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Protest at Land Board Meeting Prompts BLNR Response

October 28, 2017, 1:49 PM HST · Updated October 29, 5:53 AM
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BLNR Chair Suzanne Case issued the following statement today about protesters at Friday’s Land Board meeting calling for Board Member Sam Gon’s resignation:

Samuel M. Gon III. Courtesy file photo.

“Sam ‘Ohu Gon is held in the highest respect by innumerable people. As a scientist and as a recognized expert in native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices, Sam brings tremendously valuable perspective and integrity to the Land Board decisions. No Land Board member is appointed as a representative of or advocate for any particular group.

“It is disappointing and frankly offensive that some who disagree with the Land Board’s recent decision on the TMT telescope choose to aim personally at ‘Ohu or any board member. This is not peaceful protest. We must simply reject this kind of divisiveness in Hawaiʻi as well as nationally and globally, and practice respect in our public discourse no matter our views.”

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Out of respect for the contested case process, the Land Board members have agreed not to discuss the TMT decision until the appeal period has run next month.

Governor David Ige also responded with a statement saying, “The behavior of a few individuals at last week’s Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting was unfortunate, uncalled for and unacceptable. I support the actions the BLNR chair and staff took to restore order so the Board could conduct its public meeting in a safe and civil manner. I thank all the members of the Board for their stewardship of the public trust on behalf of the people of the State of Hawai‘i.”

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