Balfour passes WTL

Despite valid concerns raised by Native Hawaiian and environmental advocacy groups, Sen. Thielen's committee on water and land voted to advise the senate to consent to the governor's nomination of Bill Balfour to the state's water commission.

Will Caron
The Red Nation: Border Town Justice Campaign

The campaign to end institutional violence against Native peoples heads to Gallup, New Mexico; much (if not all) of what is said applies to Hawaii as well.

The Red Nation is a coalition dedicated to the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism.

Our “Border Town Justice Campaign” addresses economic and sexual exploitation, criminalization, discrimination and violence directed at Native people living off-reservation. Today, four of five Native people live off-reservation. In border towns, poverty and violence often exceed reservation-based rates.

The United States is premised on the erasure of Native people. Extreme forms of social control that police Native presence in border towns contribute to this larger structure of erasure. Yet, neither mainstream nor Native-led social justice groups advocate for off-reservation populations and their issues.

Our campaign rectifies this by working with those surviving under the most precarious of conditions. Our effectiveness lies in our collective decision-making and ability to recruit leaders directly from these affected groups. We intend to mobilize a widespread movement to reject these conditions and reclaim Native life and land.

Petition to reject Balfour passes 2,500 signatures

Ahead of tomorrow's WTL hearing on the nomination of Bill Balfour to the Water Commission, signatures continue to be added to an online petition urging the rejection of the inappropriate nomination.

Tomorrow, Senator Laura Thielen’s Water and Land committee, the same committee that recommended against the nomination of developer-lobbyist Carleton Ching to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) chairmanship, will hold a hearing to determine whether or not to advise and consent to the governor’s nomination of Bill Balfour to the DLNR’s Water Commission.

Read an article explaining exactly why this nomination is even worse than the Ching nomination.

An online petition is gathering signatures to oppose Blafour’s nomination, and has passed 2,500 signatures. In the time it took to write this post, the number of signatures increased from 2,666 to 2,681 (15 signatures in roughly five minutes). Add your name below:

Submit testimony on the nomination here.

UH Board of Regents to hold special meeting RE: TMT

The regents are welcoming public comment on the Thirty-Meter Telescope ahead of the upcoming special meeting in Hilo.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will hold a special board meeting to discuss the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus.

Written testimony on the matter will be accepted up to 24-hours ahead of the meeting and can be emailed to bor@hawaii.edu. Late testimony will be made available to the regents within 24 hours of receipt. Individuals who wish to testify in person will be allowed to during the public comment period of the meeting before the regents go into discussion. The regents are asking that testifiers limit their testimony to three minutes.

TMT: UH System-wide walk-out planned for tomorrow

The Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaii system has called for a system-wide walk-out among all Native Hawaiian serving programs on Monday, April 13, over the Thirty-Meter Telescope project.

The Pūkoʻa Council, the Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaii system released the following announcement today, for their planned walk-out tomorrow:

As the University of Hawaiʻi, which purports to be a “Hawaiian place of learning” continues to disregard the voice of the Hawaiian community in its opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, the Pūkoʻa Council, the Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaiʻi system, has called for a system-wide walk-out among all Native Hawaiian serving programs on Monday, April 13 at noon. The walk-out will be supported by various professors, staff and students throughout the University of Hawaiʻi system.

The Pūkoʻa council, composed of representatives from all ten University of Hawaiʻi (UH) system campuses, met with President Lassner at Kapʻiolani Community College on April 6, 2015.  At that time, the President was advised that the Pūkoʻa Council stands firmly against the TMT project and was urged to halt construction.

In addition, a separate letter urging Thirty Meter Telescope Corporation partners to divest from the project has garnered support from over 150 University of Hawaiʻi and community organizations, departments, professors, staff and student organizations.

The Pūkoʻa Council position and the letter to the TMT investors shows that there is substantial opposition to the TMT within the University of Hawaiʻi and calls for the University of Hawaiʻi to halt all construction efforts.

“The Board of Regents or the Office of Mauna Kea Management can no longer speak on behalf of the entire University for this issue. As we’ve seen in the past week, opposition to this issue is widespread and this includes opposition within the University itself. The Board of Regents needs to know this as do the TMT investors,” says UH Mānoa representative for the Pūkoʻa Council, Dr. Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa.

“Mauna Kea is sacred to Native Hawaiians and is part of the corpus of Hawaiian national lands but this is not simply a Native Hawaiian issue,” says Professor of English, Candace Fujikane. “This is an environmental issue, one of upholding legal protections for the environment as well as one of good government . There are three court cases yet to be resolved over the TMT so why is the University beginning construction?”

The walk-out will lead into a rally at Campus Center, followed by a press conference at 12:30 at the UHM Campus Center courtyard where the Pūkoʻa Council will issue a statement on its position to the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents and Professor Jon Osorio will also release the letter directed to the TMT partners.

Governor announces extension of TMT moratorium

Today, April 11, Governor David Ige announced, while in Hilo, that the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) team has informed him it will postpone construction until Monday, April 20, 2015.

“I thank TMT for its willingness to be respectful and sensitive to all of Hawaii–its special people, its sense of place and its unique host culture,” said Governor Ige.


OHA seeks continued TMT moratorium

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees met on April 10 to discuss the matter of Mauna Kea and the planned thirty-meter telescope (TMT). The board says it plans to “gain greater clarity on the pending legal cases relating to the TMT project,” and that “the board will also review OHA’s past positions on these cases. With that information, the Board will consider its position on the matter at an upcoming board meeting.”

“While a formal board vote has not been taken yet on the matter, OHA’s highest leadership involved in the discussions with state officials have sought and continue to seek a continued moratorium,” said Kehaunani Abad, OHA’s community engagement director.

Activists have been blocking the access road to the construction site in order to prevent construction from beginning. More than thirty people were arrested by Hawaii County police on Thursday, April 2, but the demonstrations only grew last week, especially as hundreds of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, dancers and spectators gathered on Hawaii island for the Merrie Monarch hula festival.

During the past week, OHA leaders have also been in discussions with state decision makers. In these talks, OHA leaders have emphasized the need for all parties to address the unresolved legal matters while the TMT construction moratorium remains in place.


Balfour: strike two for David Ige?

Balfour's record during his prior term on the Water Commission shows how inappropriate a choice he is; Ige risks a second failed nomination only a month after the Ching fiasco.

Will Caron
A Carleton Ching redux?

The governor's choice to fill a vacancy on the state's Water Commission is just as bad as his first choice to lead the DLNR.

Will Caron
Live Stream: Mauna Kea

A live stream of the activity on Mauna Kea, brought to you by Oiwi TV.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream