunity in years.

  • Can’t figure out what is so scared about that mound of dirt? Never heard of anyone going up there to pray and hold scared anything. Just a bunch of whiners..

  • If the current rock worshippers protesting a telescope on the ‘sacred’ mountain were transported back in time to Captain Cooks arrival in ships on Big Island, these current worshippers would also have thought Cook was a deity arriving at a festival assembled in that bay

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