‘There’s many laws I don’t like’: Mayor Kim seeks neutrality in dealing with Mauna Kea conflict

Updated: Nov. 12, 2019 at 8:03 PM HST
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HILO, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - During a high-stakes interview with Harry Kim, the 80-year-old Hawaii County mayor repeatedly referred to his commitment in finding a peaceful way forward despite, what appears to be an impossible impasse.

When asked how he thinks it could all end, he went on tangents during the 40 minute interview with Hawaii News Now.

“I wish we would all settle down and not let our anger control ourselves,” he said at one point.

The kiai, those who consider themselves protectors of Mauna Kea, say they won’t budge to prevent further desecration of the mountain, but the government has said TMT has the legal right to build at the summit.

Hawaii News Now asked Kim if he was supportive of arrests to uphold the law.

"Am I supportive? I guess that's a word you can use. Am I obligated to follow that? I guess so. The question is not whether I like it or not. There's many laws I don't like," he said.

After past rumors of an overnight raid, Kim promised to let the public know if TMT plans to once again move its equipment for grading at the summit site, but he refused to give specifics on how much time would be given between notification and potential road closures.

Kim insisted he’s committed to gaining people’s trust, but Kim acknowledged TMT’s future in Hawaii is now uncertain.

"They (TMT) would like to see it here, but obviously it bothers them what's going on because they are being blamed. They should not, I don't care what your position is, they are not responsible for this," he said.

Kim says he told Governor Ige during their last conversation that the controversy has sparked a Hawaiian cultural rennaisance.

"I'm trying to tell the Governor we have to know that. We have to know what this is all about," said Kim.

"I am hoping that our peaceful stance continues to make it difficult for law enforcement to come at us in any way," said Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, one of 38 people arrested in July for blocking the road.

Despite clearly defined positions, both Wong-Wilson and Kim told Hawaii News Now they are talking.

“We actually have been talking all along so even though it may not be visible to everyone or a public discussion, there have been many discussions, many attempts to come together,” she said.

“At least work with each other, one-on-one, face to face in a Hawaiian way and resolve our issues without anger without violence. Our kapu aloha stance,” Wong-Wilson added.

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