comscore Retired judge appointed to oversee hearing on Thirty-Meter Telescope | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Retired judge appointed to oversee hearing on Thirty-Meter Telescope


    Judge Riki May Amano presided over the trial of Frank Pauline Jr. for the murder of Dana Ireland on the Big Island.

A retired Big Island circuit court judge will oversee a hearing for a permit to build a telescope on Mauna Kea.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced today Riki May Amano has been selected to conduct the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing. A new hearing is necessary after the state Supreme Court voided the project’s permit in December.

Telescope officials are waiting to learn more about the process and timeline before deciding whether to pursue a new hearing. A spokesman says he’s glad an officer has been selected.

Amano will determine the hearing schedule.

Telescope officials are looking for possible alternate sites in case it can’t be built in Hawaii.

Telescope foes vow to continue fighting the project they say will desecrate sacred land.

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  • A Ha. OHA loses again.And again, and again. See, this is what happens when the law is either changed in favor of local special interests or ignored altogether. Hawaii is one of the states of the Union and the federal constitution, not the state constitution, determines land use.

  • Protestors won in the courtroom. Should a new hearing be held and the TMT project is allowed to proceed, then hopefully the protestors will cease to protest. If they do, and laws are violated, hopefully they get arrested.

    • The US and Hawaii constitutions were violated, due process was ignored. You can’t issue a permit before the contested hearing. By the way, this practice of issuing permits before the contested hearings were concluded was begun by Laura Thielan during her stint as DLNR head.

      • What part of the multi-year review process the TMT went through did you not understand? Everyone had their chance to say what they felt.

        Fact is the local eco terrorist whiners lost and decided to continue their tirade by making “Instant sacred rock piles in the roads and construction areas.”

        TMT management has had enough of the little 8th world of Hawaii Nei. Will be leaving for a more progressive country.

        • True…and most of the so-call protesters were no more Hawaiian than Tess Williams.

      • The court didn’t like the process, as ambiguous as the rules of permit issuance are. Whether they allowed a contested case hearing before, or issued the permit pending any objection and holding one after, as in this case, is really just splitting hairs.
        The question the DLNR now has is: “If we hold another contested case hearing and grant the permit again will the State (meaning Ige, law enforcement, and the Court) going to have our back? And will they support us when the loud mouths don’t accept the decision and start blocking the road again?” If they don’t feel they have these assurances then we have anarchy don’t we?

        • It seems the supreme court wants another hearing? What difference does that make? Maybe the court will want two more – just be sure their opinion is respected?

        • The question, Wiliki, is not if the TMT folks respect the ultimate judgement, but will the loudmouth hooligan violent protesters?

  • Such a joke; how can government change the permitting process when they already issued the permit. It’s like having the contractor bringing all the materials to renovate our house and the government says sorry, but we’re canceling your permit; gotta do it again.

  • This judge is a democratic party puppet, she was appointed to the ethics commission and is part of the faction trying to fire Chuck Totto for doing his job too well. Souki, Kouchi and the rest of the leadership don’t like Totto cutting off their bennies. She has no integrity and will do whatever the politicians tell her to do. Probably not so good for the TMT protesters.

    • Except that Chuck Totto is Executive Director of the Honolulu Ethics Commission which reviews Honolulu employees in general, not the State of Hawaii Ethics Commission which reviews State employees in general. Souki is a representative from Maui and Kouchi is a Senator from Kauai. Please keep in mind that difference between Honolulu (one of four counties) and Hawaii State which is the State as a whole. You are mixing papayas and mangos. Seems to be a very common mistake here.

      • You don’t get it dingbat, Chuck Totto questioned the validity of rail votes which affects all the democrats in charge, not just the ones in city government. In doing so, he sealed his fate. Judge Amano is one of several party loyalists that was placed on the ethics commission by the democrats to fire Totto. Does that help clear it up for you. It’s not about city or state government, it’s about the money, rail money dingbat.

