Dawson on TMT Project… “We have not been hearing a lot of ‘no’.”

Sandra Dawson, I met you the other night, and I’m not sure what you heard at the other meetings but what you state in the Advertiser today may be stretching things a bit.

Out of the first 10 or so testifiers I was there for, I heard 7 against and only 3 for.

I don’t understand how you can tell the Honolulu Advertiser the following:

“I have been really impressed by the thoughts and the eloquence of some of the comments,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT Observatory Corp. site manager.

We have not been hearing a lot of ‘no.’ What we have been hearing is: ‘If you come here, you need to do this,’ or, ‘If you’re going to go up there, have respect for the mountain.’ And that’s something we really want to demonstrate as good neighbors and good stewards.”

I also don’t understand the spin here of trying to divide this into 3 categories of:

…Much of the testimony has been divided roughly into three categories, with some saying the telescope should be built at the other potential site in the mountains of Chile, some welcoming the economic and academic addition to the Big Island, and others wanting no more structures on a volcanic mountain Native Hawaiians consider sacred…

So basically what you are saying… is 2/3 of the people don’t want it on Mauna Kea.

Those wanting no more structures on Mauna Kea… why don’t you just lump those with the ones that want it on Chile?

Trying to make it look like 33% / 33% /33% is just not true…. it’s actually 67% Against and 33 % for unscientifically.

But then again… if you look at my even more unscientific poll it would show people are for it ;)

2 Responses

  1. Actually I have nothing invested in this, I already have a job doing what I like.

    On the other hand I am a strong supporter of science and mathematic education. I see the potential of bringing this observatory here to Hawai’i and understand the opportunity and positive impacts it can have on this community.
    These positives vastly outweigh the negative impacts I have heard expressed. I keep listening to the opponents, I go out of my way to listen to the opponents, I have yet to hear a persuading argument against.

    Here in Hawai’i I see far better parenting than I have seen elsewhere. I see kids excited about the arts, science and engineering. At the Keck open house I spoke with kids who had built robots, standing beside their creations and talking tech. They knew more electronics than I did at their age. I helped judge the MATE underwater ROV competition in Hilo early this year, seeing teams of kids who struggled to build something that not only worked, but worked well. These teams were often mentored and assisted by, who else, observatory employees. At the open house I asked kids basic science questions during my demonstrations, and was pleasantly surprised by the good answers I got.

    The observatories bring more than money to this island, they bring science and engineers here from around the world, they bring educational opportunities for everyone, they bring a wider view of engineering, science and the universe as a whole.

  2. The problems with public meetings, like the EIS scoping meetings is that you get only those who have strong feelings on the issue who make the effort to attend. This can give a very distorted view of the overall community.

    I would characterize the various comments I have heard, from many sources, including the EIS scoping hearing, in three slightly different groups than Damon gives…

    A few absolute objections.

    A few highly supportive.

    The larger majority who would support the project if done correctly, with community input and involvement. They want the TMT to provide opportunities for them and their children, they want openness in the project so they can see that it is done right.

    I have to put myself in the last group, do it right, not in isolation from the community. This island is too small for that sort of attitude.

    Damon – While this is the first “Scoping” meeting on the TMT that I went to, I’m involved in a similar process with the H-130 Advisory Panel as we are going through Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) with a group of 25 of us who were selected by the state to make suggestions to the state regarding the H-130 project. My general feeling, is that the people hired by the TMT to run the “Scoping” meetings are similar to the people that the State has hired to run the “CSS” meetings. Therefore, I believe it’s Mrs. Dawsons duty (financially it’s her job) to make statements that are to try and persuade public opinion.

    I understand Andrew, that you have a much more vested interest in this then I ever could… but I’m trying to look beyond are own feelings towards the project and trying to grasp more of what the community is feeling. I just feel Mrs. Dawson’s break down was an attempt to skew what the true feelings are and that is… 67% don’t want the thing on Mauna Kea.

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