By Alan McNarie
At press time, it had been a wild week at the Big Island Chronicle.
We were supposed to be concentrating on this new print edition. But first our Web site crashed and stayed that away for four days; we finally had to ditch our Web host and find a new one. (Thanks, Netcom and Jeff Gray, for giving us a new home—and with a locally based company at that!) Meanwhile, my own computer developed a couple of ailments, including a dead mouse. Then, as our editor/publisher, Tiffany Edwards Hunt, was completing the layout, the Internet went out at her home and she had to send last-minute submissions in via her cell phone.
And while all that was happening, the island’s been going on a wild ride of its own. Our mayor got caught using his county credit card to make charges at a Honolulu hostess bar. And the Merrie Monarch’s annual celebration of all things Hawaiian was marred by protests from the top of Mauna Kea to the streets of Hilo and Honolulu, as many Kanaka Maoli, environmentalists and social justice activists mounted a last-ditch effort to stop the construction of the giant Thirty Meter Telescope atop what many view as a sacred mountain.
Tiffany has been digging into some of the county credit card charges by officials, and discusses her preliminary findings. She is sifting through so much, though, she’ll have to follow up. Meanwhile, I took on the Mauna Kea controversy. It’s not new ground for me; I’ve been covering issues with the telescopes and Mauna Kea for more than two decades. For some on both sides, it may seem simple: either the mountaintop is a sacred place being violated by godless scientists and money-grubbing developers, or a batch of Hawaiian fanatics is disrupting our search for true knowledge in the name of their superstitions. But the reality behind the telescope controversy is way, way more complex: a twisted morass of complex contracts and lawsuits, of high aspirations and broken promises and labyrinthine politics, of pent-up frustration and multiple motivations. I’ve spent a week in that morass, trying to weave a coherent thread of fact out of hundreds of pages of documents, two dozen Web sources and a half-dozen interviews. The resulting primer on Mauna Kea is in this issue, along with various voices from the community on this most divisive of issues.
There’s more here, as well: rat lungworm disease, marijuana legislation, msg—and on the lighter side, summer activities for kids, the Puna Music Festival and the Big Island Film Festival. So please forgive us if, in all the technical chaos, we may have missed a typo or two. This issue should still be a very lively read.
Contributing Editor Alan McNarie has been covering Big Island politics, environment and culture as an investigative journalist for over two decades. He was the former Senior Contributing Editor for the Hawaii Island Journal, and writes non-investigative pieces regularly for such magazines as Hana Hou and Ke Ola. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org