      • Who are you kidding, the fix is in to undermine any agency regarding reviewing ethics of elected officials in BOTH City and State. Even trying to get a coveted marijuana grower and distribution license is sought after by a current State legislature in office. From Rodrigiues not long ago controlling selection of judges to PRP / Carpenters union doing a political hatchet job on Cayetano and his run for mayor to es HGEA union boss Oakata and Kirks wife Donna choosing former UH presiddent Greenwood to Carpenters union boss Taketa in charge of the police commission giving out of control Kealoha a free pass to ex First Hwn Bank CEO in charge of both the board of Education and the rail project with Ansaldo, etc. The only mistake is that relying on the public’s Gruber mentality hopefully most will wake and realize they are in the Matrix and getting manipulated on an unprecendented scale.

    • Throwupatthemouth, Judge Amano was selected pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes section 103D-304. HRS 103D-304 requires DLNR to assemble and vet a list of applicants. The list is reviewed by a selection committee, which ranks at least three candidates. The DLNR Chairperson then negotiates a contract with the first ranked person. If the DLNR Chairperson is unable to successfully negotiate a contract with the first ranked person, then he or she attempts to negotiate a contract with the next ranked person. In this case, Chairperson Case was able to successfully negotiate a contract with Judge Amano as the first ranked applicant of the selection committee.”
      DLNR media release.

      • The selection committee was comprised of retired Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice James Duffy, Deputy Attorney general Stella Kam, and Board of Land and Natural Resources member Christopher Yuen all assisted with the decision.

    • If you drag your feet, people don’t care anymore or forget all about it. In either case, the issue goes away. Ige’s philosophy of being Governor. He’s trying that approach with NextEra but the payoff is too great for NextEra to give up like the TMT applicants are doing.

  • Too little too late. TMT backers have lost faith in the backwards Nei, tired of instant “Sacred rock piles” in the road, other issues. TMT backers will cut their losses, find a progressive country not afraid of technology to be the next home.

    Sorry Nei. You had your chance and blew it badly.

    • Well we hope that is not the case localguy. They have stated that they will wait until the Spring to jump ship.

      But, should the permit be re-granted, they will not put up with any further nonsense and violence from the knucklehead protesters. They must have assurances from Ige and Law enforcement that the protesters will be treated in the proper humane way, as any rabid dogs would be!

  • The photo shows Judge Riki May Amano presiding over the trial of Frank Pauline Jr. for the murder of Dana Ireland on the Big Island. Now, she’s back on the bench presiding over the trial of ignorant, barbaric protesters for the murder of science, education, and employment for the world involving the TMT construction. The question is, will she be partial to the side of fantasy, and ridiculous imaginary tales of prancing godlings atop a barren, lifeless mountaintop, or the reality of discovery.

    • The Hawaii Supreme Court, found on issues of law and fact, that the permit process was never followed. So, while protestors framed the issue and provided a media optic, it had very little to do with findings of our Supreme Court. Here is a hint, talk about what you know and have the slightest idea you are talking about…

      • The permitting process was followed as it says that if someone is against the giving out a permit that a “contested case hearing” should be held. Which it was.
        What the Court didn’t like is that the “hearing” wasn’t held before the permit was granted. But, how do you know someone will protest it until it is granted? It could have been granted and no one protest it. It could have been denied and no one protest it. According to the court, the DLNR should have ESP to know what tomorrow brings before granting any permit. Just silly!
        But, they will do what the Court wants, have another cry baby session, and hear how mythology deities (their religion) and their “but we were here first” racial supremacy beliefs should supersede all the other citizen’s of this great State.
        Then the permit will be granted.

        • Here is a hint, perhaps you should invest in going to law school, as you obviously don’t Understand both the process and how legally syllogistic the Supreme Court was correct….

        • Boo, the syllogistic syllogism has three parts: a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. The Court’s premise was that DLNR should have had ESP and known that someone would protest the permit. Minor premise is that there would be a complaint about the “process” not the substance of the protest. And, lastly that they should have held the “contested case hearing” first in order to circumvent the appearance that due process was not upheld.
          The Court’s major premise cannot be substantiated based on other permits that were granted that there was no waiting time for protests, or were permits were refused and no one protested that there was insufficient time for someone to have a hearing before the permit was denied. Permits under Thielen were granted in the same way that would seem to have set a precedent.

