Monday, September 16, 2019

Distressed Governor: Telescope Saga Continues

Gov. David Ige said Friday he and other state employees received death threats amid the heated debate over building a giant telescope on the state’s highest peak.

Ige disclosed the threats as he and his cabinet members held a news conference asking people on all sides of the issue to be careful with their language.

Attorney General Clare Connors played a voicemail recording in which an unidentified man told a state employee, “I hope you die.”

She showed reporters a social media post offering a $5,000 reward for the identity of a law enforcement officer involved in last week’s demolition and removal of a small wooden house built by demonstrators near the camp where they are blocking the telescope’s construction.

“I hope that we can all agree that putting a bounty on the head of law enforcement officer is disturbing and deeply concerning,” Connors said. “It’s dangerous. This law enforcement officer showed up to work that day and was doing his job when he found himself in an untenable situation.”

The issue of the Thirty Meter Telescope issue has engulfed Hawaii since mid-July when the state announced construction would begin after a decade-long permit and appeals process. Protesters have blocked the road to Mauna Kea’s summit for the past two months, preventing the building from getting underway. They oppose construction because they believe the top of the mountain is sacred.

Ige said there’s been improper language on both sides, noting he’s seen “terrible and racist” things written about protesters in the comment sections of news sites online...

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