Lā 182: State: No ho‘oponopono

By TOM CALLIS Hawaii Tribune-Herald Sept 23, 2015

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HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald In this file photo from earlier this year, TMT protester Danette Godines speaks to Judge Barbara Takase (not pictured) during a District Court hearing in Waimea. Godines was among those arrested during the protests.

It’s back to court for 10 Thirty Meter Telescope opponents arrested on Mauna Kea after state officials declined to participate in a Hawaiian mediation process known as ho‘oponopono.

Josh Wisch, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said the offer was declined since the conflict over telescope construction and stewardship of the mountain, which the protesters consider sacred, has only become more complicated.

“There are now cases related to Mauna Kea pending in multiple courts in multiple jurisdictions, enforcement actions have been taken and challenged, and additional individuals and groups with no connection to the defendants who first requested ho‘oponopono have asked to engage in a dialogue regarding stewardship of the mountain,” he said in an email.

“In light of these continuing changes, proceeding with ho‘oponopono for these individuals no longer seemed like a constructive option.”

Ten protesters arrested for allegedly blocking construction vehicles on the mountain were still seeking ho‘oponopono as an alternative to prosecution as of Monday, according to a press release from TMT opponents.

Judge Barbara Takase and Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth had agreed to the process, assuming other parties would come to the table.

A letter requesting ho‘oponopono participation was sent Aug. 24 to Mayor Billy Kenoi, state Department of Land and Natural Resources and its board, University of Hawaii, and TMT’s Hilo office, according to those requesting mediation.

The letter says the process is highly structured and involves nine phases, among them: opening and closing prayers, discussion of purpose, opening up of the issues, separating the issues, identifying the problem, asking and giving forgiveness.

Wisch said Roth, who was to facilitate the process, was notified last week that the state agencies won’t participate.

Roth said he notified an attorney and left a message with one of the protesters.

“As soon as I got the word I started making calls,” he said.

TMT opponent Joseph Camara said the offer was still on the table. “If we don’t find a resolution then we will be back in court Dec. 3,” he said. “We’re hoping to find another venue to talk things out instead of in the middle of the road.”

Petty misdemeanor charges have been filed against several dozen people alleged to have been blocking construction workers from reaching the TMT site below the mountain’s summit.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.