          In any case, it all water under the bridge. The Supreme Court of Hawaii did not refute the final judgement to issue the permit, just took exception to the “process” which will be redone on the tax payer’s dime, and reach the same result. The permit will be reissued.

        • Administrative decisions do not set legal precedent.
          A judicial precedent attaches a specific legal consequence to a detailed set of facts in only adjudged case or judicial proceedings.

        • But the fact remains, Boo, that the Court did not set aside all previous permits issued in the same fashion as this one was. Or permits issued by other government entities that have been issued in the same manner.

          However, going forward the DLNR will I’m sure do it differently. That doesn’t at all mean the protesting bigots won anything. They only won a delay as they lost on their basic premises that because they claim it is “sacred in their religion” and that their race is somehow more important than others they therefore should have it their way.

          The racist bigots will surely lose again, as this time it’s all legal and directed by the Supreme Court of the State. How can the Court say they were wrong this time when they mandated they do it over this way?

  • Scientist are people and they would prefer to live and work in paradise rather than in a remote mountain top in a 3rd world country. Special dispensation must be obtained from the native Hawaiians who consider this particular mountain sacred. Instead of trying to ram it down their throat. Controversy began with bitterness so some kind of concession must be obtained. If the protester will not yield too bad!

    • cojef – Actually a 3rd world country would be a massive upgrade from the situation here at the little 8th world of Hawaii Nei. No shibai like “Instant sacred rock piles” in the road and construction areas, local eco terrorists threatening the worker’s safety, so much more.

      Concessions? Really? What you really mean is all the local eco terrorists want bribes, payoff, baksheese, guaranty to be on the taxpayer’s dole for the rest of their life. Total bunch of losers.

      And nothing was “Rammed down their throat” as you mistakenly state. There was a multi year review process according to all the state laws, everyone had their chance to give their opinion, discussion, everything. The fact they are still whining show are nothing more than spoiled little whiners. Would they like some cheese with their whine?

    • An active duty judge might suffer a career set back.

      Remember the advice the judge got from his politically savvy pal in the film “Miracle on 34th Street” when he was expected to put Santa Claus in the dock to determine his sanity? Like the TMT kerfuffle, for the judge, it looked to be a lose-lose situation.

    • Because you need a judge whose decisions will be upheld by the Ethics Commission. Oh wait! She’s ON the Ethics Commission! How nice to have two roles in one person.

    • Because this is an administrative proceeding, not a judicial one. Depending on the outcome of the contested case hearing, one party or the other may appeal to the Circuit Court (as happened the first time around with TMT), THEN a judge will hear the case.

      The real question is why *THIS* judge? See my comments about that below.

  • Great, now lets set a strict schedule for the hearings and fix a definite end date when the decision will be made whether to proceed or not.

  • I suppose the S-A didn’t have much time to do any homework following the announcement yesterday, but do the AG, DLNR, and all of you have no memory?

    Amano did not “retire” in 2003 at age 50. She was retired by the Judicial Selection Commission which voted not to retain her. Why? Because she was a TERRIBLE judge with an even worse temperament. And she has continued to stick her foot in the kukae with the Honolulu Ethics Commission.

    However you feel about TMT, this is a terrible appointment. Any decision she makes will be wrong and reversed. What a waste of time and money.

    • If the Judge sticks to making her ruling purely on Constitutional grounds, i.e. separation of Church and State doctrine,(the activists call Mauna Kea “sacred”) and the activist’s racial supremacy notions(we are the host culture crap) she will have the U.S. Constitution on her side. Then no matter what the Hawaii Supreme Court says it will be overturned once again by the Federal Court. And the permit will be granted. But they better hurry up about it!

      • “Church and State” (?) What Church? ..”racial supremacy notions”.. (?) How is life treating you at “Kahi Mohala”? ..time for your Lithium break?

        • OH Farkward, perhaps you need to go back to school. People who believe in mythological deities, or in this case say they do, are practicing what is known as polytheistic religion. One’s religion is not a bases for discrimination over other people’s rights. This is commonly referred to in Constitutional Law as the “Separation of Church and State Doctrine”.

          Their racial supremacy notions stems from their belief that their race and culture (their “host culture” nonsense)should rule over the desires of all other races and cultures in Hawaii. In short pure RACISM.

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