Time to say thanks to the governor

Gov. David Ige deserves our thanks and our respect for keeping a level head and a steady hand in dealing with the issues on Maunakea.

While the favorite game of advocates on both sides of the issue seem to require calling him names, making fun, and denigrating him personally, I believe he deserves our thanks.

Gov. Ige was presented with circumstances not of his making, that put him in a truly untenable position — he would be damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t.

Any choice or decision he makes is quickly pounced upon by keyboard warriors of all persuasions. Armchair quarterbacks with baseball bats — quick to bash and criticize but their offering of positive solutions or a path forward, is of course non-existent.

The proposed TMT development was introduced to Hawaii years before Gov. Ige took office.

He is obligated by his oath of office to enforce the law. You can be sure the loudest voices shouting in his ear are those business interests and law enforcement agencies, appalled that he has exercised restraint and not literally sent in the troops to open up the road.

Gov. Ige has instead taken a deep breath and decided not to take the enormous risk that would come through the exercise of force.

For that we should applaud his wisdom and be thankful that he is the one sitting behind that desk on the 5th floor of the state Capitol.

While other politicians make pronouncements safely from the comfort of their positions of non responsibility, Gov. Ige is forced to make the hard decisions. And to his credit, so far he has safely navigated waters more treacherous than any in modern Hawaii history.

The situation could have easily spiraled out of control, but it did not. People could have been physically hurt, or worse- but that has not happened either.

With another governor the results may have been different. Another governor, instead of putting the protection of the people and the social and cultural fabric of our island home first, may have listened instead to the hawks of big business and law enforcement, who even now are clamoring to put money and an unjust system of laws above all else.

There are no road maps to be followed nor text books available to help navigate through this situation.

Mistakes have been made along the way, and mistakes, missteps and course-corrections will continue to be made as this incredibly complex situation continues to unfold and evolve in the days and weeks, possibly months ahead.

But I for one am thankful that our governor continues to put the principles of restraint, respect and dialogue above that of force and intimidation.

I encourage all to think for a moment before hurling that next cheap shot. Instead perhaps consider reaching out to say thank you. Thank Gov. Ige for being willing to take the relentless drubbing and below the belt hits, as the price paid to move with thoughtful deliberation focused only on an end result that is safe and just – a conundrum though that may be.


Gary Hooser formerly served in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kauai County Council and was former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and is executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative.

  1. Walter Ritte August 14, 2019 6:58 am Reply

    I agree…people do not understand what a powder keg the Hawaiian community represents. The overthrow and no annexation is at base of unrest and lack of respect for the “illegality” of the present government. Maunakea is the tip of the iceberg that threatens the stability of Hawaii’s economy.

  2. LMat August 14, 2019 9:49 am Reply

    Lol. Hard decisions…?! Please. He took the cowardly way out. The world is watching and he knows it. He doesn’t want to look like the bad guy by clearing those idiots out of there. Look at how the media portrayed the arresting of the kupuna early on. So he tries to pawn off the responsibility of dealing with the situation to the mayor of Big Island… who has said he clearly lacks the power to negotiate!! So, while Ige sits on his hands and hopes for Pele to wake up and figure it out for him, the rest of the world suffers the halt in human and scientific progression.
    Here’s a path forward offered by a “keyboard warrior” that I’m sure the rest of the sane world would agree with: give them two weeks to get off the mountain or they will be forcibly removed.

  3. paulot August 14, 2019 10:17 am Reply

    Thanks Gary. Governor Ige is in an impossible spot and while many of us do want to see the TMT and science prevail we also can see the reasons the other sided does not.

  4. kimokane August 14, 2019 4:11 pm Reply

    Very true Gary, thanks for this perspective.

    LMat’s comment sounds like that of a PR firm hired to antagonize people. Remember folks, in this day and age corporations and organizations do hire people, companies or have departments whos only goal is to post on online discussions like this and undermine them with insulting, racist and inflammatory comments. This is just business as usual for them. Best tactic is to completely ignore them. If their comments like a 3rd grade bully chances are they are paid agents.

  5. Kalapakijim August 14, 2019 6:41 pm Reply

    Mauna Kea has descended into racist, possibly treasonous mob rule due to the inaction of the governor. Hawaiian Royalty was even less legit then than the US gov’t. Kamehameha had no legal right to the throne and murdered his Way to the top by colluding with western powers. And let’s not forget that Hawaii would be part of Japan if not for the USA. A weak illiterate group of islands would have never remained an independent nation regardless. Complaints about annexation and dreams of returning the “kingdom” are a racist fantasy. The protestors might as well be wearing make Hawaii great again hats.

  6. Kalapakijim August 14, 2019 6:56 pm Reply

    He is obligated by his oath of office to enforce the law. End of story.

    Mauna Kea has descended into racist mob rule.

    Democracy is more sacred than a mountain. Racists thugs are desecrating democracy and the rule of law.



  7. Kauaidoug August 15, 2019 8:14 am Reply

    I saw a video of the protesters controlling traffic with a gate structure in the road to Mauna Kea as if they were the law. If TMT wasn’t so critical as THE best place to look for life in other parts of our universe I would say let them keep it the way it is. Even at that this is not something belching smoke or causing pollution. Claims of water table contamination has been debunked. These people on Mauna Kea are getting away with this because they are Hawaiians and people are afraid to say enough of this. Just like how the protestors were on the airport corner when it was said by authorities not to use the corner for that purpose or has that authority been usurped as well ?

  8. ARF August 15, 2019 2:18 pm Reply

    Wow the gnashing of angry teeth.
    Hawaii would be so much better off being part of Japan!!
    Let the Hawaiians win one for once..
    Give them a real say in the government and respect, that’s what is needed. All this frozen pent up frustration will ease and benefit everyone. It’s a smart tactic to take a stand now. If the foreigners push their way again, it will only get worse, and yet so easily mitigated with a little love and understanding.

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